Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday night
29 Oct. 1969

I’ve got hot pad duty tonight, which means sleeping all night in my flight gear, like at Key West. The rain continues to come down undaunted! We had a little excitement today, finally. First of all, my 0500 flight was canceled because of a severe thunderstorm that was right over the field at that time. So I got up at 0330 just for nothing. Next, all around the perimeter they have tear gas canisters to keep the VC out. Somehow several of these canisters exploded and the tear gas was blown right into the hanger area where I just happened to be, since my flight had just been canceled. Since I didn’t have my gas mask with me, my eyes and nose were really burning. It was really bad and I thought maybe we were going to be attacked. But, no.

Then, about 1245 I was in the disbursing office when four rockets exploded in the area, we were being rocketed by the VC!! At last something exciting was happening! Someone yelled “incoming” and the sirens started blowing. We all ran for the door and the bomb shelter (bunker). By the time everyone got outside, the rockets had stopped coming, so we all stood around outside, in the rain, like a bunch of excited school kids after a fire drill! Ha.

After a while of standing in the rain, I realized what an idiot I was, so I went back inside and collected the balance of my travel pay which was 22 cents. I had taken $175.00 advance travel. Well the final figures were $175.22!

The rockets did a little damage but not much. Injured one army soldier, damaged a truck, an airplane, and a helicopter, but that’s all. The good thing about these rockets is that the VC have no-good launchers, so they more or less just aim them at the field and fire them. They just land anywhere and hardly ever do any real damage.

We’re on the air-to-air hot pad tonight which means that we will most likely be scrambled some time tonight to escort B-52 bombers these bombers have to have escorts because they fly someplace which I can’t say, and we have to protect them from MIGS.

Tonight is our last night on the pad. The three F-4 squadrons rotate and have the pad five days at a time. So we will have it again ten days from now.

Somewhere I read that “war is many hours of sheer boredom marked by minutes of stark terror”! well, I’ve had the hours of boredom, but no terror! Ha. Today’s rocket attack could be described as gala excitement!

Photo - officer row, Chu Lai

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