Tuesday, September 14, 2010



Between September 16 and September 19, 1970,  I flew in the cargo bay of a C-130 cargo airplane from Okinawa to Wake Island, then to  Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay in Oahu, Hawaii.

On the morning of September 20, I was part of a four aircraft flight of F-4s that departed Hawaii on the final leg home.  Approximately two hours into the flight, one of the aircraft developed a mechanical  problem.  We had to turn back to Hawaii.  Got to spend another night there.

On the morning of September 21 we departed Hawaii, again, and arrived at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in southern California after a flight of  5.3 hours.  My pilot was Lt. Scheuller.  When we arrived, it was late and dark.  There were no bands.  No welcome home ceremony.  No speeches.  No family or friends to greet us.  Just a dark, lonely tarmac.

But we were finally home.

Photos, top to bottom.
1.  Me with my sons post-Vietnam
2.  Lt. Scheuller
3.  F-4 of VMFA-314, over the Pacific, somewhere between Hawaii and El Toro
4.  F-4s on flight line at Hawaii
5.  F-4 taxiing out at Kaneohe Bay
6.  Marines sleeping in the cargo bay of the C-130
7.  F-4s on tarmac at Wake Island
8.  C-130 cargo plane in which I flew from Vietnam to Hawaii.  A long way to fly in one of those.

Monday, September 13, 2010

13 September 1970

13 September
Kadena A.B. Okinawa

I got here late last night!!!  I am out of Vietnam for good.  It’s a great feeling to know I’m not going back to Chu Lai.

We’re leaving here the morning of the 16th and will arrive in El Toro on the 20th.  At least I think I’ll be there on the 20th.  So many things have been changed because of weather and other things - that things could change again.

We had our “brief” for the transpac this afternoon, so we’re all set to go.

122 is leaving tomorrow, as is an A-6 squadron which is going to El Toro.  A guy I was in PLCs with is in the A-6 squadron and is staying in the same room I’m in.  In fact, I borrowed this stationary from him, as I don’t have any with me.

I don’t have anything to do while we’re here except eat, sleep, and lay in the sun at the pool.

My flight is scheduled to arrive at El Toro at 1400 on the 20th.

I should be in Hawaii on the 18th.  I’m supposed to fly to El Toro in a flight of 4 F-4's.

Photo - no more camouflage uniforms.    C-130 cargo plane in background.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

11 September 1970

Friday night
11 September 1970

Looks as though I’ll be leaving Chu Lai tomorrow!!!!!  The rest of our F-4's are leaving in the morning and I should leave sometime after lunch.  Weather permitting!  We are going to Okinawa instead of Cubi Point, and I’m glad about that.  I’m almost afraid to say it, but this is my last night in Chu Lai.

We had a fantastic floor show at the club tonight.  The group was from the Philippines and had some acts that were better than things I’ve seen on T.V. back in the world.  With all the talent they had I don’t know what they’re doing entertaining in Vietnam.

I spent today playing a game called “Risk”.  It’s a game with dice in which a person tries to conquer countries with his “armies”.  Some of us played it about five hours today, just to kill time.  The squadron has a bunch of these games, for some reason, and I happened to see this one this morning and decided I’d learn how to play it.  In the process of teaching myself several other people became interested, so we had a good time.  It’s amazing what we do to kill time these days.

I don’t have anything else to write about......

I just hope all the F-4's get out tomorrow so I can leave!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

10 September 1970

Thursday night
10 September 1970

The typhoon in the Philippines areas has really messed things up here!!  We got five planes out this morning before we got word to stop!  We were told not to send anymore planes to Cubi Point - in fact all planes at Cubi Point were sent to Okinawa - including our five.  Well, now the people who run the war over here, i.e. generals and admirals, can’t decide if they want us to wait here until the typhoon threat passes Cubi Point or go to Okinawa and start our TRANSPAC from there.  

You see, there are three squadrons supposed to meet at one common place where we are to be briefed on all the details to get all these planes from here to the states.  That place was to have been Cubi Point.  However the typhoon has ruined the time table, so if we still want to use Cubi Point, everything will have to be postponed a few days, or they can move the whole operation to Okinawa, which we would like to do.  Kadena A.B. is a much nicer place and a lot of people want to buy stereo equipment and ship it home.  Okinawa would be a much better place for that.

Anyway, I’m still in Chu Lai and I guess I’ll still leave here on the 12th , subject to change!

We had another good movie tonight - “Sweet Charity”.  At the end of a long day it’s very refreshing to see a good movie in the evening.  Tomorrow will be more of the same for me, hours of boredom.  I keep telling myself that any one with average intelligence can keep himself busy, so I must not have average intelligence.  I can’t even read, I can’t concentrate on a book.  All I think about is getting out of this place.

Photos - top to bottom

Speeches, and crews for first four aircraft of VMFA-314 to leave Chu Lai.
Refreshments for the Marines
Dancing woman, entertaining the soon to depart Marines

Friday, September 3, 2010

9 September 1970

Wednesday night
9 September 1970

Well, looks like I get to spend two more days here at Chu Lai.  Don Mikulka came down from Danang to take Pat Skeldon’s place, instead of me taking his place.  So Don is leaving tomorrow with the F-4's and I’ll leave Saturday in a C-130.  I’m not bitter though because what’s two days when I’m going to El Toro!!

122 left this morning at 0700.  I went down to see them off and took a few pictures.  Also this morning we had a rocket attack!  Only six rockets and no damage, but we expect more of the same tonight.

Three generals are coming down from Danang to see 314 off tomorrow.  That’s how popular the squadron is over here.  Of course it’s also a sort of farewell to MAG-13 also.

Today was another of those very long days - and I’ve a feeling that the next two days are going to be worse.

We had a terrific wind and rain storm here this afternoon.  There is a typhoon just east of the Philippines and is expected to hit there about Saturday.  That’s another thing I’m worried about!  If the weather gets bad at Cubi Point, I may be here more than two more days.  I’ve been here for nearly 11 months - so you’d think I wouldn’t mind waiting a few more days - but it’s awful.  I want to go right now.

Don Mikulka said he just got word yesterday that he’s going with us and that he doesn’t much want to go.  He’ll get to stay in El Toro and won’t have to come back.  He was due to go home early in November.

It was certainly lonely today without 122, and it’s going to be worse with 314 gone.  Believe it or not, nostalgia is setting in!  Ha.

Photos - F-4s heading to Hawaii.  Notice the center fuel tank.  Two wing tanks and center tank made for a heavy load of jet fuel.

8 September 1970

Tuesday night
8 September 1970

122 is leaving tomorrow morning,  and all the mail coming to the squadron is being diverted to Hawaii.  So I will receive no more mail in Vietnam!!  314 to leave day after tomorrow.  That one day without 122 here is going to be lonesome!  All the guys I’ve served with all this time will be gone.  Of course I’ll catch up with them in Cubi Point, and then pass them at Hawaii, so I’m not the least bit sad.  Ha.

The movie tonight was Mash.  It’s a satire of the army medical corps in Korea.  It was really good.  Probably the largest attendance at any movie ever was present.

I have all my gear packed and ready to go.  A plane is leaving tomorrow taking all our gear.  So all I’ll have left here is what I’ll carry with me.

I’ll continue to write as I go across the Pacific.

Pat Skelton, from 513, was supposed to go to El Toro and then come back to Vietnam.  He was planning on seeing his wife there for a few days.  However, he got word today that he is going to FAC duty, so he can’t go to El Toro!  What a bust!!  He has to leave tomorrow for his FAC tour.  We all know the war is over (for Marines) but they keep on harassing us. They just won’t give anyone a break.  There will be one F-4 squadron left in Vietnam, and about 80 F-4 trained aircrews.  And one squadron only needs about 40 aircrews.  All the rest of the guys will just be knocking around, filling misc jobs until their time is up.  It is really very ridiculous!!!!  At least I’m getting out!

Photo - Lt. Kurt Wilbrecht, RIP

6 September 1970

Sunday night
6 September 1970

15 (?) MORE DAYS!!

Most everyone here thinks we’ll be in El Toro by the 22nd.  I sure hope so.

I got cookies today and they are the best ones yet!!  They got here in only six days so they are very fresh.

Since I’m a standby crewman from here to Hawaii, I can’t leave Chu Lai until all the planes have left.  I will fly if someone gets sick, etc.  I hope we can get all the planes out of here on the 10th, so I can leave also!!

We had steaks at the mess hall tonight  and I ate two.  They were so good.  Right now I’m stuffing myself with cookies!  Ha.

I flew for 4 hours today!  All at one time.  And my seat was numb, literally, when we got back. It was a test flight.  That’s not as long, however, as it’ll take to fly from Hawaii to El Toro.  That leg will take over 6 hours.  That’s a long time to sit still, not use bathroom, etc.  But it’s well worth it.

Photo - Lt. Mike Breeding.  RIP

4 September 1970

Friday night
4 September 1970
17 (?) MORE DAYS!

I got photos today and hope to get cookies in the next five days!

I did nothing today as it was my first full day in 314 and I, of course, don’t have a job or any responsibilities at all.  I’ve heard that we probably will not be given a job now, as there are none open.  That’s fine with me because I’ve become used to reading all day.

There was a terrific explosion just now and I just about jumped out of my chair.  Don’t know what it was.

I forget to write yesterday that I flew yesterday.  It was a great feeling, that it was my last combat mission.  Now all I have to worry about are rocket attacks for the next five days, and then the flight home.  As far as I know I’ll be flying to El Toro in a F-4, but I’m not sure.

Photo - Another look at the Vietnamese children we left behind.

3 September 1970

Thursday night
3 September 1970

I am now with VMFA-314!!  And I’m going with them to El Toro!!!  We are to leave Chu Lai on 10 September, leave Cubi Point on or about 15 September, and arrive in El Toro between 20 - 25 September.

Someone realized that VMFA-122 had to many people for the number of airplanes we have to fly to Hawaii.  So we had to transfer some people.  The C.O. asked for volunteers and I did.  I hope I’m not sorry!  Ha.

314 is almost all new guys who will have to come back to Vietnam after they get to El Toro.

I got a package of ripples and bean dip.

18 (?) More days.

Photo - Aircraft 00 of my new squadron, VMFA-314

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2 September 1970

Wednesday night
2 September 1970


I’m scheduled to fly tomorrow - so it’ll be (I hope) my last mission.  We’re having a big MAG-13 celebration because it is the last combat flying day for MAG-13!  Quite a momentous occasion.

Yesterday I got my “going home shots” - cholera and P.P.D.  Also was given 8 malaria pills to take back to the states.  It’s really hard to realize that time is growing short - even though I still have some time left on the 12 months.

This morning I shipped the foot locker - so all I have left here are the things I’ll take with me to Hawaii.  Everything else I’ll burn - i.e. green underwear, old towels, old socks, old shoes, etc.  I’m going to build a big bonfire on the last night and burn all that stuff.  Sort of a celebration of my own.

Tomorrow I must do some laundry.  I have to wash the underwear I’ll be taking with me.  And I hope it’s the last time I do my wash by hand.  Not that it’s all that bad - it’s just the idea!  Ha.

Despite the fact that both squadrons are leaving here in a week - there is still a good deal of confusion about who is going where.  Some guys are to fly planes to El Toro or Hawaii, then come back to Vietnam.  But no one knows just who.  A lot of the newer guys don’t know if they can arrange to meet their wives in El Toro, etc.  at least I know I’m going to Hawaii - for sure - at least.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

31 August 1970

Monday night
31 August 1970

48 MORE DAYS!  And August is over!!!

I got mail today.

I flew today - 191 missions - and 3 more days to go.

It just doesn’t seem possible that (barring any change) I’ll be leaving S. Vietnam for good in less than 2 weeks!!!  What a thing to look forward to - eh!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

30 August 1970

Sunday night
30 August 1970


No mail for two days.  I did get a box of bean dip and Fritos.  They were all in good condition thanks to good packing material.  I immediately sat down and ate one can of dip, by myself.

I’m on the all night duty right now.  I’m a very well paid telephone answerer!

I just now had to stop and rewrite part of tomorrow’s flight schedule.

Right now I’m reading a very good book, A Shade of Difference, by Allen Drury.  He also wrote Preserve and Protect, and Advise and Consent.  His books are very good reading about politics and politicians, and all their ways of doing or not doing things.  I really get worked up when I read his books.  If they are even half true, things are really a mess!

The show we were to have at the club tonight was cancelled, so I’m not missing a thing.  I’ll just read and sleep tonight.

Speaking of sleep.  I still have trouble getting to sleep at nights.  I just can’t seem to relax when I go to bed.  My mind keeps thinking about a million things.  When I finally do get to sleep, it’s so late that I then sleep late in the morning. 

Photo - Chapel and post office/PX at Chu Lai

Sunday, August 29, 2010

29 August 1970

Saturday night
29 August 1970

50 MORE DAYS!  Which is half as long as I was FAC.  So - I should be able to make it!!!

I didn’t get any mail today.

I flew again today - believe it or not.  And I’m scheduled to fly again tomorrow!  Our airplane situation is still the same, but they’re giving us a few more missions.  These missions are spaced through out the day so that we can use two airplanes for them all.

The movie tonight - “Bullitt” was broken up pretty bad, but it was still good to see it again.

Tomorrow night we are to have a floor show for our evening’s entertainment - but I have the all night ODO.  I may or may not get off to go to the floor show.  Our last two shows have been very good - I wonder if we can get three in a row!!

The other F-4 squadron here, VMFA - 314,  is also leaving Chu Lai - the same time we are.  Only it is going to El Toro - those lucky guys.  Apparently some big shots at 1st MAW said either fly us - or get us out - so they are getting us out.

Photo - Navy Corpsman treating a Vietnamese woman.  Taken while I was with the infantry.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

28 August 1970

Friday night
28 August 1970


I flew a CAS mission today, finally, and I now have a total of 188 missions.  The squadron is flying a little more now - but not much.

Our target today was a “known enemy location” - - - almost any given spot in South Vietnam could be called that!  So you see - it was another routine mission.  I no longer get any feeling of satisfaction from flying.  I suppose that’s why I gave up trying to get 200 missions.

It’s only been 3 weeks since R&R - but it seems like forever.  Time is really passing slowly now - because we’re all looking forward to leaving!!

The movie tonight was one I’d already seen - so -

Tomorrow night we’re supposed to see “Bullit” - I’m looking forward to that!

Photo - another pic from my days as a forward air controller.

Friday, August 27, 2010

27 August 1970

Thursday night
27 August 1970


Another day - another dollar - or so it goes!  My day of sleep and reading was “ruined” by a test hop I had to fly this afternoon.  I spent from noon on, waiting for them to get the plane ready and finally finished the hop at 1700.

We had Mexican food at the snack bar tonight - tostados - and they were delicious.  I ate five of them before I could quit!!

I’m scheduled to fly tomorrow.  It’ll be my first combat mission in four days.  The squadron now has seven more flying (combat) days.  After that we will be flying a lot of test and training hops.  We have to flight test every plane to see if they will all refuel airborne.  Also have to check cabin pressurization, automatic pilot system, etc, etc, etc.  All the things needed for high altitude, long distance flying.

We had another good movie tonight - “The Kremlin Letter”.  All the good movies, at least, are helping to keep people cheered up a little.

The P.X. had cokes for sale today, so John Haynes and I bought a case for my reefer.  Cokes are very hard to get in Chu Lai - so when they are available, we stock up.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

26 August 1970

Wednesday night
26 August 1970


I got two letters today. 

I haven’t flown for two days - and I’m not flying tomorrow.  We have 2 squadrons here at Chu Lai now - and both together are only flying 10 missions tomorrow.  Life here is twice as bad as when we were flying dangerous missions in LAOS.  This feeling of just wasting time is awful.   Both of these squadrons could leave Vietnam tomorrow and no one would even miss us.

I had ODO for 3 hours this morning - but I have absolutely nothing tomorrow.  So I suppose I’ll just read and sleep all day!  Sounds like a real rough life, eh?

We had grilled steaks for dinner this evening and they were just great.  I stuffed myself with two of them and was still hungry!

Last night John Haynes cooked up some refried beans and he, Lou de la Garza, Mike Franger and I ate them with crackers and sodas.  Lou had these beans in a can and all we had to do was heat them (in a popcorn popper).  We are all waiting eagerly for those Fritos and bean dip!!!!!

Photo - Lagoon at Chu Lai

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

25 August 1970

Tuesday night
25 August 1970


We had a very unfortunate occurrence in one of our squadrons recently.  A young Marine got a letter from his wife asking for a divorce.  He was so upset that he shot himself in the head - and died.

Right now I have to say - I have no chance of coming home early.  Looks as though they’ll make us finish our tours in Hawaii so we can help get the squadron reorganized there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

24 August 1970

Monday night
24 August 1970


I received a box of cookies and candy today.  They were carefully wrapped and are very fresh and delicious!

I went to Danang today with 115 and got back this afternoon about 1600.  122 is flying again tomorrow, but only two missions.  Since I can’t possibly get 200 missions now - I’m not flying tomorrow and letting some other guys fly who haven’t in awhile.

We ate at 1st MAW mess at lunch and had a very good meal.  It is reputedly one of the finest officer messes in Vietnam.  However it didn’t even begin to compare to good home cooking!!  I was wondering the other day what it’ll be like to eat home cooking again.

We had a very entertaining movie tonight.  “Horse in a Grey Flannel Suit” starred Dean Jones - one of those heart warming Walt Disney movies.  For the past week we’ve had some very good movies.  Perhaps they will continue.

Monday, August 23, 2010

23 August 1970

Sunday night
23 August 1970


I got three letters today. 

I left at 0815 for Cubi Point, Phillipines, and got there by 1000.  We went to the BOQ and  ate a very good brunch.  Then we went to the P.X. and did a little shopping.  I was looking for something specific but they didn’t have any.  Perhaps they will when I go back there on the way to Hawaii.  We left Cubi Point at 1300 and were in Chu Lai at 1445.  It’s not every day that I fly from one foreign country to another for lunch, then back again!

Tomorrow I’m going to fly with VMFA-115.  They are flying all their planes up to Danang and they don’t have as many RIOS as planes.  I’ll fly a regular mission, after which we’ll land at Danang and I’ll have to fly back to Chu Lai on a cargo plane.  At least I’ll get a combat mission for it.  I haven’t flown one for four days now.  And 122 isn’t flying again tomorrow. Looks like we may have quit flying earlier than we planned!!

Would you believe that because of a cut back in missions given to the 1st MAW, (we get our missions from the Air Force) the whole wing is flying less missions in one day than 122 used to fly alone in one day!!!!!  Between 40 and 50 missions.  This war is just about over for the Marines.  There can be only one reason for this drastic cut back in flying - the Air Force is getting ready for when there will be no Marines in Vietnam.  And that may not be to far away.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

22 August 1970

Saturday night
22 August 1970


I didn’t fly today - so I’ll just give up on trying to get 200 missions.  It’s impossible now.  In fact, the squadron didn’t fly a single mission today, and is not scheduled to fly any tomorrow!!!!!  That is how bad our airplane situation is.  The whole business is very frustrating and morale in the squadron is at it’s lowest ebb in some time.  Although we know we’re leaving soon, everyone is really depressed.

We’re “supposed” to have one plane up tomorrow, and I’ll be flying to Cubi Point, Philippines in that one plane.  We have to take some parts over there for one of our planes which is stuck in Cubi Point.  That plane is supposed to go to PAR (Rework facility) in Japan.  But it’s been down for weeks.  My trip over and back will take only a few hours, as it takes less than two hours to fly it one way.  However, if the plane I’m in goes down in Cubi Point, I might get to stay over night, or even a few days.  (Which I wouldn’t mind!!!)

We didn’t get any mail today as the mail plane didn’t get in until late tonight, so the mail will be delivered to the squadrons tomorrow morning.  All the squadrons work 24 hours a day - but the postal clerks don’t work at night!

We had a good movie tonight - “Where Eagles Dare” starred Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.  It was one of those very exciting WWII movies which keeps you on the very edge of your seat at all times.

Since this is Saturday, we were supposed to have steaks tonight - but no - we had a “special” meal last night (not steaks) in honor of VMFA-115 which moved to Danang today.  Since I was all fired up for steaks, I went to the club and bought a steak there.  It was very good!  It’s the first steak I’ve had since R&R!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

21 August 1970

Friday night.
21 August 1970


I didn’t get to fly today - because of no airplanes!!!! And no TPQ’S tonight.  We’re supposed to leave Chu Lai about the 12th of Sept - flying 10 airplanes.  This morning we had two airplanes up and one of them went down before take off.  So I don’t see how we’ll ever get 10 planes ready to fly to Hawaii.  And I don’t know if I want to fly that far in any of our planes!  Ha.

I really don’t have much to write tonight because I just didn’t do anything today.  With no flying, life is very boring over here.  Although I now have about six jobs in the squadron, none of them require that I do anything - except at the first of the month.  So I just read a lot!  I figure that I’ve probably read between 75 and 100 books since I’ve been here.  Of course most of them have been typical paperback novels, the kind you can sit down and read in just a few hours.  If nothing else - I’ll bet I’ve improved my reading rate.

Photo - view of Chu Lai Officers Club from front of my house.

Friday, August 20, 2010

20 August 1970

Thursday night
20 August 1970


Today has been so uneventful, that I’ll be lucky to fill this page!!  My barcap tonight was canceled because we didn’t have enough airplanes (3) for it!!  So instead I have a midnight TPQ - seems like I’m becoming a night owl with all the night flying I’m doing these days.
I didn’t get any mail today so should get more mail tomorrow.

I did pack up some things today and get them mailed.  I mailed out my tape recorder, some of my cassettes and a box of clothing and uniforms.  I will probably mail some more things later, after I find out exactly how much stuff I’ll be taking to Hawaii.

It’s official now - only people with November RTD’S or earlier are going with us to Hawaii.  This has really been a blow to a lot of people who were making plans to have wives come to Hawaii.  Since we’re having so few people go to Hawaii, we probably won’t do a whole lot of flying after we get there.  We’ll probably spend the time I’m there getting reorganized and adjusting to our new mission (whatever that’l be?).

I have two hours ‘til my brief - so I’ll spend that time reading.

Photo - inside 707 on the way to R and R.  Noticed the overhead bins. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

19 August 1970

Wednesday night
19 August 1970


Actually it is now 1230 am Thursday morning.  I just got back from a TPQ, which was a fiasco!!  We flew 100 miles up the coast, nearly to the DMZ and when we got there the controlling people on the ground said they couldn’t work us.  So we turned around and flew all the way back to Chu Lai and dropped our bombs west of Chu Lai.  Well, something was wrong with our ordnance jettisoning system, so we only dropped 3 bombs on the target!  And we were carrying 12 bombs.  So we really wasted the whole mission - but I still get a combat mission for it.  I also flew a CAS mission this afternoon and destroyed five bunkers.  So I now have 185 missions.

I got a letter today which I wasn’t expecting!  Since I got mail yesterday, I figured I’d get mail tomorrow!  Ha.

One thing I’m looking forward to when I get home is good char coaled hamburgers and steaks!

I weighed today - and I’m about 158 pounds!  I was really surprised because I seem to be eating more and have a larger appetite.  That must be because of the few exercises I do.  I do 30 pushups each morning and each night plus some other exercises.

I don’t have anything tomorrow until 1815 when I have a brief for a night BARCAP.  So - I’ll get to sleep most of the day to make up for this sleep I’m losing right now.  If I go to bed right now I might get to sleep in an hour - but I doubt it.  I wonder more and more if I might be getting insomnia!  I sleep so poorly when I do get to sleep that I don’t really get any rest.

Photo - on the grounds of a historic building in Honolulu, while on R and R

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

18 August 1970

Tuesday night
18 August 1970


I did, indeed, get two letters today!  So I’m busting with pride!

I haven’t flown for two days now!  During that time, I’ve had four missions cancelled either because of the weather or because we didn’t have the planes.  Things are really grim, flying wise.  I suppose I like to fly more than any other RIO in the squadron, because most of the others could care less if we don’t fly much.

The bad weather continues to plague us.  We had a severe rainstorm this afternoon which poured several inches.  I like rain, but in it’s proper place and time!

The squadron only has 15 more flying days - and 22 days until we’re to leave Chu Lai.  I asked about how our mail will be handled, and I was told to just continue to have the mail sent here.  When we leave Chu Lai, our mail will automatically be sent to Hawaii from San Francisco.

I have to do a few exercises now - to keep me trim and slim.  Ha.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

17 August 1970

Monday night
17 August 1970


No mail today - so I’ll be getting two letters tomorrow, I hope.

We’ve really had an abrupt change of weather here at Chu Lai.  We’ve had rain for the first time in months.  We’re getting close to monsoon season, and I guess this is just the first of it.  Rained all last night and this morning, and has been cloudy all day.  I hope the real monsoons will hold off until after we leave Chu Lai.

My scheduled hop today was canceled because of the weather.  Bad weather is also going to affect our flying from now to the end.  However I talked myself into a TPQ tonight at midnight, so that will make up for the hop I missed today.

I’m afraid my diet went right out the window at dinner tonight.  We had delicious roast beef and gravy, which I can’t turn down - and very good rolls - which we don’t get often.  I managed to refrain from potatoes, milk and dessert.  However - we had strawberry shortcake at lunch.  Shame on me!!  I guess I’ll have to make up for it by eating only 2 meals tomorrow!  Ha.

This is one of those “no news days” so I’ll close.

Photo - Stewardess in the galley of the aircraft on the way to R and R. (yep, that's what we called them back then)

Monday, August 16, 2010

16 August 1970

Sunday night
16 August 1970


Time is ticking by, slowly but surely!  One week has passed since I started the countdown. 
I saw a very good movie tonight - the book which I read in the hospital.

My day was as usual - flew one mission - and had ODO for 3 hours - and read some - and will read some more when I go to bed.

Photo - Continental Airlines 707 that flew me to R and R.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

15 August 1970

Saturday night
15 August 1970


Tonight we had the best floor show we’ve had since I’ve been here!  It was a real fine group with lots of original material and a very good female singer.

After I finished writing last night, I flew two TPQ missions - one at 2130 and one at 0100.  I had the operations clerk come and stand the phone watch so I could fly them.  Then I had another mission at 0730 this morning. So, I flew a lot and slept little during the night.  So after my hop this morning, I went to bed and slept right through lunch ‘til 1630!  Then I got up and went to dinner.  Because I got those two TPQs, I’ll probably get my 200 missions.  However, if I could leave right now for home, I would gladly!!  But I have to stay here for a little while yet and the only “goal” I have is getting 200 missions.

I didn’t fly with the skipper today - and he told me tonight that I had “left him in a lurch” - if you know what that means.  He said the RIO who flew with him was bad - and that kind of help he didn’t need.  Ha.  You see - the skipper is not the best pilot in the world, and he makes a lot of mistakes.  Here I am being critical - when I should be positive!  Seems I shall never change for the good.

Photo - while on R and R, went to visit the Arizona Memorial.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

14 August 1970

Friday night
14 August 1970


And - I have less than 1 month left in Vietnam!

I have the all night ODO right now and I just finished writing the flight schedule for tomorrow. I scheduled myself for two missions tomorrow - and I’m wondering who will be the first to complain!

I flew one mission today, which turned out to be a bad one!  It was this afternoon and the weather was so bad in the target area that we couldn’t work the target - so we had to TPQ.  About the middle of the afternoon severe thunderstorms built up about 1- 15 miles inland - over the mountains.  It just happens that all the enemy are in those mountains so that’s where most of our good targets are.

There was a change of word today on who is going to Hawaii with the squadron.  It didn’t effect me, but several other guys aren’t very happy.  Glenn Monesmith – is due to go home in December - so he was to go back to Hawaii with 122.  However the criteria has changed and people with December RTD’s will have to stay in Vietnam with one of the other squadrons.  That’s really a blow to the guys effected - because everyone is really looking forward to leaving!

Since I’ve been back from Hawaii - my will power to diet seems to be slipping away!   I manage to control myself most of the time - but it’s hard.  I’m afraid I’m putting on a little weight because I can’t play handball everyday for exercise.  My ankle still hurts if I do anything vigorous.  It’s the same foot I hurt in Pensacola, and this injury was much the same as that one in Pensacola.

Photo - another picture from the Luau 

Friday, August 13, 2010

13 August 1970

13 August 1970


This will be brief - - because I’m beat and have to get some sleep before my 1030 brief.

I got very little sleep during the night because of my “duties” as the defense platoon commander.  I had to check our bunkers on the perimeter twice during the night to insure that the men were awake and alert.  The Marines man 15 bunkers on the southern sector of the Chu Lai perimeter.  These bunkers are spread out so far that I had to drive from one to the next in a truck.  This procedure took about 1 ½ - 2 hours each time.

I flew one mission yesterday.  It was a LZ prep mission.  We dropped 1,000 pound bombs on a hill to blow away the trees so helicopters could land there with troops.

Thursday night

I flew one mission today.  Our target was a suspected enemy base camp.  The targets we get these days are so bad we just seem to be wasting time and money dropping bombs on them!  We're just marking time until we leave.  We have so few airplanes now, that we can only fly about 6-8 missions per day - we used to fly 25 - 30 missions per day.  So you see how much we’ve cut back.  If the flying doesn’t get better I won’t get my 200 missions.  I need 22 missions, and we only have 20 flying days left.

We had a water survival exercise this afternoon at the beach.  The purpose of this was to train us for being picked out of the water by a cable lowered from a helicopter.  Before I got my turn, the hoist that raises the cable, broke, so we couldn’t finish the exercise.

It’s really amazing how much warmer the ocean is here than at Hawaii.  It’s probably at least 10 degrees hotter.

The movie tonight was another of those mediocre offerings we get here so often - so I shall read awhile and retire early.  I’m still pretty tired from that duty (and lack of sleep) last night.

Photo - at Luau while on R and R.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

11 August 1970

Tuesday night
11 August 1970

68 Days Left!

I flew two missions today, including one tonight - and still got to see the floor show (such as it was).  My mission tonight was a BARCAP off the coast of North Vietnam.  Just flying back and forth to keep the Migs from attacking our 7th fleet (fat chance).  Anyway, after we took off, my radar went bad - so the spare airplane (Russ Fyke) had to take off and replace us.  So I got back in time for the show.  Russ really wanted to go to the show and I didn’t really care one way or the other.  I only need 24 more missions.

Tomorrow night I have all-night defense platoon duty.  Means I have to stay up all night checking our defense positions - making sure all the men are awake, alert, etc.  not very exciting - and very tiring - so I hear.  I’ve never had this duty before.  Then the next night I have all night ODO.  I don’t mind these duties to much, for they help pass the time.

I spent 30 minutes in the sun today.  I figure just a little bit each day will be good.  The sun is so hot here that I can’t stand to stay out much longer than 30 minutes.

I would like very much some bean dip and Doritos or Fritos!!!  I prefer several small cans instead of the large cans.  It’s hard to keep left-over bean dip fresh.

Photo - Enjoyed the surf of Oahu on R and R.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

10 August 1970

Monday night
10 August 1970

Only 69 days!!

Today was a good one ( if there is such a thing here)!  I got two hops which pleased me much.  I should get three missions tomorrow, so I’ll probably be able to get my 200 missions.  (If I don’t get sick)

The movie tonight was no good, so I’ll go to bed early tonight.  I’m flying late tomorrow night, so I’ll “catch up” on the sleep tonight!  Ha.

We’re having a floor show tomorrow night, but I’ll be flying at the time.  I scheduled myself for that mission, because I figured the floor show would probably be as bad as usual!  Seems like the longer I’m here, the worse the floor shows are.  Most of the bands that perform play the same, with very little originality.

I remembered today that I hadn’t collected my per diem pay for that trip to Udorn - so I went over to disbursing and got paid $23.00!  I wish I could get more good deals like that!  Of course the $23.00 didn’t come near paying for that trip - but it helps.

Photo - hanging out at poolside during R and R.

Monday, August 9, 2010

9 August 1970

9 August 1970

I’m sitting in the airport at Danang waiting for my flight to Chu Lai.  I had to spend last night here in Danang.  After getting back to Danang it seemed unbelievable that I had just spent a week in Hawaii!  It seemed like a pleasant dream, and I was just waking up!! 

I didn’t realize how much I liked the new clothes I bought in Hawaii, until I got back here and had to put on my awful jungle utilities.  Man what a change.  I’ll be glad when I can wear fashionable clothes all the time and never have to wear a uniform.

I’m anxious to get back to Chu Lai because I have a monthly report due tomorrow and I just know no one’s started it!  I suppose that’s my negative attitude!  Ha.  Also I’m eager to learn if there has been any change of plans about going to Hawaii in September.

It’s just to much to hope that the Marine Corps would let me go home in September instead of staying in Hawaii for that last month, but I’m still hoping.

Sunday night

I got to Chu Lai at noon today.  And there was no new word about our leaving Vietnam.  Still the same plans.

I had one letter here, and it had been in that plane crash!!!!  It’s been wet, and the ink is all smeared - but I could still read it.  The envelope is all messed up and had come open, of course, but it had been sealed back with a special seal and has a stamp on it saying damaged in aircraft accident on 27 Jul 70.  I’m going to keep this letter as a souvenir - because it’s not everyday I get a letter that’s been in a plane crash.

The squadron is flying very little now - so I may not be able to get 200 missions.  It won’t be the end of the world if I don’t - but it would be nice.  Since we’re going back to Hawaii, we’re giving our good planes to the other squadrons in exchange for their bad planes.  Kind of encouraging that we’ll be flying the worst planes in Vietnam all the way to Hawaii!!!

Just as I thought - that report that is due tomorrow - was far from ready!  So I had to work on that this afternoon.  I also wrote the flight schedule for tomorrow - and still had time to go to the movie tonight (Midnight Cowboy).  It was a weird movie - but very good all the same.

Only 70 days until I get to go home!!  Maybe less...(I hope).  I just hope these ten weeks don’t pass as slowly as did the ten at platoon leaders class.

Photo - Poolside at the Ilikai Hotel, Oahu, Hawaii

Monday, July 26, 2010

26 July 1970

26 July 1970

I’m on the all night hot pad tonight - and we got scrambled after dark - which is very unusual.  We dropped bombs and napalm, after dark, on a place where enemy had been sighted just before dark.  So I got two hops today.

Tomorrow I’ve got to get my shots for R&R.  I think I’ll probably have to get a couple of shots and a PPD (T.B. test).  Needless to say I’m not looking forward to these shots.  I’ve become so neurotic about shots that every time I get a shot, I break out in a cold sweat and feel like I’m going to pass out.  Bad, eh!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

25 July 1970

25 July 1970

Today has been so long and tiring, that I’m more tired than I’ve been in a long time!!  I was woken up this morning at 0130 for a TPQ.  Then I had the morning hot pad and was scrambled two times.  Then I had ODO this afternoon, and then I had to write the schedule after dinner.  So - I’m pooped.  And I have to get up at 0500 tomorrow to go back on the hot pad.

I didn’t get any mail today, but I got three letters yesterday.

We had a very good dinner tonight.  Saturday is normally the night we have steak - but tonight they served “steamboat round.”  Very good roast beef.  One of our squadrons is leaving tomorrow for Danang so the group was having sort of a farewell party.  The squadron that is moving is an A-4 squadron and no one from the F-4 squadrons really care that they’re leaving.  Ha.

One week from today will be in Hawaii!!!  I can hardly sleep at night for thinking about R&R.  I just don’t know how I ever managed to put it off this long.  Now I know how people feel when they’re all pepped up for R&R and it gets put off for some reason.  If something happened now to cancel R&R I think I might go crazy!  I’m almost counting the hours!!!               

Saturday, July 24, 2010

24 July 1970

24 July 1970

Today I got 3 letters and some pictures.  I haven’t received any kind of confirmation, yet, on hotel reservations.  Perhaps I will soon.

Regardless of that, I probably won’t be able to get the reservations extended to cover the 31st of July at this late date.  But that is not problem!

I flew only once today - and that mission was to that fire support base I wrote about yesterday.  Only this time, there were no Americans there - they had all been pulled out and our target was the base itself.  Apparently the army had evacuated in a hurry and had left some supplies behind and they wanted us to destroy those supplies.  I suppose you could call that operation a small victory for the enemy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

23 July 1970

23 July 1970

Nine days from now will be in Hawaii!  That’s a week from Sunday.  It’s really hard to believe that after such a long time, it’s just a few days from now!

I got another can of cookies today.  I sure do appreciate it.

I was on the hot pad this morning, and got scrambled twice.  Both times we went to the same place.  The army has a fire support base that is surrounded and in a lot trouble - so they’ve been running air strikes constantly.  I flew a mission there yesterday and the two today.  I’ve developed sort of a personal interest in that place by now.  Most of the people in our squadron have flown in support of that base and everyone is talking about it.

I’m reading a very good book right now - The Fixer.  I saw the movie some time ago.  The book won the Pulitzer Prize and is quite good.

Marv Stacy from 513 checked in here today.  Even while we’re planning to pull troops out of Vietnam, they’re still sending new people over.  It’s so ridiculous I can’t even believe it!!  Of course that’s the way it was when I came over.  Sure looks like this mess could last another few years, at the present rate. 

I went to the movie tonight for the first time since before I got sick.  It was “Gaily, Gaily” - and was very entertaining.  We had the usual trouble with the projector - or rather the projectionist!  After 9 months of this type movie going, it’ll sure be great to go to a decent movie house.  Perhaps will do that one evening while in Hawaii.

There are many things I really miss - driving, good hamburgers, bottled cokes and Dr. Peppers, malts, etc, etc, etc,.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

21 July 1970

21 July 1970

I have the all night ODO tonight, so I’m just relaxing and reading a good book.  There is nothing for me to do tonight except answer the phone.  You see, we have no missions at night anymore, unless we’re on the hot pad.  We used to fly at night all the time, back in December - Feb but that’s when we were bombing in Laos.

We go on the hot pad tomorrow, so the next 5 days will be bad - as always when we have the pad.

I’m feeling remarkably well, despite the 5 days I was sick.  I don’t even feel weak.  I didn’t eat much during those days, so I lost some weight, but I didn’t have any G.I. tract problems, so I wasn’t weakened as normal from sickness.

I now weigh a trim 160 pounds.  I’m unable to shed those love handles, however, - I guess they’re just to firmly attached to my waist.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20 July 1970

20 July 1970

I’m out of the hospital!  I was discharged this morning, early.  My temperature had been down to normal all night, so I guess the doctor figured it was a good time to get me out of his hair!  Ha.

They never did figure out what was wrong with me, and they did absolutely nothing to cure my illness. I just got well by myself.  So, you see, I could have just stayed in my quarters for those three days and just sweat it out.

Of course - if it had been malaria - well! 

Life over here is just hour by hour because you never know what’ll happen to upset your plans.  Just like my getting sick almost upset R&R - and I could get sick again, I hope not!

I’m not flying tomorrow because I want to make sure I’m well.  Instead, I’ll stand ODO, and just rest some more, and then start flying the next day.   Although I’m unhappy with the war, I do see the reason we’re here.  I just don’t agree with the way it’s being fought.

Sounds as if you really enjoyed your trip to Oklahoma and you sure got to see a lot of people.  I suppose we will go up through there on our way to Cherry Point.  I suppose you’ve already figured out by now that my squadron was not the one which went to Japan.  That squadron was a reconnaissance squadron with special F-4’s and A-6’s.

Monday, July 19, 2010

19 July 1970

19 July 1970

I’m going into my third night in the hospital - and my “friends” at the squadron haven’t been over since the first day - so I haven’t had any mail for 3 days.  I also haven’t had a chance to do anything about the R&R orders.

My doctor told me today that if my temperature continues to stay down, he’ll probably discharge me tomorrow.  I think he’s finally decided I don’t have malaria, but he doesn’t know what I do have.  My temperature hovers between 99 and 100.  Actually, I’d be relieved if they would find I have malaria and then we could get on with curing it.  I suppose he’ll give me some antibiotic to try to take care of what I have.

Actually, malaria is not that serious a disease, as I see it, and I would have a good excuse for not ever giving blood.  Ha.  At any rate, I hope I’m out of this place by tomorrow night.

Things haven’t been so bad since they stopped taking blood samples.  I haven’t been “stuck” since yesterday morning. 

All I think about is R&R!!!  I was scared silly when I got sick fearing that I wouldn’t get well in time.  Although I’m not “well” yet, things look much brighter than a few days ago!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

18 July 1970

18 July 1970

I have before me my R&R orders.  The only thing they are lacking is my C.O.’s signature.  I hope to get this taken care of tomorrow.

I’m in the hospital right now, so I’m not getting around to freely! Ha.  Right now they think I might have malaria.  Back to the beginning.

The day after I sprained my ankle, I began running a high fever and having cold chills and a bad headache.  After two days of that, I went to the doctor (yesterday) and he couldn’t find out what was causing it.  So he sent me over to the U.S. Army’s 27th Surgical Hospital here at Chu Lai, and they immediately admitted me as a FUO (fever unknown origin).  For the first 24 hours they took blood samples every FOUR hours - and you know how I am about needles.

Well, my fever is staying down now, I have virtually no cold chills, and my headache is gone.  In fact I feel well enough to leave.  But, the doctor is to stubborn.  He wants to watch me some more.  So I’m about to spend my second night here.  At least the blood tests have stopped (unless my temp gets out of hand again).  The ward is air conditioned and is kept quite cool as practically everyone in here has malaria and are running high fevers.

This should not effect my R&R.  Even if I do have malaria, it can be cured in 5 - 10 days easy. 

They are taking my temperature right now.

Someone from the squadron should be over tonight to bring my mail, and I’ll have them see that the R&R orders get mailed off right away.

Well my temp was 100.2.  It’s really frustrating that we don’t know what’s causing it.  There are so many types of fever over here, and new ones turn up all the time.  I hope this isn’t one!  Ha.

Photo - Officers shower/toilet facility.

Friday, July 16, 2010

16 July 1970

16 July 1970

I didn’t write anything last night because I was really feeling bad from my ankle which I badly sprained while playing handball.

I got two cans of cookies today!

I can’t think of a thing to write!  I haven’t flown for two days, and haven’t done anything else that matters.

I still haven’t got my R&R orders.  They are sent down from Group, and aren’t ready yet.

I got a check today for $1000.  I’m going to open a checking account at the American Express Bank we have here at Chu Lai.  As much as I hate that company, that’ll be the best way to have the money for R&R.

Photos - Udorn, Thailand