Rising sun, flawless sky, and barren sand highlight our dorm--uh, barracks--at Biggs Field one 1970 morning. Photo from Dan Hanket
Sixteen or seventeen of us (plus Marquard, who took
pic) and a couple of native speakers at DLISW, 1970...
l-r: Esala, Collet, Mittlestaedt, Underwood, Divis, Allen, Deveney, Montiel, Shannon, Iwanusko, Gorman, Ongknown,
unknown (one of those listed as absent below?), Johnson, Strauss, Ba Unknown, Smith, Romero, Gwin;
absent: Alleruzzo, Campbell, Elliot, Hanket, Pergolino, Powers. Photo from Ken Marquard
At Ba Trong's party, Dec 1970 (l-r): Ron LeGrand (from Cape Girardeau, MO, a handball/running buddy of Hanket's from another language class), Gwin, Allen, Iwanuszko, Mittelstaedt Photo from Dan Hanket
The menses with the lenses?
The putters with the shutters?
The goofs with the proofs?
The blinks with the blanks?
Don't worry, America, your security is in their hands...
Photos from John Campbell
left to right, fr. top: Alleruzzo and Marquard at Long Binh; Ken and Jan, then and now; Miss America (1970? 71?) visited Paul and Ken...Photos from Ken Marquard
Some of us lived here. The Stackhouse BEQ, home to "Company A, 519th Support Battalion," was a hotel the army rented located one block off of Nguyen Van Thuay Blvd. (not sure I spelled that right) between Tan Son Nhut airport and Cho Lon (Chinatown) on the backside of Sai Gon. Walking out the gate in the foreground of the picture to the street (a short block behind and to the left of the photographer) to catch a ride to work, one stepped around mud puddles the size of small swimming pools, half-naked street urchins relieving themselves or cooking crickets over little open fires, and other reminders that surviving war is filthy and poverty-stricken at best. I suppose that's why, more often than not, we rode to work in the company bus and were glad for the lift.
At the little bar and grill--the gabled addition visible on the fourth floor--one could order a rib-eye steak for ninety-nine cents and watch the army's tv station at the bar. But walking out onto the rooftop, we could see the cardboard homes of literally millions of refugees stretching as far as the eye could see, disappearing into the smoggy horizon to the west behind the hotel. Or we could walk to the parapet and look down into the narrow passageways that formed the "streets" between the closest of those homes and count the huge rats that infested and proliferated throughout that makeshift city.
Military intelligence? Yes, there were several hundred, perhaps, of us living there, under the guise of being a "support battalion." But some intelligent fool decided that we ought to have a publicly-announced QRF drill--or fire drill, or whatever it was--from time to time. On those occasions, a loud siren was sounded throughout the BEQ that one could no doubt hear for blocks away, and we would dutifully climb out of our racks and head out into the parking lot in the front of the hotel behind that little guard shack with sandbags around it there in the foreground. All the VC had to do was secure a third-floor room in that little hotel-like building in the background, stockpile several grenades in a box under the bed, keep the room occupied by one person 24 hours a day, and wait for that siren to wake him up. When everyone was standing out in the yard, he could just start lobbing grenades at us and wipe out half the MI personnel in the city with one swell foop. By the grace of God, that never happened. But we visualized it as often as we heard that stupid siren.
Late in the year--perhaps that someone finally figured out just how vulnerable we really were--we were reassigned to new housing in the billets at MACV (say Mack-Vee) Headquarters next to Tan Son Nhut. There we finished our tours amid the PX, an olympic-sized pool, and all the comforts of home--including a visit from Bob Hope!Photos from John Campbell
left: Maynard G(win) Krebs, 1972: So, how wild and hairy did it get after 'Nam, Grandpa?
right: Waiting for hours for Bob Hope at Long Binh, Christmas 1971--thankfully, someone had brought a frisbee...Photos from John Gwin
Campbell, Hanket, and Marquard
Collet , Al
top, L-R: Montiel, Hanket, and Iwanuszko at a mini-reunion they
had in May 2004; bottom, L-R: M, I, H, Old Blue and Gold
Hey, this Ivan fellow gets around, phai khong?
He has been visiting in Oklahoma and drove up for a nice visit.
We ate some pizza and had a few laughs. He had his son Lex with him.
Attached is a pic of the three of us. You figure out who is who. And don't laugh until you look in the mirror!!!
Starting to get serious about where and when.
Here are three more taken in El Paso that Campbell found in a stack of stuff--l-r: Alleruzzo and baby, Smith, Montiel.
And here's Esala and a friend just south of DaNang.