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CAN THO, 1971-72
as the war wound down....
Historical Record - by Sgt. Cary Louderback
- Forum Posting from Cary Louderback about changes at Can Tho Army Airfield (and 8th Aerialport Detachment) as the Army left the field, traffic slowed and rations and support became an issue in 1971-72.
8th MOB patch
photo by daughter
Mike Warren's post #114 made me think of Can Tho. I spent most of my
last few months at Can Tho. I can't remember the details for sure, but
I'm sure it was an Army installation. I think the official name was Can
Tho Army Airfield. I think the Army unit there was 1st Air Cav...??
The USAF presence was limited to the 8th APS Mobility OL "OLAY". There were 7 of us total. TSgt. Miller, SSgt. Chamulak, Sgt then SSgt. Hamilton, 3 each E3/E4s and me, E3 made E4 in my last month. I never saw anyone higher rank than TSgt. Miller. And, as him and then, one after another, the E5s left, guess what was left at OLAY. 3-4 young Buck Sgt E4s. When I DEROS'ed, there were 3 E4s remaining.
Work wise the diminishing workforce wasn't any problem. We worked ration birds there. Received 1-2 C130s for offload of rations, a little of that went to the Can Tho "facilities", a little more "lubricated" our tradings with the Army guys and the rest got repalletized for loading onto C123s for distribution around the Delta. As I've said before, the US troop presence was disappearing quickly during my tour. During the few months at Can Tho, the Army unit disappeared, practically overnight and without warning. The C130s bringing in loads of rations dwindled very quickly to only a C123 (with a dink crew) every now & then with almost nothing worth having on board.
A couple weeks after the Army was gone, somebody musta realized the wasn't much need for rations at Can Tho, cause the supplies nearly shut down. We still got in fuel for our AT, Jeep & truck just like always....made no sense. But, who the hell ya gonna ask when everybody is turning out the lights and going home as if the fucking war is over and as if there's no one left in places like the Delta? Plus, being lowly E4s, who the hell would listen anyway?
Being a much later arrival than most who post here, I know I cannot imagine what things were like for you guys, especially in the years like 65-69. I have no doubt you guys had a LOT of really rough times. But, one thing about my time that I think was probably different was this. I don't think you guys had to deal with being practically abandoned, did you? During my tour all I had to do was pretty much look around me and I could easily see who and what was there with me and who was there to be counted on. Not in the first 6 months in Line Loading, but pretty quickly after I went into Mobility. Don't get me wrong. I KNEW I could count on Mob guys and I believe they knew they could count on me. It's just that there wasn't much of anyone else.
Willie....I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about. If I
remember correctly, you went out on a mission or to hookup with some
others in the field and when you came back to TSN, wasn't practically
everyone with the 8th/ Mobility GONE ?? Sorry guys. It all just flooded
back in. Sorry for rambling on.........
note the following post:
2011-01-23 12:08: Hey Cary...you go right ahead and ramble, buddy! When the shit starts flooding back into your memory like that, it's good for you...and for all of us...to just go ahead and put it all down here in what is probably the only place in the world where those who read it will know exactly what you're talking about...and appreciate it. I always look forward to your posts, Cary...you just keep them coming, okay? - Buzz