Eighth Aerial Port Squadron, USAF in Vietnam
Eddie Mitchell's Photos (& Story) of Vietnam
Tan Son Nhut, Song Be, Can Tho, 8th MOB
April 1969-70 & February 1971-72
(some photos shown below were taken by Chris Hartley)
I arrived at 8th APS TSN April
7,1969 from McChord AB w/ a little stopover at Hamilton AB for
training. In the 1st pic. a friend of mine had a new camera and got me
coming from shower so I tried to look cool. The 2nd pic. was taken in
April by the same friend at a gun emplacement in down town Saigon. The
3rd pic. shows a C-130 (mortar magnet) that was on receiving end of
something nasty. I don't know when this happen (I took the pics. of this
& truck after they were hit). The equalizer on K Loader was being
shipped in country The barracks in pics. are across from Terminal.
(jump to photos)
Eddie's Story of Vietnam:
My name is William "Eddie" Mitchell. I live in JOHNSON CITY, TEXAS.
My 1st tour w/ the 8th AERIAL PORT SQUADRON was at Tan Son Nhut from
April 1969-1970. My 2nd tour was Feb. 1971-1972 w/ Dets.,OLAY's, Ols
& MOB when needed. This was the best time in my 4 years in the AIR
FORCE because of the people. We did have some times that I definitely
want to forget but I think more on the good ones.
I must have looked like a deer in headlights the 1st time I went out
w/you guys but there seemed to be someone to crack a joke to relax me. I
may not remember their names now but their no less important to me
& I want to send out major thank you to them. I was sent to BINH
THUY in Feb. 1971. By Aug. most of the 8th APS 605's had been relocated
because the air freight operation run by us was closing down. I was a
SSGT. by this time & was asked to stay for this transition. That was
a real kodac or FUBAR moment or a cluster,.(just pick one)
If I remember correctly their were 4 of us that stayed until that Oct..
The 2 pax guys went to VUNG TAU at that time but I'm not sure about the
other 605. I drove down the road to CAN THO. MSGT.MOORE came in on a
C123 one day w/the mail. I met the A/C like I was supposed to. After
unloading it he said that I was driving too fast. I didn't think too
much about it (I only had a little over a month left) The next thing I
know I'm leaving CAN THO.
I'm pretty sure there were other reasons because things were moving
mighty fast by then. Personnel were moving out, base closings, they
could even forget about you, it was starting to get a little crazy. I
don't believe I ever saw more people passing the buck than during that
time. I went back to TSN w/MSGT. MOORE & sent w/MOB a few times. I'm
sorry to say I only remember bits & pieces of those trips.
I vaguely recall some pallet recoveries because I learned some strange
& interesting ways that pallets could be used for other than what
they were intended. You could certainly make new friends when you were
sent to get them from the ARMY (I'm sure this was another benefit for
being the new guy).
I remember once walking into the MOB office & nobody being there.
This was Feb.2,1972 & the only reason I remember this date was
because my discharge was Feb.4. MSGT.MOORE came in w/the guy that was
usually in the office & he sent me & him to LOC NIN for (you
guessed it) another pallet recovery
I had to retire from the TEXAS HIGHWAY DEPT. on disability in APRIL 1997
because of a nervous disorder (terrible motor skills, numbness in hands
& feet, crawly legs, trembling, slurred speech, loss of
equilibrium, PTSD & a host of other things).
We did a job during a very, very unpopular WAR (they can call it what
they want ). You could be exposed to AGENT ORANGE because of the
outstanding garden spots that we got to go to. Contracting Prostrate
Cancer is also a strong possibility for guys who served in this unit, so
(webmaster's note: The annual PSA blood test is quick and painless and may save your life - as it did mine...)
I'd sure like to have long talk w/my recruiter; "Rear Echelon", my butt
& that so called M16 training the USAF gave us was a joke. Working
with this unit could definitely be rough on one's health & I only
did this when needed. I'm not afraid to say it. I was scared & there
were people that did this all the time. I may not have gone on many
missions but I'm proud of the ones I did. I know what those/(you) guys
The military spends years making you do it the their way (you feel like a
robot) & when your discharged your expected to forget every thing
& just take up where you left off. I could understand not being
liked by VIETNAM but I wasn't ready for the greeting I got from my own
country. Sorry for rambling, (just venting).
I learned thru this website that I could possibly get compensation from
the V.A. & have since put in for it. It didn't take me long to
figure out that I was in way over my head in dealing w/the V.A. They
have already made up their mind as soon as you say USAF. & VIETNAM,
They will not even listen.(not all are this way, some want to help) but
it sure gets frustrating. STEVE CARLSON knows the information needed.
THANK YOU STEVE for your help.
I'll get off my soapbox now.