Some information on myself. I was born 1/27/36 grew up around Bunkie Louisiana.
Married a lady from Uvalde Texas in 1953. After stay in Uvalde I enlisted in
the Air Force in January 1954. After my routine training, my assignments before
Vietnam were Barksdale AFB, Athens Greece, Carswell AFB, France, Galena Air Station
Alaska, Charleston AFB, SC, Turkey, McChord AFB, and then Vietnam, and twice at Kelly AFB.
All of my tours were as an air freighter. I retired at Kelly AFB in 1974.
I don't remember who took the photos below, but I'm glad to have them.
I arrived at TSN Vietnam during August of 1968 and volunteered to go to Song Be
in November. I boarded a C-130 and headed north. On arrival at Song Be, I was met by SSgt Cummings. On the way to the Detachment office he gave me a quick briefing on what to do. Being a air freighter in the Air Force since 1954, loading and offloading all kind of aircraft was nothing new.
As we approached the little office, I noticed a sign above the entrance with the words HOME OF THE DIRTY DOZEN. That was strange because I only saw four individuals. That first day was quiet. At lunch time, we all piled into the six pax blue pickup and headed to the Macv compound not far down the road from the air strip.
After finding were I would be bunking and with whom, it was time for lunch. The mess was in front of the sleeping quarters. It was nothing fancy, nor was the food.. It was ok if you like sea ("C") rations.
After lunch someone put on one of those flicks. All was ok until some one called out
"Incoming" I never heard the incoming rounds, but Sgt Wells (8thMob Team Member) told me to follow
him to our assigned bunker. It was located near the mess area to the left of our
sleeping quarters. After things quieted down and we came out of the
bunker, Sgt Wells noticed that my forehead was bleeding. He told me were the medics were located. They looked at it, cleaned it and that was all. How that bleeding started I'll never
That was my first day in Song Be, Vietnam.
Next day, traveling the six miles to the air field was quiet - nothing unusual for
our small team. But for me, well, I didn't know what to expect. At the air field we checked
and warmed up the two RT (AT?) forklifts and got ready for the first aircraft to come in.
Offloading and loading C130s & C-7 Caribou was just routine work except when incoming
mortar rounds started coming our way. Then you see aircraft moving around on the
ramp and some times speed offloading. During my short stay there, none of the aircraft
were hit. I only saw one Caribou come in with a bullet hole through the floor. A crew member said it almost hit one of the passengers.
Most of the material off loaded was ammo artillery projectiles for the 9th artillery
unit located a few yards from the 8thmob working area. As I remember, twice a week we off-loaded a conex with food for the 1st Cav located across the road. That's where they parked the gun ship(s).
At the airfield we were constantly harassed by VC firing a 75mm recoilless trying
to hit us. One time, I was standing next to a soldier when a round was fired hitting the
ramp. A small piece of shrapnel hit this young soldier's back pack but did no injury.
Back at the compound it was ok other than mortar rounds were always letting us know that the VC were
always around. One night an AC-130 Gunship was called in because of
incoming mortar rounds. The AC-130 came and peppered the area making
things quiet once more.
One thing I didn't really care for was pulling guard on the perimeter, but we all took our turn. Our guard time was four hours. One morning, while I was pulling guard duty, I heard
a shot and a swissing sound go by and glad it
only went by. I hit the ground, but there were no more shots.
There were two
perimeter bunkers facing the river which was down hill from them.
area is where the mortar rounds were coming from. One of Chris Hartley's
photos shows him standing on one of the perimeter bunkers facing the
river. That's the same bunker I stood on.
Some time in January, Ssgt Cummings returned to TSN, leaving me in charge. Nothing
and the work kept going on as usual. Mortar rounds always trying to hit our
After Sgt Cummings left, I (?) flew back to TSN for a conference. This
gave me a chance
replace a couple of airman who were not performing, in other words,
they were a little lax on what they were required to do. I got two
replacements but one was sent back because of his
inexperience and carelessness with his M16. He let a round go off
inside his sleeping quarters - almost hitting one of his buddies.
On 25 February (1969)(?) all hell broke loose. Around 3pm (3 am?) we
were attacked with mortars and gun fire. Our team made it to the bunker
and prepared for the worse. It sounded like we had had it. We could
hear steel flying. Most of the action was down by the
rear perimeter but it sounded like it might get to us. At about 5:30
am, the 1st Cav gun ships arrived firing down upon into the area
where we were getting hit from. That probably saved us from getting
overrun. At day break, we came out of our bunker and saw some of the
damage. Our water tank (which I'm standing in front of) was damaged with
shrapnel, but was repaired.
Later on, we heard that the compound CO and the compound communications officer were killed while the were running towards the communications building. That was sad news, but they were the only ones killed
that morning. The CO Col whose name I didn't know had 5 children and
the young communications officer had just made Capt also name I did't
Because our communication was also knocked out TSN thought we had been overrun, so for three days we didn't go to the air field. I decided to go back to TSN for personal reasons.
I was replaced by TSgt Synder.
The only names I can recall from those days are:
Ssgt Cummings (Commings?)
Sgt Wells (Walking towards the 8thMob office in the photo below)
me if you have questions. I do have a DD214, but not much on travel
orders. Since Vietnam, and still on active duty, I moved around a lot,
so some records are probably stil packed away in boxes.
I was awarded 40% disability from the VA, and I am trying to get that
increased. Seems like I started too late going to the VA. I'm 82 still
in pretty good shape. I had double knee replacements, but no help
from VA. No records.