Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My brother's Vietnam of yesteryear

This posting has nothing to do with our travels, but I enjoyed reading it and decided to share. My older brother, Boyd, was in the US Army during the Vietnam War. He was in Army Intelligence (insert your joke of choice here). I had thought he was stationed in Da'Nang, but couldn't remember for sure. Here is his explanation to me about where he served in Vietnam:

As a high school graduation present, my rich Uncle Sam paid for my first international travel. First he sent me to Viet Nam. I booked passage on the troop carrier "USS Hugh Gaffey" with 5,000 other nephews of Uncle Sam. We left San Francisco on August 1, 1966 and disembarked in Viet Nam on August 20, 1966 (Happy birthday to Boyd on his 19th birthday). I was first sent to Pleiku, which is in the "Central Highlands". I stayed there for less than 2 months and was ordered to report to Phu Bai. Phu Bai was only a few miles from Hue' so I am familiar with the Citadel, Perfume River, etc.

I flew in and out of Da'Nang several times but was never stationed there. On one flight the VC launched a rocket attack on the Da'Nang airport just as my plane landed. That was one of the 5 times I really assumed I was going to die. I never enjoyed live fire.

I never made it to Saigon but spent all of my tour in the northern half of the country. When I left South Viet Nam I flew to Cam Ranh Bay, which is near the southern tip of the country, to board a commercial airliner bound for San Francisco. Cam Ranh Bay was considered the most secure air field and most of the commercial flights used the airport there.

After Viet Nam, my rich Uncle Sam supported my travels for another 2 years. I was assigned to West Berlin to play with the nephews of Uncle Lenin. In August 1968 the Soviets invaded Prague and I was heavily involved in the intelligence effort both before and during the invasion.

So, I fought in an Asian war and witnessed one European country invade another European country. All of this before my 21st birthday.

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