Wednesday, July 30, 2014
It Was 47 Years Ago Today, Too...
Yesterday was the anniversary of the day we docked in Viet Nam. Today is the anniversary of the day we actually disembarked the General John Pope. I distinguished myself by falling down the gangway en route to the lower deck. Once there, and none the worse for wear, we climbed into landing craft and sailed to a dock in Vung Tau. Vung Tau was called The Riviera of the Orient at one time. I had a three-day R&R there once and I can see why. The beaches are exceptional. But we didn't have time to enjoy the beaches that day. We were trucked to an airfield and loaded onto C-123s--small, twin-engine transport/cargo planes.
A little while later a crewman removed a plate in the floor and started kicking at something. It was the front landing gear, which wouldn't lower electrically. Gulp. Shortly after that the plane, which was in descent, veered sharply up and left. The pilot apologized. He mistook a dirt road for the runway of Xuan Loc International Airport. Great, I'm thinking, my first day in country and I'm going to be killed by our own people. Well, we landed safely, loaded onto trucks, and convoyed out to Black Horse, a muddy pit in the middle of jungle and rubber tree plantations. That night we were serenaded by the sound of artillery shells roaring over our tents.
The photo above is not of any of my company areas, though it's typical of the ones where I lived.
The adventure had begun.