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December 23, 2012

SALUTING OUR VETERANS: Former airman recounts his service days


Because of my hearing, or lack thereof, I was reassigned to the Supply Services Squadron — first the Clothing Sales Store, then to the Salvage Yard.

During that time, Homestead Air Force Base was designated as a Tactical Air Command Fighter Training Base. Because of this designation, my status opened up for deployment to anywhere.

Within three weeks, I received orders to Da Nang Republic of Vietnam and a 30-day week of vacation. I was to report to the 366th SVC Sq. (PACAF) APO SF 96337. Our squadron designation was the 366th gun fighters.

I was assigned to the Ration Breakdown Warehouse. Our job was to deliver food, including fresh vegetables, frozen and canned foods, to the four dining halls every other day. On the days we weren’t making deliveries, we would go to the Naval Depot at the Port of Da Nang to pick up supplies and return to the base, unloading our trucks for the next day’s shipments to the dining halls on base. Sundays were our only days off.

Having an off-base pass, we were destined to explore the surrounding areas, but all of the areas that we traveled were safe zones, guarded roads and trails.

We would go over to Monkey Mountain, a marine encampment on the side of a mountain overlooking the South China Sea. We would also go to Marble Mountain, where the Army encampment was located.

On the way to visiting these encampments, we were able to see how the Vietnamese people lived and worked. Their homes were made of clay bricks, plywood and cardboard. The cardboard was from the pallets that came from some of the Air Force supply ships, used to bring supplies to the men and women in the service. Sometimes the homes were built only from the cardboard.

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