View Full Version : Wow! Time sure flies... almost 50 years have passed since I arrived at Kadena AFB

08-23-2016, 01:19 PM
I finally joined a group on Yahoo consisting of former and present members of the 6990th Security Squadron USAFSS. I tried a year or so and was denied membership?? This time I gave more information, including a certificate that I got for helping with the start of the squadron(Later a Group)... a "plank owner".

Anyhow, I was looking at some pictures posted on the group's site when I happened on some of our TDY Tent City at Da Nang AB, RVN. The photos were from a group posted by Yursik. As I was looking through them I only saw one guy that I knew and then there was one from inside the "command hut" (had a tin roof instead of canvas and a few more amenities... line voltage regulators, small TV, refrigerator, and stove). The photo showed several people at the back door looking out through the chain link fences. The guy in the door had an M-16! I was the only guy in our detachment with an M-16! That was me!

I was newly promoted to SSGT the first of January and was project NCO on this TDY(my second) and our project officer was a 1st Lt. Our TDY crew had just arrived the day before TÍt eve, I think, and we overlapped the one leaving and were trying to have a bar-b-que by our command hut and the nearest bunker when we had to delay it for incoming small arms fire. Anyhow, that evening the Lt. came over and brought me an M-16 and 7 20-rd mags of ammo that he had checked out to give us more protection in the area. We NCO's had our trusty S&W .38 revolvers and about 12 rounds each for our flights and carry while there. The Lt. said that G2(?) or S2, said that we were going to get hit that night.

After the Lt. left, the other NCO's asked about more ammo for their pistols. I went to the MP HQ and asked if I could get some ammo since we were under threat of attack. The guy at the desk just gave me 2 50-round boxes of .38 ball-ammo and I gave them to the other NCOs. I tried to get more ammo later and the SP thought I was crazy for asking... didn't have proper forms and need, I guess.

We did get attacked... around 03:45, but at midnight the sky was full of streams of tracers as as lots of people celebrated the arrival of the TÍt New Year.The small arms dump was hit on the NW side of the airbase and the magnesium flares there were burning with a dense brown smoke, but it was like daytime there was so much bright light from the fire.

The picture was from TÍt the end of January 1968. We had just gotten out of the bunkers from the rocket and mortar attacks that night and crawled into our bunks, when we heard automatic cannon fire and the sound of a prop-driven aircraft headed south from over the base! We jumped up and saw the A-1E "Sandy" pass over us a little offset to the west, our right as we looked south, with 20mm cannons blazing. We looked out to the area to our south and could see masses of black figures running from west to east. I was crouched in the door watching with my trusty M-16... never having fired one in my life! We used the M-1 carbines in our 12-week at the time Basic Training.

That was a very interesting day as we watched the war right at our doorsteps. The Sandy strafed the Vietnamese and then dropped bombs one at a time. I could see the bomb all of the way to the ground and then the explosion... about 4 or 5 seconds later the concussion would rock us. After the Sandy left, helicopter gunships came and hosed them down with rockets and machinegun fire. Then AC-47 Spookys took over and worked them over thoroughly with mini-guns well into the night. The stream of tracers were beautiful and looked like a red waterfall onto rocks with the ricochets everywhere.

I have posted something like this before, but ran across the picture and wanted to post it here. I always I "saw" combat and explain what I mean. I know that what I experienced was nothing like the real warriors out in the bush or more remote outposts on the "front line", which really didn't exist. There were "front lines" everywhere and all areas were subject to attack.

My main duty as the Project NCO was as a gofer for supporting the aircrews and driving the 29-passenger crew bus to the other side of the base for pickup by the RC-130 aircraft coming from Cam Ranh AB and then picking them up after the mission and the plane dropped them off before returning to Cam Ranh AB, which was more secure and not attacked as Da Nang AB was. I gave a ride to the Marines coming from the other side of the base over to our side whenever I could. They came there for R&R! And they were on their way to the USO and the outdoor snack and beer bar next to tent city. I think there was a jukebox there, too.

After 30+ days I met my replacement at the plane... one ours that was going to return to Oki with the outgoing crews. He was married and didn't really want to be there, so I told him to get back on the plane and I would take his place. He did, and I spent about 70 days total that TDY. It was more "fun" than 14+ hour RC-135 flights and transcription duty back at Oki! I don't think I caught any flak from doing that without permission.

So far, I've just been contacted by one friend from those days. At least he and I remember each other, and he has filled me in on the whereabouts of the guys he's kept up with. I left Okinawa late August 1968 and was discharged at Travis AFB, CA. Fortunately, I didn't encounter any war protesters in my two trips back to the States... the first was in July 1967 just after I got to Oki' when my father died and I had to get to Florida for his funeral.

The picture... 21-year-old Wynn in flight suit looking out the back door at the battle "Happy Valley" January 31, 1968. My bunk is the closest to the left.

Wynn :)

08-23-2016, 01:59 PM
Thanks for sharing that and thanks for your service. I was only about 8 years old at that point.

08-23-2016, 02:06 PM
Good post Wynn and don't sell yourself short. If you were in Nam, especially during Tet you were/are a warrior.

I'm often times glad they wouldn't take me, I wanted to go (silliness of youth I guess) I would have been probably 5 years later than when you were there, but between the jungle critters and unknown bad guys, I think I would have had a hard time.

Just like the boys in the sand box now days. No jungle but the bad guys look just like the non bad guys.

08-23-2016, 02:11 PM
Great story! I was about 4 at that time.

08-23-2016, 04:16 PM
Anyone who went over, and made it back, and to the ones who didn't.......................Thank You for your service, in no matter what capacity:amflag:.................................. .............................I was about 13 at the time.

08-23-2016, 04:21 PM
My Husband was infantry in Nam 70 - 71. He says 68 was probably the bloodiest year in Vietnam.
Glad you made it out, and as always, thanks for your service.

During my time in the Air Force, I was never as close to the action as you were!!

08-23-2016, 04:51 PM
I didn't mean to make it sound as if I was in Nam. That war was over by the time I got out of high school.

I almost went to Saudi during the first Gulf War, but the locals wouldn't accept a woman Air Weapons Controller.

08-23-2016, 06:21 PM
Thank you both for your service, Wynn and AIRret. Bet you were scared sh..less, Wynn! I was 11 years old at that time. I remember my parents sweating over the possibility that my oldest brother was going to be called. He was in college and was never called to service, to their relief. Thanks to all who served! The stories are always welcomed.

08-23-2016, 10:14 PM
After all of the years I spent in the Navy, I only keep in touch with one person. We had a saying in the Navy, you don't really make friends but you get to know a lot of acquaintances. I guess that is due to being stationed on a ship for 3-5 years and then transferring to another part of the country and start all over again.

08-23-2016, 10:28 PM
Thanks for your thanks... all of you. I just can't believe how long it has been and how many people have not made it this far. I just can't accept that I'm that old... 70 now! I just don't feel the old. Wifey's only 60. :D

I still have three pistols... kahrs... to clean, and my new Wheeler Sight Pusher to review... took the pictures... just had to go grocery shopping today!

Wynn :)

01-30-2018, 01:32 PM
Wow! I'm still here and it has been 50 years now, since I arrived at Da Nang and participated a bit in the TÍt Offensive. That's about when we started getting Fake News from the Mainstream media, too: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455881/tet-offensive-media-bias-50th-anniversary

Wynn :):Amflag2:

01-30-2018, 05:33 PM
I'm glad you are still with us and thank you for your service sir!:Amflag2:

01-30-2018, 07:44 PM
And thank you, too, Greg. Semper Fi! :)

I know that the # of years is a little low. :)

07-03-2018, 05:08 PM
You might enjoy this, Wynn:


I was USAF 1971-1975, but the closest I got to Nam was Hickam AFB in Honolulu, Hawaii.

07-03-2018, 05:30 PM
I didn't see those. We had vests with stuff in the pockets. I brought back a pen flare gun kind of like that one, but mine had a screw-in adapter that you inserted the Gyro-et pen flares into. I lost that adapter and fired my last flare by sticking a shortened nail into the plastic cap over the firing pen. I dropped that like a mortar round into my 20-gauge shotgun barrel that took off the gun and stood on the sidewalk. I dropped the flare nail first down the barrel and it fired perfectly on hitting the concrete.
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07-03-2018, 05:34 PM
I got to Hickam a few times. In 1981 we diverted there on the way to Guam with a B-52D with the new Digital Bombing Navigation System DBNS with INS. We got a few days vacation. In late 1982 our crew got to take a B-52D to Hickam for an open house/air show display... another "vacation". :) We drove through the Magnum PI set past the red Ferrari parked on the side of the road with a mass of people on the other side with cameras and equipment! That was one of my favorite shows!

07-05-2018, 09:34 AM
I got to Hickam a few times. In 1981 we diverted there on the way to Guam with a B-52D with the new Digital Bombing Navigation System DBNS with INS. We got a few days vacation. In late 1982 our crew got to take a B-52D to Hickam for an open house/air show display... another "vacation". :) We drove through the Magnum PI set past the red Ferrari parked on the side of the road with a mass of people on the other side with cameras and equipment! That was one of my favorite shows!

That would have been cool to see. I almost made it into a scene of Hawaii 5-0 once, which was being filmed on the road in front of runway 4 at HNL, near the Kam Gate at Hickam.