A poor Vietnamese country girl....err...no...a "friend" of mine when I went to Hawaii on my R&R in August 1967.
In for a landing.
He was one of the many crew chiefs I served with. I think his name was "Smitty" or something like that.
I have no idea where I was at, but it looks like a US military base.
Bob Hope and MG Hay starting off the 1967 Bob Hope Christmas Show at Lai Khe. He was born Leslie Townes Hope in London in 1903. Without a doubt, he was one of the greatest Americans ever. We flew him in the Longhorn chopper after the show to another airstrip. That's a story I've told folks for years!
My gal! My woman! Raquel Welch! My tongue must have been hanging all the way to the ground, 'cause she gave me a funny look as she passed me by.
Barbara McNair, singer and actress. Actually, I forgot who she was. I had to look her up on Google....
Bob Hope Show again.This is Madeline Hartog-Bel, Miss World. Not bad, but Raquel was much hotter.
More Bob Hope Show. Hey you- get your damn head out of the way. My woman's on stage! Move it, I said!
I flew on several different choppers with several different pilots. These two look like bad-asses, don't they? The pilot on the right was Major Cooper. The pilot on the left was Captain Noel Quentin Nichols. Notice the earlier white Longhorn insignia. This was probably 1966 and looks like the helipad at Phu Loi base camp. Major Cooper was the company commander. I went to Phu Loi village one day and came back a little "tippsy". He grounded me from the village for a month. Very well deserved.
A Patton Tank M48 tank. I rode on top of them a few times in the infantry. Yeah, just like a John Wayne movie (they were kinda hard on the ass).
Armored Personnel Carrier, or APC, was great for moving personnel quickly, effective armor against small arms fire, but crappy against land mines. I've seen two of them destroyed along with five dead.
Artillery. Sorry, I can't identify the gun.
I have no idea where I was flying over that day. None, zero, zip.... This would be a typical safe level to fly at when we're just going from point A to point B and not looking for any trouble. Also, notice the "basket" attached to the right of the gun. That was to catch the brass before it went into the blade and for recycling. I and many other gunners stopped using it because it caused drag in flight. It was just a major pain in the ass.
A South Vietnamese military base (see the flag). Also notice, no basket for the brass. And it never seemed to bother the blade.
Flying along side another Longhorn.
MG Hay in the field talking with two of his infantry officers.
MG Hay accepting a captured AK47 as a gift.
An ARVN- Army of the Republic of Vietnam soldier. Most were great, brave soldiers that fought very hard, but I remember coming across a group of ARVNs sitting outside a small village. Not far from them was a dead man with his hands tied behind his back, his eyes taped, his mouth taped and his feet taped together. They said he was a captured VC and that they shot him when he tried to escape.... Yeah, with his feet taped together and his eyes taped. Bastards.
Montagnard children. Montagnard is a French word meaning mountain people. They were friendly towards Americans- mostly.... Originally inhabitants of the coastal areas of the region, they were driven to the uninhabited mountainous areas by the Chams and Cambodians beginning prior to the 9th century. Since then, they lived independently in the mountains up until the 19th century when the Vietnamese began to incorporate the territory....Thank you Wikipedia for that info!
Montagnard father and daughter.
I started this kid smoking. He's probably dead now.
One of my lady friends. Yes, she was a few years older than me, but that doesn't matter when you're in love. Besides, she was a lot of fun. She loved dancing, karaoke, bike riding, seeing an old movie or just laying around and cuddling. Here she is preparing a picnic lunch for us.
Montagnard girls. Sweet children. I found out that the sign on the left says: "Spring of civilian reunion". Why? I don't know....
A photo of me and all my children. I hope they all grew up to be doctors and not journalists or lawyers. These kids are regular Vietnamese children and not Montagnards like the five previous photos.
I didn't touch your daughter!
Another shot of your hero.
Another shot of the Lai Khe airstrip. I circled the helipad where we were at. This is a little later in the war because it looks more developed then when I was there.
Just another view.
A map showing the Lai Khe base. Highway 13 went right through it. Notice the bypass road that was built for the civilians. It's still there today.
I loved the M60 machine gun. I believe I can still fire it from a helicopter and be reasonably accurate at getting my target. However, I know I've forgotten how to field strip the unit. All I would need is a five minute course and I'm sure it will all come back to me.
Ya know, I've never flown on a helicopter again since I left Vietnam- and I never will. After surviving so many hours in the air, being shot at and living through a crash, I told myself I will not push my luck- that's it! I'm done....!
Isolated atrocities committed by American soldiers had produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all.
PHOTO GROUP TWO
I think I used to work for her in Chicago.