By: Ed Creamer In the fall of 1965 the monsoon rains had not yet arrived in Vietnam and we were flying a lot of routine supply missions. Trying to get as many supplies out to the Vietnamese villages so they could pass them on to the Viet Cong. One day we were hauling rice and fish oil out of Tam Ky into the hills and bringing back villagers. We would not have been surprised to have learned some of those villagers were Viet Cong fighters. Listen, free taxi service in a war is hard to fine. Near the end of the mission and Army First Sgt pulled up in a jeep and asked if my squadron was the squadron with the emblem of some sort of God on the tail of the aircraft. I answered in the affirmative. Listen, Warrants and second Lt’s always answer in the affirmative. It seems we had been fragged to carry some sand bags in for his compound a week or so before. In fact, just before the Viet Cong had tried to over run them. Not a soul was lost in that attack. Call it fate or just good old fashion timing the First Sgt didn’t care. He just shook my hand (you know Warrants do control fate don’t you?) and told me he wanted me to come with him so he could pay us back. Off we went in his jeep to their compound. He loaded up two large paper grocery bags with fifths of Scotch, Bourbon, and Vodka. Remembering what my D.I. had taught me in boot camp, I tried weakly to refuse the offer. However, he was larger than I was and owned the only transportation back to the loading zone, which forced me to accept. When we got back to the LZ the place was empty. Can you spell GONE boys and girls? The helicopters had RTB and I hadn’t. There I stood, two bags of booze. The First Sheriff told me, “No sweat GI”. “There’s a VNAF (Vietnamese Air Force) General who is getting ready to depart and might let me bum a ride. The General turned out to be a three star by the name of Nguen Kao Ky . He later became the Vice President of Vietnam before it fell to the Communists. It was agreed they would give me a lift and with a three start at the controls (Lord help me) of the Huey we launched for Ky Ha, my home away from home. The Vietnamese crew chief kept watching me and listening to the clank of bottles and wondering what in the Hell this “clazzey Maline doing my airclaft” with bottles of booze”. Listen, he didn’t offer me no in-flight meal so I didn’t feel I owed him a drink. When we got close to Ky Ha the General radioed the base a VNAF Flag rank officer was in-bound. The approach and landing were normal EXCEPT from up on top of the hill you could see a jeep with what I later learned was my Group Commander Co. William G. Johnson (later to be a Major Gen) heading Hell bent for leather down to the flight line to greet the General. As for me, when those skids hit the marston matting I jumped out, turned, rendered a bent arm salute and beat feet the Hell away into the maintenance tent of a sister squadron. Now, you didn’t think I was going to show them my skinny ass belonged to 362 did ya? The General took off and the Group Commander was left standing in his jeep wondering God only knows what. I didn’t stick around long enough to help him find out. As for the other squadrons’ maintenance people, well, I just told them I was a new guy there as the bottles continued to clank. A couple of the bottles went to our Skipper, one to my Maintenance Officer (that was me sucking up you see) and the rest sort of disappeared. There was no reason for there to be any evidence left for the Group C.O. to find. Besides, this was the very same Group Commander who had put six rounds from his pistol through the roof of the sort of Officer’s Club we had and I wasn’t that certain of his stability. But, that’s another story.
Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan