Another story (for what it is worth)

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 9, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Posts: 496
    (11/1/01 5:05:39 pm)
    | Del All Another story (for what it is worth)
    As the subject line says, take this story for what it is worth. I am not going to add or detract anything, just tell you what I saw and did, as it happened.

    For a period of time in the spring of ’69, I was spending my off duty time at a private club, just off Duong Pasteur, about half way between Tan Son Nhut and downtown Saigon. It was across a side street from the My Lan Hotel, for any of you who knows Saigon. This place was owed by an American by the name of Charles Baker. He was the brother of (some of you may remember the name) the Texas con man Bobby Baker. I think they called him the Texas wiz-kid. Did some fraudulent things with oil stock if I recall correctly.
    At this club, sometimes I would tend bar or help stock the bar, or just generally help out around the place. It earned me most of my drinks free, and sometimes a little extra “gratitude” in an upstairs room. A friend, Jack, (see the picture of me and him together at the Zoo, having 33’s) worked there also, at times. An additional job we did was occasionally driving Charley (the owner, not the other type “Charley”) to a few places around town. He had a M151 (painted black of course). We would drive him to a few locations where he would drop off things, like a case of good booze, or cigarettes. I always believed he delivered cash to some of the places also, but no proof. One of us would drive, and the other rode shotgun, while Charley rode in the back. He had others before, and after, us to do the same for him. I think we were mostly for "window dressing". Nothing significant ever happened on these trips, I just added them so you would understand what type of businessman he was. In fact, he ask, if, when we rotated home, we would care to make some extra money. He wanted to set up a money exchange, having us mail him greenbacks. I wisely passed on this offer.

    After hanging out there for a few months, I begin to notice things that disturbed me. I will describe what I saw; you make your own conclusions.
    Incident 1. Two white men, dressed in, what I would call Safari suits come in and take a table in the back. One is carrying a small briefcase. Charley joins them for a few minutes, and then has the waitress take them a bottle of good scotch. I never see them pay for it. A few minutes later, a Vietnamese man comes in, looks around, nods to them, and then leaves. Five minutes later, he returns with another Vietnamese man. They join the 2 white guys, have a couple of drinks, talk, then leave. When they go, one of them is carrying the brief case. The two white guys finish their drink, then leave.
    Incident 2. A white guy in civilian clothes (jeans and sports shirt) comes in by himself and goes to a back table. I think, but not sure, this is one of the same guys as above. He orders a drink. (Charley was not around at that time). A few minutes later, a Major, wearing tiger fatigues with a MACV patch joins the guy. They talk awhile, Then the guy leaves. The Major sips a drink, very obliviously waiting for some one else. In a few more minutes, the second Vietnamese guy from above comes in. There is a short conversation, then they leave separately.

    I mentioned this to Jack, and he said he had seen the same thing more than once. Over the next couple of weeks, I paid more attention and saw the same type thing happen twice more. Let me tell you, it worried the hell out of me. I did not know what I had gotten myself involved in. Jack and I talked it over and decided we wanted no part of this anymore. We did not know what to say to Charley, but decided to tell him we had both been assigned PDF duty. (this is the guard-type duty I have mentioned before.) We stayed away after that. About 2 months later, while I was at another bar, Charley came in. He was cool about it, just said hello, bought me a drink, and left after a few minutes of talking. Never saw him again, and of course, never went back to his place. The last I heard, he had left VN in ’72 and settled in a villa in Thailand.

    I know this sounds like something written by Ian Fleming or something, but I don’t think it was an unusual occurrence in Saigon in those days. And all I was looking for was a few drinks and a little “boom-boom” once in a while.

    And I left there older and wiser,,,,,,,,

    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    Edited by: nighthawk at: 11/1/01 5:12:14 pm

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 1319
    (11/1/01 5:26:53 pm)
    | Del
    Re: Another story (for what it is worth)
    Sounds to me as though you were in more peril off duty than on duty!!!!!

    Posts: 497
    (11/1/01 5:36:41 pm)
    | Del Re: Another story (for what it is worth)
    Dave, for that period of time, I think you are correct,,

    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 741
    (11/3/01 12:55:16 pm)
    | Del Re: Another story (for what it is worth)
    Gosh....definetely intriguing!!!!!

    Posts: 1707
    (11/5/01 6:24:56 pm)
    | Del
    Re: Another story (for what it is worth)
    Sounds like 'payola' to me.
    Majors spell XO and XO's are often the paper shufflers and quite used to the daily depensing of supplies and personnel. Very privy to the in's and out's of Administration.

    Just my HO is all.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.
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