Toy Rockets….

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Admin, Mar 16, 2003.

  1. Admin

    Admin Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
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    (10/29/02 3:16:54 pm)
    Toy Rockets….
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    cause heart attacks!!!

    Some three or four months into the year 1967, Well before TeT … those of use that were trapped in the cesspool known as “Tri-Bac Station” Phu Bai had absolutely nothing to do for entertainment….

    If we were not working, we were working.

    That is, we were working.

    Yeah.. I know…. It doesn’t make sense… or does it??

    After you left your workstation/workplace/duty station or whatever the hell you called it, you went back to the company area and worked for whomever the daily assigned jerk-o-the-day was….

    AND Just WHO were these guys??? it was NEVER anybody any of us on my team ever knew!? They did not work with us!! and no one on post knew who they were either fer cripes sake!!! They just HAD to be imported from Okinawa or Guam…..

    However, I digress….

    If you got finished early with whatever stupid job they wanted done, such as sweeping the day room or the orderly room.

    Now THAT brings back memories…. Sweeping dirt off the floor….. a noble attempt at sweeping VN from the face of the earth!!! One floor at a time!!.

    And just as soon as you finished the job, someone would walk in from the field and track more dirt into the room!!

    We were unarmed at the time so they made it out the door safely every time……

    Well…..I continue

    Those of you who happen to KNOW were Phu Bai is…. This little station was once an old Foreign Legion camp right smack dab in the north east corner of the Marine base….next to the highway ( route 1) and the railroad tracks.

    The MACV compound was across the street and the AF base was just behind that..

    You marines couldn’t have missed it.. it was the little station with all the fences and barb-wired and mines around it, and the antenna field was those three hundred foot towers that stretched all the way out to the hills to the west and to Ja Lai (three sisters hill) to the north east.

    There was even a little foot-path just outside the wire that lead from the main (and only gate) directly to your PX (BX)!! Hell… Our guys spent more time in there then they did at our EM club!!

    One day… a small PX opened up inside THIS little post… and everyone flocked to it instead of the Marines BX…..besides… the Marines were getting tired of seeing us in there anyway….

    Now we could get out monthly stuff from here…such as toiletries and such… but now we could not go over to the Marines BX….so… we were stuck with this small one…

    But… they did sell one thing that the BX didn’t….TOYS…. such as models, airplanes , ships, cars.. and my all-time favorite… model rockets!!!!!!

    OH YEAH!!!! The ones that use the fireworks engines …….

    So now I spend several “nights” (uuuh… time off of work… night and day were unused terms to us shift workers at that time) putting together a model rocket……

    But I was not satisfied with the rocket…. I wanted something BIGGER!!!

    He he he he,,,,, so I went back to the PX and bought a dozen of those little engines…. And built a booster for the main rocket!!!

    Now.. instead of being three foot tall with in little booster engine and one main engine… the booster was EIGHT engines with a second stage of four engines!!!!

    I knew that the rocket itself, would land outside the fence… so I wrote on it something to the effect that “ $ 2.00 reward for the return of this rocket” and put the company address on it.

    I really did not expect to ever see it again, but… what the hey??…

    The guys who were helping me were as anxious as I was to light the thing off….

    The big day came…….

    A Saturday by chance…. With a clear sky and no wind…..

    Eight of us all troop out to the trench line to the west of the base… and started setting up our little contraption……

    And NONE of us noticed the watching eyes of the towers were upon us!!!! we forgot about them!!

    It wasn’t two minutes before an MP come strolling up to us to see what was going on..

    “Whacha doin’ guys”??

    “We gonna test a model rocket”

    “Oh yeah??”….cool!!!!! I’ll tell the other towers…

    and he walks off….and we continues to set everything up…..




    wait....
    Esse Quam Videri

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
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    (10/29/02 3:51:47 pm)
    Re: Toy Rockets….
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    and he walks off….and we continue to set everything up…..

    We also do not notice that the sun is going down…..it is low, but still bright enough for our test….

    After about ten minutes… we are ready……

    I set the glow-wires into the booster engine… or rather engines…(a little piece of thin wire that is looped so that power from a battery will make it glow and ignite the engine)…. That took a little time since I had to do it for eight of them in sequence .. and all on one wire, so that ignition would be almost simultaneous….

    Then I set the second stage on top of the booster and then the rocket itself on top of that and then place the whole thing onto its launch rod.


    Ok…

    We are ready…..

    The guys go down into the star bunker and I run the wire back to the battery in the bunker….

    Every one is quite….

    Only our breathing can be heard the bunker….

    I attach the first wire…….

    And then touch the second wire to the other battery post……

    Nothing……………


    Nothing…..

    “AWWWW Shit IT DIDN’T WORK”……..


    “SWWWOOOOOSHHHHH”

    The damn thing ignites just as we come out of the bunker to see what is wrong with our wiring….

    MAN that thing is climbing!!!!

    LOOK AT IT GO….MUST BE THREE HUNDRED FOUR HURDRED FEET!!! And still climbing….


    One thing thought……

    We did not notice ONE LITTLE THING……

    Can you guess????

    Yep…… as soon as that thing went up…. It set off the Post Attack sirens……

    ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!!!!

    Our post,

    The MAVC compound

    The Marine base…..

    The AF Base..

    Hell… even the Navy river boat people set off their attack alarms….

    We ran like hell……

    Cause????

    The MP did not know who we were!!!!!!

    Well….. that didn’t do me very much good….

    Know why??


    Aw come on… take a guess…..


    Yep….

    Some local found the thing out towards to VN Basic training camp….

    With our units name on it, and the reward posted on it….

    And Rundles……… had signed MY name to it!!!!!!! Without me noticing that one little detail…..

    Yep.. I had to show up at the orderly room and pay this guy his $ 2.00…..

    What happened to me????

    Well…. That’s another story…..



    out...
    Esse Quam Videri

    berto64
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 607
    (10/29/02 7:11:08 pm)

    Re: Toy Rockets….
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    Sounds like things were never dull in your vicinity, Mith. LOLOL

    berto


    Endeaver to Persevere

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 339
    (10/29/02 10:01:14 pm)
    Re: Toy Rockets….
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    I try Berto.... I try...



    out..
    Esse Quam Videri

    hope6970
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 1136
    (10/30/02 12:05:40 am)
    Re: Toy Rockets….
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    Mith......you get yourself back here and tell us the "Another" story!!!!

    You must have been a hilarious troop. - Hope

    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 514
    (10/30/02 10:13:19 am)
    Re: Toy Rockets….
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    Fantastic read Mith ....

    I really enjoyed that one almost as much as you fellers had settin' that thing off ....

    Are you really gonna leave us hangin' here or tell us what the final outcome was for your so called boo-boo.

    Some of dem upper echilons just ain't got no sense of humor ...

    Six

    "Golf 2/5 Marines ... Knockin On Heavens Door In Hue City"

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 340
    (10/30/02 11:47:58 am)
    Re: Toy Rockets….
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    well... Ok......

    I was going to be given an article 15...

    a 15/15/500….

    Fifteen days restriction, fifteen days extra duty and $500.00 pay forfeiture.

    But they couldn't figure out under what paragraph...after about two days, the CO commander (a Capt.) just told me to not do it again....

    Then they had the PX pulled all the toy rockets from the shelves....

    But we had more fun later…..

    please see "AIR ATTACK!!!!!!!"




    out...
    Esse Quam Videri
     
  2. RKimball

    RKimball Guest

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    Mith, I didn't think I would ever look at one of these sites (Viet Nam). It's been many years since I was in country. I spent 13 months at Trai Bac Station from 1965 to 1966. Then I spent another 11 months at the 8th RRFS at a station about 15 kilometers north of Udorn airbase in 1967 to 1968. I was sitting at a "pos" listening to Trai Bac Station when it got hit during TET. I hoped those guys got out of there, but I know not all of them did. Thanks for the interesting stories, I also read the one about the RDF problems at Udorn. Well done, wild man. Have you been in touch with any of the men or women you knew in 'Nam since you came back? I have pretty much lost track of everybody I knew.
     

  3. Hope 69/70

    Hope 69/70 Active Member

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    RKimball,

    Until Mith returns here to pickup on your post, I want to take this opportunity to Welcome you to the board.

    So glad you are reading and getting to know us. Please feel free to move around the cabin, get up and stretch your legs and jump right on in here and make yourself to home.

    Until then,

    Welcome Home RKimball!



    Hope
     
  4. Mithrandir

    Mithrandir Member

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    Welcome RKimball .....

    Sit and stay awhile...I have found that the people here are more "Kindred Spirits" than some others I have known.

    What MOS? What company or "Trick", Army, Marine, Navy? 'cause we had all of them there at one time....

    If you were at the 8th in 65-66, them you must have gotten there just before they built the "Trailer farm"...the housing billits for the EM.

    also..."Then I spent another 11 months at the 8th RRFS at a station about 15 kilometers north of Udorn airbase in 1967 to 1968"...I guess that I don't understand that one....

    Udorn is in Thailand and the 8th RRFS was at Tri Bac..so.. were you in Thailand at a base while "attached" to the 8th or what?

    sorry... I must be missing something and I can't wait to hear more....

    Have I had contact with others.....No, not many.. sorry to say...this area has hundreds of ASA people and most of them didn't serve in VN...some did, but down at the 509TH in Saigon.. I have met ONE guy way back in 70 that was with the 265th RRU at camp eagle....he was the son of a guy I worked with here in town and was my replacement when I left VN.....small world (sometimes).

    post soon....



    out...
     
  5. RKimball

    RKimball Guest

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    Mith and Hope 69/70, Thank you for your kind replies, I was very taken with the stories I read. I was an 058 (ditty bopper) and I didn't leave the compound on tdy or any thing. We had day passes to Hue' once in a while. When I arrived, the trailers had just been finished. The air conditioners, and the hot water heaters worked for a while. One day, someone found a stachel bomb under one of the water heaters with a heat detonator. Fortunately for us, that water heater chose to break down before the bomb went off. The MP's said there was enough explosive in there to take out all the trailers. Our houseboys were not allowed to come back to work for a while. I got a three day pass once, and went to Saigon, didn't sober up until they poured me off the plane at Phu Bai a couple days later. It was a thirteen month hitch. I may have gotten the unit designations wrong, but I thought I remembered the 8th RRU was at Trai Bac Station, and the 8th RRFS was at the compund north of Udorn in Thailand. Which ever it is, I did my second hitch in Southeast Asia in Thailand, at the compound north of Udorn. If you have any other questions, feel free to e-mail, or I will check in here once in a while, when I can get back on the computer. Remember "Old Crow and White Lightnin'!"?
     
  6. Mithrandir

    Mithrandir Member

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    now that you have said the unit designations that way...you are, most probably, right. It is not that important anyway, just an old guy trying to remember things long gone..

    by the sounds of you account of Tri Bac... YOU ARE THE REASON WE NEVER HAD HOT WATER!!! (LOL)..I had heard those "rumors" when I arrived there but never followed them up...

    Now... some people reading this would say "Hey...you at least had cold water"...but I will have to remind them that cold water at Tri Bac was really ICE water......a person can handle only so much of that....

    O5H huh?... well... so was I, at that time.....not many of us "mill monkeys" left I think....

    My brother was station at Udorn about a month before I left VN... he was an Air Cargo Master sgt. and as you have read...I was only there on TDY ...(I tried VERY HARD to get transferred believe you me!!)

    "Remember Old Crow & White Lightnin'"?

    No..sorry doesn't ring a bell...please enlighten me.....

    talk later


    .- ... .- ... ..- -.-. -.- ...


    out...
     
  7. RKimball

    RKimball Guest

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    Mith, "Old Crow and White Lightnin'!" was a reference to the eagle claw and lightning bolt shoulder patch which designated U.S. Army Security Agency. The more colorful reference was what we called it. No big thing, I thought maybe you may have heard it. God Bless all brothers and sisters.

    I will be around from time to time. ...-.-
     
  8. Mithrandir

    Mithrandir Member

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    HA. ha......no...we never called it that...

    but we had a poem for it..

    lets see.... I think it went something like this..

    "Black.... is for the night we fear"
    "Blue..... is for the water - we won't go near"
    "White... is for the flag we fly"
    "Yellow... is the reason why"

    at school we designed an airborne patch for it..

    the same lighting but with an explosion in the middle with chicken feathers and typewriter keys flying all over the place....

    and I do remember the ASA doll.... you wind it up and it screws itself for four years!!

    and on and on and on....

    I think I feel an FTA coming on......

    BTW...Northglenn is not very far from Louisville.....my daughter & Grandson live there and my wife and I visit every couple of months...next time I get ready to come that way, I will drop you a line..maybe we can down a cold one and talk face-to-face...

    By the same token...if you get down this way..drop me a line...



    out...
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2003
  9. RKimball

    RKimball Guest

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    Mith, I heard that poem the first time at Ft. Devens. We were in the barracks, clustered around a big pot stolen from the mess hall. Inside was a couple quarts of grape juice, some vodka, and who knows what else. We called it Kool Aid, or Purple Panther .... you can guess the rest. We all got motherless drunk on that stuff, and sometime during the process someone recited that poem. The only thing worse than the smell of the stuff we were drinking was the smell of the barracks the next morning. Lotta casualties from the night before. Good thing it was the weekend, or there would have been some miserable ditty boppers in formation next morning. Let me know next time you are in Louisville, I would love to meet another old mill jockey. You know, I still pound the keys on this keyboard a little like back then. See ya!
     
  10. Hope 69/70

    Hope 69/70 Active Member

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    Mith and RKimball,

    Where did you two run off to to go find the cold ones?

    Haven't see you since.



    Hope
     
  11. RKimball

    RKimball Guest

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    Where we at?

    Hi, Hope!
    I don't know where Mith is, but I am around once in a while. I mostly read the stories. My time in country was quiet compared to most, so I don't have many adventures to write about. Sometimes I feel guilty because I had an easy tour, but I don't know if I would have been up to the job otherwise. How are you? being stationed up north, I didn't see any American women in country. The few trips I made to DaNang, or QuiNhon, or Saigon I didn't see any, either. I don't remember where you said you were stationed, but It must have been somewhere between DaNang and Saigon. Mith will probably be around sometime soon, he has made quite a few contributions in this forum, and his stories are well written. Gotta go for now, but I'll be back.
     
  12. Hope 69/70

    Hope 69/70 Active Member

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    RKimball,

    I was stationed in Long Binh. The WACs were a group that were small in number and were scattered.

    Don't worry about having the "easy tour" as you put it. I didn't quite feel there were any easy tours for anyone. We were sent there, did the job to the best of our ability and managed to come back home to our families. It wasn't easy for anyone who went there.

    I was told a few times by soldiers, that I shouldn't have been there, that I took a job away from another soldier and probably was the cause of their death. I was told that on the plane coming back home and there I stood, wearing the same military uniform they were. Between that and the people that were not all that polite here in The World and remembering a few of my friends that did not make it back home, it took me a while to what you call, get a grip.

    Don't ever question your assignment there, it was the luck of the draw for everyone and some were not lucky at all. I don't think there is a day that goes by that I don't think of them and still continue miss them.

    Glad to see you aboard.

    Hope
     
  13. RKimball

    RKimball Guest

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  14. RKimball

    RKimball Guest

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    Hi, Hope!

    Sorry for the goof, but my fingers don't always do what my brain says. Been that way for as long as I can remember.
    Anyhoo, Thank You for your kind words. I don't know whether to call it survivor's guilt or what, but I can't think about the brother and sister soldiers who fought and were injured or killed without feeling some guilt. I guess it will always be that way. As the song says, "All gave some, some gave all". I will always wonder if I gave enough.
    When I processed out of the Army in 1968, I was told by one of the people debriefing me that it would be wise not to wear my uniform when traveling through San Francisco International, because war protesters were assaulting military people. I didn't have anything else to wear, so I was worried about getting on my plane to get home. As it turned out I was only stopped once by MP's who checked my separation papers, and the rest of the trip was uneventful.
    I gotta go for now, thanks again. I will be around.
     
  15. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    Talking about the way the military personnel were treated during a period of time during the 60's---from 1964 until late 1967 was the times I served teaching the NBC warfare and recovery operations. I recall there were pockets of such rebellious activity, you know about those demonstrating Hippies, college students, and the racial unrest. In January of 64 I went to Fort McClellan in Alabama---the military encouraged us senior enlisted to stay on base as much as possible due to the Freedom Rider demonstrations. I recall more of the war protesters on the west coast and mid America---lots of college youngster hoop-la too that was fired by professional rabble rousers. Don't ever recall the war protesters in the south or the northwest states. The news media did as much to inflame things as anyone---sometimes there would only be like a half dozen demonstrators---super ugly girls and long haired 'geeky' guys---the cameras would pan over the little shindig and that evening on the news, you'd get the idea that there was on hellv'a donnybrook--do you suppose the media intended that deciet? In 67 when we Seabees were putting on our 'dog and pony show callled OPERATION RECOVERY, I did a lot of PR appearances before the cameras and interviews at the stations---so often the interviewer would lead our Disaster Recovery story to be told as something offensive. Just some thoughts---there is story I wrote listed here on the site called Summer of 67---. Chief