Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What was I thinking - Part 3

Have you ever felt like you were absolutely helpless. That is the way I felt finding out about my wife being pregnant and then I find out that my dad had a throat cancer operation. Too much going on with me out of the picture. It was out of my control so I just took care of business and took one day at a time.

In the section where I worked I was asigned as part of the IG (Inspector General) team which meant I would have to take trips to our 3 class B finance offices in Plaiku, Anke and Tuey Hoa. That usually meant hitch hiking down the coast on a Huey helicopter. Anke was located in a valley between two mountains and because there were snipers we had to approach with caution. It was a small Army prop plane. The pilot would come in high, get to the appropriate place and cut the engine and fall, cutting the engine back on at the right time to come in for a quick landing avoiding a long approach and chances of getting shot at. When we leave the pilot sits at the end of the runway and guns the engine for all it's worth and lets off the brake and almost goes straight up. Quite a ride. During the time I was in Viet Nam (19 months) I kept records and found over one million dollars in errors on military pay records, some in favor of the GI and others in favor of the government. Yes I said over one Million $$.

All military installations in foreign countries usually hire locals to work on compound and hope that they are good and loyal to your cause. There was this small boy maybe 10 to 12 and every morning when he came onto the compound he would salute whoever he met whether they were a PFC or a General. He was everyone's friend. One time when I came back from an asignment at one of our other offices I found out that they had caught him pacing off the distance between our perimeter fence and our movie shack probably to give coordinates for a mortar round to kill some of us. I never saw him again.

You get bored easily when you don't have acutal work to do and some of the Vietnamese girls that worked at our enlisted men's club suggested I go to an orphanage in Qui Nhon. It was operated by Catholic nuns and one or more of the girls would go with me to act as interpreter since the nuns could not speak english. The children were starved for affection and would climb all over me craving attention. Some of them were blonde and had blue eyes and were products of Vietnamese girls and GIs and were outcasts, not wanted by anyone. I visited them every chance I got and when I went home for my 30 day leave after 13 months I got folks in my area interested by posting an article in the local paper about the orphanage. I got so much clothes and can goods that it really touched my heart. I shipped the boxes and when they arrived even my commanding officer went with me to present all the great stuff to the children. It was a glorious day seeing some of the children wearing new clothes for the first time in their lives. More to later. Coming up a leper colony......


  1. That was a very noble thing to have done...which reminds me about a post I'm supposed to put up...

  2. I just caught up on your story Odie. It is very interesting, and it's wonderful that you helped the orphans.

  3. This is captivating stuff, Odie. I feel like I'm right in the middle of a movie. You had some hair raising experiences over there along with some heart warming experiences. Please continue!

  4. Waiting patiently...just hurry up..hahaha

  5. Like Bouncin'Barb, I too am waiting patiently!! Lovely that so much good was able to come out of your posting to Vietnam with visiting the orphanages and bringing them to the attention of folks back home. These are really interesting posts, Odie.