Vietnam War: Saigon Tân Sơn Nhất Airport Arrival
Immediately after I was told we had orders for Vietnam we went to medical for a bevy of shots, then packed and waited for orders and instructions.
After leaving Germany we were flown to Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City) and landed at the Tân Sơn Nhất Airport. As we flew in there were few lights to be seen until we begin a fast descent landing at the airport at about 0230. We rolled to a stop, and all doors opened to exit the craft. People on the ground were directing us to a warehouse looking facility about 50 yards from the aircraft.
The first thing that hit me was the heat. It felt as if I was walking into a blast furnace, and just taking a breath was an amazing experience. The humidity was high, probably just this side of raining. We moved quickly to the warehouse with the yelling of the ground crews as our background. By the time we got inside I was already sweating and I was in excellent physical condition.
Once inside they had members move together as one group where we were debriefed and received additional orders. The NCO giving our instructions was standing on a crate as he spoke smoking a cigarette. The thought that crossed in the back of my mind was how could he smoke and still take a breath of air.
Early in the morning I was to catch a flight to Pleiku in the central highland region of Vietnam and report to the Command Center in what was called Camp Holloway.
Our Caribou landing was noisy as we landed on a PSP (perforated steel planking) runway, a first for me but there would be more to come.
The command center was not obvious so I asked for directions. The base was much larger than I anticipated with a bunch of CAV choppers, Caribou, C-130, and L-19 aircraft positioned around the airfield.
Once I found the command center I was told to park it. Minutes later a Sergeant first class (SFC) walked in and told me to report back here in one hour for a briefing. My imagination ran wild but when I returned it was just to receive my assignment.
I was acclimatized to the colder weather when assigned to Germany and the current weather probably seemed hotter to me than others coming from warmer climates.
I was told I would be on a TDY assignment which I would learn about later.
Photo: Person is not known to me and is standing by a Cav Helo.
Pictured on the left is Dennis Decker 3rd Marine Recon and on the Right is Jeff Daley 288th Ord. Tdy assignment in in Da Nang, Vietnam - Circa 1966
Pictured here is a Montagnard village. Bamboo was somehow driven into the rock to provide water from an underground source. They were a wonderful people and helped us fight the bad guys. After the US left Vietnam they were left high and dry and were persecuted with many killed by the NVA. Sad.
Next: Vietnam War: The Battle