July 15, 1969
My one year Tour of Duty seemed like two years. The gamut of emotions was broad. From doldrums to chaos in a split second. We fought for our lives at times and fought boredom at other times. Humor helped lift our spirits. Practical jokes were almost an everyday event. On other days we would silently weep for those who had lost their lives in the line of duty. We were a bunch of young men doing our best to survive to live another day. Some days were easy. Others were extremely difficult. For those who never made it home we shall never forget. We who survived are doing our best to portray strengths that were shaped by the fiery furnace of war. It took many of us 10-15 years to begin easing out of the shadows of the falsehoods related to the Vietnam War. There have been many tragedies along the way, but we are survivors. When more contemporary wars erupted we made it a point to be there for those who wear the uniforms. Our determination is strong to never allow what happened to us happen to another generation. We may not support the war, but we will always support the warriors...
L to R: Bruce Vance (T-151-6), Tom Brunner (T-152-1), Barry Duschanek (T-152-5) and myself (T-152-1) in Saigon awaiting our "Freedom Bird" back to "The World".
Our crews were released from our riverine craft sometime in late June or early July 1969. We stayed at Dong Tam for a little time before flying up to Saigon. While there we found a small basketball court to release some energy while awaiting our much anticipated flight out of the war torn country.
Players: Bruce Vance, John McCurdy, Pat Denny, Tom Brunner, Alex Lincoln, etc...
It appears that I was head of refreshments. Note the old Falstaff and Carling Black Label cans. We all got some sun and blisters that day.
Barry Duschanek and Mike Knapp (T-152-2) taking a break.
While at Dong Tam we experienced yet another "close call" when the Viet Cong launched a single mid-afternoon 107MM rocket that landed within 50 yards of me:
A C-7 Caribou airplane served as our Taxi to Saigon. I'll never forget it. We all consumed large quantities of beer the evening before. The Caribou was renowned for landing and taking off in short spaces. The pilot did not disappoint us. It seemed like he accelerated and launched at a 45 degree angle. Many of us almost lost our stomach contents.
Barry Duschanek and Alexander Lincoln - Bruce Vance and Tom Brunner in Saigon.
On the left just after arriving in-country in July 1968. On the right I'm at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, somewhat gaunt and weary, but happy as I await my ride home.