We were so remote nobody knews about us

I was stationed in Thailand at a remote site :Phitsanulok: I was there 1970-1971. It was 442nd , 1st sig bg, Company A . Home base was on Korat.

But we were so remote nobody knew about us. There were  about 6 of us. And we ran the MRC 98 link to Chiang Mai. The air force ran the south link to Takli. The reason for the Mrc 98 link was because the lrc 3 air force link to Chiang Mai had to be shut down because the antennas in Chiang Mai were higher than the kings home. And nothing could be higher than the kings home. So the MRC 98 link was put in by the army.

We had no base there we had to provide our own housing and food. Which the army Pay subsidized. No flush toilets or hot water for a year.

A lot of CIA and Air America contacts, and US special forces camp near By. It took the Thai 3rd Army to guard us.

On a hot day going down town and swimming in the city fountain.

Buffalo grass was high around it and a road crossed the runway ?sort of visible now?. I remember one time I was crossing the runway with our jeep and the C-130 was taking off. The C-130 was at full power moving down the runway and I slammed on the breaks. I stopped before the runway, and the pilot rotated and pulled it straight up it seemed. It almost blew me out  of the jeep and into the grass. I can still see the pilots face in the window. Glad he didn?t hit the JADO.  I knew what he was thinking for I was also a pilot. Been flying myself since high school.
I can`t believe I remember all this stuff. A lot of stories, Salubies Bar, Kay?s Dinner, When there`s  no base camp you would get bored when Off duty. On a hot day going down town and swimming in the city fountain till the Thai police would kick you out. Had to work on the old jeep and van in order to have transportation. No motor pool. Even on the Com Equipment we had to hot wire to keep things running till parts would come in. We were sort of like McIver. We were wild and crazy when off duty, On duty we were the best and dedicated. Everyone was great,
Even the air force guys. We always ribbed each other. Can`t remember what they would call us when ribbing. We called them Zoomies.

It was all fun.

Sappers

There were of course tense time`s. Mortar fire walking in one night, Charley pacing it off from the railroad line one day,

Thai 3rd Army did a great job. Oh and me swimming at the first water falls near Laos one day, Pulling a fishing line made from Claymore trip wire. And one night a Tiger was seen in the area- NOBODY was out for days.

Couldn’t make it to the site one night when a Python about 12in in diameter and 20ft long was crossing the dirt road. Many things start coming back in bits and pieces.

Water Festival (Songkran)

Water Festival . Were it was ok to through water on people. Well we went a little farther. Took out the back seat of our jeep. Loaded a 55gal drum in the back of the jeep, used the gas water pump from the site and a section of the fire hose. And away we went through the town of Phitsanulok.

The Thai`s loved it. When we needed more water! Of course there was the city fountain for water refuel time. They got us really wet too. I still remember this well dressed lady riding in a samla. I felt bad- she got a lot of water.

I also remember hot nights walking out near the airport which then was mostly rice patties. The Thai`s would set up these blue florescent tubes to attract these Hugh rice beetles. They were the size of hockey pucks. Don’t let one hit you in the head. When these beetles flew in and dropped in the water. The Thai kids would run out and get them. “ beats video games”. Some would eat them on the spot. They were challenging to find once the beetle hit the water and went under. It would raise a small tube for air.

There was always a bug of the month, where it would swarm everywhere. Some flew- some didn’t.

Remember the big red ants, The one`s with an attitude. We had several large trees in our hooch area. These ant`s would live in the trees, bending the leaves and small branches into a ball, sort of looked link a big hornets nest. You didn’t want to piss them off. They were mean, bite, and seemed like they could always find you.

The other mean one`s were the scorpions. During the cold periods they would crawl under the refrigerator to keep warm, would use a hose to wash them out.

We had a banana plant located in our hooch area. When they came ripe, they were the best I ever had. So was most all the food we got locally.

Would go down to the city market early morning before the flies got there. Would go to the chicken ranch and order a chicken { American Style }

That means without the head, feet and gutted!. It would still be warm. Thai`s loved to chew on fried chicken feet. The Pork was better than any Rib house. Eggs too were great. All the food was great. We did go down to the PX in Bangkok  about every couple of weeks. Would take turns on who would go. That is another long story.

Remembering the Camp

It appears the new runway is over the old just longer on the south end. There was no taxiway back then. Planes had to taxi  using the main asphalt runway. What I thought was the old runway is I think just swamp and cut buffalo grass.

Our Hooch's are still there. Could still make out the old fish sauce factory next to them. Remember the fish sauce. NookMaam or Naamplaa depending on where you were from. I can still remember that stuff rotting out in the hot
sun. It wasn't that bad-We had to live and eat like Thai`s. Got to speak Thai pretty good.

Now: a little lesson on fish sauce: They would cut the heads and tails off of the fish and put them in a wood
Barrel out in the hot sun and let in really rot. "Smell". The barrel had a spicket at the bottom. After several
Months they would drain off the goo. Cook it to kill all the bacteria, then filter it. And put it in bottles.
It was dark and sort of poured like maple syrup. Yumm.!

Exciter 10 Watt Transmitters

Both Exciter 10 Watt transmitters were in one trailer with both receivers and Mux in the other trailer. It later pictures you can see the inside interconnect with duct work for the cables. I remember one night the fan belts on the big water pump/motor in the front of the trailer broke.

Hence the water flow to cool the Anode stopped. Well there was a flow switch in the bottom near the floor. But they would corrode and we found that the switch was held closed by a book of matches put there quite some time before. The Klystron exploded and blew the bottom anode off. It filled the trailer with a purple gas. Couldn’t breathe the air. That trailer was down for about a week till we got a new one. Of course it came in late on a afternoon.

I was still on night shift. I really liked the challenge  of replacing it. The Klystron was about 4 feet long, 5 in diam, with ceramic area`s for 3 external

Cavities. It took? About 3 hours to tune the Klystron. But the hard part was tuning the Diplexer. It took almost 6 hrs. to tune. The Diplexer takes the transmitters signal- splits into X and Y polarity Cavity’s for transmit and has a X and Y polarity cavities for the different Receive Frequency.

The unit is strange looking. I called it the X-mas tree.

US Air Force military police

I never talked much to the Air Force MP, or new his name. He moved around, sometimes at site, sometimes at JUSMAG center, sometimes with US special forces, And of course sometimes in our local bar. He was very quiet. He also had his own jeep. And was always carrying. I think he may have been married to a Thai girl.?

We Thought We Were Under Attack

One day will in the site working we heard this sort of explosion and the trailer lights went dark and smoke started coming from everything.

As fast we could we started turning breakers off. We thought we were under attack. There was this strange noise from outside. When opening the doors for light. The generator trailer was smoking. We ran inside the trailer. We had a local who operated the trailer. He was so nervous we thought he was not on or side. Even a bunker guard came over. We hit ever off button we could see.

The electrical system was practically  melted at the busses. Found that the operator was switching from one generator to the other. He got the light phasing wrong. So both generators were fighting each other. Completely out of phase. I was surprised both diesel/generators didn’t rip the trailer apart.

I think we stayed on Ampac power for the rest of my tour. Sort of remembered  changing a lot of fuses and making fuses out of strands from an extension cord.

Python on road

This picture was taken near the front gate of the site, where the other pictures were taken. It is of DORA the Air Force air control system. I don’t remember much about it even thought I went past it all the time. It rarely turned, and I sort of remember grass almost covered it later on.

This is the dirt road that went back and across the airport runway to our hooch’s. In this picture it seems they were working on it. I don’t remember it that wide. Usually  only room for one vehicle. When it rained it was like a muddy mountain logging road. This is  the road where one night I saw two Thai 3rd Army guys with riffles butting this sort of log in the road. When I stopped to help I couldn’t figure why are the hitting this log with their riffles. The I found out

Quickly it was a large Python. I jumped back into the jeep. They chased it into the tall grass. They couldn’t shoot it or the whole area go on alert.

They told me they are great to eat.? I really wanted a cheeseburger and fries.

The Train Ride

The Train brings back another story. Working on electronic equipment doesn’t give you much of work out. So we would lift weights and run. And the best place to run and not get attacked by dogs was on the runway at the airport. Thai Airways came in twice a day. Once on the way to Chaing Mai from Bangkok and later on back to Bangkok. Small twin engine turbo prop. So most of the time it was quiet.  While running one day I wasn’t looking at the ground and stepped on a rock and twisted my ankle. Yes it was a rock on the runway, imagine that. Foot swelled so bad my boot was a cast. Later next week I took the Supply aircraft back to Bangkok. By that time I could walk fairly good. Got it X-rayed and I fractured one of my foot bones. It was put in a cast. By the way which never dried due to the hot humid conditions .

Now to get back to Site I would have to wait till next week`s supply aircraft. Well by now I could speak Thai OK but could understand better. So LETS take the train. What a trip. There was 3 classes of travel. 1st,2nd and 3rd class. 3rd class you sat on a bench with the people and the pigs and chickens, 2nd class you sat on a bench without the pigs and chickens around, and 1st class was on a bench without the pigs and chickens-but you got a fan to keep the flies away and offered a little cooling. 1st Class for me!. I didn’t think it would take very long. This train stopped at every hooch on the way. I don’t think it got over 20mph before it stooped again it took about 11hrs for the trip. And when arrived back at site after all that the cast was completely disintegrated and crumbled away due to the humidity. It was of no use. I cut it off with a knife.

Hootch stories and Monsoon Rains

Our hootch’s. They were almost new when we started living there. They were above ground for a reason. The Rainy season!
During the rainy Season it would start to rain every day around 4 pm. AND NON STOP DOWN POURS TILL MIDNIGHT, I remember that sometimes it was so hot and the rain was so  warm.
It was nice to just sit out in it. The area around the buildings would flood a little till the next day and them more rain and mud. Two guys shared a hooch with a central Bathroom in the middle. No flush toilet- just the pads on the floor ( Squat) and hole in the floor. A bucket to dip in the klon jar for water to wash it down. We filled the klon jar at night. This let the dirt settle out by morning use. No hot water just dip the buck in and pour over your head. Most the time the cool water felt good but during winter months It did get cold from what you had gotten used to. It did get cold enough during winter that you could see your breath some times. And the water was just as cold then. This water you used just flowed out of the bottom of the hooch in a little cement channel to the bigger dirt ditch and that was that. Toilet waste went into a holding tank. Then pumped now and then. Being above the ground also kept out the critters. The area below on the ground level had some cement basins used for laundry. And hanging cloths to dry, No Maytag washer or Dryer. We also had a small propane stove and refrigerator below. Pretty good living for the place and time, Some Army Quarters were not this good. The floors were teak-shoes always off. And after a while you got use to the fish sauce factor.
We all had house girls. Not what you would think. These were trust worthy people. There were two Thai ladies that worked our area. I think 3 days a week, Cleaned our places, washed our cloths. One picture shows the small bucket they used to wash the cloths and sometimes beat them on the cement pad. Both of these ladies had husband in the Thai 3rd Army.
The Army subsidized our pay to accommodate our living quarters and for food. When it was pay day it seemed everybody knew the sound of the Beach King Air Airplane
Which was of course the pay officer. We got paid in Thai currency. And then paid our bills.
My room was small but very good, Several fans and a transistor short wave radio for listening to what ever to pass the time. A Very Quiet place.
And of course the infamous ( FUCK YOU LIZARD ) would wake us up many nights. And you always checked the bed for scorpions.
We had field phones wired all the way to our site. One night mortar rounds were heard in the distance but kept getting closer. So close we almost had to leave. The Thai 3rd Army did a great job.
I did mention before the local food was great. Got it early at the markets and it was usually very good. It was a great experience to live in/as a different culture for a full Year. No Phones, TV, Radio, No Internet!, Different money, Language, Food, People, Culture, Climate, Anyway you get the idea.
There are a couple pictures of our Site dogs. The one of the single dog was Boo. He was afraid of his shadow. But He had Rank. So we called him Major Boo.

PX Trip to Bangkok

Each month one of us would take turns going to Bangkok for supplies for all of us. We would get everybody’s ration card take the pay officers king air back to

Bangkok hit the PX- max everybody’s ration card for booze, cigarettes, beer, and what was ever was on it plus other things. The PX had a freezing section so when you were done you would box it and label the destination. You would usually have to stay in Bangkok one or two nights. I believe the army hotel was the Windsor?. It was more like the mustang ranch of Bangkok . Sometime I would not like to fly military back to the site if I Knew the plane was a Caribou,

The old twin rotary engine, hot, leaking gas tank, aircraft. So one time I decided to be adventurous again. Not the Railroad this time.

I took Thai Airways. Very nice I think I even got a free drink?.

Made Our Own Movie Theater

Maybe 3 times during the year we would get a movie from the Army- Projector and all. I don’t remember what the movies were.

Would set them up in our hooch area play them on a sheet across the drive area. Cartoons and all. What really surprised me. During a cartoon- all of  sudden I heard these kids laughing. I turned back and about a dozen little children and crawled into our area to watch the movie- sort of hiding just out of site. We told to come on up.

I think we played the cartoons several times.

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