Bien Hoa AB Photos, 1971, by Donald L. Hooper

Biên Hòa AB
Sgt Donald L Hooper (RIP 1985)

Received from Sgt Hooper's son:
© 2011, by Scott Hooper

1971

Submitted by: John W. (Jack) King ,
Cam Ranh Bay AB, 12th SPS;
Phu Cat AB, 37th SPS; 12th SPS;
Biên Hòa AB, 6251st SPS

1970-1972

Photo Left:  Heavy footprints stamped in sand is very telling about these combatants.  Two cultures at war: one high-tech and the other still running barefoot in nearby rain forests and the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  But who has the will to endure the grinding rigors of war and politics? Four more years of war until the winning hand will play. But who won? The United States: 58,000 plus dead. Vietnam: military (NVA/VC) 1.5 million (stat per Gen Giap in conversation with US Sec. State Henry Kissinger. [Don Poss]

Photos are from an undeveloped roll of film, taken by Sgt Donald L. Hooper (RIP), developed by his son Scott, and submitted by VSPA member Jack King.
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In 1971, I was good friends with Sgt Donald L. Hooper at Biên Hòa Air Base.
We both worked together and spent three nights in Saigon before leaving to come home in late November of 1972. I was discharged and Donnie went on to a stateside base. I recently learned that Donnie died some ten years afterwards and am in contact with his son, Scott. Apparently after Donnie died they found a roll of undeveloped film which was processed. His son sent the 105 pics from Biên Hòa to me... I was wondering if we could set up a page and place them all on the VSPA website. I think his son and would like that and I think it would be a great memorial to Donnie. Some of the guys in the pics have been identified and I have shared with them. We are attempting to recreate each photo.  One is me giving the finger to Donnie as it appears he was waking me up for the photo. Another is a member of our association, Marty Farley, working in Customs.

Sgt Donald (Donnie) L. Hooper and I both got to Biên Hòa about the same time in November of 1971. I got there on the 3rd but all November guys were involuntarily extended to the end of November 1972 due to lack of replacements. A Marine flight of A-6s were brought in and 500 combat Marines that were detached to our SP flight which probably numbered about 100 at that time. We were getting the stuff kicked out of us at the time and ironically yesterday was to the day forty years ago that we received quite a big pounding resulting in many guys getting wounded and I think one killed. The Easter Offensive and Nixon's re-election campaign was in full swing and that was the backdrop.

Anyway, they really wanted to get our bomb dump and next to that was the Vietnam dump, which on September 10, 1972 they did get to blowing up the whole thing killing about 50 people. We only guarded our dump which are many of the pics and quick reaction teams (QRT) and Sats (SAT).  Plus we had the main gate and another gate that went into Biên Hòa Army which is in the pics (with Donnie) taken from the AF side and jointly manned by the MPs, QCs and us.

The duty roster was saved by me and I sent it to Scott. It was our last night working and the next morning we out processed there and went to Saigon. The Baker units were assigned to the our bomb dump, and the Able units were SAT patrols and the other members were Marines which would be assigned later. SP units were ARVN supplemented and members assigned later. Police units were L/E patrol.  Police-5 was the main gate. Q50 was a big Marine Quick reaction team with maybe 15 guys and one of us. Underlined names were also EFD. They were trying to give us as many breaks as they could after the Marines got there.

The pic of the big guy in front of my barracks was Walter Pavick at bigwalnuts@sbcglobal.net, who is not a member but stayed in contact with the Farley Twins (Mike and Marty) which are members and can help with this project. Others that can help are all members, Capt Arnold Houchin our commander, Paul Huff who has many of the after-action reports from the day, Ricard Bennett, Jack Burke (LM) SSgt Alan Farner, Alan Tillman. I will go through the photos and by number give you what I got but the others may be able to fill in my blanks. I don't know why Donnie never developed the film in his lifetime and can only imagine what shortened his life, but us being vets and spending our lives in police work we can easily speculate. I know Donnie was married while there and I do know that the last months at Biên Hòa were not easy. Hope this gives you some background I will send you some more as I get it.

Just got back from Nam. I have some more of Saigon and Nha Trang. This is the back gate of Biên Hòa and me at the same spot where the main gate was. I have changed a little from the photo from 1972 in the same spot the the website.

Jack King

Bien Hoa AB Photos, 1971, by Donald L. Hooper
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>Photos by: Donald L. Hooper
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Bien Hoa AB Photos, 1971, by Donald L. Hooper
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Bomb Dump Tower: Able-10. Bien Hoa AB Photos, 1971, by Donald L. Hooper
30. Bumb Dump Tower: Able-10.
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