by Doug Gorski
Cam Ranh Bay AB 1969-1970

Dear James Blake:  

I haven't thought of my first day in Vietnam since August of 1969. After reading your article in Guardmount, it all came back in a flash. The flight over the, Ocean, stopping in Hawaii to shop in the airport gift shop in the airport gift store while refueling. I still have the dumb black lava rock figurines I took to Vietnam with me.
       Arriving on the tarmac, waiting for the stairs to be pushed to the open door, the humidity and stanched filled air hit my face. I knew immediately that it wasn't Oz out there. Entering the terminal hanger full of servicemen from Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, with Foreign and Vietnam troops all coming and going. When I saw that cyclone fence reaching to the ceiling in the middle of the hanger I remember saying to myself, "no deposit, no return.'
       I sat down with all the others waiting to be processed in an orderly manner when I heard a loud voice say, "All Security Police come to the head of the line." I remember feeling privileged because I was given special treatment over all the rest of the troops. Not realizing they just wanted the Security Police out on the perimeter as soon as possible to put it all on the line.
       In front of the hanger was a bus to take me to the hooch area and report to the duty Sergeant. He assigned me to a hooch that held five other airmen who had wood crosses in between the sand bags and the hooch wall. I asked, "What's with the crosses," and they told me that every time they killed a rat in the hooch, they make another cross for the graveyard. I definitely knew I was now in the land of Odd and in no time I fit right in.
       Thanks for helping me remember that first day, I now have it down on paper with some of my other fond memories. 

Welcome Home,

Doug Gorski


Cam Ranh Bay AB

 Photos: Guardmount - April 1997

Reprinted from VSPA Guardmount - Jul 1997 We Take Care of Our Own
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