China Beach, Da Nang, Vietnam. In places you could walk out 100 yards and only be waist deep in the 80 degrees water.


Vietnam Security Police Association
366th Security Police Squadron,
China Beach, Đà Nàng, Vietnam
Willingham, William E.
, MSgt (Ret)

My name is Bill Willingham, and I was assigned to the 366th Combat Security Police Squadron, Đà Nàng AB, from June 1968 to March 1970 (22 months). I retired from the Air Force as A MSgt career cop. I worked as a peace officer here in Washington State, and now work for the Boeing CO as a Security Officer.

I just read George Adaza's letter about A1C James Closson's being lost in the South China Sea. I was friends with both James and George, and we lived in the same hutch (third from the end). I will never forget that day as long as I live. It hurt me deeply.

We were at China Beach, near Đà Nàng Air Base, for a Flight Cookout. I was in the water with James and a couple of other guys, playing around. The water began to get rough and large waves began to roll in. At that time I told James and a couple of other guys that we should get out of the water. But all of a sudden we saw a big wave coming in and decided to ride it in to the beach. When the wave got to us we all started swimming like hell for the beach. After a while, I was able to stand up in the waist-deep water. When I looked around I saw Joe and the other guy, but did not see James. We started yelling his name but could not find him.

At that time, the other Flight members hit the water swimming out and looking for James. A couple of guys tried to launch a row boat, but the sea and waves were too rough and the boat kept rolling over.

After a long search, our Flight Sergeant told everyone to get out of the water and on the beach. Some of us were crying, and I remember TSgt Dilly having tears in his eyes. We were told to pack up and get back to the Squadron area. When we left, we all felt like crap. All the Flight members hurt for a long time after this, and I have never forgotten James...

... I can still remember his face.

RIP: James S. Closson, USAF, SVN, 12 Jan 1969.

You Tube: Videos of China Beach:

China Beach, Đà Nàng, Vietnam - Dec. 05 (Red Flag)
China Beach, Đà Nàng, Vietnam - Calm and Beautiful


A1C - Air Force - Regular

21 year old Single, Caucasian, Male
Born on Sep 21, 1947
366th SPS, Đà Nàng AB
Length of service 1 year.
His tour of duty began on Jul 13, 1968
Casualty was on Jan 12, 1969
Body was recovered
Panel 35W - Line 75

Circumstances: Died of accidental drowning
while swimming at China Beach with some friends.