3d Air Police Squadron Emblem, Biên Hòa

A2C Horace A. "Buster" Holbrook,
Bronze Star w/V
USAF, 3rd Security Police Squadron,
Biên Hòa AB, RVN

Biên Hòa AB - Rockets!

AL Wall Memorial: Holbrook

by Ron Peterson

3d Air Police hut rocket damage I was with the 3rd Security Police Squadron at Biên Hòa from May 1966 to June 1967. I was off duty on the night of 12 May 1967 when A2C Horace Holbrook was killed in a rocket attack. It was a major attack at Biên Hòa---rockets and the works.
      The photo was taken from the main sidewalk that goes between the huts from the guardmount and armory area to the last huts in the rows. His hut was on the flight line side of the hut rows. There was a taxi way just out from the back of the huts on the left of the sidewalk. There was a bunker barrier with concertina wire on top, then a dirt road, then grass, then the taxi way, more grass and the runway. We used to park our vehicles on the dirt lane next to the bunker wall.
      Several of the guys used to play cards outside of one of the huts. I think the blond haired guy's name is Dorsey. The guy standing in the "T" shirt is named Sullivan. The guy without the "T" shirt is named Brunelle... I was his bunkmate for a while before he rotated back to the states, I think to Connecticut.

3d Air Police members playing cards   3d Air Police members playing cards

      The alert was sounded that we were taking in-coming. There was a lot of confusion at first, it was our first time hit. I remember diving in a house bunker near the latrine. Holbrook's hut was on the other side of the latrine. We heard the rocket coming, sounded like breaking a bundle of cedar kindling. Then it hit.
      I remember seeing every color in the spectrum, a tremendous rush of air in and out of the bunker, and the deafening explosion. It was quiet for a second and then we could hear a lot of screaming. There were two guys I had just gotten to know, named Murray and A1C David Ware. Ware got pinned between his bunk and the wall and had a huge hole in his side, he was dragged into the bunker I was in (sure would like to find either of those guys).
      I am sure about David Ware's side injury. When I came back in to the hut area after daylight I saw the hut where Holbrook had been. I remember being told that the guy with the side injury that was dragged into the other end of the bunker had been pinned between the end of his bunk and the wall that was still standing. I have doubted my own memory several times about those days. I don't remember seeing either of those guys again and I rotated back home shortly after that attack. I think I was told the guy who was screaming with the side injury, David Ware, was medevaced out to a big hospital.
      A lot of the guys just went under their bunks instead of going to a bunker. Holbrook lived at the end of his hut and took cover under his bunk. The rocket came in at the other end and the majority of the damage was on his end. I was told that he misinterpreted the second alert siren for the all clear and had come out of cover and was getting his gear out of his locker when the rocket hit.
      Shortly after the rocket hit on the bunker the rest of us assembled and went to post. I ended up in the new bomb dump on the west end and I had always worked the east end so it was all new ground for me. Spent the rest of the night sitting back to back with a guy I had never met before. Holbrook was talked about as the nice kid from the states. I don't think he had been in country very long.

The 3rd SPS Christmas of 1966 - My dad went out behind our house and dug up a small Douglas fir tree. He wrapped it in wet burlap and 3d Air Police Christmas, 1966 tin foil and shipped in Air Mail to me. We were the only guys that I knew that had a live evergreen Christmas tree decorated for Christmas. That is me in the photo, front of the tree with a small transistor radio my folks sent.
      We planted the tree outside of my barracks and it was still alive when I left. It was an assigned chore to water the Doug Fir everyday. I worked for MSgt Morgan on bunker building duty for a week or so before I processed out.
      Holbrook's death had a major impact on me, I still remember his whole name after all these years. I have always wanted to find his folks or a relative and share what everyone felt about him... that he was a great kid and everyone liked him.

I hope this helps someone to remember other things.

3d Air Police Christmas, 1966   3d Air Police Christmas, 1966   3d Air Police Christmas, 1966

Many years have passed since 1966 at Biên Hòa. The above photo is the first photo that I realized I had Graves disease, a goiter (the big lump on my neck) or what is commonly known now as hyperthyroidism. I have no idea what caused it but I have heard of others getting thyroid disease that were in Nam. I was treated with radioactive iodine at Travis when I got back and have had problems several times over the years. Just last year I had the last part of my thyroid killed with another radio active isotope and I now have to take meds for the rest of my life. I am just finishing up 26 years in law enforcement so it hasn't effected my career but I often wonder how it all started.

Ron Peterson,
Bellingham, Washington

From: James Lebowitz

The comments by Ron Peterson concerning the rocket attack at Biên Hòa in May 1997, and the death of Horace Holbrook, are very accurate to the best of my recollection. In addition the injury sustained by A1C David Ware , several other Security Police sustained various types of wounds. One was Dennis Hahn.
      Concerning the pictures, the person with the blond hair is Dorsey (I do not recall his first name). I am in the last picture on the bottom right---the one without the shirt and in skivey shorts. James Lebowitz

Al Wall Memorial: Holbrook
Al Wall Memorial: Holbrook

Recently the state of Alabamba dedicated the above Alabama Vietnam Memorial in the City of Anniston, AL (Location: Memorial Park, 17th Street and Quintard Avenue). The name of Horace Holbrook appears on the memorial.
      The official AF Casualty book (Hostile) shows that an A1C David WARE was WIA at Biên Hòa on 12 May 1967, during the same attack that killed A2C Horace Holbrook. This information was not known until Ron Peterson asked that it be confirmed by VSPA, and his name added to the VSPA SP Purple Heart Page.
      The following dedication panels are on Alabama's Memorial Wall, including a poem, by a local VN Vet:

   AL Wall Memorial: Holbrook AL Wall Memorial: Holbrook

Special Research by
Record (Capt.), Ken,
VSPA Associate, and Historian

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