At breakfast, the guys stationed here, tell me they got used to it; after a while!
I say my good-byes to the 21st Infantry Division Advisory Staff, and bum a ride out to the airfield about 1000 hours. Don't really know what time Delta Flight 440 is going to get here, but I have a seat - at least I hope I do. Delta Flight 440 is an Air Force C-7, a Caribou, that makes the passenger and supply and mail run from Saigon, to Can Tho, to Soc Trang, to Bac Lieu, to Ca Mau, and back to Saigon.
I sit in the shack used by one of our companies that is working construction for the division headquarters and doing maintenance and repair work at the airfield. The company commander, and one of his platoon leaders and I drink several cups of tea, and some of the ARVN come up, bow, and shake my hand.
Sometime around noon, 440 comes in, and a couple GIs get off, with gear; and I get on! They look at me, and I look at them, not really noticing; but wondering briefly if they are newbees. None of them is an engineer officer, so I know my replacement is still not here. But, I don't care! Naw, it is stronger than that, I don't give a damn!
The ramp closes, the engines roar, and we dash down the runway. We pass the spot where a burned out huey lay for a few months earlier last year. I never did find out what happened, but I was told the crew got out. Lift off! The crew chief sees my smile, and asks, "Going home, Sir?" I somehow, couldn't speak, but he could read my nod!
A few minutes, and we land in Ca Mau! Mail is tossed, and the An Xuyen Province Senior Advisor gets on, with a bunch of gear! The Province Chief, and a few strap hangers see him off, and he sits next to me, and said to the crew chief, "Let's get the hell out of here before we get shelled!" He remembers that I stayed over night six times, and six times Ca Mau got shelled the day after I left.
He smiles as we take off, and said he was glad to be going home. He has a flight out of TSN in two days, and is headed for duty in the Pentagon. I tell him that I am going to Ft Belvoir, and he says to look him up in the logistics office. "Yeah," I say, with no intention of doing so.
It is a direct flight to Saigon, and shortly after lunch, we land. The SA rates a jeep, which he invites me to share, and with our gear, we crowd in, and get a ride to the MACV HQ Company. The set up here is much better than the old Koelper Compound. I make arrangements to leave SSG Bell's gear with the First Sergeant while I get situated. The Colonel and I get a ride to the transient quarters, and check in.
I called the Army Transportation Officer, per instructions, and verified that I was on the Embassy Flight Thursday morning! Yes, he said, and I feel some relief.
That evening, chow was in the MACV mess hall, and they even had ice cream! First time in a year! After dinner, I killed time by watching a movie in MACV's outdoor theater. My Fair Lady was being shown, and I reflected on the first time I saw it, a couple years ago, with Liliane, CWO Roy Brown, and his wife.
Four and a wake-up!