Thailand during the Vietnam War

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Thailand during the Vietnam War

Post by ppearce43 » August 19, 2012, 10:44 pm

I was stationed here in 1966-67. I worked on the flightline for a year, so was pretty familiar with what aircraft was there.
I was in the 432nd Tactical Reconnnaisance Wing, and I worked on RF-4Cs (Phantom II), F-104s (Starfighter), and F-101s (Voodoo). These constituted the bulk, in terms of numbers, of the aircraft here at that time. There were some F-4s also. Of course there were lots and lots of other aircraft here. There was a very small contingent of F102 "Delta Daggers", used strictly for base defense. There were T-28s, A-1Es, HH-53, HH-3 and CH-3B helicopters, C-46s, B-25s, C-130Es, C-47s, AC-47s, an AC-119; in addition, we had several different aircraft at one time or another "on loan" from other bases for short periods of time. And a few one-night unplanned stopovers of some very exotic aircraft.
Air America, whose operations and aircraft were just behind the building out of which I worked, had lots of different types of aircraft. They used C-46s a lot, but they also had their own helicopters, and I remember watching their Porter Pilatus and Helio Couriers heading north after take-off. AA had lots of other types of aircraft, but not many of any one type. Many different types of smaller aircraft such as Cessnas and Beechcraft.

I'd like to add that someone could write a book about the exploits of every one of the aforementioned aircraft and the men that flew and maintained them, and their missions. They all had quite interesting stories.

Just as an aside, there was an old abandoned hanger, not on the flightline but behind it, and I wandered into it one day and found lots of interesting "stuff", including a couple of hand-lettered signs on wood in Japanese.

Many many streets in downtown Udorn were not paved at that time. I used to take a bike up to Nong Khai occasionally just to look around and soak up some local culture.

Because of the amiration I gained for the Thai people, their culture and their country, I returned to Thailand in 1999 for a 2 week vacation with my wife. We did not get near Udorn-Thani, unfortunately, but spent most of our time in the Northwest around the Golden Triangle, and in Nan.

It was fairly challenging work in Udorn on the flightline in the heat back in '66-'67. It was also one of the best years of my life. I had some very very interesting times there.

I'll never ever forget it.

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Thailand during the Vietnam War

Post by thaiinncommando » August 20, 2012, 12:56 am

I'm sure I would get lost downtown today, but I knew Udorn well especially around third circle (counting from the RTAFB gate). My screen name is from those days when my hang out when off duty was a bar called the Thai Inn. It was across the street from the Crown Bathhouse, which was convenient in case my favorite girl butterflied on me before I got there. I served (survived?) two tours. Nov 71-Sep 72 and then 418 days later 73-74 by which time the US was no longer bombing in Vietnam of Laos and with reconnaissance we watched NVN build 4 lane highways to the South abandoning the Ho Chi Minh Trails. The group someone referred to about Udorn veterans is Udorn Research Group @ Yahoo. com.

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Thailand during the Vietnam War

Post by redwolf » August 29, 2012, 12:52 am

Absolutely fascinating stuff, more in-depth than I would have expected. It makes me wonder about the Thais who worked alongside the US contingents back then.

I must be passing them daily in the streets & markets quite a few of the those who lived and worked here back then, -perhaps even many who served in the Thai armed forces back then. Maybe I'll post in Thai to a few of the Thai forums, surely would get some interesting replies.

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Thailand during the Vietnam War

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » August 29, 2012, 1:40 am

A father of a Thai friend of mine, now deceased, drove trucks for the U.S. between Udon and Bangkok carrying military supplies and such. She occasionally went with her father and remembers him having gunfights with Thai/Isaan insurgents along the route at times. Anyway, he was able to make some good friendships with the farangs and worked as a cook for them in Saudi Arabia. Later, they helped him get a job cleaning hotel rooms in the U.S. He had a heart attack, and was flown back to Bangkok where he died. This took place about 18 years ago.

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Thailand during the Vietnam War

Post by maaka » August 29, 2012, 3:41 am

they out there Redwolf. Most of them tend to keep quiet about it for some reason, maybe because alot them served in Laos, which is now red, and abit close to home, even today. My old flame's father worked on a base somewheres, perhaps Udon. I never really got to grill him over the matter, but thats how he learnt english. He drives a tuk tuk, as does a number of other ex Thai Vets. There is a little hunched over tuk tuk driver, with a mangled hand, he speaks english, and is very interesting to talk too..

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Thailand during the Vietnam War

Post by parrot » August 29, 2012, 8:26 pm

There are several business owners in/around Udon who speak GI English. You can pick them out from other English speaker quite easily.

The guy Maaka is talking about often hangs around the big banyan tree behind the Health Office, just down the road from the main post office. It's a small park, big rocks around the banyan tree.....signs in English and Thai. I can't remember his name.....but he speaks passable English and loves to yak about his war days.

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Thailand during the Vietnam War

Post by FrazeeDK » August 30, 2012, 11:20 am

The Thais provided around 25,000 "volunteers" to fight the NVA in Laos through the late 60's and early 70's.. So, yes, you'll find a number of Thais now in their 60's who fought up there.

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Thailand during the Vietnam War

Post by Bandung_Dero » August 30, 2012, 11:53 am

A few years ago we had a reunion of Royal Australian Air Force personal recruited to Wagga Wagga, NSW 1966 for training.

An old friend was telling me he crewed an RAAF Dakota DC3 stationed out of Panang Malaysia to Udon at one time to supply a small contingent of Australians based here in the late 60’s.

But alas: After reading this I decided to do some research, I think he had Udon mixed up with Ubon, where the RAAF had a flight of F86 Sabres from 79 Sqn along with 200 men.

Dakotas, F86’s – 5555 - Oh well I guess we were not much better than a developing country ourselves back then!
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