K O R A T Air Base , T H A I L A N D
January 1968 to June 1968
On the drive from Udorn to Korat the strangest thing happened outside of a small village. There had been a traffic accident between two small civilian cars. It didn't appear to be any injuries but both vehicles were pretty smashed up. The driver of one car (the entire front end was badly crumpled) was wiping glass and debris off the roof of his brand new car with a feather duster. I know the feeling though as we had a woman rearend us when our new car was less than two weeks old but it was still weird.
At Korat it was the same thing all over again. Unload and get back into operation as soon as possible. We were only supposed to be at Korat for around six weeks. My mom upon hearing this news decided to keep her Christmas tree and decorations up for six more weeks. At the end of the six weeks we were extended for another six weeks and on until we ended up being TDY to Thailand for over a year. All the time the Christmas tree remained in my mom's living room. That's the scene we were greeted with when we returned to Ohio on leave in June.
Korat was a much nicer place to be stationed if you enjoyed beautiful scenery and travel. Bangkok was not that far awy and the Gulf of Siam was relatively close. We made several trips to Bangkok while at Korat. The temples and palaces in and around Bangkok were fabulous. We also flew to Utapao Air Base once for an R&R to Pataya Bay. At Pataya I have some home movies of myself water skiing the one time that I was able to avoid the drink. Personally I don't think the boat operator (also my photographer) knew what he was doing or simply delighted in my tumbles.
The mission at Korat was exactly the same as at Udorn. I still don't know the reason for the move. My job at Korat was much more enjoyable than at Udorn although it still entailed maintaining combat flight records for our aircraft and crews. I was also responsible for insuring that everyone got to and from the aircraft and had inflight lunches for the long missions. I had the keys to the jeep all the time so I was roaming the flight line taking crew members to the aircraft just to get out. It really was a demanding job and I received the Air Force Commendation Medal for my accomplishments with Project Rivet Top.
Just like at Udorn we had plenty of occasions to participate in sports at Korat and there were great souvenirs to buy from the local merchants. We still have a set of three carved teakwood elephants that I bought there. The largest of the three weighs about thirty pounds.
The only good thing to come out of the extended TDY
was that just about everyone in the suadron was given their choice of where they were to be stationed when we left Thailand. Sort of. You could return to MacDill if you wanted (I didn't...There was too much humidity in Tampa). In lieu of Florida, you could pick three bases and be assigned where you were needed most. My choices were Langley AFB in Virginia and Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio and Luke AFB, Arizona. The northeast United States was on my dream sheet from the first time I ever saw one. To this point MacDill was the closest I ever got to being stationed there. Naturally we got Luke again but we didn't really care as it was a great place to live and we still had a lot of friends there.
STATIONED AT LUKE AGAIN
To Home Page