VIETNAM CHRONICLES

CAPTAIN RICHARD L. KLOPPENBURG

SHORT STORIES FROM 1966-1967 IN VIETNAM

TRUE BUT UNTOLD STORIES
VIETNAM WAS THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF MY GENERATION

Carson and me looking for airplanes- to Saigon

After the 183rd Aviation arrived in Dong Ba Thin, Vietnam we had NO airplanes to fly. The airplanes has been disassembled in Stockton, California and loaded on to old Victory ships and sent to Vietnam, The wings had been taken off and the wings and the airplane were loaded into wooden boxes for shipment. Major Buck and Major ??? selected Captain Gerry Carson, who was the maintenance officer, to travel to other ports or entry to locate the airplanes. We went to Cam Rahn Bay and hitched a ride with the Air Force to Vung Tau. The airplanes had not arrived in Vung Tau. We decided to fly to Saigon the next morning to continue our search. That night we decided to go to the Officer’s club for a drink. I met one of my flight school classmates at the club. He was flying Mohawks and showed me a giant propellor on the wall of the Officer’s Club, which was from his airplane. A few weeks before he told me that he was flying at night and was on final approach. to Vung Tau, a Vietcong machine gun opened up and shot the airplane down. He told me that he had one pendulum effect on his parachute when he hit the ground. He was lucky and was picked up by an Army Huey immediately.

During our visit to the Officer’s Club we found an Australian round eye stripper prying her trade, which was in progress. Our thoughts were, “if this is what Vietnam is about, this will be a great tour of duty”?:

The next morning we booked a flight on an Army Caribou to Saigon? We had to be at the Vung Tau airfield for a flight that left at 4:00 in the morning! We entered the Caribou from the read door and found thew airplane was empty. The airplane started taxiing out to the active runway. After a few minutes the airplane stopped and the rear door lowered. We looked out the window and saw an old old Cadillac hearse backing up to the rear door. The rear of the ambulance opened and two NCS’s carried two body bags into the the rear of the airplane and positioned the body bags just in front of us on the floor of the aircraft. The body bags had a tag at the top of the bag. I then reached down to read what was printed on the tag. The tag had the name Lt. ????. I asked the NCOS what had happened ? They told me that they both had been killed in action the night before on an artillery out post? They were on the way to Graves Registration in Saigon. Captain Carson and I did not say ONE word to each other on the 30 minutes flight to Saigon? WELCOME TO VIETNAM?