Saw Mike Hodges post about his
only incident of cussing in Vietnam and it reminded me of
Myself, two slick pilots,
Joe Sheeran, and Ed (flame over the Delta) Gallager, and
a Cobra Jock, Ray Murphy, had gone to Saigon on an off
day to visit a friend that had been in a bad Crash,
Slicky-pooh from one of our Vinh Long Asphalt Companies,
I believe his name was Jim Miller. We had taken a loach
and of course as I was the only one who had mastered the
beast was flying!
While in Saigon we went to an Air Force Officers
Club. We were sporting Stetsons, Cav Scarves
and Cocky attitudes. Managed to have a group of Air
Force shits get us drunk while telling many a
We then bought 22 bottles of Matuse wine and brought it
back to the hospital. It was dark by now and the
only cups we could find were urinals and these itty bitty
paper cups used to dispense
medicine. Before long the whole ward was
drunk and getting too loud. In comes the ugliest,
and oldest round eyed nurse I had ever seen. She
got quite indignant, called us a few names I can't repeat
on this net, and through us out.
Our nest mission was to decide who was sober enough to
fly the loach home. After about 20 minutes of
drinking more wine and the realization that I was the
only one there rated in the
aircraft, it was agreed I would attempt to fly.
Instincts took over and I managed to get the beast
cranked and started my take off....about 50 feet of the
ground I told Ed Galager he had it,
surrendered the controls to him.... told him how fast to
go and fell asleep!...
I was awaken to AK-47 fire from the rear of the
loach, I snatched the controls back from Ed
thinking he might have taken us low level, at night and
we had run into some bad guys.
As my eyes began to focus I began to realize that we were
at about a thousand feet and it was the two
dipshits in the back of the loach firing just to
watch all the sparks come out the barrel of the AK.
Trying to get my bearings I looked down and noticed Ed
had been flying in a near Southern heading. This should
have taken us to Vinh Long. It was really
black that night and the lack of lights, other then
military installations, made it hard to figure out where
we were. Then I spotted what I thought should
be Vinh Long. We had another discussion about it
and it was unanimous.... it was either Vinh Long or Can
I then called the Vinh Long Tower, requesting landing
instructions and trying not to sound drunk.
"Vinh LOOOng Towr, shish ish SWarwagonn Swoneniner 5
smiles ow reqeshing lansing Insrutions" The tower
immediately came back advising me I was clear for landing
Rosher that Vinh LOOOng Towr, Coulds I's requesh a
SHTRaing approch!" The Tower Came Back "
Roger 19er your cleared for a straight in approach to
runway 27. Are you all right 19er?
Your radio sounds funny."
Of course a loud round of
laughter could be heard throughout the Aircraft.
"19er turn on your landing light when your on a 1
Roger light at 1 mile I acknowledged.
When I got what I thought to be a 1 mile final I advised
the tower and turned on my landing light. I could see
it reflecting of the haze so I knew it was
on.... then from the tower I hear ,
"19er Please turn on your landing light"
I stated "it is on"
The tower came back "well sir, we don't have a
talley on you are you sure your landing at Vinh
Long" This required an immediate debate among
passengers and crew, and as one pointed out
the officers club about 50 feet below us on the right we
were sure we were at Vinh Long....
Before I could confirm, the tower came back..."
"Warwagon one niner, we have a talley on
you...continue your approach and make your approach
directly to the ground, once on the ground....DO NOT
MOVE! Is that understood one niner!"
I replied ROSHER THAT!
When I touched down all four of us on the Aircraft were
looking about and realized we and landed making our
approach perpendicular to the runway which had us coming
towards the rear of the tower while they were looking to
their left. Several cute comments were made about
how they had changed the runway after we had left that
morning making it the shortest runway in Vietnam but, by
far the widest!
The Tower sent one of our own loach pilots to retrieve
the aircraft.... after receiving a well deserved chewing
out by a SP4 tower operator... he told me that he would
not report me and to never let it happen again.... He
didn't need to worry... I think I scared myself enough
that night not to ever do anything quite that stupid
By the way, Ed Gallager fell in love with the OH-6 that
night and joined the Scout platoon, Ray Murphy also
was so impressed that the 6 had got 4 drunks home without
a "real" pilot, he too
came over to the Scout Platoon and flew Scouts the rest
of his tour!
This was a stupid thing done by
a stupid bunch of kids. It had a happy ending only
because God protects Fools and Drunks!
Never did find out the name of
the Tower Operator that night, would like to thank him
D Troop 3rd of the 5th Air Cav.
Vinh Long 1970/71
©1997 - Rick Waite