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Christmas 1969

Something to Smile About

For those who may not have thought about it (most of you) there’s not much time off for holidays in the midst of a war. Sure, in Vietnam, there were the USO shows with Raquel Welch and Bob Hope (1967, before my time) but even those times were fraught. Other angles of this photo show many carrying M16s and sidearms. So, we took our moments of fun and joy where ever we found it.

Raquel Welch, Danang, 1967 Raquel dancing on stage with about 5 GIs at the Bob Hope Christmas show in Danang. This was 2 years before I arrived in-country and guys were still talking about it.
Raquel Welch, Danang, 1967

Below is a memory from Christmas 1969 from the old French air traffic control tower at Danang.  The C7 Caribou awaiting takeoff behind the OV10 Bronco and C130 Hercules (Herky) had Santa painted on the nose. If memory serves, I had to run downstairs to grab my camera and only had a few seconds to grab the shot. The tower was long deactivated so we used it as our shop where we ran a potload of radio equipment. Think of it as a Vietnam era “server room.”

C7 Caribou with painted Santa nose in line to take off at Danang Air Base, Vietnam, 1969 behind an OV10 Bronco observation/surveillance plane which is behind a C130 Hercules (aka Herky Bird.) I flew aboard both C7s and C130s, delivering supplies to little podunk airfields.
C7 Caribou awaiting take-off at Danang


Exterior of building we used as our shop. There are several flags visible including a tattered California state and American flag. The other flags are not identifiable but I recall one was from North Carolina.
Old French control Tower, Danang Vietnam 1969

This bottom photo is the exterior of the old French control tower. I brought home the CA and US flags. I burned both when it became obvious that they had reached end-of-life. The CA flag had been left behind by a previous GI and it had seen better days. I was told it had once taken shrapnel from a near miss but I can’t vouch for the story.

Recently, while cleaning out some junk, I came across boxes of old 35mm slides. I used a Costco service to have them scanned. It’s not exactly top quality but it gets the job done. I’ll post more as I sort through 500 slides.


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