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Thursday, 1 March 2007

Goodbye Van Kiep. Viet memories

At about the time the new colonel arrived there were some US army engineers doing some construction work on the American compound. They were very undisciplined and amongst other things either didn't shave or tried to grow beards. The new US colonel blamed this on my beard giving a bad example. He banned me from the mess. I had been on the base for over two years and he only two weeks.
I was by this time rather tired. I had only had one proper weeks leave and needed a breath of fresh air. I could probably have carried on quite well without the messing facilities but we had always had very good relations with the army at the camp but were in no way subject to their dress code. I had always considered myself very correctly dressed, always in clean pressed khaki drills when I came on or off duty, plus my beret or bush hat. So I said good bye to Van Kiep never to set foot there again. When a year later I was ordered back I refused and went to Tay Ninh instead.
I went to Saigon and became one of those odd bods who hung around the office for some time before deciding to leave the country on long leave.
During this time the new colonel killed himself whilst driving down the road to Vung Tau at night without lights at high speed and slammed into a broken down lorry. Rather a waste to get killed that way when he could have been honourably killed in battle.

1 comment:

whalepass said...

Sir, I've enjoyed reading your blog I too was in Van Kiep the same time you were. I was with advisory team 89 and spent my first 6 months in Duc Thanh North of Nui Dat. I was an RTO (radio operator). I was then transfered to VK to operate the radios there and pack them on perations when needed. I remember the Lt. Col you talked about. I too was 'approached' by him in the mess hall one morning. I had pulled a 24 hr shift in the radio bunker and had for gotten to blouse my pant legs. I never ate breakfast again after that. I was also in the radio bunker when word of the LT Col being killed on the road. Anyways, I'm enjoying your blog and it does bring back memories. Bruce Robinson whalepass@hotmail.com

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