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Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Phan Thiet. Vietnam Memories

I was posted to Phan Thiet a few days later. I caught an Australian piloted Caribou. Always pleasant fellows to fly with. As I suffered from some form of vertigo their habit of flying just above the trees was most comforting as the fear engendered completely drove the vertigo away.
Phan Thiet was on the coast in 2 Corps, in the southern part of Central Vietnam. It was known for it's 'Nuoc Mam', that pungent fish sauce that accompanied almost all Vietnamese cooking. 'Nuoc' is a Vietnamese word that means liquid, the 'mam' is the fermented fish paste that is the base of the sauce. The best is said to come from the island of Phu Quoc. I would agree. I'm quite sure though that the smell of the fermenting fish is of the same quality in both towns. I like it, the sauce that is, and those that do not should not venture to Vietnam.
The Decca station was at the airfield which was on high ground to the south of the town, with a high cliff on one side dropping down to the sea. Between the airfield and the town was an unkempt cemetary with a raised road going down through it. The town itself was cut in two by a river.
The airfield was a base of the 101st Airborne Division when I was there. A very small company sized camp with a battery of South Vietnamese 155s, a field hospital in an old French buiding covered with lovely tiles, all of which would be blown off during my stay.
No fixed wing aircraft were kept on the airfield although there were some helicopters, but after some damage caused by mortars and rockets these were moved out every night.

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