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Thursday, 15 January 2009

Tay Ninh, South Vietnam 1965. The airport and its defence force

Tay Ninh airport
Photos courtesy of John Hansen

The wreckage of a C123. I never did like flying in them. Full of soldiers, guard dogs, baggage and what have you. I remember taking off from Tan Son Nhut once in one. There was heavy cloud. As we gained height we just missed colliding with a chopper on our left wing tip.
The Canadian Caribou was a real pleasure though and I always found them as graceful as a swan. On the run to Phan Thiet the Australian pilots would fly at tree top height with the cargo door open which was a little hard on ones nerves.
If I remember correctly the United States lost over ten thousand aircraft and helicopters in the Vietnam war from all causes.
Once when I was in the Saigon reuters office I noticed a photo on the wall. It was of a caribou cut in two by friendly artillery. I doubt thogh that the cew thought it so friendly during their hopeless plummet to the ground.
I asked who took the photo. I was told a Japanese photographer; he himself trod on a mine about two weeks later, end of story.

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