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Sunday, 16 July 2017

More from Van Kiep: part 1: Vietnam, notes & photos 1965 1975


More from Van Kiep: part 1

The build up of US forces was slowly catching up with us. I mentioned earlier that we had received a 3/4 ton but not our jeep. We also received our own GI. I'm not quite sure what he was there for. The only time he wore a uniform was when his major showed up to pay him. He lived somewhere in Vung Tau and more or less kept the same hours as we did.

Speaking of the major. A new one, not the one we first had who had kept a discreet distance. This one showed up one day unannounced and walked in to the op's room to find our station chief, John, relaxed in his chair, feet up on the desk, a cold beer in his hand. In other words what was understood to be a normal state of readiness. The major was evidently none too pleased. John though had a grade of GS13 which outranked the major. Another source for friction. There had been a station chief on Green Slave in the Bahamas who kept the fridge locked throughout the day and only unlocked it at six o'clock in the evening. Not that I was there at the time, so there was no mutiny. There was of course the station chief of Green Slave in Phan Thiet, who was found passed out amongst a pile of empty beer cans on the op's room floor. He was fired and later died of cirrhosis in Thailand. In Van Kiep we kept a sensible level.

 I cannot remember the station ever being off the air. Duty always came first. We had all been in the services but were no longer mad. In the Bahamas we used to paint the diesel house floor when there were inspections. But that was for the US navy.

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