1st LT ...
Silver Butter-Bar
Bouncing Along, Oblivious
© 1998, by: Bruce M. Geiger
 

The sound of a mortar tube was barely perceptible over the routine flight line noise of jet engines and generators. But the crump ... crump ... crump of impacting 81mm mortar rounds was clearly heard. This time, the rounds were fired from within a friendly village called Dog Patch, located nearby Đà Nẵng Air Base.
      I knew the drill of what a village search would find: Papasan...so sorry you're pissed we woke you up ... you very light sleeper ... what? You didn't hear the mortar tube firing---right next door? The base-plate is still there! By the way ... how are your two VC sons ... the ones that never seem to be around? What? No VC ... but Papasan ... they no students ... they no ARVN. Go back to bed, Papasan ... so sorry we woke you ... and good luck putting your neighbor's roof back on tomorrow.
      Between 1964 and 1973, attacks against major USAF Main Operating Bases in Vietnam and Thailand nearly 500 times, destroying 100 plus aircraft and damaging over 1,200. In Vietnam, only 21 actual sapper attacks occurred against these large bases during the entire war, destroying five aircraft, damaging 21, and with some loss of munitions and fuel. Sapper attacks were more numerous and costly against USAF Thailand Air Bases (8 AC destroyed and 49 damaged).
      Counter-battery fire discouraged prolonged mortar or rocket fire against USAF Main Bases. At Tan Son Nhut AB, it took 3 mortar rounds to damage one aircraft. At Phan Rang AB, 20 rounds were necessary to damage one aircraft.


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