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TLC Mission: Water? You Want Water?
1972

By: Robert Arnau
© © 2000
 

All those who served in Thailand during the Vietnam "unpleasantness", will surely remember the annual Water Festival! For those who didn't, the Thai's douse each other with water on that day in a good humored manner to celebrate a cultural tradition.

Wanting to fit in with the local customs, the members of the US Air Force eagerly joined in with this custom. Occasionally (as described below) a few would carry the celebration a bit further than envisioned by local custom!

Let's see, isn't the Thai water festival called Sonkron (sp)? If I remember my Thai culture, the idea is for an individual to dip their finger tips in a bowl of water with flower petals floating around and then gently sprinkle the recipient with a few droplets while wishing them good luck and prosperity in the coming year. Oh Yeah! That's pretty much the way we did it at Ubon RTAFB in 1972.

The idiot base commander puts out an edict that all the AF types will observe the tranquility and sublimely of the Thai custom. Translation: no water fights!

So the day starts with a few buckets of water being tossed around. Nothing like sitting in the head in the morning and being christened with a bucket of cold water over the door. That escalates into the F-4 loaders driving down the flight line spraying the area with the old pump water extinguishers. The fire department has technology on their side. It is time to flush out the water tanks in the P-11 pumpers, so out comes the water cannon and they ops check the system. Of course, several unsuspecting FNGs walked into the stream. Purely by accident, I suspect. The hospital troops aren't left out. They make water balloon launchers out of surgical tubing and condoms.

These are crew-serviced weapons whose impact area cover the mail room and the base commander's little pagoda shaped building. Now we're havin' some fun. But the Spectre gunners win the prize for all out cutzpah. They get a variable nozzle, several lengths of 4" main hose, and a hydrant wrench from the fire department. They set up shop at the fire hydrant at the intersection in front of the base commanders office, chow hall, NCO club and the barracks area. A true target rich environment. Everybody gets wet, rank does not have any privileges.

And who should appear upon the scene? Why none other than the 8th TFWs illustrious female captain Intel officer. Her call sign by the crews was "Thunder thighs". She, who reported aircrews to 7th AF for uttering vile oaths and using the "F" word during strike missions while being hammered by gomer. Hell, the gunners, being good 462s, used the "F" word as a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. Whatsoever; instead of walking around the scene, this twit decides to press to test. For a fact, I heard this; "I'm giving you enlisted thugs a direct order not to get water on me". She was last seen rolling down the street sans shoes, blouse, and one very ruined coiffure. You just gotta' love Thai customs.

Well as Sherman said, "War is hell!"

Robert Arnau

 

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