Status Report: Situation Normal, All . . .

Back To The

by: Gary McClendon
© 1999

SNAFU, Back to Vietnam - 1971

This did not seem funny to me at the time it happened.

Now this ain't no crap . . . (sorry...but for you folks who did not go to VN, this is the way it has to start):

S . . .

In 1971 I received orders while in Germany to attend the Fixed Wing Transition Course at Ft. Stewart and Ft. Rucker enroute to an assignment in Vietnam. The war was winding down and I had two six months TDY's with Special Forces and a tour flying helicopters behind me already.

N . . .

All through school and during my leave I kept reading in the Army Times about tour curtailments of guys in Vietnam and orders being changed for those that thought they were going. When I got my travel orders I was told to report to Ft. Dix, NJ. At that time I had never heard of anyone leaving from Dix to go to Vietnam. I was absolutely sure that with my previous tours and with the drawdown I would not be going. I felt I would get to Dix and be rerouted to Europe. I had a feeling in my bones that I could not be going to VN again.

A . . .

When I got there I was told that "Yes you are really going to Vietnam." I was wearing my dress green uniform and after finding this out I went into the latrine and changed into kakais knowing how hot it was going to be on arrival.
      I was setting in the terminal waiting for the flight and a full Colonel (I think he may have been a reservist or national guard because of his age) came over to me and informed me, "Captain you can not go to Vietnam in khakai uniform." My reply was, "Yessir" and I remained seated. After the Colonel left, a Major setting next to me asked what the Colonel had said. I told him and he immediatly grabbed his bag and went into the latrine and changed to khakis.
      Would you believe that Colonel was wrong? We did go to Vietnam wearing kakais.

F . . .

Even while I was there I saw guys leaving early. Guys on their first tour only doing six months. I was so sure I would be curtailed I met my wife on R&R after only three months in-country thinking it would be the middle of my tour.
      It was almost SOP that if your replacement came in and you had 30 days or less remaining you could get out early. My replacement came, signed for all the property, and I went running down to the S-1 and reported that my replacement had been effected and I wanted a drop in my tour. I had 29 days to go. The S-1 pulled a teletype message out ordering all company grade officers "in the cockpit".

U . . .

There was a flight-time limit, I forgot exactly what it was but somewhere around 115 hours in any 30 day period. I flew that time in three weeks hoping to get the last week off and leave early. I did get the last week off but couldn't get my orders changed, so I took it off visiting a buddy of mine in Saigon.


SNAFU . . . Situation Normal All Fouled Up ...

You could say I got a ONE day drop because it was leap year and I only served 365 days of that year.

Gary McClendon
Blackcat onesix

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