Connecting

After over 40 years it is wonderful and strange reconnecting with people you haven’t seen in all those years.
I just got off the phone with an old friend who I hadn’t talked to since 1968 and it was great. His voice is still the same after all these years. We are just 40 older and have to get to know one another again.
I’m sure time has changed us both. I was just great to hear his voice. Stay well my friend.

Don’t talk much about this

Many of my Batcat brothers have become Christian believers over the years. This is their faith and spiritual quest, but not one I share.

I believe that America’s constitution is a wonderful document and a reason to fight for America because of the freedoms it gives us. One of which is the freedom of religious choice.

One thing that sparked my interest and curiosity while serving at Korat RTAFB and flying the EC-121R was Buddhism. I visited many temples while stationed in Thailand and saw many statues of Buddha. Some were covered in gold leaf and it made me wonder why a people that were generally so poor would spend money to cover the Buddha in gold leaf.

So while many have become Christian I have become Buddhist. I wish peace, happiness, and all best wishes to my Christian brothers and sisters and hope Willy is in that better place.

I don’t talk much about religion because I believe it is such a personal choice and one that is not easy to make. I tried to become a Christian more than once but it doesn’t fit me or work for me. So this is my personal choice. The Buddha does work for me. Am I a prefect Buddhist? No, I’m not a perfect anything.

I’m just a man who has struggled with life and living and had major battles with anxiety and depression all my life. I use to drink to feel better because that was all I knew. Now I take medication that really works and if I do drink the drinking messes up the good work of the medicine so I stay away from drinking.

I do find solace in the Buddha though. I have many little laughing Buddhas in my study where I am writing this post. Laughing Buddha helps me get though the day and I’m very happy I found the Buddha in that far away place called Thailand.

Peace and joy,
Ed

Faces without names

There are many faces I remember but don’t remember those face’s names. People that lived in the same barracks I did and ate at the chow hall and saw around Korat RTAFB.

But no names. My mind cannot come up with their names. Maybe I’ll get to see them and I can ask them their names. That would be great because their faces are inside my head, even after 40 plus years.

Ed

The beers here

I remember the weekly beer deliveries we got at Korat RTAFB. They came in a C-141 and then were delivered to the Sawadee Club, NCO Club and Officers Club. We waved at the tractor driver as he drove the shipment to the various clubs.

I remember cold beer was 10 cents a can at the swimming pool and we had a pretty generous ration card too for beer, wine and the hard stuff.

I remember a weekly or bi-weekly delivery of the hard stuff from Bangkok too. Came in a semi-truck as I remember it.

I drank my share too. Now I drink very little or none thanks to age and the prescriptions I’m on. We were young then and doing our part to fight a war in a far off land like many men and women today.

An egg sandwich at the Sawadee Club

My first egg sandwich at the Sawadee Club was a surprise. It was on white bread with mayo, dill pickles and of course a fried egg. That combination surprised me but I became fond of those egg sandwiches. Especially when they were having hot dogs at the chow hall again. I couldn’t eat a hot dog for about two years after getting back to the States. Seems like we ate a lot of hot dogs in the chow hall. Ten times a week it seemed like to me, maybe I’m wrong.

Ed

Keeping a secret

For 30 plus years we couldn’t talk about Batcat and flying missions in the EC-121R. As time went on I looked in book stores and libraries for information about Igloo White, Batcat, EC-121Rs, McNamara’s Fence, Ho Chi Mong Trail, Recon in Vietnam and whatever title I could give it. Over time I got a little info here and a little info there and finally found Larry’s Batcat web page on the Internet. It was then that I knew I could talk about it if and when I wanted to.

I had lost track of the people I served with over those years but that made it easier to keep the secret because I couldn’t talk to anyone else about it. Now I think about those people I served with, which is now 40 plus years ago, and wonder what has happened to them since we served as Batcats. I wish them all well and hope it has been a good 40 plus years.

Ed

Waking Up in Korat

After a 27 hour flight aboard a C-141 Starlifter and with stops in Alaska and Tokyo we finally landed at Korat RTAF around 2:00 am Korat time. We had left Otis AFB sometime in the morning in October 1967 and the temperature was in the 30s F. At Korat it was hot and humid and seemed very dark. We were led to a hooch, a wooden structure raised above the ground, which had wood slats installed at an angle to let any breeze through. I didn’t care much about where we were sleeping just so we got to sleep.

The next morning when we woke up there were two women standing in the hooch. We didn’t know why they were there or what they wanted. We finally figured out that they were there to clean the hooch and wash our clothes. It was a way for the Thai people to make money. As I remember it we paid $5 per month for their services. The older of the two women was called Momma Shon and the younger one was Baby Shon. They cleaned and washed our clothes for us for the entire year while at Korat. They were our first introduction to the people of Thailand.

I didn’t learn a lot of the Thai language while there. Sawadee for hello/good bye. Mi pen li for no sweat. Sway mock for beautiful. Po chi for man. Po yeng for woman. I think number 1 meant the best and number 10 meant the worst, but I’m not sure.

I remember a restaurant in downtown Korat that served the best pepper steak I’ve ever tasted. The Thai fried rice was really great too, especially at the hut where only Thais were suppose to eat. It was 25 baht for a plate of fried rice and a Pepsi.

Remember the orientation meetings we had? One two hour one on VD with color slide pictures. The other on being a GI in Thailand.

Ed

Welcome to batcat121

Welcome. This is a blog about Batcats and memories about serving in SEA, South East Asia, during the Vietnam War. Batcats are getting older now so we enjoy thinking and talking about our times at Korat RTAFB, flying the EC-121Rs, working on the EC-121Rs, or supporting the mission of the EC-121Rs. Hope all Batcats will share their memories here and make comments too. Hope you enjoy it whomever you are.

Ed

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