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.



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