Several coincidences from my trip back to Vietnam.
San Antonio Connection:
We had flown from San Antonio to Ho Chi Minn City (Saigon). We had arranged to have a driver and guide/interpreter pick us up at the airport and take us to our hotel. They were to be with us for several weeks to be our transportation and guide as we had a planned trip itinerary.
Before we got to the hotel the guide handed me a binder showing me pictures and certificates of his pilot training in San Antonio in the late 60’s. Hmmm…I live less than 20 miles from San Antonio. Out of 89.8 million people in Vietnam I got one who trained in San Antonio.
Night before going to AO 2008…Night before going to AO 1967:
Two days later we were taken to a town in the Mekong Delta, Ben Tre, as I had requested to visit the Viet Cong Veterans Association from the area I had operated in the late 60’s.
I had set this up through the tour company when I first laid out my plans. I had a few questions; I always wondered about several things and thought I would try to fill in some gaps.
So here it is the night before I was going to go into my former AO (area of operations).
We were staying in the only hotel (1 star) for foreigners. Bathroom was in a separate room outside. We had leaking water from our window unit, but we had a 19” black and white TV with a coat hanger for an antenna. We waited till 9pm to turn on the TV because there was going to be English language movie. We watched about 20 minutes of “The Sound of Music” before falling asleep.
I thought about the night before, when I first arrived in my AO, in 1967. I had gone to Bear Cat, the original division camp for in country training for three days and in the morning I would be going to a barracks barge to start operations with my assigned unit. That night they had a movie that they showed on outdoors on a screen made from a bed sheet. The movie was “Sound of Music.”
Met with veterans at Viet Cong Veterans Associations
Got up the following morning and the driver and guide/interpreter took my wife and I to the Viet Cong Veterans Associations in Ben Tre. My guide was very nervous and kept asking me why I wanted to go to meet with them. I think he was thinking I would go for their throat. I kept reassuring him It had been 40 years, just curious if their government was doing anything for them. I told him I also wandered about a few things and was going to see if they could answer any questions I might have.
Want to meet General Daddy?
Our driver Jun waited outside in the car while we were inside the veteran’s office. We came outside my guide ask me if I wanted to meet Jun’s father. I asked who Jun’s father is. “He is General Schoud retired head of Viet Cong security. At the time you were in the area he was a Major and battalion Commander of the 231st Viet Cong Battalion.
The 231st was who we had contact with in that part of Viet
Too many coincidences. I now look at this as going back and "connect ing the dots" . I don't know what this means, but I will keep an open mind.
I left the fields of Vietnam the summer of 1969 and landed at The University of Texas at Austin later that summer.