"Tuck" Tucker's Place 

62nd Hq Co 65-66

I was assigned to the 62nd when it was still at Ft. Leonard Wood in1964. I didn't ship out to Viet Nam with the main body of the 62nd, but came over a month later and caught up with them at Cam Ranh bay. I came over on the USNS Patch with 101st Airborne troops because I had a broken foot while on leave prior to shipping out. I still had a cast on my foot when we landed (in LSTs) at Cam Ranh. I was flown to the 8th Army Field Hospital, in Na Trang, the next day and spent the next two weeks learning to walk again. When I got out of the hospital I found my own way back to Cam Ranh Bay only to find that the 62nd had moved to PhanRang. I again found my own way there and dug in, as it was very wet, and we were still living in our shelter halves. All my gear had been lost and I had to be re-issued everything. I was in Headquarters company, and spent the majority of my 13 months at Phan Rang working in S-2. I was assigned to work in our little PX for a while prior to that, but had been in S-2 when we were stateside, and soon got my old job back. I have some unique pictures, and will share them when I find a way to download them (I have web tv). I also have some interesting stories. I would like to hear from anyone who might remember me during that time. This is a great web site. I was surprised, and pleased, to find it recently. I will contribute more soon.

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     When I caught up with the 62nd at Phan Rang, I had no shelter half or anything for that matter, including my military ID card, meal card, shot record, etc. I had my wallet stolen while in the hospital. I spent my first night in a connex container and slept on a cot. Some of my friends
got me drunk (probably some of that whisky you brought) and we heard that some ARVN soldiers were selling their wives to the GIs at the laterite pit. In our drunken stupor we decided to hitch a ride on one of the 5 ton dump trucks that were going back and forth from the laterite pit to our compound. One picked us up outside the gate and my two buddies rode in the cab with the driver and I got into the bed of the truck and passed out. I almost got covered and most likely would have been killed if someone hadn't checked the bed of the dump truck before dropping the first load from the front end loader into it. I woke up to see the bucket hovering over me about to dump. Somebody yelled STOP! I don't know who, but that person definitely saved my sorry drunk ass.
     When the 101st arrived in Phan Rang in a fleet of C-123s in the middle of the night, in (I believe) early Sept. 1965 there was only the old, French built, PCP runway, that wasn't very long, and wasn't lit up at night. The 62nd. Engineer Bn. was already there. Two men from the 62nd were posted at one end of the runway with a spotlight mounted on a jeep, and instructions to wait until we hard a C-123 approaching and saw them flash their landing lights. When they did, the men turned the spot light on to alluminate the runway just long enough for the pilots to get a fix on it. Once they could see the runway they turned their landing lights on to make their landing. The planes were spaced about 5 to 10 minutes apart. This went on all night until the main body of the 101st had landed. The two men on the ground would hit the dirt, at times, because the C-123s came in very low right over them, and their jeep. It was a long, scary, night because they were out in the open, and sitting ducks for Charlie. Those two guys were your beacon, your guiding light. I was one of those two guys. If you arrived in Phan Rang that night, in one of those C-123s, or were the pilot of one of them, I'd really like to hear from you. We didn't get any recognition for that assignment (which is okay) but I feel like I played a significant roll in lighting the way for all you Screaming Eagle
     Among the guys who's names I remember is Lt. Santoro, the CO of A Co. at Ft. Woods, and later, of HQ. Co. He was one of the cool ones.I remember, at Woods, that for a while, the guys in HQ. Co. weren't looking too good in the morning when we'd fall in for roll call. He was co of A Co., then, and would look over at us and just shake his head indisgust. We were a sorry bunch of rag tags. Some of the guys wouldn't even bother to show up. Lt. Santoro started calling over to us, and telling us that he was, soon, going to have the opportunity to straighten our sorry, un-military, asses out. And he wasn't lying. They finally gave him Hq. Co., and he did just that. But everybody liked him. He didn't like to be saluted. He'd say something like "hey, stop it. I work for a living too". Actually, he turned out to be almost as un-military as the rest of us. But he did tighten us up.