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My wife, toddler daughter, & I were at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. A man saw our daughter then quickly looked at us. He said to my wife "Are you a ****" ?? (my wife's last name)

Caught by surprise, my wife said "yes I am!"

He said " yes, I thought I recognized my friend's face in your daughter" Shockingly, the guy had been a friend of my wife's father back in Laos in the late 1960's / early 1970's !!

We got Dad on the phone & they had a audio reunion right then & there. And they have visited each other ever since. Amazing.
Pretty cool Mag man. I guy that I sailed with towards the end of my career was a bona fide Vietnamese boat person. He had some pretty interesting stories to say the least. Starting out his saga going on a boat full of strangers at the age of six without his parents as they only had enough money to pay for his passage out. And ultimately having to give up his clothing for a signal fire to attract a ship. Luckily it worked and they were picked up by a Danish merchant vessel in the South china sea. Then some years as essentially an orphan in a Thai refugee camp.
He ultimately made it over here and Despite drifting to one foster home after another. Where his Foster parents were clearly more interested in the money that they were receiving to care for him than in promoting his welfare. Eventually he was able to graduate from the United States Merchant Marine academy at Kings point NY and sail as an Engineering officer. Nicest guy that you ever want to meet. The last I talked to him he was sailing as Chief Engineer on a State of the art Cable laying vessel making a six figure income.

As a footnote to this. I might add to mikegc. It was not all in vain my friend. I know that I lot of good people got killed over there. But some good did come out of it.
 

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The pic in the OP is quite famous and was published in a couple of my Vietnam books. It's often used to illustrate what an AK-47 looks like.

Anyway, to all of you who served in 'Nam, Thank You for your service and sacrifices and Welcome Back Home. Can never say that enough times.
 

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The survival spear point goes in its own slot on the backside of the sheath . This is part of my hog hunting gear and it is a bring back .
 

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Nice looking rig.
 

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USMM guy. Cool history on your Boat Person friend. My wife was a "Plane Person", I guess. Her family fled Viet Nam, in '1966 or 67, to Laos, because they thought Laos was a safe haven from the war. Well, it wasn't.

My wife was born there, in Laos, in '68. They dealt with the war & related problems/dangers until fleeing the Commies in 1975. That was risky as hell, employing Coyote people-smugglers, river-crossing, jungle-trekking, etc. All while my wife was suffering badly from Tuberculosis

Then they, like your friend, lived in a Thai refugee camp-------- for a few years. Before luckily getting a US church group sponsorship to fly here.

Fast forward a few decades & she's done very well for herself, as has most of her family.

We recently had a 100% Vaccinated family reunion at our place. We took a photo of everyone to replicate the one that was taken of the family in the back in the refugee camp! I will post them both here later today.
 

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Amazing that you found it! I think that I lost it when we were heloing out from Kung Pao to Chow Mein. We took some heavy AA fire and the Huey was bouncing around pretty good.
As long as Da Nang Dick (Richard Blumenthal) was piloting the Huey, you were never in any danger. .

Tell me, was Hillary on the radio telling you guys that the AA flack was nothing to be worried about?



Sent from my K00C using Tapatalk
 

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Pretty cool Mag man. I guy that I sailed with towards the end of my career was a bona fide Vietnamese boat person. He had some pretty interesting stories to say the least. Starting out his saga going on a boat full of strangers at the age of six without his parents as they only had enough money to pay for his passage out. And ultimately having to give up his clothing for a signal fire to attract a ship. Luckily it worked and they were picked up by a Danish merchant vessel in the South china sea. Then some years as essentially an orphan in a Thai refugee camp.
He ultimately made it over here and Despite drifting to one foster home after another. Where his Foster parents were clearly more interested in the money that they were receiving to care for him than in promoting his welfare. Eventually he was able to graduate from the United States Merchant Marine academy at Kings point NY and sail as an Engineering officer. Nicest guy that you ever want to meet. The last I talked to him he was sailing as Chief Engineer on a State of the art Cable laying vessel making a six figure income.

As a footnote to this. I might add to mikegc. It was not all in vain my friend. I know that I lot of good people got killed over there. But some good did come out of it.
USMMguy, that's a cool story about your friend. When I wasn't out in the field in RVN, I took every opportunity to visit the orphanage at An Lac. Madame Vu Thi Ngai ran it and an American lady, Betty Tisdale, assisted and raised money on visits back to the US. I reconnected with Betty about 15 years ago and told her about the B&W negatives I had of the kids in the orphanage. As it happened, she was returning to Vietnam to have a reunion with those she had to leave behind in '75 and wanted those photo. I had them printed, sent them to her and, a couple of weeks later, she called me from Ho Chi Minh City. She gave those photos to her former charges and told me those photos were the only ones they had from their childhoods. In 2010, Betty called, told me about a reunion of the An Lac orphans that were in the US and gave me orders to appear. "Yes, ma'am." While there, I met several I had photographed in Vietnam and I'll just show this one:
Face Eye Photograph White Black

Her name was Ngoc and, after "Operation Babylift" she was adopted by an absolute "angel" from Hershey, PA. Ngoc and I reconnected at the reunion in Columbus, GA:
Smile Eye Leg Flash photography Plant

She passed away four years ago and I spoke at her funeral. There were at least 200 people attending as well as some of the friends she made at An Lac:
Trousers Smile Social group Tie Event

If you look hard, you can probably pick me out.

Since you were a Merchant Marine, I've got a quick tale for you. My photo team bummed a couple of helicopter rides out of the field and went to a Signal Corps unit at Long Binh to talk them out of some film. While there, we got a 3/4 ton truck and drove to a restaurant in Saigon for something way different from C-rations. Now, we were dirty and had been several days without bathing so the Vietnamese owner didn't allow us in. Four civilian gents heard the exchange between us and the owner so they had a hushed conversation with him. We ended up going in with those guys and they paid for our meals. They made quite a point to tell us our money was no good. They were Merchant Marines.

Mike
 

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Great story Mike! Vietnam was a little before my time. And back then I was actually naïve enough to believe that I was really missing out on all the fun when we bugged out in 73. I was sixteen at that time. There were some pretty great stories that came out of it on the Merchant Marine side though as well as a few tragic ones. One that I thought was especially funny was the time that a guy I know was on a ship over there and they hit a mine going into Saigon. It sheared off a portion of one of the main propeller blades.
Repair facilities were about zero over there. At any rate they decided that if they ground down all four of the propeller blades to the same size then the prop would be balanced enough to get the ship back to the US. The only thing was that it would take about two months to make it back as they were limited to about four knots.

Great that you were able to reconnect with your old friends from there. My Vietnamese friend here that works on the ships he went back some years ago to try and look up his folks. And he found them. They are still alive and well, living in their little dirt floored hut, very content in the knowledge that he had made it out. Interestingly enough this guy Loung is his name. He makes pretty good money. And he asked his father if there was anything that they wanted or that he could do for them. His father told him that they were fine and were happy with what they had, which was very little. Finally after a few days his father relented and took him into town and told his son that Him and his wife had decided that it would be all right if he bought them a little transistor radio, Total cost with batteries, about ten bucks.
Certainly a lesson in there for all of us.
 

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Here's the pics I mentioned. Same people, in the same order. Of course the kids grew A LOT on our varied, & protein-heavy food availability here in the US.

In the pics, note that Dad has not changed much in 46 years! -------------------- Also, note my wife in the old refugee camp pic. She's in the middle with her hands clasped.

Out of all the kids, she is the only one with an air of self confidence & of being comfortable in her own skin.

----------- Although, admittedly, I'm very biased towards her! :)
 

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there is a new book out about a mm who went to viet nam on a beer run. 'greatest beer run ever'. too crazy not to be true.
 
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