Eddie's Story of Vietnam:
My name is William "Eddie" Mitchell. I live in JOHNSON CITY, TEXAS.
My 1st tour w/ the 8th AERIAL PORT SQUADRON was at Tan Son Nhut from April 1969-1970. My 2nd tour was Feb. 1971-1972 w/ Dets.,OLAY's, Ols & MOB when needed. This was the best time in my 4 years in the AIR FORCE because of the people. We did have some times that I definitely want to forget but I think more on the good ones.
I must have looked like a deer in headlights the 1st time I went out w/you guys but there seemed to be someone to crack a joke to relax me. I may not remember their names now but their no less important to me & I want to send out major thank you to them. I was sent to BINH THUY in Feb. 1971. By Aug. most of the 8th APS 605's had been relocated because the air freight operation run by us was closing down. I was a SSGT. by this time & was asked to stay for this transition. That was a real kodac or FUBAR moment or a cluster,.(just pick one)
If I remember correctly their were 4 of us that stayed until that Oct.. The 2 pax guys went to VUNG TAU at that time but I'm not sure about the other 605. I drove down the road to CAN THO. MSGT.MOORE came in on a C123 one day w/the mail. I met the A/C like I was supposed to. After unloading it he said that I was driving too fast. I didn't think too much about it (I only had a little over a month left) The next thing I know I'm leaving CAN THO.
I'm pretty sure there were other reasons because things were moving mighty fast by then. Personnel were moving out, base closings, they could even forget about you, it was starting to get a little crazy. I don't believe I ever saw more people passing the buck than during that time. I went back to TSN w/MSGT. MOORE & sent w/MOB a few times. I'm sorry to say I only remember bits & pieces of those trips.
I vaguely recall some pallet recoveries because I learned some strange & interesting ways that pallets could be used for other than what they were intended. You could certainly make new friends when you were sent to get them from the ARMY (I'm sure this was another benefit for being the new guy).
I remember once walking into the MOB office & nobody being there. This was Feb.2,1972 & the only reason I remember this date was because my discharge was Feb.4. MSGT.MOORE came in w/the guy that was usually in the office & he sent me & him to LOC NIN for (you guessed it) another pallet recovery
I had to retire from the TEXAS HIGHWAY DEPT. on disability in APRIL 1997 because of a nervous disorder (terrible motor skills, numbness in hands & feet, crawly legs, trembling, slurred speech, loss of equilibrium, PTSD & a host of other things).
We did a job during a very, very unpopular WAR (they can call it what they want ). You could be exposed to AGENT ORANGE because of the outstanding garden spots that we got to go to. Contracting Prostrate Cancer is also a strong possibility for guys who served in this unit, so get checked.
(webmaster's note: The annual PSA blood test is quick and painless and may save your life - as it did mine...)
I'd sure like to have long talk w/my recruiter; "Rear Echelon", my butt & that so called M16 training the USAF gave us was a joke. Working with this unit could definitely be rough on one's health & I only did this when needed. I'm not afraid to say it. I was scared & there were people that did this all the time. I may not have gone on many missions but I'm proud of the ones I did. I know what those/(you) guys did.
The military spends years making you do it the their way (you feel like a robot) & when your discharged your expected to forget every thing & just take up where you left off. I could understand not being liked by VIETNAM but I wasn't ready for the greeting I got from my own country. Sorry for rambling, (just venting).
I learned thru this website that I could possibly get compensation from the V.A. & have since put in for it. It didn't take me long to figure out that I was in way over my head in dealing w/the V.A. They have already made up their mind as soon as you say USAF. & VIETNAM, They will not even listen.(not all are this way, some want to help) but it sure gets frustrating. STEVE CARLSON knows the information needed. THANK YOU STEVE for your help.
I'll get off my soapbox now.