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Paddy Control


Paddy

Paddy Main Gate

Looking Toward Special Forces Camp

Compound

Compound

Generators

Looking Out From the Bunker

Commander, Paddy Control

Joint Office With VNAF Captain

 


Operations

 


New Construction

 


New Construction

 


Liberated MACV Jeep

Special Forces Camp

Our Pride and Joy

 

In 1965 Paddy was on the municipal airport, down the road from a large special forces camp. The operations tent was inside a PSP and sandbag bunker. Occasionally the VC would try to mortar the site, but as soon as a mortar round went off special forces would start firing back and the attack would end abruptly. Delta Aviation Battalion's choppers were based on the airport too. Occasionally, a friend of mine who was flying for Air America would fly in and we'd have lunch in a not too great lunchroom down at the airport.

Our relationship with Delta Aviation Battalion was pretty close. While I was there we worked out an arrangement that put their communications trailer on our site, gave them one scope connected to our radar set, and gave us a tap into their communications. Once it was set up, if a fighter pilot got hit in the delta and needed to punch out, we usually could have a Delta chopper waiting for him before he got to the ground.

I also made a temporary trade for my big crew cab pickup in exchange for a Delta jeep. I wanted a smaller vehicle and George Koutamanis, the Delta lieutenant in charge or their communications needed extra space to carry the comm. troops around. We ended up with army George driving around in a big blue USAF crew cab pickup, and me driving around in an army jeep that said, "Paddy Control, The Eyes and Ears of the Mekong" on the back.

Bihn Thuy Air Base was in a pretty early phase of construction. We owned the outlying parts of the base during daylight but the VC owned it at night. If obnoxious headquarters types came to visit from Saigon I'd take them on a jeep ride to the base and around the perimeter road. On the ride I'd tell them about the VC mining the road and hope it had been cleared. (I'd have called ahead to make sure.) Sometimes along the perimeter road you'd get shot at, though the guy doing the shooting was always a really poor shot. When we got back to Paddy the visitors usually would go right down to the airport, get in their airplane, and head back to Saigon.

For the first couple of months I was there we had no latrine at Paddy. You could go out and take a leak through the fence, but if you had more serious business on your mind you had to hike down the road to the special forces camp. Finally, someone rigged up the beautiful outhouse you see above. It saved a lot of walking (and/or running on days when you'd been hit with Ho Chi Minh's revenge.)

At one point we were nearly out of flannel to clean the plotting board so we ordered a 50 yard bolt. About two weeks later a fork lift came rumbling down from the airport with a huge crate and dumped it inside the compound. Supply had shipped us 50 bolts of flannel instead of 50 yards. It was a bonanza. Everyone around -- special forces, Delta Aviation Battalion, MACV, wanted flannel, and we had it. We traded flannel for everything we needed plus a lot of stuff we didn't need.