Downtown Ubon

Residential Living

Ubon Countryside

Lion and the Base



Downtown Ubon

A Spirit House

Basket Shop


Metropolitan Ubon

More Metropolitan Ubon

The Barber Shop

The New Hotel

An Outdoor Restaurant

Johnny Ubol and Grandson

A Very Old Wat

A New Wat

Squid Vendor and Son


In late1964 the US presence in Ubon was very limited. We had a 150 man camp on the Thai base and the only USAF operational unit was Lion Control. There was an Australian fighter squadron across the runway from our camp and the Thai had a squadron of armed T 28s. The US presence in Vietnam was limited to "advisors," though there were lots of "advisors" there. The relationship between the local Thai and the US troops was warm and pleasant.

Life on the base was laid back. Outside of occasional training flights by the Australians and the Thai there wasn't much controlling to do. Ubon was a small town compared with the city it had become when I visited again in 1973. The New Hotel was the biggest hotel in town, perhaps even the biggest building. There was one barber shop where everyone got haircuts and an occasional shave. Most of us got around town on 50cc Hondas and Suzukis. We hung out in the evening at Indian Joe's which, by the time I came back to visit in 1973, was off limits. Occasionally we'd go to the Kingstar, which later became the Sam Pan. The Kingstar was a real Thai nightclub. You could dance to Thai music, or sleep for a while with your head on the table, which many Thai did.

All this changed abruptly in February, 1965, when Rolling Thunder (bombing in northern Vietnam) started and the first F4 fighter squadron started moving on to the base.