Eighth Aerial Port Squadron, USAF in Vietnam

Rich Howard's Phouc Vinh Story

OLAP Phouc Vinh Army Air Field
8th Aerial Port Squadron

This is the gateway to Phuoc Vinh Army Air Field. The person in front is our army liaison. You can tell he is army with the bloused boots. In the back ground is the terminal with the passenger patio on the right. Our barracks were to the left. The welcome sign has 8th Aerial Port Sq on top. The terminal was open air with nothing to stop the hurricane of dust.
Phuoc Vinh was my first assignment after basic and tech school. As you can see I remembered how to keep my area in inspect order. Thank God for house girls. I had pictures of Gai, our house girl. But my wife threw them out.

This was my home from September ’69 to September ’70. My first three nights were spent on the floor. When I heard a loud noise, I was on the floor. My room mate, still in bed said “That’s outgoing”. On the fourth night I heard a loud noise and stayed in bed. My room mate is yelling “That’s incoming get on the floor”. That night I learn a very valuable life lesson – the difference between outgoing and incoming.

In May “70, I was sharing the hut with a MOB member Chris Hartley. That night I, the grizzly veteran, was showing off by naming the locations of mortar hits. As I was showing off, I realized that the mortars were being walking to my hut. I yelled got on the floor. I was a split second faster to the floor. Chris got his second Purple Heart; I got a month full of dirt.

The next morning while inspecting for damage, I see a line of shrapnel holes three inches above my mattress.


Funny story. At the start of rocket attack our NCOIC was in the shower. He made to our “bomb shelter” in time. A word about our “bomb shelter”. It was a hole dug next to and under the concrete floor of our hooch. No standing room you crotched down. Our NCOIC was the last one in our “bomb shelter”. He was crotched down with a wash cloth over his lap. When the all clear sounded he was the first out and mooned everyone in the shelter.
This is an aerial view of our blown up shower taken from the control tower. At the lower right is the Quonset hut that I stayed in. The center is the shower. To the left is the piss tube. In the upper left is the latrine.

This is the main building of OLAP, 8th Aerial port Sq. A combination of barrack and day room/kitchen//game room.

I’m the tall one. Papa san was a Catholics who flee south when communist took over the North. Like any American tourists who think everyone in the world speaks English. Papa san would walk up to you and speaking Vietnamese like you understood everything he said. I just nod my head and listen. He was the hardest working Papa san in Vietnam.

Sometimes a C130 has dead battery and no spare available. So like a car that you push start. You can push start a C130. You put a C130 in front of the stalled 130. Then run up the engines of the front 130 and use the prop wash to “push” the props of the stalled 130. If you can get the props turning fast enough the engines will start.

Now if you do this, like the Lt Col pilot in the front 130, you should check for loose objects like pallets. The prop wash picked up a pallet and blow the pallet into the C130 fuel tank. The plane was stilled flyable. Do not know what happened to the Lt Col. I sure he did not make Col.

I have seen a C130 jump started using a AT.


Sounds crazy, but it happened. There was a C7 that needed loading and we did not have an AT. The Army forklift was not suitable for loading a C7. I came up with the idea of using a K-Loader as a bridge (Our NCOIC acted like it was his idea). We removed the side rails to get up close to the plane. Used the Army forklift to load the K-Loader and pushed the pallet into the C7. If I remember right, the man on the ground is our NCOIC; the pusher is Gary Aukes, Buffalo Center Iowa.
Santa Boo

Sombody thought that painting Santa Clause on the front of a Caribau would improve moral. Works for me. Phouc Vinh Xmas '69'.
There is not much to say about Phuoc Vinh village. The largest industry is house girls. Made two trips to PV and found nothing interesting.

Two dirt streets and not much else. Two bars with grandma ‘cherry girls’.
This is the local Catholic Church. The shrine of Virgin Mary is made with pallets.