201 File -
"Before'n After" update (below) -
In-County: 1968 - 69 in both Korat (Camp #44, Friendship and Samae San)
Some more background info -
"Before'n After" Update/January, 2002 -
I am living and working in a small community called Belgrade. A
small town that has essentually become a bedroom community to another
small town in South Western Montana called Bozeman. We are located
roughly nine miles west of Bozeman just off of Interstate 90 at exit
#289. I work for a company that manufactures chassis dynomometers for
motorcycles, snowmobiles, go-karts, and automobiles. We are liscensed
to NASCAR and at this particular time have one of Robert Yates Nascar
cars over at our test facility testing the car and a new retarder design
on one of our 248 dynomometers. We strap the cars down onto the dynos
and put them into gear and accelerate the engines. The drive wheels are
centered on top of the drums and horsepower readings are established, as
we say, "at the ground."
I am a welder/fabricator for the company. I and a couple of other
guys at my end of the shop, produce most all of the accessories that are
ordered for the various dynos that we sell. During the past six years
that has become pretty much the routine. Not a lot to get to excited
about anymore, as far as job duties go.
The 70's and 80's brought a lot of different jobs and a lot of
moving. It made it hard trying to support a wife and raise a couple of
My son just turned 28 on Christmas day. He is married with a really
cute little 20 month old girl and another one in the hopper.
My daughter will be 23 on the 26th of this month and she is still
single. I will be a double nickle on the 23rd of January. My wife
and I will be married 30 years this July. And, it seems like it all just
started yesterday. I got out of the service on June 5, 1969 about six
or seven days after leaving Thailand, with a 45 day "Early Out" Program.
Well, I have probably bored you enough with all this and it is nearly
11:30 pm., plus I am no speed demon when it comes to typing. So, I had
better close out and go get some sleep. Let me know what you think
about the picture idea, if it will work or not, and any suggestions that
you may have. If I had the camera set up, then, that I have today, and
the interest, then, that I have now, I probably would have several
hundred slides to choose from.
Bob. Email dtd 16 Jan 01
Some more background information -
I entered the U.S. Army on July 12, 1966 in Butte, Montana and completed
my basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. In September, I entered AIT
at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, studying Engineer Equipment Maintenance
(62B20). In January, 1967, I attended the School of Engineering again
and trained for Engineer Equipment Repair (62B30). After completion of
this course I was invited to join an instructor training program at Fort
Belvoir. After completing the program, I was assigned to the teaching
staff, where I served until May 1968.
In March of 1968, I came down on
levee for Vietnam. At this same time, my brother came down on orders to
report to Vietnam as well. I subsequently asked for a deferment and was
granted it. In April, I came down on levee for Thailand and in May was
ordered to report to Fort Ord, California in early June of 1968. On June
5th. I was sitting in a hanger at Travis AFB, with orders in hand,
waiting to board a chartered jet plane to Bangkok, Thailand. While
waiting there, a sergeant came into the hanger and with a solemn voice,
announced that Robert Kennedy had been shot. No one knew what his
condition was at that time, but somewhere, out over the Pacific Ocean,
the pilot announced the he had died.
I arrived in Bangkok via Anchorage, Alaska and Tokyo, Japan some
seventeen hours later. I was then taken to the hotel for a briefing and
then allowed to get over my jet lag. Sometime during the next day, I
boarded a bus for Korat and 44th headquarters. Initially, I was to go
to Thailand as a military person, but to work in a special civilian type
uniform and similar capacity to teach the Thai nationals engineer
equipment maintenance and operation. But... after being briefly
interviewed by a high, ranking officer, I was notified that I had gained
too much rank too fast and was to wet behind my ears! I was sent back to
my quarters where I sat (mostly laid around) in limbo for about three
weeks while the United States Army tried to figure out what to do with
me, since they had flown me all the way over there.
I was eventually called in before a warrant officer and notified that
they really didn't know what to do with me, since I was sent over there
to teach, but wasn't being allowed to perform in that capacity. The
officer said that he realized that I was trained to work on engineer
equipment, but would I mind working on trucks, instead? I responded that
I needed to do something and that would be as good as anything else, I
The next thing I realized was, "Hello, 697th!"
I remained working in the motor pool at the 44th until we were moved to
Camp Friendship. I don't believe that I was at Friendship more than a
few weeks when I was sent to Camp Vayama and quartered there. We were
trucked each day over to Camp Samae San to work out of a mix-shift
motor pool site with a couple of storage containers for parts and tools
located at D company, 538th Battalion. I did this for a few months
while a motor pool site was being completed for our company.
1969, our motor pool was completed, and the 697th was officially
transferred to Camp Samae San. I, and the fellows that were working
with me were then transferred to the older quarters, by the hillside at
I rotated stateside on Memorial Day weekend, 1969 and was
discharged on June 5, at Oakland, California.
Bob Email 10 Feb 2001