201 File -
In-County: 1967 - 68 in both Korat (Camp #44,) Samae San and "All Points"!)
MOS 51F40, Utilities Worker - Pipeline SP/4 E-4
After Tom and I (Company Clerk,) had a "mini-reunion" telephone call, I thought it
would be good to add to Tom's 201 File some of that conversation here, before his
own fax'd 201 File to me.
Tom was in the 2nd Platoon and on many of the "field trips" to places like NKP,
in Northeastern Thailand (next to the Mekong River,) Tom was given extra duty
assignments besides laying pipe as unit photographer. As such, he has a
very impressive collection of memorabilia from his tour in Thailand.
I know, some of my T-L-C Brotherhood brothers would love
to get their hands on some of this stuff,
as Tom worked on many of the Royal Thai Air Force Bases, in the early year
of 1967, eg, Nakhon Phanom (NKP,) Udorn, Ubon and sights I never heard of!
SEATO-Roi Et, Thailand. 2nd Platoon went to Korea and Vietnam,
but Tom was one of six guys not on that "junket."
The Army only has three (3) Engineer (Pipeline) companies, overall, one in
Germany, the 515th at Ft. Leonard Wood ("Fort Lost-in-the-Woods" as we
affectionately referred to the "Home of the Engineers",) Missouri.
You know where St. Louis is?! Well, it ain't even close!
As such (only 3 pipeline units,) Tom "rotated" back
to Ft. Leonard Wood where he took basic training and taught pipeline techniques
to new recruits for six months upon which time they all departed for Vietnam -
less Tom, of course...
The 697th deactivated in 1969, after completing plumbing work for Camp Samae San
and must have (evidently) been re-activated for service in 'Nam ...
Now, in Tom's own words, his 201 File -
I arrived in Thailand in February, 1967 and was sent to 2nd Platoon, 697th.
In 1967, I went with the platoon to Udorn (twice,) Nakon Phanom (twice.)
I stayed behind when the 2nd platoon and others went to South Korea to lay pipe.
2nd platoon was sent to Roi Et in 1968 to rebuild a bridge to the Airfield.
Later, I returned with the two others to help British, Australian and U.S.
troops from Okinawa in S.E.A.T.O. exercises.
After returning, I was sent to Satahip (Camp Samae San) as some called it until
July of 1968. I went state-side to the 515th Engineer Company (Pipeline)
where I taught pipeline for a year.
At Leonard Wood - our Battalion was a regular Riot Control
Battalion and were on stand-by for the 1968 Democratic Convention; our gear was
stored on transport for days and when ever we needed underwear, had to go get
it out of our duffle bags. Being an open post (prior to the Kent State
Incident in Ohio,) the Post Commander would always have us on alert for demonstrators
allowed on the Post (Fort/Base) and we would be waiting, around the corner; out of
sight for any problems that may arise and once in awhile when the hippie demonstrators
would cause problems "load up" on trucks and jump off, formation, and disperse the
rioters... My last few months in the Army were very interesting, to say the
least ... I often wonder what happen to those young recruits that shipped out
for 'Nam after being their instructor. Any of you out there listening?!
Tom Petty - 201 File Fax'd 27 Jan 01
I hope I didn't "steal" the "thunder" from Tom's personal remarks, but I can tell
you he is a great guy, major (*major*) contributor to the 44th Engineers Photo
Gallery located at -