Although I was not active duty military, I served at Tan Son Nhut with the RMK-BRJ Co., a Naval Contractor. I was an E-3 in the Air Force and a jet engine mechanic.
I was an Investigator with their Security Department, and my office was located on the back side of the Airport. We were the VOODOO Witch Doctors and worked on RF-101's.
We were standing on the barracks roof cheering them on while Puff the Magic Dragon was dropping parachute flares to light up the runway.
I had two other close calls, I was dating a pretty VN girl who would not go out with me without a chaparone who was her girlfriend.
At first we were originally based in Misawa and our people would rotate every three months down to VN, so I was at Tan Son Nhut on and off and then our squadron finally got permanently based at Tan Son Nhut.
I had five months left to go in the service and spent that time in VN. While I was there, the base was attacked and the first mortar hit a ground power unit that was standing between the two RF101 Voodoos I was assigned to take care of.
He pulled the keys out of the ignition and jumped out of the cab and headed straight to the building ...
my heart beat was racing and addrenalin pumping sensing the danger I was in and looked around entertaining a ridiculous thought of grabbing my clothes and climbing one of the trees to hide in hoping they wouldn't look up when "they" came back out.
When it came time to pick them up I went back to Saigon which was to be my last trip there and coming out of the taylor I hailed down one of the hundreds little blue and yellow cabs and told the driver Tan Son Nhut.
I was soon aware he was not taking the route I was framiliar with and we were heading out of Saigon.
at about 11pm (Not exactly sure of the time) I looked towards the runway and saw a tower of flame coming from my reventment. I was so impressed by the Army guys, they jumped into their Huey Gun Choppers and were in the air over the runway so damn fast, firing their 50 caliber machine guns with tracers loaded every 5th round, and from where we were standing it looked like a solid neon light from the choppers to the ground.