Ronnie Ransom April 1965 - September 1966
 
THE BEGINNING
5TH RRU DET D
UDORN, THAILAND

It all started in April of 1965 with about 40 to 50 men, I don't even think
there was that many. Most of us had come from Japan, Taiwan, Okinawa and the
Philippines. The ones who came from the 12th USASAFS in Japan, including
myself, had volunteered for duty in Thailand. After all, we had hear that
you lived in a hotel with maid service and draw per-diem for meals. What a
life this was going to be.

When we arrived at the airport in Bangkok, we were met by our new CO, Capt.
Pavlin, and our first shirt, MSgt. Traweek, who looked to be about 7 feet
tall. They informed us not to get too comfortable because we were not going
to stay in Bangkok. We were headed to a place call Udorn. Where the devil is
Udorn.

We stayed at Seri Court for about 30-45 days working out of their ops and
getting some of that great OJT. We then loaded up and I think we drove to
Udorn. We found that the great living quarters were to be no more. When we
got to Udorn, old Thai, or some say, WWII Japanese army barracks were going
to be our home for a while.

I don't remember how long we stayed there before moving to a small compound
just out the road away. We used the airbase mess hall during the time we
stayed at the old barracks. This new compound was, I think, part of a signal
corp group. It consisted of about 3 or 4 buildings. One was a small
barracks, one a latrine and shower, one an officers & HDQ, and I think one
was a small mess hall. We did have a small EM Club. They cleaned one of the
larger store rooms out in the rear of the EM club and that is where myself
and about 3 or 4 other guys lived.

I think we only had 2 or maybe 3 vans set up at this compound, on for ditty
boppers and one for T/A's. We just put bard wire around them and started
chasing dits. Of course, I don't think the signal guys liked this too much
since the vans were right in the middle of the compound. I don't remember if
these first vans had working air-conditioning or not. It seems that I
remember having to strip down to our skivvies sometimes because of the heat.
If you'll remember it get pretty hot in Thailand at times.

Our CO, Capt. Pavlin, and our XO, Lt. Hart, did not make it hard on us from
a military stand point, even though I seem to remember maybe one inspection
while we were at this compound. Capt. Pavlin's only demand was we do our
work and stay out of trouble in town and with the Air Force. He gave us
passes with no restrictions on them. The Air Force didn't like that much
because they had a curfew. They somewhat resented this.

I don't remember how long we stayed at this compound, but we set up our own
compound at a place called Non Soong, the new place was to be called Chang
Station. I say we because all of us helped string constantina wire and any
thing else that needed to be done. They set up six vans inside of this
compound. We were bused back and forth until our deluxe living quarters were
built, 10 men squad tents with wooden floors, even though they came with
outstanding metal army cots and a maybe 4 inch mattresses and mosquito nets.
The only air conditioning we had was in the vans. The air conditioning for
the tents was when you let up the sides and ends of the tent. Our showers
were even in a tent if I recall. Of course this was a lot of fun in the
monsoon season.

By the time we moved into the new quarters, maybe a little before, we were
getting a few nugs in. Even so, counting the Air Force's Det. 4, there was
maybe 100-150 guys there by this time.

We worked hard and we really played hard. We were a pretty tight group,
especially the original guys. I'm sorry I can't remember all of their names.
For some reason 34 years does something to your mind. I will list a few of
these guys at the end.

I left Udorn in Sept of 66. I had spent 18 months in Thailand. Detachment D
was still working out of those six vans and living in tents with no air. We
had built a mess hall and a small EM club by this time.
I was sent back to the world to Vint Hill Farms Station for a short stay and
then on to the 601st RRD in Chu Lai. I understate Udorn grew into quite a
large field station call the 7th RRFS. I wonder if those guys that came to
Udorn later knows how it came about.

I would really like to hear from any of the guys that were with me in those
good and bad times in Udorn during those 18 months. I know I have forgotten
plenty, but I hope this brings back some of the fond memories we have and
shared.

Ronnie Ransom
1543 Patten Dr.
Gainesville, Ga. 30501
e-mail: Ronnie@blackbookusa.com

The following are a few names I do remember of the some of the very first
guys. I hope some of you recognize or remember them. Some are only last
names. If anyone can fill in the first name please let me know. Thanks
Ray Loftin Garvin Smith Joe Thorton
Louis E Jones Allen Thomas Paul Kruppa
Don Collins Bill Croom
Bill Wightman Pat Carter
Last names: Brandt, Dahl, McAlister, Marshall, Paggett, Hayes, Webb,
Campbell, St. George, Lambert, Hill and Utsey
As a side note, I don't think DF started until after I left, in Sept 66.

 
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