I think the temperature was at least 95 degrees and the humidity had to be at least that the day when I was shipping out of Korat to my permanent change of station, which was Udorn. I got all my gear together in my duffel bag and was transported by a 6×6 vehicle to an airstrip nearby. All of us GI’s loaded ourselves onto this propeller driven cargo plane that was probably a C-123 or C-130. I don’t know how much room a sardine has in a can but I think we could have passed for that on a larger scale. I had on my long sleeve OD’s (olive drabs), the mandatory baseball cap style ‘lid’, combat boots, bloused trousers, and the ridiculous orange bib scarf of Stratcom. I can’t remember if I was sitting sideways or backwards but I know it wasn’t forward. We had neither flight attendants nor in-flight movies. Tray tables up and seat backs in the upright position was not a concern.
With the body heat, no air conditioning, and plain no ventilation, I thought I was going to suffocate before I got to Udorn. This flight was not a direct flight to Udorn. It made at least 5 stops before it got to Udorn dropping off GI’s at each landing. A couple places we picked up people but by the time we got to Udorn the plane was nearly empty. Each take-off and landing brought me to the brink of tossing my cookies, but with the increased room and air flow at each stop, I made it without having to make a deposit in my ‘lid’.
Getting to Udorn in the late afternoon I met Staff Sergeant Brown (quartermaster) for the first time. With hash marks up and down his arm his favorite saying was that he had more time in the chow line than I had in this man’s army. I believe he did because of those service stripes on his arm sleeves and the beer belly he so prominently displayed.
I got dinner, a bunk, bedding, and the two most important things. Those were a mosquito net and a ‘Green Bomb’. The ‘Green Bomb’ was an aerosol can of bug spray, which I am sure was 100% DDT, a long banned chemical harmful to man and wildlife.
I was in paradise for the next 335 days or so. Why not 365 days or so? More on that later. I didn’t know if I would make it back to civilization.
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