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My name is  Rick Baxter  and I mostly grew  up 60 miles north of Seattle, Washington  in a small town  named Arlington.  I say mostly  because my dad was a minister and we lived in several  Washington locations and two in Iowa before settling into
Arlington.  I came to Viet Nam on June 17th of 1968 with less than ten months left  in the service, having served some 20 months previous to this with  the 249th Engr. Battalion based in Karlsruhe, Germany.  After processing I  was  assigned to  the
402nd  Trans. Co.  based at Camp  Camelot on  Long Binh  Post.  My first  job assignment  was  as  a stevedore at  the Dong  Nai Barge Discharge  site near  Long Binh. Soon after beginning  my duties there, someone  was  asked to volunteer to be a  crane
operator, and  that someone  was me. After scaring myself nearly to death,  and probably everyone else, I actually got the hang  of it; but not before impaling a napalm  tube on a bed stake on a 40 ft. trailer.  Realizing what was going to happen as  the
tube was falling, I really thought I was going to kill us all, but all that happened was some goo-like stuff akin to model airplane glue came out and then dried, sealing the unit.
Rick Baxter
You  will notice the  pictures I took are  not very high quality, for  which I apologize.  I was using a  little Kodak Instamatic  camera to begin with,  and then in storage  my pictures got wet and stuck  together, some getting  
ruined altogether.  In order share  them with you, I had to soak many of them apart in distilled  water.  So, it is what it is.
Army Tug At Bien Hoa Barge Site
Unloading Ammo From Barge
Barge Waiting To Be Unloaded
Benally - Crane Operator
Below - Photos From The Bien Hoa Barge Site
A couple of months or so  after getting to Vietnam, the Bien Hoa Barge Discharge Site was opened in rice paddy country outside the Bien Hoa Air Force Base.  We were assigned first to night guard duty while the site was
completed and then we manned the site.  We would commute daily from Camp Camelot through Bien Hoa Village, through a corner of Bien Hoa AFB, and then out to our site. We worked 12 hour days seven days a week with
one day off a month. However, we  found time to  play when the  trucks were loaded and  we were waiting for them to  return.  There were the touch football games and spinning sodas on ice while yarns were spun.
Ellis
Cranes On The Loading Dock
Cranes Loading Trucks
Derelict Boat
There were two docks with two 20 ton truck mounted or  rough terrain mounted cranes with 40 foot booms for each dock. Each dock would host a barge loaded with ammo or bombs or other materials and the cranes
would be swinging  loads from the barges to trucks, an arc of approximately 180 degrees.  We operated the cranes at full engine rpm and used  the foot brake for cable down rather than the winch mode which was
considered too slow.  Operators became very good very fast,  and even though  this was  dangerous work,  we had few accidents  if any, and no  casualties while I was there.  The stevedores were extremely hard working  
and surprisingly  trusting of us  operators.  For some  reason, Thomas  Sheisel and Barry  Nye insisted on  stevedoring for me; they would not permit anyone else to do so.  I never knew why.
Fishing For A Barge
Guys On Barge
Kress
Unknown
Working at a site  with live ammo and bombs makes for a good target.  We were all well aware that if we ever experienced a direct hit, they would never find a piece of  any of us.  With this  is mind, there  were two
significant  incidents that happened.  The first was when  we had a barge of 1,000 pound bombs come in. They were stacked  on the flat deck like cord  wood, i.e. no pallets  or crating.  We were  slinging three bombs  at a
time from the  hook on nylon straps at our usual top  speed, dumping  them loose in  the back of deuce  and a halfs.  Suddenly the  site officer came  screaming out of the  office signally us to shut down. When we gathered
around him, we were told that for some reason these bombs had been shipped with the detonators installed!  If one bomb had slipped out of a strap,  none of us  would have  lived to tell it.  We  unloaded the rest  of that
barge with  our cranes running  at idle speed, observing every safety precaution possible.  The second  incident took  place one day  when all of a sudden all hell broke loose.  There were multiple explosions directly across
the river from our site.  I'm  sure  we all  hit  the deck!  Eventually  we found  out that  it  was our  guys blowing  up Charlie's tunnel  works across  the river  from us.  That was certainly a relief to find out.
Bell Operating A Crane
Office And Assembly Room
But the  rest of the story is about  Ritz crackers.  For months  the mamasans in our hootches had been asking us to buy them Ritz Crackers in tins at the PX.  They would  pay us for the crackers  and we would write them a
note saying the crackers were a gift so they could get the crackers out through the main gate.  That day we found out  that the main food storage in the tunnel works was  Ritz Crackers in tins.  That  night at our hootch in
Camp Camelot, we surrounded our mamasan and our  spokesman confronted her.  In sobs she responded,  'Viet Cong come my  house and say, 'You buy Ritz Crackers at Long Binh'.  I say, 'No can do!,  Viet Cong say, 'I take
baby-san and'''....at this  point she indicated  that he made a  motion like  slitting her  baby's throat!   As I remember it, there was not a dry eye amongst us.  It was then that I realized how much these people were between
a rock and a hard place.
Unloading Barge
Rick Baxter
Rick Baxter On Crane
Sgt John
Thomas Sheisel Loading Trucks
One day  we came to work to find  that the barge that had been  spotted on my dock the day before  had sunk during the night.  It had to be unloaded before it could be  refloated and  so divers  were called  in.  I was  chosen  
to operate  the crane  for them.  The water  in the  Dong Nai River is  very  muddy so we were working  virtually blind.  The  divers had to  hook up loads in the  dark, partly by feel, then  signal  one of their own on  the
surface who then would signal me: "Farther; Closer; Left; Right; Winch Up; Winch Down; etc.  It was  tedious painstaking  work and  it took forever to unload.  I had to  be so careful to follow directions for I could have
taken off someone's arm or leg or head with the wrong move at the wrong time.  It was a real lesson in patience and concentration.
Stan Chisholm
Bien Hoa Air Base
During  part of TET of 1969,  if memory serves, we were actually living at the Bien Hoa site in a large tent and eating C-Rations.  The food wasn't bad, but the Lucky Strikes  packed with them  were so old  that the circle on
the  pack  was green, and boy were  they stale!  I especially remember Chaplain Park coming out to hold  services on-site during  this time.  He was a great guy,  spending time talking to  us and getting to know us.  I believe
he  was truly concerned and cared  about us GIs.  On one  of the days during  TET when we did  commute from  Long Binh,  the main gate  of Bien Hoa  AFB was  closed and we  were sent around to another gate which  was
also closed.  We were ordered to sit on  our deuce and a half in  the open while a couple of Hueys, one practically over head, were in a fire fight with VC in the  tall grass of the perimeter ditch.  As usual, we were packing
M14s without ammo.  I can remember sitting there wondering how long before stray rounds would find us or the VC would notice us sitting there.
Bien Hoa Air Base
Below - Photos At Camp Camelot
Left - Carpenter - Right Unknown
Vernon Beauchamp
Terry Modert (Tubby)
Camp  Camelot on  Long Binh Post was where we  of the 402nd Trans. Co. lived  in pre-fab metal buildings on cement slabs.  Our mess hall was nearby as was an outdoor  theater where  movies were shown  on occasion.  
Showers (in brown water hauled  from the river) were usually available daily if you were quick to get  there  after  work.  The  toilet  was  a 4-holer  outhouse  designed  so you  could chat  with the  guys,  whether  you
wanted  to or not.  The  main  topic of conversation was, "Pass me some  toilet paper, will you?"  The communal  urinal was 4 half walls and a roof with an area in the middle to pee into.  This was a very friendly situation
where you could take a leak and at the same time say hello to whichever mamasan happened to be passing by.  This could be a problem for those who tended to be pee shy.  I am sure the idea was to maintain an open and
friendly atmosphere throughout the camp.
Short Timer Party At Camp Camelot
There was a surprise for me when I got short; some of the guys threw me a Short Timer's Party.  I have to say that I was really touched.  I had been in charge out at  the site at times when Sgt.  Edwards had to be away  and
had had to be kind of  hard on the guys at least once.  A Bird Colonel came through and didn't think our site was clean enough.  He said he would return in two hours and things had better be clean or heads would roll.  Since
I was in charge, I organized a police call.  This created a minor rebellion with the guys belly aching at me.  They had a ring leader who was really steamed and in my face.  I got mad and told them  they better get  the job
done or all the play time was  going bye bye!  I also told the ringleader he was on "crap" detail (burning feces in half barrels with diesel; it had to be stirred  by hand) for a week.  I went into the office and stewed.  Soon they
sent in a delegation to let me know they had talked it over, were sorry, would  clean  the site  and  would  I  please  let things  go  back to  the  way  they  used to be?  I said that  would be  fine but  the ringleader  was still on
crap detail.  The  spokesman  said they realized that.  Later, when I wasn't mad, the ringleader and I had a stare down on the board walk at Camelot.  After a moment  or two we passed each  other and I was sure glad  
because I was about 130 lbs. soaking wet  and he could  have picked me up and broke me over his knee!  Evidently everyone got  over being mad at me  because they still gave me a party and proved what a great bunch of
guys they were, each and every one! I am proud to have served with such a fine group of men.
Unknown - Rick Baxter - Stan Chisholm - Unknown
Looks Like Everyone Is Having A Great Time
CW Benton
Wiley Allred
Mike Bayne
Ted Henry
One of the attractions of living in Camp Camelot was that we got to spend a lot of time in the bunkers.  Because we were directly below USARV Headquarters, and  because that  was a  favorite target  for Charlie's  mortar  
attacks at night, we  got  very good at  running for  the bunker.  It seemed  like the VC  would accumulate  a few rounds  and then launch  an attack, most of  the rounds coming  through Camp Camelot  as they walked  up
the hill trying for the prize.  At least while I was there, I don't think they ever made it.
Mike Norton
Bell
Stan Chisholm
Thomas Sheisel
At Camp Camelot one night during TET, we were called out with full battle gear and ammo to defend USARV Headquarters just above Camp Camelot.  The VC were breaching the perimeter below our company.  I remember
laying there in the USARV parking lot with tracers flying wondering if this was going to be the time I had to fire or fight hand to hand.  Fortunately, the guys below us held the line and we were able to hear the all clear.
Rick Baxter & Tom Sheisel Stacking Them Up
Gallagher & Mike Norton
Tom Sheisel - Rick Baxter - CW In Background
Stan Chisholm And Barry Nye - Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
The last  night I was at Long Binh  before reporting to  Bien Hoa AFB for  processing out  of country, we had  a mortar attack.  The long  months of stress, the repeated mortar  attacks, the 12 plus hour days with one  day a
month off took their toll, and I lost it!  I refused to go into the bunker.  I was totally out of my mind with anger that Charlie was attacking  us on my last night there.  I remember stomping up and down the board walk
screaming curses while my Sgt. was hollering  at me  to get into the bunker  or face an  Article 15.  I  did  not obey, and  thankfully  he let it slide. I can still  feel the rage  when I remember that night.  In fact on the 4th of
July every year, I feel the same way.
For me, as  time went on, I became  more aware of  the fact that I could possibly not  return home.  I know I didn't think about it all the time, but there were times, especially  at night.  I remember sneaking out onto  the
back porch  of our hootch one  night and praying.  Now  I was a  typical GI, drinking, smoking, cussing and other  things which didn't line up with my strict Christian  upbringing.  But I did remember  that God was there, so I
told Him  if He would get me home safely, I would  serve Him the rest of my life.  He came through, but when I got home I promptly forgot my promise.  However, a few years later He got my attention, and although I have
fallen short many times, I am a believer in Jesus Christ and am serving Him as best I can.  I only regret I waited so long.
On Left - Bell - Wiley - CW
Mike - Unknown
Bell
Group Photo
Below - A Few Photos I Took Of The Long Binh Area
Chapel - Long Binh
Tower - Long Binh
Chopper Maintenance
Rick Baxter In Front Of Huey
Cobra Coming Up
Chinook Chopper
Cobra Taking Off
Another Cobra And Huey
Below Are Some Photos I Took Along 1-A And In Saigon
On The Road To Saigon
Dong Nai Barge Site
Home With A View
I made  it to  Saigon several  times.  It  was interesting  to see life  go on in  some places  as if  everything  was normal.  And yet  there was  military presence everywhere.  I saw  people who lived  on a standard far above  
anything I have ever experienced, and I saw people living in a tiny shack on spindly poles over a waterway.  Their  shack was  comprised of  pieces  of  board, cardboard, tin  cans, etc.  woven  together to  make four  walls
and  a floor.  Inside the shack  was nothing, not even a pillow.
Communications Tower
Countryside
Wheeled APC - V-100
Tanks Along Roadside
On April 10th, 1969, I had  finished processing out of the Army at Oakland, CA and was at  the San Francisco Airport  waiting for a standby flight home to the Seattle,  WA area.  I dropped  into an airport  lounge thinking a  seven and seven  would be  
nice.  I was in  my Class A  uniform and  feeling good about going home.  It  was  mid-afternoon and  the  lounge was  so full I had to  stand  at the  bar.  My  drink  had come and as  I raised  my  glass, I suddenly  realized the atmosphere had  changed.  I
stopped with my drink halfway  to my mouth and glanced  around to discover that everyone in the lounge had stopped talking and they all were glaring at me.  I tried to raise my glass and drink, but my hand shook violently spilling some of my drink
and my head started bobbing.  I set the glass down and paused a few moments.  I raised the glass again, and again my hand shook violently and my head bobbed.  After one or two more repetitions of this happening, I put down the glass and walked out
of that place.
Shacks Along The Roadside
Not Sure Where This Was
Water Treatment Plant
Approaching The Newport Bridge
Very Nice Home
Normal Neighborhood
Saigon USO
Tan Son Nhut USO
US Embassy
South Vietnamese Soldier's Monument
Shortly  after getting home  I went to my  cousin's wedding.  At the  reception I was surrounded  by lots of  people I didn't know.  When I would  try to lift my fork full of wedding cake, my  hand would shake violently sending the cake on the floor and my
head would bob.  I tried to take a sip of coffee, but the violent shaking of  my hand spilled it all over me.  I put the  tray down and quit trying.  For  years this was repeated when in crowds of unknown or unfamiliar people. In 1984 I became a minister  in
a Protestant church.  When I would  need a sip of  water from a glass  during my sermon, I could  only accomplish that task by holding  the glass  with two  hands and  slowly raising  it to my  lips while  holding my  head very  erect.  Even then I had  to
control trembling.  If I forgot this procedure, my  hand would shake violently sending water everywhere, including all over my sermon.  At the same time my head would be bobbing.  With time this symptom has all but  alleviated.  Most times I can
handle eating  and drinking in the presence of strangers now.  But I have come to realize that there are some scars that are not  made by bullets or bombs and  there are scars that never  really heal completely.  Today, and  increasingly for me, I live
with physical and emotional baggage that began in Vietnam many years ago.  I lived in denial of this for nearly 40 years.  I can deny it no longer.  I know I am not alone.  I know there are thousands  of us who are struggling  with the effects of Agent
Orange, PTSD and other things.  I pray God's help and blessing for all of us who are in this struggle.
Presidential Palace
Military Presence Throughout Saigon
Saigon Lady Contemporary Dress
Saigon Lady Traditional Dress
Vietnamese Boy
Saigon Traffic
Downtown Area
Sign Of War
Can You Find The Lizard?
Rick Baxter In Saigon
I want to thank  Allan Furtado who has invested his time and resources in  putting together this awesome site that links us all together. Also, my thanks to Randy Richmond who maintains a list for the 402nd Trans. Co.  And
thanks to them both for all the faithful updates and other  communications.  Although I have  only recently come to know Al and Randy, they  both have already been a great source of help and encouragement to me
through personal communication.  God bless you both!
Newport Terminal
Tanks On The Move
Taxi
More Taxis
Normal Neighborhood
River Traffic - Newport Bridge
Shrines?
Normal Neighborhood
Saigon Park
Nice Fence
Pedi Cab
Saigon Park
Saigon Park
Hope you have enjoyed looking at my photos. Please contact me with any questions or comments.
E-Mail
Rick Baxter
Full Speed Ahead
When I'm Sixty-Four - The Beatles - 1967
Resting Soldier
No Idea Where This Is
Poverty Row
South Vietnamese Soldier's Monument
Poverty Row
The Basilica Of Our Lady Of Peace
Schlageter
The Party Goes On
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