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But 50 years later, U. Air Force veteran John Farmer has had trouble proving he served at all. Fighter squadrons at Ubon typically flew combat missions to North Vietnam. Assigned to a Sensor Shop Security mission, Farmer said it was his job to assemble and load classified motion sensors as part of the secret Operation Igloo White program. The system signals picked up by other strike aircraft would then assist in the direction to their targets.

The first incident occurred during his first two months in country. While on guard duty, he and a fellow Airman sighted four Viet Cong soldiers in a truck filled with mortars along their perimeter. Farmer said they low-crawled through brush that had been leveled by Agent Orange to surprise the combatants. He said that the base commander congratulated him after the incident and informed him that 75 other combatants were spotted on the other side of the perimeter awaiting the mortar signal to attack.

Farmer earned an award normally bestowed on aviators when he had to take control of a UH-1 helicopter after the pilot was shot and killed in flight. War only happens at night but we still had F and other gun support. On the bike it was a bit easier to zone out than it has been while walking. The positive side of this, however, is that you really get to take in your surroundings much more than we were able to when we were riding.

You see each and every smiling face as you walk by, and you see every inch of the beautiful landscapes that surround us as we walk.

We speak even less Vietnamese than we did Thai, and yet every time we enter a place to eat they bend over backwards to accommodate us. It is an amazing thing to behold in person.

Back to Ia Drang

The kindness we found everywhere in Vietnam became personified on our last day as we trudged toward the border to Cambodia. We had taken money out when we first arrived in Vietnam, and luckily had managed to make it last until our last day. When we looked at the menu we pointed to the cheapest item and asked for two of them before sitting down to finally get some rest.

As Duff was lying in the hammock next to our table and I was massaging my soar feet, two beers appeared at our table.

She put the beers on the table and pointed to a couple on the other side of the restaurant; they gave a little wave as we looked over. Greg Ellis. Taps on the Walls. John Borling. Song of Napalm. Bruce Weigl.

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