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sector index:

I have included this "excerpted" portion as an "illustration" of what this "RED ZONE" SECTOR is all about. Although the excerpted article mentions Saigon, many places in THAILAND were "no different", in fact the capitol city of BANGKOK, THAILAND was a favorite R&R (Rest and Recreation) spot for many "IN COUNTRY - FROM the BUSH" Vietnam Brothers.

This is an excerpt from:

The RAM Team in Vietnam, 1965-1975: Rapid Area Maintenance on USAF Aircraft Sacramento ALC Oral History #7: 1991

Steven Diamond and Dr Craig W.H. Luther

Many visitors to this EASY FLYER website who were/are aircraft mechanics may be interested in the
"entire series" of articles which include many good USAF Vietnam Era aircraft related statistics.

Please visit the RAM Team [Rapid Area Maintenance] on USAF Aircraft "link" from my "LINKS page".

the Excerpt:

"Everyday Life" for Americans in Vietnam Pondering the experiences of Americans serving overseas in SEA during the Vietnam Era, one might conclude that there were actually two "Vietnams." One was the exotic Vietnam of urban and urbane nightlife and pleasures found in cosmopolitan Saigon, the country's capital and focus of MACV activities. Saigon in particular was a magnet for restless, adventurous Westerners in the sixties. Mr Robin Pell, a public relations man for the Agency for International Development (AID) in Vietnam, recalled the following:

I was typical of a great many Americans who wound up in Saigon . . . If you were bored with your life, your wife, your job, and you couldn't wait for an excuse to get out, you ended up in Saigon. During my four years, '65 through '69, it was the hot place to be . . . It was a special place. You lived well. I had to go to a developing nation in the middle of war to learn how to handle household servants.[28]

The earthy pleasures that had attracted earlier foreign visitors and conquerors may be one reason why some Americans volunteered repeatedly for tours of duty to such a remote and often dangerous place. Known as "the Paris of the Orient" during the heyday of French colonialism (roughly 1887 to 1940), Saigon was the locus of "the good life." According to Mr Pell,

The French had a name for it: le mal jaune, the yellow fever. The great attraction of Indochina to the West. The beauty,
the seductiveness, the opium, and, above all, the women.
All those beautiful Vietnamese women in their ao dais.[29]


However, the other Vietnam was more familiar to most Americans, both those who actually served overseas and those whose only contact was through nightly television coverage or the later cinematographic interpretations of the Vietnam Era (in movies like Platoon or Apocalypse Now). For ordinary soldiers and civilians serving a Southeast Asian tour, obtaining the simple basics of everyday life could be a challenge; survival itself might be a question. Even minimal living accommodations were often at a premium. One Air Force historian writes,

C-130 crewmen often spent hours searching for hotel rooms and sometimes slept in their aircraft or in hotel lobbies. ..............[32]


Footnotes to Introduction

[28] Harry Maurer, Strange Ground: Americans in Vietnam, 1945-1975, An Oral History (New York, 1989) , p 468-469.

[29] Ibid, p 474. Ao dais were the traditional costumes of Vietnamese women, consisting of a long, high-necked, closefitting tunic split along the side to the waist and worn over loose-fitting trousers.

[32] Bowers, op. cit., pp 177-179.

End of Excerpt.

the "RED ZONE"
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