60th AHC 1972 at Ninh Hoa... So I showed up at the 60th AHC sometime in 1972, from A/7/17 Cav, because the Cav was riding into the sunset of Washington DC's embarrassment, while the Koreans, being supported by the 60th, were still quite enamored with the war thing. The 60th Ghost Riders were supporting the Korean Horse Battalion headquartered at Ninh Hoa, if that was the name of that quaint settlement of farmers. Well, they must have been farmers, apparently horse farmers, judging from all the barbed wire fence. Having had to fix so much fence as a kid on the farm, something I did not appreciate, I oughta know a farm when I see so much barbed wire fence.
But the dates and names of all those places are a different matter. I didn't pay attention to those details, and the only maps I have around my desk are of the mountains in the Alaska Range, for some foolish reason. If you find any errors in my memory herein expressed, of which I remember none, send the correction so we can shuffle these words back into their correct order. Nice thing about duty at the Korean Horse Battalion HQ, was the Korean enlisted mess hall, where I was known to frequent, much to their amusement. It served seriously high quality cuisine that cooked itself with the heat of the peppers, if there was anything in there except peppers. The thought of that particular kimchee makes my mouth water, and it is a bit pricey these days outside that mess hall. Flying some low passes over some of the other unit stories linked at this website I noticed one west of Tuy Hoa where grief was endured The same place a few years later was not quite so inhospitable to our lollygagging around flying low and slow watching the deer amble through the brush, and the interesting birds flitter about, on our way back from supporting the Korean outposts. I made note of the deer. Some time after that the 60th planned a barbecue for some special occasion or other. It was mentioned that there might be a shortage of steaks because as usual the standard military boxes of frozen steaks were the common unit of exchange for everything in Vietnam, rarely reaching the mess hall. No problem. I saddled up a huey, and along with a couple other country boys at the door guns, we rode up to Tuy Hoa, then scooted out west where the deer and hopefully nothing else roamed.
Deer hunting was never like that in the State of Washington. And no doubt the deer were a bit dismayed to encounter humans not trying to kill only each other, especially in helicopters with M60s. We quickly absconded with two deer and took them to a safer spot near the Tuy Hoa air base to gut them. Back at the barbecue we enjoyed fresh grilled, organically fed venison, and just smiled at a few of the city boys who expressed their concern that the meat had not been inspected by someone who got a government job with a meat inspector's rubber stamp and a pad of purple food dye.
It was sometime during that time that the Washington DC politicos were desperately trying to unshackle from the mess they created for themselves, belatedly learning what the French tried to tell them in plain French. The bickerers agreed upon the idea that another truce would be decreed, and both sides would display their flags in the areas they controlled, much to the amusement of the VC. Overnight, all that secured area we flew over every day, including my favorite deer hunting spot, was colorfully festooned with VC flags.
Maybe later I'll mention the story about the Koreans stealing dozens of bicycles from two upper valley villages, after they ran everyone out of town and killed the slow ones. We Ghost Riders sling-loaded the bicycles down to a lower valley village to give to the peasants as gifts from the Korean Horse Battalion. It was a brilliant maneuver to double the people's contempt for the invaders. You just have to laugh at the antics of some of these humans who sincerely believe they are fooling other humans with what can never fool anyone but those thinking they are doing so. - Doug Buchanan