Chapter 10 – Go Ask Alice

“Rangoon…………. Rangoon,” mused Agnes. “Father had a ship that ran between Rangoon and Lisbon. I don’t know much more than that but it’s curious don’t you think?”
“I think it’s odd that your father’s ships didn’t sail from Saigon or Bangkok rather than Rangoon.”
“I may have said this already but without a military escort, the Straits of Malacca were suicidal in those days. Sometimes we did have military escorts but not always.”
“That wasn’t the only shipment that went to Rangoon. Plus, there was other stuff that went to Bangkok. Halftrack said it was sugar but who airfreights sugar from Vientiane to Bangkok.”
“Vientiane?! Now that does get interesting. Did you know that Vang Pao owned a Coca Cola bottling plant there?”
“I’d heard rumors of it but I didn’t really know who Vang Pao was. Eventually, Halftrack told me that he was a Lao General fighting the Viet Min and that there was a clandestine war with the Montagnards in Laos.”
“That’s approximately right but it’s not the whole story. So did you actually fix radar up country?”
“Oh yeah. There was actually an airfield with various radars. The one I was sent to fix located enemy mortars. Looking back on it, I’m not sure that it was as critical as it seemed at first. The site was pretty well protected by the Montagnard soldiers. And then when I got back to Suel’s office he seemed almost not to care about that radar site at all. His focus had shifted to some bureaucratic nightmare involving Phil and me.
He said, ‘You remember I said your home unit had been looking for you for months? Well in the process of looking they turned up the fact that you guys haven’t been on anybody’s morning report. they even put an announcement on AFVN radio for yo to call in. It’s like you don’t exist within MACV. So not only did you not get a promotion but my boss is telling me that his boss (that means a couple of stars on the collar) said that if those two specialists aren’t out of country ASAP, heads are going to roll, and that means mine. So I’ve booked you a flight to San Francisco for Saturday morning. You can stay with Msg. Surgeon tonight and tomorrow. Phil’s got all the presentations ready for tomorrow. Sgt. Pigeon will take you to Tan San Nuit Saturday morning.”
“Mon dieu!” exclaimed Agnes. He really wanted you out of the country. I wonder what the real story was.”
“That’s something we can only speculate now.”
“I did not go to work that Friday. Major Toms gave me the day off. He said nothing about you or graduation. On Monday he said you and Phil had gone back to Ft. Monmouth. I tried not to let it show how disappointed I was but I couldn’t help myself.”
She was right the Sonoma white was good. She poured another full glass of wine for me and a little less for herself.

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