Though it sure seems funny now the incident
with the antenna was not very funny back then, especially to one of our pilots.
Seems no one can talk to the engineers because they know it all. They
tend to see things is a numerical manner with all the parts adding up to
the whole. Us pilots see things differently. We tend to see
things in a more or less care free manner though always planing for things
to somehow to go wrong.
Seems the engineers wanted to move a large antenna that was next to my barracks. As they were going about their work and checking over their calculations for the lifting of the antenna by their large crane some of the guys began to see things a little differently. The pilots didn't think the crane was large enough and told them so. The engineers didn't like that and told them so and to more or less mind their own business.
Just as they were about to lift the antenna one of the guys asked them if they had evacuated the building and they said they didn't need to do that. So ahead they went in all their Glory. I don't remember if the cable broke or the crane tipped over but the antenna came down on the roof of the officer's quarters. A loud scream was heard from the upper floor of the building and several of the guys ran up stairs to see if anyone was hurt. Seems one of the pilots was sleeping in the room next to the antenna's location. It also seems that one of the arms of the antenna came straight through the roof, forced it's way between the pilot's left side and his left arm, went through the bed, the floor, and finally ended up sticking out of the ceiling in the room below him. What a way to wake up from a nap. Needless to say the pilot was really peeved and told the engineers just what he thought of them. The rest of the pilots there got theirs in as well.
There was one good thing to come from the entire thing and that was that I got a face picture of the lower level hooch maid without her covering up. While she was laughing at what had just happened I snapped a picture. Up until then no one had ever gotten a face picture of any of the hooch maids. They thought if they did that then the VC would get it and come and get them. As I recall there was one hooch maid per floor and you paid them $10 a month for keeping your room clean, bed made, boots shined, and clothing washed and ironed. Most spoke very little English, just the essentials.
A little here on the people that worked on the base. I remember hearing that one of outpost around the edge of Nha Trang had been attacked one night. One of the American defenders was all tore up because he knew he shot one of the VC in the stomach and that he knew it was a woman. He was supposably really effected by it.
The next morning some Vietnamese brought a woman to the hospital who had been shot in the stomach. They said the VC had come into her house that night and shot her because she worked for the Americans. The lady had been one of the workers on the base.