Wednesday, August 23, 2006

LZ's Suzie and Pedro

So much of my time in Vietnam is clear in my mind even after all these years. Things like that imprint on you.

Two such places were our time on LZ’s Suzie and Pedro. Rain, mud, mold and an occasional mortar or rocket attack. These photos taken around the battery position portray both LZ's well.

Depressing, wet, at times scary.

20th Birthday

I turned 20 in February in Vietnam and these photos show the celebration with Ron, Steve, me, Tom and the cake some 6 feet under ground in a bunker on LZ Suzie. We were there longer than any other LZ the entire year; a full month, with cold wet rain the rule every day and night. Mud and mold everywhere to the point that we even stopped wearing underwear and socks not bothering to unlace our soaked boots the last two weeks or so. Easily the worst month of my life day for day.

China Beach

China Beach was made famous, at least in the US, well after the war. There was a popular TV show by the same name which aired in the late 80’s.

Situated near Da Nang, these photos show me there some 31 years apart, amazingly almost in the same pose. As with the Hue Citadel photos (see Tet 1968: The Citadel post), a complete coincidence I did not intend nor discover until after I returned and began going through the pictures from both trips.

Da Nang

Da Nang was a focal point during the war, an area that included one of the US’s largest airbases. I went through there a number of times usually trading Air Force personnel war souvenirs such as NVA flags, helmets, knives, etc., which I could get, for things like beer, ice cream, PSP (perforated steel plating used in runways, we would use as overhead bunker cover), which we would not otherwise get were it not for the trades.

These pictures show the view from my initial room (see Hoi An post) and the street below and in the one case, to the river beyond. Not a pretty city such as Hoi An but one of the larger and certainly important ones in central Vietnam

Marble Mountain Carvers

During the war Marble Mountain was in enemy hands contested but never completely taken by the US and South Vietnamese forces. Now the town at the base of the mountain is filled with shops as you see here, famous for their intricate marble carvings.

The steps I am sitting on lead up into the mountain which is much like a giant cave inside.