Southwest FL – Who put pink pajamas on the USAF C-130 in Vietnam, 1973? When North Vietnamese soldiers were released during prisoner exchanges, they shed the pink uniforms they had been issued during detention and tossed them into the aircraft prop blast and onto the aircraft behind creating a remarkable scene for those privileged to observe. Who knew? Colonel Arne Ellermets (USAF, Ret.) provided this and many other vignettes about his time in Vietnam.
On this 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War, MOAS looks back through the memories of one of our own distinguished and decorated members. Arne managed to find the goodness in his experiences while deployed in Vietnam. He was fortunate to be at the right place at a critical time, and influence events in a positive way. Many of our MOAS Vietnam-era service members recalled similar experiences as Arne took us on a tour of Vietnam through his own experiences.
One especially poignant experience he recalled occurred just after arriving in Vietnam on his first tour. Arne was a TMC operations officer and bunked with two friends from a previous tour in France. His friends were on a supply mission flying a C-123, and their aircraft took enemy fire to the prop hub, disabling the prop and resulting in loss of control and crash killing all on board – a sobering event for Arne just a few weeks into his one year tour.
The commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War has been established by congressional law which, in part, states: “In Accordance With Public Law 110-181 SEC.598; the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War (2015 -2016) and, ‘in conducting the commemorative program, the Secretary shall coordinate, support, and facilitate other programs and activities of the Federal Government, State and local governments, and other persons and organizations in commemoration of the Vietnam War.”
To learn more visit http://www.vietnamwar50th.com.
MOAS is the Sarasota Chapter of Military Officers Association of America. MOAA is the nation’s largest and most influential association of military officers with 370,000 members. It is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization. For more information visit, www.sarasotamoaa.com Are you a former military officer? Please come and join us at our monthly luncheon.