Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Thursday, January 10, 2008

AWOL And Hiding Out At USTDC

Here's another one from Dennis Page:

Thought I’d share with you a little story that sort of sums up the lengths that USTDC shipmates would go through to help out one another. In May of 1969 I was getting ‘short’. My 15 month tour in Taipei was about to end and so I went to the hospital for the shot card updates and the chest x-rays we were required to get at the time of departure. The Navy doctors also decided to do upper and lower GI tract tests on us as well. I guess they were bored and wanted to do doctor stuff.

Well they discovered that only one of my kidneys showed up on the tests so they decided to ship me out to the Navy Hospital in Yokuska , Japan for further tests. Wow!! R&R in Japan ! I flew out of Taipei on a medevac from Viet Nam that had stopped to refuel. Being ambulatory and free to walk about the cabin I helped the flight nurses tend to the wounded on our trip to Tachikawa Air Base, Japan . Once there I made a helo flight to Yokuska and spent a week there where I had what was called “Cinderella Liberty”, which meant I had to be back in the hospital ward by midnight.
The tests showed that I really only had one kidney to begin with and so it was no big deal. I was then shipped to the transit barracks where I hoped to catch a flight back to Taipei . It was there I was told that I would be shipped out to whereever the government felt I was needed and it didn’t look like I’d get back to TDC.

While I was in the hospital, Admiral John Chew, our senior officer at TDC, had to make a trip to Japan for official Navy business and so he flew into Tachikawa aboard his own DC 10. He brought with him our leading Petty Officer, Mel Pennington, RM1 who stopped by to visit me in the hospital. He also stopped by to see me in the transit barracks and I told him my problem.

He made a phone call (I believe to the Admiral) and then told me to be outside the barracks with my seabag at 1700 hours. As the hour approached I threw my bag out the window and told the security guard that I was going outside for a smoke. (I don’t smoke) At 1700 hours the Admiral’s staff car pulled up and he told me to throw my gear aboard and climb in. We went through the security gate with me on the floor in the back of the car and drove out to the airfield where his plane was tied down.

Several hours later we were airborne and on the way back to Taipei . I was never so glad to smell the binjos and feel that humidity as we deplaned. I think that in some logbook somewhere I must be listed as AWOL but I was home.

Keep up the good work with this blog.

Well, I've had my share of experience with people going AWOL, but I don't think I ever met anyone who went AWOL to his own base!

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