The Peanut Whistle of the Central Highlands
and other Viet Nam experiences of
Choo-Choo-Cherry Kid and Friends

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146th Signal Co.
SP5 Gray
71st Evac
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Pleiku
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These photographs were provided by SP5 Gray of the 146th Signal Company during his Viet Nam tour of duty from Oct 1970 to Oct 1971. The shop personnel set up shop and barracks in buildings vacated by the downsized 71st Medevac Hospital in Pleiku, RVN.

SP5 Gray, Pleiku
MOS 36G Manual Telephone and Switchboard Repairman
for TA312 Field Phone and SB-86, SB-22 and AN/TTC-7

SP5 Gray at Montagnard Village
in the Central Highlands, RVN

146th Signal Co. EMS
Electronic Maintenance Shop

SP5 Schmidt in the EMS Shop, May 1971
MOS 31L2T - Radio Relay Carrier Repairman for the
AN/TCC-7 Multiplexer (shown) and AN/TRC-24 VHF/UHF Radio

Stan Nelson, 146th Signal Co.
Shop foreman, May 1971

Stan Nelson, 146th Signal Co.
Shop foreman, May 1971

146th Signal Co. EMS
Electronic Maintenance Shop

In mid '71 the winding down of our war was apparent.

Randy Jenkins (l), Jim Strader (r)
Did they check the batteries today?

146th Signal Co. EMS, Oct. 1971
Truck, Utility, ¼ Ton, 4 x 4, M38

Shop Customers, May 1971

Whore (l), Stan Nelson (c), Leslie Payne (r)

The 146th EMS has a "Jam Session" (1:03:17 mp3)

The 146th EMS got talent: "Guitar Talent" (01:10 mp3)

************************************

Whore, Sam, Tei, et al.

II Corps Headquarters, RVN, 1971
Note shell casings used for landscaping.

A 122 mm rocket impact crater at
II Corps Headquarters, RVN, 1971

II Corps Headquarters viewed from the 122 mm rocket's impact crater. Note the jeep tires flattened by shrapnel. 1971

A 122 mm Rocket impact crater (c) outside 71st Medevac officers' latrine (r). No injuries.
"Radar Hill" in distant background. June 1971

At the time of the rocket attack shown in the picture above, SP5 Gray was working with a buddy repairing a TA312 phone drop to a guard tower. He was literally in the perimeter wire when he heard the rocket's high pitched whistle as he watched it pass overhead before striking the ground just outside a nearby officers' latrine.

If you've ever been in the middle of a stretch of coiled barbed wire, you know there is no such thing as a smooth exit. But this was Concertina (razor) Wire, an order of magnitude worse. Everytime you free yourself from one snag, another ..... or two ...... develops. It took the help of his buddy to get free of the wire so they could both seek the safety of the PSP reinforced bunker.

I don't know how it turned out in this instance, but under normal circumstances, it's a given that even a successful task working in or around the wire usually leaves one with scratches, puncture wounds and some uniform mending required.

Concertina Razor Wire
(Photo courtesy of the 'Cloud')

SP5 Gray and puppy

SP5 Gray (l), SP5 Schmidt (c, top), 1971

71st Medevac pool under repair, Pleiku, 1971

GI at 71st Medevac Hospital's recreational pool

Nighttime pool party at 71st Medevac's pool

71st Medevac Chapel, Pleiku

Dustoff Chopper
71st Medevac Hospital, Pleiku, Feb. 1971

Tim Bothe

Art Eppley

Randy Jenkins, Lan, 1971

Nugyen Tai Lan, Pleiku

Office help: Miss Hoan, Miss Hoang.

Housekeepers were greatly appreciated.

Nugyen Tai Lan, Pleiku

************************************

Tei, a young lady in Nha Trang sings. (01:26 mp3)

"Chuyện tình Lan và Điệp" was a popular Vietnamese song of the lost love of Lan (the Orchid) and Diep (the butterfly).

SP5 Gray was playing his harmonica that day in Nha Trang in October, 1970 while waiting for a flight to Pleiku to start his year long tour. A few Vietnamese women came up to listen. One of them was Tei. She saw his tape recorder and asked him if she could record herself singing. He gladly agreed. A spontaneous act of friendship to a soldier facing a year of duty in a foreign and dangerous land left a lasting and treasured first impression.

************************************

Mamasan, May 1971

Mamasans, 1971. We employed civilian help as cooks, grounds keepers, etc. Absenteeism was higher on days we had rocket attacks.

Dave (l) and Chuck Fish (r) take shelter in the bunker. We were probably safe from anything short of a direct hit by a "122", Charlie's short-range 122 mm rocket.

The rickshaw, shown at right, was
an alternative to the Lambretta, a
gas-powered, 3-wheeled truck.

Cam Ranh Bay Transfer Station

Cam Ranh Bay

Tropo Screens and Guard Post, Pleiku

Short-timer Jim Penrod displays his clearing papers.

Korean Center Restaurant

Lambretta passengers

Pleiku Airport Terminal, 1971

Pleiku Airport Terminal, 1971

Artillery Hill, Pleiku

Tropo Screens, Guard Tower, Pleiku

Pleiku perimeter

Nha Trang perimeter

John Bray enjoys his birthday cake
provided by the mess hall staff.

Chester Crone, May 1971

Stan Nelson (l), Russ Wickstrom (r), Apr 1971

Sam inspects Ron Jinks' broken foot. 1971

Pleiku Viet Nam, 1971, by SP5 Gray (20½ minutes)

This short movie (above) is a condensed composite of 10 video clips (below) originally taken in 8 mm film. It is digitally formatted in the *.wmv file type at reduced resolution for streaming on slower internet connections.

The original clips are listed below in full resolution and are about 1-4 minutes long.

  1. 146th Signal Company EMS (Electronic Maintenance Shop)
  2. Pleiku, Viet Nam
  3. 146th Signal Co, 71st Medevac Compound
  4. Mamasan Housekeepers taking a lunch break
  5. Dogs at Play
  6. Tei's Pups & Miscellaneous
  7. 71st Medevac Pool
  8. Montagnard Village
  9. Countryside of the Central Highlands 1
  10. Countryside of the Central Highlands 2

SP5 Gray at the Peanut Whistle controls, 1971
(Photo by SP5 Schmidt)

SP5 Schmidt, stalled truck, Pleiku, April 1971

▲ That was then. ▲                                     ▼ And this is now. ▼

The Gray's home in Iowa, 2005

The Gray family, October 2005

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