YELLOW ALERT

 

I arrived in Iwakuni, Japan,  in September of 1972.  When we got off the plane and got to the processing center, the Officer in Charge briefed us and told us that most of us would not  be staying in Japan, but would be going “Down South.” I’m thinking somewhere in southern Japan, when he further elaborates by stating that 1st Marine Air Wing currently had units in South Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand.  I was assigned to MAG-15 and found out I was going to a place called Namphong, Thailand. I’m thinking this is a regular base like the one in Japan.  When I checked into MAG-15, there was a sign above the admin building that said “THE MARINE CORPS NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN, BUT WE ARE GONNA SEND YOU THERE.”  Now, I’m concerned.  Then I run into some Marines rotating back from the “Rose Garden”, their skin is dark and their jungle utilities and boots have a reddish tint to them.  Now, I’m more concerned!  We board an Air Force C 141 and fly to the Philippines, where we spend the night in the terminal.  The next day, we fly to Bien Hoa, South Vietnam to drop off the Marines assigned to MAG-12.  It is here that I  pick up a “Stars and Stripes” newspaper.  One of the stories is “U.S. CONCERNED OVER INCREASED ATTACKS ON AIR BASES IN THAILAND.”  WHAT!?!?  Now, I’m very concerned.  We land at Namphong and get off the plane.  Whoa!?!?  Where did this heat come from???  And what about the M-60 machine guns I hear shooting???  Ok…just Thai’s training…WHEW!  I check into MABS-15 and am assigned to the wire platoon of the Communications Section.  As we are securing for the day, the           NCOIC of the Wire platoon calls for a formation and informs us that we are under “YELLOW ALERT” or in other words, possibility exists for an attack!  He further states that those who had been at Danang know what to do if we are hit and for the rest of us to follow them!!  NOW, I’M VERY VERY CONCERNED!      This AIN’T Vietnam!!  The guys all tell me to listen for the “swoosh” of the rockets and just get outside the hootch and get down.  Well, I try to sleep on my new cot I just drew from supply…no luck.  Then about midnight, I hear ‘SWOOSH”, I jump up (I’m still in boots and utes, just in case), but everyone else in the hootch is calm or even asleep!!  I go outside and look around and hear another “SWOOSH”.  Turns out it’s just the grunts popping the pop-up flares at each other.  Now, I’m no longer concerned.  If the grunts are cool enough to be playing, I’m going back to sleep.  Hell with this “YELLOW ALERT”!  It’s gonna be a long year!!