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Thurman P. Woodfork

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Spooky and the Colonel
May 13, 2011

Here's a funny for you: I was swapping war stories with a friend named Andy and remembered this more or less humorous incident that happened in my camp at Trang-Sup. We Air Force types kind of ticked off an Army colonel.

He started raising hell because one of our controllers vectored a Spooky bird over to us one night when we were under attack. Actually, what happened was that Spooky was close by and could see the action. So, he came up on frequency and offered to mosey on over and lend a hand. Who would turn down an offer like that? And the colonel used ungentlemanly language, to boot: something about ‘undisciplined Zoomie assholes'. He said a lot more, but there are ladies reading this. He almost offended our delicate sensibilities.

The colonel thought the controller, an enlisted puke, had overstepped his authority. Of course, the colonel was down in Tay Ninh at the time, and not on Trang-Sup with us. Not being combat trained, I never did know much about who was authorized to do what in such circumstances, or when they were supposed to do it. But, at the time, inviting a gunship to join in the fun and games seemed to me like a perfectly logical thing to do. It still does, and it didn't much matter to me who issued the invitation. I do know none of our Special Forces troops bitched about it.

We were later shocked to hear that same colonel somehow got himself shot during another attack over in Tay Ninh – and not from the front. It would seem he played his John Wayne act one time too often to the wrong audience. Served the SOB right. Fortunately, depending on how you look at it, he only got a flesh wound.

He also probably got at least a Silver Star out of it.

Andy is a bird colonel, too, but he's a Mustang who came up through the ranks. His father was a sergeant in the cavalry – I'm talking horse cavalry – and Andy grew up in the Army. After he related one of his ongoing duels with the brass, I couldn't help but tell him I could see why he never made general. His mother was Irish and his father was Italian, which Andy claims makes him both a lover and a fighter. Curiously enough, he started his own military career as a Navy seaman, but apparently decided he liked tanks better. Must have been the cavalry in him.
Thurman P. WoodforkBy Thurman P. Woodfork
Copyright 2009

About Author... Thurman P. Woodfork (Woody) spent his Air Force career as a radar repairman in places as disparate as Biloxi, Mississippi; Cut Bank, Montana; Tin City, Alaska; Rosas, Spain and Tay Ninh, Vietnam. In Vietnam, he was assigned to Detachment 7 of the 619th Tactical Control Squadron, a Forward Air Command Post located on Trai Trang Sup. Trang Sup was an Army Special Forces camp situated about fifty miles northwest of Saigon in Tay Ninh province, close to the Cambodian border. After Vietnam, Woody remained in the Air Force for nine more years. Visit Thurman P. Woodfork's site for more information

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