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01-15-2010, 05:15 PM   #166
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Sorry to hear about the flooding. May I ask what caused it, a river nearby or what? From the European perspective one doesn't that easily associate Texas with floods but rather with drought. But this may be just my ignorance having never visited Texas.
Ever here Stevie Ray Vaughns version of a song called Texas Flood? Texas is actually a very large state which makes it a bit more diverse than some realize. In the east near the Sabine River, it is a lot like La.

01-15-2010, 07:29 PM   #167
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Sorry to hear about the flooding. May I ask what caused it, a river nearby or what? From the European perspective one doesn't that easily associate Texas with floods but rather with drought. But this may be just my ignorance having never visited Texas.
He's in the town of Sherman, Texas. A quick look at Google Maps with the 'terrain' button shows that the town basically sits in the floodplain of a creek that runs thru the town. In Texas, it's not at all rare to get thunderstorms that dump several inches of rain in just a few hours, which is enough to cause any creek to overflow and do significant amounts of damage. That creek might be one you could step across in normal weather, and it might be 15 ft deep and a quarter-mile wide with the right thunderstorm...

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(not in Texas, but I do work in the hydrology business with a database of stream-gaging records)
01-16-2010, 09:11 AM   #168
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Flood Plain is CORRECT!

RoxnDox has got it! We actually live in the township of Luella which lies approx. 15 miles southeast of Sherman. There is a creek that sits on the back side of our property which is normally a dry creek bed. Dry enough in fact to drive a truck across, which I've done on many occasions.
Our trouble began when an individual constructed a small lake approx 8 to 10 acres in size and about 25 to 30 feet deep. The spillway empties into the creekbed. When we got a 3 to 4" rainfall, the lake was full and emptied across the spillway into the creek at a very rapid rate ... end result FLOOD.
As someone previously said, TEXAS is a very large state and contains a varied topography. Drought is more the norm, but the past couple of years, rainfall has exceeded that norm by considerable amounts.
We've just about finished up the rehab on our house and will be moving back in within the next 2 to 3 weeks. At that time, I hope to return to this forum on a more regular basis and get some photos posted.
I think my "little sis" posted something about finding my pictures. I'd completely forgotten that I sent tons of film to my dad when I was in Nam'. So, when I get those from him, I'll be going through them all. He no doubt has some frames that I've never seen in over 40 years. That is going to be a real "trip down memory lane" for me as I'd completely forgotten about all the pictures that he's held onto for me all these years!
01-16-2010, 11:30 AM   #169
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Unfortunately most people do not realize they are living on a 100-year flood plan. Flat or hills, whether you can see water or not around someone can still live in a 100-year flood plan. If these people realized how very high the risk was most would be running to get flood insurance. If they realized how destructive flooding is and what insurance canít/doesnít cover they would probably think about moving. Construction can change the flood plan in 5-10 years and the maps at best may only be updated every 10 years so even someone living just outside 100-year flood plan may have about the same risk as living on the 100-year flood line.

Flooding is the number one cause of disasters in the United States. Ever state in the union is at risk. A fire is extreme destructive to someone but a flood can be just as bad. From the outside a flood can look like there is no damage (unless you know what to look for) but that person could have lost everthing. Because of all this the governments in the states spend more because of flooding then all other disasters combined. Sadly most of this could be mitigated saving much heartache/grief and lots (more then I can imagine) of money.

Sorry to hear about the flood and as you are finding out it can take a long time to recover from a flood.

DAZ

01-16-2010, 12:53 PM   #170
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Bob, thanks for sharing this and thanks for serving. Sorry to hear about the flooding and I hope it gets resolved alright.

I read it all but not sure I got this right - how come you joined the army in the first place? Did you volunteer to be an Army photographer but didn't really expect to be sent to Vietnam?

Also, what are your views about the different popular Vietnam movies? In your experience, do any come even close in portraying the conflict accurately, whether from cinematographic or other aspects?

QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
When we got back to our base and the photo lab, I told our 1st Sgt. that I WOULD NOT make another mission with him. He was quickly re-assigned to work in the studio and lab at base camp.
That in many ways sounds like a reward and not punishment.
01-17-2010, 02:27 PM   #171
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
RoxnDox has got it! We actually live in the township of Luella which lies approx. 15 miles southeast of Sherman. There is a creek that sits on the back side of our property which is normally a dry creek bed. Dry enough in fact to drive a truck across, which I've done on many occasions.
Our trouble began when an individual constructed a small lake approx 8 to 10 acres in size and about 25 to 30 feet deep. The spillway empties into the creekbed. When we got a 3 to 4" rainfall, the lake was full and emptied across the spillway into the creek at a very rapid rate ... end result FLOOD.
As someone previously said, TEXAS is a very large state and contains a varied topography. Drought is more the norm, but the past couple of years, rainfall has exceeded that norm by considerable amounts.
We've just about finished up the rehab on our house and will be moving back in within the next 2 to 3 weeks. At that time, I hope to return to this forum on a more regular basis and get some photos posted.
I think my "little sis" posted something about finding my pictures. I'd completely forgotten that I sent tons of film to my dad when I was in Nam'. So, when I get those from him, I'll be going through them all. He no doubt has some frames that I've never seen in over 40 years. That is going to be a real "trip down memory lane" for me as I'd completely forgotten about all the pictures that he's held onto for me all these years!
Glad to hear the house rehab is going well... Any way to reduce the potential of a reoccurrence from the neighbor's pond? I bet the state water folks might be interested, especially if he did any of this without permits...

Looking forward to more photos, I have very much enjoyed your recollections and images!

QuoteOriginally posted by DAZ Quote
Unfortunately most people do not realize they are living on a 100-year flood plan. Flat or hills, whether you can see water or not around someone can still live in a 100-year flood plan. If these people realized how very high the risk was most would be running to get flood insurance. If they realized how destructive flooding is and what insurance can’t/doesn’t cover they would probably think about moving. Construction can change the flood plan in 5-10 years and the maps at best may only be updated every 10 years so even someone living just outside 100-year flood plan may have about the same risk as living on the 100-year flood line.
And, of course, most folks don't realize that a '100-yr flood' does NOT mean you will only get one of that size in 100 years. It means you have a 1 in 100 chance of getting that flood every single year, statistically. A 50 year flood, 1 chance in 50 every single year. So those 100-yr floodplain maps are defining your areas where you've got a 1-percent chance of getting wet each year. Most places use the 100-yr flood boundary as the legal definition of a flood plain, but the *reality* definition is that that line is just an arbitrary line on a map.

The other part Daz mentions is absolutely correct. The maps are updated far slower than the actual chance of getting flooded. Every time land is paved over, developed, storm drains put in, ponds created, or anything else that affects the flow of water across the land surface, it all changes the way that streams respond to rainfall and flooding events. The stats that are used to generate those 100-yr boundaries are far behind the changes in reality... And then comes another delay in actually getting new maps published, once we have updated stats to base the lines on...

Jim
01-17-2010, 03:45 PM   #172
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QuoteOriginally posted by RoxnDox Quote
And, of course, most folks don't realize that a '100-yr flood' does NOT mean you will only get one of that size in 100 years. It means you have a 1 in 100 chance of getting that flood every single year, statistically. A 50 year flood, 1 chance in 50 every single year. So those 100-yr floodplain maps are defining your areas where you've got a 1-percent chance of getting wet each year. Most places use the 100-yr flood boundary as the legal definition of a flood plain, but the *reality* definition is that that line is just an arbitrary line on a map.

Jim
Exactly and the 1 percent is only if you are on the line. So if you are on the line you have a 20-30 percent chancy of getting flooded before you pay off a mortgage. The farther into the plan one is the higher (at some unpredictable amount) the risk becomes. Rising water can come from almost anywhere, the storm drain up the street or the dry creek behind the house. Most of the damage from hurricanes is from flooding not wind or rain. The flooding can go many miles inland. The whole issue has become politely charged. Nobody wants to be told what he or she can or canít do with his or her property regardless of how it affects others. This includes whom they sell that beachfront property too. I have seen way too much of this myself for me to ever consider living in a flood plan. But to each there own just go into it with your eyes open.

Just patiently waiting for more combat photos.

DAZ
01-17-2010, 09:06 PM   #173
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I just found this thread today - and spent the past 2 hours reading it. WOW!

First things first - THANK YOU Bob for your service!

Second, please please keep this going.

I'm a Vietmam *era* vet - spent three years flying on an EC121M recon plane (Navy) around the Eastern Med in the late '60s. Certainly not the same, but we did have our moments!

Back when I was about 19 (give or take a couple of years) my best friend, his father and I were sitting around the kitchen table getting drunker by the minute. Mr L suddenly started talking about when he was a Japanese POW in Japan (he was a bomber pilot and was shot down over Japan). The stories are as vivid to me now (over 40 years later) as then - he had NEVER told anyone any of what he told us - including his wife or his parents. One of the really surprising things was that his son didn't know his Dad had been a POW!! The next day he was extremely embarrassed and almost begged us to forget what we heard and never tell anyone else! Very powerful! So, I understand the lack of talk.

I was very fortunate when I came home - I had taken my discharge overseas, so was technically a civillian (with a wife and baby) - no one really knew I'd been in the service so didnt' personally experience any of the ungrateful crap you and friends of mine experienced.

Again, my personal thanks to you, Bob, and don't le this thread die!!

01-19-2010, 06:06 PM   #174
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChipB Quote
Back when I was about 19 (give or take a couple of years) my best friend, his father and I were sitting around the kitchen table getting drunker by the minute. Mr L suddenly started talking about when he was a Japanese POW in Japan (he was a bomber pilot and was shot down over Japan). The stories are as vivid to me now (over 40 years later) as then - he had NEVER told anyone any of what he told us - including his wife or his parents. One of the really surprising things was that his son didn't know his Dad had been a POW!! The next day he was extremely embarrassed and almost begged us to forget what we heard and never tell anyone else! Very powerful! So, I understand the lack of talk.
I wish more WWII vets talked more of what happened. My grandad was shot down over New Guinea, as a radio operator in a Beaufighter...but was never captured. Don't know how he got out. Wouldn't say. Very lucky for him, considering all that happened to those that ended up on the Burma Railway or in Changi. 'Bout time he had some luck, I suppose - the war followed him from China to Australia.
01-21-2010, 04:54 PM   #175
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
I wish more WWII vets talked more of what happened.
My uncle made that 60 mile walk from Bataan to Camp O'Donnell and I am the only one in the family he ever talked to much about it. But even when he would talk about it, he wouldn't ever say much about the Death March and only about being a POW (he was one of those moved to Japan rather than being kept in the Philippines). I guess it's understandable considering that he saw people on the Death March who fell out beheaded, disemboweled, bayoneted, throats cut or just beat to death with a rifle butt. He did talk about what it was like on Bataan before the surrender or things such as the kindness of some of the guards in Japan who would slip fish heads from their own meals into the rice that was served to the prisoners. Like Lithos, I wish he had told or written down more about what happened but he's been gone for several years now so it's much too late.

CW
01-22-2010, 03:23 AM   #176
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QuoteOriginally posted by straightshooter Quote
My uncle made that 60 mile walk from Bataan to Camp O'Donnell and I am the only one in the family he ever talked to much about it. But even when he would talk about it, he wouldn't ever say much about the Death March and only about being a POW (he was one of those moved to Japan rather than being kept in the Philippines). I guess it's understandable considering that he saw people on the Death March who fell out beheaded, disemboweled, bayoneted, throats cut or just beat to death with a rifle butt. He did talk about what it was like on Bataan before the surrender or things such as the kindness of some of the guards in Japan who would slip fish heads from their own meals into the rice that was served to the prisoners. Like Lithos, I wish he had told or written down more about what happened but he's been gone for several years now so it's much too late.

CW
Goong-goong (grandad in Chinese) was working in China before the war, and was in the New Territories when the Japanese invaded. I'm sure he would've seen stuff like that before he even joined the RAAF. Japanese newspapers kept scores of which soldiers had bayoneted the most number of civilians.

He was nearly shot by a Japanese soldier, because they were shooting everyone, but especially young men like him of military age. He was working for a German company, and his German boss came over to the soldiers and explained how it would look if the Japanese started killing employees of German companies. The soldiers took him out to a field behind his office, and he thought he was dead, but they just told him to get out there. You better believe he did.

Got to Australia, tried to join the Air Force - didn't want a guy who spoke fluent Japanese, Chinese, English and a bit of German, knew a lot of the territory occupied by the Japanese, and had a university education. What use would the RAAF have a for Chinaman? Ended up in Darwin as a secretary, until Yamamoto's fleet steamed in from Pearl Harbor. Got to see the first Aussie flag destroyed by a foreign power on home soil, which was something. Almost lost a good pen, too. Got relocated to the Alice.

Finally, with the shift in foreign policy, the Darwin air raids, and the slow, but sure, realisation the enemy was about a thousand miles away, they finally let him join. Recruiter asked him if he smoked opium. He said, yes, all the time. Mum keeps telling me that was the Spanish in him talking.

Flew a few (or dozens, or hundreds, don't know,) missions, got shot down, did commando training and nearly ended up in Special Forces (I'm glad he didn't.) Ended up alive and intact at the end. He never bothered to even pick up his service medals. That's pretty much all we know. I think there was still a large undercurrent of racism after the war, and that he saw the war as something that had to be done, and tried to move on. That old Chinese sort of big-picture thinking; "It's bad now, but maybe in a thousand, two thousand years..."

I mean, we've got the general idea, just some of the details would be nice. Also, I really want to know what happened to that pen. But good god, straight, I'm glad as hell he didn't end up in Changi or on the Railway, similar to what happened your uncle. I met a Changi survivor on Anzac Day in 2008. Couldn't straighten his back after he'd had it broken in the camp, same with his fingers, which looked like they belonged to a cross-eyed carpenter.

Last edited by lithos; 01-22-2010 at 03:29 AM.
01-22-2010, 04:45 AM   #177
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Goong-goong (grandad in Chinese) was working in China before the war, and was in the New Territories when the Japanese invaded. I'm sure he would've seen stuff like that before he even joined the RAAF. Japanese newspapers kept scores of which soldiers had bayoneted the most number of civilians.
He was nearly shot by a Japanese soldier, because they were shooting everyone, but especially young men like him of military age. He was working for a German company, and his German boss came over to the soldiers and explained how it would look if the Japanese started killing employees of German companies. The soldiers took him out to a field behind his office, and he thought he was dead, but they just told him to get out there. You better believe he did.
Got to Australia, tried to join the Air Force - didn't want a guy who spoke fluent Japanese, Chinese, English and a bit of German, knew a lot of the territory occupied by the Japanese, and had a university education. What use would the RAAF have a for Chinaman? Ended up in Darwin as a secretary, until Yamamoto's fleet steamed in from Pearl Harbor. Got to see the first Aussie flag destroyed by a foreign power on home soil, which was something. Almost lost a good pen, too. Got relocated to the Alice.
Finally, with the shift in foreign policy, the Darwin air raids, and the slow, but sure, realisation the enemy was about a thousand miles away, they finally let him join. Recruiter asked him if he smoked opium. He said, yes, all the time. Mum keeps telling me that was the Spanish in him talking.
Flew a few (or dozens, or hundreds, don't know,) missions, got shot down, did commando training and nearly ended up in Special Forces (I'm glad he didn't.) Ended up alive and intact at the end. He never bothered to even pick up his service medals. That's pretty much all we know. I think there was still a large undercurrent of racism after the war, and that he saw the war as something that had to be done, and tried to move on. That old Chinese sort of big-picture thinking; "It's bad now, but maybe in a thousand, two thousand years..."
I mean, we've got the general idea, just some of the details would be nice. Also, I really want to know what happened to that pen. But good god, straight, I'm glad as hell he didn't end up in Changi or on the Railway, similar to what happened your uncle. I met a Changi survivor on Anzac Day in 2008. Couldn't straighten his back after he'd had it broken in the camp, same with his fingers, which looked like they belonged to a cross-eyed carpenter.
Great story. I love the cross-eyed carpenter reference. It goes along with 'windy enough to blow a dog of a chain' and 'flat out like a lizard drinking'. Descriptive.
I recently found out some WWI stuff about my grandfather (paternal. Maternal died when my Mother was 7). Most of the old fellas didn't talk about it much.
I also found some photos of him from about 3 years old (1895?) to when he was around 25 swanning around the Crimea in some sort of bad boy raiding party to stop the bolsheviks from taking over the oil fields.

The old fellas did some scarey stuff.

Richard.
01-22-2010, 01:49 PM   #178
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7 Months Later

Holy Crap! I began this thread 7 Months ago at the specific request I'd received from one of the other areas of these forums.
I reluctantly began and didn't really think there would be much interest. Much to my surprise, it quickly became evident that I was slightly off target with that prediction.
Every time I check this thread, I'm amazed that new readers pop up from time to time and the interest doesn't seem be slacking off at all. Having said that, I'll continue posting till' that interest subsides or dies.
Today, I'll take the time to answer a question or two that was recently posted by juu.

1. ...Why did you join the Army ...?
ANS: I had received my draft notice in Dec. 65 or Jan 66 and it was obvious that I was going to be in the service one way or another. My thinking at the time was that if I volunteered, I could at the very least get some sort of practical training and hopefully not end up in the Infantry. At the time I got my draft notice, the military was rapidly gearing up for deployment to Vietnam and I was caught in the early draft call in my area.

2. ...did you volunteer for photography and expected to avoid Vietnam ...?
ANS.: Short answer YES! I had no idea that there was anything called Combat Photographer until after I got to Photo School at Ft. Monmouth. Even then, we didn't think we'd be sent to Vietnam. Little did we know that the military was planning on sending more photographers to the theatre than had ever been done before. Vietnam was and remains the most photographed war in US history! I initially thought photographers in the Army just took pictures of parades, ceremonies, etc. Much to our surprise, all but two of my class got orders to Nam' following our training.

3. ....do any of the movies about Vietnam War portray the conflict accurately ...?
ANS.: Not really! First off, there is no way to accurately portray the chaos and reality of a battle. Vietnam is particularly difficult because the experience depended upon when you were there, where (geographically) you were stationed, the type of job you had, and finally what type of unit you served in. Someone who was stationed in the southern Delta fought an entirely different type of war than someone who served in the Central Highlands, or along the DMZ. If you talk to people who served in those different areas, you'd think they experienced a different war altogether. That's because of the varied terrain in those areas. Because of my job, I photographed operations in all of those different areas and was able to recognize the differences.
The type of job you had would make a profound difference. Someone who was a clerk typist, or communications person stationed in a rear area or in say, Saigon, Danang, Pleiku or any of the other urban areas had a very different experience than someone who was in a combat unit in the field. Duty in Saigon was much like serving in any large captol city. Go to work, do your shift, eat, shower, and go to town and get drunk then return to start again the next day. Not a great deal of danger. Those of us who spent time humpin' "Indian Territory" had a very different experience. Danger and fear (on some level) was a daily routine. As a photographer I experienced both types of environments. The REMFS had a very different view of the war than the combat types.
The type of unit one served in also made a big difference in the experience. I spent most of my time with units from the US Marine Corps, Special Forces, Airborne and finally with the 1st Cav. Those units are made of either entirely, or predominantly of volunteers. Even though the Marines were taking draftees as early as 65-66, they are primarily a volunteer force. Special Forces and Airborne units are, in their entirety made up of volunteers. The 1st Cav during their deployment had priority on all incoming non-jump qualified personell. As a result, the morale, professionalism and dedication are much higher. This resulted in a very different type of experience on an individual level.
Having said (all of the above) is not to say, that there aren't individual exceptions to those statements, but in general, they pretty well hold up. Because of all these things, it's difficult, perhaps even impossible to fully grasp the "Vietnam Experience". In my particular case (and a few others), I had some level of experience with all of those variables mentioned and accordingly they have shaped my entire attitudes and so forth about the war.

One final comment about the Combat Photographer that was re-assigned to studio work after I told the 1st Sgt. that I didn't think he should be in the field. The poster commented that it seemed as though that was like a reward rather than punishment. The irony is that it would be a punishment or a reward depending on your individual attitude. Most (certainly not all) of the photographers wanted to be in the field. In my case I volunteered for a Combat team because I couldn't tolerate some of the bovine excrement that I experienced in the rear. As a Combat Photographer, I was pretty much on my own, and left alone when out. We had permanet travel orders and special ID that allowed us a freeom of movement that most soldiers are never allowed. At the time, when my team left base camp, our commanders had no way to contact us or know where we were or what we were doing. As long as we turned in good work, they didn't mess with us.
Gotta go for now, but will return later.
01-22-2010, 02:00 PM   #179
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Good story lithos, and again thanks for the panning out of your life story Bob.
Very inspiring.
We might be able to share some war stories over the next few years as I return service for my training although I won't have the same exposure as you have had on the frontlines.

This is a timeless thread on the forum.
Much obliged to you Bob for your service in this capacity and the effort you've put into sharing your experiences on the field.
01-22-2010, 02:24 PM   #180
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Bob, thank you for your answers.

QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
Someone who was stationed in the southern Delta fought an entirely different type of war than someone who served in the Central Highlands, or along the DMZ. If you talk to people who served in those different areas, you'd think they experienced a different war altogether. That's because of the varied terrain in those areas. Because of my job, I photographed operations in all of those different areas and was able to recognize the differences.
I found this very interesting as I think the popular perception is just "jungle jungle jungle".
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