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Military Traditions

April 22, 2021 By Andy Anderson

It’s A Small World After All

Every Friday afternoon (before COVID-19), a small veterans group met at Paradise Valley Estates. Chaplain Perry Polk and Andy Anderson met as retired Air Force officers, who both served in Thailand during the Vietnam War. When asked where we served, it was at the same base, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base in northern Thailand. We were amazed that we had both supported the main mission of the 56th Special Operations Wing but in vital and different ways.

The mission of the Wing was twofold. First was interdiction of North Vietnamese (Pathet Lao) troops and war materials from North Vietnam through Laos on what had become known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, through the dense jungles. This was just a series of trails through Laos into Cambodia and then into South Vietnam.

The second mission was air rescue of aircraft crewmembers who had been shot down in North Vietnam or Laos. Captain Polk’s unit kept detailed records on combat aircraft, who the pilots were, where the missions were flown, what damage aircraft suffered, and how long it took Maintenance to repair the damages so the airplane was again combat ready. A very important task performed with punch card IBM computers.

Major Anderson served for the Air Material Office Commander as the Material War Plans Officer, working with the Supply Maintenance and Operations sections in direct support of the pilots and crew members who flew combat aircraft for our Wing’s twofold missions!

It was not until Perry Polk and Andy Anderson met here at Paradise Valley Estates that we could say, “It’s a small world after all!”

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