The Spring of 1972 found the U.S. Marines being sent back into action in

Southeast Asia.  It is now thirty years later and I find myself frequently

thinking of my year spent at the Marine Air Base, Rose Garden, Nam Phong

Thailand.  Nicknamed the Rose Garden after Lynn Anderson's hit song and the then

current Marine recruiting slogan "WE NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN".  It

certainly never looked or smelled like any rose garden I had ever seen.  Every-

where you looked was red dirt, muddy in monsoons and dusty in the dry season.

Marines sure do have a warped sense of humor!

 

I wonder sometimes why I think so often of that place.  I was never in any real

danger there.  I was not a grunt or a pilot.  I was never shot at nor did I

shoot at anyone.  My year there did leave me with some lasting memories.  It was

my last year as a teenager.  My son was born while I was there.  I spent my

first wedding anniversary there.  I was homesick for my family in the Missouri

Ozarks.  I slept on a cot and was always hot and sweaty.  We worked long hard

hours.

 

But I had fun there too.  Got to see Bob Hope and Redd Foxx.  Got promoted to

Sergeant.  Made some real good friends and we enjoyed our trips to Udorn.  We

enjoyed eating and drinking at the Rose Garden Club.

 

Now and then, I hear a certain song or see something about Vietnam War on TV

that makes me think about my time spent at the Rose Garden.  I wonder what it

looks like now.  I would like to go back there someday.  Now us vets of that

place have our own website.  We've even had Miss Lynn Anderson correspond with

us.  I've been in touch with several of my friends from back then.  A few of us

are Grandpaws now.  Would love to see those guys again too.  We are all middle-

aged men that shared a year of our youth.

 

I was LUCKY not to have gone through the horrors of combat that so many service-

men had to go through during the Vietnam War.  I salute those veterans that

endured such things including our pilots that did so on a daily basis.  Some

gave their all for our great country.  There are heros in the service today

doing the same and I salute those brave men and women as well.  The history of

Nam Phong will never be a movie or a special on the History Channel, but the

veterans of that place won't soon forget it, and will always look back on it as

a source of pride.