Army Otter Association of Vietnam Veterans

Chapter 17 - War Stories

Humorous Stories and Life Experiences

This chapter is where we will record your emails of laughs, tears and thoughtful experiences of your time in Vietnam or back home. Please feel free to tell your stories (long or short), so we can share it. Send your email to the
Webmaster. We thank you in advance for the memories (right Bob)?

Crash of C123 & Rescue

Winston (Rich) Harris sent me the two article from the Newspaper in his hometown.  Rich now lives in Franklin NC.  From all Rich has told me leads me to believe that he comes from a  family widely known and respected in that area.  I fact he and his family still owns and his brother resides on Land willed to his great, great  Grandfather for action performed in the Revolutionary War.


Prior to last year I had never met any of the C123 Crew.  They were taken to the commercial airfield at Ban Me Thout Harold and I returned to the Rubber Plantation Strip.  I found Rich on the internet but was unable to locate the other crew members.  Rich and I are going to Dinner in  the near future,  I will try to get a current picture of He and I now.


With regards to the USIS and MACV Observer the articles speak for themselves you can write anything necessary to explain those  entry’s except that contrary to what the article says we were not a part of the search,  We were however aware of the missing bird out of Saigon  Harold and I had a planned mission to Ghia Nhia.  We talked about it and because our flight path more or less followed a direct flight path from Saigon to BMT so we knew the highest point on the route, that is where we found them.    

This is a true story of two pilots.  One pilot saved the life of another pilot and reunited about 50 years later.





The Flower Bar

 Who remembers the Flower Bar of Nha Trang?  It was one of the earliest bars in Nha Trang town with a Vietnamese lady who turned it over to her 19 or 20 year old daughter that could speak real good English (especially when you had a couple drinks to many) along with a little make-up that went a long way (and so did other things).

The Lobster named Joe

The picture of the lobster is the proof of the next tale and how we met, both of us got even with each other.  The guys and I i.e. the 18th and 339th put  a boat together one day and one of the guys got a motor for it, (I think it was a midnight special, must have been a Tech Supply person) and on our weekends we decided to go out to the islands and do a little water skiing, fishing  and snorkeling.  While under water I came upon this 3 ft lobster name Joe, he did not like me and I wanted a piece of him.  That was my biggest mistake to go after this 3 ft lobster. He turned on me and knocked off my snorkel, took off my goggles, and pinched the hell out of me to the point that I was screaming under water. That was my next mistake as I probably took in about 5 gallons of water before I came to my senses.  That 3 ft'er taught me a lesson to be prepared for this type of activity and I taught him a lesson over a 33, rice and other goodies back at Francois Restaurant.

Francois Restaurant - (John Lynch photo credit)
Note to this story of Francois was repeated by members of the 18th Aviation Company up until the time we left Nhat Trang in 1966.   Another success for the 18th Aviation Company was a second restaurant called the Natit restaurant at the other end of the beach.  I used to go there to eat my lobster, fries and salad for a couple of dollars. Don't believe that, as some where I still got the menu.


Who remembers this one?
As it was a great morale booster for the company back in 65. 
We (the 18th Aviation Company) had an Otter at the time with a tail no. of 707. 

The story went like this to the best of my memory.
Pilot to tower: "This is TWA 707 request permission to land."
Tower to pilot: "TWA 707 where are you as I can not see you nor can I see you on the screen."
Pilot to Tower: "I just flew by you and buzzed the tower."
Tower to pilot:  "The only thing that went by me was an Otter."
Pilot to tower:  "That was me, the 707 is my tail number and the TWA means 'Tweenie Weenie Airline'." 

I'm guessing the pilot got told about that one as far as the EM went and other officers of the unit it was a great morale booster.


The Orphanage Story

The following story is true and no BS is involved in this. 
A certain orphanage in town is grateful to the members of the 18th Aviation Company from year 1962 up to 1966 for the continue support for the kids. 
I remember giving in 64 and 65.
 I think as I recall there was a free will offering every month.

The Year: 1955, This Is What We Said:

Oh the things we say and never keep promise to it.  How many times have you heard this.  The year was 1955 and some of us was in the Military or getting ready to join the Military or getting ready to get out of High School to join the Military.

1.  I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it will be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $10.00. (Editor's note:  It is still impossible to buy a weeks groceries today 2009.)

2.  Have you seen the new cars coming out next year?  It won't be long before $1000.00 will buy a used one.

3.  If the price of cigarettes keep going up, I'm going to quit.  Twenty cents a pack is ridiculous.  (Editor's note: you are still bitching at $5.00 a pack in 2009.)

 4.  Did you hear that the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter. That is way too much. (Editor's note: The post office is still not doing their job and now they want Saturaday's off.  We are now paying .44 cent to mail a letter in 2009.)

5.  If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store. (Editor's note: When I was working before joining the service in 61 I was paid $.75 cents a hour and when I joined the service I got $68.00 a month.  Based on a 40 hour work week that equals to $42.5 cents per hour for 160 hours per month  benefits not included.)

6.  When I first started driving, who would have thought that gas would someday cost $.25 cent a gallon.  Guess we'd be better off to leave the car in the garage.  (Editor's not: When I came back from Vietnam in 72 I was paying $.27 cent a gallon for premium.)

7.  I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more ever since they let Clark Gable get away with "DAMN" in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either Hell or Damn in it now. 

8.  I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas.

9.  Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $50,000. a year to play ball?  It would not surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the president.

10.  I never thought I'd see the day that all of our kitchen appliances would be electric.  They are even making electric typewriters now.

11.  It's too bad things are so tough nowadays.  I see where a few married woman are having to work to make the ends meet.

12.  It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.

13.  I'm afraid the Volkswagon car is going to open the doors to a whole lot of foreign business.

14.  Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the government takes half of our income in taxes.  I sometimes wonder if we are electing the right people for the offices?

15.  The drive-in restaurrant is a convenience in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will catch on.

16.  There is no sense going on short trips anymore for a weekend, it costs nearly $2.00 a night in a hotel.

17   No one can afford to be sick any more, at $15.00 a day in the hospital, it's too rich for my blood.

18.  If they think I'll pay $.30 cents for a haircut, forget it. 



This article appeared in the Waterways Journal on July 12 2012 and was written by Capt. Richard Eberhardt a employee I presumed for LeBeouf Bros. Towing of Houma LA.  It is a tribute to 3 GI's who went to Vietnam and was stationed together with the 18th Aviation Company All three guys were Crew Chiefs on the Otter aircraft.  Their names are Richard (Dickie) Gonsoulin, Ted Meyers and Mike Miyasaki.  This  is the story unchanged as it pertained to all three former soliders.

                                                                            MV. TEDDY MEYERS


Richard "Dickie" Gonsoulin, owner of LeBeouf Bros. Towing (LBT),named the larger vessel after his Army buddy,Teddy Meyer.  The paths of Gonsoulin and Meyers crossed while they served the U.S. Army in Vietnam in the early 60's. Gonsoulin, a sout Louisiana native and Meyer a Hawaii native, were stationed in Vietnam and worked in aircraft maintenance.  After teir service to our country, they returned to their homes and lost contact with one anothe until they wer reunited in 2009

Through the years, Dickie kept in contact with Mike Miyasaki, another army buddy, but wanted to find others he had become friends with while serving in the Vietnam War.  He began a search on the Internet and found a genealogy article written by a member of the Meyer family.  The article was his first step in finding Meyerrrr in a hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, paralyzed from his nose down after suffering a stroke severaal years earlier.  Gonsoulin and his wife Merle, experienced an emotional reunion when they visted Meyer in 2009.  Although Meyer is unable to speak, he was able to communicate and smile with them through a special eye language. 

Several of Meyer's family members coming from  Hawaii Kentucky and Georgia attended the christening to represent him for this honor.  His sister, Karleen, spoke on behalf of him and the Meyer family.  She thanked Gonsoulin for naming the boat after her brother and further extended this gratitude by performing a native Hawaiian hula dance.

The MV. Teddy Meyer was built at Bourg Dry Dock in Bourg LA., the shipyard division owned and operated by the Gonsoulin family.  It was the first towboat built at Bourg Dry Dock, under the current owership and several more new boats are planned for the growing fleet+

The Teddy Meyer, which measures 91 by 34 by 10.5 feet and was built withan eye level of 38 feet, has Mitsubishi S12R-Y2MKTK main engines supplied by Laborde Products of Covington, LA.

LBT was formed in the 1940's by brothers Willard and Irvin LeBeouf.  In 1946, Earl Gonsoulin became a equal partner. The company was incorporated in 1957 and grew from a two vessel operation.  In 1968, the Gonsoulin family purchased the LeBeouf family stock and the name LBTcompany name was retained.

Today, LBT's fleet consists of 32 boats and 64 barges and is owned and operated by Richard Gonsoulin and his son Jon. End of story

Excerpts was taken from the main article to make up this story.  It is a nice gesture that Richard Gonsoulin thought so much of his fell solider and two friends from the 18th Aviation Company (FW)(LT)