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Wednesday, July 12, 2017


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  1. VON AL


    When i was at high school, we had US Physics text book. It was in metric & Imperial. That was a headspin... gravity was 32ft/s/s...or 9.8m/s2? At least a US mile was standard....your gallon wasn't. I confess, i convert so many metric things back into Imperial...(esp mpg in my car) Let's really confuse everyone, and use Arshins? The old Russian standard!:)))
  2. VON AL

    Pacific Battle Jungle Combat Exp

    I'd be curious as to costs from USA? We stayed at a resort chain, PIC, Pacific Islands Club which was great value. Saipan was then, relatively undeveloped. No idea today? I recall Mt Suribachi?, as an imposing feature. The little sedan we hired wouldn't make it up the steep gravel road, the Suzuki 4wds could. I swear on a rock face, there were huge 'pock marks' that were too uniform in location, to be erosion? Battleship sized shell hits? The 'Japanese Command Post' was a bit illuminating too. It had taken a large cal round plus some 20mm? There would've been a solid pink mist in there! I'm busting to get back now!!! Cheers.
  3. VON AL

    Pacific Battle Jungle Combat Exp

    Recently i met a beaut bunch of folk from Kiribati Islands, living in Melbourne, Australia. I was quite excited to learn that Tarawa is the principal island in the group. As a kid, the images of USMC casualties, really stuck in my mind. Sadly, from Australia, airfare is around $2000. To Fiji is cheap enough, but the smaller plane to Tarawa is the expensive part. It would seem there isn't much in the way of relics there. In 1989/92 i had two trips to Guam & Saipan. That was terrific.. I'd love to go back. In that era, Continental Airlines had a beaut island hopping deal. Ideally, we should've done Guam/Saipan/ Truk etc...4- 5 islands were optioned from memory? Only downside was time lost in transit, despite being short flights. There were tours in Suzuki 4wd vehicles. Wish I'd done one. Anyone been there since?
  4. VON AL

    Vietnam Battle Tours

    The USN is getting Cam ranh Bay Naval Base back for use... the change in political tensions now sees US Military welcomed back. The Greenback is always welcome:) There are jeep tours in restored MUTT's. Haven't been to Khe sanh yet, but the site has been developed to a degree. You'd love Cu chi Tunnels, including a visit to the rifle range afterwards. For a Riverine experience, you can book a tour to Mekong or Cu chi by speedboat. I did think of Apocalypse Now....the river was choked with floating waterlilies...the roots kept fouling the props. Be an interesting water ski!:)) Plenty of old Saigon... just new tenants in the buildings. Strangely, the Viets are sitting on a goldmine of war booty. I've had big warehouses pointed out to me, where some is stored. For a few dollars, Viet dealers can purchase from guards. I saw piles of NIB Jeep parts dated 1974 . at one well known restorer's workshop. Soft tops are made from unissued mint tentage. I've met an Aussie who somehow managed to buy for $1M, an entire hangar full. He knew what he was looking for. Crated UH-1 engines and tons of parts!! Much of it buried under canvas tarps. An engine is worth $1M apparently, as no one making them? The networking ability of this guy is extraordinary...it's a true story as a mate of mine was asked to help him catalogue the haul. Sen. John McCain's parachute, helmet & flightsuit is in display at Hanoi Hilton. That's a pretty sobering place! Save your pennies mate! It's dirt cheap once you hit the ground and English is widely spoken. Cheers Al
  5. VON AL

    Vietnam Battle Tours

    Hi Stephen, Your Tour ideas have great merit indeed! One slight complication: We Lost! The Viets have incredible museums and I'd be happy to recommend places & tours as I've spent considerable time in SVN these last 6 years. Viets seem noticeably shy when it comes to helicopters. I live near a major oil facility HQ, and huge Russian choppers fly over regularly, transfering crews i imagine? Saigon has a giant skyscraper with a massive helipad tacked onto 50th floor. I'm not certain it's ever been used? You just don't see choppers like we do back home. Interestingly, US citizens can get 12 month visas easily, Europeans given 15 day visa waivers...Australia hasn't been forgiven yet??? That said, most Viets don't know Aussies & Kiwis were even there!! Come visit..you'll love it. Hanoi's museums are better IMHO, but you'll need a month to just to just scratch the surface. Cheers Al Uc dai loi (Thick skinned Australian) Cheap Charlies PS. Hide the Stars & Stripes...you'll just pay 5x what i do!:)) I show my Aussie colours discretely, so they know they'll get less out of me!:)))
  6. VON AL


    Quite frankly, i can't get enough Military History! Just when you think you've exhausted all info on a topic..out of left field, comes something new. My primary interests are Military Medicine, WW2 (I'm coming to Europe soon), Australian/NZ involvement in Vietnam War (I spend winter usually, in coastal city that was ANZAC Taskforce HQ)... I'm happiest in museums or walking battlefields, trying to imagine what Veterans i've spoken to, or read upon, might have experienced? I don't pretend to be an authority on much at all. I like forums such as this, as participants form an immense knowledge bank that is readily updated, unlike conventional sources. I'm not meaning to despersonalise, but for all that i learn from you, i hope i may contribute in kind. Cheers Al Ballarat, Vic, Australia