||William G Thomas
I served as NCOIC or the station for a bit and also trick chief or supervisor. Had the rank of SSGT (E6), stayed in hotel Hung do next to the Metropol. Had the s... scared out of me several times probably like you did but survived.
I was in the original group that started Phulam facility. We came from Gordon and there was only hole in the ground , Com center and MRc-98 Tropo .I don't remember the days, but it was very early in the war and we sore civilian clothing and were paid civilian (CIV) There were appx 150 troops US in all vietnam at that time, and we put upMRC 80 Trop systems and big billboard antennas for the system. Originally it was AIR Force Com system from Egland AirBase Fla. We all lived in Cholon in DonKhan hotel.
Page Electronics Corporation out of California and RCA Services Co were the beggaring of all that . Eng Harry Hamilton RCA, lately Monkey Mountain in Danang There are two distinct phases of Phulam which should be separated. Phase ,one - Beginnings under control of US Stratic Communications Command and phase 2 - 1st Signal Brigade.
I served in VietNam from June 1962 thru June 1966. I was Installation NCOIC of the ComSec/Tape Relay portion of the PhuLam complex.
According to my passport I first arrived in Vietnam on 28 August 1962 (we were required to have passports at that time; we were "Advisors". The Military Command was then MAAG - Military Assistance Advisory Command - and was in a compound between Saigon and Cholon. When we first arrived at PhuLam it was just a small island sur
rounded by Rice Paddies. The only building on it was the old Transmitter building, which was 99% empty and which I understood had been constructed and used by the French Army. There was also a small Generator shed on the site, and a few antennas in the paddies facing Cholon. The equipment started arriving for PhuLam long before the main building wa
s even started. We rented a Warehouse in Cholon and stored the equipment there until the PhuLam building was ready. In the meantime, we had enough projects to keep us busy,Baqueo, Tonsonhut, the MAAG Com Center, etc. The main buil
ding at PhuLam was built the old fashioned way - female coolies carried the cement over their shoulders in two buckets, a few pounds at a time. I really thought that I would be long retired before the building was even built. When we finally started the actual installation, it seemed to go fairly good, fairly fast. I was involved only in the ComSec\Tape Relay portion of the installation - my MOS was 342.40 at the time, and, as ranking E7 in that field, was the NCOIC.
When we were finally ready to run our first test we were all stunned when we got nothing but garble from the Tape Relay equipment (I think the nomenclature was AN\GNC-5). After checking everything we could think of someone finally took a trench cover off. The thousands of yards of neatly stacked and laced cable was just a jumble of bare copper wire; rats had somehow came in from the rice paddies and ate every bit of plastic insulation from every cable in every trench! It had to be done over, completely. We found that the Army had their own version of "Terminex", and they took care of the problem.
After the PhuLam cut-over, I worked in various parts of the country, doing various thing, and returned to PhuLam several times to install updates.