Da Hog

One of my responsibilities as Commanding Lieutenant of
A324B, Nui Ba Den, and XO of A312, Xom Cat, was feeding the
CIDG.  I only had one company of Cambodes at Nui Ba Den,
aprx 125, but at Xom Cat I had aprx 600.  I used to take an
interpreter and one of the Cambodes to Tay Ninh, had to
hitch hike off the mountain on any helicopter that happened
by that would stop in to pick us up.  We'd ambush a vehicle
at B-32 and go to the Tay Ninh Market.  We bought chickens,
eels, vegetables, nuoc mam, soy sauce, rice noodles, salt, a
buncha stuff I had no idea what it was, and I forgot them
damn ducks.  Course all the live stock was alive.  While I
was down town I'd go around the shops and buy expendables
for my operation.

Once we got back to Tay Ninh East
airstrip, we had to hitch hike a ride back up on the
mountain.  Until we got that ride, somebody had to baby sit
our live stock and groceries.  On one occasion it took two
weeks to get back up to Nui Ba Den.  It was a combination of
lack of aircraft and weather.  Nui Ba Den, at 3200 feet
above sea level, poking out of flat lands not far above sea
level, had a weather pattern.  CAVU everywhere in III Corps
except on the peak of Nui Ba Den.  If you were in camp it
was so foggy you could barely see your hand in front of your
face.  If you were off the mountain you saw a small puffy
white cloud, like a cotton ball, sitting right on top.  As
long as it was there, no helicopters were going to try and
shoot an approach.

The helicopter crews hated to haul fresh chow, especially
nuoc mam in those big clay pots.  Invariably one of them
would get broken and smell up the entire aircraft.  Once the
nuoc mam got down in the honey comb aluminum deck of a Huey,
it was there for the duration.

Xom Cat, Mr Bi, my Chinese Food Contractor, provided all my
CIDG chow to include whole hogs on the hoof.  We had one get
loose on the airstrip after a crew chief kicked the crate he
was in off the tailgate of the C-123.  Porky escaped and
hauled ass.  The impatient Air Force crew taxied down to the
north end of the airstrip, which was lower elevation than the
south end.  There was a hump in the middle of our airstrip
which prevented them from seeing what was going on at the
other end.  What was going on was all of us trying to corral
the hog.  We still hadn't succeeded in capturing the hog and
we heard the C-123 come up to takeoff power and head towards
us.  I had my camera and clicked the shutter just as the
C-123 pulled the nose up a few feet from the big ass hog
that was happily rooting up the middle of the laterite
airstrip.  Never phased the hog, but I bet it did the pilot
and crew of the Provider (believe that is the name of the

Our hogs, chickens, fish, eels, ducks, and stuff, never had
the opportunity to be visited by a doc.  This was 1966.

john h