USARSUPTHAI ASSOCIATION

"Mia Pen Rai Cop"

596th QM CO - Stories

596th Quartermaster Company (Petroleum Depot Holding)

6-27-66 - 6-25-71 Sattahip Thailand

(An Unofficial History)




 

The 596th Quartermaster Company was assigned to the 528th Quartermaster Battalion, 4th Logistical Command, stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia in 1965 where unit personnel trained and participated in riot control duty around Fort Lee. The unit deployed to the Kingdom of Thailand on 27 June 1966 and assigned to the Sattahip Area Command, 9th Logistical Command (P) where the unit was stationed at Camp Vayama. The 596th Quartermaster Company was instrumental and responsible for establishing and operating the POL tank farm facility in the Sattahip area.



 

The 596th Quartermaster Company was originally sent to Thailand under an operation of the Commander in Chief Strike Command (CINCSTRIKE) possibly as a test of rapid deployment forces under simulated combat conditions (similar to Project Rapid Strike), as unit personnel did not wear any unit insignia or distinctive unit insignia. Ultimately they came under the command of USARSUPTHAI.

 

The unit equipment list (not inclusive) consisted of pipeline equipment, a dozer, a 25 ton wrecker, a rough terrain forklift, and several 5 ton tractor and 5000 gallon fuel tankers, plus other administrative vehicles and equipment necessary for company daily operations. The 596th Quartermaster Company was inactivated in Sattahip, Thailand on 25 June 1971.

Stories from the Guys

These are some of the recent email messages about life in the 596th Quartermaster Company (Petroleum Depot Holding) during it's time in Thailand.
(Some messages have been "sanitized" and "grammerized" as this is a family friendly site.)

_____________________________

Jack S. Kitchen, Jr. <cgkjsk@juno.com>
Info on my 596th Quartermaster Corps.(QMC) participation, regarding my previous 2-year assignment as a platoon leader in the 596th QMC at Camp Vayama (just north of Sattahip, Thailand), subsequent to completion of my 2-year assignment, beginning at Ft. Lee, VA during 1966-1967 time period, and base maintenance roles in Thailand through early 1967, whereupon I was subsequently transferred to Pacific Architech's and Engineers (PA&E)various locations in Thailand, followed by employment as a contracts, purchasing, expediting and equipment maintenance specialist at various locations in the Republic of South Vietnam, intially in Vung Tau, RSVN, followed by a subsequent assignment in Danang and points north, including Hue, Phu Bai, Camp Evans, etc, as required.
Jack


_____________________________


Dan Matchik <matchikd@yahoo.com>

I've been looking for old records and info as many of you seem to be {which I appreciate} I've stumbled on some odds and ends over the web. I was always told I couldn't tell even the VA where I was, etc, etc, due to classified ops and junk but I'm 62  now  so sc**w em.

What I found out was the 596 was sent to Camp Vayama under an operation called CINCSTRIKE which was apparently parts of "rolling thunder".  We didn't have a unit patch-weren't allowed to wear any insignias but, I seem to remember a 9th log shoulder patch. I remember we were told we were officially Thai advisers (the only Thai I remember advising-was when I advised one to take his jungle fogger and malathion right out of my hooch}

As for size I don't remember how many people we had but, we had pipeline equipment, a small dozier, a new m543  25-ton recovery wrecker, a rough terrain forklift, maybe a dozen 5 ton tractors with tankers, (5000gal  I think), plus various  other trucks, jeeps and, equipment.

The outfit was shipped in mass from Ft Lee Virginia. I personally flew over in a cargo plane (C124) I think  with critical pipeline equipment. (I was the only army person on that raggedy *** plane.) Prior to shipping out from Virginia - the 596th had  riot control duty, (we were trained to quell riots at area prisons that were holding objectors.)  That was worse than Thailand because many Americans threw stuff and spit on us.  Guess that's enough for now with this one final note Yes there were snakes in and around Vayama and our tank farm - yes I'd say the used agent orange to defoliate the camp, pipeline and POL farm areas and yes I know they sprayed malathion not only around the areas but, in the barracks and, WE HAD PIT TOILETS {outhouses and our showers consisted of a water vat on stilts that piped gravity fed water through metal drums which were heated with a fire under them. I do remember being told to shuffle your feet when walking to the showers so you wouldn't step on a snake and check the outhouse before sitting down.  (Was a real fun place)

Dan
_______________________________________


Dan Matchik <matchikd@yahoo.com>

Ok guys, I was actually assigned to the motorpool as a 63 Brovo, I think (mechanic).  I also did equipment repairs (things like generators  and petroleum pump repair etc, etc.) Normally I probably wouldn't have had the convoy leader job but, I suspect it was some form of payback from the higher ups. Doing what we had to do wasn't hard enough-our CO decided the motor pool needed to look more professional. He started making us  wear full fatigue uniforms, formations, march to motor pool-etc,etc.  To make a long story short I caused all the m151 jeeps in the outfit to be dead lined due to too much clearance in the ball joints,(they came that way). Anyway, no repair parts were available for awhile and the officers had to be transported in 3/4, 2 1/2 ton, and 5ton trucks for awhile. It didn't hurt our mission any but, after bouncing around in a 5 ton for awhile they sure thought twice about screwing with the mechanics and recovery people. We got to do our jobs without being messed with after that. 

Dan


_______________________________________


SP/4 Dan Matchik   <matchikd@yahoo.com>

I appreciate your reply and I sincerely hope other vets from Thailand or any other surrounding area assignment will feel better about they're contribution. I still have some issues to resolve I guess. Much of the stuff we did was kinda under the radar I guess.  I know there was some kind of explosion at Vayama after I left but, I've never been able to find anyone I was there with and, I do remember being told a mortar nest was found above our camp. I guess maybe I feel like I shouldn't have come home. Well, so much for my rambling. Again I state thanks for all of us.
Dan


___________________________________


Dan Matchik <matchikd@yahoo.com>

I can appreciate your liking the service you had. Unfortunately I served under some morons.
I originally enlisted thinking I would stay in for 20 {I'd have only been 37 then.  I spent 13 months on Wolmido Island in Korea, put in transfer requests for Nam but, they wouldn't approve them. The original Chief of AADCP # 2 was taken out after some unpleasantness involving myself – I was assigned to the 596TH quartermaster {petroleum Depot} {-} from there and spent maybe 6 months on riot control duty until we were shipped to camp Vayama in Thailand  as a unit.  After getting sick there I just rotated out and said the hell with it.

Dan 

Oh, incidentally the morale in these units I was in was in the toilet!

_________________________________________

Dan Matchik  <matchikd@yahoo.com>

Thanks for the latest reply Dana-I'm still trying to figure out the group’s usage (I'm not very computer savy). You mentioned an old Thai dozer which reminded me of:   We had an experimental dozer (was a D-4 with a D-6 motor). I was checked out to operate it before the unit was sent over from Ft Lee Virginia – then I found out it was made to be air dropped in the jungle and yours truly was supposed to clear chopper landing areas! Wasn't that gonna be a real hoot.  I could see the reports now "lost dozer probably due to operator negligence"

Do any of you guys know of operation CINCSTRIKE-?  What was the mission exactly?  I know we were assigned to 9th log for it in about July 1966.  That what the unit was sent to Camp Vayama for.  Lucky me- I was the only army guy on the cargo plane carrying critical equipment. That thing belched smoke and rattled from island to island from California to Thailand. I still remember the flak exploding outside the plane when we flew over Nam. My luck still holds I guess because we were never issued any ribbons or medals. I'm not sure they ever acknowledged we were even there. Naturally VA relies on the awards and medals to process any claims. You wouldn't believe the fight I had just to get an agent orange exam- I actually had to call the pentagon to have someone there call the Brecksville Ohio vets hospital so they would give me one.  For years I never thought I was considered a Nam vet- The civilians still gave me crap about it but, many vets that were in country didn't seem to think we did much.  Truthfully – I tried transferring to Nam a few times – being in hotspots and sensitive areas where you had no outlet was hell on my mind. For years now, I've been just waiting for the internal time bomb to go off from the dioxin and malathion and other sh*t.

I've got the diabetes, various skin problems, had quadruple bypass surgery-etc, etc, etc
What I get for enlisting I guess!  Kept my promises, too bad congress, the DOD, and military never kept theirs.

DAN

____________________________________

Dan Matchik <matchikd@yahoo.com> wrote:

Gary-interesting information re: 596 but, I don't know how or where the unit came into the Vayama area. We were all at Travis  in Calif  I think. I had been on leave just prior to going over.  I think I met the unit there. Anyway the motor sgt came up to me and said I wasn't traveling with the rest of the company. I was assigned to accompany some critical equipment to Thailand. I was the only army guy on that cargo plane (sat in a web jump seat all the way over) I would guess the air force had a good time talking about the young army guy all by his lonesome in the back. I'd flown before but, wasn't real comfortable in that (c124 I think) smoke belching rattletrap. They told me they had to change spark plugs in all the engines  when we refueled. When we had flack popping outside the plane, I used the headphones to ask why we didn't climb above it. I was told we were too heavy to do that. My next question was why they didn't eject some of the load. The reply was that I was the cargo master and had to do it.(that was news to me). I didn't know how to even open the damned cargo door and they wouldn't. I think we landed in Korat somewhere (might have been Bangkok (not sure).  All I do remember was the air force guys all jumped out the belly door-they didn't even open the back. I eventually jumped too and tore myself up pretty good.

Dan

____________________________________

Dan, the unit landed at U-Tapao, and bus convoyed to Vayama.

 

Gary

____________________________________

Dan Matchik <matchikd@yahoo.com>

Gary I think the co of the 596th was a Capt Marcus-motor sgt was named Randall. I remember a John Milke (sounds like not sure of
spelling). I think he was a pipeline jocky. I remember him cause he always had a bull whip with him and he played with snakes alot. He
was from Montana I think. He somehow rode a water buffalo into the mess hall . They called me to bring a forklift to remove a walk-in
cooler so they could get it out. (Ain't it funny what one can remember?)

Dan

____________________________________

Gary Hock <vayama66@...>

I find the info on the 596th QM interesting. I was the finance clerk for Headquarter Area Support Command, or 9th Log., or whatever we were called at the time. I believe there were only 6 of us in the HHC unit. I was also one of the drivers for our base commander at Camp Vayama.
His name was Col. Merritt Briggs. He had been in the Army for 26 years when he was at Vayama.

The Col. and I were at U-Tapao and met the 596th when they landed.

We were the official welcoming party.

I don't remember his name, but he was a Black Major who was in Command, all spit and polish. I remember SFC Jenkins.
I worked with a SP/4 McGee who was the finance clerk from the 596th. I watched the buildup start in the middle of 1966, at Vayama
We had been a sort of quiet out of the way base at the time. I got there in May of 66, transfered from the 9th Log at Friendship.
When I got there, the 5 guys in the Headquarter unit slept in town, (Sattahip), not on base.
We had a First Shirt, named Sgt. Chun, and I remember Col Briggs warning him (again) about leaving the company Jeep parked in front of a house of ill repute over night.

Ah, so long ago and far away.
Gary

_________________________________

Henry, That was the name I could not remember, it was Major Howard.  He came in with the 596th and ended up as the exc/officer of I believe Camp Vayama, not of 9th Log. 


I remember the 505th. Your guys hauled the water for our showers, if I remember right.  I'm trying now to remember the driver of the tanker that hauled it in to the camp.

 

Gary


_________________________________

MY NAME IS RALPH D. GROUNDS SR.  I WAS WITH THE 596TH QM WHEN IT WAS SHIPPED OUT OF FORT LEE VA IN JUNE OF '66. I WAS A SP/4 AT THE TIME AND WAS ASSIGNED TO THE MOTOR POOL AS A MECHANIC AND WRECKER OPERATOR. WE HAD NO IDEA WHERE WE WERE GOING. TALK WAS VIETNAM. WE HAD A CLASS WHERE WE WERE TO FILL OUT OUR WILLS AND GET FINANCE'S STRAIGHT AND A DAY OR TWO LATER WE WERE PILED INTO BUSES AND HAULED TO LANGLEY AIR BASE WHERE WE WERE PROMPTLY LOADED INTO WHAT I BELIEVE WERE C-147S AND FLEW DIRECTLY TO ALASKA. WE STOPPED IN ALASKA FOR FUEL AND TO REPLACE A BLOWN OIL PUMP ON ONE OF OUR ENGINES. OFF WE WERE AGAIN, ONLY TO BLOW THE SAME OIL PUMP AGAIN. THAT WAS OK THOUGH, BECAUSE THE PILOT SAID “SHE CAN FLY WITH ONE ENGINE IF NEED BE”. I WONDERED WHERE THEY KEPT THE CHUTES, BUT AS IT TURNS OUT, THERE WEREN'T ANY. JUST AS WELL, WE WOULD HAVE LANDED IN THE OCEAN ANYWAY! SO WE FLEW ON, ONLY TO STOP IN JAPAN TO FIX THE OIL PUMP AGAIN. FUNNY TOILETS THEY HAVE THERE. LOOKS LIKE A TOILET SEAT SITTING FLAT ON THE FLOOR .WE WERE OFF AGAIN (FUNNY I DON'T REMEMBER EATING AT ANY OF THOSE PLACES , BUT I'M SURE WE MUST HAVE ) THIS TIME DIRECTLY TO BANGKOK , ALTHOUGH WE, OR AT LEAST , I DIDN'T KNOW IT AT THE TIME. I KNEW EXACTLY WHEN WE GOT NEAR VIETNAM THOUGH, BECAUSE OF THE FLAK POPPING BELOW US. PILOT SAID NOT TO WORRY BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T REACH US AS HIGH UP AS WE WERE. I ASKED HIM, HOW HIGH? ANSWER---------CLASSIFIED! THEN I KNEW BETTER THAN TO ASK HOW FAST WE WERE GOING. WE LANDED IN BANGKOK AND "KRIPES" IT WAS HOT. WE WERE GETTING BAKED AND SUNBURNED STANDING ON THE TARMAC.WELL IT WAS BACK ON THE BUS AGAIN AND HEADING TOWARDS SATTAHIP. I HAD NO IDEA WHERE THE H#%& I WAS. AS IT TURNS OUT WE TURNED RIGHT A COUPLE OF MILES BEFORE SATTAHIP AND WE WERE HOME "CAMP VAYAMA". INTERESTING THING ON THE BUS RIDE FROM BANGKOK------WE STOPPED AT THIS LITTLE -----BAR I GUESS-------FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM, GOT AN ICE COLD ORANGE SODA--SAW A DOOR THAT LOOKED LIKE IT WENT TO THE BOY'S ROOM -----AND STEPPED OUT ON A PLANK WHERE YOU LOOKED INTO A DITCH WITH A BUNCH OF SAND CRABS RUNNING AROUND---------RIGHT IT WAS THE BOYS ROOM. PROBABLY THE GIRLS ROOM ALSO! ANYWAY, WHEN WE GOT TO CAMP SOME KIND PEOPLE (ENGINEERS AS IT TURNS OUT) HAD ALREADY BUILT US SOME NICE HOUSES. THEY WERE KIND OF FUNNY THOUGH, THEY HAD LOUVERED SIDES AND THE SHUTTERS TIPPED UP! WE SOON FIGURED OUT THE STRANGE BUILDING CODE WHEN IT GOT REALLY HOT AND RAINY, WE HAD NICE METAL BUNKS AND ELECTRICITY AND I SOON FIGURED OUT WHAT MOSQUITO NETTING WAS FOR. UNFORTUNATELY, ALL OF OUR VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT WAS LOADED ON SHIPS SOMEWHERE, ON SOME OCEAN AND WE WERE NOT TO SEE ANY OF THAT STUFF FOR ABOUT THREE WEEKS. UNTIL THAT TIME, ANYTHING THAT NEEDED MOVING, WE CARRIED, ON TENT POLES STRUNG THROUGH PALLETS, UP TO AND INCLUDING CONEX CONTAINERS. AFTER A FEW DAYS, I GUESS THE ENGINEERS FELT SORRY FOR US BECAUSE THEY LENT US A SMALL TRAILER--------NOTHING TO PULL IT WITH THOUGH. OH-WELL IT WAS BETTER THAN TENT POLES. I THINK ONE OF MY HAPPIEST DAYS WAS WHEN I SAW THAT SHIPS CRANE SWING MY WRECKER OUT ONTO THE FLOATING PIER AND I FIRED IT UP AND HAD WHEELS UNDER ME AGAIN. THAT'S GOING TO BE THE START OF SOME NEW STORIES AND THEY ARE-------TO BE CONTINUED.    

THANKS, RALPH