"Mia Pen Rai Cop"

Tom Barden

Joined Nov 6 2010
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67 years old
Los Angeles, CA
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The 519th Transportation Association Thailand

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About Me

I was at Camp Samae San 1969-1970 working at the deep water port.  I was with the transportation unit there and worked in the office at the port handling the transportation movements documents in an a/c building!   .Also was involved in moving some of the freight that had arrived on the cargo vessels up to the Air Force Base at Utapao as "air freight" it to its destination (usually some officers stuff that he didnt want to wait for).  Remember seeing lots of cargo vessels loaded with xmas trees for the troops stationed in Thailand around xmas time. And yes there was lots of drugs around and all of us being young and stupid.  We used to go the the Px store and not just buy a packet of rolling papers but the whole box of papers!  THE WHOLE BOX!  We would go to town and at the pharmacy get a bundle of weed,  take it back to a bungalow we rented and tear it apart and roll joints listening to music.  The bungalow had two rooms but was safe because you could not be on the street at night.  Curfew was at 2200hrs so you had to be in and it was always a little dangerous on the street at night anyway.  Anyone remember getting out of a cab or baht bus at night and getting back change in stamped beer cans?  The Thais were taking the beer cans  from the base and stamping coins out of them and then giving them back to us drunken G.I.s at night.  You had to drop the coins on the ground to make sure they were real.  Oh we were so drunk over there and not even drunking age!     At the time I was there the Army had extended the tour to 18 months from 12 . The trip to newland was a nightly thing  with two buses coming onto the base, one an early bus and the other later.  They used to stop at the clubs and just wait for us to board with cans of beer .  You just could not turn down this ride to newland and all the girls there.  I was introduced to newland my first night "in country" by some new friends I had met and they set me up with an old fat one!  I followed that  intro  with every new g.i. that arrived  "in country".  What a great country and what fun I had there being 18 years old and not tied or married to some girl back in the states.  I have been back there many times since.  But my 1st time  back was  in 1989 and I found an overgrown jungle of newland and could barely make out the PLAYBOY BUNNY sign!  The whole place from the street to the bldgs have been overtaken by the jungle again.  I had rented a jeep from Pattaya and drove down there.  I was walking around newland and heard someone calling out to me "hey GI over here".  I looked and there was a women calling for me to come over.  I went over there to see what she  wanted and she said " you remember this place too huh?".   So I guess many of us return to that place but we don't look the same because we are older, fatter,  just as that women doesnt look young to us anymore,  but she is still there.  I just returned from vacation in thailand visiting Koh Lipe and Phuket.  Still a great country and will continue to return again and again.  I miss my friends from over there especially:: Bob Brackman, Brody, Greg Cole, Larry Horvath, and friend from Buffalo who I still owe 20 bucks too!        

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1 Comment

Reply Tom Barden
2:52 AM on June 1, 2017 
Would like to go to a reunion with everyone and talk about going to NEWLAND which was our DISNEYLAND!