A Brief History Of My Military Service
With The (RoK) Korean Tiger Division
Both While In Korea and Vietnam 1965 - 1966
My Call Sign in Vietnam and Korea was
Ragged Scooper 2-Alpha
Stationed at the RoK Camp Thunderbolt, Vietnam
Near the city of Binh Khe and the An Khe Pass.

More detail - click above picture

Flags over Camp Thunderbolt - Vietnam 1965 ~ 1966
Trees were made into flag poles to fly the Vietnamese and Korean flags only,
no American Flag ever flew over Camp Thunderbolt while I lived in it.


 

One of my Korean Buddies took this photo of me in front of the
Korean Operations Tent, RoK Tiger Division Compound,
Camp Thunderbolt, Vietnam, just after my 21st birthday in October 1965.

 

Airman Robert Michael
(Nickname Robin)
4th Direct Air Support Flight (DASF) as a
Combat Forward Air Controller, Close Air Support
Radio Operator, Maintenance, And Driver
or
Recon, Observe, Mark, And Destroy  (ROMAD),
also know as a Pack Rat. 
My AFSC 30454 (Army=MOS)
PCS was the 314 Air Division, Osan AFB, USAF, Korea
Under PACAF

 

 

I was assigned to the newly created 4th Direct Air Support Flight, 314th Air Division, Osan Air Force Base, South Korea, under PACAF at the beginning of the summer in 1965, having been transferred from Dauphin Island AFS (ADC / SAC) which was south of Mobile, AL, where I had been assigned to Ground Radio Maintenance. Once I arrived in Korea, I joined a flight of other airman & officers - a total of 29 of us. We were trained on the use of the M151A1 / MRC-108 Communications Jeep and Trailer / Generator system for Close Air Support under Combat Conditions know as a TACP or FAC team and I was called a ROMAD.  

Please note that during this time period,
the rank / strip were different than it is today.

E1 = Basic Training
E2 = A3c - 1 Strip
E3 = A2c - 2 Stripes
E4 = A1c - 3 Stripes
E5 = SSgt - 4 stripes

I also had to attend the PACAF Jungle Survival School in July of 1965.  This school was located at Clark AFB in the Philippines.  Training was provided by the Negretos, the original native people of the Philippines.  


Patch in 1965-66 - V1


Patch 1980 on - V2


My Korean Uniform Tiger Patch on the left while today's is on the right.
I still have two 1965 patches (left) which were awarded to me while I was
 assigned to the Korean Tiger Division at Camp Thunderbolt in Vietnam .
 

The 2nd and 4th DASF's mission was to support both the Korean Armed Forces as well as the American units assigned through out Korea 

Two teams from our flight were transferred (by PACAF via TDY) to Vietnam in late September of 1965 when the South Korean Tiger Division join in the fight for the Vietnamese freedom. The Tiger Division was sent to Vietnam primarily to assist in the control of the SE / TAOR Corp II sector that controlled QL-19 - Qui Nhon to Pleiku main highway for re-supply of the troops in Pleiku.

The first  two teams that went to Vietnam consisted of 2 officers and their airman.  My FAC team being Capt Nicholson and myself. The other FAC team was Airman Malaney and his officer whom I do not remember at this time. My FAC teams was assigned a call sign - which was Ragged Scooper 2-Alpha  - my number was  2-Alpha  and Malaney's was 1-Alpha since he was assigned to the RoK HQ and I was detached to the field with the RoK troops at Camp Thunderbolt.

Sample of the Korean Written Language

Once at Qui Nhon, I was re-attached to a RoK Cav Regiment at Binh Khe, part of the South Korean Tiger Division once again.  The Tiger unit that I was attached to was settling in NE of Qui Nhon, about 17+Km  East of Phu Cat - called Camp Thunderbolt and Airman Malaney was assigned to the RoK HQ Compound - both sites were under construction at this time.

Our Aussi Hat in 1965.
This is the FAC / ROMAD Hat of Vietnam
Several Colors available - OD Green / Tan / Greens Mix.
Photo borrowed from www.romads.com
History of the Aussi Hat

I have just recently learned that the Chopper Group that moved most of the Koreans and me around was the 161st Assault Helicopter Group.  This group of guys did a great job moving us from point to point, sometimes on very short notice and under fire.  They also picked up both wounded and the dead for us.  Another group that supported the RoK Tigers was the 129th Assault Helicopter Company.

Agent Orange was used through out this areas during the better part of my time I spent with the South Korean Tiger Division.  Spraying was done via Chopper, C-130, C-124, C-123, DC-3 or C-47 and by hand.  During this period time, some of the heaviest spaying in South Vietnam occurred along QL-19 almost on a daily basics.  The heaviest spraying for this area was done from early 1965 through late 1967.  This was some of the heaviest sprayed areas in Vietnam per military records.  Some of my personal pictures show the results of this spraying - however they are not on the web at this time.

Backing up a bit - while in Korea I was assigned to a M151A1 Jeep with a MRC-108 Radio Palate and Trailer with a Generator (24 V at 400 CPS)  that carried the number USAF 64K65. I took this Jeep and Trailer to Vietnam from Korea. Upon returning to Korea from Vietnam, I left this Jeep and Trailer for my replacement CFAC team to use.  I also left all of my weapons - a .38 S&W Pistol / holster belt and a AR-15 or M-16 and all supplies that I had acuminated. 

I have now learned that my jeep in the summer of 1968 was at the Phu Cat Air Base.  This picture was sent to me by Dwan Hall for which I am ever grateful.   The picture and text is just the way I received it via email.

One note here.  We were to have been given the older MRC-107 Radio Pallet but these were all sent to Europe instead.  The newer MRC-108 was sent to Korea and Vietnam.

Now on to the MRC-108 system.  The MRC-108 Radio Pallet was mounted to a M-151A1 Modified Jeep with a 24v DC system in addition to the normal 12v DC system for the vehicle.   All of the backpack radio gear as well what as mounted on the pallet ran with 12 / 24v DC, with the backpack which included the UHF and VHF radios using portable 12v DC batteries.  There were internal battery chargers for the portable batteries that would be recharged whenever the engine or generator was run 

The MRC-108 radio system had 2 backpacks built into the Jeep for the radios that were to be carried into to the field.   These radios were mounted in pull out mounts.  The FM was upper left on top of the pallet (AN/PRC-15) and the VHF (AN/PRC-41) was on the lower right below the HF Radio 

This enabled the FAC Officer or the Radio Operator (ROMAD) that was assigned to this unit to go on any type of sweep / raid / ambush that may have turned sour, to be able to talk with the FAC Officer in the O1E Bird Dog over head to help mark the target for the A1E's and later on the jets to do their bomb runs on 

All bomb runs that I was involved with were called for by the South Korean Tiger Division ALO located at the Tiger Command HQ.  These bombing runs consisted of Willip and / or Napalm followed with 500 to 1000 lb. block busters.  Most of the time I had a Korean FAC with me.   

The patch and the Metal Medallion above are the current
Black Beret emblems for the USAF TACP / ROMAD

All of our FAC teams preferred the A1E aircraft over the jets.  The A1e's just hit the targets better and hung around a whole lot longer than the jets could.  Plus the jets were just to fast and usually missed the target and we would have to call another sortie in to finish the job.

For each sweep - one or two radio pack weighing in about 50 lbs. each with the 12v battery attached was carried in the backpack. Sometimes I had to carry both radios, FM and VHF at the same time mounted on one back pack which totaled about 120 plus lbs.  Plus add to that the M16, wear a 38 pistol, take spare ammo clips (usually 4 extra 30 rounds plus the clip in the M-16,  and at least 2 canteens of water   

My USAF Flight Patch from Korea

I have a series of pictures taken during a few different sweeps or raids (search and destroy missions) - what ever you like to call them - where the Korean Tigers were receiving hostel fire.  Usually these locations were almost always leveled to the ground by air strikes. 

Some of the pictures of these raids are on the web now and in the top series show napalm being used.  Look closely and you will be able to find the A1e that had dropped the ordnance in the left side of some of the pictures. 

I am in some of these picture with either the Aussi Hat or the Marine Hat that I traded for somewhere and wearing a S&W 38 cal. pistol.  What I wore for a uniform on these sweeps was controlled by what the Vietnamese Interpreters wore, since I had to look like them for my protection.  Thus - Kaki or OD's was my uniform of the day. Several of my pictures show my radios and M-16 were behind me over a rise in case of in coming fire. One of my Korean buddies took most of these pictures of me.

While in Vietnam, I was "remotely attached"  to these following units in order of attachment over a  5 month period: 

 1. 2050 Tactile Air Control Group - Saigon
 2. ADUTM - Don't know where this was
 3. DASC ALFA - Na Trang
 4. DASC ALFDA Det. 1 - Qui Nhon

If you should have any information on any of these units, I need this information ASAP.  I need to know where they were located and if possible any additional information as to who and what they were assigned to.  Also who these units were merged into as time went on.

Later on after the start of the FIRST Tet offences in Jan 1966, my TDY tour was terminated in Vietnam (March 1, 1966), and I returned to the 4th DASF, Osan AFB, Korea, and continued to be in a training mode for both the American Army and the Koreans along the Korean DMZ.  

Later on in late summer of 1966, after my tour in Korea was up, I was then transferred back to the USA. I took a 30 leave with my folks and then reported to my new assigned at the:

602nd DASS, Det 1
4405 Airbase Group
Tactical Air Command
Bergstrom AFB, Texas

Bergstrom AFB TX at this time was President  LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson's home port of call. With their coming and going from Bergstrom all the time ment that it was parade time and base lock down every time they arrived or departed. 


Awards that I received while in the US Air Force.

After being sent back to school at Kessler AFB for additional training on new equipment, I returned to Bergstrom AFB and the 602 DASS to serve out my remaining time in the military.  I was Honorably Discharge from the Air Force in March of 1967 as a A1c.  

Please note that almost all of the pictures are clickable meaning that this will call up a full size picture with additional descriptions and or comments.  

All of the color pictures are either 1/2 Frame 35mm or Full Frame 35mm Extachrome and some Kodachrome films..  The black and white photos are all from 1/2 Frame 35mm Tri-X film printed to 2 X 3.25 inch pictures. 

At this time - 1965 / 1966 - film in the Qui Nhon area was almost impossible to get.  I usually got one of the pilots who flew to either Naha or Clark AFB, to bring some film back for me.  A lot of the time I just ran out of film   

The camera for the 1/2 frame film was the little point and shoot totally automatic Canon Dial 35 half frame camera.  Later on I was able to get more film and switched back over to my Cannon Pellix SLR Camera 

Should you be able to contribute a little more to this page, or to the page under construction for the 4th DASF that was located in Korea, please contact me.  Pictures and text for the pictures and any history are welcomed and credit will be give for additional input.   Thank you for stopping by.  I hope this little bit of history was interesting.   

 

Robin
FAC - TACP - ROMAD -Pack Rat
Korean Tiger Division in Vietnam & Korea
USAF - 4th DASF, Osan AFB, Korea
314 Air Division
PACAF