unit history information
155 AHC was a US Army unit
for 155 AHC
For date 661124
52 CAB was a US Army unit
17 CAG was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Operation PROJECT OMEGA
Darlac Province, II Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Ban Me Thuot
Description: The 155th Aviation Company unit history states the compound swimming pool was officially opened by the 17th Group CO, COL John W. Marr and the 52d Battalion CO, LTC Foy Rice, in a ribbon cutting ceremony. The entire company, minus those involved in PROJECT OMEGA, enjoyed a brief respite in mission activity. The day was observed by a fly-by, awards and decorations ceremony, dedicating the pool, a short interdenominational service, followed by a well prepared meal for the men and guests in the enlisted mess. Meanwhile, CPT Charles T. Peases and WO1 James K. Frederickson utilized one UH-1D to fly Gen William C. Westmoreland and party into the Special Forces camps located in the Ban Me Thuot area. They were escorted by two FALCON gunships.
In Issue #6, May 1998, of the Ban Me Thuot Barb, Bob Atkinson relates the following:
Everyone in BMT, the 155 compound, and the Army Advisors' compound knew that a swimming pool had been sitting at East Field for more than a year - maybe two. The story I heard was that the Navy, being in charge of recreation when the Advisors were the only military personnel in Vietnam, had ordered a number of these Olympic sized pools for the Advisory groups. The Colonel in charge at BMT at that time didn't think they had the space nore could they find the water for the pool, so it was just left sitting at the airport.
One evening I was approached just outside the Officers' mess by LT Betz (the PX Officer), a WO whose name escapes me, and the USAF Weather Officer. Betz spoke for the group, and said that if I gave them enough time off, they would get the swimming pool installed inside the compound. I took this as a slight challenge, and asked how they planned to get the hole dug, and whether we could get water to the pool? Betz's bunch had it all set up. The civilian engineering group, PA&E, had been consulted by the threesome. PA&E had lots of building materials: wood for framing, cement for the sides, and all the piping were available. They had lots of expertise. And yes, the PA&E guys liked to swim, too. The PA&E head man had agreed to offer labor and materials to support the effort. I was obviously outflanked on this one, so I told them to go to it. Actually, they needn't have gone to all that trouble. Little did they know that I had worked in the summers of my high school and college years as a life guard and swimming pool manager. I was probably as excited as they about having a pool for the men of the company.
This group did not waste any time; work began the next day. It turned out that the Weather Officer was in because he could operate a transit to get the elevations and layout done. The pool layout was soon marked with stakes. It was then that I stepped in to ask that they stretch the pool liner out before digging, because I had a suspicion that the pool was a special size and might not be as described in the handbooks. Sure enough, the liner was larger than expected. Mark one up for the Old Man! By October 15, after remeasuring and remarking, the hole had been dug. Lots of dirt had been moved, with the help of many, many people from the 155 and attached units - even visitors helped out. Of course, this still being the Army, we used the opportunity to fill some sandbags with some of that dirt.
There was still piping to install, cement to lay around the perimeter, and, as luck would have it, there were a number of small pin holes in the pool liner. Fortunately the installation kit included patches for this purpose, and installation proceeded without undue delay. The pool was completed in November, and grand opening was set for Thanksgiving Day. After an impressive ribbon-cutting ceremy, visiting dignitaries were served hamburgers and hot dogs at poolside. A good time was had by all. The 155 had its pool!
Postscript: Ever since that first conversation with the pool conspirators, I had been working to come up with something that might pass as a plausible excuse as to why the 155th had taken the pool from the airport at East Field. Frankly, that part of the pool project had not gone well. My best shot was going to be: "We had to protect it from the VC." I'm sure glad no one every asked.
Comments: GEN Westmoreland, William C.; ; visit;
COL Marr, John W.; 17 CAG CO; visit;
LTC Rice, Foy; 52 CAB CO; visit;
CPT Peases, Charles T.; AC; ;
WO1 Frederickson, James K.; Pilot; ;
MAJ Atkinson, Robert V.; 155 CO; ;
LT Betz; PX Officer; ;
The source for this information was STAGECOACH, History of the 155th AVN by 1LT Heydenberk & WO Coke
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
Please send additions or corrections to: Gary Roush Email address: email@example.com
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