Thurman P. Woodfork

GOOD TIMES ON EASY QUEEN MOUNTAIN

Memories of Easy Queen Mountain in winter…
Rifle fire still echoing from the DMZ
fourteen years after the Korean “Police Action” has ended…

Snow piling up against the tents
as Thanksgiving leaves and Christmas comes and goes on frosty wings…

Reminding 5th TAC that my enlistment is up and being told not to worry…
Needs Of the Air Force will extend my enlistment whether I like it or not…

Response: “You’ll have to – I’m not re-enlisting while I’m on this frigging mountain.”
Extension goes through…

Army asks if they can borrow our M-16s for training,
seems they have ammo, but no M-16s – Situation Normal All Fucked Up…

Korean Officer appears in tent on Christmas Day with gift of lighters
as thanks for working on their behalf – silence from 5th TAC…

Balky radar demanding constant attention
and only three-level apprentices fresh from tech school to help out,
exacerbated by a pushy Butter Bar in Ops who has to be reminded
that he is not in charge of maintenance…

Almost – nearly, but not quite – longing for the heat of Vietnam,
maybe for just a few days…

Called to Seoul by Korean Air Force brass
to give my opinion of present radar and recommendations for a replacement…
A year or so later find that they have installed the radar I had wearily recommended…

Meet my replacement in Seoul; along with replacement parts for antenna…
find that he has no experience with UPS-1 radar, so back I go with him,
not quite understanding why I care…

A few months after finally returning to Clark,
brass floats idea of my returning to Easy Queen –
nobody else can keep the little critter on the air…

It’s nearly time for me to return to the States,
so the suggestion meets with the scorn it so richly deserves.
I would have to extend my tour in SEA,
and I don’t want to hear that “Needs of the Air Force” crap again…

So, after nearly four years spent mostly in the tropic heat of SEA,
they send me home to the States, Northern Minnesota, and…

Memories of Easy Queen Mountain in winter…