Thurman P. Woodfork

REMEMBERING A FRIEND
Ray Holcomb

Ray Holcomb
Ray Holcomb on his 40th Birthday
This is one of the stories a friend of mine, Ray Holcomb told. Ray served four years in and around Vietnam, first as a Marine grunt, and then as an Air Force radio repairman. Ray and I never met in person, but we were both stationed on Trang Sup at different times. Actually, we probably did meet when I came back to remove the radar from Trang Sup in 1968, but neither of us remembered the meeting. He was one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Ray passed away on 14 February 2004. The story below took place during the Air Force part of his adventures in Nam.

By the way, Ray is the only guy I ever heard of who carried a photo of Phyllis Diller while in Nam. What a guy! Phyllis was wearing a bikini over a wet suit.


One of our guys called from Da Nang where he’d scrounged lotsa stuff we needed but he didn’t have any transportation back. I got a deuce-and-a-half and went to pick him up. I left Phu Bai at 1645; as I remember they shut the road down at 1700. I was by myself in the deuce and a half (DUMB) and saw a Special Forces guy with some Vietnamese in tiger fatigues hitch-hiking so I picked them up. The SF guy got off about 15 miles down the road and I asked why the Vietnamese were not getting off; he said he didn’t know them! They had walked up to him a few minutes before I happened along. These guys giggled every time we went through a RVN checkpoint. They got off as we dropped out of Hai Van Pass down into Da Nang just as it was turning dark.

You have to remember this is a road where huge convoys get ambushed and my thought was they wouldn’t break cover for one lone truck, and being by myself, any company was welcome, but to this day I don’t know which side these guys were on. I can only hope because they didn’t bother me they were on our side. On the way back from Da Nang the next day I hooked up with a convoy and sure enough we got ambushed in the pass. What did we use for brains in those days?