Thurman P. Woodfork


I was just thinking about a TDY (Temporary Duty) I took to Korea. I had a 2nd looie who kept bugging me about our balky damned radar until I called Clark and they told him to worry about Ops and let me take care of the maintenance activities. By contrast, a Lt. Col. Smythe, who occasionally came up from Seoul to check on things, never bothered me at all. Once, when the radar was down and I was busy troubleshooting, he did ask me a few questions, which I answered at length.

However, I was up on the antenna – which wasn’t as high off the ground as you might think – and I speak softly, so the colonel hadn’t a clue as to what I was saying. He later remarked that he could see I was busy, and although he hadn’t understood a word I had said, I sounded polite and looked efficient. So, since he didn’t know what I was doing anyway, he decided to just leave me alone and let me do it. Naturally, since I was left undisturbed, I got the radar back on the air immediately.

I think the lieutenant suspected that I sometimes shut the radar down just to piss him off. He learned the error of his ways after I left and the guys who replaced me couldn’t keep the little bugger on the air at all. It was the same radar set I had worked on for a year in ‘Nam, and, apparently, was pissed off at having been dismantled and stored on Clark for nearly two years. It had worked fine in ‘Nam. Of course, it had gotten shot up a little bit too, which probably didn’t help matters. A couple of rounds through my antenna wouldn’t have improved my disposition much, either.

They thought about sending me back to Easy Queen Mountain to help out, but my tour on Clark was almost up and they had already involuntarily extended me once. None of them really wanted to die, so they reconsidered and I rotated back Stateside on schedule.