One of my favorite movies is, "The Last Time I Saw Archie."
It stars Robert Mitchum and Jack Webb. Mitchum plays Archie,
a born con-man, and Webb is his side-kick.
They are both draftees in the WWII U.S. Army.
Archie's con is to have them walk around carrying clip boards,
making cryptic notations and speaking softly to each other.
The regular army NCO's don't know what to make of this and
decide that Archie and his friend are general officers working undercover.
"I mean, a private wouldn't masquerade as a private, would he?"
The pair are given leave to wander wherever and whenever they want.
A jeep is provided. If you've ever been in the service, this film is
Jump to Vietnam, 1967:
Shortly after my arrival at the 8th RRFS, Phu Bai, I got word that my wife needed a power-of-attorney. The nearest JAG office was forty-some miles away, at Da Nang AFB. Was given leave to go down and conduct business and told to then hurry back. Hitched a ride on a Huey and found my way to the JAG office. . . quonset hut with air conditioning, little white picket fence, flower garden, lovely young Vietnamese secretary. I did all the necessary paperwork, grabbed lunch, returned to pick up the finished document, ran to catch a flight north but had missed the last flight out. Today, I don't know why I didn't request AF transient quarters but instead hitched a ride downtown on a passing deuce-and-a-half.
I was searching for "army" units to find a place to bed down. I came upon a large compound belonging to the First Logistical Command. Made my way to the orderly room and requested a bunk for the night.
(Because we performed a classified mission, I had been told to not disclose my specific unit. Since I was wearing a MACV patch, I told the 1SG that I was from MACV-J2. That was as high as one could go in the intel field in Vietnam.)
The MACV Patch
Got my bunk. In fact, got an entire hooch to myself. . . and I was a mere PFC! The 1SG even sent the orderly room clerk (a SP4) over with a jeep to give me a tour of downtown Da Nang. I toured (saw the oldest tree in the country), ate, went to sleep. Next morning, the same clerk woke me and escorted me to breakfast then drove me back to the airfield. I caught a ride on a 123 and was back at the 8th in time for swings.
I've often wondered just who they thought I was. . . and what I was doing there.
Where I was stationed:
What we did (partly):
Who we worked with:
What they flew: RU-6 in foreground, RU-8 in rear.
End result: Arc Light (B-52 Bombing Mission).