Det B Members

Bob Hope Christmas Show 1969

Don Skinner 1969 - 1970
The Bob Hope Christmas Show the year I was in Vietnam was at Freedom Hill. That was a great day. We were up on the hill some ways away from the stage but we got to see everything. Bob brought Connie Stevens, Teresa Graves, Neil Armstrong, Miss World and The Gold Diggers with him. It was a great show but the audience was a little rowdy. At the end of the show Connie Stevens came out and sang Silent Night. You could hear a pin drop.
A few years ago I found a VHS tape Bob Hope’s Christmas With The Troops. This tape is of the 1969 Bob Hope USO tour and is the year I was there. It’s great to see the show again even if it is the Reader’s Digest version. Just lately I was looking around Amazon.com and came across a DVD, Bob Hope – The Vietnam Years (1964-1972). I don’t have this yet but the reviews sound like it will be good.
As a kid I remember always watching the Bob Hope Christmas Show specials on TV with my parents, so getting the chance to see one of his shows live is one of my most special memories. And especially Connie Stevens singing Silent Night, which instantly became my favorite Christmas song.

China Beach

by Ron Berryman 1969 - 1970

Some nuggets of background info.

John Shimashita 1967 - 1968

67/68 Det.B was known as MICKY MIBARS (and still was in ‘69-’70, Don Skinner) or HOGAN'S HEROES.

The CO had a hard Spanish accent. After morning formation the Det. CO would dismiss the unit but nobody moved because we weren’t sure what the CO had said. The CO would turn to the Det. 1st Sgt. asking why no one moved. Subsequent morning formations were dismissed by the 1st Sgt.

Det beach parties held at China Beach with steaks supplied by Sgt. AYERS (supply). The Det. had bankers hours with PX runs if the work load allowed it.

Maj.HOGAN's reign was next, for a full year. During his command the Det. was stopped by the AFP (Armed Forces Police) and tossed in the stockade.

Malaria tablets handed out during morning roll call resulting in a backup at the 2 seater.

A 12 on 12 off 7 day workload

Reduction of the basic combat load to 20 rds (that was enough to allow someone to go out to the covered ammo crates and return with ammo) all hand grenades then bayonets were collected during different roll calls. OOPS forgot we had to sign for the 20 rds.
The sandbag bunker was the last place you would pick for incoming protection.

"WHITE FANG" stopped some of the Vietnamese from using the water truck for bathing and siphoning diesel fuel.

Full field inspections held on the tennis court facing the Delta pad (equipment/personnel covered in fine dust when Hueys landed on the D pad). Darn, forgot to add spit shined jungle boots and starched fatigues, we looked sharp until the sun and hueys arrived. You had to be there to enjoy the moment.

Water buffaloes walking through the defensive mine field.

New guys "cooking an egg on the fender".

Near riot at the NCO club during a concert by an Ivy league girls choir (roundeyes/horny GI's).

SFC. KIM (Korean SF) biting rim off water glass when Seabee calls Sgt.a liar.

Wagering on who had the most bugs in their biscuits, bathing with the water worms, monopoly games in the latrine, hiding a Sgt. from Saigon enroute to Det.E (won 3K playing poker at the Danang hotel)TUCKER's protein power.

China beach PX/USO giving away all the Fizzies you wanted (banned in the US possible cancer link).

Night crew supplied with "C" rations from Korean War and I think that’s enough for now.


Mike Davis (Animal) was ES-38 maint. dude. Due to a supply delay he had to work around shortages. In place of fuses he used "fuse wire", I still say it was lead! Working in the van with minimal AC sweating was a problem compounded by your dog tags making contact with the exposed fuse block. Folks traded positions trying to avoid overheating and you could hear through the door when ID tags made electrical contact.

You guys who came after MICKY MIBARS golden year have your own high/low lights.
Mickey_MIBARS.jpg
Tom Nelleson models the latest Official Mickey MIBARS Uniform and equipment, 1970 photo by Don Skinner

Houglan's Observations by Roger Houglan 1967 - 1969


Stories from The Far (East) Side by Don Skinner 1969 - 1970


Det B Memories by Gene Pianka 1967 - 1968


My Stories
by Stephen Griffis 1968 - 1969

These aren't in chronological order. My memory isn't that good.
I guess I'll start with Sgt. Carroll. I don't remember which section he worked in (it wasn't II). We got along pretty good but he did have one bad habit - smoking pot. We talked about it and I was sure that it would get him in trouble. Sure enough, he was arrested for possession. With typical military efficiency, a sample was sent to CID in California where some knuckle-head broke the chain of evidence. The MPs had no choice but to release Carroll and he went right back to smoking.

Wasn't able to get tickets to the Bob Hope Christmas show on Freedom Hill but that wasn't to much of a problem. A lot of guys just climbed the hill and took down part of the fence. The only guest I can remember was Ann Margaret. After watching Ann Margaret, nothing else was worth remembering.

In January or February of '69, I took my R & R in Osaka, Japan. Not a good idea; it was either overcast or raining the whole time I was there. I did get to the top of Fujiyama and had a spectacular view of the top of the cloud cover. Anyway, I returned from R & R on a Saturday. That night, two ammo barges that were docked on the Da Nang River exploded (sabotage was expected). The next day, on the ride to I Corps compound, we could see some of the damage. Tanks were literally tossed around. One was tossed across the street and was standing on end. We didn't suffer too much damage in the II section. A fluorescent light fixture that I would have been sitting under if I hadn't gone on R & R came crashing down. So, taking my R & R when I did wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Another time, a Vietnamese was either clearing dead leaves or cutting grass on the airbase near the ammo bunkers. He decided to burn them. The fire got out of control and the ammo bunkers were exploding one every couple of minutes the rest of the day and into the night. The sight of the shock waves travelling through the cloud cover was rather spectacular.

One of the banes of every soldier is, of course, inspection, especially if its conducted by the battalion brass. Next to the fence were four latrines and on the other side of the fence was a street and then an open field. Just as the battalion and company brass decided to go inspect the latrines, a Chinook landed in the field, throwing up a lot of dust and sand. The inspection party got covered with the dust and sand. Kind of made the preparations for the inspection worth while.

My Trip To Vietnam (2010) by Jim Wilson 1969 - 1970





(Return to Det B)**