"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Some Thoughts: by Todd Dierdorff

Todd Dierdorff
Wow, did you ever stir up emotions and memories. Reading the posts that have come through lately has been very evocative for me.

Back in the day, with the draft, we either went to college, or Canada, or war. I tried the college route, but I had no idea why I was there, or what I was supposed to be doing. So, I got really good at playing bridge and pool. 

Needless to say, my choices were reduced to two - Canada, or war. Bailing out on my country had no appeal to me, so, I went to war.

My best friend and I both enlisted in the Air Force. He went in about three weeks before I did.

Though we selected the same general field for specialty - munitions, rockets, bombs, etc. - we were sent down different paths and, ultimately, different war scenes. 

He went to Bien Hoa AB, VN. Half of my class in tech school went to Bien Hoa, as well. As it turned out, the alphabetical back half went there. 

The front half went to U-Tapao Royal Thai AFB, in Thailand. I spent a year loading bombs for B-52s, which did what were then called Arc Light strikes.

Though I did what the AF told me to do and went where they sent me, I've always had a certain level of guilt about not having been in country, literally.

Given the way my life turned out, I wouldn't go back and change any of it, as everything after that would change, as well. I have wonderful children and grandchildren and I wouldn't give them up, for anything.

Anyway, pardon my rambling. I have really appreciated the responses to your initial inquiry post. Sounds to me like you've initiated something that has helped an array of folks
Clearly, with the loss you suffered, you belong.


Todd A. Dierdorff
Colorado Springs
U-Tapao Royal Thai AFB, Thailand

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Do you have an opinion, or a comment, you would like to share about this post? We welcome all comments.


  1. Allen J Folk to Todd Dierdorf: [via Vietnam Veterans Group on Facebook] You should not have any guilt about not being in combat in country. You served this country and your job placed you where you were needed.

    I don't think you realize how important your job was! wWithout the B-52 raids at Khe-Sanh, a lot of us U.S. Marines would have suffered a lot more casualties and I am grateful that I am still alive because of those bombing raids.

    Tthank you, Todd.
    Allen J. Folk

    1. Allen, thank you. I appreciate your response.

  2. Todd - As I found out, everything that happened to GI's headed to SE Asia was a roll of the dice. My primary MOS was 11B (infantry). During Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) I was cross trained on the 106 Recoil-less Rifle. I was going to turn that down until I was told it was mounted on the back of a jeep. Riding sounded a lot better than walking. It changed my MOS but I don't remember to what. When I landed in Bien Hoa, they weren't sure what to do with me so I filled sandbags for a couple of weeks. From there I was sent to Cam Ranh for about a week and then to Qui Nhon where I was assigned to an artillery battery and was sent to Tuy Hoa. There they put me in searchlight unit (apparently part of the artillery) since I knew nothing about the big guns. From there they sent me to Ninh Hoa where I was stationed with the Korean 9th ROK Infantry. I worked nights shining the searchlight for the balance of my tour. Compared to many men I trained with, I had it easy. The Koreans took good care of me. Nothing to fret over because you were stationed in Thailand. As everyone knows, air support is critical no matter where it comes from.


  3. Michael LansfordJune 6, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    Thank you form a Vet on the ground. Please never feel guilty about not being in country. Your B-52 Arc Light bombings saved us many times over out in the Valley. Without each of us doing whatever part we did saved so many of us. A Vet is a Vet no matter what part you served. Don't let anyone tell you different. Thanks again. The word Support has many elements. None is stronger or better that the other. Without each element we become weak links is the chain of war. Never happened.

  4. Gentlemen, thank you. I appreciate your responses and support.


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