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Are US forces still based in Udon Thani?


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As it has been said, there are many Veterans of the American Vietnam/Lao war around, although we are getting a little "not as lean, still as mean"...lol, and losing some. There are a few younger. Many living very quietly in a village somewhere in Sakhon Nowhere with long time Thai wives. Quite a few of us around the Udon/Nong Khai area. And yes, there are Vets that were not only "skeptical" of the US involvement but actively opposed it. Some were/are members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and proud of it. That would include me. There are no known "bases" for US troops here and unless I'm mistaken even during the war the Americans were based on Thai bases even though they may have been considered American. US Marines basically built the Udon (Udorn) air base (for the CIA originally). They came in from Okinawa. The first group of Marine chopper pilots lost a bunch of the pilots to the CIA, an offer they couldn't/wouldn't refuse. I believe reinstatement with rank after their "tour" was over. The Mayaguez incident in May 1975 was the breaking point for American troops stationed in Thailand. When the Thai government found out the US used it's assets in Thailand without Thai permission they were told to leave.

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Are you serious? There hasn't been a US base here for about 40 years now.

There are no active US Military bases left in Thailand but there are many US Military expats living here in Thailand. I am the current Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars here in Bangkok and w

Some of us actually were involved in what happened. So I must say, there is a whole lot of BS being offered in this thread.

I used to stay at a hotel off Suthisarn Road in Bangkok, that was a converted officer barracks for the US Army.

Was it 'Nice Palace' by any chance?
No, to the best of my knowledge Nice is still there, the one I stayed at was torn down a few years ago. PO Court on Soi 4, had a nice big swimming pool in the back. I have also stayed at Nice Palace.
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I saw on the news a couple of years ago that the US was going to beef up it's presence in South East Asia. It's about time. Forget the Middle East, next time have wars in countries where there's Hot Chics !!!.

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So, they wanted to lose another war?

I didn't think they care about winning wars. I thought the wars were so America's Military Industrial Complex can make lots of money.

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the US propaganda machine is currently trumpeting the "revival" of the soviet empire,

as they arm the new nazi's (also known as Ukranians) against the Russians

same old, same old, and the beat goes on

the US propaganda machine is also running overtime against the new boogie man, ISIS, without bothering to tell anyone,

they are the trained dogs of the US, gone rabid

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I was first stationed at U-Tapao (sattahip) from june 1966 to jan 1968. ..... The only milittary personnel in-country after 1975 were Air Force munitions at Korat, defusing bombs and nuclear warheads, untill possibly 1977. ....

And you were told this by the somtam lady?

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Since Thailand never used mass murder weapons on her command, I tend to regard US military in Thailand as a service.

Take a group of IT professionals who run a super computer that belongs to a bank or a government.

Would you say that - due to their exclusive knowledge - they own the bank or the country?

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Seems everyone missed a big part of the war. If you have read several books and watched movies Air America cooperated with the Thais in movement of a lot of drugs from Laos to Thailand. It was a business bigger than Air America. The deceased CIA guys Pat Landry, Jack shirley and Tony Poe were good friends until the died. It was a two way avenue.

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Thank you Donald, somebody knows something. I missed getting to meet Tony Poe, a true legend, as I came to Thailand too late: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Poshepny http://atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/EG08Ae02.html . Folks that knew him say he was a good man. I suspect that depended on who you are. The real "Rambo's" existed. There are now several good books on the "war that never existed" along with good articles available on the internet. There is also a Lao Veterans group http://tlc-brotherhood.com/wp/. A lot of good stuff on their site. I have a very close friend back in the states that was cross-border out of NPK. He spent many years fighting for Agent Orange disability. The US used a lot here and in Lao. Another high school classmate that flew out of U Tapao. My neighbor who was stationed here tells me the old dump area at the Udon base is full of who knows what buried. I asked him once if we would start to glow in the dark, he laughed and said "nope, we won't live long enough". His is a great love story, still married to the same lady he met here in Udon, went AWOL in the states, flew back and married. Made a career out of the AF (Reader's Digest version). Like many of us, he doesn't talk much about his 2 tours here and one in VN, except to other Vets. There were also some good pics of Udon back in the day floating around, maybe on Udonmap but I'm not sure. Lot of changes since then, not much the same.

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You may have read my first book, Merchant Of The Orient, An Entrepreneur's Journey in Life. Amazon has it or I can send you a free copy in pdf format. I am working on my second book, Lost in Bangkok For 30 Years. The below is a little bit that I wrote on Tony Poe. I met Tony first time when I was working in Laos but living in Udorn on the weekends.


During and after the War in Vietnam and Laos, many military men and women were in Thailand. There were a total of 6 USA air force bases and one major navy installation in Thailand. The command headquarters was located in Bangkok. There was a large contingent of CIA and Special Forces stationed in Thailand and Laos. The CIA ran the war in Laos very successful until the State Department changed ambassadors in Vientiane and the military jealously decided that they should be running the war. There were approximately 50,000 USA military personnel in Thailand during the Vietnam War. This was a tremendous western exposure, which had a lasting effect. Many GI’s married Thai women and moved them back the USA. A good example of this was Tiger Woods father who married a Thai lady.


The exposure to this many American military personnel over a prolonged period of time had a serious impact on Thai society. This impact mainly, ladies of the night seeking fast money for their service. Udorn Thani Province was not only a big air base but later was the local headquarters of the CIA run by Bill Lear and Pat Landry. Their assistant was Jack Shirley. They moved the headquarters for the local operation from Vientiane for political reasons.





Younger and older Tony Poe Famous CIA Operative (photos did not copy)


The Charoen Hotel in Udorn Thani Province in the northeast became one of the real hot spots for entertainment. Tony Poe one of their trained heavy handed CIA persons in Lao felt very comfortable around most of his CIA buddies in Bangkok. I knew all of these guys very well in a social framework. Later Tony Poe and Jack Shirley became archenemies as Tony felt that he did not get a fair shake from CIA Headquarters. I first met Tony in Udorn Thani in 1988 when I was working as consultant in Laos. He was a huge man and a trained killer. Tony told me once that he had a 10,000 man Hmong Army working for in northwest Lao. Tony had married, he claimed, a Lao Princess who was a charming lady. Tony told me that he had to give her father 100 buffalo in order to pay the sin sot or marriage fee.


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Sent PM. "Rumor" has it Toney Poe continued to operate long after the war officially ended, just rumor now mind you. I did hear his Lao wife was a lovely and charming lady. Had I made my scheduled R&R here in '67 I would have never gone back to the states. The Charoen is still there, a bit run down. VFW was meeting there and the US Embassy outreach was there last spring. I hope this thread clears up some confusion about Udon and the US role here during the Vietnam/Lao War.

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