Lt. Col. John Halliday (USAFR, Ret.) Page 4

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Chow Hall (Penetrator Inn)

Chow Hall (Penetrator Inn)

Q. What was your initial reaction to your deployment there?

A. I was thrilled at the prospect of flying cargo around Thailand. When I arrived at NKP, I was stunned to learn that the Candlesticks flew night combat missions, killing trucks charging down the Ho Chi Minh Trail under the cover of dark.

Q. The airbase itself is only a few dozen miles from the Mekong River, and the border with Laos. What was the threat environment like in the border area? Was there a general state of threat at the base, given the nature of what you were doing there?

A. Few know NKP was surrounded by a catacomb of tunnels the enemy used before the Air Force set up housekeeping. But we felt secure because of our air police, their dogs, guard towers, and a fenced topped by concertina wire. Yet the Candlesticks were like a secret society, so not even our air police were aware of our mission.

Guard dog

Guard tower

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