TDY In The Philippines
By: Dave A, USAF (Ret)

I was stationed at Kunsan, AB, in 1980.  I was an Squadron Operations type assigned to the 80 TFS, the "JUVATS".  They were a Squadron of F-16 drivers.

In Feb. 1980, the JUVATS. were deployed for Operation "Cope Thunder".  Most of the pilots had never been to the PI and, since this was my third TDY, (I was Deployed twice while stationed on Okinawa, 1975 and 1977), the Pilots often sought out someone more experienced to show them the "Ins & Outs".  2 Majors, approached me the first day while deployed and arranged to meet me at the Checkpoint at 1600 hours.  Since they were Majors and I was an NCO, Major "F"  thought it better to not be seen traveling with an enlisted while on base. As an Enlisted, I was used to such abuse, "I'll keep you out of trouble, but I'm not good enough to be seen with you."   

Major "F" was the son of the founder & CEO of a Major American Corporation.  Major "F" had more money than brains and he liked to flaunt it.  He was also well known for not being able to hold his liquor too well.  The good point about Major "F" was, if you were out with him, he always picked up the tab for the evening.  Minus the "up close and personal, after hours entertainment", of course.  

I waited at the Checkpoint for my "charges" to arrive.  Major "M" and "F" arrived and we made a rough plan for the evening.  Since we were planning to stay out until curfew, we decided we should hire a driver for the evening.  Someone that would wait outside the first bar and then take us to the 2nd bar, instead of taking our chances of   trying to find transportation between hops.  After a few hops Major "F" announced that he was hungry. We told the driver to take us to a restaurant.  Major "F" also invited the driver to dinner.  At the time, I didn't see any problem in that because, the driver looked like he hadn't eaten a good meal in a long while.

The driver sat next to Major "F", while Major "M" and I sat next to each other across from them.  We each ordered the house special,  Taco & Enchilada dinner,  Major "F" also ordered a round of beers for the house, about 20 beers all told.  We ate dinner while Major consumed 2 beers for every one Major "M" and I had.  At about 10:00 Major "F" decided that he had enough to eat and drink and called for the bill.  The bill came and Major "F" pulled out his wallet. In his drunken state, he let a fist full of $100.00 bills fall out to the floor.  The driver's eyes got real big at seeing all of that money hit the deck.  

In Korea, Military Regulations prohibited any Service Members from having any US Currency of larger than a $20.00. I have no idea how or where Major "M" got all of these big bills, and I didn't much care.  For some reason, I felt this night was going to get real sticky, real fast. Major "M" picked up his money, threw 2 $100.00 bills on the table and we went to the next bar.

We went to the next bar, (Port Orient-?).  Major "F" said that he needed to go to the bathroom,  I followed him inside and told him to take the big bills out of his wallet and shove them into the bottom of his boot, because "everyone in town knows how much money you  have on you".  I also told him, "Keep only about $25 -$35 in your wallet,  If you need more, just come back to the John and dig it out of your boot."

His reply was, "How can they know how much money I have, I don't even know how much money I have."  I told him, "Don't argue with me, Just do it."  His reply was, "I'm a Major, you're just a fuckin' Staff Sgt., you don't give me orders."  I figured to hell with him.  I returned to the bar and ordered another beer.  After a few more beers,  Major "F" had reached that point of falling down drunk.  Major "M" and I decided it best to take Major "F" back to the base.  We picked up Major "F" and drag/carried him to the Jeep.  Just before we got out of the door, I asked him, "Major "F", do you remember what we talked about in the John?"  He said, "Yeah."  I said, "Well, did you do it?"  He said, "Yeah".

We got into the jeep and told the driver, "Let's go back to the base". The driver said that he was running out of gas and he was going to stop and get some.  We pulled into a closed station,  well off the beaten path.  We asked the driver, Are you sure that this place is open, the driver said, "Sure, this is my brothers place."  I have to go unlock the pump".  After the driver got out of the Jeep he went around the corner and disappeared.  About 10 seconds later, 5 guys popped out of the shadows and put knifes to our necks.  They demanded our wallets.  Major "M" and I pulled our wallets out of our pockets, opened them and handed over the cash inside.  Major "F", stone cold sober at this point, pulled out his wallet, and whimpering like a little lost dog, held the wallet out. It was about 2 seconds later, Major "F's" wallet disappeared, with the bandits, back into the shadows.

We found our way back to the bar district, and found a Philippine cop.  He asked us to take him back to the gas station.  By the time we got there, the jeep was gone. (Gee, what a surprise).  The Filipino cop asked me how much money I lost, I told him about $30 American & 3,000 Peso.  Major "M" lost about the same amount.

Major "F" claimed about $4,000 American.

Major "M" and I were out some money.  No big deal.  We never spoke of it again.  Major "F" reminded me of it every time I ever saw him again, either on Clark, or back at Kunsan.  He was of the opinion that since I was the person he "hired" to show him the sights, I was his body guard, and as such, I was responsible for his loss.  Needles to say, I never went out drinking with him again.  He did try to contact me once after I rotated back to the States.  Where he was calling from I do not know.  When the phone call came, I put him on terminal hold.  As far as I know, he's still on hold.