The Seabees started to form what was called STAT Teams in late 1962. While with NMCB#9 I was selected to become a member of MCB-9 STAT TEAM 0901. The team was made up of 13 team members (one officer and twelve enlisted men) with different construction ratings. All team members were cross-trained in other specialties and I was also sent to 2nd class Navy Diving School.
After team training was completed the team joined up with the main battalion on Okinawa and was immediately detached and went TAD to the Air Force out of their Kadena Air Base. We had our military ID cards and dogtags taken away from us and were issued passports for the duration of our TAD tour with the Air Force. Basically we were classified as civilians. We were then sent to what was then a HUSH-HUSH communications center and ammunition storage facility that was located next to a very small US Air Force contingent at the RTAF base at Tahkli, Thailand. This place was called a "Task Force" site by the Air Force and all personnel were assigned on a designated rotational basis including our team.
We were based inside a 29 acre fenced in compound that was comprised of the COM center, a special hangar which on occasion was used to hide the U2 (Bluebird) spyplane. There was another civilian ( possibly CIA?? ) that was in charge of a parachute loft that was in the compound and he also participated in the training (read that operations ) of a platoon of Thai Paratroopers/Rangers. One of our jobs was to build a parachute drying tower outside of the loft building. The main hangar inside the compound was basically used for the storage of necessary base supplies. Canned goods, medical supplies, and general supplies used for the maintenance/repair of the barracks, COM center, mess hall, etc. (This Task Force site had a civilian catered mess hall and the food was tremendous. Ice cream anytime we wanted it, steaks, real eggs, milk, etc. -OUTSTANDING !!)
Our other duties consisted of vehicle maintenance, fresh water supply/purification, barracks window air conditioning servicing, mess hall refrigeration unit maintenance, etc. (NOTE: everyone in the barracks had AC EXCEPT the Seabees) Most of the rooms in the barracks were used by CAT Air Lines pilots (read that as AIR AMERICA) that had a service counter at Don Muan Airport in Bangkok. They used the facilities when they were on layover between rice and ammunition drops in Laos and Cambodia. Facility was also used by the occasional U2 pilot between missions. Of course our biggest area of responsibility was to insure that electrical power was NEVER down for more than 5 minutes. Base power was supplied by the nearest US Army Base. (have no idea what the Army base was called or where it actually was located). Supply was basically pretty reliable. When we did lose power it was usually in the early morning hours. We had two diesel fueled standby generators that would automatically come on line in the event of a power failure. It was a pretty reliable setup but every once in awhile they decided not to co-operate and then things got pretty hectic to say the least!!
We used to get a 96 hour R&R every two months so we wouldn't go stir crazy. Usually went to Bangkok and stayed at the American Embassy house. (remember we were civilians) Have fond memories of 'Dinos' and Colonel Bogey's 'Nippa Hut'. Also got to go to Okinawa on R&R where we were billeted in a special quonset hut at Kadena Air base. Many great memories!! Don't have any photos of my Tahkli duty as NO cameras were allowed at this site during the early build up phase at this facility. (remember we weren't supposed to be there ) Could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the numerous photos on your Tahkli websites.
Our team got rotated back to the states after an approx. 6 month TAD tour at Tahkli. We went through additional training and then were sent back to Thailand for a second tour of duty about 15 clicks outside of 'Ubon" in a little village called 'Huay Ka Yung' (most likely mis-spelled) where we spent another 6 month tour.
I salute all military personnel that had duty tours at the Tahkli RTAF base. " Rest in peace to all those who didn't make it back!!
a.) Main 2 story barracks. There was an open air barber shop on the first deck shown by the
b.) Two story 'Communications center' building.
c.) Large hangar where the 'Bluebird - U2' spy plane would be stored between missions. It had a large picture of a 'Standing Cobra' over the sliding doors.
d.) Parachute rigging loft.
e.) Standby generator building.
f.) Rrepair shack for AC units, washers, dryers, water pumps, fans, etc.
g.) Free standing above ground gravity gasoline storage/dispensing tank.
h.) 'Seabee' vehicle repair shops and vehicle storage area.
i.) Underground gasoline storage tank that my team installed alongside the vehicle repair shops.
j.) Parachute drying tower that my team installed.
k.) Main water tower that provided gravity fed water for our plumbing system.
l.) Another repair shack for water treatment equipment repair, and plumbing fixture storage.
m.) Base incoming water supply line and pumping station.(Supposedly we got our water from some nearby Army base. (Have no idea where it was located or what it's name was)
n.) Portable water filter/chemical treatment unit.
o.) 2 portable treated water storage tanks.
p.) Thai paratroopers barracks outside the compound fence line.
q.) Rear base gate.
r.) Main base gate on the road that led into the town of 'Tahkli".
s.) Large gate that led to the flight line area/tarmac.
t.) Refer and freezer staging area.
u.) Ammo storage bunkers.