Exercise Air Boon Choo March to May 1964.
As ASSU troop was part of an Air Portable Squadron it seemed quite normal that we be sent to Thailand by sea! It was an uneventful journey and most of the time was spent feeding the fishes with the contents of our stomachs.
We docked, two days after leaving Singapore, in Bangkok. After a quick run ashore and another night on the LST we were split into two tentacles, one for Ubon and the other bound for Udorn.
Under Thai Police escort we headed out for Ubon which was in the far north east of the country, close to the border with Laos. It took us two days to get to our destination an airstrip near Ubon.
The advance party from 208 Signal Squadron had sorted out tents and dug the usual bore holes for our comfort. Also at our location we found an advance detachment of 999 Signal Company from Okinawa.
It did not take too long to realise that the area was "Dry" and I don't mean weather-wise. Fortunately someone, before leaving "Singers", had suggested that we double up on our usual trailer cargo. This we had done, a pit was dug and a search party was sent downtown for ice.
For the Yanks around the pit that night it was their first taste of Tiger. Inviting the Yanks turned out to be a good investment as we spent a couple of nights after that drinking Schlitz's beer courtesy of their PX until our NAAFI arrived and the supply of Tiger was resumed. By then the Yanks were converted, most nights were party nights and Tiger was the preferred libation.
One memorable night for me on Air Boon Choo was my 21st birthday (9th April 64). At the end of the session I was ceremoniously thrown through the pyramid of empty cans. (Much better than the usual 21 bumps).
We returned to Singapore, this time by air, in early May. A few of us brought back some unwanted souvenirs of Thai hospitality, but that's another story. A good time was had by all. (With thanks to John Shepherd)