Hanoi Hanna

Furnished by John Freiberger

I was six days old when Lord Haw Haw made his last broadcast in 1945. He and Tokyo Rose were well-known propagandist for their time. By the 60’s a communist version named Hanna surfaced in Southeast Asia. Hanna worked for the North Vietnamese government and aired her dribble over Radio Hanoi, hence the pseudonym Hanoi Hanna. She welcomed our troops to Vietnam and by the height of the war told them how their fellow citizens protested back home. Not a single program ever went by without her gloating over the rising number of Americans killed in action.

An old short-wave radio sits in my garage as a reminder to Hanna. The radio was new in ‘66 and served me well as a source for news. I never heard the famed disc jockey Adrian Kronauer yell "Good Morning, Vietnam" from Armed Forces Radio (AFR) for my listening took place at night. Except for the English Broadcast Service of Radio Hanoi, high static levels buried most signals. One night Hanna babbled on about an Air Force base at Phan Rang, some 250 kilometers northeast of Saigon. Unless a test took place, it was doubtful that it could land fighters. Hanna added more detail about a fly-by planned for the next day. Sure enough, two jets roared overhead the following morning. They came in low and slow with their wheels almost touching an old PSP runway close to the wire fence separating our compound from the base.

The fly-by was a success and work soon began on the construction of Gray Eagle, a base with larger and more permanent runways. I never saw Gray Eagle in its completed form, but when the 48th regularly returned from the field there were always new changes to the terrain and more red dust.

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