FROM NORMAN LOOBY 2 TROOP
Dear Alan and troop,
Thanks for your input, here are the pictures from the Air filed that I took at Koktalat which is now called KOK SAMLAN. My search started in the restaurant at Mukdahan province where they told me that the air filed was 4 km. away. I could not believed my luck but I decided to double check the information at the police station where I was introduced to inspector Mr. Natt Apinatthanasombat. whose nick name was RAMBO. He spoke English well and was very helpful. RAMBO went on to the internet and printed me a map of the area which seemed to show we were about 30 km away. He directed us to the Phun Amfah Resort.
I was with my girlfriend TIP who speaks English and Thai. She proved to be invaluable as an interpreters. When we arrived at the Resort. It was very cold just like a MELBOURNE winter. It was on the edge of a huge lake and we booked in for the night. Next day we asked the owner to drive us the concrete (meaning air field) so he drove us 800 meter to the bitumen road and said here is the concrete. I was disappointed but TIP and I decide to walk the remaining 3 Km. after walking around 6-7 km. and talking to local people we went back to the Resort and booked in for another night. The next day I had a furious debate with the owner about the location of the air field. He said it was 80 km away. he could take us there so once again we resumed our search. Many hours later after having traveled to Mountain tops many old bases feeling very tired. We went to look at our last hope and I asked our driver to stop at a shop for direction.
My heart felt renewed hope when I heard them mentions KOK TALAT which up till then no one had heard of. But it was to be another 3.5 hours before we reached our goal. At 9.00 pm. we drove on to the concrete and our driver thinking our car was a plane. drove flat out down the air field in the dark. It was an exhilarating moment. The location of the air field was about 40 km from NIKHOM KHAM SOY on the road to UBON and the new name was KOKSAMLAN. Next day we took a TUK TUK to the air field to take pictures. As I walked around I found two large airstrips. It is quite an eerie and desolate spot. The only thing that seemed familiar were the huge holes in the sandy road winding to the airstrips. When we got back to UBON road the local bus stopped and TIP and I boarded it for UBON. From UBON to Changmai was 18 hours in the bus.
As I am a very slow typist my THAI friend SANIT is doing the typing for me. So please excuse any errors we have made.
If its possible I will be back in Australia for the reunion.
Norman Looby 2 troop RAE