Phan Rang Civic Action Effort
Receives 7th AF Recognition
PHAN RANG -- Phan Rang AB was recently chosen the winner of the Seventh Air Force Civic Action Award for the first quarter of 1970. It marks the second consecutive selection of this base for the award.
In a congratulatory letter to Col. Walter C. Turnier, 35th Tactical Fighter Wing commander here, Gen. George S. Brown, 7th AF commander, said, "The members of your organization have continued to demonstrate a high standard of performance in the extremely complex business of developing leaders among the local populace. Your assistance to the people in helping them build a better and self-sustaining community is highly commendable. Enthusiastic and aggressive participation by the men of Phan Rang has set a high standard of performance in assisting the people of Ninh Thuan Province and the government of the Republic of Vietnam."
First Lt. Michael J. Selby has been the base civic action officer since February. The role of working side by side with the local populace is not new to him. From February 1965 to May 1967 he was a Peace Corps worker in Thailand.
"I know the base civic action office under the direction of Capt. Jim Cooley, my predecessor, won the award for the previous quarter," Lieutenant Selby said. "We were determined we'd at least match his record, and we did!"
Also sharing in the award is Nguyen Van Thanh, Vietnamese liaison officer and Lieutenant Selby's assistant.
"Our youth development programs have really been pushed," Lieutenant Selby said as he looked back over the first three months of 1970. "Rural youth drama teams, rural youth club houses and agricultural support have good programs underway.
"For example, under the youth development program one youth group grew sugar cane in a place where it had never grown before. They invested something like $215 into a half hectare of land. They recently sold their first crop for more than $1,500.
"Also, construction of nine hamlet offices began in March. These will become the administrative centers for the hamlets. Forty-one other centers will be under construction in the near future."
In the village of Thap Cham, adjacent to Phan Rang, Lieutenant Selby, Mr. Thanh, and the newest member of the civic action office, SSgt. John L. Kier, are supporting villagers on a long range water system project.
Another continuing project is the support of 238 school children in Thap Cham and Phan Rang City. Airmen of 23 squadrons here contributed up to 238,000 piasters a month -- 1,000 piasters a student a month.
"Most of the other programs are what could be called one-time targets of opportunity," Lieutenant Selby continued. "Much of our school repairs would be considered in this area. This includes school repairs, building furniture and desks, and student supplies.
"These are just some of the ever-increasing number of projects which I see the Vietnamese people getting off the ground on their own," Lieutenant Selby said. "The civic action office is moving more into the background with the idea that eventually they won't need us at all."