Sandy "mot" and Sandy "hai"

Sandy "Mot" and Sandy "Hai"

Submitted by: Sandy "Hai" Wardlaw

The only way of getting to Vinh Chau Island and 2-4-2 was to board a civilian ferry boat at Hoi An and cross the river. In fact where it landed on the other side was just a few yards from where the devastation took place on June 1st. When I was transferred from 2-4-5 one of the marines meeting me asked (it seems like this was almost always the first thing one marine asked another over there) "Where are you from in the world?" (the next question was usually "How long you been in country?") Id-wardlaw.jpg (24117 bytes) I told him I was from Texas. He said he was also from that great state. The conversation continued and we discovered that we were both from Amarillo. That was one coincidence but another is that we had the same first name. His name was Sandy Norton. Now what are the odds of that happening so far from home?

We had graduated from different high schools in 1969. We found out we knew many of the same people back home. After describing our cars (imagine two 19 year olds talking about cars) we realized that we had even drag raced each other a few times during the summer before enlistment. It relieved so much of the boredom having someone to talk to from your home town. I'm sure it happened occasionally in Nam but couldn't have been common. We had some really good times together but our name created problems. We had to figure out a way for the villagers and particularly our baby- sans to tell us apart. Someone decided to number us. Since Sandy had been there first he became Sandy "mot" I was Sandy "hai". To any civilians who happen to read this that's "one" and "two".

Thinking about those days after all these years I believe Sandy probably helped save my life. Rick's death affected me as nothing else ever has. I'll never be completely over it of course but becoming such good friends with Sandy made the rest of my tour that much easier to endure. Being the macho marine I was I could never tell him how much his friendship meant to me.; I last saw Sandy Norton December 31, 1970. That's the day I was pulled out of the bush to rotate back to the world. It was hard to say goodbye to those guys but especially to Sandy.

I've tried for years to find Sandy but have not been able to locate him or even anyone who knew him or knows what happened to him after I left. If I remember correctly he was due to rotate in March or April of 1971. His name is not on the Wall so I assume he survived. If anyone reading this knows his present location or anything at all about him I would appreciate even the tiniest tidbit of information.

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I'm the tall, good looking one in the middle. Sandy Norton is on my left; Biff Johnson of Pecos, Tx., is on my right. (As for as my hand gesture, I don't live that way now and am not proud of it, but it was an honest statement at the time as to how I felt about Vietnam, so I decided to send it).

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