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David O'Connor, SP5, USA (Ret'd) (1966-1967)

         Hi all, A few tidbits about Dirty Dan:


         I was assigned to AFRTS Saigon in September 1966 when it was still in the Brinks and did a show called "Afternoon Break".  Dirty Dan was the PD [Program Director] or its military equivalent.  He and the late Cramer Haas were good friends, and since I was friends with Cramer I always got on pretty well with Dan who I think was whatever a Marine E-8 is titled (Master Gunnery Sgt?...can you tell I was a draftee?)


         Stan Musial visited the station and I had him sign an autograph for my little brother who was a big baseball fan.  After Musial left Dan showed me his famous temper and made it plain to me that broadcast types didn't ask guests for autographs.


         Dan did a very good weekend program called "Panorama," something like the old NBC "Monitor".  He was supposed to travel with the Bob Hope tour for Christmas '66, but for some reason couldn't make it.  He got hold of me very early one morning and told me I would go out with Hope and company. and get some good tape for "Panorama".  He gave me a tape recorder and seemed to ignore my questions about just exactly what he wanted.  We traveled around in a big Chinook  and I would occasionally do a narrative on tape of just what we were doing. Actual interviews?  Nope.  Anything usable?  Nope . I blew it so badly that Dan didn't even bawl me out.  I think he realized he'd sent me out with "unclear orders" and I had blown it.  Still wonder how I could have been so clueless.


         A Navy officer once suggested to Dan in my presence that more Barbershop should be played on air, and Dan just very dramatically hawked on the floor in front of the "Sir".  I was deeply impressed.  This was after we left the Brinks and went to the new station.  As I got to know him Dan was a very bright and interesting guy.


         Now here's another name: Berkowitcz or Berkowitz.  Amazingly he was an E-8, a Master Sgt.  And, as near as I could tell, could neither read nor write hence I'm not worried about this missive bothering him.  He would bring me letters from his Mom, always claiming he'd forgotten his reading glasses.  I'd read  the letter and write the reply.  I never saw him sign one.  I'd even address the envelope.  Sgt. B's job was to mind the generators at night.  By this time I was the all-night guy and this was at the new TV-Radio site where we had some big mutha diesel generators out back.  About once a week, usually about three AM the power would fail.  I'd run out to the Generator Bldg. where a panicked Sgt Berkowitz would be shouting that it wasn't his fault.  The fuel gauges "just went down all of sudden".


         In the radio newsroom there were pictures of the Chain of Command, and someone put up a picture of Lassie and labeled it "Berkowitz".  It stayed for several weeks as I remember.  I was told a visiting officer noticed it, and wasn't pleased.  Ah, memories....