D.A. from California was serving his country in
Korea on race day. But he didn't forget about the
I was born and raised in Indianapolis and have made it to almost
every race since 1966 except when I was stationed overseas
during a 20 year career in the USAF. I wasn't exactly at the track
in 1978. I was stationed at Kinsman Air Base Korea. But, I was
there in spirit.
Kunsan AB Korea is small as far as Air Bases go. At the time, I
was there I think there was less than 1,000 people stationed
there. It did not take long to meet just about every one. One day I
was eating in the Dining Hall and met a guy that was also from
Indianapolis, and, as Hoosiers always do, the talk turned to
racing. We decided if we couldn't be "home for the holiday," we
should make the best of it. We decided that we would go out and
find anyone we could and have a picnic party on race day. The
party was to commence at 11:00 as American Forces Radio
Television Service (AFRTS) was to carry the Broadcast starting
at 12:15 AM. The only requirement to attend was to bring: an
interest in the 500, food, drink, and your own lawn chair, but not
necessarily in that order.
As Race day approached, we had rounded up about 16-18
people. We had "procured" the B-B-Q grill and about a dozen of
those round metal picnic tables with the big umbrella in the
center. I put one of my stereo speakers the window of my
barracks room and proceeded to light the fire in the B-B-Q.
Just as the other guys were starting to show up, the rain clouds
started to show up too.
As midnight approached, the sky opened up. As AFRTS began
it's broadcast, sheets of rain had almost put out the fire. We had
to find traps to string between the umbrellas to keep the fire
going and to try to stay a little dry. Just as the race line up was
being announced, SOME POOR LILY LIVERED SISSY in the
next barracks over, called the cops about a "Wild Drinking Party"
taking place outside his window, keeping him awake.
The Security Police sent out a young 1 striper to investigate. We
just sat there in the rain, with water coming up past our ankles,
holding our soggy hotdogs and hamburgers, drinking our beer,
and politely told the guy,"it is race day, we are enjoying the sun
and waiting for the race to start. Grab a beer and sit down". By
this time the young SP had no idea what was going on. He
called the dispatch desk and said, "I think these people are
either drunk or crazy or both. They are sitting here, in the rain, in
T-shirts and shorts and sunglasses, eating hotdogs and
hamburgers drinking beer, and listening to the radio. They think
they are in Indianapolis or something, and they think it is sunny.
They said they are waiting for some kind of race to start. Can
someone come out here and help me ?" After a short pause, the
guy on the other end of the walkie-talkie came on and said, "I'll
be right there." As "Back Home Again In Indiana" was coming
over the speaker in the window, a big SP showed up with bag
under each arm. He told the younger SP, "take your truck back to
the office, you can watch the desk, nothing is happening on base,
so I think you can handle it. If you need me, I'll be on the walkie.
I'll handle it from here. As the younger SP got in the truck and
left, the older SP said, "I'm from Detroit and I been a race fan
since forever. All I could find at this hour was peanut butter and
jelly, a half a loaf of bread, a bag of chips and 4 Pepsi's,,,,,mind
if I join you ?"
It rained like hell that race day, but we never knew it, we were in
Indianapolis. Hope that LILLY LIVERED SISSY got some sleep.
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