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Saigon Kid Mike Dunn Back In The Loop

Submitted by Michael Dunn (ACS)

Michael DunnI’ve been out of the loop for several years.

As you may recall, I was on the Teenagers softball team.

Father Crawford presided at my wedding to Vu Thi Bach Yen, on January 1st, 1970, in Saigon, at the Regina Pacis chapel, in Saigon. She is the sister of “Jacques”, the Vietnamese teenager with the red lambretta which Johnny Christophal borrowed and did not return for about a week or two.

Jacques (Vu Tam Nguyen) came to the US in 1984, with family, and lives in Houston, TX.

We currently live in Biloxi, MS, about a block from the beach. We moved here in 2009, from San Antonio, TX, after I retired from teaching Special Education for 15 years, following my military retirement, which was in 1992.

I have not pitched a softball game (fast pitch), probably since Saigon, but I did pitch slow pitch a few times. I still bowl in a seniors league every Thursday, and am currently playing racquetball several times a week. I have not played any golf and gave my clubs to Goodwill when I could not find the time for it.

Yen does lots of gardening, and we are novice bird watchers. We’ve got about 120 bananas on our banana tree, which we just planted in the 2014 spring.

I did substitute teaching here in Mississippi for about 3 years, but this year I came down with cellulitis in my left ankle, and am on the mend from that, so I’ve only been in the classroom twice this year. I’m mending well enough for bowling and racquetball, but Yen wants me to retire, and I’m OK with it for now.

Once in a while, some handball players come in to Biloxi, and we play, but it’s been several months since they stopped by. When I taught Special Ed, it was a self-contained classroom for severe ED students, so we had them for the entire day. For PE, we did softball, kickball, croquet, golf, tennis, track, horseshoes, basketball, rope-skipping, and touch football. Administrators often cringed when they saw our kids with mallets and baseball bats in their hands, but the kids cooperated.

Thanks for planning the Last Hurrah Reunion 2015. I hope to make it, but don’t know anything for sure yet.

Best Wishes,
Mike Dunn, former Gecko, Teenager, and Saigon Kid

8 comments to Saigon Kid Mike Dunn Back In The Loop

  • frank

    Mike, I would give anything to put on a mitt and have you pitch to me at the Wigwam this coming summer. One of my fondest memories is the two of us out their as a team. I do not think anyone will ever realize how, between the two of us..pitcher/catcher… we had such magic. I hope you remember that feeling. Frank

    • Mike

      Frank, I do remember the magic and the floating above ground feeling when we played out there on Pershing Field (I think that was the name). I even remember some of the men’s teams players offering us a beer (maybe that’s just a wishful memory). Yen and I have a family of 4 children (who, of course, are now adults), and 3 granddaughters, who are the reward for having survived parenthood. Catherine Grace (Dunn) Wright, 44, lives with her husband, Jeff Wright, and two daughters, Jennifer and Sophia, in Hillsborough, NC. Jeff has been in the IT Department at Duke University, in Durham, for over 15 years. John Edward Dunn, 43, works for the State of Alabama, in Montgomery, advising people who are seeking legal assistance. Christopher Patrick Dunn, 37, lives in San Antonio, TX, with his daughter, Tabitha, and works for Lowe’s. Charles Philip Dunn, 32, lives in San Antonio, TX, with his wife Magui, who suffered a spinal chord injury in an auto accident in 2010, and is a quadra-pelegic (guess I misspelled that). Charles graduated from Texas A&M, and was working for Shell Oil at the time. After the accident, he transitioned to teaching Algebra II, at McCollum HS, in San Antonio. After 2 years of that, he decided to stay home and take care of his wife, so he’s been out of the classroom for a year and a half now.
      As of now, we don’t know if we’ll be able to make it to the Wigwam, but will let you know. Mike

  • Sarah Bush Rogers

    Mike, So glad to hear from you. As I write this,
    I am in Bali with Veny (Haznam) and Susie Stann.
    Hope you do make it to the reunion.
    Sarah

  • Michael Smith

    Mike, I am sure that Larry (My oldest Bro.) would love to get some more exercise, try to get hold of him, he needs the work out, being 71 yrs. of age, matter of fact, I could use it as well, at 61 yrs. I remember going to see you all play in Saigon, they were great times, God Bless, and glad to see that you are doing well.

    • Mike Dunn

      Mike, I remember Larry quite well, as we used to hang out together, often. I remember you, as well, and a sister named Cheryl (I think). Your Dad was the Commissary OIC, as I recall. I just got an email from a Michael J. Smith, introducing himself as the new Director of Track and Field, at West Point. He said he just accepted the job offer in September, and left Kansas State University, in Manhattan, KS, where he had been for years, and thought he would remain, but could not pass up the opportunity to work with the cadet-athletes. So, I guess the “Silver Fox”, who was at West Point, as the track and field coach for so many years, has finally retired. You wouldn’t be that same Michael Smith, would you? Fort Riley, Kansas, is near Manhattan, KS, as well. And I remember my Dad used to get an old Sergeant to come to Fort Leavenworth, KS, every 6 months, from Ft Riley, to shoe horses, for the folks on the base that owned horses at the stables. The crusty old Sarge stayed at our house each time he visited. My Dad used to ride Selim Pasha, an Arabian, he bought while we were at Ft Leavenworth. He rode every morning, early, before going to work, and our terrier-mix dog, Smitty, would run the trails with them. Dad was a cavalry officer, after he graduated from West Point, in 1936, and was in the 4th Cavalry, his first 9 years in the Army, up through WWII. He commanded the 4th Cavalry Task Force, that cleared the Isle de St Mercouf, off the beaches at Normandy, 2 hrs prior to the Main Force landing on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. After being in command and operations assignments most of his career, the job he had in Saigon was Chief of Joint Services Support Division (I think we beat their softball team once), a logistics assignment, and he hated it. There were even some death threats from a Chinese landlord, who leased several properties to the US forces, because my Dad started having him paid by check, rather than in cash (which had been done before), so the Vietnamese government could track his income. Our tour was cut from 2 years to 11 months, when my Dad was given a new assignment, at Fort Carson, Colorado, and a promotion. So, my tour in Saigon, probably one of the most interesting in my life, and where I met my soulmate, was thereby shortened to 11 months, as well. I remember spending lots of time at the Cercle de Sportif. I don’t know if you remember my younger brothers, John and Pat, who were 11 and 9 years old at the time. John lives in Belgium. He had a 3 year assignment at NATO headquarters, and when he got out of the Army, after that initial tour, he never left Belgium, except to visit home a few times. Pat died in an auto accident, in San Antonio, at the age of 21. I have an older brother, Pete, who was not in Saigon, as he was in college, in the US, at the time. He still lives in San Antonio. Best wishes, Mike

  • Ruth Matteson Blackmore

    Mike,

    Great hearing about your life’s journey since Saigon. Don’t think I ever met Yen but certainly remember Jacques and his red lambretta. It would be wonderful if you and Yen could come to the reunion and get Jacques to come too. Maybe we could even rent a red lambretta for the event!

    Sarah and Susie — your girls behave over there in Bali and give Veny a hug for me. Sarah, I was just going through old photos about two weeks ago, and came across our trip to Bali in 1999 when we met Veny and Dini. What a great trip that was.

    Ruth

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