The Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, also known as River Rats, got their start at Korat on 22 and 23 May 1967 when the 388th TFW hosted the first "tactics conference", which was to become the organization we know today. The festivities included two parades complete with elephants, samlors, the Korat Provincial School Band, and the 13th Air Force Band. Many of the 34th TFS members were involved in the planning and execution of this entire event. Distinguished USAF representatives from throughout Southeast Asia literally received the "red carpet" treatment upon their arrival for the first celebration of an event honoring the men who were carrying the air war to North Vietnam. Among those attending were Colonel Robin Olds, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing Commander; Colonel Daniel "Chappie" James, 8th TFW DO; Brigadier General William D. Dunham, 7th AF DO; and wing commanders from the other tactical fighter wings in Thailand.
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The band greets some of the first arrivals at Korat.
388th Wing Commander General William Chairsell greets 8th TFW Commander Colonel Robin Olds.
Colonel Olds and General Chairsell inspect the troops.
Colonel Olds makes some comments.
Colonel Daniel Chappie James, 8th TFW DO, gets his chance to speak.
General William Dunham, 7th AF DO, is greeted by General Chairsell while Colonel Cleo Bishop looks on.
General Dunham gets another type of greeting.
Big D Simmonds from the 8th TFW gets a nice greeting while Bill McAdoo waits his turn.
The parade heads up the street towards the O Club.
Another shot of the parade on the way to the O Club.
Many of the host pilots were dressed for the occasion!
General Chairsell enjoys the ride.
Colonel Robin Olds heads up the line.
Colonel Chappie James is in fine form.
Another shot of Colonel Chappie James.
An unidentified F-4 pilot trying to enjoy the ride.
In August 1967 388th TFW guys attended a River Rat conference at Ubon. (Courtesy of Hugh Davis.)