George E. Greenwood (pictured)
I’m a Member of American Legion Post 128 of Marsing Idaho.
I am a USAF Vietnam Veteran As I write this, I am the Chaplain for Post 128 and a proud member of the Tan Son Nhut Association / www.tsna.org.
I was stationed at Tan Son Nhut AF Base in Saigon, Vietnam 1966-1967 and was in the 460th Field Maintenance Squadron, as an Airframe Repairman (Aircraft sheet-metal),repaired damaged aircraft.
We have many military & civilians to thank for their efforts during the Vietnam War.
R & R CIVILIAN STYLE IN SAIGON, VIETNAM
THE GENTLE ONES - - WHO ARE THEY?
I have a true story of two U.S. civilians who spent five years in country from 1965 to 1970. Wade and Ruth Kincaid (Mom & Pop Kincaid) opened their home in Saigon, Vietnam to U.S., Vietnamese, and foreign Military, as well as U.S. and foreign civilians, and Buddhist Monks. I was one of the many who was blessed by Mom’s & Pop’s ministry.
It became a “Home Away From Home” for many of us.
The Tan Son Nhut Air Base curfew was 10 or 10:30pm. After that time passed you could not get on base, you had to stay in Saigon or elsewhere. Many times, my friends Don Scoville & others would leave the center and have just enough time to get back to the base. Several of us had Vietnamese bikes; they had a small generator that powered a head light and a red tail light. That really helped because I remember it being so dark along the way back to base and there would be chuck holes in the road. If you did not make it back to the base in time you would have to go back to the center (YEAH!). Mom kept a bowl full of bananas, fruit & other goodies on her table. We met a lot of servicemen at the center. It was a very interesting place; we would meet pilots, infantrymen, airmen, officers & enlisted personnel. The pilots would fly into Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base Saigon, Vietnam & spend a night or two at the center, Mom & Pop provided a great place to fellowship, food and spiritual food. They had beds set up so you could stay for as long as possible. I’m sure many used this opportunity for “R & R” – “Rest & Recuperation”.
“Pop” Wade A. Kincaid was born August 23, 1900
to Fred Arthur Kincaid & Mary Ellen (Cole) Kincaid. Place of birth: Oakland, Oregon. “Pop” was a Lumber Jack in the forests of Oregon.
“Mom” Ruth Fosdick was born October 25, 1901
to Frank Grafton Fosdick & Nora Louise (Perry) Fosdick. Place of birth: Tacoma, Washington. Ruth Fosdick was a children’s evangelist, before marring Wade A. Kincaid.
They were married in Oregon: August 01, 1928, Wade 27, Ruth 26.
Their Children’s Names: Esther Louise, Wade Arthur Jr.,
Nora Ellen, & Nancy Kay.
After they married they returned to an area near Oakland, Oregon where Pop was born and raised. They took a homestead off of railroad land and built a house of cedar poles. Sometime after that, Pop also feeling the call of God, heard tell of a Baptist Church in Portland that would lend them their facilities for a revival, so they loaded up and headed up to Portland never to return to the homestead in Oakland.
When they got there the pastor said he had heard nothing of the kind and was not willing to share his pulpit or building with the young evangelists. So, down to .25 cents, they bought a large bag of peanuts and advertised that they would have a meeting on the local school grounds and have a peanut throw for the kids after that. Thus, began their evangelistic and life of pure faith!
In all their ministry they never asked for offering, believing that God would provide where He would guide. And He did. They spent most of the thirties doing meetings throughout Oregon and Washington. Then in around 1940 they held meetings in Wilbur, Washington, near the Grand Coulee Dam, and planted a church out of the fruits of that meeting. They pastored there until 1960 turning the work over to the Open Bible Churches.
Story Source: Roderick Gabbert)
STORIES WHILE IN VIETNAM:
The following is excerpts from letters that Pop and Mom Kincaid wrote to their children while in Vietnam. May the experiences they shared be a blessing to all.
“We thank God every day for the privilege of being here to minister to the service men. Though there are some things that are very hard to get used to here, we thank God for those who have helped us to be here and have this great ministry.”
“When we give some one’s son a tract and a few words of encouragement, we often wonder what it will mean in his life. Only eternity will reveal this.”
“We are becoming more and more adjusted to living conditions and the climate, and too, it seems that there is a more hopeful attitude in the people here now. There is a Vietnamese boy that we can have buy vegetables for us. He has a bicycle and can go much quicker than we can, and he can buy things cheaper than we can. We did wonder a little as to how we were going to get along for groceries as the missionaries and employees of R.M.K. were cut off from commissary privileges the first of July. We naturally thought it might mean us. But, we didn’t get any notice to that effect as the others did. So, yesterday, the first, I thought I would see if they would let me into the commissary. I walked up to the guard and showed my card and he gave me the ok, so I went in and bought some things just to be sure I could. So, today, I went to the commissary on Tan Son Nhut Air Base to see if it would work there-they gave me the nod, so I bought a few things and came home.”
“When it came time for us to get our I.D. cards, there was no one to tell us how to go about it. So, we just went to the Army Headquarters and told why we were in Vietnam and what we wanted. A major told us that they hadn’t had such a problem in their department before but he said they would find a way to handle it. So, after some conferences among the office personal, he said he would have his stenographer write a letter for us to present to the proper department. We had to wait for about a half an hour for the general to come in and sign it. When we got our cards, they had “SPECIAL” written on them. Then too, we later found out that none of the missionaries had two cards in the family. But, Mom and I can both go anyplace we want to. So, God has a way of working things out for us.”
“Well, here it is Sunday, we went down on the streets during the Sunday School hour and gave out tracts, then went to church.”
“There are more and more men coming to the Center now to have a meal with us and spend time in fellowship.”
“Thieves have entered our place twice in the last month and made way with about one hundred dollars of food and appliances. They did this while we were asleep and never awakened us. We have since put on new and more locks.”
“I (Pop) was walking down the street a few weeks ago when I saw a man running towards me. I Thought I had heard a gunshot, but didn’t think too much about it. About then I saw a man coming with a gun in his hand. When he was a few feet of me he leveled the gun, and fired. I turned to see what had happened to the other man, but couldn’t see him. My own face and arms were powder burnt, but no harm done. So, we got in on a little excitement once in a while.”
“It is very difficult to give a true picture of moral condition here. It is true that there is sin here. But, on the other hand, we have fine young men who are able to hold their chin up and let the world know they are living for God. We do wish you could drop in for a time of fellowship with some of the young men as they stop in to relax in the quiet of our home-like atmosphere. It would thrill your heart to hear them tell of victories won by faith. We had our first baptismal service
here in December.”
“We went through a new experience the second week in February. The Vietnamese celebrated the Lunar New Year, which is the holidays of holidays to them. They place fruit and flowers on the family alter, which is usually in front of their house, for their gods and their ancestors who may come back to see them at this time. They burned up over five hundred million piasters in firecrackers. (118 piasters to one American dollar). We were sure glad when it was over.”
“We are now able to visit in the 3rd and 17th Field Hospitals and give out many tracks (plus visit the wounded and dying soldiers). The commissary is another good place to give out tracks. There are many service men there each day. They are usually in no great hurry, so are ready to chat and receive a track.”
“Our services here at the Center are very informal, yet they are very definitely Christ centered and Christ honoring. We have some that are very good song leaders. Some are real prayer warriors, and what an inspiration they are to those who feel a need of having someone pray for them. Then we have one or two that can preach real inspiring messages. All their testimonies are very inspiring.”
“Mom was thrilled the other day when a young man came in and said, “My, it is good to be home again.” He had been sent out into the active war zone to do some special work and was returning for a few days before leaving for the Philippian Islands, where he will be stationed for several months. He had really made this his home while stationed in Saigon.”
“Well, we have moved! We have needed more room for some time, but to find a suitable place is a real problem here. There are so many things to take in consideration. Security is something to think about. Also, the kind of water that is available. We have found, to our regret, that the electricity supply here is inadequate. We hope to remedy this.”
“But with all the disappointing things that we have to contend with over here, the Lord is blessing in a wonderful way in the services here at the Center. I have said so many times that I wish you could be here in one of the services to see for yourselves what your prayers and financial help is making possible. This is God’s way of reaching some souls that might never be reached any other way.”
“Last Saturday evening, just about time for our service to start, the electricity went off. That would mean that we would not only be without lights, but we would not have any fans. And, you just have to be here to know what that means. We decided to have each one take a metal folding chair and go up to the roof of the house, and we would have the service up there. We have a flat, concrete roof with room to seat about one hundred and fifty or more people. What a service we had!! Such singing you could hardly expect this side of heaven. There were testimonies that would thrill your soul. A young service man did the preaching, and he really did a good job. I trust this will give you a good idea of what you are helping to do for our service men. The men, themselves, mention how much they appreciate your helping us to be here and provide this place where they can come and worship the Lord.”
“In this place we have one room where the men can go and pray at any time. It isn’t very easy to pray in the barracks where there is so much going on to detract. They may also come here for private Bible study.”
“This place will be more expensive to operate, but it will provide the many things that were lacking in the other place. There will be no added comforts for us personally, but that isn’t why we are here.”
“Some of our very fine Christian men have gone home the past few weeks. Al Sligh and George Greenwood (Sept. 1967) are among those just leaving. We will miss them, but we are also happy when they can return home safely.”
“February 1968: January was a great month in that God saved souls and blessed in our meetings. But, February has started out so different. The VC attack changed the picture completely for just about everybody. While the attack was expected, I am sure no one thought it would be in such strength. It gives one a strange feeling to see machine guns spitting their bullets at the enemy and see big fires started in different parts of the city.”
“But our business here is to get the gospel of Christ to the service men. This was our doing in every way possible. We found our hospital visitation work is being blessed of God. We are thankful for this open door for our ministry.”
“The turn in the war is going to enable the men to be more conscious of their need of God. We must be ready to tell that by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior they can have God’s blessings and favor upon their lives.”
“For several days we were not permitted to leave our house, and now are only allowed to go out between eight a.m. and seven p.m. Just how long this condition will prevail we do not know. But we are glad to be able to get out for mail and make whatever contacts possible during that time.”
“We are sure you will rejoice with us about the Baldwin organ that has been given to the Center. When the Tan Son Nhut Airbase Chapel was destroyed by a mortar, the organ was saved with slight damage to the finish.”
This was written by Nora E. Pinter, daughter of Mom and Pop
“Pop and Mom Kincaid felt they were blessed to be asked to go to Saigon, Vietnam in 1965 to open the Saigon Service Men’s Center. So, they did not hesitate to prepare for the adventure that only the Lord could have taken them on. They arrived in Saigon early in 1965. The following is an excerpt from one of their letters to their children.
They had not been in Saigon very long when Pop had gone up to Plieiku, which is about 400 miles up country from Saigon. He had gone to Plieiku to see a man at the request of his son in Germany.”
Here is a summary of what one of the letters contained
“Pop did not have travel orders yet but the men at the Air Port in Saigon let him on a plane but warned him that he might have trouble getting back. Pop could not find the man when he got there so had to stay overnight at Camp Enari, which was about 8 miles from Plieiku. The next morning, he did find the man and was able to visit with him. To return to Saigon he was manifested on an Army plane.