World Flight Makes it to Saigon
by Lt. L. P. Arnold, "Chicago", Mechanic
Up at 3 & just before daybreak we boarded the planes. At 5:25 we taxied out into position & the trouble started. No wind, light air, & a smooth glassy sea combine to make it extremely difficult to take off with these heavily loaded planes. Finally they all taxied to the mouth of the harbor and at 6:00 got away.
The trip down was not at all unusual, the weather, except the last half hour when we ran into a couple of light showers, was excellent. We passed one large light house where they had a French flag flying which they dipped in salute & all three planes thrice zoomed in response. At one place on the coast there was a big grove of coconut palms with some native huts on the side that resembled pictures I have seen. The latter part of the trip was over swamps & rice fields, there are many water buffalo in these parts & as we passed over they "took off" in all directions -- great to our amusement.
Saigon is 40 miles up the river & about 8 miles south of the city in a creek near the Standard Oil Company were our moorings & so without going over town at all we dropped down and landed at 1:35. The afternoon we spent refueling & later went aboard the destroyer Noa for dinner.
On account of poor conditions for taking off it was decided to load up lightly & land midway between here and Bangkok for additional fuel -- thus making it necessary to lay over here tomorrow while a destroyer went out with the fuel.
Such being the case we borrowed clothes from the Noa's officers & went to town -- all being keen to see Saigon which had been recommended to us as the Paris of the east. So dressed in white shirts and trousers in we went & at the first cafe we entered they refused to serve us because we had no coats. This peeved everyone & the far famed Saigon is a washout -- to us anyway.
The Governor of Tonkin had placed his car & house at our disposal so we went there & spent the night.
by Lt. L. H. Smith, Commanding
This morning [June 16th], because of the glassy sea, it was again found necessary to taxi to the mouth of the harbor before take-off was possible. This was made at 6:01 a.m. The flight followed the coast until it reached the mouth of the Saigon River where it cut across the many islands to Saigon, landing in a small tributary river near the Standard Oil station, south of the town at 1:39 p.m. Some difficulties were experienced in mooring because of the swift current in the river. The weather during the entire flight was excellent. The flight was met by a representative from the Governor of the French District was offered all official courtesies.