A Service To You From KTKT...
Back in the day...radios stations actually served in the public interest. According to the Communications Act of 1934, "the airwaves belong to the public." And, the FCC made sure the public was being served. But, usually radio stations in the community enjoyed going "above and beyond" in serving the public.
More than just broadcasting a handful of Public Service Announcements (PSA's), KTKT served Tucson with a continuing group of special projects.
The 1968 Vietnam Project
This was a project for the troops in Vietnam, thought up by two Tucsonans, Dennis Vernacchia, and Garry Shandling. Garry's dad contacted KTKT about providing gifts for the soldiers of the 3/506 Currahees of the 101st Airborne Division at LZ Betty, Phan Thiet, Vietnam. This was where Dennis was serving.
Dennis tells the story:
I met Garry Shandling when he went to Palo Verde high school and he was 16.
I had just move to Tucson to attend the U of A and I was 18. This was 1965.
We met at the Old Pueblo amateur Radio Club monthly meeting and have
been lifelong friends.
It was thru him and his ham radio in Tucson and mine in Vietnam that we
dreamed up ( In August 1968 ) and co-ordinated the Christmas Package project with the help of his parents. So that is why you see the Shandling family name on the documentation.
Garry and his parents would bring the packages over to Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson and a kind C-130 load master would smuggle so many packages at a time (to not attract attention )and get them to Tan So Nhut Air Base near Saigon and then I'd get a UH-1 Chopper pilot to go pick them up.
This project had no direct support from the US Army to get the packages
from U.S. to Vietnam so we did what we had to do to get the packages across the Pacific.
Once in Vietnam I had full support of my Colonel at my base camp to get
packages to the troops that Christmas. Many thanks go to KTKT for what they did for the troops in Vietnam back then!
KTKT GOT INVOLVED IN A BIG WAY!
They not only promoted it heavily on the air, but they ran the following ad in the local newspaper:
Left: Dennis Vernacchia in Vietnam, 1968.
See all the documents, including more photos and various correspondence including thank you letters from the military at Dennis'
We would like to thank Dennis Vernacchia for supplying us with this enlightening information.