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Mt.crewchief

AIRCRAFT 56-0477

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While looking at the list of missing pics of Bob Daley's gallerys, I can't remember the fate of 56-0477 c/n [cn]3085[/cn]. I am having a hard time believing that I don't remember it or what happened to it especially since I was involved in Blind Bats etc. during the time it was lost. Was it a Naha bird or was it from Tachikawa? I'm assuming Naha, and thats why I can't figure out why I don't remember it!

If any of you have the complete story on it, I would like to hear it.

Thanks,

Ken

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Ken,

She was a Naha bird, 41st I believe. She was shot down on May 22, 1968 during a Blind Bat mission.

Sonny

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Sonny,

Thanks for your reply. Do you have any more info other than the date etc? I'm looking for more details such as crew members etc. You know official write-ups etc. Do you happen to know the crew-chiefs of 0477 at the time? I was at Naha at the time, and I am starting to remember some of the details, but have always wondered what I have forgotten.

Thanks for any more info you might have,

Ken

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Mt.crewchief wrote:

Sonny,

Thanks for your reply. Do you have any more info other than the date etc? I\'m looking for more details such as crew members etc. You know official write-ups etc. Do you happen to know the crew-chiefs of 0477 at the time? I was at Naha at the time, and I am starting to remember some of the details, but have always wondered what I have forgotten.

Thanks for any more info you might have,

Ken

Ken,

Sorry, thats all I know. I was at Naha at the same time also. Try as I might, I can\'t remember the CC\'s names.

Sonny

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56-0477 9 crew members 7 from 41st TAS,1 from 23 TASS 504 tac air spt grp and 1 from the 374th FMS. The aircraft went down near Muang Nong, about 20 miles southwest of the A Shau Valley. A Col was the top rank, and the lowest rank was Smsgt. On the aircraft.

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Somewhere on the site we have a list of aircraft losses and aircrew losses in SEA and a list of all known US crew member losses.

But on 56-0477

Col William Mason

LC Jerry Chambers

Maj William McPhail

Maj Thomas Mitchell

CMS Calvin Glover

CMS Thomas Knebel

CMS Melvin Rash

SMS John Adam

SMS Gary Pate

All were promoted while missing. Tom Mitchell\'s son has been on the site.

Ralph Krach may have more info.

Bob

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Hey, thanks guys, those posts are just what i was looking for. It was a pretty high powered bunch on that flight! I wonder why there were so many people aboard. Most of the time we flew, there were just the 7 of us. Sometimes we had guests though! I knew a Knebel at Naha, I went through tech school with him, but he was a two striper the last time I remember, and his name was Johnny. I did lose a good friend in 1970 on a gunship in Laos. His name was Ronnie Hensley. He was in the 35th with me and when I went to CCK, he went to Ubon. I didn\'t know what had happened to him until a year ago when I started looking up the losses on the Hercules Headquarters forum.

Thanks again,

Ken

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jrkaegi wrote:

56-0477 9 crew members 7 from 41st TAS,1 from 23 TASS 504 tac air spt grp and 1 from the 374th FMS. The aircraft went down near Muang Nong, about 20 miles southwest of the A Shau Valley. A Col was the top rank, and the lowest rank was Smsgt. On the aircraft.

Those are the ranks they were promoted to as MIAs. The SMS was actually an E-5 loadmaster at the time but he had crosstrained from another field. The Air Force was not good about putting correct AFSCs on casualty reports as they were drawn up by Admin clerks using personnel records and this has caused a lot of confusion. There is a question as to why the FMS troop was on the airplane since maintenance personnel normally did not fly on combat missions. It is believe he may have been onboard to take care of problems with the NOD device since he had an instrument AFSC. However, both he and the AC were from Arkansas so he might have been allowed to go along on a joy ride. The 23rd TASS officer was a recently arrived navigator who went along as an observer before he started his own missions in O-2s. The normal flare mission crew at that time was seven - two pilots, a nav, a flight engineer and three loadmasters. A fourth loadmaster had been part of the crew until the flare chute was modifed with levers to hold the flares and a crewmember was no longer reguired to set on the door.

Another possibility for the FMS troop is that he was one of a handful of maintenance personnel who were given temporary assignments as loadmasters during a loadmaster shortage in late 1968-early 1969. Bill Barrett obtained a copy of the 374th TAW history and the flare mission section describes how that loadmasters from other C-130 units were sent TDY to Ubon to augment the Naha crews. Some of the guys who were there at the time have told me that the wing placed some maintenance personnel on temporary flying status with a loadmaster AFSC to fly flare missions, then they went back to maintenance at the end of the tour. The ninth person could have been a loadmaster flying with an experienced crew before he went out with his own crew. All new flare mission personnel flew at least one mission with another crew as an observer before their crew started flying together.

This was the first flareship lost over The Trail. A second was lost in November 1969.

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Sam,

Thanks for the info, as always, you seem to be able to contribute accurately! I and Chris Carter are examples of maint. men becoming flare kickers TDY. We both jumped at the call for volunteers and the 35th let us go only because we had our 5-level training done. We had to go to Kadena for the Physiological Training and the altitude chamber. We also had to qualify on the range again this time with the revolvers also! We didn\'t know what crew we would be on until the day we left Naha. I was thinking we flew three training missions with another crew, but it might not have been that many! I do remember at least one of the training missions, and it scared the crap out of all of us--including the crew training us! If I remember correctly, we flew 40 missions altogether. At least, I received two Air Medals and was told you got one for every 20 combat missions!

I posted a picture of our crew on the Blind Bat section, and still have never found out much about what ever happened to all of the guys on the crew!

We did have guests at times. Once there was an important General that flew with us (I can\'t remember his name), and once a combat photographer. He also took our crew picture!

Thanks for reading this,

Ken

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Ken, thank Bill Barrett for taking the time to get a copy of the 374th history. The training may have changed by the time you flew the mission. I was on it from May-July 1967 and went down with a Bob Bartunek, who had been on the mission before, as AC. The rest of us were there for our first time. We each went out with another crew on one mission, at least I know I did. I\'m not positive about the other three loadmasters. I was the assigned crew loadmaster and the other three - Mike Cavanaugh, Willy Donovan and Sam McCracken - were assigned as kickers. I flew with a 21st crew then we went out as a crew the following night. There wasn\'t a training program as such set up at Ubon at that time, but one was set up later on from what I\'ve seen. In fact, Fred Nyc describes it in his book. There were a lot of changes in that mission over the years. When it first started - at least when it became a regular misison - they were using CAT Z maintenance men from the 21st as kickers because they were the only maintenance troops at Naha assigned directly to the 6315th Ops Group. All of the other maintenance troops were assigned to the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing until the 374th activated in the summer of 1966 and the airplanes and maintenance transferred out of it. Ralph Krach insists that only Cat Zs were assigned as kickers. The CAT Z troops lived in the barracks with the flight crews at Naha at that time. Sometime around the end of December 1965 USAF decided to increase the loadmaster manning in the Naha squadrons and sent a whole bunch of loadmasters PCS on special orders. TAC had just sent eight squadrons PCS to PACAF to except for me and a couple of others, they all came either from MATS (which had just become MAC on January 1) or TAC aerial port squadrons. John Kilcher and I were the only ones from Pope. There were a few from Sewart and Forbes - Langley had sent the entire 463rd to PACAF and there was nobody left there - and a couple from Lockbourne but most were from Dover, McGuire and Travis. I don\'t remember anyone from Charleston. It took a few weeks to transition everyone into C-130s that came from C-124s, C-141s, C-133s and C-135s but right after the flare mission moved to Ubon, they started sending crews with four loadmasters and no CAT Zs, although I think there might have still been a few CAT Zs flying when I got there. Evidently they didn\'t replace all of the loadmasters who rotated back to the States 18 months later - most of us were first-termers (I reenlisted while I was there) and were unaccompanied. None of the guys on 0477 were there when I was. In fact, we didn\'t have any combat losses at all until just before I left Naha (to sappers at Da Nang), but we did lose a couple to accidents.

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Tom Knebel was in the instrument shop. He replaced me when I had to go back to Naha because of problems with finance. That was probably the only time that finance did me a favor, Tom took my place on 477. Tom was probably a spotter on that mission. The job consisted of laying on your belly on the floor next to the pilot watching for A/A and advising on which way to break to avoid it.

I think of him often.

Pete Dernbach

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I always pulled out the "Sextant Case" and sat as far forward as I could.

I plugged my headset into the short cord next to the FE.

I didn't go on any Bat missions though.

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Pete

I tried to get that message to you about Tom Knebel, by e mail, Personal message and a post on the board.

I am glad you got it.

Bob

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Tom Knebel was in the instrument shop. He replaced me when I had to go back to Naha because of problems with finance. That was probably the only time that finance did me a favor, Tom took my place on 477. Tom was probably a spotter on that mission. The job consisted of laying on your belly on the floor next to the pilot watching for A/A and advising on which way to break to avoid it.

I think of him often.

Pete Dernbach

Yes, That's correct as I remember spotting on one of the Flights I took to get my Combay Pay. It was either with Pilot Maj. Frye on 55-005, or Capt Murrey on 55-023

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Somewhere on the site we have a list of aircraft losses and aircrew losses in SEA and a list of all known US crew member losses.

But on 56-0477

Col William Mason

LC Jerry Chambers

Maj William McPhail

Maj Thomas Mitchell

CMS Calvin Glover

CMS Thomas Knebel

CMS Melvin Rash

SMS John Adam

SMS Gary Pate

All were promoted while missing. Tom Mitchell\'s son has been on the site.

Ralph Krach may have more info.

Bob

This is the crew whose remains were interred at Arlington a few weeks ago. If I'm not mistaken, Calvin Glover and one other, maybe Melvin Rash, were the only ones whose remains were postively identified. I know that Glover was burial was seperate and I think Rash was too. The others were all buried in a common casket. Former Blind Bat pilot Roy Spencer was there, as was one other BB pilot who had been friends with Tom Mitchell. No one knows why Thomas Knebel was on the airplane. There were three loadmasters on the airplane. He was not a crew chief. Several years ago when the Vietnam data base was still available, I looked him up and found that his AFSC was Aircraft Instrument Repairman so he may have been onboard to work on the NOD. Knebel and the AC were both Arkansas natives and may have had some kind of connection and he had been invited along for the ride. One of the officers was actually a FAC navigator who had been assigned to the O-2 outfit at Ubon and was along on an orientation flight.

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Here's a little more "history" for old -477. Major Chet Schroer was the last pilot to land 477. He had flown a BB mission the night before she was shot down. I remember Chet at Batfest II talking about that. He gave me a big 24X36 inch picture of 477 flying over Okinawa. He had it framed and it hung on his wall for years. In 2005 he sent it to me to give to Tom Brotherman (Tom Mitchells son). I contacted Brotherman and he apparently didn't want it because he never answered my e mails. Right now there are plans for Batfest IV to be held at Wright Pat in 2012. I think I'll take the picture up there and they can put it with the BB display. I hope that they have a BB display, Sam McGowan said something awhile back about them starting one. Ralph

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I was the a/c/c on 55-046 and was on flying status. On several night I was there to launch my A/C and they would bring out a vest and gun and said they were short a loadmaster, have fun. Loaded the flairs out of the boxes on to the chute on many nights

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jrkaegi wrote:

Those are the ranks they were promoted to as MIAs. The SMS was actually an E-5 loadmaster at the time but he had crosstrained from another field. The Air Force was not good about putting correct AFSCs on casualty reports as they were drawn up by Admin clerks using personnel records and this has caused a lot of confusion. There is a question as to why the FMS troop was on the airplane since maintenance personnel normally did not fly on combat missions. It is believe he may have been onboard to take care of problems with the NOD device since he had an instrument AFSC. However, both he and the AC were from Arkansas so he might have been allowed to go along on a joy ride. The 23rd TASS officer was a recently arrived navigator who went along as an observer before he started his own missions in O-2s. The normal flare mission crew at that time was seven - two pilots, a nav, a flight engineer and three loadmasters. A fourth loadmaster had been part of the crew until the flare chute was modifed with levers to hold the flares and a crewmember was no longer reguired to set on the door.

Another possibility for the FMS troop is that he was one of a handful of maintenance personnel who were given temporary assignments as loadmasters during a loadmaster shortage in late 1968-early 1969. Bill Barrett obtained a copy of the 374th TAW history and the flare mission section describes how that loadmasters from other C-130 units were sent TDY to Ubon to augment the Naha crews. Some of the guys who were there at the time have told me that the wing placed some maintenance personnel on temporary flying status with a loadmaster AFSC to fly flare missions, then they went back to maintenance at the end of the tour. The ninth person could have been a loadmaster flying with an experienced crew before he went out with his own crew. All new flare mission personnel flew at least one mission with another crew as an observer before their crew started flying together.

This was the first flareship lost over The Trail. A second was lost in November 1969.

The second one lost was 56-0533. I was the C/C until I rotated stateside in October 1968.

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I was assigned to a two month TDY from Naha 374th fms spring of 1968 I flew on three Blindbat missions. I read about how did a maint. guy wind up on 56-0477 well when I was there all you did was schedule it if you where part of the Blindbat mission regardless if you were on flight status. It was a way people could get combat pay and tax exemptions. I read McGowans book Trash Haulers never realized one of my three missions was on 56-0477 a little over a month before it was lost. Also had some strange happenings over Gary Pate who I knew but not very well. My brother was liaison officer for the Air Force in Hawaii for Full Accounting mission in S.E. Asia in the 1990's. I questioned him about the crew of 0477 more about Gary than the rest. It just so happened Pates file had come across his desk days before over a bogus return of remains that proved to be Asian a common practice of people trying to cash in on the USA.

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I was assigned to a two month TDY from Naha 374th fms spring of 1968 I flew on three Blindbat missions. I read about how did a maint. guy wind up on 56-0477 well when I was there all you did was schedule it if you where part of the Blindbat mission regardless if you were on flight status. It was a way people could get combat pay and tax exemptions. I read McGowans book Trash Haulers never realized one of my three missions was on 56-0477 a little over a month before it was lost. Also had some strange happenings over Gary Pate who I knew but not very well. My brother was liaison officer for the Air Force in Hawaii for Full Accounting mission in S.E. Asia in the 1990's. I questioned him about the crew of 0477 more about Gary than the rest. It just so happened Pates file had come across his desk days before over a bogus return of remains that proved to be Asian a common practice of people trying to cash in on the USA.

I don't know why McGowan keeps saying the maintenance people didn't fly on Blind Bat missions. I was Radar Nav and I made three TDY's to Ubon and I flew Blind Bat Missions once a month, every month I was there, as you said to get the combat pay and tax exemption. Every maintenance person and crew chief I knew that went TDY to Ubon flew the missions for the same reason. I flew with E-Flight my last 2 years at Naha and at CCK. In E-Flight at Naha we were awarded crew member wings and I also was awarded an Air Medal. The Blind Bat missions were counted in the flights for the Air Medal.

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I always flew the Blind Bat missions with my aircraft, 56-0533. It was common practice for the Crew Chief and his Assistant to fly them when I was there (1967-1968). Things must have changed after Sam left. I flew EVERYWHERE with my plane, even in Nam. That's another thing Sam says didn't happen when he was there. The only times I didn't fly with her was when the Line Chief or the crew refused to let me. That happened very rarely to me.

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I know why Sam never saw me flying with my bird (61-0956 QF) cause I was usually sitting on the bunk up front, but like all crew chiefs I helped the loadie on the ground . Bill

Edited by Spectre623

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It was a Naha aircraft what squadron I do not know. At the time Blindbat was strictly a Naha manned operation Tachi supported the mission out of camrahn bay for in country trash hauling I spent two months there late summer of 68. I was at Ubon March April and May the same year I was an aircraft radio tech AFSC 30150

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It was assigned to the 41st TAS in 1967-68. Later all the Blind Bat aircraft were assigned to the 21st TAS

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