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MHeflin

Missing E-Model

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It's funny how things suddenly pop into your head out of nowhere. Back in early 75 I flew my first solo TDY as a qualified LM out of LR (32nd TAS) onboard 72-1293. Spent a week shuttling cargo/ pax all over the E. coast supporting a TAC fighter excercise and came back to LR thinking I was the coolest thing to have ever put on a flight suit and knew everything there was to know about being a Tac-Trained Killer; because that's what you do when you're 19 years old. 

In April the squadron put us all on standby to deploy to SE Asia late one night for the evacuation of Saigon and I was assigned to pre-flight 1293 and be ready to load and depart ASAP for Clark. For whatever reason another crew took the aircraft and I wound up being excess to requirements, so myself and 3 other FNGs continued to pre-flight and load the birds for crews making the jump.

The story I heard was that 1293 arrived Clark and was almost immediately turned over to a fresh 21st crew, who took it into Tan Son Nhut to lift out refugees. Upon landing the field came under artillery/ rocket attack and the crew rolled out, braked with enthusiasm, popped the crew door open and and promptly beat feet. All got clear, but the aircraft sustained a direct hit, totally destroying it.

As we all know when trying to remember things that have happened in the past and you look back at your life through the dark mist of time, things are quite often not what we remember/recall. Therefore, I went to the 130 database on this site to try and confirm my recollection of what happened to 1293. To my surprise it isn't listed.

Any insights/revelations from this august Forum would be greatly appreciated.       

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I was right in the middle of the evacuation of Saigon, and I don't remember loosing an aircraft. I remember having 199 people

crammed in the cargo compartment with me for 6 and a half hours on 1 flight.

Rg Glenn

 

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Hi Mark

72-1293 (4506) went to AMARG on 27 Aug 2007. It is still there in the beer can section Area 21 as of December

72-1297 (4519) was destroyed on the ramp at TSN. Pics of 93 at AMARG and 97 at TSN are in the gallery.

Bob

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Thanks guys for the info/update. It's one thing to get confused on a tail number, it's something else when you swear that you remember an incident which never happened. Scarey stuff.

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MHeflin, let me correct your story, or at least how I understand what you heard.  It sounded like your story claimed the 21st TAS crew braked and evacuated before getting hit.  That is not so.  I know, because I was the navigator on that flight.  We landed and went to the north side of the field to offload a BLU-82 that we had brought in.  We offloaded the cargo, crossed to the other side of the runway, and were on the taxiway headed to picking up passengers when the field came under attack.  The pilot was considering doing an emergency takeoff from the taxiway, but before a decision could be made if we had sufficient length to do so, we got hit in the right wing.  Fuel began to pour out and ignited, setting the plane on fire.  We evacuated as soon as we got hit and exited to the area between the taxiway and runway.  After regrouping to ensure all were OK, we then decided to run over to the revetments near the refugee pickup spot on the south side of the taxiway.  Upon hearing a GTC start up on a C-130 that had landed after us, we ran to that plan and exited with them, being the last US military airplane out of Vietnam.

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BDR: as you can appreciate the stories you hear, don't always reflect what actually happened. Especially when told by GI's. Things always get left out or exaggerated/embellished. Thanks for sharing the real story.  

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Enjoyed reading about 1297. I was a crew chief at LRAFB with the 314th OMS and I had worked on both 1293 and 1297.

I remember that on Friday night that the planes that we launched returned early. When I ended my shift at midnight I was told to pack my bags. I left for PI at noon on Saturday. When we arrived at Clark we immediately started turning the planes around and other crews came out to fly to them to Ton Son Nhut.  They were wearing side arms and the flight engineer said that I had a pretty looking airplane – with all its non-camouflage markings on it – and he hoped that it didn’t get them shot at. Two SPs also got on board with M-16s for crowd control - I have always wondered how that would have worked out. When the planes returned we were briefed not to inspect “unauthorized holes” and to squeeze upside down coffee cups left in the cargo compartment before picking them up for grenades.

The next day when I showed up for work our supervisor asked for volunteers to grab our tool bags and standby for a flight into Ton Son Knut to scavenge something off of 1297, but fortunately for me that never happened. Within the hour, as I remember it – it could have been longer, one C-130 that was ready to taxi just shut down its engines and the evacuation was over for fixed wing aircraft.

A few weeks later I ended up at Utapao AFB for three days when Cambodia hijacked the USS Mayaguez. Three Little Rock C-130s were hauling BLU-82s. One dropped its load. An interesting few weeks for my second TDY.

Jeff

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The answer to this is very simple - The United States officially withdrew from South Vietnam in March 1973. The evacuation of Saigon and the Mayaguez Incident occurred over two years later. There was a C-130 lost at Tan Son Nhut during the final days of the war but because the US was no longer an active participant, it's not on the database of aircraft lost during the war. Neither is the C-5 that crashed outside Saigon. 

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