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j miller

Silver Birds out of Naha

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     Always wondered about hush missions on unmarked silver C-130a's in 1960's. I was in 374th fms comm nav shop I think at the time we had three guys that crewed them out of our shop. It was all classified stuff at the time but sort of thought they supported lima site in Laos. Last day at Naha I got the pleasure to go to Kadena for a UHF radio problem seemed funny they sent a staff car to carry me and a good radio up island. When I got there I saw seven C-130's behind two or three fences all with armed air police and german shepherds I did have a clue. They finally got me to the plane with a broke radio and when they opened the crew door it became quite clear why all the security it was full of nukes. The seven planes were the stockpile of retailatory weapons if attacked alert crews scambled these aircraft so as not to lose second strike capability. I fixed the radio by then the staff car was gone and I had beg for a ride back to Naha great last day.

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E flight (silver birds) was as mission of a select few airman of the 21 TCS at Naha. Heavy maintenance  for these aircraft was provided by the 374th Wing maintenance at Naha and then ferried back to Tahkli, Thailand.  Air America used the aircraft for missions into Laos.

The Nuke C-130's at Kadena we manned by Naha aircrews.  Duty was short term, but aircrews were  on call 24/7 and restriced mostly to quarters.  With several unanounced drills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jim & J,

If you look at the gallery of pictures under my name "Tom C" you'll see I posted some pictures of some of the Silver Birds in a revetment next to where my plane was parked at Udorm. The picture was taken sometime in 1970. I was with the 54th Weather Recon Squadron out of Guam for operation Popeye.

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Got to Naha Sep 30 1968, 3 level spark chaser 7 days a week 12 hrs a day "Blind Bat" , "E" Flight silver birds and of course can't forget the other 70 or so "A" models rotating in and out of TSN, CRB, in the Nam. They would keep us there for 90 or so days then fly us back to Naha in 8 hours to spend the night in Namanui . Got to work on the nukes in Kadena the ride up highway 1 was always a trip!   growing up in the 60's isn't that right Sonny? 

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On 1/6/2017 at 5:31 PM, Jcapsparkchaser said:

Got to Naha Sep 30 1968, 3 level spark chaser 7 days a week 12 hrs a day "Blind Bat" , "E" Flight silver birds and of course can't forget the other 70 or so "A" models rotating in and out of TSN, CRB, in the Nam. They would keep us there for 90 or so days then fly us back to Naha in 8 hours to spend the night in Namanui . Got to work on the nukes in Kadena the ride up highway 1 was always a trip!   growing up in the 60's isn't that right Sonny? 

Right!! I got to Naha May 1967 and within days I was TDY for 89 days to CRB. When I got back I was Crew Chief on 56-0489 and headed back to Nam. That went on until the very end of Jan 1968 when I was assigned as the Crew Chief on 56-0533, a Blind Bat aircraft. My first mission was to Korea when they took the USS Pueblo. I always flew with my aircraft because I wanted to see what was done to her. I never had a flight crew refuse to let me fly with her.

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Sonny since you flew while crewing it brings to light a fateful morning at Naha I went to chow and sat with the crew chief  who was on the "A" that abruptly had the bleed air problem in the A/C and ditched  but the plane sank with everyone on board. I am sure you were there but could have been TDY . I too slept in the shop waiting to GO during the Pueblo incident, of course we eventually stood down but all the Hercs on the ramp were cocked!

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Prior to 1966 all Naha C-130s were silver or gray (corrosion paint.) The Air Force began camouflaging all tactical airplanes, including C-130s. In 1961 JFK authorized the use of USAF C-130s for resupply missions to and within Laos and E Flight was established at Naha in the 21st TCS to maintain the airplanes and provide instructor crews. When the camouflaging took place, the four airplanes were left unpainted so the CIA could continue to claim the unmarked airplanes (all markings were removed when they were baled to the CIA) were not U.S. airplanes. 

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On 4/8/2018 at 10:22 AM, SamMcGowan said:

Prior to 1966 all Naha C-130s were silver or gray (corrosion paint.) The Air Force began camouflaging all tactical airplanes, including C-130s. In 1961 JFK authorized the use of USAF C-130s for resupply missions to and within Laos and E Flight was established at Naha in the 21st TCS to maintain the airplanes and provide instructor crews. When the camouflaging took place, the four airplanes were left unpainted so the CIA could continue to claim the unmarked airplanes (all markings were removed when they were baled to the CIA) were not U.S. airplanes. 

Question regarding the unmarked 130s:were the mod/data plates removed when the tail codes and tail numbers were removed?How about on the birds that had the easily removed and/or swopped numbers.Did they retain the original mod plates?

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