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Sonny

Blind Bat aircraft 1969-70 from John Allen

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John Allen sent me these pictures of 55-0005 and 56-0469. They were Blind Bat aircraft. The pictures appear to be taken at Naha and Ubon 1969-70.

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Thanks for sharing the images.  With your permission, I will add them to the gallery.

--Casey

 

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Brings back memories of my 1st assignment--I arrived at Naha in late 1968 and left in Dec 1969  and when I wasn't TDY,  I was the OIC of the 374FMS Fabrication Branch--the sheet metal shop made and repaired the flare dispensers in the bats. Those guys flying the bats and the crewmembers doing their job in the back were amazing. I remember the terrible conditions the FMS folks had to endure in their unairconditioned rooms--4 people to a room and we had a crusty old Lt Col WWII bomber pilot as the squadron commander and he didn't allow anything pinned to the walls.

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22 hours ago, Casey said:

Thanks for sharing the images.  With your permission, I will add them to the gallery.

--Casey

 

You always have my permission!!

Thanks,

Sonny

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12 hours ago, Jcapsparkchaser said:

Sonny , do you remember all the "BAT" planes that had names such as Batmobile, Azreal, pissed a lot of us flt line main guys off when they did that!

 

All that started officially after I left Naha. We weren't allowed to have nose art when I was there '67-'68 but I did name my aircraft "Sonny's Honey". It was just a stencil I made and painted next to the crew entrance door

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16 hours ago, Jcapsparkchaser said:

Sonny , do you remember all the "BAT" planes that had names such as Batmobile, Azreal, pissed a lot of us flt line main guys off when they did that!

 

Like this one....this is my Uncle, Charlie Agar....I think he painted that...

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I should have said us maintainence guys were pissed when then (C/C) s were told to remove the art work because the Spectre guys were upset at Ubon. "E" Flt and Blind Bat birds always got a little more special attention.

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19 hours ago, topboltsto400 said:

Like this one....this is my Uncle, Charlie Agar....I think he painted that...

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I remember Charlie. All of this happened after I left. My aircraft, 56-0533, only had the bottom painted black. They painted them all black after I left in Oct. 1968. That is also when the Crew Chiefs named them and added artwork. All I had on mine was a small red stencil next to the crew entrance door that read "Sonny"s Honey".

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When I was flying with Bat 6 all of the Blind Bat birds had the bellies painted black like Sonny's Honey and like the one in my avatar. My tour in Ubon  ended sometime in November 1968. The gunships were all black with red numbers I think. I remember the next times I went to Ubon with my E-model from CCK all of the Blind Bats were black. That was in March of 69 on.

I am sure I went on a mission or two on Sonny's Honey!!  

How many Blind Bat planes were at Ubon to cover the mission.As a side note, out of the 40 missions I flew, we never had an abort and always had on time blocks. 

Ken

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Ken,

My recollection, and anyone correct me if I am wrong, is that each of the 4 squadrons at Naha had two Blind Bat aircraft each. Also relying on my memory that is sometimes suspect, we had 5 aircraft at Ubon and flew four missions every night and one aircraft was a spare. Like you, 533 never aborted a mission.

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I was at Ubon in 1967. The plane flew two missions. It was all black. The second mission it took a 37mm in the right wheelwell. Took about a week to get it flyable and went back to Naha. Never had the opportunity to go again. I was with the 41st TAS. I flew once with the crew and helped with flares.

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10 hours ago, Sonny said:

Ken,

My recollection, and anyone correct me if I am wrong, is that each of the 4 squadrons at Naha had two Blind Bat aircraft each. Also relying on my memory that is sometimes suspect, we had 5 aircraft at Ubon and flew four missions every night and one aircraft was a spare. Like you, 533 never aborted a mission.

Sonny, you could be right. I just know that we flew missions early and late. The early ones we took off just about sunset, and the late were around midnight to back across the river at daybreak(hopefully) I always assumed there was another crew up during the times we were flying which would make four missions every night. Another question Sonny and nascarpop, did either of you or anybody reading this ever see the gunship without the radome. (Vulcan Special?) there? I swear we drove past it several times, but what I read, it wasn't there when I was there!  Also nascarpop, it is remotely possible :lol: that I may be full of crap about the black planes!  Of course, actually I am only sure of one thing---all of the 40 missions I flew on were in black bottomed planes! For all I know, they were all Sonny's Honey!:D

Hey, by the way, I am glad to see that you guys still have your memories!!!  

Ken

 

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One more question you guys. When I first got to Naha,  (sept 67), I remember seeing pictures of people (Blind Bat Crew types) wearing berets and bloused pants/boots and the works. I assume that died out soon, because I never saw that in Ubon in 1968 . At first, I thought it was cool, but I had no urge to have a beret. I am glad that wasn't still in style when I was a crew member. 

Possibly the berets went by the way of the nose art !

That's all until I have another brain-fart!

Also just a few pics taken at Ubon. 

Ken

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This may be slightly off topic and I apologize in advance.

I was a crew chief on 56-0522 at Anderson AFB Guam when one of the Blind Bat “A” models came through and broke down for a #1 engine change. Since our engine shop didn’t have a spare engine ready, they “K” balled the engine from my plane. (sorry my engine was white on the bottom with green and tan sides LOL)

And guess who they made to stay on the line until it was done? Since I was engine run qualified I had to complete the ops check.

Sure was neat to set seat at night with all the instrument lights lite and looking out to my left thru (what I assumed was a heads up display) glass. This took place sometime mid summer of 1970.

Our three aircraft “A” models were involved in “Operation Popeye” Two were always in country, Udorn, while one was back for repairs and maintenance.

Tom C

 

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The plane I went to Ubon on was painted all black. It was an "A" model, early 55-003 - 55-027, somewhere in that range of numbers. As said only made two flights the time I was with it when it got hit. If I remember correctly the plane left at dusk/dark and returned early early morning.

I have photos somewhere of the repair job. I will post them when I come across them. FOUND THEM.

Seems the refueling line wasn't drained completely and that is why it caught fire.

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Love the pictures nascarpop!  I never remember seeing one painted all black like that the whole time I was there from Jan to Oct 1968.

 

Ken, I still have my beret. Didn't wear it.

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On 2/24/2018 at 6:14 AM, Sonny said:

All that started officially after I left Naha. We weren't allowed to have nose art when I was there '67-'68 but I did name my aircraft "Sonny's Honey". It was just a stencil I made and painted next to the crew entrance door

 

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I was assistant on 0517, Joe Straits was CC, Nose art was Rum Runner. I also remember Charlie Spotter, I forgot it’s tail number. This was in late ‘69 early ‘70. At that time all of the Blind Bat aircraft were All black. The nose art didn’t last but a few months.

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On 2/27/2018  Ken said:

"Sonny, you could be right. I just know that we flew missions early and late. The early ones we took off just about sunset, and the late were around midnight to back across the river at daybreak(hopefully) I always assumed there was another crew up during the times we were flying which would make four missions every night. Another question Sonny and nascarpop, did either of you or anybody reading this ever see the gunship without the radome. (Vulcan Special?) there? I swear we drove past it several times, but what I read, it wasn't there when I was there!  Also nascarpop, it is remotely possible :lol: that I may be full of crap about the black planes!  Of course, actually I am only sure of one thing---all of the 40 missions I flew on were in black bottomed planes! For all I know, they were all Sonny's Honey!:D

Hey, by the way, I am glad to see that you guys still have your memories!!!  

Ken"

 

Ken,

My recollection is that the gunships were there in Oct. 1968 but didn't start flying missions until Nov. 1968 so you could possibly have seen one with the radome off.

By the way, if you always took off on time it probably was "Sonny's Honey:!!! :D

 

Sonny

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Ken,

Did a little research on the gunships and found this:

"The AC-130 Gunship first arrived in South Vietnam on 21 September 1967 under the Gunship II program, and began combat operations over Laos and South Vietnam that year. By 30 October 1968, enough AC-130 Gunship IIs arrived to form a squadron. The 16th Special Operations Squadron (SOS), of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) were activated on the above date at Ubon AB, Thailand. "

So they were at Ubon beginning in Oct, 1968

 

http://vietnam.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/ac130-operation.html

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Thanks for the research Sonny. Yes, I do remember the gunships being in a squadron at Ubon when I was there, but I swear one of them without a radome was there also. I know there was one, because I have seen pictures of it, but possibly the pics were taken somewhere else. I still have the book that show the picture of what I think I saw at Ubon, but now if I can remember where it is! CRS is not your friend!!!

About time I put in a little time on research like you,

Ken

 

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I posted two pictures in the gallery of a crew in 1972. You might want to check it out. It was my dad's. I don't see his crew anywhere else online. Seems like i may be the only one with these images

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