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The Red Stuff

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core_pfieldgroups_2

  • First Name
    JG
  • Last Name
    McKee
  • core_pfield_13
    cars & bicycles

core_pfieldgroups_3

  • core_pfield_11
    The son of a WWII 7th Infantry Army DI with 9 years of service and four battle stars before his luck ran out. My life long mentor and best friend. Jan. 1918 - Aug. 2009


    It was July '66 and I was a fire fighter with the CDF(California Division of Forestry) when one Sunday the LA Times headline read...50,000 being drafted. My # was up. I loved all things that flew and that's all I wanted to be a part of. After testing the Air Force promised and the Army said maybe.

    A mix of assignments, stories, and remembrances.

    Sept '66 - Sept '70

    Lackland - 3701 BMTS

    Chanute - 3347th Aircraft Hydraulics - red rope & honor grad - after graduation was held over for additional training - 3353rd Missile Hydraulics - Minuteman, Titan, & Bomarc. Left Chanute with second stripe....and had no idea I would wear it so long.

    (story) 47th Squadron NCO's, Sgt. Coffee, Sgt. McFadden, and the drunk (honestly can't remember his name). One day it started snowing soon after we got to class, and by end of school we were in a full blown white out blizzard. I kept B Flight together while we waited for our NCO escort to show (he, the last of those mentioned above). When it became obvious he wasn't going to show. I called Forty Seven on the road. Telling them it would be a loose formation on the way back and above all else, listen up. I took point and moved the other ropes towards the front of their flights while assigning the one nearest me to rove as needed so we could maintain good communication with the remaining flights.(the wind was howling). We encountered downed power lines, tress, and such, but, made it to the chow hall safe and sound. I was later questioned why I took it upon myself to bring the guys home. My answer was simple. We waited, no one showed, and someone needed to take charge. Never heard another word. The drunk must have... One day as we were readying for morning formation he intentionally stepped square across the toe of my right boot. It was my fault?

    First assignment after tech school.
    Vandenberg 4/67 - 7/67 - 6595th Aerospace Test Wing - Minuteman Missiles - didn't stay long - they really didn't need us (13 guys). Beautiful base but a boring job!! (5/67 rated 44250 - Scratch that afsc. )

    PCS
    Edwards 8/67 - 7/68 - 6515th FMS - AFSC Test Division - A few of the birds I recall working on- F/RF104 (lift over drag project - tests for future space shuttle needs) - F4C / spent a lot of time on tail #410 (7410 crashed Tulsa OK Jan 24, 1981) - T38 - T33 - XC142 - F100 - F102 - F105 - F101 - F111 / first Edwards hydraulics class trained on it. Know there are more birds...but it's been a long time. I liked Edwards and all the aircraft but, once I got this 5 level I volunteered for Nam.
    (note) Any pilots who flew in & out of Edwards back then remember the B-58 setting out in the desert? If memory serves me we put it out there for photo recon test purposes. (perhaps it's still there).

    TDY Langley 7/68 - C130 5 Level training for deployment to CCK. Not where I had hoped for. But it worked out in the end.

    PCS
    CCK 8/68 - 10/69 314th FMS / Tho spent little time there.

    9/20/68 - 11/14/68 TDY Udorn RTAFB - ABCCC.
    Worked hydraulics on day shift and as often as my NCO would let me I flew as a spotter on their night flights. Anyone remember Lt. Col Epps? A good man. Was fortunate to get to fly with him several times.
    (story) He - Epps had finished his TDY at ABCCC and had a broke bird on the main side of Udorn. Unable to get the help he wanted he came looking for a favor. Hey Mac, can you help me out? Explaining his bird had been red x'd for a aileron high pressure line failure and something about those guys over there can't fix nothin. Because my 7 was willing to sign off on my work....Epps got airborne. Teamwork!! And, a favor returned.

    11/19/68 TDY CRB - CRB and TDYs in coutry kept me pretty busy..a good thing!

    Of those, this is a memorable one. Who's bird was it? An Khe, Jan '69 - Left/rear MLG axle broke (caused by previous pilot error CRB)... An AR troop by the name of Terry Simms and myself R & R'd the strut assembly - without jacks. Simms and I spent three nights outside the wire with your baby.
    Some Pilots? Ignoring our diagonal for a one time flight back to CRB "GEAR DOWN".. the first thing we heard after lift off was 'GEAR COMING UP'....."OH SHIT!!" is what we said with our eyes as Simms and I looked at each other. So much for that preflight briefing.

    A special thanks.
    If memory serves me, it was between Christmas '68 and New Year that I was dispatched to a loaded bird that once air borne had turned back to CRB for some hydraulic issue. Whoever the load master was that night? The guys I worked with will never forget grilling those steaks. Thanks again!

    TET '69 CRB - Chuck Vroom(sp) If ya ever visit this site we have a story to share. Incoming and a John Wayne wannabe pistol packin Officer....remember? How could you not.

    So many memories. Some good - some not so good. But they are mine.

    About 4/15/69 back at CCK - just there a few days and was off to Osan Korea - something to do with a build up over the Pueblo and ongoing saber rattling. Spent thirty days there and returned to CCK.

    Back at CCK - 7/69 TDY Africa - wasn't supposed to talk then. I'll honor that today.

    Back at CCK - 8/69 TDY in country - can't find the orders at this time...?

    10/69 back at CCK - was there about a week when word came of a death in my family and that I was being sent back to the states - for good....Left with what could be stuffed in a B4 bag.

    PCS
    10/69 - 9/70 Norton 63rd FMS / C141 - Driving in here's the first thing I saw. A 141 in front of one of the bases main hangers setting on its nose. Someone didn't pin the nose gear? Thought to self....this should be fun? Needless to say, but I will. It didn't make a good first impression. Walked into the hydraulic shop for the first time and was surprised to see a few guys I had gone through my first tech school with. None of them had ever left the states, but were buc sergeants with time to make E-5 before they got out. I was still wearing the same two stripes I left tech school with. Go figure?

    I'll close with this thought. As a maintenance troop I never knew what it was like to have just one bird. Every one of them was mine and they were all 'special' to me.

    Proud to have played a small part in the history of a GREAT BIRD - the C130

    Welcome Home Vets

    .
  • core_pfield_12
    California
  • Occupation
    Retired Telco manager and small business owner
  1. Tips. http://militaryadvantage.military.com/author/benjamin-krause/
  2. Pat, Start here. http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/compensation/index.htm
  3. Houses one of the nation's largest collections of flyable World War II aircraft and is a treasure trove of memorabilia. Short story with 95 photos and captions. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20110205/NEWS01/102040352/History-takes-flight-Palm-Springs-Air-Museum?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage
  4. Clap from Angeles. Reminds me of the mandatory clap prevention meeting in the theater at CCK. Don't remember who was conducting it, but, the highlight came when he asked for a show of hands from those who had had it xxxxx times, followed by who had had it xxxx times, followed by....."you guys slow down and let the rest catch up". Brought the house down!
  5. Update: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20110202/NEWS01/110202013/Local-law-firm-offers-defend-balloonists-free?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage
  6. Mysterious East Valley farm's lawsuits ground nearly all local hot air balloons. The farms owner is suing the FAA, FDA, and countless others. You will not believe this. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20110130/NEWS01/101300311/Mysterious-east-valley-farm-s-lawsuits-ground-nearly-all-local-hot-air-balloons?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage
  7. The one incident I'll never forget 1969. I believe it was an AR troop. Phase docks (hanger) CCK he was working on the rudder with all pumps off and tagged. Some yahoo turned them on. When the rudder centered his fingers were in the hinge system. Never did hear how he came out. Anybody remember the incident or who it was? The crap that happened to me was just that compared to what this kid must have gone through.
  8. EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE -- Officials here are creating a guardian angel system to help Air Force members who parachute to land safely and softly. "The parachutes are designed for pararescuemen who are going to be landing in austere mountain conditions to rescue personnel." "But GAAPS is also going to take over for a lot of the current parachute systems and potentially be applied across the Air Force and the rest of the military once it's approved." http://www.military.com/news/article/air-force-news/new-chute-system-under-development.html?wh=news
  9. Found this loss record 1960 / 1969. Complete with date, model, tail #, who the bird belonged to, etc: http://www.baaa-acro.com/Pays/V/Vietnam-1960-1969.htm
  10. His job was piloting as well as deputy for operations of the flight crews. Udorn ABCCC - 7/70 - 7/71 http://mofak.com/ABCCC_Flying_in_Vietnam_War.htm
  11. MIL-H-5606, we use to clean the valves and piston tops of flight line vehicles with it. Added through the carburetor and/or added to the fuel. SKYDROL, is some nasty stuff. Worked for Boeing Renton for a while and we were supposed to wear gloves when working with it. Seldom did. It seemed to be harder on some peoples skin than others.
  12. This incident was but a story told when I was in the service. The Internet has certainly changed things. While the sound quality is poor, the story and visuals make it worth the listen. 1964 Boeing test crews experience as told by the pilot of the mission. Included is video of the 52 taken by chase aircraft.
  13. A must read. Sadly, Bob passed away August 19, 2010. Take your time navigating the site, or you'll miss something. http://www.nf104.com/index.html .
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