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SamMcGowan

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Everything posted by SamMcGowan

  1. I just got word from Howard Worthy that he has some Blind Bat paraphernalia that Ralph's widow Marianne gave him. Howard was planning to take them to the TC/TAA reunion in October and put them out for people to take but his wife is seriously ill and he doubts that he'll be able to go. I don't know what he has. Howard and Ralph were both in the 21st in E Flight. Ralph was an avionics tech and flew as a flare kicker on some of the early missions. He was very active with Blind Bat veterans and hosted the first BB reunion in 2002. If you're interested, Email me at semcgowanjr@gmail.com and I'll put you in touch with Howard.
  2. I've written a few more since these, and I've put these two out in 6 X 9 format,
  3. www.sammcgowan.com/meyers.html. This link is to the USAF accident report of the Meyers incident. I think I mentioned it on here before but Bob Patterson told me in 2012 that he personally briefed TAC commander Gen. W.W. Momyer on the incident. Bob believes Meyer passed out from hypoxia. As for him being headed anywhere, this more a myth than anything, He actually meandered all over England for TWO HOURS and was in and out of thunderstorms. The man was drunk as a skunk and probably had no idea what he was doing when he took the airplane off.
  4. I started out at Pope in MX in December 1963. USAF had prohibited anyone but pilots from taxiing ANY airplane with more than two engines. I believe a pilot could taxi with an engineer (but remember that a pilot and engineer was the published minimum crew for emergency operations.)
  5. No, they didn't Sonny. I took this picture at CRB around May-June 1967 - no tail code. I don't recall ever seeing an airplane with a tail code at Naha - I left in July 1967. However, Gary Peters sent me some pictures he took on COMMANDO LAVA in July and his wingman has brand new paint with a tail code.
  6. Sonny, by the time you got to Naha, the flare mission had been going on for more than three years. I took this photo in the spring of 1966, I can't say for certain since it might be shadow, but some of those airplanes appear to have black bellies. The paint on the airplanes was different, depending on where they had been painted. Some were painted in the States when they went on IRAN and some were painted at Gifu, Japan. I left Naha in July-early August 1967.
  7. To the best of my knowledge, the first M-121 dropped in SEA was dropped by Major Bob Archer's crew from the 29th TAS. Archer was project officer. The test program was COMBAT TRAP and the operational mission was COMMANDO VAULT. COMMANDO VAULT commenced in early 1969. There were at least a dozen bombs dropped under COMBAT TRAP. Below is the first bomb crew - Bob Archer, Jon O'Donnell, Davy Dawson, Chick Anderson, Mike Huzinko. (Names are in reverse order.) There was no doubt a second loadmaster with them who is not pictured. I believe this photo was taken prior to the first bomb drop. Howie Seaboldt gave it to me just before he died. Archer gave it to him. Archer is still alive and well in Florida. FYI, I only know of one mission when we dropped on an enemy base camp and it was the first mission I flew. I was in country with a 774th crew with MacArthur Rutherford checking me out. The FAC gave us a BDA of 100 KIA. That's the only time I heard a BDA, maybe because the pilots didn't ask for one.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Ken, I was in the 35th and lived and worked with people from the other four squadrons. In fact, I once went in country with a 21st crew.
  11. Not really Sonny. Special missions were just that, "special", but each squadron's primary mission was the troop carrier mission and we all did the same thing. The 21st had E Flight but it was an addendum to the squadron. The squadron's other four flights did the same thing the other four squadrons did. All four squadrons contributed crews to the flare mission, the 35th had the leaflet mission and the 817th had HALO. The 41st had COMMANDO LAVA but it was an airdrop mission of special chemical agents on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Not only were the Naha squadrons the same, so were the other eight C-130 squadrons in PACAF. I was at Clark in 69-70 and did the exact same things I did while at Naha except we had the COMMANDO VAULT bombing mission. But when we weren't bombing, we were hauling trash and people.
  12. I posted this in the historical section last night but it probably should have gone here. The officers and board members of the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Association proposed and designed a memorial to the troop carrier/tactical airlift mission at our 2014 meeting in Tucson. The funds were raised (some $37,000) and the memorial has been placed at the USAF Museum. The attached special newsletter includes photographs and information about the upcoming dedication at the 2018 TC/TAA reunion in Dayton this October. USAF veteran and historian Dr. Alan Gropman will be speaking on the Battle of Kham Duc.. Memorial Special.pdf
  13. Tonight if the first time I've been on here in a long time. I wanted to mention the passing of my good buddy Roy Michael "Stony" Burk back in early December. Stoney died is injuries from a motorcycle accident in late November. I first met him when he was with 5th Aerial Port in France and caught a ride with me from Pope when my crew was going on rotation. We literally met each other at the door to our new squadron at Robins AFB, GA a few years later and became fast friends. After a year on C-141s at Robins, we got orders to Clark and went over on the same plane after driving across the country together and both went to F Troop. I went to C-5s at Charleston and Stoney went to ARRS at McCoy. He went back to Clark originally to the 773rd but the squadron was shutting down so he went to ARRS at Clark. He was in 4th APS at Langley then went to C-5s at Dover where he retired. Stoney got his pilots license and flew fire patrol for the Florida Forestry Service until his retirement a few years ago. We stayed in touch and talked on the phone about once a month. God, I miss him!
  14. I took the picture with the fuel truck sometime around May or June 1967 - I'm pretty sure it was at Tan Son Nhut. The second was at CRB around the same time - no revetments.
  15. Since when was the 374th FMS not part of the 374th TAW? I was at Naha when the 374th TCW replaced the 6315th Ops. Group and the 374th FMS was definitely created as part of the wing. Flight line mechanics were assigned to the flying squadrons but all other maintenance was with the 374th FMS. By the way, no certificate is given for unit citations. A notation is put in an airman's personnel records.
  16. I've got a map of Naha somebody sent me. In fact, I was just looking at it. This one is an engineering map, not one of the maps that were passed out. I'll try to remember to scan it sometime.
  17. If it was a Naha bird, and it obviously was, it was most likely on the flare mission at some time or other. Prior to 1968 when they put some special equipment on Blind Bat airplanes, any airplane on the flight line could be used on the mission. I don't know what tail numbers did what. Tail numbers were how we found the airplanes on the flight line.
  18. I spent almost 12 years in airlift in C-130s, C-141s and C-5s and never heard it. Nor did I ever hear Hey Load. These are both post-Vietnam terms and most likely originated on the Internet.
  19. FYI Memorial Special.pdf
  20. Bill has been in bad health for a long time. He was on a scooter at least five years ago. Billy Mills is also in bad shape, if he's still around. So many have died that word doesn't always get out.
  21. I've been doing some research on GPES for my latest novel "Naha War Story", which is set in 1968. It turns out that within a few days after GPES drops started at Khe Sanh, the 1st Cav' broke through and relieved the camp, thus negating the need for drops. Bowers makes no mention of any GPES malfunctions but there were at least two LAPES malfunctions and one platform at least killed Marines. The airplane that crashed at Cam Ranh had an electrical fire. It happened on March 3, 1968 during the siege so people may have thought it had battle damage. (An A-model crashed at Hue the previous day.) My personal experience with GPES was a checkout at Pope with my crew when we went through exotic training in 1965, GPES was discontinued soon afterwards. Actually, GPES was the preferred extraction method in Vietnam after Khe Sanh but airdrops became few and far between by early 1969. All I dropped was bombs.
  22. I take Leeker's records with a grain of salt. He seems to be considering routine transfers for maintenance as transfers to the CIA. I don't know how the Kadena office handled the paperwork when they baled an airplane but he shows practically every airplane in 315th Air Division as being used by the CIA at some time or other.
  23. I don't know if I have posted this photo on here or not - I don' think I have. I took it at Recife, Brazil in July or August 1965. It's one of the first A-models. It went to Systems Command and when I saw it was being used to support downrange missile shots from Patrick. If you want to make prints from it, feel free.
  24. Sonny, you weren't in TAC at Naha. We were in PACAF. Before they were camouflaged, all of the airplanes at Naha had PACAF patches on the tail. When they were first painted, they had subdued numbers (small) but in mid-1967 tail codes and a larger number were added. This picture was taken in the spring of 1967.
  25. I just read through the incident report and note that the transcription of the radio communications are not included. I have read it and I thought I had it. Meyer's last words to his wife were, i.e. "It looks like I've got a problem. I'll be right back after I take care of it." What I posted goes back several computers. Someone, I forgot who, sent me the report back in late 2000 or early 2001 and I downloaded it onto my Compaq desk top. I replaced that computer with a DELL three or four years ago. The transcript may be on it. If I can find it, I'll upload it. If anyone else has it, perhaps they can upload it. The conversation with General Patterson was three years ago in October 2012 in Warner Robins. I believe Bob is planning to attend the TC/TAA convention in Little Rock this coming May. We were just BSing when he brought the incident up. Bob was one of those involved with the investigation. Although he was based at Lockbourne at the time, he was TDY to USAFE HQ and volunteered to brief General Momyer, the TAC commander, on the incident when he got to Germany. Momyer was very concerned about the morale of the troops and the incidents that led up to Meyer's actions.
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