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BRlang

Air Medal Qualifications

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This may have been discussed before on this board but I searched and did not find any information. I am looking for the Qualifications or guide lines used to award The Air Medal during the Vietnam War. After a recent move my Flight Logs re surfaced. I was never issued any Air Medals while active in the USAF. I can now document the number of Combat missions flown while in the 345th. I am missing my last month of flights in my record. I know I flew 8 leaflet drops in my last in country shuttle. ( Crew Scheduler didn't like me). These are not in my record. But I can document 134 combat missions. Since my retirement I have become active in Veterans groups and my own activities. I am preparing a DD form149 to request my records be amended to include and award my Air Medals. I don't have an agenda just want to stick them in the drawer with my other "stuff". Can some one direct me to this information or tell me what you remember.

Thanks, Galley is set 

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Early on I heard they used sorties but the counts were so high they resorted to daily missions and as I recall it took 30 missions. I think it lists it on the orders but not the actual award.  I'd have to dig to find the orders. If its missions I think you are due a few. Good news is you don't have to march in a parade to get it.

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Thanks for the response. Seems like 30 was the number I remember. I noticed on your profile that you like Guitars. I am a Guitar Player as well. I am part of an organization called Soldiers Song and Voices. We give free guitar and song writing lessons to Veterans. Six of us run the Chapter. We have  8 Vets in the program. We meet one Sunday a month and talk, write songs and jam. We furnish free guitars to the Student Vets. If you attend 8 lessons you get to keep the guitar. We have a mix of Vietnam and the desert wars and some in between. We play for different units at the VA hospital and Veterans events. Our first student is now our Vice President and has written several songs that we perform. Most of them have one thing in common...They have all ridden in a C-130..Some even jumped..  

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I play as a hobby and to punish relatives and friends and collect guitars.  I do some home recording and mostly use it as a stress relief. Our company supports at risk schools in the area, providing student models and used instruments to Middle schools.  Keeps some of them out of gangs.  My employees have been heavily involved in this for a number of years.  I commend what you and your group are doing.  I've seen some stories about  helping wounded warriors with instruments.

That picture brings back memories of wall to wall RVN troops.  I remember we were packed on one flight and an MVP with his guard dog needed a lift, I brought him in through the right rear door and suddenly there was a 10' circle cleared around him and the dog.  The sheer density of the troops were the tie downs.  Had put some straps across but just a packed house. I don't remember if that flight had a deuce and a half too, but I know it was common with RVN moves to pack em in.  On the other end of the scale I flew remains back to Seoul and there were eight small boxes, the cargo compartment was spotless, all new cargo straps, the walls were covered with religious tapestries and after takeoff I had to remain on the flight deck until checklist for landing. They did everything including scrubbing down the cargo compartment. The ROKS had real class.

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Those were Cambodians. They were trained in Nah Trang. We would haul them from Phnom Phen Cambodia, give them a couple of weeks of training and them move them back to Cambodia to fight the Khmer Rouge. This group here were on board when we had a tire blow up and into the aircraft. Most of the ones sitting by the Left wheel well didn't make it. 

I loved working with the ROK folks. The ROK loadmaster was really good. Like you said he did everything and was right by the book.

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I received two Air Medals for 40 flare missions as a flare kicker on Blind Bat in 1968.

I didn't know a anything about it until they came to the squadron at CCK. (345th OMS) I think. He ( the Col.)  mentioned awarding them to me at the next Commanders Call. I conveniently flew everywhere my airplane (62-1804) went until it was forgotten. There is nothing in my records showing why I was awarded them. The Air Medal awards themselves are actual awards with the correct dates on them. I was told by somebody that it took 20 missions. 

 I would think you would have a whole bunch of them. Especially for the Frantic Goat missions.

 I am like you, I would like to have all of the records and awards in my possession or at least recognized before I die. My kids and grandkids might like to see them.

Ken

 

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Thanks of the reply, Ken. I will submit my flight records and some other things from my records and see what happens. Thanks for giving us good airplanes. I just looked at my Flight Logs and see I did 4.1 Combat hours on 22 February, 1971 on 1804...I was getting short by then under 100 days...

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13 hours ago, Mt.crewchief said:

I received two Air Medals for 40 flare missions as a flare kicker on Blind Bat in 1968.

I didn't know a anything about it until they came to the squadron at CCK. (345th OMS) I think. He ( the Col.)  mentioned awarding them to me at the next Commanders Call. I conveniently flew everywhere my airplane (62-1804) went until it was forgotten. There is nothing in my records showing why I was awarded them. The Air Medal awards themselves are actual awards with the correct dates on them. I was told by somebody that it took 20 missions. 

 I would think you would have a whole bunch of them. Especially for the Frantic Goat missions.

 I am like you, I would like to have all of the records and awards in my possession or at least recognized before I die. My kids and grandkids might like to see them.

Ken

 

Ken, I got a set of orders as well as the certificate. Sonny

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This thread reminded me that there were other awards, like Air Crew Wings permanent for combat mission flight hours.  I got orders for that and I suspect its purpose was if you went off flight status or changed branches of the service you were allowed to continue to wear the crew wings.  Most awards just showed up and I suspect a lot of folks didn't get everything they were entitled to. I remember getting an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for a single flight to the Dominican Republic during their conflict in 65/66. I went into Dyess Ops one morning and the on duty officer said here this is yours and handed me the orders and a box with the ribbon and medal.  When we landed in the Dominican they gave crews a Zippo lighter with Inter American Peace Force O.A.S engraved on it; which I still have. The Medal was a surprise.

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I did find my orders putting me on Flight Status in my records.. The best part of these orders is you got a $50.00/month raise for flight duty. 15 may 1969 Aeronautical Order 111. I was rich. Recently I even went and ordered me the Enlisted Aircrew wings to replace the one I probably threw in the dumpster by the front gate at LRAFB on the way out. Heck, I threw everything else away.  

 

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10 hours ago, BRlang said:

I did find my orders putting me on Flight Status in my records.. The best part of these orders is you got a $50.00/month raise for flight duty. 15 may 1969 Aeronautical Order 111. I was rich. Recently I even went and ordered me the Enlisted Aircrew wings to replace the one I probably threw in the dumpster by the front gate at LRAFB on the way out. Heck, I threw everything else away.  

 

I always thought that Crew Chiefs on flying status should be allowed to wear wings. JMHO

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53 minutes ago, Sonny said:

I always thought that Crew Chiefs on flying status should be allowed to wear wings. JMHO

That would depend on weather the crew chiefs were on flying status or on hazardous duty status.Flight pay increased with rank.H.D. pay was a flat $55.00 a month regardless of rank.Flight status-wings were authorized.C.C.on H.D.-the leather name tags on your flight jacket and flight suit had wings.Thats the way it was in the 317th/322nd in the '60s.

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In Vietnam I got both. Combat Pay and Flight pay...I was double rich there. That's a lot of Piasters....

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9 hours ago, BRlang said:

In Vietnam I got both. Combat Pay and Flight pay...I was double rich there. That's a lot of Piasters....

What rank were you?How much were you "salting" away?That's a nice piece of change every pay day!As an E4 in '64 on H.D.I was pulling down a BIG $235.00 a month and I didn't "salt" any away.

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E-3 when I got to CCK in April 1970 and made E-4 soon after. I spent every penny I made every month. Add separate rations and your per diem from trips and that bought lots of Mongolian BBQ. At the end of the month when things ran thin you could always throw on a flight suit and hit midnight chow for a quarter....if you were sober enough to walk over there that is... 

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2 hours ago, BRlang said:

E-3 when I got to CCK in April 1970 and made E-4 soon after. I spent every penny I made every month. Add separate rations and your per diem from trips and that bought lots of Mongolian BBQ. At the end of the month when things ran thin you could always throw on a flight suit and hit midnight chow for a quarter....if you were sober enough to walk over there that is... 

Hey,I forgot all about separate rats! Per diem in the states,for TAC people didn't amount to much.However in Europe it was different  story!Up to $24.00 a day in some places. 

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At some point they did away with both flight and hazardous duty pay, you got the higher of the two but not both.  I think in-country Per Diem was either $16.00 or $26.00 a day (CRS).  I forget what the contracted rate was for the Merlin and Mercury hotels in Saigon.   I know I always made a few bucks per day on Per Diem.  Maybe spent a few on Tudo Street to get my Technical Manuals current.:)

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WE didn't pay anything at the Merlin..Direct bill. we just go missed meals..Half way through my tour they moved us on base at TSN...We lost two missed meals a day as they said we could eat those at chow hall...I preferred the NCO BBQ..2 bucks for a T-bone, beans and beer...Of course we all remember the No Hab Snack Bar.... I want a cheeseburger...."NO Hab Cheese". didn't matter what you ordered they No Hab something..

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On 5/8/2017 at 10:10 PM, BRlang said:

In Vietnam I got both. Combat Pay and Flight pay...I was double rich there. That's a lot of Piasters....

I also got both in '67-'68. I flew everywhere with my aircraft(s). I sent it all home to the wife and child. I just wanted to be able to wear the wings like the crew members. Brought it up a couple of times but was ignored.

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17 hours ago, jconner2 said:

At some point they did away with both flight and hazardous duty pay, you got the higher of the two but not both.  I think in-country Per Diem was either $16.00 or $26.00 a day (CRS).  I forget what the contracted rate was for the Merlin and Mercury hotels in Saigon.   I know I always made a few bucks per day on Per Diem.  Maybe spent a few on Tudo Street to get my Technical Manuals current.:)

As a Crew Chief our per diem was $1 a day unless there was no billeting available on base and then you got $16 a day if you had to go off base. This was in '67-'68.

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Best I can remember the standard for Air Medals was 35 combat missions. You could also be put in for one for a single mission by the Aircraft Commander. The Awards and Decs officer was also on active inputs and rarely around CCK. If I remember correctly we had to fill out a form listing the missions and leave it in the squadron Awards and Decs inbox at CCK. If you did not submit the forms, none were turned in. I was in 776 TAS the same time you was there. I remember keeping up with combat missions and turning in the forms.

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Jim, I remember you. Admin was never my strong point. Did good to keep my tech manuals close to updated. 

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Yeah, the tech manuals was another problem. The updates are in your mailbox at CCK and you get jumped for a check ride in country.

Most of us carried a little notebook with all the take off and landing times and the 3 letter airfield designation. You used them to fill out the travel voucher when you got back to CCK and you could also use them to keep up with the number of combat missions. Still got some of mine. You could buy them for a few piastres in Siagon.

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Yep,I was not that creative. I had a little note book I kept in my pocket. I wish I had it back right now. You know, for 19 and 20 year olds we had a hell of a job... I look at 19 year olds now and they are babies...They still go to Mother for their allowance....

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I think there are a lot of Crew Chefs in this same boat we were young and just did our job and never thought about the Medals. I'm 68 now and I to wish I had  kept better records and ask questions back then for our  Children and Grandchildren . I was at CCK from July 72 till Dec. 73 and flew many of missions into Viet Nam and Cambodia  I received HD pay for 8 month's during this period. I crewed 1855 and even flew with it back to Warner Robbins in Sep. 72 for heavy maintenance. I have the blanket orders we received every month or so that allowed us to fly to most Asian Countries and also my little note books that I kept for Finance when we returned to CCk for our HD and Per dim pay. It's funny what seems to be important to us as we get toward the end good luck to all.

God Bless All and God Bless The United States of America 

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