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PBS Vietnam War


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Well, I have watched the first 5 episodes of the series. The inflated body counts and the playing down of American KIAs and just dis information brings to light a few situations that come back to me. After flying and back on the roof of the Merlin Hotel we would sit around and talk about where we went and what we hauled. The dreaded KIAs would always come up i the conversations. The number we hauled would always be higher than what was reported on the network news. We were just one of three C-130 groups in country. Add in the "Boos" and Choppers and I see now that they were not reporting any where close to the true numbers of KIAs. I never saw the war as political. My war was tactical and my only interest was putting in the chocs after 16 hours of bouncing off dirt strips. Medicate, sleep a little then do it again the next day. Do that for 15 months then go home. That's what I did. Many of my friends came home and became activist. I just went to work and started a family. I survived mine and moved on. I feel so lucky to have made a good decision and Joined the USAF and been selected to be a Loadmaster 

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Just finished watching Episode 10. After watching all 10 Episodes I now have a much better understanding of just what the hell went on or at least I think I do. My war was Episode 9. Right after I got checked out in country we started hauling load after load up to the Cambodian border. Like I said my war was tactical. I had no interest in the strategy at all. Tie down the load, give a good CG then leave it up to the pilot to land without bending the airplane. I am glad to report that they did just that a little over 700 sorties that I flew. I remember the faces of countless grunts that ran aboard and collapsed on the cargo pallets that I would use for "combat loaded troops". No seats just a flat floor. I knew they had been through a bunch of crap but no idea what the field beyond the dirt strips we worked looked like. This PBS series gives me new respect for these guys. The move into Cambodia gave me a safer war to fly in. Back home all hell was breaking lose in the streets. Did they want me to die. Actually I don't think the care. Like I said my war was tactical. Things seemed to get much calmer after we took out many of their safe havens across the border. My part of the war ended not long after Lam Son 719 where we supported the invasion into Laos. I remember going into base ops and seeing Khe Sanh on the board. I thought it was closed. It was but just reopened to support the Laos operation. I could only remember the stories that Charlie Brault had told me when I first got in country. I can't remember what we hauled but I do remember the approach. Total soup. We did a GCA approach in and broke out of the clouds and luck would have it the runway was right in front of us. I could just imagine the hell around this place 18 months earlier. WE landed and did a speed off load then right back on the runway never to return. A couple of months later I was home. For the last 10 dayz I been watching the PBS series, all 10 episodes. If you have not watched I encourage you to do so. Only a few scenes with C-130s. Seemed like they were all burning. If you were not there and keep the C-130 in the air go read about Spare 617 or Pat hatch and see what real heroes look like. We have cheapened the term Hero. Most of us were not heroes. I get sick of being called that now as people try to make up for the no-welcome we got. Welcome home Hero. I was no hero just a ver good loadmaster that could turn a plane in under 8 minutes and then get back to the roof top of the Merlin Hotel, drink some warm beer then go do it again tomorrow. 700 loads and you get to come home. I just finished Episode 10. The war is finally over. 




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