I was in E Flight in 1969 until I blew out my knee and was discharged. It's main role was that of ground support for Air America in Udorn, Thailand. AA crews flew the planes into Laos. As a loadmaster my job was to load the planes so they would fly. Everything was loaded, most of the time, on 8' X 4' sheets of plywood. Then when the reached their destination the plane would just taxi along and the cargo would be pushed out the back unto the ground.
The AA l/m's I met were former Green Berets and Rangers. In an emergency they wanted some one who could jump out to help if necessary and could also fight. Engineers met the returning flights to see how the plane's were running. Pilots talked to the pilots and no offense the Nav.s sat.
They beat you to death with every thing being top secret, over and over again. They stuck me on the phone in the E Fight office within a day or two of being cleared. Phone rang and someone wanted to know where Col. so and so was, Out Flying , I said. He was. When he got back I told him of the call and he wanted to know what my reply was, I told him. I got quite a lecture that day. We didn't tell anyone anything.
In Udorn we were locked inside a compound the whole rotation. No going unto the base proper. Royal Thai troops loaded the cargo onto the pallets in a bldg. in the compound. I was told never to go into that area. Then later my room mate George Patton was given a big pat on the back for being the 1st L/M to go in and see what the troops were doing.
I remember 1 load of napalm bombs we loaded in the plane. Crates were really flimsy wood and stacked on top of each other moved around quite a bit. These had to be off loaded with a fork lift. Almost done and this guy throws a couple of big boxes into the plane. I asked what they were and was told the ignitors for the napalm.
Other missions I did. When the SR 71 came back from it's flight we would take the film cans to Japan where the film was developed. Every time we left Naha as an AF flight were would circle out and come back to land in Kadena as an AA flight. We would stop at the end of the taxiway. Change into jeans and T-shirts. The plane mechanic would hop out and take off the AF insignia which were held on by zeus fittings.
I also went to Japan and picked up 5 conex boxes that filled the cargo bay. Had a talkative Lt. with us who told us we were hauling the new script into Vietnam. When it was mentioned upon landing what we thought the cargo was we all received an interview one on one by a room full of brass. Again more or less threatened if we mentioned a word to anyone. Even as a crew we didn't talk to each other about it.
Picked up a load in Taiwan one time. It was a mess. Thousands of pounds of rice, refrigerators, a small trailer that could be towed behind a jeep full of stuff, Korean passengers. No one spoke English and the plane was extremely nose heavy. Pilot was upset and had a right to be. During the flight I was hauling 100 lb sacks of rice all the way back to the end of the ramp to try and balance it a little. My worst loading job ever.
Landed in Danang all was talking to some spook who told me the goods were for Korean Troops. He said an hour after the goods hit their PX the would be for sale on the black market down town. Korean soldiers supplemented their pay that way.
While in E Flight you never talked to each other about your mission. Now that books have been written more is known. When I left E Flight they put the fear of god into you about talking about the mission.