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Posts posted by SamMcGowan

  1. On ‎3‎/‎25‎/‎2017 at 8:42 PM, 43151F said:

    I was at Naha 1968-69 with a TDY to Cam Rahn with the 374FMS out of the A/R shop.Nothing on my DD214 about any VN service. What is the best way to get this corrected?



    On ‎3‎/‎27‎/‎2017 at 2:23 PM, BRlang said:

    I was able to prove my case to both the Air Force and to the VA. When you order your records you should request the entire file. If you ask for individual items they may or may not even go through the file looking for it. Once you get the entire file you can go through each item your self and look for any document that might mention your TDYs to Vietnam. I found all my travel vouchers showing each TDY from CCK to TSN, CRB and Danang. From this I was even able to document the numbers of days spent in country. The next valuable document was my copies of my Airman's Performance Report. The remarks section talked about then number of Combat Missions flown and Flight hours. It also documented my TDY days.

    I wrote a cover letter and discussed why I was TDY (almost all C-130s were based off shore from Vietnam). I wrote about the missions I flew and what a typical TDY 16 day rotations was like. I had several photos included as well of me in Saigon and at airfields in Vietnam. I put to gather the most complete packet possible. Keep in mind that the person that reviews this stuff may not have even been borne when you were in Vietnam. 

    I sent the packet to USAF at Randolph AFB. In about 3 weeks I received a letter that acknowledged my TDY missions in Vietnam. At the same time the VA approved my Agent Orange claims even before the Air Force sent my letter to use. So you can get direct VA approval with out a corrected DD214 if your packet is complete and you explain your case.   

    You had documentation, Incidentally, SEA service on a DD 214 is NOT proof of boots on the ground as that also applies to service in Thailand. A veteran has to have documentation of actual "service" (which may simply be stopping for an hour on an airline flight to Thailand) in South Vietnam to be presumptive exposure to herbicides. 

  2. I never received any of those medals, but they were put on my military personnel file. The only medals I ever actually received were the Air Medal, DFC and Combat Readiness Medal. (I had to ask for the Air Medal after I got the certificate in my vertical file.) As for Vietnam veteran status, the DOD had me in their data base because I was given credit for more than 365 days in country - TDYs from Pope, Naha and Clark. I also got it from the VA because I reenlisted the first time at Cam Ranh and it's in my second DD 214.

  3. Update - I finally was able to get through to the VA and also signed up with the DAV for a VSO. In March 2016 I had a "hearing" with a VA rep that lasted about 5 minutes. They at least sent me to a VA neurologist for a new C&P evaluation. She decided the neuropathy in my legs is moderate and mild in my arms. The VA upgraded me to 60%. A couple of weeks ago I got a letter awarding me Unemployability. The appeals are still on-going. I filed them in 2012 and asked for a board hearing in 2014. At least I'm not getting 100% pay - and Texas doesn't require disabled vets being paid at 100% to pay property taxes. That's all good news. We'll see what happens with the appeals. I should be at least at 70-80% and possibly 100%.

  4. I was diagnosed with hearing loss decades ago and filed a claim with the VA when I started going to the VA for medical treatment in early 2011. They awarded me 10% for tinnitus and 0% for hearing loss. Recently, my DAV VSO insisted I have my hearing checked again and file a new claim. I did and more loss was detected. The DAV filed a claim for me and the VA said my rating will remain at 0%. I've been wearing VA-provided hearing aids since 2011. 

  5. 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 [email protected] and I'll put you in touch with Howard. 

  6. On ‎12‎/‎1‎/‎2011 at 2:58 PM, SamMcGowan said:



    I've got my doubts that crew chiefs were authorized to taxi airplanes at Langley. I was in maintenance at Pope in 64 until I cross-trained and no one on the flight line was authorized to taxi. If an airplane needed to be moved for a run-up, etc., it was towed. When Meyer went down, I was at Clark and crew chiefs weren't taxiing airplanes there either. Meyer had a civilian pilots license, however, and some of the pilots he had flown with had let him in the pilot's seat (I had pilots let me in the seat too for that matter.) When the news came out about the incident, I was in-country on the shuttle and the pilot I was flyng with had just come over from Langley. I believe his name was Ewert. The story came out in Stars and Stripes with Meyer's picture and the crew was discussing it on the intercom. The pilot commented that he had let Meyer in the pilots seat a number of times. I've seen the report of the incident - I think I still have it somewhere. Meyer had gone out the night before and got stinking drunk and was probably still drunk when he took off. He had been patched through to his wife and was talking to her when contact was lost. His last words to her were "Looks like I've got a problem. I'll be back as soon as I deal with it." This leads me to believe a light had come on or something. I've got over 16,000 hours as a pilot with more than 10,000 of that in high-performance transport category airplanes. Meyer was in an airplane that was designed to be flown by a minimum of two people, either two pilots or a pilot and a flight mechanic. My guess is he got into trouble and the airplane went out of control, possibly into a spin. His "looks like I've got a problem" could have referred to anything, but one of those things could have been that he had bled off airspeed and was approaching a stall. Pieces of the airplane were found in the English Channel off of the French coast.

    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. 

  7. On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2009 at 10:30 PM, BobWoods said:

    I was in MATS MX and TAC and PACAF as FE and I never was anywhere that CC's or FE's taxied. As a MX troop I was runup qualified on 130's and 133's but after I became an FE I never again did a run-up. Just my experience!

    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.)

  8. On ‎3‎/‎16‎/‎2011 at 6:53 AM, Sonny said:



    When I got to Naha in May 1967 all of the 21st birds (except "E" Flight) had the YD tail code on them. Sonny

    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. 

    CRB Ramp (3).jpg

  9. 2 hours ago, Sonny said:


    When I got to Naha in May 1967 each squadron had two aircraft specifically designated for the Blind Bat flare mission. They were the only ones with black bottoms. I understand that prior to having these aircraft painted black that any aircraft could be used. They started putting in the ECM package in 1968. 56-0533 went to Tachi in March to have it done.


    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. 


  10. On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2014 at 5:03 PM, jflimbach said:

    I was assigned straight out of C-123's in Vietnam to the 4419th Test Sqdn., USAF Tactical Airlift Center at Pope, arriving in March of 1968. We had one aircraft, 63-7768, which only we could fly and best of all, the Wing did the maintenance of which we had the highest priority.


    Now, I had never set foot on a C-130 before, except once back in 1961 as a passenger. This didn't seem to faze any of the powers that be in the Sqdn, so they sent me off with a couple of experienced LMs to do the final two test drops of the 10,000 lb bomb drop, known in those days as "Combat Trap". These were tests of the rigging and platform cutaway and used a "shape" that conformed to the size and mass balance properties of the 10K bomb.


    The program was designed to use 10,000 lbs that had been produced for the B-36. These were never used, and were stored in caves somewhere in the southwest. New Mexico is what I recall.


    At any rate, the drops went fine and the system was cleared for use. One of our crews was going over to Vietnam to demonstrate it using a real bomb. The next problem was that when they went looking for the bombs, they couldn't find them. Took a couple months of searching before they came to light. And of course the rest is history. The system worked so well that they used up all the 10K bombs in no time and went on the produce the BLU-82.


    Once they started making instant LZs they quickly discovered that there was no resistance once you cleared some jungle with a big bomb and it didn't take a genius to figure out you could have lots fun dropping it on concentrations of enemy troops.


    Down the road the operational program name was changed to "Commando Vault".

    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. 



  11. 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. 

  12. 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. 

  13. I was pleasantly surprised recently to learn that the VA has classified me as "unemployable" because the three disabilities I have related to Type II diabetes add up to 60%. I am still rated at 60% disabled but the Unemployability gives me pay at 100% along with other benefits for the 100% rating. I have Type II with neuropathy in both lower extremities. (I also have it in my arms and elsewhere but the VA has yet to rate that.) The condition of my legs was upped from mild to moderate in 2016 with an increase from 10% to 20% for each extremity. However, neither the VA or my DAV VSO's picked up on the change. The status was changed because the local appeals agent noticed that I had asked for Unemployability in 2012. So, you might want to check and see if you have a condition that adds up to 60%. 

  14. To be really honest, we rarely knew what we were carrying other than special handling cargo. Most missions carried ammunition and/or POL. Logistical missions carried general cargo. If anything, herbicides would have been corrosive liquids. They most likely weren't labeled at all. I understand that herbicides were marked with a band, which is where the "agent orange" moniker came from. Vietnam veterans are considered presumptive to exposure to herbicides because they were so widely used. 

  15. On ‎9‎/‎6‎/‎2012 at 3:56 PM, Mt.crewchief said:




    Yes there was a difference in the four squadrons!!!! The 35th had me, and Sonny always wished it had him too!!!!!

    What do ya say to that Sonny!!!!



    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. 

  16. On ‎9‎/‎11‎/‎2012 at 7:01 AM, Sonny said:





    As you yourself said, each squadron had it's own special missions, so that made each one different in my opinion. You are speaking from a flight crew point of view and Ken and I are speaking from a maintenance point of view.



    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. 

  17. 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

  18. 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!



  19. On ‎5‎/‎9‎/‎2012 at 11:55 AM, SamMcGowan said:

    Herky Hill opened sometime in 1968. I rotated to Cam Ranh from Naha from August 1966 until I left in August the following year after first spending two weeks there in February before the Naha/Tachi rotation started. The West Ramp opened sometime in early 1967 but flight crews continued living in the air conditioned qounsets on the East Side. I think the maintenance troops lived in hooches. I've got pictures of the West Ramp that I took in the summer of 1967 and there were no revetments.

    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.


    CRB Ramp (2).jpg

  20. On ‎3‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 9:39 AM, Robert Podboy said:

    Not sure about TAW, but for FMS at Naha:

    The 374th FMS received the PUC for the inclusive period of 8 Aug 1967 to 7 Aug 1968.

    The 374th FMS was not directly assigned to the 374th TAW and did not share the AFOUA.


    Hopefully, by now, there is a new batch of  ‘attendants’ at New Cindy.


    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. 

  21. 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. 

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