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Posts posted by SamMcGowan

  1. The TCTAA board decided this afternoon at our teleconference to set a definite date for our 2012 Convention for October 19-12, 2012 at Warner Robins, Georgia, with events at the Mueum of Aviation adjactent to Robins AFB. This is the weekend after the Hercule Operators Conference in Marietta and the week before another Hercules conference in Jacksonville, Florida. It's also the weekend after the Air Commando and Stray Goose reunions in Ft. Walton Beach.

    The TCTAA is an umbrella organization for all Army Air Forces and USAF troop carrier and tactical airlift units and their successors. Our new chairman, George Dockery, and president, Mike Welch, are leading us as we make a major effort to recruit all troop carrier/tactical airlift veterans to join us. We are a 501C (19) veterans organization and are recognized by the IRS as a wartime veteran's association and all donations are tax deductible. For membership info and information on the upcoming reunion, visit our web site at www.troopcarrier.org.

  2. Diabetes has been one of the diseases connected to Agent Orange for several years. I was diagnosed in 2003 and applied for a disability in 2006. They awarded me 40% for a combination of diabetes, pheripheral nuropathy, which was mild at the time, and what I call jungle rot on my feet (it was documented in my military medical record and they gave me 10% for it even though I hadn't asked for it.) I've asked to have my rating increased due to a drastic increase in pain from the neuropathy and am expecting a decision any time. My VA doctor put me on medication for the pain and it has helped. They also gave me hearing aids after I had my hearing tested and found that I had major loss in the high freq areas. To qualify for a disability, a veteran has to have proof of "feet on the ground" in South Vietnam.

  3. Mike Welch just told me some thrilling news. The airplane in this video http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675058323_George-M-Godley_TAC-C-13OE-plane_covered-body_priest has been donated to a museum in Chino, California. The fuselage had gone to Boeing to use in the AMPS program and they were getting ready to scrap it until Mike and another C-130 vet took action. Mike is doing a great job as the new president of the TCTAA. This airplane had just come back from the DRAGON ROUGE operation in Stanleyville when the film clip was shot.

  4. Yes, I was at Naha on A Models until March of 69 and after getting my orders, I ended up at CCK on E Models until June 70! It was at that time called a consecutive overseas tour!! I was told I was the first to receive one! That I do not know for sure as there were quite a few of my friends at Naha that followed shortly!! No leave was granted and I was back in CRB in less than a week as a crew chief on an E-model!! Since I didn't know anybody at CCK yet, I moved in with my buddies that were still on inputs from Naha on A-Models. Somewhere along the line, the Naha A-Models did move to Tan Son Nhut and in March of 70, while I was at CRB on an input, all of the E-Models from CCK were moving to Tan Son Nhut. There was a big move taking place and on that day, my plane puked (2 prop changes), and everybody left without me. I ended being the only E-Model on the base. I do remember, we must have traded places with the A-Models at TSN, because the guy driving the expediter truck was a guy I knew from my Naha days and he was with Naha still. His name was Ruffin!!

    So, that is why I remember so much from Herky Hill! I went there almost every month for 26 months of my 33 months overseas.

    The only attack I remember at Herky Hill was the one mentioned above and also there was a sapper attack at the Army 22nd. Replacement Battalion just up the beach!!

    I hope I haven't bored anybody,


    The Naha A-models moved to Tan Son Nhut in the spring of 1969. I was in the 463rd at the time and we were all pissed that we were going to be moving to Cam Ranh, with no per diem after drawing half per diem for every day we were in country - and making big bucks. I was especially pissed because I had spent a good part of 1966-67 at Cam Ranh, both as part of a crew and as duty loadmaster. I'm not sure when Herky Hill opened up, but it was after I left Naha in August '67. The West Ramp had opened several months before but we were still living on the main base in the same quarters we had been in since Naha set up an incountry shuttle out of there. The Bs and Es were at Cam Ranh together for about a year, then the Es went to Tan Son Nhut and the As came back to Cam Ranh. We were told the reason for the swap in the first place was because of parts compatibilities.

  5. yep, got it, too. I have forwarded it to several members that I know. I plan on bein' there.. One point, haven't got to ask jerry yet what is the 463 connection??


    36 TAS 70-74

    The only real connection is that Jerry Haines was in both of them. The original 463rd Troop Carrier Wing moved to Langley from Sewart, then went to Mactan and from there to Clark. After it inactivated, the designation went to Dyess and replaced the 516th. The 463rd TAW was never at Langely, the 463rd TCW was.

  6. BTW, the Fulton system was installed on the assembly line at Marietta. If any trash-haulers were modified, it was to replace losses. Two of the HEAVY CHAIN airplanes eventually went to Hurlburt, but using serial numbers and tail numbers of the first two C-130Es lost in Vietnam. Those special ops folks can really perform miracles! They can even resurrect dead airplanes.

  7. To begin with, the MC-130 designation didn't even come out until 1978. I was at Pope in the 779th when the first C-130E-Is were delivered. Now bear in mind that ARRS already had HC-130HS that had the Fulton system on them. For some reason TAC decided to have it installed on enough E-models to set up a squadron with four detachments. We were briefed on the new mission then several of us went to the flight line to check out the first one, which had just been delivered from Lockheed. The only thing different about it was that it had the Fulton system on the nose with cables running to the wingtips and the winch in the back. They also had terrain-following autopilots like the ones used on B-52s. (People who weren't around back then don't realize that SAC used to fly low-level missions at night simulating nuclear delivery.) Other than that, they were just another E-model. In fact, the 779th went on a 90-day TDY to Mactan to "get more combat experience" and while we were gone the wing at Pope pulled the winch equipment out of the airplanes and installed dual rails and used them for regular TAC training missions. There is an Air Force video on the Traditions C-130 video that shows one of the airplanes taking off from Pope. That particular film was shot to introduce mechanics to the C-130E and I sort of think they used one of the -Is to make it. Later on they started installing a bunch of additional equipment such as a radio operators station, an EWO station and some other equipment that wasn't originally on the airplane. They also painted them with special paint that was supposed to absorb radar energy - it was black and green. Then they sent a couple to CCK and they started flying the same missions Naha crews had been flying in A-models for years, particularly leaflet drops over North Vietnam. The only missions flown with the Fulton system were training missions.

  8. You have GOT to be putting me on! In Southeast Asia the aerial port squadrons made the milk stools out of 2x4s and kept them on their forklifts. This has to be something that came out of Midnight Airlift Command and was passed on to the current mobility folks because the C-141 had installed loading supports.

  9. Sounds like he was an E-Flight guy, not a clue what they did or if its still classified or not.

    Sorry I can't help you more than that, hopefully the classification has been downgraded and someone here can get with you online or offline and give you the info you would like to know.

    Good Luck


    Get a copy of Heinie Aderholt's biography and of Ray Bowers 'Tactical Airlift," the official history of the USAF tactical airlift mission in SEA. You might also find a copy of the late Jim Morrison and Conboy's "The CIA's Secret War in Laos." They tell you everything there is to know about E Flight.
  10. I was at CRB, late 70 thru 71. Seems that around fall 71 sappers blew up the Tri-Service ammo dump on the other side of the hill from our barracks. I woke up and thought it was a bunch of drunks bouncing off the walls. Went outside and nope, that rising ball of smoke and fire sure wasn't the drunks. They were all sitting outside watching the fireworks.
    There was a major attack on Cam Ranh about that time that blew up the ammo dump. The most famous attack at Cam Ranh was on August 11, 1969 when sappers hit the Army convalescent hospital on the other side of the inlet from Herky Hill. A lot of us saw the explosions. For some reason her name has dropped through the cracks, but there was a nurse killed that night. Our crew took her body to Saigon the next morning. I don't remember exactly when the sapper attack on Herky Hill was, but I remember what happened. My engineer and I had already gone to bed and were just fallng asleep when we suddenly heard the .50s open up down the hill. We just stayed in bed. The next morning we found out that there had been an attack. None of them got close enough to the hooches to do anything.

    I do seem to remember something now about a rocket hitting close to the chow hall, but I wasn't in country at the time.

  11. Capt. Graff was not the copilot, he was the aircraft commander. He was an IP and was in the right seat. He was an AC in the 779th at Pope and went to Tachikawa when the 776th was PCSed to PACAF. The navigator and engineer's family have recieved their remains but I don't know about the other pilot and loadmaster. The loadmaster was Billy Clayton, who crosstrained the same time I did. We went through training together. He was assigned to 3rd APS but somehow went on the PCS. If I remember correctly, the engineer, Wheeler, was also in the 779th. They flew into a mountain during a cargo flight from Cam Ranh to Phan Rang. The loss was written up as a combat loss because the airplane went down in a hostile area and there was no way to determine for certain that it was an accident. They were on vectors from a GCI site and it was believed at the time that the navigator wasn't monitoring their position to ensure terrain clearance. I was at Cam Ranh that night but they were operating out of Nha Trang.

  12. I remember that day well. I don't remember it well enough as far as the exact date though! If we are talking about the same attack, I had just launched my airplane and was heading back to Herky Hill when it started. One of the rockets hit in the sand up by the terminal and we all bailed out of the bus and headed for bunkers. Then when we got to Herky Hill, we noticed the commotion at the chow-hall after the rocket hit it! I had heard that somebody got killed, but never heard any more about it!! I do remember the damage to the chow hall and the shrapnel holes in the wall. It was a metal building!!

    I will look at my little notebook I carried to see if I have a date for the rocket attack. I was there during several attacks so I may be getting some of my details mixed up!! CRS you know!!!


    I just checked my spiral notebook and I was at CRB on a 462 input. I arrived at CRB at 1730 hrs on the 26th of Dec.(1969) and left at 0615 the 10th of Jan. (1970).

    So, that narrows down the date of the rocket attack to somewhere between the 1st and 10th of Jan. 1970!

    Does that sound right to you??

    How I managed to save that notebook, I'll never know!!


    Weren't you at Naha? I know that as late as mid-November, 1969 the Naha A-models were still operating out of Tan Son Nhut while the 314th E-models and 463rd B-models were at Cam Ranh. At some point there was a switch, but I don't think it took place until sometime in 1970. By the time I left Clark in August, 1970 the A-models were back at Cam Ranh. Thinking back, I was at Cam Ranh over Christmas, 1969 but was back at Clark for New Years because a bunch of us got together in one of the trailers on New Years Eve and New Years Day to pick guitars and banjos. We even made a tape. Dan Chandler still has his.

  13. You didn't spend much time on Herky Hill did you Sam? Yes the chow hall was hit. I came in to the chow hall after the mess was cleaned up and as I was eating my powered green eggs and sandy toast and p-butter I was amused at all the holes in the light fixtures in the ceiling. They had replaced the tubes but the glare shields were riddled. You also were probably not there when the boot cook brought the 40 mm grenade up from the beach after the nightly firefight. He didn't know what it was. EOD took it outside and sand bagged it and blew it up with C4. Lot of funny little things happened to us maint. pukes on the "Hill" while you fly guys were out slipping the surly bonds. :) Bill

    Actually, I spent a lot of time on Herky Hill, as in there every night when I was incountry, and I still don't remember a rocket ever hitting on the Hill. But I do remember sappers coming up the hill and being cut down by the security forces. As far as rockets go, while you maintenance pukes were sitting on Herky Hill we aircrews were out where the real war was and enduring rocket and mortar attacks every day, as well as ground fire. That's why they called them "Mortar Magnets." Ralph Bemis was hit 17 times during his tour at Clark in 69-70 (then he was shot down at An Loc. (How's that Don?)

  14. http://www.andersonbethany.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=1162296&fh_id=13307

    I just learned that Dennis Ybarra passed away recently. This is very shocking news because I had seen him only a few months ago when we had lunch here in Sugar Land. We recently elected him president of the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Association. (Mike Welch, our current vice president, will take his place.) Dennis was a pilot who came to Clark to the 29th TAS out of B-52s, then remained in C-130s for the rest of his USAF career. He retired out of Dyess where he was with the 774th and the 463rd Wing, then took a job as airport manager at Roswell, New Mexico. He suddenly on May 16.

  15. I was with the 463rd at Clark in 69-70 and spent most of my time at Cam Ranh. This is the first I've ever heard of a rocket attack on Herky Hill or that the chow hall was ever hit. There was a sapper attack on Herky Hill one night but the AP security guards picked them up and mowed them down with a .50 at the bottom of the hill. As I recall, there was a simultanous attack on the flight line but it was stopped before they reached the road. There was a major sapper attack on the Army casualty evac hospital on the other side of the causeway, but it was around August, 1969. The rocket attacks I saw at Cam Ranh were pretty random. One night I was on the flight line with Craig Clifton between flights when some rockets hit out in the sand between the West Ramp and the runway. We took off when the all clear sounded and flew to Qui Nhon or somewhere, then when we got back around daybreak another brace or trio of rockets hit in about the same place. It was kinda funny; a MAC contract airliner was parked in front of us and the flight attendants were walking across the ramp to get a Coke when the first attack came. When the second one came an hour or so later they had just loaded up with a bunch of troops who were leaving for the US. They evacuated the airplane and the troops hit the concrete. I imagine they're telling stories at the Legion and VFW about how they came under attack as they were leaving the country!

  16. Someone asked me about Pictures of Bat-60 aircraft. I am clueless, can anyone fill me in?
    They are probably referring to the ELINT C-130Bs that operated out of Yokota. Their call sign was BAT.
  17. Old brain cells, but normal assault qual was 3500 (3000 feet plus 500 for the zone). Short stop was max effort landing distance or max effort take off distance plus 500 feet.


    Bob, I think you're essentially right but I believe it was landing distance plus 500 feet. The issue is discussed in Ray Bowers' TACTICAL AIRLIFT. The 2,000 feet was minimum landing distance.

    As for "short stop," that was a PACAF requirement, at least it was by my experience. At Pope there was no "short stop" qualification. ACs were qualified for assault landings and takeoffs during Phase II (tactical) training. All combat ready crews were qualified for assault landings. PACAF and 315th had different criteria because it was getting pilots from other commands who were lacking in the tactical experience common in TAC.

  18. I tried to get hearing aids from the VA due to hearing loss from flying C130's, and I did not qualify, because I make more than $45,000 per year. Bummer.... I flew T-38, T37, C130 and C21's as a pilot during my AF career.

    Ask for a revaluation. There are no income requirements for service-connected disabilities. Get an evaluation from someone that you have hearing loss then submit a claim for a disability for it. The income requirements are for priorities for VA medical treatment. You should be able to get at least 10% and should be treated for hearing loss at no cost to you.

  19. An update to my VA experience regarding hearing loss: When I saw my VA doctor for a "new patient" consultation I asked to have my hearing evaluated. I was scheduled for an appointment with an audiologist at my local clinic. She gave me a very thorough test using a computerized system and determined that I have major loss in the high freguency ranges, which are the ranges associated with "industrial noise" exposure. She said that while I should have no problem hearing face-to-face conversations, I would have difficulty understanding conversations in a group or hearing someone speaking from across a room. I elected to get the hearing aids and went down this morning to have them fitted. Now I am hearing things I haven't heard in years! As for a disability, the VA is still looking at increasing my rating for Type II diabetes and the hearing claim, along with another claim for cataracts, which may be secondary to diabetes. My current rating is 40% but I am expecting an increase to at least 60%, if not higher. I highly recommend that anyone who has ever worked on a military flight line or flown as a crewmember to have their hearing checked. As I said at the beginning of the thread, in order to apply for a claim, there has to be a diagnosis made that the veteran has the condition. The diagnosis has to be made by a medical professional, whether they are civilian, military or part of the VA.

    I also asked for a PTSD evaluation but after looking at the criteria the night before, I was sure they weren't going to diagnose me with it. There has to be a specific stressor and the individual has to be unable to cope with it, with the inability to cope being the major factor. A lot of veterans are realizing that pushing for a diagnosis of PTSD is a huge mistake, because it is a mental illness and carries with it a number of ramifications, such as not being able to carry a weapon, getting a driver's license or finding or holding a job. For instance, a commercial pilot who is diagnosed with PTSD has just ruined his flying career.

    I have yet to talk to anyone from any of the veterans organizations nor do I intend too. I did talk to my county rep but it was a waste of time and gasoline as he didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. If you want to use one, fine, but they're not going to be able to do anything you can't do yourself.

  20. Originally, assault landing - or "short stop" - was qualification to land on very short runways, runways much shorter than today's requirements. When the USAF first started operating C-130s in SEA, they were limited to 3,000 foot runways by 315th AD. TAC was using 2,000 feet. Eventually Col. Howe compromised and made it 2,000 feet plus a 500 foot safety margin.

  21. In addition to Sam's comments about proving in-country service, few people remember that you were tax exempt for any month that you spent a day or even landed in-country. You have a resource in the IRS to research that as well. My DD-214 also shows the VSM and AM as awards which are proof of in-country service. Most crew were awarded their air crew badges (wings) permanent for combat duty service as well and if you have that form it will work as evidence. For some reason I kept every document from the service including trip orders, receipts from expense reports, receipts from changing green to script or local currency and even food receipts from the clubs.

    Thanks for all the info on the hearing loss as the volume keeps going up for me as well. As an aside to all this, has anyone utilized the USAA supplimental insurance for medi-care? I am facing that choice now.

    You got the tax exemption for penetrating the Vietnam ADIZ and for operations over Laos and North Vietnam. You didn't have to land in South Vietnam to get it so it so it's not proof of "boots on the ground." The VA now gives Agent Orange to some veterans who served in Thailand, but my reading of their regulation is that the veteran has to have served "on the perimeter" and Thailand service is not presumptive as Vietnam is. Blind Bat crewmembers can probably get it since the hooches were right on the perimeter at Ubon, although there wasn't any foliage between there and the rice paddies. I don't know about maintenance because I don't remember where their hooches were.

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