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SamMcGowan

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Everything posted by SamMcGowan

  1. I've been in a Split-S in an A-model over North Vietnam. Bob Bartunek - [email protected] - can tell the whole story. For anyone who doesn't know what a Split-S is, the airplane is rolled upside down then pulled through in a half-loop.
  2. Go to the Links page on www.troopcarrier.org and you'll find links to a number of official government films. If you do a search on some of the sites, you'll be surprised what you'll turn up.
  3. I just got a call from my good buddy Stony Burk. Stony was with us in Galveston last week at the TCTAA convention and we convinced him he needs to file with the VA for possible Agent Orange and/or PTSD compensation. (Anyone who flew combat in Vietnam is as looney as Woody Woodpecker.) He called me yesterday and I told him that the VA is picky about proof. He called me just now all excited because he had found documentation. For one thing, although he didn't know it, he had kept copies of his travel vouchers which is definite proof and all anyone needs. But he had also found two other documents that are definite proof but which I personally had not thought about because I didn't need it due to having reenlisted at Cam Ranh. The other two documents are the In-Country Checkout lesson plan all crewmembers were required to complete before they could be assigned to operations in South Vietnam without an instructor and the other is the Certificate of Combat Sorties. Stony and I were both in F Troop at Clark but I assume the other Clark squadrons also provided the certificates while all C-130 crewmembers had to complete an in-country check out. So, if you're having trouble proving to the VA that you actually set foot in South Vietnam, check your training records for the lesson plan. If I'm not mistaken, the Certificate of Combat Sorties was also in the training record.
  4. I believe you are correct about DEEP FURROW. There was also one in Iran about that time. Back in the old days, massive airdrops of a 100 or more airplanes were common. I grew up in West Tennessee. In the 50s we'd hear the sounds of aircraft engines - my dad was a B-24 engineer during the war - and we'd run outside (or look up from the cotton field) and count them. The entire sky would be full of airplanes. I remember one time when I saw so many C-47s it was hard to count them. Later on it was C-119s. I don't remember any large formations of Herks, but after I got to Pope there were some. The entire TAC and MATS C-130 force took off from Pope to drop on San Isidro but the mission was changed to airland after they were enroute. Carl Wrick was flying the lead airplane and Bobby Gassiott was his navigator. If I remember correctly, there were 144 of them. There is some film footage of them taking off on the Net. I've posted a link to it on the links page on www.troopcarrier.org.
  5. They changed the requirements several times. Up until 1966 Air Medals were awarded at the rate of one for five sorties and the C-123 people and Army helicopter crews were racking them up so fast they had to get a couple of ribbons to display all of the clusters. Because of complaints from World War II vets, the requirement was changed so that credit could only be given for one fragged mission. They also came up with a point system with credit based on the type of mission and where. It stayed the same for combat sorties, but changed for combat support. Those of us who were flying over North Vietnam and Laos got different credit than those flying in South Vietnam and Laos was different from North Vietnam. Airdrop missions or other missions that were considered direct combat support were credited different than "routine" trash-hauling. The Army got DOD to change the status of the Air Medal, which was originally considered the same as a Bronze Star, after Vietnam. They pushed it down below the Purple Heart, which until the post-Vietnam period was the lowest of all combat decorations. In fact, the Bronze Star was established to boost the morale of ground troops who were jealous of the aircrews who were getting them for flying combat missions while they were still in training. (It wasn't until late 1942 that US ground troops got into action while aircrews had been flying combat since December, 1941.)
  6. I just recieved the following Email from Ron's brother Charlie, who has been keeping Ron's friends up to date on his battle with cancer. The last one had been positive and it appeared he was going to be getting up and around. Ron was a loadmaster at Langley (316th) and Clark in the 1960s. He was in the 29th TAS at Clark when I knew him in 1969-70. He left Clark early because he was upset because a mod bird flight went to Bernie Fierstein (Ron told me this in 2006) and decided not to reenlist. He took the next mod bird home and was discharged. He went home to Denton, TX but later reenlisted and got an assignment to C-141s at Norton. He became involved in special operations and went to MAC Headquarters as the Special Operations Loadmaster NCO and was heavily involved in the Iranian rescue attempt. (Everybody talks about the MC-130s and overlooks the C-141s.) After retiring as a CMSgt he went home to Texas and lived in Denton. He somehow talked Tony Girtman into hiring him as a ground school instructor at American Airlines even though he had not been a flight engineer. Ron was a devout Christian and had his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I'll see him again. Sam McGowan PS - I checked the URL for the obit but his hasn't been published yet. October 14th 2010, Thank you Lord for your grace, mercy and love for us. John 1:12-13 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. Ron lost his fight with cancer last night October 14th, 2010. However today he is celebrating his victory over death with the Lord Jesus. I don't have the words to express our thanks for the prayers, letters, cards and help that has been given other than to say God bless each and every one of you. The obituary should be in the Heralddemocrat newspaper Sunday, tentatively the family visitation will be Sunday the 17th and burial will be Monday the 20th. The url for the newspaper is: www.heralddemocrat.com. I will post another update with all of the details as soon as we have met with the funeral home today. Love and appreciation to you all, In Christ, Charlie and Deb If you are going through hell, keep going. Charlie
  7. Don, send the picture to me by Email and I'll forward it to her - [email protected]
  8. I got an Email from Bill Gunkle's daughter Stepanie. Bill passed away in 2004 of cancer and she would like to hear from people who knew him. When I met him he was a pilot at CCK and Charlie Shaub was his loadmaster. This was in 1969 or early 1970 and I think they were in the 50th but not certain of that. Bill told me several stories that I put in my C-130 book. If you knew Bill and would like to get in touch with Stephanie, send me an Email at [email protected] and I'll put you in touch.
  9. Ken, you got wings because you flew ten combat missions. Actually, you were authorized to wear them when you got the loadmaster AFSC to fly as a kicker and aeronautical orders that put you on full flying status (not Hazardous Duty pay). The requirement for wings was that an airman had to be assigned to aircrew duty, which is why crew chiefs, Security Service techs, etc. weren't authorized to wear them. But if an airman was assigned to aircrew duty - which included flight engineers, loadmasters, boomers, gunners, tow reel operators, flight attendants and a couple of other career fields - he/she was authorized to wear wings as long as they were on flying status. After three years or ten combat missions they became permanent. We had some crew chiefs at Pope when I got there who wore wings but they had been on flying status as engineers or "flying" crew chiefs, which is what engineers on some airplanes were called, previously. Enlisted men and women were authorized to wear wings as soon as they recieved the aeronautical orders assigning them to flight status. This "awarding wings" is evidently a new deal that came out of the establishment of an aircrew training school at Lackland (it's at the Medina Annex.) I had never heard of it until I went to the PLA event in San Antonio a few weeks ago. As for wings being "awarded," as I recall there was no initial award as such. I probably still have my original aeronautical orders but am too lazy to look. We just bought a set of wings at the BX and put them on. This was in 1964 and in those days we were getting credit for combat missions in a number of locales, including from Pope to the DR the following spring. After we had logged ten combat missions, a new set or orders was cut that made them permanent. I assume they did the same for three years. I was in Mother MAC passing out box lunches when I went to seven years (at least I think I was - I may have still been at Clark). I worked in awards and decs as an additional duty and we had a form for an airman to fill out and then we submitted it requesting orders for the star.
  10. When we had the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Convention in San Antonio in 2008 we visited the BMT Museum and had a tour with the curator. We talked to him about the airplanes on the parade ground and somebody brought up the Herk. The only C-130 he mentioned as being anywhere around the Lackland complex was the B-model that is being used at the aircrew training center now. At that time it was being used by the Security Police school.
  11. We've got a very nice looking ornament of a Herk dropping a pallet of toys that we've had for several years. I'm not sure where we found it, but I think it was at Hallmark. Either there or Wally World.
  12. Considering that they were all A-models, which had already been declared obsolete by the USAF in the mid-sixties, I seriously doubt it.
  13. They were all A-models, which means that if they weren't derelict when they were left, they were within a few days.
  14. B-25Cs are pretty rare airplanes. They were the first model used in combat and few of them survived the war. Nearly all of the B-25s that are still around started out as B-25Js.
  15. BTW, Andy Vaquera had some coin holders made up for the PLA convention in San Antonio. They look like a set of yellow aircraft chocks with a slot in them for the coins. I've got some of them to give to those who come to the TCTAA convention next month in Galveston. Jim, if you make it, I'll give you one.
  16. Some of the guard E-models at Little Rock went back to the active duty wing. The one Bill Caldwell got shot up in over An Loc is still there, but it's now with the 19th Wing.
  17. Two things - first, Tom Stalvey wants me too let everyone know that he has an extra bunk in his cabin on the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift cruise next month. We're leaving out of Galveston on October 16 and coming back October 21, the day the TCTAA convention starts. If interested, Email Tom at [email protected] Second, I've just learned that a new book was recently published on the life of Dieter Dengler, the US Navy pilot who escaped from a Pathet Lao POW camp just south of the Mu Gia Pass and was finally rescued when he was spotted waving a parachute from a flare that had been dropped over him after he set an abandoned village on fire by a Blind Bat C-130 crew. Check www.brucehendersonbooks.com to order. Bruce is a noted author who was on the same ship with Dieter and was there the day they flew him onto the carrier Ranger.
  18. http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675054266_C-124-Globemaster_C-119-Flying-Boxcar_C-130-Hercules_military-transport This film clip was taken during the 1958 Lebanon Crisis when the only C-130s flying were A-models. Note the absence of pylon tanks.
  19. I did a search of the site and also found footage of the Dominican Airlift. The date shows May 15, 1965 but I suspect that is the date the film was processed since the operation was about two weeks before that.
  20. I recognize one of my buddies, McGee, who was in the Triple Seventh. He must have forgot his fatigue cap because he's wearing his cunt cap with fatigues. McGee was from Tennessee and just a little bit on the wild side. I remember him bringing back some moonshine from a visit home. One time he got somebody to buy some Southern Comfort at the NCO Club and we got drunk as skunks on Rusty Nails. That was one of the times I puked my guts out!
  21. It turns out that there are a whole series of film clips from DRAGON ROUGE. I knew the mission was documented on film but had no idea where to look. None of these films were shown at Pope in commander's call, at least if they were, I was TDY somewhere. Go to the links page on www.troopcarrier.org and click on the one that I have marked as the first in the series and watch them in order. There are a lot of great shots of those shiny silver C-130Es! At that time, most of those airplanes were barely a year from the Lockheed assembly lines. The clips are for sale but I've not dealt with these people and don't know if they are all on one DVD/VHS or if you have to order each one seperately. If anyone recognizes someone, please let us know who. I recognize several faces but not necessarily the names, except for Capt. Gonzales.
  22. The C-123 carried the same crew as a C-130, except they didn't always carry a navigator and the engineers were originally the crew chiefs. But, then again, the engineers were the crew chiefs on C-130s for at least the first three or four years of operations.
  23. I have discovered a number of films online from the 1964 Dragon Rouge Congo rescue mission and have posted links to them on the TCTAA site - www.troopcarrier.org. One film is of Captain Gonzales' crew arriving back at Leopoldville with the first survivors of the brutal massacre. Several Pope airplanes are in the films, and a number of crew members and maintenance personnel are visibile in some clips. Capt. Gonzales and his crew were flying 63-7795 that day. It is apparently used as a ground trainer somewhere now, possibly Little Rock. Whoever is using it needs to be aware that it is one of the most historic of all Herks. The Dragon Rouge operation has never been equaled and probably (hopefully) never will be. SEM
  24. Wow! I just looked at the footage that they have from the C-130 in Vietnam DVD. It shows a B-model from the 463rd (flown by a 772nd crew) that landed gear up at Cam Ranh Bay in 1969 or early 1970. It just so happens that I was an eyewitness. I was up on Herky Hill when we got word that an airplane on a passenger run was having gear problems and they were out burning off fuel in preparation for a gear-up landing. A bunch of us jumped on the shuttle bus and went down to Det 2 to watch them come in. It was neat! They came in, landed and passengers started streaming out of the troop doors. I heard that maintenance got the gear down and a crew flew it back to Clark the next day.
  25. Tradtions Military Video has been around for awhile at www.militaryvideo.com. I just took a look at their site and see that they have added quite a few new films, all of which were shot by military photographers from World War II and on (possibly some from the 1930s.) There are a number that are C-130 related, including footage in Vietnam. One DVD is devoted to films of the Fulton Recovery System. I've bought a few from them over the years. They've very interesting and some bring back a lot of memories.
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