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Everything posted by SamMcGowan

  1. One other thing - when we on the flare mission we wore 'chutes all the time because of hostile fire. Then a guy who had been in MATS suggested we look into the harness with chest packs and they got a bunch for the loadmasters to wear. (They had used the harnesses on C-124s.) We wore the harness and stashed the bag closeby where we knew where it was. They were designed so that the clips on the back dropped right into a snap-ring. Nobody ever bailed out of a flareship. Except for two that were shot-down with no survivors, all of the birds that were shot up made it to a landing somewhere.
  2. Actually, when something is under tension, you can cut it with a butter knife. I cut away a bunch of extraction 'chutes one week when our crew was at the A&E Board and every time we went up we had a platform hang up. (We were testing wooden platforms with modular rails and the platforms would bow up and hang.) I had already been told that all you had to do was touch it and it would go. Can't remember for sure, but I'm pretty sure I used the orange survival knife to make the cuts.
  3. The drops at Pope were from around 800' AGL, which is plenty of altitude for a parachute to open. Crews always wore parachutes on formation and tactical missions. The only mission we wore restraint straps on were PLADS, which were flown at about 400' as I recall. We wore parachutes on LAPES. The reason we used straps - which were actually 5,000-pound tie-down straps hooked to the parachute and to a D-ring, was because we were back on the open ramp making the drops. The bundle was pushed to the end of the famp and hanging over with a piece of webbing holding it in and the loadmaster cut the webbing to let it go.
  4. There was one I/O who bailed out of an A-model that was shot down over Laos. Not certain, but I think he was the only one who ever got out of one. He was an experienced sky-diver.
  5. A lot of Caribou engineers came out of MAC. A friend of mine, Frank Godek, lives down the road from me aways on Galveston Bay. I flew with Frank in C-141s at Robins. He went to Vietnam on C-7s and got his name in the history books. He's been having some health issues lately - guess I need to go see him.
  6. The Four-Line Cut was something we were taught in survival school for use with the Air Force parachutes. There were four lines at the back of the riser that were marked with tape, and the survivor was supposed to reach back and cut them with the survival knife. Once the lines were cut, the chute was supposed to be easier to steer. I don't remember anything about any line being pulled to make the cuts. The survival films showed the survivor reaching up over his head and identfying the lines by the orange tape and then cutting them with the hooked blade on the knife. (By the way, I've still got mine. I gave it to my dad and got it back after he passed away. I don't think they were controlled. We were issued one with our initial issue of flight gear. )
  7. First time I've heard that. They weren't Blind Bats when they were at Da Nang either. That name didn't come along until the mission moved to Ubon. I flew Blind Bat and COMMANDO VAULT and I'll take the bombing over dropping flares any day of the week. At least we were accomplishing something with them.
  8. YEP! Way back in early 1942 when 21st and 22nd Transport Squadrons started dropping to the Aussies on the Kokoda Track in New Guinea, they were making high velocity drops without parachutes. And there weren't no such thing as SOF back then either - it was called COMBAT! The USAF likes to keep reinventing the wheel and claiming they've come up with something new.
  9. SamMcGowan


    No Naha crew and no A-model crew was ever awarded the Air Force Cross. Shortly after we started operating out of Cam Ranh, the Air Force established a major base at Tuy Hoa complete with a hard-surface runway and a wing of F-100s. Tuy Hoa was on the coast and was hardly a forward area. ARRS had HC-130s there and for a time in '68 there was a C-130 operating location there. A couple of HC-130s were knocked out there by rockets during Tet '68. Before the new base opened we used the short runway that had been built by the French or Japanese. John Butterfield ran off the end of it when one of his props hung up on the low-pitch stop. That was the one that was towed with tanks and chains, but it was by Army troops, not Marines. Binh Tuy was down in the Delta and was an around the clock base with a lighted runway. We went in and out of there at night all the time. They had a couple of squadrons of A-1s there.
  10. Muff, I somehow missed your post. The story is at www.sammcgowan.com/shaub.html. By the way, I'm not sure if it is working out or not, but a few months ago I was working with the Wings Over Houston air show people and the folks at Little Rock to have that airplane brought to Houston for this years event - October 23-24. Attendees at the TCTAA convention are planning to go up to see the show on Saturday.
  11. Evidently they featured me once. I got an Email that they were going too but I never went to the site to find out if they did or not.
  12. I am a TAC-trained killer from way back, but I spent about half of my USAF 12-year career in MAC, a year in C-141s at Robins and five years at Charleston and Dover in C-5s. Personally, as far as I'm concerned, MAC SUCKS, and I MEAN SUCKS! As the old song the C-119 troop carrier guys used to sing, "I'd rather have a sister in a whore house than a brother in MATS (MAC)." I have never seen so many crybabies in one place in my life! Right after I got to Naha I went to Da Nang on a Fact Sheet and we were put in tents and given sheets. One of the other loadmasters had just come out of MATS and kept harping "MATS would never allow this!" Finally one of the other loadmasters told him to shut the hell up, that he was in the Air Force now! I used go into Cam Ranh Bay in C-141s and listen to the flight engineers, most of whom had never served overseas, talk about how they were "in combat." What a crock of BS! Sure, MAC crews got per diem and had their own quarters, but they were lacking in something. After I went to Charleston I had an additional duty in awards and decs. USAF had gone to the WAPS system and I had all of these E-6s and E-7s wanting me to put them in for Commendation Medals so they could have a decoration on their records. They were putting up signs on MAC bases that said "Our mission is to fly and fight - and don't you forget it!" You never needed that in TAC and PACAF.
  13. If I'm not mistaken, the crew was from Langley where the 463rd had recently moved from Sewart.
  14. That airplane was caught in another rocket attack at Kontum in 1972 and this time it didn't survive. In fact, it was the last C-130 lost to ground attack during the American role in Vietnam. (Yeah, I know, an airplane was lost at Saigon at the end of the war but the US had long since pulled all military units out of the country.) I saw a picture one time that identifed a C-130 as the Quan Loi Queen and claimed it was with E Flight. But if it was, it had been repainted in camouflaged by the time it was lost. I do have some pictures of it after it was flown out of Quan Loi and before it had been repainted. Al Steed, who was the senior loadmaster in the 346th, told me that it had been identified to go to the USAFM as the most heavily damaged airplane to ever be returned to service.
  15. They were still called flight mechanics while I was at Naha in 66-67 and they carried either the A431X1F AFSC or the Jet engine mechanic AFSC. USAF changed the AFSC and gave the C-130 flight mechanics the flight engineer AFSC that had previously only been awarded to flight engineers on airplanes with a panel. The whole deal goes back to World War II when aerial engineers flew on B-17s, B-24s/C-87s/C-109s and C-54s and crew chiefs flew on C-46s and C-47s. At some point they started calling the flying crew chiefs flight mechanics. Bill Hatfield, who is one of the original C-130 pilots, tells me that for the first two or three years of C-130 operations the flight mechanic and the crew chief were one and the same. They flew with their airplanes and then worked on the flightline when they weren't flying. Sometime around 1959-60 they relieved them of flight line responsibilities. There weren't any loadmasters on crews either. A member of the ground crew flew as a scanner. Scanners were still flying on troop carrier crews into the sixties. There was no AFSC school for C-130 flight mechanics; they already had the maintenance AFSC so they went to Sewart for the C-130 familarization course. They were sometimes called "engineers" but on the orders they were designated as F/M's. I believe the AFSC change came about in 1967 just before I left Naha. It had something to do with assignments, but they still had to go to performance engineer school to be assigned to C-141s or C-5s. By the way, the C-7 Caribou used flight engineers and no loadmaster. They had no panel and their duties were loading and offloading cargo and rigging airdrops.
  16. They weren't mines, they were specially designed weapons that focused the full force of the explosion in one direction. I seriously doubt that anyone would have bailed out because they were dropping at very low level. I don't know if Aubrey told you or not, but the two crews had discussed whether or not to even wear them since they were going to be so low and their flak vests wouldn't fit over the parachute.
  17. I thought this airplane was lost in an accident in Idaho. A few years ago someone from the USAFM contacted me because they were trying to find a "heroic Herk" for the museum. Nearly all of them had been lost. Col. Dallman died a few years ago. The USAFM is supposed to be getting the one that Bill Caldwell flew over An Loc and got shot up. He and Charlie Shaub got the Air Force Cross. Jon Sanders, the engineer, was KIA.
  18. This photo is undoubtedly from the film footage that was taken after the crash. It was the only Marine C-130 lost in Vietnam in combat. Another was lost in a midair with a fighter during a refueling mission over or close to North Vietnam. This footage was shown over and over on the 6 O'Clock news during the siege.
  19. This particular airplane was coming back from Cam Ranh Bay. Major Warren "Huey" Long was one of the pilots on board. Huey was an icon in the C-130 world. He was a Stan/Eval pilot at Pope and flew the lead airplane on DRAGON ROUGE. He went to Langley as initial cadre when the 316th TCW was started up after the 463rd went to Clark. He was coming out of country to go on emergency leave after learning that his wife was having surgery. His daughter Cindy is anxious to learn more about her dad. Her Email is [email protected] I've got some pictures of the wreckage that Stan Davis took and sent to me to copy.
  20. This is the crew whose remains were interred at Arlington a few weeks ago. If I'm not mistaken, Calvin Glover and one other, maybe Melvin Rash, were the only ones whose remains were postively identified. I know that Glover was burial was seperate and I think Rash was too. The others were all buried in a common casket. Former Blind Bat pilot Roy Spencer was there, as was one other BB pilot who had been friends with Tom Mitchell. No one knows why Thomas Knebel was on the airplane. There were three loadmasters on the airplane. He was not a crew chief. Several years ago when the Vietnam data base was still available, I looked him up and found that his AFSC was Aircraft Instrument Repairman so he may have been onboard to work on the NOD. Knebel and the AC were both Arkansas natives and may have had some kind of connection and he had been invited along for the ride. One of the officers was actually a FAC navigator who had been assigned to the O-2 outfit at Ubon and was along on an orientation flight.
  21. I'll tell you someone else who was a character, but not because he was a partyer, and that is Chick Anderson. I was crewed with him for about a year in F Troop. The crew chiefs hated to see him coming because if there was a discrepancy on their airplane, Chick would find it. One guy got so mad at him one day that he picked up his flight bag and threw it off of the airplane! I think his number one role was keeping Seaboldt out of trouble.
  22. I didn't realize it until I found an old slide, but back in the early 70s the Blue Angels C-130 wasn't blue, it was white! I was at Albany NAS, GA on a C-5 static display in early 1973 and took several slides. One shows the Marine C-130 in the background. They weren't calling it Fat Albert yet, either. That name belonged to the C-5A at that time.
  23. Kenny was pretty darn good, and he had a really good guitar. His was the first Martin I ever played and I've coveted them ever since. They were about $800 then. I settled for a Gibson after I got back to Clark. I couldn't believe it when I heard about the float test. Those Filipinas did not trust their men one bit! His name came up on one of the Email groups years ago and somebody said he had passed away. We've lost too darn many, and we're losing more every day.
  24. Dave Rae was in the 41st at Evreux, Lockbourne and Naha. He had a Swedish K he had picked up in the Congo when he was there in the early '60s. He had it in his locker the night they came after the Blind Bat enlisted crewmembers hooch at Ubon in the spring of '66. It was the only weapon anyone had. Fortunately, the Nung guard they killed got off a round from his shotgun and they ran off. Otherwise, God only knows what would have happened.
  25. Don and I were crewed together at Pope. The last time I saw him was in 1966 when I ran into him in a bar in Koza when he came through there on one of the first Stray Goose crews. We had a lot of good times together in France, then out of Kadena and Mactan.
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