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SamMcGowan

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  1. This deal on out-of-country veterans proving they actually set foot in South Vietnam in order to qualify for special benefits has gotten out of hand, especially since the VA started tightening it's belt. I am personally fortunate in that I reenelisted at Cam Ranh Bay and it's on my DD 214. I was also credited with a Vietnam tour because of my combined days in-country from TDY from Pope and later from Naha and Clark. This is NOT something I requested, and it went on my records before I got out. But there are a lot of guys out there who have no way of proving they were in South Vietnam to qualifiy for benefits - and not all of them were in C-130s or in the Air Force. There were several US Army units that sent people TDY as did the Navy and Marines. In fact, the Marine C-130s in Vietnam were on the same status as USAF airplanes - they were TDY to Futema from Stateside units and then further TDY to Chu Lai and Da Nang. There is really one way to deal with this, and that is through political action. Neither the American Legion or the VFW really understand the problem. Their staffs are made up of Army and Navy veterans for the most part. There is only one veterans organization that is fully familiar with the situation, and that is the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Assoc. (www.troopcarrier.org/home.html.) Although we did not ask for it when we organized, the IRS granted us "wartime veterans" status because of a question on the application that asks what percentage of the membership is made up veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam or after 1990 (in which the US has been in a perpetual state of war.) Because more than 90% of our membership is made up of such veterans (it's actually closer to 100%), we were granted this status. As a wartime veterans association, we have full charitable status and all donations are fully tax-deductible. We also have the right to lobby Congress in regard to veterans issues. At present we have 109 members, most of whom are Vietnam veterans. The majority were aircrew, but we also have flight line and other support personnel in our membership. If you want to help your fellow veterans - and perhaps yourself - then join the Association today and become a participant. Once again, the web site is www.troopcarrier.org/home.html. Dues are $25.00 a year, $100.00 for a fice-year membership or $250.00 for a life membership.
  2. Unless you were there, most people are not aware of the convoluted arrangement at Naha prior to the activation of the 374th Troop Carrier Wing in late summer of 1966 (August 1, I believe.) Except for a few airplanes assigned to E Flight for accounting purposes, the flying squadrons - 21st, 35th and 817th and after Dec. 1965 the 41st - were assigned to the 6315th Operations Group while the airplanes themselves all maintenance troops except some in E Flight were assigned to the 51st Fighter Wing. This was an arrangement the Air Force used for units that were not the host unit on a base. If I recall correctly, it came out of AFM 66-1. There was an association with different 51st FIW sections with each squadron but it wasn't adhered to when assigning airplanes and crews to missions. When the 374th activated, the airplanes transferred to it along with maintenance personnel and flight line mechanics were assigned to squadrons while specialists were assigned to the 374th FMS. Until very late 1965, all TAC and PACAF C-130s were unpainted. Marking included the number on the tail, USAF insignia on each side of the fuselage and on the wings and US Air Force on the sides. In the early 60s they had the last three numbers of the tail number on the nose as tactical marking, but those were removed by 1965. The Air Force started painting tactical aircraft in jungle camouflage in late 1965. I was TDY to Mactan from Pope at the time and as I recall the first ones we saw were fighters. I seem to remember seeing a camouflaged C-130 toward the end of that TDY but I'm not certain. After I got back to Pope I got orders to Naha and arrived there in February, 1966. By that time the camo program was in full swing. There were still a lot of silver C-130s in all of the PACAF wings but they were being painted either when they went to the States for IRAN or at contractors in Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. The Naha and Tachi A-models were painted at Gifu, Japan. I took an airplane there for paint a few weeks after I got to Naha. At first, the numbers were subdued. In fact, the tail numbers were very small and were painted in the green in tan letters. See my page www.sammcgowan.com/loadmasters.html. There is a photograph near the bottom that I took in the summer of 1967. The original is a slide but this is a black and white production. Still, the tan numbers are visible. Some airplanes may have had black numbers in the tan. I seem to remember that there were some and may have a picture of one of those. It no doubt depended on the pattern used at the particular paint shop. Airplanes painted at Gifu, for instance, were different from those that had been painted in the States. The colors were the same but there were variations in the arrangement. The easiest way to tell was by looking at the lines of the gray underbelly paint. The overseas shops used a more linear line while those painted in the US were more scalloped. There were no tail codes on C-130s until mid-1967 at all. While fighters had them, it was because they flew tactical missions in formations. TAC and PACAF C-130s had gone to in-trail and gotten away from V's and Finger Four. Some general got the bright idea that all tactical aircraft should have squadron tail codes and they started putting them on C-130s. I've got a photograph that Gary Peters sent me of a Naha airplane with a tail code on a COMMANDO LAVA mission which was in July 1967. The paint is fresh and the airplane had evidently just come from IRAN. I left Naha in August 1967 but returned to PACAF to Clark to the 463rd in early 1969. By that time all C-130s had squadron tail codes but to be really honest, they didn't mean a thing. There was no attempt at all to match squadron crews and airplanes unless it was for non-SEA missions, which were few and far between because MAC C-141s had taken over the intertheater airlift for the most part by 1969. In fact, flight crews paid little attention to tail numbers at all, except to find the right airplane on the ramp. All of the research that has been done in regard to squadron assignments is basically meaningless since crews and airplanes were only occasionally from the same squadron. All in-country operations were carried out by 315th AD or 834th AD detachments where airplanes and crews from out of country were assigned on TDY and scheduling was based on first-in, first-out for airplanes and crews (and in the case of A-models, on the first airplane to come into commission.)
  3. I got to thinking about this last night and it occured to me that the large numbers that were on the side of the nose were removed from all C-130s by 1965. They were formation numbers and after TAC went to the in-trail formation, they were no longer neccessary. They had been removed from all of the Naha airplanes by the time I got there in February 1966, but the imprints were still visible where they decals had been. There was a very small data sheet on all C-130s right in front of the crew entrance door but they were very small and you had to be standing right in front of them to read them and you couldn't even see them from a distance.
  4. You got it Don! When I talked to Chick yesterday he commented that they didn't have to embalm Howie when he died because he already had so much formaldahyde in him. Yep, Kenny Emmons is another one. He was also at Clark in the 773rd when I was in the 29th. He had a Martin guitar and we'd sit around together and pick sometimes. On New Years Eve 1969 a bunch of got together in somebody's trailer and made music. We actually continued through New Years Day. Somebody made a tape of it. Mine got messed up years ago. I think Dan Chandler might still have a copy. Kenny's wife was Filipina. When he came in from drinking she'd make him get in the tub to see if his balls would float.
  5. I never heard that story, but there was a MATS lineman who ran into the prop on an E-model at Clark right after MATS first got them. As I recall, the crew chiefs didn't go to The Cage. They definitely didn't stay with us. An airplane would go up to Kadena and stay for a couple of weeks. If a problem developed, a replacement would be brought up ASAP. I don't remember for sure how we did it when I was at Naha, but when I went back over from Clark when the 463rd took over the mission, there were two crews there. One was on backup and wasn't on full alert for a week while the other was on full alert. It seems to me that when I was at Naha there was just the one crew. There was an incident in 66 or 67 when an Army troop ran into a prop in-country. They were doing an engine-runnings offload somewhere and this guy somehow got out of the crew entrance door. No one would ever admit to opening it. He wasn't killed because he caught the prop at the bottom of the arc and it hit him in the face. I don't know what happened to him but the word was that he would never be anything but a vegetable.
  6. JILLI, FACT SHEET and FRANTIC GOAT were all project names. I think there might have been another one. The oxygen lines were actually attached to an oxygen bottle that was positioned in the center of the airplane among the boxes. The A-models didn't have O2 lines in the rear like the Bs and Es did. There is a web site about US Army psy-ops that goes into great detail and has pictures of various leaflets. It's maintained by Herb Friedman, a retired US Army E-8 or E-9 who was in psy-ops. I've been in Email contact with him for some time and he's one of my Facebook friends. At one time there was a display in front of 374th Wing Headquarters about the mission. That was in 1967 while I was still at Naha so it must have been declassified by then, at least that we were doing it. FRANTIC GOAT came along after I left Naha in August 1967. When I was there we flew regular FACT SHEET and JILLI missions. The JILLI missions in particular were short notice and were based on easterly winds over the Sea of Japan. The squadron would get the word for a mission and then call the barracks to find whatever loadmasters were stupid enough to let them know they were there. I only flew a few because I spent so much time in-country and usually only got the mandatory 72 hours at Naha after a shuttle. I may have an official report of that one of the altitude chamber guys sent me a few years ago but I'm not sure if it has survived a couple of hard drive replacements and a stolen laptop and Zip disks.
  7. I was at Clark in the 29th when it happened. The names Bob Daley posted are correct. The accident was written up as "possible sabatoge" but is listed as an operational loss rather than a combat loss. The story we heard in the other squadrons was that they flew into an artillery firing area. Howie Seaboldt discussed this one the C-130 Email group. I believe he said they thought it was hit by a shell from the battleship USS NEW JERSEY, which was operating off of South Vietnam at the time. It was common to attribute losses that weren't definite accidents to some kind of enemy action because of GI insurance payments.
  8. Ralph's account is in the most recent issue of the PLA newspaper The Loader. He's lucky to be alive. Charlie Armistead with with him. The two of them and the nav are the only ones still living if I'm not mistaken.
  9. I failed to mention that we were all in the 779th TCS at Pope.
  10. I knew that little "Focker" when he was an E-4 right out of maintenance when he first started flying at Pope. He had just come back from Tachi, Naha or somewhere and went to flight mechanic school. He, Wayne Binkley, Don Sweet, Don Wright (who was shot down on Blind Bat), Roy Cattel and several others came into the squadron about the same time I and a bunch of other guys from OMS who were crosstraining to loadmaster did. Sam lived in the barracks and we all ran around together. He is the one who got me to drinking hot tea. He also advised me that Scotch is a drink and a native of Scotland is Scottish. One of my favorite memories is of one night when we were in the bowling alley snack bar at Kadena while on TDY. He and Binkley had been to the Airmen's Club and were loaded. Sam ordered a chocolate milkshake and passed out while he was drinking it. His nose went right into the glass! That woke him up and he raised his face up. There was ice cream all over it! It makes me laugh everytime I think about it. By the way, Binkley told me recently that McGoldrick probably has the longest history with the Herk of anyone who ever lived. He started out on them at Ashiya in the late 50s on the flight line and has been with them ever since.
  11. When AOL shut down their web hosting, I purchased my own domain and moved most of my stuff to it. The Horsemen page is www.sammcgowan.com/horsemen.html. The information came from Bill Hatfield when I wrote an article about the Horsemen for Aviation History magazine. By the way, the Horsemen video is on You Tube.
  12. The leaflet mission was flown by crews from the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron, redesignated as Tactical Airlift in 1967. There was no connection whatsoever to the C-130 flare mission, commonly known as Blind Bat, at least not during the 1966-67 time period. No modifications were made to the airplanes at all. The leaflets were packed in cardboard boxes and were manhandled into the airplane by the loadmasters. The only thing "special" was that some standard cargo pallets were modified with out-of-date "skatewheel" rollers from an airdrop system that was no longer in use to roll the boxes on. There were two different missions, one over North Vietnam called FACT SHEET and one off of North Korea called JILLI. Both were highly classified at the time and I don't know that anyone other than the crews who flew them had an inkling what they were. North Korea missions were flown out of Naha while the North Vietnam missions loaded at Naha and then flew to Da Nang for the mission. After the flare mission moved to Ubon, the FACT SHEETS started staging out of there. FACT SHEET started in April 1965. The project officer was Major "Yogi" Baer, a 35th pilot. Other project officers were navigators Captains Bill Cooke and Dave Horne, both of whom are now deceased. I believe Bill was project officer for JILLI and Dave for FACT SHEET along with Yogi. Bill died years ago of a heart attack and Dave died in a SCUBA accident in the Cayman Islands in the early 2000s. When the first C-130E-Is moved to Taiwan (Combat Spear) in late 1966 they picked up some Fact Sheet missions in order to gain proficiency operating in hostile airspace, meaning over North Vietnam. The Naha C-130s started flying missions over Laos and evidently South Vietnam that had previously been flown by other types, SC-47s and U-10s. That mission was called FRANTIC GOAT and evidently started in 1968 and possibly later. There are a couple of pictures that I know of showing the loadmasters wearing oxygen masks and preparing to kick the boxes out of the airplane. (They're probably staged.) Those are the only photos that I know of. If you can find a copy of my book The C-130 Hercules, Tactical Airlift Missions 1956-1975 one of those pictures is in it. We flew with a normal C-130 crew of two pilots and a flight mechanic but carried two navigators and a crew of five loadmasters. One loadmaster would act as safety while the other four moved the boxes to the back of the airplane and kicked them off on a signal from the pilot. It was back-breaking work, and even though we were at 27,000 feet, our face would get sweaty and the O2 mask would slide around. It would start to smell and make you want to vomit. We also had a medic and an altitude chamber operator with us to monitor the loadmasters for signs of oxygen deprivation. I seriously doubt that there were ever any "special flares" to drop leaflets - there was no reason for it. That sounds to me like military bullshit, which is common among veterans who did nothing themselves and make a career as wannabees. I would not place a lot of faith in Jerry Thigpen's account for accuracy either. The leaflets were packed in cardboard boxes with a static line attached to cause the box to burst open when it went off of the ramp. If my memory is correct, each box weighed 70 pounds. Drops in Southeast Asia were usually made right over the DMZ with the airplane in an orbit and the drops made with winds that would carry the leaflets into North Vietnam. Drops off of Korea were out over the Sea of Japan outside of the Korean intercept zone, and usually with North Korean MiGs operating just inside the airspace and hoping the navigator would make a mistake and they could have an excuse to shoot us down.
  13. Go to my site http://www.sammcgowan.com/flareships.html and you'll see a photo of the flareships at Ubon that I took in the spring of 1966. Note that they are standard SEA camouflage with gray bellies (although one or two may have had black.) The camouflage had just started a few months before around December and we still had airplanes at Naha that were silver. The tail codes first appeared in July 1967. Prior to that markings were subdued with tiny tail numbers on the tail and minature USAF insignia. I've got some photos on some of my sites showing airplanes that I took in the summer of 1967 just before I left Naha and they don't have tail codes. It was sometime in 1968 after I left that they started assigning particular airplanes to the mission after they were modified with ECM. By that time the mission was on the way out as the AC-130s were coming in. It shut down completely in June 1970. Prior to 1968 any airplane on the flight line that they could get to fly was eligible to go to Ubon for the flare mission.
  14. If he worked on C-141s, he would have been from MAC. MAC also had C-130Es that came through Cam Ranh Bay and they had their own maintenance people. My understanding was that they were there PCS, which would mean it should be on his records. MAC aircraft operated in and out from the US. PACAF C-130s operated in South Vietnam and were TDY from Naha and Tachikawa during that time period. MAC and PACAF were two entirely different worlds.
  15. I'm sure your friend is referring to the Naha airplanes that were at Kadena on alert. It was an old mission that was originally on a Pacific Island, Kwajelin I think. The code name for it is HIGH GEAR. When I got to Naha in early 1966 all of the C-130s were painted the same, whether they were TAC or PACAF, which meant no paint at all, which was standard USAF markings for tactical aircraft in the sixties before they started camouflaging them. Some of the Naha birds that had come from Sewart still bore evidence of the Arctic orange. In the spring of '65 a TAC rotational squadron of C-130Es from Pope set up shop at Kadena as part of TWO BUCK. It was started by the 776th but 779th crews rotated in to replace them. My crew got there in May and we were there until early July. The rotation continued until around December when the squadron was PCSed to PACAF and moved to Tachikawa before going to CCK. We did see the Yokota B's come through as transients. I don't remember any particular guards being placed on any of the C-130s since the flight line was restricted anyway. The Cage airplanes, however, had an individual guard on each airplane. I know that at one time there were as many as 12 airplanes on alert but by the time I went up from Naha we only had one. I also pulled the same mission from Clark in B-models in early 1970. The only thing that had changed was the 18th TFW had reequipped with F-4s. Each airplane was guarded because it was loaded with special weapons and on ten-minute alert. The airplanes were parked on the 18th TAC Fighter Wing alert ramp along with loaded F-105s. Once the airplane was "cocked", only the flight crew and the AP guard were allowed on board. The mission procedure was for the guard to get on the airplane and go along on the mission if we launched to guard the airplane at destination. He had a small bag (AWOL bag) with him. His position was in front of the nose of the airplane. As I recall, he maintained that position until we had completed the engine start and then he came inside with the loadmaster. While the only launches were for typhoon evacs (Thank God! Because if we launched for real, it meant nuclear war) but each crew went through a couple of alerts during our time on alert. We had ten minutes to get to the airplane from anywhere on the base and be ready to taxi. Each crew had two vehicles, one for officers and one for the two enlisted crewmembers, and we had special parking spots all over the base. Whenever that alert klaxon went off and the orange lights started flashing, everybody got out of our way. The guard would be waiting at the airplane with the pylons and rope down and ready to go. We spent a week on alert and by the time we got off, our nerves were worn to a frazzle.
  16. As I recall, it was common for nav's to set a particular code in the IFF whenever approaching an ADIZ. The IFF was called a parrot, possibly from the British but possibly not since by the time they came into use, there were more US airplanes than there were British.
  17. I called Chick Anderson today and asked him if he had ever heard anything about Seaboldt flying Goons in SEA. He said no, that Howie came to Clark from Barksdale where he had been a B-52 AC. He got to Clark in early '68 - February I think - after going through C-130 school and RTU at Sewart, which means he would have left Barksdale around the middle of 1967. He went in-country with Bob Archer's crew - Chick was Bob's engineer at the time - for an in-country AC checkout. Howie took over Archer's crew later on when he went to Stan/Eval. By the way, Howie is the only C-130 pilot I know who is featured in a movie. He is in the USAF film about the 463rd in SEA called "Anything, Anywhere." (I think that's right.) It was made in late 1971 about the same time TAC made the movie that was shot with CCK people. The 463rd film has better footage of Herks in action though.
  18. I don't know about the electronic gooney bird story; this is the first time I've heard that. Howie told me that he got to Clark in early '68 at the height of the Khe Sanh thing and he thought that was what it was like all the time. Our D/O, Col. Bill Coleman, who was the 29th squadron commander when I first got there, was Howie's buddy from Barksdale. Howie and his crew at Barksdale all had skate boards and used them to get back and forth to the flight line from the alert shack. Howie fell off of his and broke his leg. I think Coleman was his squadron commander. He visited Howie in the hospital and broke his skate board over his leg. After Herky Hill opened up at first there was a single all-ranks club. Sometime in late 1969 they started building a seperate officers club and Howie was put in charge of the project. At that time Clark and CCK were rotating to Cam Ranh. I remember him taking me over to show me how the project was coming along. When it was about finished he decided to top it off with a velvet painting to hang over the bar. He got one of his Filipino friends to paint one and then we hauled it down to Cam Ranh. It was a huge painting and Howie threatened my life if it was damaged. After we got there he hung it over the bar and then came over and got me to come over and see it. I heard that it ended up at Dyess. Howie remained in the Philippines after Vietnam. For several years he lived at Baguio - he had always said that he was going to go up there and open an ice house - and was the editor of the base paper at John Hay until it closed. His wife Lettie got involved with some kind of religious organization and was giving them a lot of money so they seperated and he moved back to Angelese City. He would come back to the States every year to check on property he had inherited from his mother next to KMIA airport. We were out of contact for several years but got in touch via Email through Tom Utts, who wrote a book about Clark. After that we were in contact until he died. I was working for Marathon Oil at the time and was fortunate to have a trip to West Palm one time while Howie was in the US. I drove down and spent the afternoon with him. He was the same old Howie, but was showing his age. After I retired from Marathon and moved back to Houston he would call me up every time he was in the States, which was every year about October. In 2003 I went out on a contract trip for Stanford Financial (yep, THE Stanford Financial). They sent us to KMIA on Wednesday to stay until Friday. I called Howie up and we spent the next day together. He had sold his property and was packing everything up. He gave me a bunch of stuff, including the photographs from the first M-121 drops in-country that Bob Archer had sent him. We were making plans for a reunion with all of the people he had flown with the following year (2004). He was going to come to Houston to go to the VA and then we were going to get everybody together somewhere. Then in April I got an Email from John Kays that word had been sent out from the Clark Legion or VFW or something that he had passed away. Speaking of Ted Applebaum, he was after my time in Herks but I had heard about him, plus he's mentioned in Tactical Airlift. In early 2008 we had a TCTAA board/organizational meeting at the Hilton in Clear Lake across from NASA. Hector Leyva came over from San Antonio - the first time I had met him. Hector and/or Ralph Bemis had got in touch with Ted and he popped in for awhile. It was around lunch and he had already had a few. If you want to talk about characters, I can't think of any enlisted characters who can top the Terrible Trio of Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone and W.T. Chisum. They were all at Dyess and went to CCK with the 345th. AIRMAN magazine had an article about all of the famous names in the 345th. In addition to them, there was a Willy Mays and a pilot named Gene Autry. Crockett was from Jamestown, Tennessee, Boone was from somewhere in Kentucky and Chisum was from Texas and I believe they were all related to their famous namesakes. They all three went back to the States then got back together again at Clark in the 774th. Boone wasn't as wild as the other two but Crockett and Chisum hit it hard. Davy had probably crossed the line into alcholism. I can't remember who his AC was but for some reason I went in-country to fly with their crew because their loadmaster had been sent back to the States on emergency leave. I was crewed with Steve Finch at the time and we were supposed to come in a few days later to replace them - both crews were COMMANDO VAULT. One night before a bomb mission the next day Davy and I stayed in the Herky Hill Club until it closed at about 2:00 AM. When we got to the flight line the next morning (it was at about 0500) we were still drunk as skunks but we went on out and made the drop. It hadn't occured to me until just now but that was when my crew got busted. Jim Farrar told everybody about how his crew was busted for making a low pass after a bomb drop with a general onboard but he "slightly" exaggerated the facts. It was actually my crew. On our previous shuttle we had flown a bomb drop with General Herring on board. He had just taken command of 834th AD and came down to CRB observe a bomb drop. We lost an engine while the other loadmaster and I were rigging for the second drop. (It might have been Farrar but he claimed he never flew with another bomb crew so it was probably Fuller from Det 2, 834th.) We made the drop on three engines then after the drop Steve dropped down and made a pass so the general could get a better look at the cleared area. I went in to fly with Crockett's crew before our next shuttle and was supposed to join my crew when they came in. I was up on Herky Hill standing on the balcony watching for our engineer but they never showed up. Finally someone came up from Ops and told me that they had been turned around and sent back home because they had landed at the wrong airport. It turned out that there had been a wing officer's party at the club the night before and the next morning they stood around with the briefing officer and never realized that instead of going from Clark to Cubi to Chu Lai, they were supposed to go from Cubi to Da Nang with a special load of Marine cargo. The loadmaster (Don Holcombe) who went in with them never looked at the manifest to see where the load was destined for and they went to Chu Lai just like every Clark shuttle input had been doing for years. The aerial port expeditor looked at the manifest and said "you're supposed to be at Da Nang." ALCE called HILDA and it got all the way up to Gen. Herring who called up Charlie Wolfe and told him "I don't want that crew flying for me." They were sent back home. I'm not sure what happened with me. The 774th crew may have stayed in-country and me with them. I know I was without a crew until Seaboldt asked me to join his. During the conflab the three-engine drop and subsequent "low" pass came up. I'm not sure if Gen. Herring complained or his aide, who was a prissy little captain who was only qualified on C-123s. Somebody - I think it was the aide - complained that the general's "life had been endangered." The whole crew was busted and had to go back through the upgrade process, all but me since I wasn't with them. Oddly enough, I got a DFC for that mission.
  19. http://www.cvcra.org/ A girl I know from where I last worked sent me an Email that was circulated on some aviation professional groups about the cemetery at Clark. Somehow, when Clark went back to the Philippines the cemetery's status as a US National Cemetery was dropped through the cracks and it's fallen into neglect. A new organization has been started to try to get the US Congress to bring it back into the fold and provide support. We'll be discussing the possibility of coming on with them as an "Ally" at the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Assoc. convention in October. Please spread the word!
  20. Unless he has moved, Ted Applebaum lives in Clear Lake, Texas. If you really want to talk about a character, there are none that even come close to the late Major Howard (nmi) Seaboldt. All of the rest are imitations. He was never at CCK - he was at Clark from 1968-1972 - but he finished up his flying career with Bird Air out of U Tapao. He went to Pope from Clark but retired after only a few months and went back to the P.I. and then was hired by Bird Air. I saw Howie in October before he passed away of kidney failure the following Easter. He was down to about a six-pack a day by that time on doctor's orders. His normal daily rate was a case. By chance, I had a trip to Sun Valley the weekend after Howie passed away and I drove over to Boise and spent the night with Chick and Brenda Anderson and we spent the evening talking about Howie. Chick had talked to one of his daughters and found out that he had learned he had kidney failure and refused dialysis. Chick said he figured that when Howie found out he couldn't drink anymore beer he might as well cash it in. Chick told me that night about one time when Howie was getting a check ride and the SEFE pilot was ticked off because he wasn't carrying any pubs. Howie pointed back at Chick's books and said "I've got his." The SEFE was still upset so Howie said ask me a question. He answered everything the guy asked him by quoting page and paragraph from memory. Then they went into somewhere where Howie had a buddy and he got the SEFE pilot to fly the next two legs while he got off the airplane. One time at a wing dining-in he and Steve Finch put on a skit about our wing commander, Col. Charlie Wolfe, who no one ever saw in person, comparing him to Major Major Major in Catch 22. One of the highlights of my life was being a part of Howie's crew in 69-70.
  21. That particular C-123 was civilian, flown by a civilian crew.
  22. That figure of 21 also includes a C-130E-I from Det 1, 314th TAW that was lost over North Vietnam in December, 1967. It was reported as believed to have been shot down but when the crash site was found and excavated in the 90's, it was found to have been an accident - they flew into the side of a mountain. All kinds of stories had circulated about that airplane. One Black Bird veteran that I had known in the 779th told me that he was in a barber shop at Ft. Bragg and got to talking to a Green Beanie. The guy claimed to have been on the ground at the time waiting to be picked up and saw the airplane hit by a SAM with an SF major stringing behind. So much for "eye witness"!! A couple that are listed as shot down actually made safe landings but were written-off due to resulting fires. There were a number of flare birds that suffered major battle damage but managed to land in Thailand.
  23. There hasn't been a USAF airlift airplane shot down since Vietnam. An RAF Herk was shot down in Iraq a couple of years ago. There were 21 airlift USAF C-130s reported as shot-down in Southeast Asia but at least two of them were probably operational losses. There has never been a MAC airplane shot down, period. In fact, even during World War II only six Air Transport Command airplanes were lost to enemy action, but they lost almost 600 to accident. There were more airlift C-130s (55) lost in Southeast Asia than any other type. There were less C-7s and C-123s somewhere in between. Without looking it up, I believe the total airlift losses in SEA was around 100. Two C-141s were lost in accidents and one C-5 was lost because of command incompetence (they sent the damn thing out on a mission with a known mechanical issue with an aft pressure door that was normally grounding. Sure enough, it blew out right after takeoff. I was in C-5s at the time. MAC gave both pilots the Air Force Cross, which I have never figured out since it's a combat award and that airplane was lost due to a mechanical issue that had not been corrected.)
  24. I'm sorry to hear about JCF102's passing. Jim was one of the first guys I got in contact when I got on AOL way back around 1996 and did a search for "C-130" members. He was in the 774th at Clark when I was in the 779th. I met him through Chuck Monahagn. If I remember right, he was Chuck's instructor on his first flight in-country. Chuck came to Clark on a "Join Spouse" assignment and didn't go through RTU. He had to go through the whole process at Clark because he had never flown Herks - he had been on Shakeys at Kelly. Stony Burk and I had come in without RTU too but had C-130 experience and they put the three of us through an FTD course. We had class outside and all we really did was tell war stories so Monahagn learned about the airplane from us. Jim was the OJT supervisor in the 774th and we met him through Chuck. Because Chuck had just come off of Shakeys, Jim took him under his wing. We are also both on COMMANDO VAULT crews. He went pretty far back as a loadmaster. If I remember correctly, he started out at Donaldson after coming out of air freight at Thule or some other God-forsaken place way up north. He was a C-124 troop before he went to Sewart. I'm not sure where he came to Clark from but he was always harping about how he always made out his Form Fs in moments. If he did, he was the only person I ever knew outside of MAC who did and I seriously doubt that he filled one out on every leg like he claimed. I had heard through the grapevine that he had some health issues but he was vague about it in his Emails.
  25. This is interesting. I first heard that a C-130 had been shot down by North Korean fighters when a story appeared in the newspapers at the time. I had just enlisted and was finishing up at Lackland at the time of the August 6, 1963 mysterious loss. After I got to Pope I worked for a TSgt on the flight line who had come from Naha and he mentioned it. When I got to Naha in early 1965 and went on my first leaflet mission the AC mentioned it in his briefing. A few weeks later I was on a flight to Saigon on a stage mission and Henry Caudill, the flight mechanic, said something to me about it after we got downtown to our hotel room. It was also mentioned in an article at the time of the KAL 007 shoot-down in regard to airplanes that had been shot down by North Korea. I had no idea that the loss had been completely wiped off the records until fairly recently. I obtained a copy of the accident report of the airplane that was written off to a defueling fire. I find it hard to believe that an airplane would have been damaged to the point of destruction by a fuel fire that had been completely extinguished within five minutes from the time it started. The Army report on psy-war says Operation Jilli was started with the Army 7th Psy-Ops Group and the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron in "late 1963" but then claims it was flown with C-47s until 1965. Well, the 35th had no C-47s! The crews would have had to have been using base flight airplanes and there had to be a reason why. A myterious airplane labled simply as an "LT" was definitely lost to North Korean fighters on August 6, 1963.
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