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Everything posted by SamMcGowan

  1. Let me rephrase that comment - they never lost any of the Yokota planes. They did lose one out of Rhine Main in 1958 over Soviet Armenia.
  2. It was not a B-model out of Yokota, although that story was spread around Naha after an article appeared in the local English-language paper about a C-130 being shot down by North Korean fighters. All of the Security Service losses have been de-classified. They never lost any of their C-130s.
  3. It's not too late to register for and attend the 2010 Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Assoc. convention in Galveston October 21-24. There are probably also still openings for the cruise on Carnival Ecstasy in advance of the convention. Details are at www.troopcarrier.org/convention.html with a downloadable registration form linked to the page. To book a spot on the cruise, either visit www.carnival.com or go through your travel agent or favorite agency such as AARP, etc. The convention will be at the Victorian Hawthorne suites with a room rate of $77.00 for a one-bedroom suite and $125.00 for a 2-bedroom. Our blocked rooms will be held until September 15th and after that will be on a first-come, first-served basis for our rate. Galveston is a relaxed Gulf Coast city south of Houston, which is easily accessible by air and highway. On Saturday we'll be going up to Ellington for the Wings Over Houston air show. Peter Simmons of Lockheed will be with us on Thursday evening for our reception and will make a presentation on Friday. The TCTAA is neither unit or career field specific, but is all-inclusive for all veterans of the troop carrier/tactical airlift mission and its successors.
  4. That's the first time I've ever heard there was a code word for the routine night cargo missions. That crew was flying one when they hit a ridge between Cam Ranh and Nha Trang. I was there when it happened and knew some of the crew.
  5. FYI, we're working with the Wings Over Houston air show and the 19th Wing at Little Rock to get this airplane down to Ellington for static display at this year's air show. Everything seems to be favorable. It's scheduled for retirement in a year or so and is supposed to be going to the USAF Museum. For some reason, the USAFM has never had a C-130, just a couple of gunships that were assigned there and went to the museum. Most of the likely candidates ended up as smoking holes somewhere. One was destroyed by rockets in 1972 and a couple of others were lost in accidents after they went to the reserves.
  6. I'm not sure who the other one was that was buried at Arlington. Someone told me it was Adam but it could have been Rash. There evidently were few identifiable pieces due to lack of DNA. Tom Mitchell's USAFA ring was found and the family accepted that. A piece of bone was matched to Calvin Glover. Roy Spencer went to the service and sent out a very moving Email. If you're on Facebook, I posted it as a note. Roy flew Blind Bat a few months after this crew was lost. I'd like to know what Tom Knebel was doing on the airplane. There used to be a site that showed all Vietnam casualties with AFSC/MOS and his was aircraft instrument repairman. There were three loadmasters on the airplane so he wasn't on there as "an extra kicker." The POW/MIA sites show him as a "crew chief" and the 8th TFW site lists him as a passenger. Several family members are on Facebook and have posted pictures of the burials. The Spectre burial is later this week.
  7. http://www.troopcarrier.org/convention.html The Info Packet and Registration forms are on the site and linked to the convention page.
  8. The news release is misleading. Identifiable remains were returned to the families. Calvin Glover's remains were buried at Arlington on May 19. His niece, Leanna Hand, has pictures of the service on her Facebook Page. One other crewmember was also buried at Arlington. A "group burial" was held this past Friday (June 11) of unidentifiable material found at the site. Roy Spencer, who was in the 21st 68-70, was at the funeral along with one other pilot (first name Hal, can't remember his last name) who was close friends with Tom Mitchell, the copilot. Roy lives in Arlington and his apartment overlooks the cemetery and the Air Force Memorial. I was there only a couple of months ago and was impressed by his view. Roy wrote a moving Email about the experience which I have shared on Facebook. Roy advise me that there will be a burial there this week for the remains of a Spectre crew.
  9. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nwfdailynews/obituary.aspx?n=heinie-c-aderholt-harry&pid=142973781
  10. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but B/Gen. Harry "Heinie" Aderholt passed away this past week at the age of 90. Although he was never directly involved with C-130s, he had a long association with them indirectly. In 1960 he took command of the USAF/CIA office at Kadena and was in charge of the "E Flight" C-130 operations once the airplanes passed from USAF control to his. He detailed the operation in his biography AIR COMMANDO ONE, including telling how a young 1/Lt. named Jim Baginski from Naha was one of the USAF project officers. He commanded the air commando wing at NKP which included the CANDLESTICK C-123s and NIMROD A-26s. After retiring as a colonel, he was called back to active duty and promoted to B/G and assigned to MACThai, where he once again was involved with covert operations involving C-130s. He had retired in Florida and was heavily involved with the special operations community around Ft. Walton Beach.
  11. "E Flight"'s involvement with C-130s actually started in 1958 or 59 after Billie Mills worked with CIA people out of Peterson Field, CO. He and his crew then took an airplane to Japan and worked with pilots from Civil Air Transport and taught them how to fly the C-130. Billie told me that most of those guys had thousands of hours of flying time dating back to WW II. The CAT pilots were based in Tokyo and came down to Kadena to pick up the airplanes, then flew with them and a USAF crew from the 21st TCS to Taklhi, then took them on missions into Tibet. When CAT was spun off, the C-130 operation went to Air America. The mission operated for about 12-14 years with A-models. Much of the mission has been documented. For instance, Heinie Aderholt (who just passed away this week), documented it in his biography AIR COMMANDO ONE. Heinie commanded the unit at Kadena and was, in his words, "the customer." E Flight as a special flight was established in 1960. Before that, the entire 21st TCS was involved in covert operations. After the Laotian civil war the Air America/CAT-flown C-130s got involved in operations into Laos, where the US was not supposed to be. Operations into Tibet continued into the mid-60s, but seem to have been infrequent. E Flight was only one of a number of military units that provided airplanes of various types for CIA use. For that matter, they used airplanes from a number of sources. The first civilian Herk operated in SEA wearing the colors of Alaska Airlines.
  12. According to the Office of AF History account of the Koh Tang disaster, there was only one Blu-82 dropped. C-130 participation in that outfit was minimal. The helicopters flew down from NKP and the troops were flown to Thailand in C-141s.
  13. We're bringing everything together and should have the packets ready in a couple of weeks. The convention is October 21-24 and some of us are going on a cruise on the 16th. (Go to www.carnival.com and book, then call and tell them you're with the Sam McGowan party so they can identify you.) We working to get the SPARE 617 airplane brought down to Ellington for the Wings Over Houston air show, which we'll be attending on the 23rd. Keep watch on the site at www.troopcarrier.org/home.html for more details as they emerge. The convention will be at the Wyndham-Hawthorne suites in Galveston at a rate of $77.00 for a one-bedroom condo and $125.00 for a two-bedroom. I suggest contacting them directly - the number is on the web site. Tell them you are with the Troop Carrier 2010 Convention.
  14. I've got Butterfield's Silver Star citation and his account. Gary Peters was with J.P. Morgan and I've got some pictures he took of another C-130A that had just recieved tail codes.
  15. http://www.flickr.com/photos/50081620@N06/ This the absolute best collection of SEA C-130 pictures I've seen yet. They were taken by Maj. Camstra, who was with the 21st TCS at Naha 66-68. Sadly, he has Alzheimers now but his son is taking care of his slides. There are some shots of the nose of C-130B 733 which was attacked by sappers at An Khe the night of the outbreak of the Tet Offensive. My buddy Craig Clifton was the engineer on that crew. If I remember what he told me correctly, they were getting ready to taxi when the charge was thrown. An A-model next to them was sprayed by AK-47 fire. Pete Waddell, one of the two engineers, was wounded.
  16. CCK didn't open in 1966, there had been USAF units there off and on for some time. An F-104 outfit from TAC went TDY there in 1965 during Two Buck. I was there on an RON while TDY to Mactan in the fall of 1965. Cargo missions from Naha would stop off there going to and from Da Nang where the F-104 outfit had a forward operation location. We stayed down town at the Railroad Hotel. The TAC squadrons moved there from Naha, Clark and Tachikawa in the spring of 1966 when the 314th TCW headquarters came over from Sewart and the wing was established. Except for the 345th, which was at Naha and operated under the 6315th Ops Group, the TAC E-model squadrons operated directly under 315th AD until the 314th activated at CCK.
  17. I have seen the full report on this incident and there is no indication that he was intercepted and shot down whatsoever. He had been put through to his wife in Virginia on a phone patch and was talking to her when he reported that he had some kind of problem, and that he'd get back to her after he took care of it. Meyer had some kind of pilot's license but there's a big difference between flying a light single-engine or even a light twin and a large four-engine transport. I suspect he lost an engine or something and lost control of the airplane and it spun in. He went down off of the French coast south of the UK. He was not intercepted. Two airplanes were launched to look for him, a fighter and another C-130, but neither of them reached him before he went down. I was at Clark when this happened and was puzzled when I read the same article in Stars and Stripes and read that he had been taxiing the airplane. When I was in maintenance at Pope Air Force policy was that maintenance did not taxi airplanes larger than twin-engine. In fact, I don't remember anyone ever taxiing one - if they needed to be moved, they were towed. A number of years ago Martin Caidin wrote a book about ghosts in aviation and Meyer was featured in it. His ghost reportedly haunts the hardstand from which he launched.
  18. That page is now at www.sammcgowan.com/horsemen.html
  19. Lars O. shows that this airplane served as the test bed for the Black Crow ignition detection system that was used on the AC-130s. If so, then it was one of the eight airplanes that were dedicated to the flare mission and assigned to the 21st TAS. He shows the airplane as being delivered to the 463rd and going to the 314th but makes no mention of it being in the 4442nd. I'm pretty sure it was at Naha when I was there in '66-'67 as the number if very familiar. The 35th transferred from Sewart to Naha in 1963 so it most likely went with the the squadron. There were several reorganizations at Sewart and the squadron which went to Naha had been the 345th, which had previously had C-123s assigned. After the transfer, the 345th designation went to Dyess to a new squadron that was being formed with E-models.
  20. It was not with the 463rd at Naha because the 463rd wasn't at Naha, it was in the Philippines. The wing at Naha was originally a group, the 6315th Operations Group, which was elevated to wing status as the 374th Troop Carrier Wing. I believe 471 was assigned to the 35th and I'm sure I flew on it, but we flew on whatever airplane maintenance could get in commission so it's hard to offer specific details that wouldn't be in the aircraft records. It was probably delivered to the 463rd at Ardmore then went to Sewart and probably went to Naha with the 345th TCS, which became the 35th TCS after it arrived at Naha. All Naha airplanes were used on airlift missions in South Vietnam and Thailand and most were assigned to the Blind Bat/Lamplighter mission at one time or another before they started dedicating airplanes to that particular mission. The 35th also flew the Fact Sheet leaflet mission over North Vietnam and the JILLI leaflet mission off of North Korea.
  21. The 2010 TCTAA convention is set for October 21-24 at the Victorian Hawthorne Suites in Galveston, Texas. This year's convention is in conjunction with the Wings Over Houston air show at Ellington Field on October 23-24. We're also offering a cruise on Carnival out of Galveston on Saturday, October 16 and returning on Thursday, October 21 for those who are interested. (Cruises are a lot of fun! If you've not been on one, you oughta!) Watch the TCTAA web site at www.troopcarrier.org/home.html for details. The TCTAA is a 501C(19) veterans organization and is recognized by the IRS as a wartime veteran's association, meaning that all contributions are fully tax deductible. (Wartime veterans associations require that 90% of the members must have served in wartime.) Our purpose it promote camaraderie among the troop carrier/tactical airlift community, including providing an opportunity for mission veterans to gather and renew old friendships and make new ones. If you're a troop carrier/tactical airlift veteran and are not a member, you oughta be! Membership is open to anyone who served in the mission in any capacity. Details are on the web site.
  22. Many members of the C-130 community were saddened to learn that Bob Pinard passed away on February 15. Bob was another of the icons in the C-130 world whose career spanned the spectrum to a large degree. He was Stan/Eval for the 815th TCS at Tachikawa in the mid-60s and flew with Col. Charlie Howe whenever the colonel decided he wanted to fly in an A-model. He finished up his career as a maintenance officer at Hurlburt and lived in Ft. Walton Beach. After the Air Force he remained in airlift, working for Southern Air Transport and for some overseas entities. He's missed by a lot of people.
  23. I knew Delano's name was familiar from somewhere. I believe he was at Clark when I was there.
  24. http://www.sammcgowan.com/bomber.html Charlie, I was in the 29th in '69-'70 and was on a bomb crew. The wing started dropping them right after I got there in February and it became a regular mission after we moved to Cam Ranh from Tan Son Nhut. I checked out on the mission in May and dropped them every time I went in-country after that until I went to Stan/Eval a year later. I don't remember anybody being particularly closed-mouth about it. Everybody knew we were doing it, especially the VC. They put out flyers around Cam Ranh offering $10,000 bounties on the pilots, navigators and loadmasters who were doing it - by name! Chick Anderson, our engineer, was ticked off because they weren't offering a bounty for him.
  25. My novel, The Cave, is back in print. It's based on my experiences with the C-130 FAC/Flare mission over Laos in 1966, combined with my cave exploring experiences when I lived in Kentucky. You can order a copy direct at http://www.authorhouse.com/Bookstore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=9981. My page for it is at www.sammcgowan.com/thecave.html.
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