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Everything posted by SamMcGowan

  1. My contact at the AFHRA tells me that the dispostion of 474 as recorded in 315th AD records is that it was "salvaged by reclamation." This is a term that is normally used when an airplane is damaged away from home base and is too badly damaged to be flown to a repair station. It can mean any one of a number of things, including stripped of parts or repaired and returned to service. For instance, airplanes that go to Davis-Monthan are categorized with this term. Here is a description of the term from a Korean War vintage unit out of Tachikawa: Comments: The 6401st Field Maintenance Squadron was part of the Far East Air Material Command (FEAMCOM) based in Tachikawa AFB Japan. I was assigned there in Aug 1950 as an aircraft maintenance technician. In May 1951, I voluntered and was reassigned to the 6401st in Korea, first briefly based in Taegu then relocated to Suwon. A couple of months later the squadron was transfered to Kimpo (K14) near Seoul where it became permanently based. The 6401st was essentially a salvage and reclamation unit whose mission was to reclaim aircraft that went down away from their home bases. Aircraft that went down at their home bases were reclaimed by their own units. Reclamation of an aircraft fell into primarily three categories. First, if an aircraft could be repaired in the field we did so. It was then picked up by a crew from its home base. Second, sometimes it could be repaired and returned to flight status but was beyond our limited capabilities. We then made temporary repairs for a onetime flight back to FEACOM's overhaul facilities at Tachikawa AFB. The aircraft was usually flown there with the landing gear fixed in the down position. Third, if the aircraft was beyond repair, we salvaged all sensitive equipment (electronics, weapons, etc) and any good parts that were in short supply. The rest of the bird was then cut up and hauled to a nearby salvage yard. At K-14 we were located off the main base in an area surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by Korean soldiers being given a rest from frontline duty. We called ourselves the FEAMCOM Retrievers. The entrance to our compound showed a picture of a bird dog with a bird in its mouth. Some of my squadron mates wore a patch depicting the same. Keywords:
  2. Mixing analog and EFIS on airplanes is common. I fly a Hawker with a five-tube EFIS for the avionics, but the instruments are still analog/digital - meaning they have needles but also show readings in digital on the same instrument.
  3. If you do a Google search for "Cold War Shoot-Downs" a number of lists will come up. Some of them show the August 6, 1963 loss and some don't, most likely because nearly all of the airplanes shot down during the Cold War were US Air Force Security Service reconnaissance aircraft losses which have since been declassifed. Some of the lists show the August 6, 1963 loss as a "US Army" aircraft but I have learned that this was because one of the list owners made the assumption that "LT" stood for light transport. Some lists show this airplane as a US Air Force airplane. What is ironic is that at the time, there were brief newspaper articles that a USAF C-130 was shot down by North Korean fighters. I had just finished basic training and went to Amarillo for maintenance training immediately afterwards. The article came out right after I got to Amarillo. After I got to Pope I worked with NCOs who had come from the flight line at Naha and they talked about it. It's not like it was a huge secret at the time. Henry Caudill discussed the incident with me a few weeks after I got to Naha when we were on a Saigon Stage Mission in early 1966. I remember us sitting in the hotel room when he brought it up and told me that "you can die over here and nobody will ever know what happened to you." He went on to tell me that wives of the men who were lost were put on the next airplane to leave the island and no one was allowed to have contact with them. All the women were told was that their husbands had died in a crash. I remember thinking at the time that we were talking about something we shouldn't be discussing.
  4. Well Bob, three people who were there at the time have given me information about the loss. Harry Sullivan, a veteran flight engineer who spent several years at Naha in the 21st in the early to mid-sixties, gave names at the 2006 Troop Carrier Homecoming at Galveston. Charlie Kent, who was 7th Aerial Port Stan/Eval loadmaster, has confirmed it and told how they were throwing the leaflets out the doors at the time. Recently Ed Evers, who was an engineer in the 35th, told me how he got to Naha about two weeks before the airplane was shot down and they took the airplane he was supposed to be crew chief of and gave it to the crew chief of the airplane that was lost and he was given the opportunity to become a flight engineer, which he took. Now the Air Force Historical Research Agency has confirmed that the airplane that was damaged in the defueling fire was repaired and returned to service. In short, it may be a rumor to you but its not a rumor to the guys who were there at the time. And I doubt if the major I flew my first JILLI mission with would have mentioned that we were going on a mission on which an airplane had been shot down a little over two years before if it was a rumor. Furthermore, an unidentifed airplane was definitely shot down by North Korean fighters on August 6, 1963 with the loss of six personnel, and it has never been identified as anything but an "LT." A retired officer who was at Naha in plans at the time has told me that an article appeared in the Okinawa Times about a C-130 being shot down over the Sea of Japan and that they were told it was a "Sneaky Pete" out of Japan. Then there is the US Army report on leaflet operations against North Korea that says that the 35th TCS was tasked with developing a leaflet delivery method in conjunction with the US Army 7th Psy Ops group at Machinato in "late 1963," although it goes on to say that missions were flown with C-47s until 1965. Well, the 35th didn't have any C-47s so why would they have been flying the missions with them? As you know, the first two C-130Es lost in the Vietnam War were both mysteriously "resurrected." Strange things did indeed take place in the Western Pacific in the 50s and 60s.
  5. I thought they were called an Aldis Lamp. I believe they date back to World War II. My dad used to talk about using one on a B-24 when he was in the Eighth Air Force in England in 1944.
  6. SamMcGowan


    BTW, the pilot of that airplane used to be active on one of the Email groups but I can't remember who it was. The pilot was Larry Wessells and the Nav was Doug Webster, Doug said they were a 776 TAS crew flying a Little Rock airplane.
  7. SamMcGowan


    Without looking to be sure, if I'm not mistaken the offical history of the USAF in SEA records that this airplane had just come in with two Blu-82s for the VNAF as Ralph said. Had the TAC airplanes already transferred to MAC? I didn't think that took place until about June or July.
  8. I've been in contact with the Air Force Historical Records section at Maxwell regarding some articles I've been working on and while I was at it I asked them about the loss of a C-130A from Naha on a leaflet mission to North Korean fighters in August 1963. While they have been unable to find anything in the records, they have advised me that 56-0474, which is shown on Lars Olausson's list as being involved in a defueling fire on August 27. 1963 is shown as having been repaird and reclaimed. Considering that Lars has no information after that fire on that airplane, this is another C-130 mystery. Of course, it's not really a mystery. Obviously they slapped the tail number of the airplane that was shot down on that airframe and continued flying it as if nothing had happened. They sent me the accident report, which shows that the airplane received extensive damage, but makes no mention of it having been destroyed. The historian also advises me that 315th AD records show it as having been repaired. The airplane was being defueled in preparation for being weighed when it caught fire. The fire was extinguished within 6-8 minutes. The fueling truck operator received second degree burns.
  9. If the -11 is a -9 modified to burn kerosene, then just what the heck were we burning in all of those A-models I flew on out of Naha? All jet fuel is basically kerosene.
  10. Those guys are all too old for me to have ever flown with them. Those "old colonels" were really only in their forties, if that. The 20-year old lieutenants from WW II were the 40 year old colonels in Vietnam.
  11. I got a private message asking about JFK's casket, and a rumor that he was buried at sea. As I understand it, the casket that his body was flown from Dallas to Andrews in was, in fact, dropped into the Atlantic from a C-130B from Langley. However, he was buried at Arlington in another casket that Jackie picked out.
  12. If it hadn't been for the air power and airlift at Khe Sanh, those Marines would probably have ended up like the French at Dien Bien Phu and the Vietnam War would have ended in 1968.
  13. That is definitely a BS story. If such a thing had happened, it would have been all over the O and NCO clubs.
  14. Apparently Merle "Chief" Reeder, flight mechanic in the 35th at Naha and Forbes, has evidently passed away. Chief was a full-blooded Indian from Oklahoma and lived there. I talked to him on the phone a few years ago. I really hate to hear that he's gone. Does anyone have any details?
  15. The Hawkins and Powers airplanes were cream with red markings.
  16. My definition, at least, of a heroic Herk is an airplane in which THE CREW did something that rose above the call of duty. The most heroic off all of the Herks are the ones that flew in and out of Kham Duc on May 12, 1968. The one I'd like to have seen go to the museum is the one flown by Lt. Colonel Willam H. Boyd's crew that was named "The Lucky Duc." Col. Boyd took that airplane in while looking at the fires from Major Bucher's B-model that had just got show down while they were watching. Heroism is doing something that you aren't sure you're going to be able to survive. Unfortunately, that particular airplane was lost in an accident in Idaho. Caldwell's crew were number three in a three-shipper, which meant they were going into a stirred-up hornet's nest. The odds of them getting and getting out were pretty low. The same thing happened with John Butterfield's crew on the COMMANDO LAVA mission in 1966, but they were lucky in that no one on the airplane got hurt. Another one that got shot up pretty bad and survived was the one Ross Kramer was flying at A Loi. I don't know the tail number on that one. I guess I'll have to ask Ross. Right now he's down in Mexico relaxing on the beach.
  17. Bobby, I'm just glad that this airplane is going to the museum. I really appreciate what you and Brian have done and are doing. I hope the Air Force will come up with a definite date as to when it will go to USAFM so we can get a bunch of C-130 vets there to welcome it if at all possible. If it could have been worked out, I'd like to have a Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Convention there at the time but we'd have to have several months advance notice in order to work that all out. FYI, I lived in Little Rock for several months in the mid-70s after I got out of the Air Force and worked at Adams Field as a flight instructor/charter pilot.
  18. I know he retired as a colonel. He was a squadron commander at Little Rock in the mid-80s. He responded to a letter I put in AIR FORCE magazine when I was working on my book about the C-130 mission and I wrote him back but didn't hear back from him again.
  19. Muff, that article is on my domain - www.sammcgowan.com/home.html. I moved it over there when AOL shut down their web hosting.
  20. I just noticed that most of the articles I wrote that are linked in the "Articles" section are no longer available, probably because they were linked to my AOL sites. AOL shut down their web hosting a year or so ago and I moved all of my material to my own domain - www.sammcgowan.com. Go to www.sammcgowan.com/home.html to access the main page where you'll find a couple of links to various articles. I lost a few articles a number of years ago when I was experimenting with Front Page. I'll try to replicate the missing articles on this site when I have the time.
  21. Spare 617 was the third airplane in a formation of three that were sent to drop supplies to the besieged South Vietnamese garrison at An Loc on April 15, 1972. The town had been surrounded a few weeks before and after helicopter resupply became impossible and the VNAF lost several C-123s, MACV directed the 374th TAW to begin resupplying the defenders. This was two years after the Cambodian Incursion, which led to a general downturn in the intensity of the war in Vietnam and all but a few US ground troops had been withdrawn. In fact, troop levels were down to only about 25,000 men and they were nearly all air units. The USAF C-123s and Caribous had gone home and the C-130 force was down to the 374th wing at CCK and the 774th TAS at Clark, which was getting ready to deactivate. Few of the C-130 crews had combat experience and some were not even tactically qualified as airdrop missions had become a thing of the past. But that all changed when NVA troops came out of Laos in force (all of those AC-130 truck kills had done little to prevent a massive buildup across the border) and the war suddenly flared back up to a conflagaration. As they approached the drop zone, the airplane was hit by a hail of ground fire, first in the cargo compartment then in the cockpit. The copilot was wounded, along with one of the loadmasters, and the flight engineer was killed instantly. One round ruptured a bleed air line and hot air poured into the cargo compartment and caused the cargo bundles to start to smoulder. The pilots tried to jettison the load but the ADS button was shot out and eventually the loadmasters dropped it using the manual release. (They were evidently using the parachute CDS method due to a lack of rigging materials at Tan Son Nhut and were using materials supplied to the Vietnamese.) Two bundles exploded right after they rolled off the ramp. Some of the insulation in the cargo compartment had caught fire due to the extreme heat and loadmaster Charlie Shaub used a fire extinguisher to put it out. The hot metal burned his hands severely. With wounded crew members on board, Captain Caldwell realized it was better to try to reach a friendly field then put the airplane down in a field and even though he had no engineer and his copilot was wounded, he managed to close the bleeds on the side that had been hit and shut down #1 and # 2 engines but the airplane was still flying and he decided they could make it to Tan Son Nhut, where the best medical facilities would be. They had lost their utility hydraulics so the gear had to be cranked down. Shaub's hands were too badly burned to turn the crank, but the other loadmaster, Dave McAleece, was able to crank them down in spite of his wounds. As they were on final, a third engine quit and Caldwell landed the airplane on one engine.
  22. To the best of my knowledge, no crew chiefs were KIA in Vietnam. Two maintenance men from the 463rd were killed in a rocket attack at a forward field where they were working on an airplane but I think they were FMS types. Crew chiefs rarely, if ever, flew on combat missions in Southeast Asia. They were on the airplane going in and out of country but did not fly on missions. Once in awhile a crew chief might be sent to take care of an airplane that had been left somewhere but this was very rare as the crews brought them back to home base as long as they could get off the ground. There was a brief period at Naha when a few 431X1s were put on temporary flying status to fly as flare kickers on the flare mission during a loadmaster shortage. Sometimes an AC might let one of the ground crew go along on a night cargo mission between Cam Ranh and Qui Nhon or some other routine mission but they were not scheduled to fly with their airplanes. There are a few discrepancies because Air Force records show some cross-trainee loadmasters with their previous AFSCs on their death records.
  23. There was no fight until after they got on the ground. Tomlinson was a pretty good sized troop. He was standing behind the jumpmaster when the young troop threw the puke bag in his face. He just went out right after him. I don't remember what squadron he was in. Jim was in the 776th and his cousin may have been as well. I was in the 779th. At the time I didn't know there were two of them and thought it was Jim, but he went to Naha not long afterwards and I came over later and we were both in the 35th. I said something to him about it and he said that it was his cousin. Jim mentioned it on one of the Email groups not all that long ago. We had several things happen at Pope about that time - like the A-models from Sewart that ran through the string of troops, the Sewart crew chief who fell out of the airplane over the Smokies, the loadmaster who was trying to retrieve static lines with a tiedown strap and let it get away from him and beat the heck out of the cargo door.
  24. This is going to be the most famous Herk of all, once the word gets out about it. I'm glad it was finally located at Little Rock. Nearly all of the historic Herks disappeared before they were identified for the AFM. Some were scrapped, the As and Bs went overseas and a couple of E's were lost in accidents. If I remember correctly, The Lucky Duc was lost with a reserve or guard crew somewhere.
  25. The loadmaster on the A-model crew was Bob Gable. He pulled Norm Thomas out of the burning airplane and hurt his back in the process, and was given a Silver Star for it. There was an article about Bob in PEOPLE magazine back in the 1980s. He lives in Florida, or did at the time of the article.
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