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SamMcGowan

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Everything posted by SamMcGowan

  1. They were called Roman Nose. We had 53-3135 at Naha and it was assigned to the 35th. For some reason they didn't take it in-country and it mostly flew locals, but I was thinking it didn't have any tip tanks and didn't have enough fuel to make the trip. It had some kind of radar but not the same as all the others - (APN-59?) There were about four or five of the 53 models that weren't modified with the porpoise nose. I've heard why but don't remember now. I believe most of them were assigned to the school squadron at Sewart.
  2. Yeah, I know Ed. In fact, I saw him in San Antonio in November. He lives in Florida and his Email address is [email protected] But be careful - Ed forwards about 10 Emails a day! I probably knew you. I got to Naha in February 1966 from Pope and was there until August 1967.
  3. Go to your library and find a copy of AIR COMMANDO 1, the biography of General Harry "Heinie" Aderholt. There is a chapter in it that tells what E Flight was all about. Heinie ran the operation that used E Flight airplanes. Ray Bowers also describes the role of the E Flight airplanes from Naha in his chapter on irregular warfare in TACTICAL AIRLIFT. The CIA's SECRET WAR IN TIBET also describes the E Flight mission in some detail, although it wasn't called that at that time.
  4. That looks like the picture that is in my book. Someone sent it to me when I was working on it but I can't remember for sure who it was. In 1961 the 463rd was still at Sewart - it moved to Langley in 1963. (What's a "Pope Nose"? Did you mean "Roman Nose"?)
  5. I just got the sad news that Bob Wyatt passed away earlier today. Bob was a navigator at Charleston and went to Naha sometime in 1968 and was assigned to the 35th TAS. He was injured in a motorcycle incident and medically retired. He lived in western South Carolina and was active in Christian ministries, particularly with prisoners. Bob was admitted to the VA hospital in Augusta, GA about a month ago. No one knew he was sick until Joe Tucker finally reached him on his cell phone on Christmas Day. It turned out that he had lymphoma and it was in an advanced stage. Bob started flying out of Charleston in the early-mid sixties, at least by 1964 because he flew with Ed Kirby, who was on the airplane that went into the water at Qui Nhon in 1965. Bob was active on several of the C-130 Email groups and came to Biloxi for the first (and maybe second) flare mission reunion in 2002. He was in a wheel chair, and had been since his accident. At this point no arrangements have been announced.
  6. If the 35th "loadmasters" were there, they must have moved them. The 6315th Ops Group barracks was down the hill from where the maintenance guys lived and that is where all of the aircrews from all four squadrons lived. It didn't have a courtyard, but had a large day room where the courtyard would have been. I've got a slide of the sign in front of it that was taken around 1969 that someone sent me, showing the squadron insignia for all four squadrons plus 7th Aerial Port.
  7. Actually, ALL of the A-models at Naha probably had something to do with the CIA at one time or another - although not with Air America since Air America was merely one of the Agency's properties. There was a lot of commingling between the CIA, Army Special Forces and other government agencies, civilian and military, in the Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s (for that matter, all over the entire world). The CIA ran the covert war in Laos. Each of the Naha squadrons had its own classified mission and each had some kind of involvement with the CIA even though it might have been through the Army. The "E Flight" mission has a special mystigue mainly because some maintenance personnel were assigned directly to the 21st's E Flight rather than to the 51st OMS and FMS where the other Naha maintenance personnel were assigned. But the 817th was running HALO missions all over Asia and the 35th was flying FACT SHEET and JILLI propaganda missions. The COMMANDO LAVA missions were CIA connected. For that matter, other PACAF and TAC C-130s were sometimes involved in CIA missions, although the crews may not have known it. It was easier to identify the covert aircraft provided from E Flight after the C-130s were camouflaged. Leeker asserts that the E Flight airplanes were scheduled seperately but this is not true except for covert assignments. The first A-model I ever flew on was an E Flight airplane and we took it on a "conventional" airlift mission out of Cam Ranh in early 1966. There anything at all about it to distinguish it from any other airplane on the ramp - except that the crew chief wore an E Flight patch. The insignia were not screwed on, they were decals, and the markings were the same as the rest of the airplanes at Naha at the time. They were all unpainted and carried standard USAF markings with a PACAF patch on the tail. A friend of mine was an E Flight loadmaster and he has told how that whenever they went on a mission, they flew the airplane up to Kadena where the maintenance crew removed the decals and other identifying markings and put a bogus number on the tail. They would be joined by the CAT crew which flew in commercial from Tokyo, then would fly with them to Taklhi where they would fly the mission and the military guys would wait for them. My first experience with one of the Naha covert airplanes was at Taklhi in October 1965 when our crew was TDY to Bangkok from Mactan for the shuttle. We landed at Taklhi with a load of ammunition and were sent to the hot cargo ramp. The aerial port guys told me we would have to wait for our outbound load because they had to work another airplane. A few minutes later an Air Force flatbed drove up. It was loaded with airdrop bundles, but they were not of a type still in use. A few minutes later an unpainted A-model pulled in beside us. The only markings were a number on the tail. Some people in civilian clothes were there to meet it, but you could tell they were military because they were wearing combat boots and USAF issue sunglasses even though they had on shorts and T-shirts. The flight crew never got off of the airplane. As soon as they shut down engines the flatbed backed up to the ramp and they rolled the bundles on. As soon as the bundles were aboard, the crew cranked up and they taxied back out and left. One of the ground crew came over and talked to Don Sweet, the flight mechanic, and I while they were loading the airplane. I've found out since then that it was Ralph Krach. I never made the connection with that airplane and E Flight until after I got out of the Air Force and read Chris Robbins book AIR AMERICA. Robbins book is one good source of info about Air America and the entire CIA aviation operation. Conron and Morrison's book about the Tibet operation is another. Heinie Aderholt devoted a chapter to it in his autobiography (actually, it's a biography written by an Air Force historian with Hienie's input.) SEA was not the only place where the CIA used C-130s. Leeker mentions the Gary Powers mission, which was supported by A-model crews from the 317th TCW at Evreux. There were also some CIA operations in Pakistan that involved MATS C-130s from Charleston.
  8. It will be hard to get photos of the PACAF A-models because regs prohibited taking pictures on the flight lines at any base in PACAF. The guards at Naha, Tachikawa, Kadena, etc. were under strict orders that if they saw a camera, they were to take it and immediately expose the film. This was also true in Vietnam but we would sneak pictures out of the doors or at places where there were no guards watching.
  9. Don, tail numbers are not going to be visible in pictures of camouflaged Herks unless they were sitting on the ramp when the photos were taken. The tail numbers were only a few inches high - called "subdued." Later on they started putting larger numbers on when they started using the tail codes a la fighter squadron practice. Back before they sta4trted camouflaging everything, the TAC, PACAF and MATS airplanes had the last three numbers painted on the sides behind the cockpit. My personal take on airplanes is that it's the crews, not the airplanes, that are most important. Tail numbers are just that, numbers in a log. It's like the "airplane that got the Purple Heart." As far as I know, that was done by a crew chief at CCK but I would bet that every C-130 in any of the three wings - 374th/6315th Ops Group, 314th and 463rd as well as the 815th squadron - would have qualified for a bunch of Purple Hearts if they were awarded to airplanes, as well as several from the 464th, 64th and 516th. I've got a picture of a B-24 that I'm especially proud of but only because it is the one that my dad's crew flew on most of their missions over Germany.
  10. No, it was the other loadmaster, Elroy Harworth.
  11. This so-called "Super E" stuff didn't come out until long after Vietnam was history. They were actually the first C-130Hs, which had been developed for the Air Force but were only purchased to be used as HC-130Hs although a number were sold overseas. The "gray" came about when PACAF started camouflaging all of its airplanes and the A-models assigned for CIA use were left unpainted so they wouldn't look like military airplanes. The markings were not removeable - they were the same as any other Air Force airplane with decals that had to be removed and replaced after each covert mission. Later on they were painted gray with anticorrosion paint. When Naha shut down and the 21st designation transferred to CCK, the CIA mission went with it and picked up Emodels.
  12. Don't forget that the Cia was forced to "sell" Air America in the early 1970s after the Senate conducted an investigation of the CIA's ownership of a number of companies, particularly aviation companies. They were forced to divest themselves of ownership. The airline continued until the mid-seventies but much of the covert activities were taken over by the military after the special operations mission was officially established in 1968. Civil Air Transport, which employed the crews for the Air Force C-130s, shut down its commercial operations in 1968 after a 727 it purchased crashed. Air America was also a commercial airline that operated primarily in Southeast Asia. Some people link Bird Air to Air America but there was no connection. Bird Air was set up by Bird and Sons, which was one of a number of US civilian contractors operating in Southeast Asia in various capacities (including Brown and Root.) Continental Airlines also operated government contracts.
  13. Fred wrote: Let\'s see, the last time I saw a C-47/DC-3 I\'m pretty sure it had retractable landing gear. A PA-12 is fixed gear. But gear has nothing to do with lift, but rather with drag.Gear retraction may affect CG, depending on how it retracts, but that is taken into consideration when performance data is established by the manufacturer. Lift is created by an airfoil and the only airfoils on a conventional fixed-wing airplane are the wings, horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer. Ailerons, elevators and rudders are also airfoils but their purpose is to affect the forces on the main airfoils. Lift is produced by the low-pressure are created on the top of the wing by air flowing over it faster than going beneath. The horizontal stabilizer on all fixed-wing airplanes is designed so that the low-pressure area is on the bottom and thus forcing the tail downward. A tail-stall will cause the nose to pitch down. \"Flying wings\" such as the B-2 are one big airfoil. The C-130 is conventional and all lift is generated by the wing. I don\'t know why Lockheed chose to use Percent of MAC for its charts since all that is needed is the actual ARM. Perhaps it has to do with the size of the charts. For that matter, they could have used feet instead of inches as the reference points as it doesn\'t matter which is used for computations. Lengthening the fuselage on an airplane may affect where the CG will end up - if the plug is forward of the wings it will tend to be more noseheavy - but the CG limits are going to be the same at any given gross weight.
  14. Butterfield was the AC on the airplane that went off the end of the runway at Tuy Hoa but the landing at Chu Lai wasn\'t a crash. They flew all the way across the northern part of South Vietnam after being hit in Laos and landed at Tuy Hoa with a burning wing. It must have been pretty hairy. The wiring in the wing burned and caused all of the circuit breakers to pop. His engineer was a black TSgt named James Meredith. His loadmaster was John Kilcher but there would have also been a 7th APS loadmaster on board as second. I was thinking about this last night and I don\'t think word even got to the barracks at Cam Ranh about them being shot up. It was a classified mission and the crews were not supposed to discuss it. It wasn\'t until about a year later that they received their decorations. Bob Daley\'s post is the first I\'ve ever heard that the airplane was written off. My guess is it was probably repaired, but it would have taken quite awhile since the wiring would have had to be replaced. Kilcher and I went to Naha on the same airplane and Butterfield\'s crew was in the same hooch with ours on Blind Bat and I knew him and Meredith both fairly well. The only inkling anyone other than those on the missions had that they were flying something out of the ordinary was when the loadmaster came in with dust all over him. I can\'t think of his name offhand but he was one of the 41st people who had come over to Naha with the squadron, although he was a first-termer. He came down the hall between the partitions in his fatigues wearing his survival vest and was covered with gray dust. He told us \"don\'t ask, I can\'t talk about it.\" There was a lot of speculation about what they were doing. Rumors went around that it was some kind of chemical designed to kill crops.
  15. gizzard wrote: Center of gravity limits are based on the chord of the wing, not fuselage length. All fuselage length does is add more stations but the end result of the computations will be the same and so will the takeoff and landing CG limits at corresponding gross weights. The Leading Edge of MAC (LEMAC) will be different but actual center of gravity is based on where it lies on the Mean Chord of the Wing (MAC.) US manufacturers use a point at or near the nose of the wing for weight and balance computations but they could use any point. British manufacturers use the center of the MAC as the reference point. It\'s been decades since I\'ve done a weight and balance on a C-130, but wasn\'t the reference point 30 inches forward of the nose? The wing on any airplane (rotors on a helicopter) are the only part that actually \"flies\" (produces lift) and the balance point is on it. The tail exerts a downward moment to hold the nose up and does not produce lift. For the CG limits to change, the chord of the wing would have to be changed. The forward limit is the point at which the wing can not be rotated enough to produce lift or control forces will be exceeded while the aft limit is the point at which the wing will become unstable. CG also plays a part in aircraft controlability after the loss of the critical engine.
  16. When I was at Lackland in early November we met with the curator of the museum and he told us that they don\'t have a C-130 of any kind and none promised. A B-model went there but it ended up being used by the Security Police training school. He told us that if they could come up with $100,000 they could have one trucked in or $50,000 if one could be flown into Kelly.
  17. A-model taxiing out at Don Muang (maybe Ubon.)
  18. J.P. Morgan landing at Prek Lok.
  19. There are two really good A-model pictures on the TCTAA site that I can\'t remember who took them. One is on the History page and one is on the members page. www.troopcarrier.org/home.html. This one is of an A right after takeoff.
  20. Ken, thank Bill Barrett for taking the time to get a copy of the 374th history. The training may have changed by the time you flew the mission. I was on it from May-July 1967 and went down with a Bob Bartunek, who had been on the mission before, as AC. The rest of us were there for our first time. We each went out with another crew on one mission, at least I know I did. I\'m not positive about the other three loadmasters. I was the assigned crew loadmaster and the other three - Mike Cavanaugh, Willy Donovan and Sam McCracken - were assigned as kickers. I flew with a 21st crew then we went out as a crew the following night. There wasn\'t a training program as such set up at Ubon at that time, but one was set up later on from what I\'ve seen. In fact, Fred Nyc describes it in his book. There were a lot of changes in that mission over the years. When it first started - at least when it became a regular misison - they were using CAT Z maintenance men from the 21st as kickers because they were the only maintenance troops at Naha assigned directly to the 6315th Ops Group. All of the other maintenance troops were assigned to the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing until the 374th activated in the summer of 1966 and the airplanes and maintenance transferred out of it. Ralph Krach insists that only Cat Zs were assigned as kickers. The CAT Z troops lived in the barracks with the flight crews at Naha at that time. Sometime around the end of December 1965 USAF decided to increase the loadmaster manning in the Naha squadrons and sent a whole bunch of loadmasters PCS on special orders. TAC had just sent eight squadrons PCS to PACAF to except for me and a couple of others, they all came either from MATS (which had just become MAC on January 1) or TAC aerial port squadrons. John Kilcher and I were the only ones from Pope. There were a few from Sewart and Forbes - Langley had sent the entire 463rd to PACAF and there was nobody left there - and a couple from Lockbourne but most were from Dover, McGuire and Travis. I don\'t remember anyone from Charleston. It took a few weeks to transition everyone into C-130s that came from C-124s, C-141s, C-133s and C-135s but right after the flare mission moved to Ubon, they started sending crews with four loadmasters and no CAT Zs, although I think there might have still been a few CAT Zs flying when I got there. Evidently they didn\'t replace all of the loadmasters who rotated back to the States 18 months later - most of us were first-termers (I reenlisted while I was there) and were unaccompanied. None of the guys on 0477 were there when I was. In fact, we didn\'t have any combat losses at all until just before I left Naha (to sappers at Da Nang), but we did lose a couple to accidents.
  21. I went and looked at the manuscript for my book and see that Butterfield told me that the mission was not halted after his airplane was shot up as the Wikipedia article states, but that General Momyer ordered a change in tactics. The crews went to single-ship rather than three-plane formations using the rationale that the NVA gunners had been alerted by the first airplane and it took them until the third airplane got in range to start firing. Butterfield was hit on the second mission, not the third as the article states.
  22. This is an Air Force photo of the ramp at Cam Ranh, probably taken by M.L. Ray. He was the Vietnam editor for the 315th Air Division newspaper. He flew with Ed Brya\'s 35th crew on a mission and wrote an article about it.
  23. This one was at CRB in mid-1967 just before I left Naha for the States. Note the 0 in front of the tail number and lack of a tail code.
  24. This one should be small enough to come through. It\'s of an Amodel being refueled in a revetment. I\'m not sure if it was at CRB or TSN, but probably TSN since CRB didn\'t have revetments that early. You may be able to get the tail number.
  25. Bob, The airplane that went into Chu Lai was flown by Captain (later Colonel) John Butterfield\'s crew. They were shot up pretty bad and the airplane was onfire when they landed. All of the circuit breakers for the side that was on fire had popped and the copilot - the 41st Ops Officer - was trapped in the cockpit. Buttefield got the first Silver Star awarded to a C-130 crewmember and the rest of his crew all got DFCs. He was number three in the formation and while the other two airplanes got through without any damage his airplane caught hell. I don\'t know whether the airplane was written off or not but if it wasn\'t, it took a long time to repair. I think they were hit on the first mission. As for three missions, I think there were more than that. John told me about his experiences in a letter which he sent me along with a copy of his Silver Star citation and a photograph of his crew. Another of my correspondents was involved in the training at Eglin. TAC wanted the crew that did the training at Eglin to go to PACAF to fly the missions but they told them to go to blazes so it went to Naha and the 41st got the mission because they were the only squadron at Naha that didn\'t have it\'s own special mission already. I was at Cam Ranh when they flew some of the missions and one of the loadmasters came into the barracks afterwards covered from head to toe in gray dust. He said he couldn\'t talk about it and there was a lot of speculation about what they were dropping. It wasn\'t until I got in contact with Butterfield that I found out what they were doing. There was a reference to the mission in some news articles about General Dick Secord as he was the project officer. I never trust anything on Wikipedia because it is a community edited \"encyclopedia\" and anyone can put anything they wish. Gary Peters told me that one of his friends in LA was a CIA man and he told him that after they gave up on the C-130 missions they tried it again with C-123s. Nobody seems to really know what the dust was supposed to do. Butterfield told me it was supposed to cause erosion and cause landslides that would block the passes but some of the articles claim it was supposed to cause mud (in an area that is primarily solid rock.) Having spent a few years crawling around in limestone caves - incidentally not far from where the dust was manufactured at the Calgon plant in Ashland, Kentucky - I suspect that they thought it would hasten the process by which natural acidity causes limestone to erode.
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