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Posts posted by SamMcGowan

  1. COMMANDO SCARF was a special mission dropping tiny explosives called "gravel" on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the spring/summer of 1969. Craig Clifton was the engineer on one of the crews and my buddy Brock Chapman was the loadmaster. The purpose of the "gravel" was to create a sound that would be picked up by sensors that were part of the MacNamara Fence. Originally, they were dropped by F-4s but it cost too much so they decided to use C-130s to do it. I'm not sure how many airplanes were involved. I know some B-model crews from Clark went to Udorn for about a month but I've heard that A-model crews did the same thing. However, the person who told me about the A-models left Naha in 1967 so i'm not certain if it was the same mission. Clifton tells me they called them "Dempsey Dumpster" missions because the general in charge of the project was named Dempsey.

  2. http://obits.al.com/obituaries/mobile/obituary.aspx?n=william-coleman&pid=151336043

    Thanks to Tom Stalvey, we just learned that Col. Bill Coleman, who was F-Troop commander and then DCO of the 463rd wing at Clark passed away in May and is to be buried at Arlington on September 30 at 0900. Col. Coleman came to Clark out of SAC at Barksdale and commanded the 29th until the spring of 1969 when he made full colonel and went to wing as DCO. He was AC on an airplane that was shot up over A Loi during the first day of drops just before Maj. Bucher's crew was shot down. Stalvey was his loadmaster and Al Clime was his engineer that day. Col. Coleman was a good guy. He kept quite a few guys out of jail. Other F Troop vets had told me that he died a long time ago but it turns out he was still living until a few months ago.

  3. As far as I know this movie is not available except from someone who has a copy. However, the movie that was made of 463rd B-models at about the same time is available from Traditions Military Videos. I think it's www.militaryvideo.com. If that doesn't work, Google Traditions Military Video. Put C-130 in the site search and it'll come up.

  4. Does anyone remember the tail number of the airplane Lt. Col. Bill Boyd flew out of Kham Duc on the evacuation? Somebody wrote "The Lucky Duc" on the side. At one time Lars O. showed the name by a tail number of an airplane that crashed in Idaho or somewhere, but I can't find it in the last version of his booklet that I have.

  5. Had used the pallets to move pax on many occasions. However, I don't remember ever using straps. Just instructed to lock arms with the guy next to each other for landing and takeoff. Most of the pax were Vietnames prisioners or RVN's. I did have ocassion to move some Marines/Army from front area's under fire. All they wanted was in the aircraft. They could care less about restraint. "combat essential" We did rig somedays for in country passenger runs. Full complement of seats with seat belts. It was really tight with a full load in this confirguation. Also flew many medical evacs with full complement of Dr/nurse and litters. Actually flew missions with ever confirguation the aircraft was designed for.
    Mike, the procedure called for straps but a lot of loadmasters didn't bother with them. The procedure called for the troops to sit on rows on the floor and the straps to be run across their legs. We usually just put the straps down if we put them down at all.
  6. Regarding combat loading, 315th and 834th Air Division established a policy for 100 troops/passengers combat loaded. We didn't really use that method much for passengers as it was a tactical procedure and 834th operated several scheduled passenger runs around the country. Combat loading was authorized in 1966. Before that we were required to rig seats anytime we carried troops or passengers.

  7. Our E-Flight birds had slick floors the first 4 years I flew on them. We used skate wheels to load everything using teak/mahogany plywood as our pallet and then loaded warehouse pallets side by side on them. Got lots of practice with chain gates!! Loaded many loads of RVN troops either floor loaded or on bare pallets with straps for lap belts. My favorite place to sit was on the aft overhead escape hatch step. I could lean back and just keep my pistol on my belly in case someone wanted to be difficult. Never had to use it on a passenger, but used the fire extinguisher on some unruly prisoners one time. The huge (for a Vietnamese) QC guard was clubbing them with his baton, so I thought the fire extinguisher would work better and maybe keep someone from getting beat to death. Worked great and the QC was appreciative. I very seldom used the J-bar on C-130s but used the hell out of it on C-5s.
    Jon, who are you? I was at Naha and got out at Dover in 1975. Drop me a note at [email protected]. I'm sure we know each other.
  8. Was that a testbed for the H's?
    This whole H, Super H, etc. gets very confusing since those terms are of fairly recent origin. The original C-130H came out in the mid-60s but the Air Force didn't buy any for airlift. They did buy them as HC-130Hs. Large numbers of them were sold overseas. Later on, in the early sevenites, USAF started buying a later version of the H that had some additional improvements such as a GTC that could be started in flight (GTC stands for gas turbine compressor which includes ALL turbine engines) and Lockheed started calling it an APU since that was the term they were using on the C-141 and C-5. The only thing different between the E and the original H models were the engines (the only major difference between a B and an E is the pylon tanks.) Not certain, but I suspect the reason USAF didn't want to buy the original Hs was because it had already contracted for E models at a lower price. The ARRS airplanes were equipped with the Fulton Recovery System as well, but when TAC contracted for the C-130E-Is, they stuck with E-models for some reason.
  9. They aren't all going at the same time. One month, we send one or two, then the next a couple more, and so on. At the 62nd, the last one flies out in September. I can't speak for the other "E" units.
    Probably, they're sending the ones to the boneyard (and to museums) not that were built ten years earlier and had a lot more flying time. They also got the shit beat out of them in SEA.
  10. I had lunch with Dennis Ybarra back during the Christmas holidays when he was here in the Houston area to visit his son and we talked about Perry. He told me that the governor flew as his copilot, but I don't know if they were on an assigned crew or just flew together on a few trips. He also mentioned that he had a nickname because of his head of hair but I'm not certain what it was. Dennis was going to invite Rick to join the TCTAA but he passed away suddenly in May. I was under the impression that they were in the 774th at the time but the Austin Statesman reporter says Perry's military records show him being in the 772nd. Dennis was in the 772nd at some point, but he was also in the 774th; I'm just not sure where since he started out in Herks at Clark in the 463rd.

  11. The wife and I stopped through Robbins on the 28th or 29th of May this year. Tell ya the truth it was a bit of a dissapointment. There was not one aircraft take off or landing and the only able bodied aircraft I did see (and I didn't get a good look) looked to be, maybe a couple of 135s getting new paint. The museum was a bit of a bust, but there was 2 old decrepid 130s parked out, way out, back in the tall grass. One of them was an E model, solid grey paint, with most of the leading edge wing panels missing. Looked to me as if it was being canabilized. Kind of reminded me of when 772 broke down at Tachi in '66 and the 776th used it for a parts depot. Either way I'm really interested in that convention next year. Is it just me or are all those airmen that I saw at Robbins all kids? Chris
    Chris, you must not have seen the complete A-model in the main building. They use it for educational classes and it's not always open to the public. There is an H-model outside and an AC-130A gunship. They have some great exhibits inside.
  12. When 315th Air Division inactivated in April, 1969 the 815th transferred to the 374th Wing. The squadron itself inactivated in either 1970 or 1971. They started shutting down C-130 squadrons in PACAF in 1970, with the A-model squadrons the first to go. They also shut down some B-model squadrons along with them. What I've always wondered is why they kept CCK open instead of moving the E-models to Naha since the original PACAF squadrons were there. As it was, CCK was only open for another year or so.

  13. I was with the 776th which ended up TDY at a Tachi (out of Pope) from Dec. 1965 to (I think) April or maybe May of '66. We were held at Tachi 'cause CCK wasn't ready for us just yet. Don't remember much about Tachi, wasn't there a lot as we did a ton of TDY "in country" from Tachi. I always figured we were TDY from TDY. As long as I'm here, does anyone remember a loadmaster by the name of James Wilcoxson, he went by the name of Jodi. I sure would like to find him. He crossed over to loadmaster school at Pope in early 1964 with Sam McGowan and that bunch. I heard that he eventually ended up a FE, and obviously a lifer. Thanks....Chris
    Chris, the only thing I have heard about Jodie is that he was part of the Stray Goose C-130E-I deployment to CCK. His name is on their list but no one seems to know anything about him.
  14. Planning for the convention is coming right along and we're getting a lot of interest. So far, we've got almost 70 names of people who have indictated they are considering attending. Tom Stalvey, loadmaster from Sewart and Clark, lives outside Atlanta and is doing the leg work. Lockheed has invited us to come up to the factory for a tour one day. Check out www.troopcarrier.org for details and to see the names of those who have expressed an interest in attending. If you'd like to come and your name isn't already there, drop me a note at [email protected] and I'll add it.

  15. Skip, you were probably on them when the designation was changed. As far as operational missions with the Fulton System, none were flown over North Vietnam. There were some training missions in South Vietnam but no operational missions. There were only about nineteen special ops missions flown over North Vietnam and most of them were flown by DUCK HOOK C-123s. The detachment left South Vietnam and moved to Kadena around 1971.

  16. Does anyone know if Sonny Cook passed away? Someone asked on the Naha Facebook Group what happened to him as his account was cancelled. Someone else did a search and found an obituary for a Horace "Sonny" Cook in Hyattsville, MD, which is where Sonny was/is from, who died in February 2010. I thought I had interacted with him more recently than that. The person in the obit was 63, which would be Sonny's age so I'm assuming it was definitely him. That he is dead is shocking, but that he has been dead over a year is even more so.

  17. Yep, we called the Johnson Bar a J-Bar. They weren't used much because 90% of the cargo we carried in SEA was palletized and the other 10% was rolling stock. J-bars were used mainly to move crates. As for air evacs, I flew over 1,500 sorties and only remember one air evac in-country. Army and Marine helicopters did most of the air evac work although there were some scheduled air evac missions with Herks, plus the 6485th Ops Squadron - later the 20th Ops Sqdn - had some C-118s that flew scheduled missions. The one air evac I remember flying was in early 1967 and was a night mission into Dong Ha, which was under attack. There were several air evacs into Dong Ha about that time, all emergencies and all at night. We were at Da Nang when we got the word and almost immediately the alert air evac medical crew came to the airplane. We rigged the airplane while we were taxiing out and inflight. After the mission I derigged the litter stanchions and replaced the straps while we were on the way back to Cam Ranh. I don't remember any air evacs at all during my tour at Clark in 69-70. As for seats, before the C-130 operating locations were set up, a crew never knew when they were going to get paxs and if a load was scheduled, the crew rigged the airplane. It was the loadmaster's responsibility but the rest of the crew helped. After the flight the loadmaster derigged. In 1965 the crew chiefs were sometimes with us and worked with us. After the C-130 operating locations were set up, scheduled passenger missions were run each day. Naha had several loadmasters at Cam Ranh as duty loadmasters and we rigged and derigged the seats with some of the ground crew working with us. 315th AD came out with "combat loading" which was putting the pax on the floor on pallets with 5,000 pound tiedown straps across for them to hang on too. After that policy came out, if we had a full load of pax, we combat loaded them. If there weren't enough to require rigging the center aisles, we dropped the nylon seats and they sat on them. If passengers got sick, the loadmaster had to clean it up. I was on one troop mission into Tonle Cham when we lost an engine while on approach. We had a plane load of troops on board on pallets and they had been sitting in the sun at Bien Hoa drinking beer. Their captain was up front on the bunk. When we lost the engine we were trying to get in ahead of a thunderstorm and we were bouncing around a bit. Every single one of the troops got sick and started puking. The captain up front threw up all over the cockpit. When we got back to Tan Son Nhut the crew chief got mad and started ranting. The fire department sent out a water truck and I hosed it down. At least it wasn't blood this time. I think the crew chief cleaned up the cockpit but I'm not sure.

  18. Guys, here is the deal. In order to be given a decoration, SOMEONE had to fill out a recommendation and submit it which was a maintenance responsibility for actions by maintenance personnel. Some maintenance men were awarded Bronze Stars and Air Force Commendation Medals for making repairs at forward fields. As for "squadron records," we didn't operate as squadrons in Southeast Asia. Each C-130 wing supported a rotational operation that was under 315th Air Division until August 1966, then under 834th Air Division which kept the records. I was on airplanes that blew two main tires on two different occasions. In both instances the flight mechanic loosened the bolts and two tires and a jack were flown in. It was not a big deal. One one occasion a couple of maintenance troops came in with them but a lot of times the flight mechanic changed the tires. In fact, I've got a picture of Freddie Banks loosening the nuts on the tires on a B-model at a Marine base south of Da Nang. Also, speaking of Marine bases, in 1966 there were only about three - Chu Lia, Dong Ha and Quang Tri. By the way, the number of C-130s lost to enemy action on the ground can be counted on both hands and one toe - none were lost at Marine bases and none were lost in 1966. In fact, all but four were lost at rear area bases, particularly Da Nang. Chris, in 1966 when you were in the 776th all three CCK squadrons were rotating to Nha Trang.

  19. Speaking of Robins, we're having the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Assoc. convention there October 19-21, 2012. They really need to get one of the C-130Es there for display. Right now they have one of the Hs that was modified for the Iran operation and an A-model that was converted to a gunship. The Air Force Museum doesn't even have an airlift/troop carrier C-130 so far. Most of the truly historic airplanes ended up in the reserves and guard and slipped through the cracks.

  20. I was looking through The Airlifter yesterday and came across a picture of an A-model taken at Naha of an airplane with a white upper fuselage. The photo is black and white so its hard to tell but I assume the fuselage was painted gray. I remember seeing this paint scheme on the White Whale C-123 but don't recall ever seeing a C-130 painted this way at that time. The caption says the airplane was undergoing an inspection by the new 374th FMS, which had just activated. In fact, the article was the occasion of the activation of the 374th Troop Carrier Wing. Anyone have any idea what airplane this was? The only thing I can think of would either be the 315th AD command airplane or an AWS WC-130A. It seems to me Col. Howe used an 815th airplane which would have been unpainted. The AWS might have sent their WC-130As to Naha for inspections but if they did, it wasn't common knowledge and they were from a different command. If anyone has a GOOD idea what it might have been, drop me an Email at [email protected] since I only come on here occasionally. (No, it doesn't show a number - if it did I'd look it up.)

    By the way, I also discovered that 53-0023 was at Naha and 53-3135 left for the States in either late '66 or early '67 because it was useless to the 315th AD mission.

  21. I looked at the Google Map of Cam Ranh and to be honest, I really couldn't pinpoint Herky Hill. I think I found it but am not 100%. As far as time tables, Herky Hill wasn't opened until 1968. The first time I spent time there was in February 1966 and we stayed in a Quonset Hut on the main base right by the C-130 ramp. From August 1966-August 1967 I was there constantly and we were in the same Quonset the entire time. The West Ramp had opened and there was talk of building a complex on that side of the base but it wasn't open yet. Maintenance personnel were in hooches not far from the Quonsets. The officers were also in a Quonset and there were several trailers for crews flying night missions. The Quonsets were originally open bay but then they divided it down the middle and gave half to the Caribou flight engineers and constructed cubicles on the other side for us.

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