April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 1
Volume 22, Issue 1
Come Fly in the Bou at Reunion 2011 in Dallas
The Radisson Hotel, 1241 W. Mock- Dallas-Ft Worth Airport (DFW) is ciation to take the Bou ﬂiers to Addison
ingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75247, 214- 16 miles away. Taxi and commercial Airport starting at 0800. The museum
630-7000 will be headquarters for Re- shuttle bus are available at DFW. has in interesting collection of aircraft
union 2011 from 21-25 Sep 2011. The Group room rate is $109.25 (includes (see information on page 3) and a small
hotel has 296 rooms, free high-speed taxes). Check-in time is 3:00 PM. Res- gift shop. Buses will make several trips
internet access, free guest parking, ervations may be made starting 1 April. to and from Addison Airport. All ﬂiers
and space for parking of RVs. URL is Specify “C-7A Caribou Association” will be back at the hotel by 1700.
www.radisson.com/dallastx_love. The when making your reservation. To get For those not visiting the Cavanaugh
hotel provides free shuttle bus from/to the group rate, your reservation must Flight Museum and/or taking a Bou
Dallas Love Field (3 miles). Love Field be made by 8/31/11. ﬂight, Friday afternoon is an opportu-
is served by Southwest, Continental War Room will be the Champagne nity to visit Northcenter Park Mall (12
Airlines, and Delta Airlines. Ballroom (sections A, B, and C). Tenta- miles) from 1200-1600. The Mall has
tive schedule of activities can be found over 120 shops, over 20 places to eat,
In This Issue on page 3. and a movie theater. Many consider
Registration will open at 1200 on that is a must for a visitor to Dallas.
President’s Corner ................. Page 2 Wednesday, 21 Sep. The Memorabilia See http://www.northparkcenter.com/
2011 Reunion activities ......... Page 3 Room will be open from 1500-1700. for information.
Pig Roast ............................... Page 4 Welcome reception from 1800-2000. Friday evening is Texas BBQ time.
Bou Heroes at Duc Lap.......... Page 4 On Thursday, we will visit the Fron- No reunion in Dallas would be respect-
Caribou Pipeline...................... Page 5 tiers of Flight Museum for guided able without enjoying a good Texas
Short Timer ........................... ..Page 7 tours (see info on page 3). Buses will BBQ. Buses will depart from the hotel,
Museum of Aviation ............. Page 8 be provided by the Association and starting at 1800. All will be back at the
New USAF Tanker ................ Page 9 will depart the hotel from 1300-1400 hotel by 2100.
Travis AFB Museum ............ Page 9 and will return at 1600. A (optional) Business meeting will be in the Coral
Duct Tape ............................. Page 10 plated dinner will be at the hotel from Room (1 and 2) from 1030-1200. While
Mortars at Can Tho .............. Page 10 1900-2100. the members are making momentous
Extractions ........................... Page 10 On Friday, it’s time to kick the tires decisions in the business meeting,
DFC at Katum ...................... Page 11 and light the ﬁres! The highlight of the the ladies can enjoy an optional Tex-
Bou Heroes at Bu Dop ......... Page 12 reunion is the opportunity to ﬂy once Mex cooking class/demo led by Chef
Bou Heroes at Loc Ninh ...... Page 12 again in our favorite airplane – the Bou. Michael Killgore. After the demo, the
Pax from Hon Quan ............. Page 13 The Cavanaugh Flight Museum has a gentlemen may join their ladies for
Con Thien.............................. Page 14 ﬂying Bou, S/N 62-4149. We hope to lunch, featuring the dishes the ladies
Bou Heroes at Con Thien ...... Page 16 be able to have 15-20 passengers on have been seeing and assisting in the
Med-evacs at LZ English ...... Page 17 each 40 minute sortie of the Bou from preparation.
Letter Home .......................... Page 17 Addison Airport (16 miles from the Group pictures will be taken from
Ben Het Recalled .................. Page 18 hotel), The ﬂight will include takeoff 1700-1830. Pay-as-you-go bar opens
Ferry Mission to U.S. ............ Page 19 and landing at Addison Airport, ﬂight in at 1800 and the banquet is from 1900-
FCF ... Plus............................ Page 22 the local area, and takeoffs and landings 2130.
Return from Bangkok ........... Page 23 at an auxiliary ﬁeld. Final permission Sunday morning wraps up the re-
Most Embarrassing Moment . Page 24 form the FAA is pending on the number union. Checkout time is 12 PM. Last
Noble Farewell ...................... Page 26 of passengers on each ﬂight. chance to pick up Memorabilia.
Airpower Classics ................. Page 27 Buses will be provided by the Asso- See you in Dover, DE in 2012.
Page 2 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
The C-7A Caribou Association Newsletter
is the oﬃcial publication of the President’s Corner
C-7A Caribou Association.
Finalizing the details of this year’s reunion have been delayed some-
Elected Oﬃcers and Board Members.... what by my slow recovery from cardio-thoracic surgery in January to
remove a carcinoid tumor from my right lung. Menu for the banquet,
Chairman of Board/Vice President - Peter Bird [535, 71]
details of the Tex-Mex cooking demonstration for the ladies, and the
President/Board Member - Pat Hanavan [535, 68]
details and schedule for ﬂights in the Bou owned by the Cavanaugh
Treasurer/Board Member - Mike Murphy [537, 68]
Secretary/Board Member - Al Cunliﬀe [458, 68]
Flight Museum will be tied down in the next few weeks. The reunion
Board Member at Large - Fred Dimon [535, 68]
ﬂyer should be in your mailbox early in
Board Member at Large - Bob Neumayer [459, 69] June. Our Dallas-based reunion team is
Board Member at Large - Pat Phillips [535, 68] pulling the last information now.
The list of possible reunion locations
Appointed Positions after 2013 includes: Ft. Walton Beach,
Bereavement Chairman - Jay Baker [535, 66] FL; Fairﬁeld, CA; and Sterling, VA.
Chaplains - Sonny Spurger [537, 68], Jon Drury [537, 68] If you have an idea about a good reunion
Historian - Robert Blaylock [457,70] location, e-mail your thoughts to a mem-
Newsletter Editor - Pat Hanavan [535, 68] ber of the Board.
Newsletter Editor Emeritus - Dave Hutchens [459, 69]
War stories, humorous tales, and little
Reunion 2011 Planners - Don Griﬃn [536, 66],
known facts are needed for the newsletter. Jot them down and send
Doug Boston [458, 68],
Charlie Austin [457, 67]
them in. These items make our newsletter top notch.
Paul Witthoeft [483, 70]
Webmaster - Peter Bird [535, 71]
President Emeritus - Nick Evanish [457, 66]
Chaplain Emeritus - Bob Davis [457, 69] B-17 Navigator’s
Squadron Representatives... Log
457th Royal Moulton [457, 66], phone 540-720-7092 1-18-44, mission #18. Frank-
457th Mike Thibodo [457, 70], phone 651-483-9799 furt, Germany. Mean Point of Im- went straight down. 15 min. later
458th Lee Corﬁeld [458, 69], phone 724-775-3027 pact – business section of town. in the group next to us, one Fort
458th Al Cunliﬀe [458, 68], phone 334-285-7706
City of 500,000 people. Carried came up under another one & cut
459th Bob Cummings [459, 66], phone 865-859-0888
38 incendiary bombs. Were #2 its tail completely off.
535th Cliﬀ Smith [535, 69], phone 804-453-3188
535th Mike Messner [535, 70], phone 321-453-0816
in lead squadron in high group. We saw two bodies ﬂy out. It
536th Dana Kelly [536, 70], phone 407-656-4536
Pathfinder mission. Briefed at spun down and one chute ﬁnally
536th Chuck Harris [536, 68], phone 325-465-8096 0230. Took off at 0630 in the got out. The other plane tore its
537th George Harmon [537, 69], phone 951-695-0630dark and had to climb through wing off and went down. Didn’t
483rd Gary Miller [483, 68], phone 262-634-4117 clouds and assemble at 18,000 see any chutes. A while later a
4449th Bill Buesking [535, 70], phone 210-403-2635ft. Left England at 0900. Got to Fort pulled out a little and one
18th AP Bill Buesking [535, 70], phone 210-403-2635I.P. and we threw out the carpet chute came out. It struggled along
Members are encouraged to communicate with the Ed- (aluminum ﬁlings to throw off and ﬁnally came back. Couldn’t
itor of the Newsletter. Send change of address, phone the radar), dropped bombs using ﬁgure it out. P-47’s ﬁnally arrived.
number, or e-mail address to: the pathﬁnder and pretty sure we Got back to England at 1330. Let
Pat Hanavan hit the city. Got past before they down through the clouds on our
12402 Winding Branch could get the ﬂak up. Splasher.
San Antonio, TX 78230-2770 Were attacked by at least 100 We lost 3 planes from our
German ﬁghters from target on squadron. German ﬁghters sure
210-479-0226 (home), 210-861-9353 (cell)
for about one hour. No escort looked new and all painted up red
$10.00 dues are payable each January. Send your showed up. A Me-109 hit head and black. Came straight through
check to on with a Fort over target. Fighter the groups also.
Mike Murphy blew up and Fort went down. 5
2036 Trailcrest Ln Apt 2r min. Later Bostwick went down.
Kirkwood, MO 63122-2263 5 chutes opened. 10 min. later a
MikeM53@earthlink.net Fort broke apart. A few min. later
a Fort went over on his back and
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 3
F-4 “Phantom.” Commercially, many
Cavanaugh Frontiers of of our airlines ended the war ﬂying
Flight Museum Flight Museum DC-3’s which carried 21 passengers
at 165 mph. Twenty-six years later,
Trace the steps of a century of ﬂight Embark on a memorable aviation we were spanning the Atlantic Ocean
during Reunion 2011. Walk past wood journey – a tour of the Frontiers of in the “Concorde” at 1,450 mph. The
and fabric aircraft from the World War Flight Museum. During your experi- full range of the airliner development
I era. Pass by signiﬁcant aircraft of the ence, you will bridge several lifetimes is presented vividly though large-scale
1930’s and World War II periods. Stop starting with the pioneers who realized cutaway models, airline posters, and
and study the early jet planes of the their earliest dreams of ﬂying; identi- other memorabilia.
1950’s. Walk on and look with amaze- fying with the aviators of the 20’s and Your tour concludes with a close-up
ment as newer, faster, more efﬁcient 30’s, known as the “Golden Age of look at the challenges of space and our
aircraft technologies continue to be Flight”; understanding the sacriﬁces of ﬁrst step toward the stars with the most
developed. In the process, you will see the ﬂiers of World War II; and progress- complex aircraft ever assembled, the
how much aviation affects our lives. ing to the jet and rocket age of today. reusable “Space Shuttle” Orbiter. Its
The collection includes: Fokker Dr.1, You will see, hear, and touch some of weight is equal to akmost two Boeing
Fokker D.V, Sopwith Camel, A-26C the rare artifacts that have contributed 737 jets. It is thrust into orbit 100 miles
Invader, TBM-3E Avenger, PV-2D Har- to this exciting history. On display is above the earth at 17,000 mph. All of
poon, B-24 Liberator, B-25J Mitchell, a World War I Sopwith “Pup” biplane this has occurred in less than 80 years
P-40N Warhawk, FG-1D Corsair, FM- along with hundreds of models, uni- since the Wright brothers ﬁrst ﬂew their
2 Wildcat, Me-109, P-51D Mustang, forms, decorations, engines, and pro- biplane.
P-47N Thunderbolt, Spitﬁre Mk VIII, pellers. You will long remember your Aircraft and missiles on display in-
Yak-3M, N2S-4 Kaydet, PT-13B, Ti- “Flight Thru Time.” clude: Culver Dart, Regulus II, PT-22,
ger Moth, PT-19, AT-6, PT-22, BT-13, You will see displayed more than 200 T-33A, Tiger Moth, Thorp T-18, Lear-
C-47, Piper L-4J, Aeronca L-3B, F9F- aircraft models representing nations jet 24D, XQM-93A, Pitts S-2B, Piper
2B Panther, S2F-1 Tracker, F-104A, involved in WW II along with the uni- Pacer, Christen Eagle II, Lear Fan 2100,
MiG-15, F-86, T-28B, AD-5 Skyraider, forms of the men and women who ﬂew Beech “Staggerwing,” F-86L, Apollo 7
UH-34D, HU-16D Albatross, OV-1D them. A special exhibit commemorates Command Module, RF-8G Crusader,
Mohawk, F-4C, MiG-17, F-105, UH- the RAF No. 1 British Flying Training A-7 Corsair II, and F-16B.
1B, AH-1J Sea Cobra, Pitts Special, J-3 School in Terrell, Texas, where 2,000 Reunion Schedule
Cub, and L-1329 JetStar II. British ﬁghter pilots were trained. Dal-
There is also a small museum store in las Love Field was the base for the 5th Wednesday, 21 Sep.
the complex of hangars and ramps. Ferrying Wing, including the 601st 1400-2100 Reunion Registration
Flights in the museum’s Caribou are Women’s Army Service Pilots (WASP). 1800-2000 Welcome reception
being arranged. Cost is from $200-250 These gallant women ﬂew all types of Thursday, 22 Sep.
per person, depending on a ﬁnal deter- aircraft including the B-24 “Liberator,” 1300-1600 buses for guided tours of
mination by the FAA about how many manufactured at Consolidated’s Fort Frontiers of Flight Museum
passengers can be carried on this special Worth plant, the P-51 “Mustang” manu- 1900-2100 (optional) dinner at hotel
occasion. The museum has committed factured at the North American plant at Friday, 23 Sep.
to providing the ﬂights at their operat- Grand Prairie, and the P-38 “Lightning” 0800 buses depart for Cavanaugh Flight
ing cost of $3,000 per hour. Details will which was modiﬁed at Dallas Love Museum (Bou ﬂights and museum)
be in the reunion ﬂyer which should be Field’s Lockheed Mod Center. 1100-1700 buses return to hotel
in your hands in early June. American air power emerged from 1200-1600 Northcenter Park Mall
So far 64 individuals have expressed World War II as a dominant force, 1800 buses to Texas BBQ dinner
interest in taking one of these nostal- both militarily and commercially. We Saturday, 24 Sep.
gic, historic (about 40 minute) “Bou ended the war ﬂying the P-51 “Mus- 1000-1130 Business Meeting
Flights.” If you haven’t indicated your tang” aircraft at a maximum speed of 1000-1200 cooking demo for Ladies
interest in riding in the Bou one more 450 mph. Barely 15 years later, our 1200-1300 Lunch for Ladies/guests
time, send an e-mail to pathanavan@ SR-71 “Blackbird” was cruising at 1700 Group pictures
aol.com with the number of seats you 2,100 mph. You will be witness to the 1900 Banquet at hotel
will need. Takeoffs and landings will dramatic progression through artifacts Sunday, 25 Sep.
be made at Addison airport and an including an early jet engine and a Depart for home
auxiliary ﬁeld. rocket powered ejection seat from the Note: buses provided by Association.
Page 4 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
knife. Faster that you can say “what’s
Pig Roast next” someone opened the door on the Bou Heroes at
by Tom Snodgrass [457, 70] crate and out popped the pig’s head. Duc Lap
Vietnam was an education for me in Immediately, one of the guys hit this 7th AF Silver Star Citation
so many ways. As with most 21 year pig square between the eyes with that S.O. G-4044, 27 Dec 1968
olds, I ﬁgured I knew pretty much all I ball peen hammer. It was a tremendous
needed to know, but I wasn’t prepared blow. All four of the pig’s legs went out Sergeant Fred G. Carr distinguished
for the many lessons in store for me. For from under him and he was motionless himself by gallantry in connection with
sure, hooch life for this kid resulted in for the millisecond it took for another military operations against an opposing
exposure to, and participation in a lot of guy to drive the butcher knife deep into armed force as a C-7A Flight Engineer
goofy stuff. This included, but was not the pig’s neck severing what I assumed near Duc Lap, Republic of Vietnam on
limited to, staying up late, telling lies, to be his jugular. This city boy stood 25 August 1968. On that date, Sergeant
and drinking ourselves silly – all made their with his mouth gaping open and Carr was ﬂying a Tactical Emergency
possible simply because we were guys in a state of shock as he watched at least Airdrop mission delivering critically
who had no adult supervision. a gallon of blood shoot 2-3 feet from needed ammunition through vicious
While I would never confuse my the pig’s throat as he squealed his last. concentrations of antiaircraft and
home town in southern Ohio with a The only thing I could say was, “What automatic weapons ﬁre in which his
large city, I think it’s safe to say that I the hell just happened here?” aircraft sustained severe battle damage,
was a city boy and not a country boy. After the pig expired, two guys pulled disabling it. Only through his perse-
That fact was driven home in a big way him from the crate and poured scalding verance during an additional pass in a
at Cam Ranh Bay when I learned where water all over the pig. They followed new aircraft, through the same hostile
pork comes from. this by using the blade of the butcher environment which had destroyed ﬁve
Someone was collecting money to knife to scrape the hair off of the pig other aircraft, was this vital resupply
purchase a live pig for a good old coun- and then hung it on the meat hooks for mission accomplished. By his gallantry
try pig roast right in our hooch party the next phase of pig prep. An incision and devotion to duty, Sergeant Carr has
area. Figuring that this fool and his was made vertically in the pig’s belly reﬂected great credit upon himself and
money have been parted before, why and someone who allegedly knew what the United States Air Force.
not invest in this venture? After all, the he was doing surgically removed items
concept involved three of my favorite from the pig’s abdominal cavity. I’m
pastimes: eating, drinking, and acting a not sure what the items were, but as I
fool. As the day approached to purchase recall they would poison the meat if not
a pig at Nha Trang to be air-freighted removed. Imagine that, all this time, I 7th AF DFC Citation
via Caribou to V-192, I was curious to thought that anything we ate at the feast S.O. G-3712 28, Nov 1968
see just what kind of pig would arrive. would be reduced to benign status once
For all I knew, it would be a stuffed WE were properly pickled. Lieutenant Colonel Elbert L. Mott
pig, a jar of pickled pigs feet, or just a After the prep work was completed, distinguished himself by heroism in
picture of a pig and we would all have they put an apple in his mouth, mounted connection with military operations
a hoot laughing about how we were him horizontally on some sort of shaft against an opposing armed force at Duc
scammed. Much to my surprise, when and hoisted him over a huge barbeque Lap, Republic of Vietnam on 25 August
the crate arrived it contained a live 88 pit where he roasted for the next 30-35 1968. On that date, Colonel Mott ﬂew
pound pig complete with squealing and hours. A huge crowd gathered in our an emergency resupply airdrop mission
pooping. I watched with interest as a outdoor party area as the pig reached to beleaguered Special Forces person-
few of the country boys prepared an perfection and the feast began. For rea- nel who were critically low on supplies
area in the sand between two hootches sons I will never admit to, my memory and in imminent danger of being over-
for the pig to meet his maker and be is fuzzy on the details of what happened run. With complete disregard for his
prepared for our little soiree. after we ate, but I know it involved a personal safety, Colonel Mott ﬂew his
As I recall, they dug a hole in the lot of sophomoric revelry and many aircraft through intensive hostile ﬁre at
sand to use as a ﬁre pit, suspended participants taking a plunge in an ice low altitude to deliver his cargo with
a caldron of water over the ﬁre, and water bath. In the end, even though the pinpoint accuracy. The outstanding
brought the water to a boil. Then they pig was consumed in its entirety, it still heroism and selﬂess devotion to duty
fashioned a makeshift meat hook on fared better than most of us. But a good displayed by Colonel Mott reﬂect great
one of the hootches and produced a time was had by all. credit upon himself and the United
ball peen hammer and a large butcher Oh … to be young again! States Air Force.
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 5
the camp’s immediate headquarters at sions.
Caribou Pipeline Ban Me Thuot, starting point for sorties At night, those who aren’t on watch
to Duc Lap to and from Duc Lap. The Caribou pilot descend like moles into underground
can and does act as bus driver between sleeping quarters lit by glaring light
The Duc Lap Civilian Irregular De- the two points by occasionally adding bulbs.
fense Group camp lives on the end of passengers to his load. As Caribou crews ﬂy back to Cam
a U.S. Air Force C-7 Caribou pipeline. Cronlum said that about 95 per cent Ranh Bay Air Base after a day of sup-
Caribou crews from the 483rd Tactical of the camp’s personnel are Montag- plying Duc Lap, they are quite aware
Airlift Wing almost daily shuttle food, nards. “Now that they are better armed, that Duc Lap lives. They make it so.
ammunition, lumber, concertina wire they can stand up to Viet Cong and NVA
and a variety of other supplies into this intimidation. All they had before were
camp of CIDG troops with dependents crossbows which really are no match Enlisted Milestones
and U.S. Special Forces advisers. for automatic weapons,” he went on. in History
That predominantly Montagnard The noticeable serenity of the area
camp near the Cambodian border is but was quite a contrast to the times that 3 Oct 1993: TSgt Timothy Wilkin-
one of many locations that rely on the the camp has been under heavy attack son, MSgt Scott Fales and SSgt Jeffrey
Caribou “pipeline.” – times when the C-7s kept bringing Bray, members Task Force Ranger
“We just couldn’t live without ’em,” in supplies. in Mogadishu, Somalia, respond to a
said 1st Lt. John Cronlum, Duc Lap Most of the working and living ﬁreﬁght. Wilkinson earns the Air Force
advisory team executive ofﬁcer. “It’s areas of the Camp are buried under Cross for extraordinary heroism – the
pretty difﬁcult to get a convoy into here, clay, timber, and cement to withstand ﬁrst since Vietnam; Fales and Bray earn
so we have to rely on the C-7s.” attacks. There is a project going on to Silver Stars for gallantry.
Coming into Duc Lap, the Caribou cap sandbag bunkers with cement that 25 Jun 1996: Khobar Towers Dhah-
had to circle the ﬁeld three times until is brought in by Caribou. ran, Saudia Arabia, nineteen Air Force
a U.S. Army helicopter had cleared the A maze of tunnels leads to the tactical personnel killed in the terrorist bomb-
landing area. operations center, the heart of the camp, ing.
Cronlum said that, independent of where a radio operator keeps in touch
the camp itself, the area is often used with landing Caribous.
as a staging zone for U.S. and ARVN The camp dispensary is also under- Third Offensive: 1968
operations which are also supported ground and is run by Sgt. Charles Bick- Excerpted from
by Caribous. enheuser, a medical technician qualiﬁed Special Forces at War
Time and time again the C-7s had to perform minor surgery. Bickenheuser by Shelby L. Stanton
visited the two red clay hills known as refers to his dispensary as a “hospital” The pace of the war in 1968 intensi-
Duc Lap. Tree tops in the camp area with its clean, well-equipped operating ﬁed again when the long-anticipated
are dotted with what looks like white room and medical laboratory which is communist Third Offensive began on
hankies. “Those are parachutes from equipped to provide most of the ser- August 18 in Tay Ninh Province and
illumination ﬂares ﬁred from mortars. vices of a large hospital lab. then spread to other regions of the
Your C-7s bring in the ﬂares, as well There is a second underground dis- country. The most signiﬁcant battle of
as all our other ammunition.” That in- pensary at another part of the camp that this offensive occurred in the Central
cludes the rocket launchers, recoilless is used as a back-up. Medical supplies Highlands at Camp Duc Lap. From
riﬂes, grenade launchers, and countless are Caribou delivered. August 23 to 29 three North Vietnam-
small arms. One of the Montagnard women at ese Army regiments (66th, 95C, 320th)
“The mission of the camp is to survey the camp is a trained nurse and assists attempted to destroy the Civilian Ir-
the area for enemy troop movements,” Bickenheuser, who sometimes doubles regular Defense Group (CIDG) camp
Cronlum said. “We have two types of as veterinarian for camp pets. as well as nearby South Vietnamese
teams. One on perimeter defense four The advisory team spends much of district headquarters. Camp Duc Lap
clicks (kilometers) around the camp. its time in the “team” room, an above was partially overrun, but the camp
The other goes on regular operations to ground structure that serves as a din- defenders eventually regained all fallen
halt inﬁltration,” he continued. ing hall by day and movie theater by positions with the help of counterat-
The ﬁrst Caribou run of that day in- night. Their refrigerator is stocked with tacking elements from both 2nd and
cluded food as well as gas for the jeep refreshments brought in by Caribou. 5th Mobile Strike Force Commands.
and truck that greeted the aircraft upon They also use the building for group The North Vietnamese were forced to
landing. Requests for goods are made to discussions and problem solving ses- retreat.
Page 6 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
Your kids are becoming you You used to say,
... and you don’t like them “I hope my kids GET married...
... but your grandchildren are perfect! Now it’s, “I hope they STAY married!”
Going out is good. You miss the days when everything worked
Coming home is better! with just an “ON-OFF” switch.
When people say you look “Great” When Google, iPod, e-mail, modem ...
... they add “for your age!” were unheard of, and a mouse
made you climb on a table.
When you needed the discount,
you paid full price. You used to use more 4 letter words ...
Now you get discounts on everything... “what?” ... ”when?” ... ???
movies, hotels, ﬂights,
but you’re too tired to use them. Now that you can afford
You forget names ... but it’s OK, it’s not safe to wear it anywhere.
because other people forgot
they even knew you!!! Your husband has a night out
with the guys, but he’s home by 9:00 P.M.
The 5 pounds you wanted to lose Next week it will be 8:30 P.M.
is now 15 and you have a better chance
of losing your keys than the 15 pounds. You read 100 pages into a book
before you realize you’ve read it.
You realize you’re never going
to be really good at anything Notice everything they sell
... especially golf. in stores is “sleeveless”?!!!
Your spouse is counting on you What used to be freckles
to remember things you don’t remember. are now liver spots.
The things you used to care to do, Everybody whispers.
you no longer care to do,
but you really do care that you Now that your husband has retired ...
don’t care to do them anymore. you’d give anything if he’d ﬁnd a job!
Your husband sleeps better on a You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet ...
lounge chair with the TV blaring 2 of which you will never wear.
than he does in bed.
It’s called his “pre-sleep”. But old is good in some things:
Remember when your mother said, old movies,
“Wear clean underwear in case you And best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!
GET in an accident”?
Now you bring clean underwear in case
you HAVE an accident!
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 7
I tell you, DJ, Air Combat Command pronounce the names of the NAVAIDs
I Want To Be A airlift is where it’s at! Where else is in France, and it’s much easier to ignore
Fighter Pilot it legal to throw tanks, HUMVs, and them and to go where you want to any-
Sir: other crap out the back of an airplane, way. As a rule of thumb: waiters and
I am D. J. Baker and I would ap- and not even worry about it when the bellhops in France are always called
preciate it if you could tell me what it chute doesn’t open and it torpedoes “Pierre,” in Spain it’s “Hey, Pedro” and
takes to be an F-22 ﬁghter pilot in the the General’s staff car! Nowhere else in Italy, of course, it’s “Mario.” These
USAF. What classes should I take in can you land on a 3,000 foot dirt strip, terms of address also serve in other
high school to help the career I want to kick a bunch of ammo and stuff out countries interchangeably, depending
take later in life? What could I do to get on the ramp without stopping, then on the level of awareness of the ad-
into the Air Force Academy? takeoff again before range control can dressee.
Sincerely, call to tell you that you’ve landed on 5. A study of geography is para-
DJ Baker the wrong LZ! And talk about exotic mount. You will need to know the basic
****************************** travel – when C-130’s go somewhere, location of all the places you’ve been
From: xxx, Lt Col, HQ AETC they GO somewhere (usually for 3 when you get back from your TDY and
Anybody in our outﬁt want to help months, unfortunately). This gives you are ready to stick those little pins in
this poor kid from Cyberspace? the opportunity to immerse yourself in that huge world map you’ve got taped
****************************** the local culture long enough to give to your living room wall, right next to
A worldly and jaded C-130 pilot, the locals a bad taste in their mouths the giant wooden giraffe statue and beer
Major xxx, rises to the task of answer- regarding the USAF and Americans stein collection.
ing the young man’s letter. in general, not something those C-17 Well, DJ, I hope this little note in-
****************************** Globemaster III pilots can do from their spires you. And by the way, forget about
Dear DJ, airport hotel rooms! the Academy thing. All airlifters know
Obviously, through no fault of your As far as recommendations for your that there are waaay too few women
own, your young and impressionable course of study, I offer these: and too little alcohol there to provide
brain has been poisoned by the super- 1. Take a lot of math courses. You’ll a well-balanced education. A nice, big
ﬂuous, hyped-up, “Top Gun” media need all the math skills you can muster state college or the Naval Academy
portrayal of ﬁghter pilots. to enable you to calculate per diem rates would be a much better choice.
Unfortunately, this portrayal could around the world, and when trying to xxx,
not be further from the truth. In my split up the crew’s bar tab so that the Major, USAF
experience, I’ve found most ﬁghter pi- copilot really believes he owes 85%
lots pompous, backstabbing, momma’s of the whole thing and the navigator Short Timer
boys with inferiority complexes, as well believes he owes the other 20%. by Kenny Bryant [458, 71]
as being extremely over-rated aeronau- 2. Health sciences are important, too. At Phu Cat, we didn’t have a BX, so
tically. However, rather than dash your You need a thorough knowledge of twice a week we took a duce and a half
budding dreams of becoming a USAF biology to make educated guesses of to Qui Nhon for “supplies,” taking turns
pilot, I offer the following alternative: how much longer you can drink beer riding “Shotgun.” Once, my roommate
What you really want to aspire to is before the G.I.s catch up to you from (named Pavilok) took my place – I’d
the exciting, challenging and reward- that meal you ate at the place that had pulled a double shift and didn’t remem-
ing world of TACTICAL AIRLIFT. the really good belly dancers in some ber that I’d volunteered.
And this, young DJ, means one thing, God-forsaken foreign country whose On the way back, they got caught in a
the venerable workhorse, the C-130! I name you can’t even pronounce. cross ﬁre and the VC blew a half pallet
can guarantee no ﬁghter pilot can brag 3. Social studies are also beneﬁcial. of beer off the truck, so they retreated to
that he has led a 12-ship formation It is important for a good airlifter to an Army ﬁre base. That night, the Army
down a valley at 300 feet above the have the cultural knowledge to be able guys conﬁscated the rest of the beer.
ground, with the navigator leading the to ascertain the exact location of the I don’t think he ever forgave me for
way and trying to interpret an alter- nearest topless bar in any country in the getting him to take my place. I think
nate route to the drop zone, avoiding world, then be able to convince the lo- he only had a couple of weeks left in
pop-up threats, and coordinating with cal authorities to release the loadmaster country and you KNOW how skittish
AWACS, all while eating a box lunch after he offends every sensibility of the you get when you start getting short.
with the engineer in the back relieving local religion and culture. We’d always say, “What a shame it
himself, and the loadmaster puking in 4. A foreign language is helpful but would be to not make it home with only
his trash can! not required. You will never be able to a week or two left.”
Page 8 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
Parts Needed by the Museum of Aviation
Museum of Aviation for C-7A 62-9756 restoration
Location T. O.: 1C-7A-4 Part Number Qty
C-7A S/N 62-9756
The Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB, GA is Cockpit
considering a major rework of its historic “Caribou.” Clock A13A or AN5743 2
Your recent reunion made us more aware of its less Cockpit Panel assy, LH C4F1528-49 1
than stellar condition. As a result we plan to move it Cockpit Panel assy, center C4F1528-51/57 1
up in the repainting queue to either late this year or Cockpit Panel assy, RH C4F1528-9 1
sometime next year. While we can give her a good Windows
paint job we are still in need of other various items LH window Slider Assy C4B1137-1 1
that will be needed for the serious restoration we LH Slider Glass C4B1133-3 1
plan before it goes into a future hangar. RH window Slider Assy C4B1137-2 1
As I mentioned when I talked to your association, LH Rear C4B1139-3 1
it is very high on list to be sheltered either in the next RH Rear C4B1139-4 1
hangar or, if I can ﬁgure out how to squeeze it in the LH Eyebrow C4B1140-3 1
back of our new hangar now. RH Eyebrow C4B1140-4 1
With all that in mind, we could sure use some help RH Aft Overhead C4B1141-5 1
acquiring some of the parts we need for the complete LH Aft Overhead C4B1142-3 1
restoration before it goes inside for the last time. LH Windshield C4B10215-1 1
Granted we’re not sure exactly when that will be RH Windshield C4B10215-2 1
but some of the parts are getting scarce. I can only Hatch, assembly C4B1144-5 1
outline our requirements and if corporately or indi- Panel assy, roof hatch C4B1143-5 1
vidually your members would like to help us we will RH Slider Glass C4B1133-4 1
always be appreciative. Attached is a short slide Ramp
show showing some of the parts we need and it Coupling 8-031 2
will be pretty obvious why. Also attached is a list Adapter C4B1885-1 1
that reference the parts book to clearly identify Shaft Assy, drive C4B1884-1 1
what we need. Shaft Assy C4B1667-3 2
We would sincerely appreciate any help y’all could Gear assy, bevel AR300 1
provide. You know we are committed to preserving Gear assy, bevel AR320 1
this bird and as I briefed, it will be here for at least Gear bevel, RH C4B1650-1 1
100 or 200 years. We just need a little help to make Gear bevel, LH C4B1650-3 1
it the best possible example for posterity. Mechanism assy C4B1671-1 1
Actuator R6116-11 1
Ken Emery, Museum of Aviation Director Misc.
Robins AFB, GA 31098 478-926-5796 Top Fuselage access Spring C5P155-1 4
Panel assy, hinged C4B1712-5 4
Spring CSP155-1 4
Panel assy, hinged C4B1712-3 4
Ampliﬁer, elec control AM6108ARN-97 1
Converter, RMI CV1275/ARN 1
Panel, switch, IFF antenna 796-8663-001 1
Flap Seal, Fwd C4W1861-7 or 2
Flap Seal, Trailing edge C4W1861-9 or 2
Engine Cover assy, latch, LH C4P1098-35 1
Engine Cover assy, latch, LH C4P1098-41 1
Engine Cover assy, latch, LH C4P1098-43 1
Engine Cover assy, latch, RH C4P1098-44 1
Gear Cover L&R C4U1050-5 or 2
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 9
If you pick up a starving dog and
KC-46A – Travis AFB Museum make him prosperous, he will not bite
New USAF Tanker C-7A S/N 60-3767 you; that is the principal difference be-
tween a dog and a man – Mark Twain
The Boeing Company has received The Travis AFB Museum will soon One reason a dog can be such a com-
a contract from the U.S. Air Force to change its name to the Jimmie Doolittle fort when you’re feeling blue is that he
build the next-generation aerial refuel- Air & Space Museum. On 1 January doesn’t try to ﬁnd out why. – Author
ing tanker aircraft that will replace 179 2011, a fund raising effort was kicked Unknown
of the service’s 400 KC-135 tankers. off to build a new museum on 11 acres A man may smile and bid you hail,
Boeing will design, develop, manu- at the Travis Air Force Base Heritage yet wish you to the devil; but when a
facture, and deliver 18 initial combat- Center. This $12.5 million dollar capital good dog wags his tail, you know he’s
ready tankers by 2017. project is for all who have a passion on the level. – Author Unknown
The Air Force chose an American- for aviation, for history, and a love of There is no psychiatrist in the world
built, multi-mission tanker based on our country. like a puppy licking your face. – Ben
the proven Boeing 767 commercial The Museum will tell the story and Williams
airplane and meets all requirements honor those that have made the ultimate Scratch a dog and you’ll ﬁnd a per-
at the lowest risk for the warﬁghter sacriﬁce for our freedom! Help is so- manent job. – Franklin P. Jones
and the best value for taxpayers. The licited to create a place of learning that Don’t accept your dog’s admiration
integrated “One Boeing” team is from inspires and educates. as conclusive evidence that you are
various sites across the company, The primary goal at the new museum wonderful. – Ann Landers
including employees from the Com- is to educate the public on the history Anybody who doesn’t know what
mercial Airplanes; Defense, Space & of Jimmy Doolittle, our war history, the soap tastes like never washed a dog.
Security; and Engineering, Operations Berlin Airlift, the return of POWs from – Franklin P. Jones
& Technology organizations. Vietnam, and why so many hundreds If I have any beliefs about immortal-
The KC-46A tankers will be built us- of thousands of people have sacriﬁced ity, it is that certain dogs I have known
ing a low-risk approach to manufactur- and died to keep our country and the will go to heaven – and very, very few
ing by a trained and experienced U.S. world free! persons. – James Thurber
work force at existing Boeing facilities. Located an hour from San Francisco If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting
The KC-46A tanker also will fuel the or Sacramento, the Travis Air Museum enough exercise.
economy, supporting about 50,000 total has one of the largest collections of My goal in life is to be as good a per-
U.S. jobs with Boeing and more than military aircraft and artifacts on the son as my dog already thinks I am.
800 suppliers in more than 40 states. West Coast. Established in 1982 and Dogs love their friends and bite their
The KC-46A Tanker is a wide body, opened in 1987, the collection contains enemies, quite unlike people, who are
multi-mission aircraft updated with the 35 aircraft, including a C-7A Caribou, incapable of pure love and always
latest and most advanced technology plus several hundred other artifacts. have to mix love and hate – Sigmund
and capable of meeting or exceeding The current museum is in a 45,000 sq. Freud
the Air Force’s needs for transport of ft. former commissary building. Dogs are not our whole life, but they
fuel, cargo, passengers and patients. Construction will begin in the spring make our lives whole. – Roger Caras
It includes state-of-the-art systems of 2012 with the grand opening in the The most affectionate creature in the
to meet the demanding mission re- fall of 2013. world is a wet dog. – Ambrose Bierce
quirements of the future, including a This is a possible location for one of Properly trained, a Man can be Dog’s
digital ﬂight deck featuring Boeing 787 our memorial benches and a reunion best friend. – Corey Ford
Dreamliner electronic displays and a some time after 2013. The reason a dog has so many friends
ﬂight control design philosophy that is that he wags his tail instead of his
places aircrews in command rather than tongue.
allowing computer software to limit About Dogs Women and cats will do as they
combat maneuverability. please, and men and dogs should relax
The KC-46A features an advanced and People and get used to the idea. – Robert A.
KC-10 boom with an expanded refuel- If there are no dogs in Heaven, then Heinlein
ing envelope, increased fuel off-load when I die I want to go where they My dog is worried about the economy
rate and ﬂy-by-wire control system. went. – Will Rogers because Alpo is up to $3 a can. That’s
The KC-46A burns 24 percent less fuel The average dog is a nicer person than almost $21 in dog money. – Joe Wein-
than EADS’ proposed A330 tanker. the average person. – Andy Rooney stein
Page 10 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
riot act and said that I wanted that tape took off running to the nearest cover I
Duct Tape back right away. After several days, could ﬁnd, which I thought was a duce
by Dave Kowalski [908, 75] it still hadn’t shown up so I ﬁgured and half truck.
The 908th Tactical Air Group (Re- someone had taken it for a home proj- I slid underneath the truck and was
serve) had the C-7A since 1971 and ect. We needed the tape, so I ordered hugging the rear axle for protection.
most of the maintenance troops learned another roll and the missing tape was No sooner had I settled under the truck
how to work on them by October 1974. written off. when I noticed there were two guys
This was before Complete Tool Kits Fast forward to a windy spring morn- over in the ditch yelling for me to come
(CTKs) and everyone carried their own ing in April of 1975. The dogwood over there. I knew the ditch ran between
toolbox to the job site. We also carried trees were in bloom and everything was the Caribou parking ramp and the ﬁre
our own goodie bag of spare bench beautiful. We had just blocked out our station road and was always full of
stock items: nuts, bolts, gaskets, etc. I ﬁrst four morning ﬂights. Three of the water, so there was no way I was going
was ﬂight chief at the time and carried birds took off on time. The last one sat to get wet and muddy.
some of the big stuff like duct tape, on the takeoff row working his ﬂight After about 6 to 10 mortars, the attack
All Purpose Glue (APG), and rolls of controls. The pilot on this aircraft was stopped. That’s when I found out these
Velcro tape in the ﬂight line expediter Lt. Col. C.B. (the same guy who was Army guys were the truck driver and
truck. None of it was accountable. The mission commander when we brought his spotter. The real kicker is that when
guys just used the stuff as needed. the Caribous back from Thailand). That I crawled out from under the truck, to
The ﬂight crews want to get the heat- tale was in the July 2005 newsletter. my surprise, I found that this truck was
ers in the Bou working. Pilots can’t ﬂy Lt. Col. C.B. always checked all of loaded with 105 mm charges that were
if their feet are cold. Some crew chiefs his ﬂight controls one last time before to be loaded on the aircraft as soon I
learned that the main malfunction of the releasing the brakes. Aircraft #4 came ﬁnished with the refueling.
cockpit heater was the football valve taxing back to the spot. During the I felt like a real fool that day, but I
that controlled the differential pres- debrieﬁng Lt. Col. C.B. said there was knew that someone was deﬁnitely look-
sure operating the fuel control for the something wrong with the elevators ─ ing out for me. From that day on, I was
heater. It was located under the seam of big time. The crew chief conﬁrmed it. going to get in the ditch or run to the
the nose access hatch, right in front of When the nose access hatch was opened bunker, a Connex container, we built
the cockpit windows. The vent for the ─ yep, you guessed it! The missing behind the 8th Aerial Port building.
football valve was also located directly roll of duct tape (six months missing)
under the seam of the nose access hatch. was wedged behind the elevator con- Extractions
When it rained, the seal leaked, the trol bracket. Every time the control by Cary Stephenson [458, 67]
valve ﬁlled with water, and the valve was moved, it got wedged tighter and The original mission on 27 Sep 1968
became inoperative. tighter. Lt. Col. C.B. said he thought he was a routine Med-Evac. We had a busy
While the crew chiefs had the hatch felt a slight bump when he checked his day with 12 sorties, ﬁnishing up at Nha
open and were ﬁxing this problem, they ﬂight controls. That roll of duct tape lay Trang. We refueled and headed home at
also ﬁxed any broken or cracked heater on a little shelf angle above the elevator dusk to Cam Ranh Bay. Enroute to CRB
ducts. The ducts were ﬁberglass and control bracket through dozens of take we got an emergency call from ALCE
the quickest way to repair them was offs and landings and had not dropped telling us to proceed to a staging area
with duct tape. If you ever had the nose off until that spring morning. west of Ban Me Thuot City and pick up
hatch open on a C-7, you know it is one This could easily have been one of a 25 man Special Forces team and take
of the most crowded compartments on those “unexplained” aircraft accidents. them to Nha Trang. They reportedly
the aircraft; with heaters and ducts, FOD kills! needed immediate extraction as they
pulleys, gimbals, and brackets. Most had engaged NVA regulars, were low
of the heaters got ﬁxed and the pilots Mortars at Can Tho on food, water and ammo, plus some
were happy and they could keep their by Rich Coca [536, 67] may be wounded. It was dark when we
little footsies warm. In March 1968 at Can Tho, sometime arrived over Ban Me Thuot. We made
Sometime that fall season I discov- around lunch time, the pilots were over contact with the team and easily located
ered that my large roll of 3” duct tape at the Special Forces chow hall get- them on the short grass strip which was
was missing from the truck. The crew ting some lunch and I was on top of ﬂooded with moonlight. I elected to
chiefs had a tendency to pass the tape the wing refueling a 536th yellow tail make a lights-out landing and planned
from one person to another as required. when a mortar round hit down by the to keep the engines running.
Duct tape can be used for many things ﬁre station. I immediately let go of the Once on the ground, the troops (all
to repair a Caribou! I read everyone the fueling hose, slid down the ﬂap and Continued on Page 11
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 11
Once airborne, I contacted Tuy Hoa, load, which we did to the accompani-
Extractions (from Page 10)
declared an emergency, described our ment of mortar shell explosions. When
U.S. Army) quickly boarded. The onboard wounded needing urgent atten- the ﬂight engineer called “Load clear,”
leader was in a big hurry to get airborne tion, and requested that doctors meet I shoved the throttles full forward and
as he felt that the NVA had been tailing the aircraft. The medical help was there did a dance off the ramp and between
them. I remember how exhausted the waiting when we landed. I obtained the holes to take off. With holes in the
troops looked, some were shaking all contact information for a doctor so that aluminum and c**p in our pants I just
over (malaria maybe) and it was obvi- I could check on the wounded later. We headed back to Bien Hoa.
ous the men went through one hell of an dropped the rest of the troops at Nha As usual, the “Queens of the Fleet”
ordeal on these interdiction missions. I Trang and went home. Our crew day – the Herky Birds – got the front row
believe we picked up 26 troops; don’t had been over 18 hours when we closed seats and we were parked in the Out-
recall the extent of the wounded. They out the mission. back. The Capt was continuing a “dis-
wanted to take all of their weapons A follow-up late the next day made cussion” he had begun about my undis-
and equipment. I could see an over my day. The doctor I called told me ciplined manner. Just as I was about to
gross weight take-off in the making, the two most seriously wounded were jump off the ramp, he “helped” me. As a
but agreed to take everything. The stable and would survive, but likely courteous 1/Lt, I immediately “helped”
over grossed condition didn’t bother would have died had they not received him off, too. Two torn ﬂight suits later
me as much as being able to clear the medical attention when they did. we were in front of the crusty Maj in
tall trees at the end of the short grass Note: Major Stephenson and his the ALCE. He feigned not noticing our
ﬁeld. I made the take-off, brushing the crew received the DFC for this mis- bruised faces and torn cotton grays as
tops of the trees at the end of the strip. sion. Other crew members were prob- he received our report, in writing.
At Nha Trang, I inspected the aircraft ably Lt Castner R. Waddell and TSgt After I returned to the U.S., the Lt Col
and found several small nicks in the Lawrence F. Snyder, based on 7th AF squadron commander at the USAFA
propeller blades and a few scratches Special Orders. caught me as I was headed out the door
under the fuselage. at the end of the day (T-41 Squadron)
As we taxied out for take-off to CRB, DFC at Katum at Peterson Field. With an enigmatic
ALCE called and told us to go back and by Jan Gerstner [458, 70] smile he said, in what was probably a
pick up another 25 man team working There was a Tactical Emergency mock stern voice, “Gerstner, wear your
their way to the staging area. They also or Emergency Resupply at Katum, I Class A’s tomorrow and be here at 0700
needed immediate extraction as they don’t remember which, staged out of sharp.” Gulp.
were virtually out of everything and Bien Hoa. We got tapped to ﬂy ammo All night I tried to think of what I
had seriously wounded troops among to Katum and the copilot (from CRB) had done and what he was going to do
them. Upon arrival we did not see the was replaced with a wing safety Capt. to me. I showed as ordered, to ﬁnd the
troops, had no radio contact, and were Don’t know why. squadron in formation and a two-star
unsure if the area was secure. We were Upon arrival at Katum, we were put standing beside him. It looked like a
prepared to wait them out if necessary. in a hold while the “much more im- ﬁring squad. Figured I was doomed.
Again, I made a lights-out landing. The portant” Herky Birds did some aerial The Lt Col called the squadron to
troops came out of the shadows and deliveries. LAPES or airdrops, don’t attention and ordered me to stand be-
started boarding. The team leader was remember which. Fighters and gun- side him. He did a quick intro and the
anxious to get airborne, he was also ships were tilling the countryside. two-star proceeded to read the citation
worried that the NVA was tailing them Our turn came. On ﬁnal approach and pin the DFC on me. I’ve always
and were not far behind. we saw artillery or mortar ﬁre pitch wondered if the other guys got DFCs.
A medic came up front and told me dirt and a Herky Bird sent rubber into Still can’t ﬁgure out why I did.
two of his wounded could not make it the air. There were already holes in the Years later, I got what may be a par-
over the mountains to Nha Trang – one runway and I planned a full-ﬂap ap- tial explanation of the possible confu-
was shot through the neck, struggling proach. The Capt was less than happy sion about the date (8 Nov 70). Turned
to breathe; another with a hand blown that I continued and the ﬂight engineer out it was the Army commander at Ka-
off who had lost a lot of blood. I sug- reported hearing the tinkle of ground tum who put me (us?) in for the DFC.
gested we ﬂy around the mountains and ﬁre modifying the tail. An E-6 in Personnel at Reese AFB said
he readily agreed. Then, I remembered A 40o ﬂap landing was, ahem, ﬁrm. the Air Force probably didn’t like the
that we would come close to Tuy Hoa Full reverse and braking let us taxi wording and changed the citation to
and could get immediate help for the directly onto the ramp. The ﬂight en- reﬂect what they wanted. Don’t know
seriously wounded. gineer and I had set up for a speed off if that’s true.
Page 12 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
Special Forces in the Bo Duc district headquarters while professional skill and airmanship dis-
pinning nearby Camp Bu Dop under played by Capt DeLawter reﬂect great
Vietnam: 1967 intense mortar and rocket barrages. credit upon himself and the United
Excerpted from In the western Central Highlands, States Air Force.”
Special Forces at War heavy ﬁghting erupted around Camp
by Shelby L. Stanton Dak To in Kontum Province on Novem- Bou Heroes at
The escalation of the Vietnam conﬂict ber 5, 1967. Camp and Mobile Strike
during 1967 involved Special Forces in Force reconnaissance units became Loc Ninh
greatly expanded combat operations. embroiled in combat, and this action Adapted from
During the year, more camps were developed into one of the longest and 7th AF Silver Star Citation
opened in the midst of traditional Viet hardest-fought engagements of the Major Robert S. Hopkins II [and his
Cong base areas or North Vietnamese Second Indochina War. crew: 1/Lt George C. Patrick, Jr and
border strongholds. Camp Con Thien On November 15 and 16, Camp TSgt Allan E. Gustafson] distinguished
was constructed next to the DMZ sepa- Dak To was hit by several mortar vol- himself by gallantry in connection with
rating North and South Vietnam. This leys that caused serous damage and military operations against an oppos-
placement was immediately challenged smashed three Air Force cargo planes ing armed force as a C-7A Aircraft
by two NVA battalions that attempted to on the runway [see C-130 Losses at Commander near Loc Ninh, Republic
overrun the compound on 8 May. Dak To on next page]. Another Special of Vietnam on 2 November 1967. On
Another ill-fated northern camp, Forces camp, Ben Het was subjected that date, Major Hopkins was ﬂying a
Lang Vei, suffered a ground attack to daily concentrations of mortar and Tactical Emergency Airlift mission car-
aided by inside Viet Cong inﬁltrators rocket ﬁre. rying a Combat Control Team to Loc
on May 4. These actions underscored Ninh, scene of a ﬁerce battle which had
the increased tempo of ﬁghting along Bou Heroes at begun two days before. The airstrip was
the northern border. By year’s end sev- Bu Dop under hostile ﬁre and Major Hopkins’
eral North Vietnamese divisions were 7th AF Air Medal Citation aircraft came under automatic weapons
located inside Quang Tri Province. ﬁre throughout the approach. Less than
Camps Prek Lok and Tong Le Chon Lt Col Robert J. Wann, Maj Bobby H. ﬁve hundred feet of the dirt airstrip
were established in War Zone C north- Haverland, Capt Richard H. Solem, and was useable due to craters from hostile
west of Saigon. Both forts came under SSgt William P. Murphy, all of the 458th artillery, and even this short stretch
heavy enemy attack, and Tong Le Chon TAS, received the DFC for actions at of dirt was covered with unexploded
was reduced to shambles by a major Bu Dop on 24 or 25 Mar 1967. Details mortar shells. Major Hopkins made
North Vietnamese infantry assault on are probably similar to those described a successful landing, delivering the
August 7. in the citation for the Air Medal award- Combat Control Team, the ﬁrst step in
Camp Loc Ninh [see Bou Heroes at ed to Capt Wayne E. DeLawter (7th AF opening the ﬁeld for the airlift vital to
Loc Ninh on this page], another War SO G-1572, 3 Oct 1967). the forces at Loc Ninh. By his gallantry
Zone C bastion, was close-assaulted “Capt Wayne E. DeLawter dis- and devotion to duty, Major Hopkins
several times between October 29 and tinguished himself by meritorious has reﬂected great credit upon himself
November 2. During these encounters achievement while participating in and the United States Air Force.
Detachment A-331 repulsed repeated aerial ﬂight near Bu Dop, Republic
attacks by the 9th Viet Cong Division’s Of Vietnam on 24 March 1967. On CRB Troop Center
272nd and 273rd regiments. The enemy that date, Capt DeLawter was ﬂying a Stars and Stripes, 19 Feb 67
sustained grievous casualties and failed Tactical Emergency mission in support The ﬁrst 707 jet ferrying American
to reach the outer parapets of the cita- of besieged friendly ground forces. servicemen directly to Cam Ranh Bay
del. During the course of this mission Capt from the United States has touched
Following this defeat, North Viet- DeLawter ﬂew his reinforcement laden down at the new airstrip here, ofﬁcially
namese and Viet Cong forces withdrew aircraft through extremely adverse marking the opening of the U.S. Army’s
closer to the Cambodian border – with- weather conditions at night, into a short 22nd Replacement Battalion.
in easy proximity of their main reﬁtting dirt strip lit only by smudge pots and The unit will process all Army per-
and supply centers – and reconcentrated an occasional ﬂare, and coming under sonnel arriving at or departing from
efforts against traditional targets like sporadic ground ﬁre from hostile forces the I and II Corps tactical zones in the
Camp Bu Dop [see Bou Heroes at Bu below. The besieged camp, using the Republic of Vietnam. Previously, all
Dop in the next column]. airlifted reinforcements, was able to USARV personnel were ﬂown in or out
On November 29 the enemy stormed repel the attack by the hostile force. The of country through Saigon.
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 13
us he was ready to go, I looked back “I have one stripe, it is 2:30 in the
C-130 Losses at down the fuselage. morning, the temperature is 40 degrees
Dak To (15 Nov 1967) It was teeming humanity – both the below zero, and my job here is to pump
Excerpted from IP and I did the mental arithmetic and s**t out of an aircraft. Now, just exactly
Vietnam Air Losses decided the ﬂight was doable. And it what form of punishment did you have
by Chris Hobson was. I ﬁgured we had a record in the in mind?”
One of the bloodiest battles of the making and asked the ﬂight engineer
war was fought in the Central High- to count heads after landing (many
lands near Dak To between 3 and 22 children and old adults). Ben Het: Jun-Jul 1969
November 1967. After three weeks of My memory is not exact, but the MACV History, 1969, Vol. II
heavy ﬁghting the US 4th Infantry Di- number he gave was around 70, count- The Common Service Airlift System
vision and the 173rd Airborne Brigade ing the crew. Later on I related all this (CSAS) emergency airlift procedures as
forced the NVA to retire, leaving many to the senior ﬂight engineer. He told implemented by the 834th Air Div were
casualties on both sides. Having noted me our (pretty young) ﬂight engineer used with considerable success when
the pattern of early morning arrivals of that day had been afraid to tell us that the enemy attempted to overrun the Ben
C-130’s at Dak To, the North Vietnam- he had counted about a 100. Het CIDG camp in late May (see Chap-
ese waited until three Hercules were ter V, Ground Operations). Enemy ac-
sitting on the parking ramp before ﬁring Honey Bucket Humor tivity intensiﬁed to the point where the
10 rockets into the area. Two Hercules A C-141 was scheduled to leave CIDG camp was completely dependent
(62-1865 and 63-7827 of the 776th TAS Thule Air Base, Greenland at midnight upon aerial resupply. During this period
at CCK) were hit and soon engulfed in during a winter month. During the of increased enemy activity, C-7A air-
ﬂames. A third aircraft was backed out pilot’s preﬂight check, he discovers craft were operating into Ben Het. By
of the way of the inferno by Capt J. H. that the latrine holding tank is still full 1 Jun intense enemy mortar attacks and
Glenn and his crew during a lull in the from the last ﬂight. So a message is sent deteriorating runway conditions forced
attack and a fourth aircraft, which had to the base and an airman who was off the suspension of air-landed operations.
landed moments before the ﬁrst rounds duty is called out to take care of it. Air drops of ammunition and supplies
exploded, took off again rapidly. The The young man ﬁnally gets to the air began on 3 Jun and continued through
attack also destroyed 17,000 gallons base and makes his way to the aircraft 10 Jun with FAC and helicopter gun-
of fuel and over 1,300 tons of ordnance only to ﬁnd that the latrine pump-truck ship support. However, the ground ﬁre
when the ammunition dump was hit by has been left outdoors and is frozen threat continued to increase. By 12 Jun
artillery. The airﬁeld was closed for two solid, so he must ﬁnd another one in the the C-7A’s were experiencing intense
days and when it re-opened only one hangar, which takes even more time. ground ﬁre in their runs over the drop
C-130 was permitted on the ground at He returns to the aircraft and is less zone. On 13 Jun, in spite of TAC ﬁghter
a time. than enthusiastic about what he has to and helicopter gunship support, two of
do. Nevertheless, he goes about the four C-7A’s on the drop mission were
Pax From Hon Quan pumping job deliberately and carefully hit; three crewmen were wounded. As
by Mike Lavelle [535, 68] (and slowly) so as not to risk criticism the situation became more untenable,
I was upgrading to AC, parked on the later. new procedures were employed to
ramp at Hon Quan, chatting with the IP As he’s leaving the plane, the pilot minimize the ground ﬁre threat. These
in the right seat (do not recall his name) stops him and says, “Son, your attitude tactics included the use of TAC ﬁght-
and our young ﬂight engineer was load- and performance has caused this ﬂight ers to provide suppression ﬁre, A-lE
ing villagers to ferry to Tonle Cham to be late and I’m going to personally escort during the drop, close in-trail
(there had been a BIG party). see to it that you are not just repri- formation for the C-7A, and a smoke
We had been at this all day and it was manded but punished.” screen laid down by A-1 aircraft. The
getting dark. This was to be our last Shivering in the cold, his task ﬁn- airﬁeld became insecure and all drops
trip to Tonle Cham. The Special Forces ished, the airman takes a deep breath, were made inside the camp. With this
guys asked us to take as many villagers stands tall and says, “Sir, with all due change in tactics, the C-7A’s sustained
as possible, because they had to pro- respect, I’m not your son. I’m an Air- only one hit through the remainder
vide security for those that remained man in the United States Air Force. of the operation. In summary, during
overnight at Hon Quan. We told the I’ve been in Thule, Greenland, for 11 the period 3 Jun-3 Jul, 98 airdrop sor-
ﬂight engineer to board as many of the months without any leave, and reindeer ties were ﬂown in support of Ben Het
villagers as he could tie down. When are beginning to look pretty good to CIDG camp, delivering over 200 tons
he tapped me on the shoulder and told me. of ammunition.
Page 14 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
majority of our ﬂying consisted of sup- ﬁrst landing until the last airdrop, this
Con Thien porting U. S. Army Special Forces in Special Forces camp always presented
by Ron Alexander [459, 66] the I Corps area along with several U. some sort of challenge for the aircrews
I served in Viet Nam from November S. Marine Corps units. We had a small, supplying it. Usually it was a very ac-
1966 through November 1967. I was tight knit group of pilots and mechan- tive area with the North Vietnamese
trained on the C-7 Caribou by the U.S. ics. We worked well together, with a being very active. They would sit a few
Army at Ft. Benning, GA prior to be- few airplanes. At one time we had 5 miles away in the DMZ and lob rockets
ing deployed to Southeast Asia. When Caribous assigned to Da Nang. and artillery rounds into this small base.
I arrived in country, I was immediately I recall several memorable experienc- They would regularly ﬁre at the aircraft
sent to Qui Nhon and assigned to the es during my year in Viet Nam. I will ﬂying into Con Thien. The few times
92nd Aviation Company. It was quite an recount of couple of them. I am sure we landed, we were warned not to stay
experience ﬂying with the Army pilots. you have all seen the picture of the C-7 parked for too long because they would
They were very cooperative and helped coming apart in the air after being hit try to hit the airplane with a rocket or a
us learn where to go and where not to by an artillery round. The crew ﬂying mortar. Our Caribou crews based out of
go. They also showed us many ﬂying that airplane was out of our Da Nang Da Nang became very well acquainted
techniques that they learned through detachment. I was supposed to ﬂy that with this outpost.
experience on combat missions. We mission, but Captain Alan Hendrickson Normally, we would end up air drop-
ﬂew mostly north of Qui Nhon in the asked me that morning if I would swap ping into the camp because of the risk
I Corps area. Several of our missions the duty ofﬁcer position with him. He of landing. However, on one occasion
took us into Da Nang where we were said he would take my ﬂights that day we ﬂew up to deliver a load of 155 mm
expected to land the Caribou on the if I would take his missions the next shells, along with drinking water. The
overrun of the 10,000 ft. runway. We day. He needed to be off the following camp commander said he thought we
would turn off at the beginning of the day for some reason. could land to off-load. He told us the
actual runway and get out of the way Captain Hendrickson and the entire North Vietnamese had just ﬁnished a
of the faster aircraft. This was not a big crew lost their lives during that mission. major offensive and things were quiet
problem since the overrun was 1,000 As they turned base leg to ﬁnal at the for the moment. We landed and off-
ft. in length. It actually provided good Special Forces camp a 155 mm round loaded our cargo. We went inside to
practice for the smaller ﬁelds we went was ﬁred and went through the aft por- visit with the Special Forces troops and
into in the I Corps area. tion of the fuselage. The safety spotter when we got ready to leave I noticed
In January 1967, the U.S. Air Force for the artillery piece did not see the four Hueys pop up over the hill and land
took over operation of the Caribou. I airplane turning into the ﬁeld. The air- at the camp, right on the runway. There
was assigned to the 459th Troop Carrier plane separated at the aft section of the were two gunships and two “slicks.”
Squadron and our detachment was sent fuselage and the entire remains fell into One of the slicks landed in front of our
to Da Nang. We were given a jeep and a a small pile on the ﬁeld. For a long time Caribou. I walked out to ask the pilot
pickup truck and sent to downtown Da I felt somewhat responsible for Alan’s if he would move so we could depart
Nang to live in an old French hotel. We death, but I knew that it could not have and as I approached the helicopter I
had a lot of security at the hotel – one been prevented by anything I might noticed a tall, gray haired man put his
Marine guard. We never had any prob- have done. I simply honored his request cap on to exit the helicopter. Upon
lems however and we would often go that day to swap trips. My crew was closer inspection I noticed four stars
to the top of the hotel and watch rocket with him. All were killed immediately. on his cap. It was no less than General
attacks the Viet Cong were launching Later, I had the duty of sorting through Westmoreland dropping in for a quick
on the Da Nang Air Base. Alan’s personal belongings and sending visit with the Special Forces troops. In
After the Air Force took over the them to his wife. That is when I came the other slick was General Walt, the
operation, one of the ﬁrst directives that across the poem he had written prior to U. S. Marine Corps Commander in Viet
came down from Wing Headquarters his death. You may have read it before Nam. They said hello to all of us, asked
was that we were no longer to land in the November 2008 newsletter. the Special Forces Captain how things
on the overrun of the runways at Da During May 1967, a small outpost were going and within 10 minutes
Nang. They did not consider this a safe about 1 mile south of the DMZ was they left the area. To say the least, as a
operation. This really threw a curve at home for a Special Forces unit. As a young 1st Lieutenant, I was impressed.
the controllers who didn’t know how matter of fact, when you landed to- I was impressed that these two leaders
to sequence a 70 knot airplane for ward the south at this outpost you were chose to visit the hottest base in South
landing along with ﬁghters who were over the DMZ on base leg. The base Vietnam. It was a big morale booster for
ﬂying ﬁnal approach at 150+ kts. The was named Con Thien. From the very Continued on Page 15
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 15
Con Thien (from Page 14) to Da Nang. That was the last mission Many Different Jobs
to Con Thien by a Caribou, as far as I by Harry H. Weaver [483, 66]
the Special Forces troops. The generals know. I was always curious as to the
let the troops know that they were not fate of the Special Forces people that I was initially assigned as a SSgt
leading from Saigon – rather they were we had so closely worked with and crew chief, when most of the other crew
in the thick of the battle. one day later in the year, I ran into the chiefs were E-4’s. It didn’t take them
Within a few days, we were airdrop- camp Commander, a Captain. He told very long to see that being a crew chief
ping to the troops at Con Thien because me that they came under siege while was going to be too easy for me. We
of the enemy activity. I think myself defending their base and in the battle he were having so many engine problems
and my crew ﬂew the last airplane into lost a number of his men. He said they and delays during launch that they let
and out of the base, to my knowledge were unable to hold the base, so a large me pick a few more guys to come in
(helicopters later went in). The North contingent of Marines was brought in with me after midnight to hot preﬂight
Vietnamese made a major offensive to to beat the enemy back. In July 1967, “run-up” every Bou on the next day’s
take over the camp. For a period of a the Special Forces commander and his ﬂying schedule, to include the backup
couple of weeks we were airdropping surviving team were withdrawn from and spare.
food, water, ammunition, etc. to the the camp. Later, I was selected to drive the
troops. Often, we would come under I know we were all relieved when maintenance metro van around every
fairly heavy ﬁre to the point that on we no longer had to ﬂy into this base. morning during launch to try and
more than one ﬂight we would have to During the time I spent in Vietnam the help get the ﬂight crews to block-out
follow F-100’s into the drop zone after ﬂights to Con Thien, along with the a couple of minutes early. I was also
they tried to take out enemy gun posi- ﬂights into Khe Sanh, were usually the lucky enough to go out with Captain
tions. We took a number of hits on each most hazardous. You could count on Bunting and a couple of other very ﬁne
mission and the area became more and some sort of action on just about every pilots on a few of our (“You’re going
more active. Major Beardsley and 1st Lt. ﬂight into either of these bases. to land this thing where?????”) more
Ray Valentine, along with Sgts. Karnes Later, when I was a pilot with Delta exciting missions.
and Shedd, distinguished themselves Air Lines, I was ﬂying a DC-9 trip The ﬁckle ﬁnger of fate landed on my
on one of these airdrop missions over from Atlanta to Charleston, SC. In name again and I spent a month or so as
Con Thien. Major Beardsley and his those days people boarded via the front NCOIC of the Pleiku mission site – af-
crew were awarded the Silver Star for stairs that came out of the airplane so ter it was determined that the ofﬁcers
their action. the pilots had a bird’s eye view of the were no longer needed at the site.
During the last days of our resupply people boarding. One evening I noticed
efforts, every ﬂight to Con Thien was a a familiar ﬁgure walking up the stairs. Bou on YouTube
major event. You got up in the morning It was General Westmoreland. After h t t p : / / w w w. y o u t u b e . c o m /
knowing you were going to face heavy he was seated, I went back to greet watch?v=8PtXS-zSnYU
ﬁre one more day as we normally would him. I recounted the time we had met
ﬂy 2-3 missions per day into the area. at Con Thien and he graciously said Where Are We???
Finally, my crew was given an assign- he remembered it, although I doubt he by Serge Molohosky [459, 66]
ment to drop 105 mm ammunition into did. I am quite sure that he made much My most memorable ﬂight with Ron
the camp. We were told the camp had more of an impression on me than I did Lester was also on a day when we were
been under heavy attack and the Special on him. No matter, I will never forget trying to get to Khe Sanh. It was another
Forces unit was on the verge of losing General Westmoreland and General exercise in dodging numerous thunder
the base. When we contacted the camp Walt visiting Con Thien on that day bumpers. After a long time trying to
on FM radio just prior to reaching the and risking their lives to talk to their ﬁnd a way through with no success,
area. The response from the ground was men. It was certainly a day that I will we headed back to the coast with no
“Who are you and what do you want?” always remember. idea where we really where. When we
I replied by telling them about the load ﬁnally broke out over land, nothing
we had and the voice on the other end looked familiar and we ﬁgured we were
of the radio said “Sorry, we don’t need north of the DMZ. We dropped down as
your supplies – the Marines have taken Help!!! low as we could over the beaches as we
over the base and the Special Forces are Check your email address on our web headed south. We were skimming the
gone. We are being resupplied by our site, http://www.c-7acaribou.com/. beaches so low that the ﬂight engineer
own helicopters.” Send any change to: said the props were making rooster tails
With a sense of relief, we returned email@example.com in the sand!!!
Page 16 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
elevator cables and blew a large hole in Bou Drops Cargo
Heroes at Con Thien the roof, spraying fragments throughout
459th TCS History (1967) the cargo compartment, again narrowly 2 Miles from DMZ
Maj Clarence J. Beardsley, 1/Lt missing the two ﬂight mechanics. Caribou Courier, Jun 1967
Raymond Valentine, SSgt Kenneth An armor piercing bullet entered the Con Thien Special Forces Camp is lo-
K. Karnes, and SSgt Lewis D. Shedd bottom of the aircraft, ripped only feet cated only two miles from the DMZ. If
distinguished themselves by gallantry behind both pilots, cut both mixture you happen to land there you can expect
in connection with military operations control cables attached to the aircraft small arms and automatic weapons ﬁre
against an opposing force as crew roof, damaged the ﬂap actuator rod and on any approach. After landing you can
members, C-7A, at Con Thien Special sprayed out through the roof. expect a few rounds of 81 mm mortar
Forces Camp, Republic of Vietnam on Despite the intense, accurate hostile or a couple of 105 mm howitzer rounds
12 May 1967. ﬁre, and with insurmountable courage – anyway it’s somewhat “hot.”
On that date, Maj Beardsley, 1/Lt and heroism under extreme threat of On 2 May [sic], 1967, Major Clar-
Valentine, SSgt Karnes, and SSgt loss of life and immaculate knowledge ence Beardsley, 1st Lt Raymond Val-
Shedd volunteered to participate on an of all emergency and routine ﬂight pro- entine and SSgt Lewis Shedd, 459
emergency air resupply of desperately cedures, the crew displayed teamwork TCS, departed Danang AB loaded with
needed 105 mm ammunition to Con and devotion above the call of duty in ammo for Con Thien. They were to
Thien. Con Thien had been under con- continuing the drop approach. airdrop the load. They arrived at Con
stant attack for days and heavy ﬁre was When release of the load was at- Thien and established drop conﬁgura-
continually racking the camp. tempted, a failure caused by hostile tion and altitude. Now ﬂying a drop
Maj Beardsley, acting as instructor ﬁre caused the load to hang up in the pattern at 50 feet sometimes invites
pilot, briefed 1/Lt Valentine on drop aircraft; thereby making it necessary problems. It did.
procedures as they proceeded to ex- to return over the drop zone. Special On the first pass two .50 caliber
ecute their ﬁrst pass over the narrow Forces personnel had managed to rounds with explosive heads hit the rear
drop zone from only 500 feet. Hostile silence some hostile ﬁre allowing the section of the aircraft – one round tear-
forces were so intent on stopping this C-7A to complete the drop encounter- ing a hole approximately eight inches
resupply that they ﬁred mortar rounds ing only small arms ﬁre. wide on top of the fuselage. The other
at the defenseless C-7A as it started Departing the drop area, Maj Beard- round creased the exterior skin of the
the drop. sley realized it would be impossible to tail section. Sgt Shedd said, “I moved
Camp personnel warned the crew return the aircraft to Danang Air Base. closer to the front of the aircraft.” In
that mortar rounds were exploding The courage and professional skill addition, the load hung up so another
immediately below the aircraft as they displayed by the entire crew enabled pass was required.
continued the emergency drop, and them to successfully complete an emer- On pass two, “Charlie” improved.
small arms ﬁre cluttered the area. gency air drop under countless adverse One round came in behind the cockpit,
As the crew, with complete disregard conditions. one round blasted another hole on top
for their personal safety, turned to First Lieutenant Valentine’s coolness of the fuselage, cutting both mixture
complete the last drop, they saw tracer and ﬂying skill released Maj Beardsley cables and missing the control cables
rounds closing on their aircraft. Ground from the task of continually ﬂying the by inches. The drop was successful and
troops immediately notiﬁed the crew C-7A and allowed him to supervise and the crew turned their ventilated “Bou”
that they were being hit by .50 caliber direct the entire mission. toward home.
machine gun rounds. The pilots were Staff Sergeants Karnes and Shedd, Because of required maintenance,
unable to avoid hits and continued their working together with incredible speed the Bou was returned to Phu Cat. The
drop approach. and efficiency while under extreme crew jumped out, looked casually at
One tracer hit the right ﬂap. A tracer threat of hostile ﬁre, and numerous an occasional hole here and there, pre-
and an armor piercing bullet hit the near misses, repositioned the load for ﬂighted another aircraft and departed
right side of the Caribou, entered the the re-drop in less than half the normal for Danang. “Another day, another
cargo compartment, narrowly missed time required. 118 piasters” called one of the crew-
both ﬂight mechanics who were at- By their gallantry and devotion to members.
tempting to ready the ammunition for duty, Maj Beardsley, 1/Lt Valentine, Note: This piece was ﬁrst printed in
the drop, and nearly hit the ammunition SSgt Karnes, and SSgt Shedd have the August 2002 newsletter.
before exiting out the roof. reﬂected great credit upon themselves
An explosive bullet hit just behind the and the United States Air Force.
rear ammunition pallet, skimmed the
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 17
Med-evacs at rated weather conditions at LZ English, – there’s more than a Division of NVA
but successfully completed the land- in the area and the ARVN [Army of the
LZ English ing, take-off, and climb out without Republic of Vietnam] killed almost 500
537th TCS History (1967) incident. The weather at Qui Nhon had yesterday alone.
On the night of 14 Feb 1967, LZ improved, making an ADF approach Some of the C-7A crews have gone
English sustained an attack. The 537 possible at that location. Capt Howells in there 5 & 6 times – it’s an absolute
TCS med-evac crew, Capt William H. and each crew member who took part crime that they’re not using C-123’s
Grosse, Harry W. Howells, and Army in those two ﬂights experienced a deep and C-130’s – they have the power
SP4 Anthony Mockunas, was alerted at sense of pride and achievement, know- to climb out of there after the drop
1900 Local and airborne at 1930 Local. ing that their courage and determination – which is where the worst of the hits
They were briefed that the ﬁve hundred saved many American lives. are occurring. It makes you sick. They
foot ceiling and heavy rain showers at Note: Captains Grosse and Howells say the 123’s haven’t dropped in six
LZ English had prevented the med-evac received the DFC for these two night months so the last two days they’ve
helicopters from performing this vital med-evac ﬂights. made some hurried practice airdrops
mission. Capt Grosse was presented his to qualify crews – but haven’t used
After the hand-off from Phu Cat DFC by Gen John D. Ryan, the new them at Dak Seang yet – the 130’s say
GCA to Tiger GCA, Capt Grosse was PACAF Commander. Capt Howells the DZ is too small – 500 ft by 500 ft?
informed that the ceiling now was be- was honored by Col Paul J. Mascot, BALONEY!
low 400 feet and that only 1,000 feet of Commander of the 483 TAW, for his So in the meantime we keep losing
the runway was usable due to a recent achievement at a squadron dining-in C-7A’s and crews and the poor guys in
mortar attack. Med-evac Bravo was on 30 June. the camp – yesterday they were running
contacted – some of the wounded had out of food & water & ammo – and no
to be moved to Qui Nhon for opera- Letter Home relief element could break through to
by Jim Luntzel [536, 69]
tions if they were to live. In complete them.
disregard for their own safety, which It’s murder. That’s why they’ve kept
was impaired doubly by the poor ﬂying Wednesday, 8 Apr 1970 the news clamps on – it’s that bad.
conditions and ground ﬁre reported by Dear Lora Lee & Kids, So, 17 days to go. I’m too short for
helicopters to be within a quarter mile that stuff – plus I’ve been ordered not
of the end of the runway, they decided Fancy stationery, huh? Don’t have a to go up there again – but it’s really
to attempt a landing. letter to answer – will check the mail frustrating sitting down here in Saigon
They elected to kept their lights on, again later on. when that’s going on – when you know
increasing their vulnerability, because Sent cards and a small box to Jim you can do the job. I’m not that much
of the heavy gunship activity in the & Jeff today so hope they get them in of a nut though – not really.
area. They successfully completed the time – in any case, Happy 15th & 18th Looks like we will get a pay raise
landing and the patients were loaded. Birthdays to both!! before getting out – that will help
So that further injury to the wounded Lora Lee, I’m sorry I said I enjoyed – originally, it wasn’t going to be until
might not be incurred, they made a that airdrop – I didn’t really mean it that 1 Jan 71 – but the Post Ofﬁce thing ac-
black-out takeoff while Tiger GCA way – I did enjoy (for lack of a better celerated it (see clipping).
provided a radar monitored climb. word) the chance to do a job under Well, Sweetie, by the time you get
The crew contacted Qui Nhon ap- difﬁcult circumstances – and get out. this only about 2 weeks – Gads, one,
proach and were told that Qui Nhon We’ve lost three aircraft & crews in 5 two weeks! TO GO!! Will let you know
was below minimums and that the GCA days [at Dak Seang] – plus one which the arrival time at Travis later – I’ll just
was out. They decided on the alterna- was disabled to the point he couldn’t catch a ride over to Hamilton – or No-
tive of getting a radar descent by Phu get home. I knew all the guys on the voto. Tell the Boys Happy Birthday!
Cat GCA to VFR conditions. With Qui lost crew from Cam Ranh – in fact the Note: Recent research indicates that
Nhon still reporting below minimum last time I ﬂew up there – in Feb – I had the DZ footprint at Dak Seang, drop
conditions, they ﬂew low level through the co-pilot & engineer on the mission. altitude and airspeed made the Caribou
the valley, made a visual landing at Qui We – they – are dropping at night now the preferred drop aircraft over the C-
Nhon, and delivered their wounded & no casualties yesterday. They’ve 123 and the C-130. Nevertheless, the
safely to the hospital. kept the whole thing quiet – no news Caribou crews paid a heavy price in
On the next alert launch at 0045 at all until last Monday – see enclosed providing critically needed supplies to
Local, Capt Howells was the Aircraft clippings – and it’s probably the big- the camp. SIERRA HOTEL to all the
Commander. He met further deterio- gest battle since I don’t know when crew and maintenance personnel!
Page 18 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
The next day my aircraft commander
Ben Het Recalled
by Curt Fischer [457, 68]
was Lt Col Edgar Thielen. He later
became 457th squadron commander.
I thought I would sit down and dredge
up a few mostly forgotten memories
He was a good pilot who treated his
copilots well. When it was time to
about the 20 June 1969 Ben Het resup- operate the radios, he would put on his Check the mailing label on this
ply mission. It was a long time ago and reading glasses to dial in the different newsletter. If it does not show “2011”
I don’t trust my memory about much frequencies. Then he would take them or later, then it is TIME TO PAY your
of anything that happened during my off and ﬂy the airplane. Caribou Tax or this will be the last
thirteen months in-country. However, For the Ben Het mission, we ﬂew newsletter you will receive.
that mission was different. to Phu Cat and briefed in one of their If you aren’t up to date, you may
In June of 69, I was mid way through buildings. There were to be three or have:
my tour with the 457th TAS squadron at four C-7’s making the drop. We briefed 1. changed your address and the last
Cam Rahn Bay. I was probably getting the mission then sat around waiting newsletter went to an old address
ready to upgrade to aircraft commander. for the departure time. I remember the 2. just sent in your check
I lived in a three bedroom “hootch” horseplay that went on as a couple of 3. forgotten to send your check
with six roommates and all of us were the copilots wound up wrestling on the DO IT TODAY.
first lieutenants. Most likely we all ﬂoor. We waited while the pallets were Write your $10 check to the C-7A Car-
had similar thoughts that the Wing loaded onto the planes, then we left. ibou Association and send it to:
“weenies” didn’t know what they were The actual drop went off well enough. Mike Murphy
doing half of the time. We ﬂew when We orbited the area and then were 2036 Trailcrest Ln Apt #2
the schedule was posted and generally called in by the ground forces. Memory Kirkwood, MO .63122-2263
coped with our somewhat comfortable is now vague. We started in on our run
surroundings. We had a great squadron and an A-lE ﬂew ahead of us trying to Laws of the
bar/club in the 457th, the “hootches” draw ﬁre. There was another A-1E ﬂy-
were air conditioned, and we had TV. I ing behind us. I remember noting that Natural Universe
missed being away from home, but life there were red “ﬂares” coming between Variation Law: If you change lines
was satisfactory. the lead A-1E and our plane. I thought (or trafﬁc lanes), the one you were in
The mission to Ben Het was sup- they were from the camp. I didn’t learn will start to move faster than the one
ported by the two squadrons based until after we had ﬁnished our run that you are in now (works every time).
at Phu Cat. Ben Het was located in II the ﬂares were tracers and there were Murphy’s Law of Lockers: If there
Corps (46 miles from Pleiku on the 335o 13 or so bullets between the red tracers. are only two people in a locker room,
radial) and was not in our usual delivery I was rather naive at this time. they will have adjacent lockers.
area. I speak only for myself, but my We dropped our load, left the area Law of Rugs/Carpets: The chances
impression was that my roommates and without difﬁculty or holes in the aircraft of an open-faced jelly sandwich land-
I were happy to leave it that way. and ﬂew back toward Cam Rahn and III ing face down on a ﬂoor covering are
As I recall, the Wing brought the Corps to ﬁnish the day’s mission. That directly correlated to the newness and
mission to Cam Rahn Bay for at least night, back at the “hootch,” we had a cost of the carpet/rug.
a week. This was to allow Wing per- celebratory beer as I collected back all Law of Location: No matter where
sonnel to ﬂy the mission. I think they of my worldly possessions. you go, there you are.
scheduled a daily mission to ﬂy to Phu The missions continued. No one from
Cat and stage out of that base and make Cam Rahn was hurt and life went on. I
the air drop into Ben Het. received the DFC when I was stationed
My name showed up on the schedule at McGuire AFB sometime in 1970.
during the middle of the week. I remem- It was a nice surprise. No heroics, no
ber sitting around the living room of our outstanding feats of airmanship. We
“hootch” having a beer and laughing did our jobs. Some people
while my erstwhile roommates divided Note: For missions during the siege Try to turn back their odometers.
up all my worldly possessions in case of Ben Het in 1969, members of the Not me!
I didn’t return from the mission. They 537th TAS were awarded: I want people to know ‘why’
claimed my stereo, paintings, TV, and 2 Silver Stars I look this way.
whatever else. I thought it quite funny 22 Distinguished Flying Crosses I’ve traveled a long way,
at the time. 7 Air Medals (for single missions) And some of the roads weren’t paved.
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 19
aircraft and ﬂew to Clark AB, Andersen
Missions to Ben Het AB, Wake Island, Midway, Hickham
Name 10-30 2-3 Third Name 10-30 2-3 Third AFB, Mc Clellan AFB, Davis Monthan
Jun Jul Pilot Jun Jul Pilot AFB, and Maxwell AFB. The ﬂight
Allison, Max L 3 1 MacFarren, Donald J 7 1 from Hawaii to California was 18.3
Berta, William C 2 Maki, Dennis A 4 1 hours, mostly at night in the weather
Black, John W 4 1 Marshall, Lyle B 1 with lightning and St Elmo’s ﬁre. This
Brethouwer, Richard L 5 Marvin, George C 6 is the ﬂight that the Caribou ditched and
Broussard, Emile P 9 1 Mellert, John D 3 the pilot was pulled out the top hatch by
Brownﬁeld, Donald L 2 Miles, David A 1 a PJ. We arrived at Maxwell the night
Chasteen, Ralph E 3 1 Monroe, Kent M 5 1 of December 21 (88 hours total ﬂying
Cope, Jesse M 6 Murphy, Michael 5 time). The TAC Commander arranged
Crafton, Stuart B 2 1 Obermiller, Terry L 2 2 for a C-131 to take crews to anywhere
Croach, Robert E 4 1 Overcash, Hugh M 2 1 they wanted east of the Mississippi
Davenhall, Kenneth L 6 Owen, Billy P 3 (similar deal with C-130 for crews
Davis, James H 4 1 Poland, Robert F 5 west of the Mississippi). I arrived at
Donovan, Steven R 4 1 Prescott, Calgen A 1 1 the Pittsburgh airport on December 22.
Dugan, Robert H 2 Quarles, Jown W 4 Best Christmas I ever had!!
Evalenko, William A 6 1 Quinn, William F 4 1 After Vietnam, I spent 4 years as a
Fletchall, Albert E 8 1 Riess, Michael T 3 1 T-37 IP at Sheppard (mainly teaching
Furchak, Edward 6 Rodda, Allen J 2 Vietnamese to ﬂy – so the end of the
Girod, Allan L 2 Ryland, William K 1 1 Vietnam War in 1975 was especially
Greinke, Neil N 2 Selbe, George G 8 painful for me), AFIT MBA at the
Grigg, Dale 4 1 Shepherd, William L 2 University of Tennessee, and a rated
Grimsley, Joe W 1 Smolinski, Jerome P 1 supplement in SAC as a Transporta-
Hammond, Charles K Jr 3 Spurger, George A 1 tion Ofﬁcer at Pease AFB. By three
Harmon, George L 2 Taylor, Charles C Jr 1 2 consecutive miracles I received an F-4
Havins, Felton H 3 1 Taylor, Robert. H 2 assignment (RTU at MacDill, F-4E’s at
Hayes, Maurice C 3 Thomas, John L 1 1 Seymour Johnson, F-4E/Gs for 5 years
Hill, Robert E 3 Vanness, Charles R 3 at Clark AB where I was a squadron
Holdener, Irwin K 4 White, John E Jr 2 1 commander) then TAC staff, Air At-
Houghtling, Donald H 3 1 Wigington, John H 6 tache to Italy, and Inspector General at
Ketring, Charles E 5 1 Wilhelm, Frederick 1 1 Davis Monthan. I retired as a Colonel
Koshko, Kent D 2 Wilson, Clyde M 3 in 1998 and have worked in the defense
Lockwood, Delbert D 8 Wohrer, James F 4 2 industry since.
I have to say ﬂying the C-7 was a
Ferry Mission to U.S. program. By this time, I had already great experience and great assign-
by Bucks Walters [458, 71] received my next assignment (T-37 IP ment.
at Sheppard AFB) and due to being a I look forward to the 2011 reunion.
I was a member of the 458th TAS “stupid First Lieutenant,” I declined to
from March 1971 until December 1971. upgrade ( a decision I always regret- Bucks Walters
The C-7 was my ﬁrst assignment out ted). 28 October 2010
of UPT. I went on R&R to Hawaii in late
My ﬁrst ﬂight at Dyess AFB was on November and when I returned, I found Note: Two weeks after sending this
January 19, 1971 and the last ﬂight was out we were ferrying 12 Caribous to story by e-mail to the editor, Bucks
on February 10. My ﬁrst ﬂight at Cam the US. I was selected to ﬂy in the lead passed away on 14 November 2010.
Rahn Bay was March 26, 1971. I was aircraft since I was the most experi-
in the copilot checkout program and enced copilot in the Wing. The Aircraft
severely injured my ankle in early April Commander was a Lieutenant Colonel
playing basketball. Due to the injury, I that worked at Wing headquarters and
missed two months of ﬂying. rarely ﬂew in-country.
In November, my squadron com- We departed CRB on December 11
mander offered to put me in the upgrade with three large fuel bladders in the
Page 20 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
Aviation Week, Nov 3, 2010
The U.S. Air Force’s new Gorgon
Stare Wide Area Airborne Surveillance
System, described as a revolutionary
intelligence, surveillance, and recon-
naissance (ISR) technology, made its
combat debut, ﬂying over undisclosed
locations in Afghanistan on board MQ-
9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles
Gorgon Stare was conceived, de-
signed and developed in less than
three years by prime contractor Sierra
Nevada Corp. and USAF’s 645th Aero-
nautical Systems Group, a rapid acqui-
sition arm also known as Big Safari. It
offers an exponential expansion in the
scope, amount, quality, and distribution Data Link and Tactical Common Data process the images from all its cameras
of video provided to ground troops, Link antennas, plus radio frequency in ﬂight, quilting them into a mosaic
manned aircraft crews, ISR processing equipment. for a single wide-area view. That im-
centers and others, then-Lt. Gen. David Gorgon Stare is operated indepen- age can be streamed to tactical opera-
Deptula, Air Force deputy chief of staff dently, but in coordination with the tions centers or Air Force Distributed
for ISR, said prior to his retirement on Reaper’s crew by a two-member team Common Ground System intelligence
Sept. 30. working from a dedicated ground facilities by the Gorgon Stare ground
Gorgon Stare’s payload is contained station, which ﬁts on the back of a station via line-of-sight data link.
in two pods slightly larger than, but Humvee. A second Humvee carries a The ground station team, which will
about the same total weight as the two generator and spare parts. A separate, control the system’s sensors, can also
500-lb. GBU-12 laser-guided bombs forward-deployed processing, exploita- transmit the relatively low-resolution
the Reaper carries. The pods attach to tion and dissemination team co-located wide-area view to recipients in-theater
the inside weapon racks under the wing. with the Gorgon Stare ground station or elsewhere via other wide-band com-
One pod carries a sensor ball produced coordinates with commanders in-the- munication devices, plus chip-out an
by subcontractor ITT Defense that ater, directing the system’s sensors and additional 50-60 views and forward
protrudes from the pod’s bottom. The exploiting their imagery in real time. them as needed.
ball contains ﬁve electro-optical (EO) The result is a system that offers a Gorgon Stare’s coverage area is clas-
cameras for daytime and four infrared “many orders of magnitude” leap be- siﬁed but, as stated, considerably bigger
(IR) cameras for nighttime ISR, posi- yond the “soda straw” view provided by than that provided by a single EO/IR
tioned at different angles for maximum the single EO/IR camera carried by an camera. Instead of looking at a truck or
ground coverage. MQ-1 Predator or a conventional Reap- a house, you can look at an entire vil-
The pod also houses a computer er UAV, D. The video taken by Gorgon lage or a small city. Moreover, Gorgon
processor. The cameras shoot motion Stare’s cameras can be “chipped out” Stare’s computers will store all imagery
video at 2 frames/sec., as opposed to into 10 individual views and streamed its cameras capture on a single mission,
full motion video at 30 frames/sec. to that many recipients or more via the allowing the data to be transferred for
The ﬁve EO cameras each shoot two Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL). exploitation after landing. “You can
16-megapixel frames/sec., which are Any ground or airborne unit within review it and accomplish forensic study
stitched together by the computer to range of Gorgon Stare’s TCDL and of the area by looking at movement and
create an 80-megapixel image. The four equipped with a Remote Operations tracing activity,” Deptula said. “If you
IR cameras combined shoot the equiva- Video Enhanced Receiver, One System know where an improvised explosive
lent of two 32-megapixel frames/sec. Remote Video Terminal, or the Marine device went off, you can ‘rewind the
The second Gorgon Stare pod contains Corps Video Scout handheld receiver tapes’ and see where the activity was
a computer to process and store images, can view one of the chip-outs. and what led to it.”
data-link modem, two pairs of Common At the same time, Gorgon Stare will Continued on Page 21
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 21
Gorgon Stare (from Page 20) make visual landings.”
7th AF News Release Anything from small arms to a large
Gorgon Stare operates independently Vung Tau, 1971 slingshot is waiting for the Caribou
of the Reaper’s sensor ball, which MQ- They aren’t really pretty to watch. crews when they land at some of the
9 operators will continue to control They have a fat nose and bent wings, remote sites. “We don’t stay on the
from U.S. ground control stations. and when they come in for a landing, ground longer than a few minutes
Bandwidth limitations will prevent they look like a staggering seagull. because we make good targets for the
Reaper operators from viewing Gorgon To American and Republic of Viet- enemy’s mortars,” the Major said.
Stare’s imagery as they ﬂy the MQ-9. nam forces at ﬁre support and Special Most of the time the off-loading pro-
They will be in contact with the team Forces bases in the southern part of the cess is a hurry up job for the Caribou
in the forward-deployed Gorgon Stare Republic of Vietnam, the C-7 transports crews. The heavy cargo is untied and
ground station, however, to coordinate of the 535th and 536th Tactical Airlift left on rollers on the ﬂoor of the aircraft.
requests to slew the sensor ball over a Squadrons are the most beautiful sight The pilot revs the engines; the aircraft
target, or for other purposes. in the world. jerks forward. The cargo breaks loose
Big Safari gave Gorgon Stare its Despite having a smaller load-carry- and races down the rollers and out the
nickname, taking it from the gorgons ing capability than its big brothers, the rear door.
of Greek mythology, Medusa and her C-123 Provider and the C-130 Hercu- “Once the load hits the ground, we
sisters, whose gaze turned those who les, the C-7 is a tough, reliable aircraft don’t waste any time getting out of
looked into it to stone. “Since the that can land and take off from short, there,” Maj Crooks said. “We ﬂy zig
gorgon sisters had unblinking eyes, unimproved airstrips which couldn’t zag patterns going out as well as com-
and their images wound up on ancient handle the larger aircraft. ing in to give the enemy trouble sight-
Greek beer mugs to ward off evil, Gor- “The C-7 Caribou is built for rough ing in on us.”
gon Stare seemed like a good name,” a handling and it gets it,” said Maj Ken- The majority of pilots assigned to
Big Safari ofﬁcial replied in response neth E. Crooks of Morrisville, PA, both squadrons are serving in the Re-
to e-mailed questions. Advances in operations ofﬁcer for the 535th TAS. public on their ﬁrst assignment. In the
sensor capability, particularly focal “It stands up well under the constant 536th, 66 per cent of the pilots are recent
plane arrays, and in image-processing grind of war. These planes are in the pilot school graduates. In fact, most
capacity are the key technologies that air from sunrise until sundown every pilots assigned to the squadrons don’t
make Gorgon Stare possible. day, and yet our on-time launch rate is have much ﬂying time in the Caribou
The initial deployment, designated nearly 100 per cent.” except what they received from Cari-
Quick Reaction Capability Increment According to the Major, each Cari- bou training school at Dyess Air Force
I, will consist of four sets of pods built bou makes from 12 to 16 landings and Base, TX, because the aircraft is used
at a cost of $17.5 million per set, ex- take-offs per day, delivering anything primarily in Southeast Asia.
cluding the cost of the ground control from ducks to people, rice to ammuni- Caribou pilots are trained and up-
station. The production cost per pod tion, pigs to POL (petroleum-oils-lu- graded to aircraft commander as soon as
set is expected to rise for a planned bricants), or any other items needed in possible, according to Lt Col Collings.
Increment II consisting of six pod sets, outlying camps. Vietnam is one of the few assignments
Marlin says, but “costs will decrease The 535th and 536th Tactical Airlift where pilots coming out of ﬂight school
with larger production runs.” Squadrons are part of the 483rd Tactical can get upgraded to aircraft commander
Airlift Wing based at Cam Ranh Bay in their ﬁrst year.
Reunion 2012 Air Base. “I am particularly impressed with
Reunion 2012 will be 17-21 Oct. at “Our mission is to provide effective the quality of young men coming to us
the Holiday Inn, 561 N. Dupont High- airlift support in the southern part of from pilot training,” the Colonel said.
way, Dover, DE 19901. Visit AMC the delta,” explained Lt Col Buford “The pilots aren’t the only ones who
museum, Bombay Hook Natl. Wildlife E. Collings, Jr of Virginia Beach, VA, have a rough schedule,” Maj Crook
Refuge, dedicate memorial bench. commander of the 536th. “We operate added. “The aircrews and ground
basically in support of the Army, taking maintenance personnel put in a 12 hour
Reunion 2013 smaller loads into the smaller airﬁelds day, every day. We have additional du-
Reunion 2013 will be 9-13 Sep. at the and airstrips. ties to perform when we aren’t ﬂying.
DoubleTree Hotel, 16500 Southcenter “Weather is a big factor for us,” re- After ﬂying all day, I come back to the
Parkway, Seattle, WA 98188. Visit marked Maj Crooks. “These airstrips office and fight the paperwork war.
Boeing museum and plant, Fulton Fish have no tower facilities, so we have Let’s see, I had a day off in September
Market, wine tasting. to depend entirely on instruments and I remember …”
Page 22 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
there were no runway lights and it was from the mud and taxi, they starting
FCF ... Plus a marginal dirt airﬁeld with a “hump” coming alive and started shooting and
by Roger Tripp [458, 66] in the middle and no overrun. Dodg- lobbing in mortars again. Fortunately,
I made a deal with my boss to abso- ing mountains low level in the rain in we were moving some before they got
lutely ensure that I had that day (18 Apr the Central Highlands is not a great the mortars zeroed in and we got air-
1967) off as I had big plans for the night game plan. We also worried about how borne about the time the show really
before with some Army ofﬁcers from muddy the airﬁeld might be since it had started up again. Sometimes you just
the Hawk Missile site just above Cam been raining for a while at that point. get lucky!
Rahn Bay where I was stationed. I knew One of our questions was how were we I got two things from that particular
it was going to get pretty rowdy and that going to get out of that place once we day. I got a really good “cure” from
overindulgence in booze was almost landed, as we might get mired in mud imbibing. I did not take another drink
a certainty. Well, sure enough, that is and not be able to get turned around to of alcohol for the rest of my tour over
what happened and I ﬁnally got to bed get out of there if we sunk into the mud. there. It is one thing to have a terrible
at least a little bit before the crack of However, you do what you have to do hangover in and of itself, but having
dawn, but not much before. Sometime and we went for it. a hangover, ﬂying an FCF and then a
very early that morning someone was We found the runway and there really long and challenging mission in
shaking my bunk and calling my name seemed to be a lull in the shelling and the weather low-leveling through the
telling me to wake up. I told them, in small arms ﬁre, so we tried to make sure mountain passes in the rain and screw-
none too kindly of terms I’m sure, to that the Special Forces were still the ing around in the midst of a great ﬁre-
leave me alone, but they wouldn’t. landlords and made a really dicey ap- works display was just more fun than
It seems that we needed an aircraft proach and landing . When we touched I care to repeat ... and I got a DFC as a
critically and I was the only other down we were slipping and sliding all reminder not to do that again!
qualified Functional Check Flight over the place in the mud and actually
(FCF) pilot available to accompany turned the nose wheel in an attempt to
the one shaking me awake. I realized “slide” the Caribou to a stop somewhat
that I didn’t have much of an option so sideways as the trees off the end of the
I agreed to sit in the right seat with the runway were approaching much faster
window open in case I needed to re- than we wanted. Fortunately, we came
move the contents of my stomach from to a stop before we hit anything and
the night before. It was for an engine then we needed some help to dig some Dak Seang – 1967
change, which meant we had to feather of the mud out from around the nose 7th AF DFC Citation
the prop and do a dive as part of the gear and the landing gear so we could
checks – just what I needed, right? get enough motion to taxi and get in First Lieutenant Roger C. Tripp dis-
Anyway, we had just ﬁnished the position to get out of there. tinguished himself by extraordinary
FCF and were on ﬁnal approach when We realized we were the proverbial achievement while participating in
the tower called and told us to break “sitting ducks,” exposed out there and aerial ﬂight as a C-7A co-pilot near Dak
out of the pattern and to contact the not mobile. The Special Forces troops Seang, Republic of Vietnam on 18 April
Wing Command Post. Upon doing so, were not all that keen about exposing 1967. On that date, Lieutenant Tripp
we were told that we had a Combat themselves while they helped us off- was ﬂying a Combat Essential airlift
Essential mission and they gave us load the ammunition by hand. It was mission in support of friendly forces.
our itinerary. I don’t remember many too muddy to try a truck or jeep. If they Forced by extremely adverse weather
details, other than we needed to pick up got stuck, we might also be stuck, as we to ﬂy low level through mountainous
a new combat lead sergeant, at I think might not be able to get around them to terrain and rain showers, Lieutenant
it was Nha Trang, and a full load of take off again. Tripp successfully navigated to Dak
munitions. Apparently, Dak Seang had Fortunately, we got the ammunition Seang as darkness was falling and de-
been under attack, their senior sergeant pallets off-loaded and our landing livered a cargo vital to the defense of
had been killed, and they were running gear dug out and cleared enough for the Special Forces Camp there which
critically short of ammunition. Unfor- us to taxi with something close to full came under heavy attack as he de-
tunately, it was raining pretty hard and power. The Viet Cong must have been parted from the ﬁeld. The professional
it was going to be tough to get into having supper or something, as about competence, aerial skill, and devotion
that camp in heavy rains and weather. the time we woke them up by apply- to duty displayed by Lieutenant Tripp
If we didn’t get there before dark, we ing all that power and making a heck reﬂect great credit upon himself and the
couldn’t land at night in the weather as of a racket trying to extricate our gear United States Air Force.
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 23
informing us that this is a PPR (prior Brown was Executive Ofﬁcer. Although
Return from Bangkok permission required) base. We didn’t I was assigned to the Commander, I also
by Larry LaVerne [457, 67] have prior permission to land and he supported the Vice Commander. Both
In July 1967, Chuck Schmitz and I could have all of us arrested according the Commander and Vice Commander
were going to leave Bangkok (after a to AF Regulation such and such. preferred to ﬂy the Caribou rather than
strenuous TDY) and go back to Cam He ordered us conﬁned to the BOQ. their desks, so for the most part they
Ranh via Saigon. As we were pre- (Hey General, we’re all on the same alternated ﬂying every other day.
ﬂighting, we discovered the life rafts side here). I asked him if we were al-
had been stolen the night before. As lowed to go somewhere and eat. He You Might Be A
the route was over water, this was a reluctantly agreed, but ONLY directly
concern. However, we still had life to the Ofﬁcers Club with a minimum Maintainer If ...
jackets so we decided to press on. No stay and directly back to the BOQ. You can’t ﬁgure out why 2 wks. of ad-
sweat (yet). Good deal. vance per-diem is gone after 3 days.
The battery was dead, so a new one Maintenance discovered that 3 of You can sleep anywhere, anytime.
was installed. The Aerial Port brought our 4 magnetos were bad and replaced But as soon as the engines shut down
out 12 passengers. A 483rd Wing weenie them. We got life rafts. Only 4 of you are wide awake.
(Colonel – nice guy) came out and the original 12 passengers wanted to Almost everyone thinks that all you
wanted to go too. He asked Chuck if continue with us the next day. Off we do is wave your arms in the air.
he could ride in the co-pilot’s seat for went again for the uneventful “rest of You have ever used a wheel chock,
“some combat time.” Of course, Chuck the mission.” or tow bar for a pillow.
agreed. You have ever stood on wheel chocks
After a successful engine run-up, off to keep your feet dry.
we went into the wild blue yonder. We Operation Red Leaf You have ever used a pair of dykes
leveled off at about 10,000 ft after about by Stan Bixler [483, 66]] to trim a ﬁngernail.
45 minutes and sat back to enjoy the 4 I arrived in South Vietnam during You have ever pulled the gun switch
hr. over water ﬂight. U-Tapao was off September 1966. The 6252nd Opera- while riding the brakes.
to the right about 40 or 50 miles, but tions Squadron was formed to receive You have ever started a jet inside the
we couldn’t see it. personnel being assigned to the soon- hanger!
Suddenly, the right engine started to-be Air Force Caribou squadrons. The You have ever wiped your hands on
backﬁring. Bad. Chuck shut it down existing aircraft and airﬁelds were still your pants.
and feathered it. As we were talking in the hands of the Army. You have ever wiped leaks right be-
about it, the left engine started back- I was assigned to Vung Tau and just fore a crew show.
ﬁring. Bad. Chuck retarded the left prior to boarding a Caribou for Vung You have ever worn someone else’s
engine throttle trying to ﬁnd a setting Tau, I was called back to the squadron hat just to go to chow.
that the engine wouldn’t backﬁre, but and informed that the Commander of All you care about is the ﬂying sched-
the engine backﬁred all the way to idle. the soon to be 483rd Troop Carrier Wing ule and your days off.
It got real quiet in the cockpit. (Colonel Paul J. Mascot) had selected You have ever had to defuel your jet
We restarted the right engine and it me to help form the new wing. an hour after fueling it.
would run at about 14 inches without My AFSC was 702 – Administration. Everyone you know has some kind
backﬁring. We let it run while the left USAF Special Order AB-674 shows my of nickname.
engine was shut down and feathered. reassignment and also the other two You have used the “Pull Chocks”
We declared an emergency and turned NCO’s assigned to start the wing. hand signal to tell your buddies it is
toward U-Tapao. With one engine MSgt Harry F. Biddle was Mainte- time to leave.
feathered and the other one barely nance NCO and MSgt Carl R. Tafoya You have ever bled hydraulic ﬂuid
running, the Bou wanted to go down. was Supply NCO. The three of us were into a Gatorade bottle or soda can be-
We hoped we could just make it to the moved to Cam Ranh Bay to help form cause you are too lazy to go get a hy-
shore. the wing. When we arrived, we had a draulic bucket and the Hazmat keys.
Chuck did a beautiful job of making headquarters building on the ﬂight line You hate that people who work at the
it to the end of the runway at U-Tapao, and no furnishings. gym handing out towels get the same
just barely. As we were stopping on My assignment for the year was pay as you.
the runway, we were surrounded by at Administrative Assistant to the Com- You refer to ANY machine as
least 150 vehicles. Out of one emerged mander. Our Vice Commander was Col “she.”
a screaming SAC Wing Commander Ralph E. Bullock and Major Ralph O. You refer to QA as “the enemy.”
Page 24 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
survive in a hostile enemy environment fore us and in back of us. In our instant
My Most Embar- while trying to escape and evade, and state of shock and total confusion, we
rassing Moment attempting to ﬁnd your way back to were overwhelmed by “enemy” troops
by Dave Hutchens [459, 69] friendly territory. There was a lot of and we instantly became POWs.
very important instruction passed out in After a lot of pushing and shoving
USAF Survival School. Fairchild Air this phase, but what I remember mostly and threatening and a lot of very abu-
Force Base, Spokane, Washington. 27 now is we were shown how to conceal sive language on the part of our captors,
November 1968. pemmican, or more appropriately, beef we were divided into small groups of
I thought this school was the E&E jerky, in the lining of our ﬁeld jackets about a dozen guys each and then led
School. Escape and Evasion! When I for later use if needed. We were told to into small Quonset Huts where we were
was young and gung ho, I didn’t equate be sure to have some Hershey candy to be held captive. Guards were posted
escape and evasion with survival. Es- bars or other survival food to sustain us outside the doors.
caping and Evading was what it was all during the E&E exercise that was going Once we were secluded inside the
about, and I didn’t think I would be too to take place the next day. buildings we immediately began to
much in need of that survival stuff. The next day was ﬁlled with class- organize our group and to lay plans
Our class consisted of all strangers. room lectures and brieﬁngs covering on how to escape and survive. We had
I didn’t know a single person. Ranks the upcoming E&E exercise that night. just completed our formal training so
ranged from about Airman 2nd to After dark we assembled to commence we really knew how to do all of this
Light Colonels. About the only thing our exercise and we received our ﬁnal very well! Someone appeared to be the
we had in common is that we were all instructions. The briefers set the stage ranking person among us so he became
Air Force, and we were all on shipping – we had just found ourselves in an the leader. We each took all of our loot,
orders to Vietnam. None of us were in- evasion situation in enemy territory. the jerky and Hershey bars, and put
terested in putting up with this training; Our way to survival required us to cross them into a kitty. We would hide the
it simply was one of the requirements several hundred yards of open ﬁelds in loot, and ration ourselves appropriately.
mandated in getting ready to ship to front of us. If we accomplished that, We developed plans on how we would
SEA. I was scheduled to complete this we would ﬁnd ourselves in friendly survive and function, and started to plan
course before reporting to Sewart AFB territory. That mission didn’t seem to for our eventual escape. It is absolutely
for my C-7 Caribou training. At this be that formidable. So, with a bit of amazing how all of our thoughts about
point I didn’t even know what a C-7 enthusiasm, we all set about evading just getting this exercise over with and
was; I hadn’t seen one or a picture of the enemy and began to make our way getting home to our families just dis-
one. But I did know that as soon as I across the open expanse in front of us, solved in thin air.
ﬁnished this stuff here in the state of and to ﬁnd our way to the safety of We were in the small building prob-
Washington I was going home to my friendly forces on the other side. ably less than three or four hours when
wife and kids for Christmas. Then I The weather was crisp in Washington suddenly the door burst open and ﬁve or
would be reporting to Sewart AFB right in November. We were dressed in our six of the enemy rushed in, screaming
after the ﬁrst of the year. So, like all of fatigues, boots, and the ﬁeld jackets and hollering and shoving us around.
the other guys, my main thrust was to that we had prepared for this exercise. It didn’t take them long to ﬁnd and
just get this over with. Our jacket linings were stuffed with conﬁscate our loot of jerky and Hershey
This event happened a long time ago beef jerky and our pockets were full bars. They threatened us with death
so the details might be a little rusty, of Hershey bars that we had purchased if we even attempted to carry out our
but I am not rusty on the outcome of from the little BX at the school. I guess plans of escape. We were completely
my training. my thoughts were about the same as dumbfounded as to how they learned
Our training started off with class- everyone else’s – let’s get this over with of our booty and escape plans. Eventu-
room instruction on the hazards of and we will get a good night’s sleep. ally we learned that in our confusion of
being in a combat zone and the conse- The course will be over tomorrow and being captured and being placed in this
quences of becoming a POW. All of this we will be on our happy way home. small building, the enemy had planted a
stuff was pretty evident; after all, we Yeah, right! spy among us and he reported all of our
were going to a war zone. The instruc- Shortly after we started slithering plans. Boy, we were really sunk.
tion was spiced up with a lot of show across the open plains on our bellies From here we were treated to some
and tells and a lot of pictures, and even and hands and knees, the night sky was personal discipline/punishment. After
some live eyewitness accounts of be- lit up by the bursting of what seemed to some initial, somewhat aggressive
coming a captive by a hostile enemy. be hundreds of illumination ﬂares. Land interrogation, in which I only revealed
The instruction turned to how to mines were exploding immediately be- Continued on Page 25
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 25
U.S. Casualties - Southeast Asia
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1960-1970
Deaths, hostile 11 31 78 147 1,369 5,008 9,378 14,503 9,414 4,225 44,638
Republic of Vietnam 1 31 77 145 1,331 4,946 9,314 14,537 9,361 4,176 43,919
North Vietnam 1 34 43 44 24 6 7 159
subtotal 1 31 77 146 1,365 4,989 9,358 14,561 9,367 4,183 44,441
Laos 10 1 1 4 19 20 31 47 38 171
Thailand 1 4 5
Deaths, other causes 4 29 47 56 383 1,101 1,737 2,021 2,204 1,909 9,752
Republic of Vietnam 2 18 36 48 359 1,043 1,537 1,899 2,076 1,829 8,847
North Vietnam 142 18 34 12 206
subtotal 2 18 36 48 359 1,043 1,679 1,917 2,110 1,841 8,291
Laos 3 2 1 2 3 3 14
Thailand 2 8 11 8 24 56 57 102 91 65 424
Hospital care required 2 41 218 522 3,308 16,526 32,371 46,801 32,941 15,212 149,351
Vietnam 1 39 218 521 3,307 16,520 32,539 46,783 32,898 15,177 149,208
Laos 1 2 2 2 6 12 16 42 34 141
Thailand 2 1 1 4
Hospital care not required 1 37 193 517 2,806 13,567 29,654 46,022 37,276 15,432 146,530
Vietnam 35 193 517 2,803 13,540 29,629 45,991 37,210 15,361 146,291
Laos 1 2 3 27 25 30 66 71 238
Thailand 1 1
Some totals include data which could not be identified to a specific year.
As reported by the Directorate of Information Operations, OSD Comptroller, 10 Mar 71
My Most... (from Page 24)
and in the state of Washington. I was to me that maybe they had possession
my name, rank, and serial number, I not happy! of my jacket for a short period, and that
was placed head ﬁrst into a horizontal After what seemed to be several they might have planted some ﬁlm or
box about ﬁve-foot-nine-inches long hours of this lock up, I was taken for canisters in it. After they accused me of
by twenty-inches square and about four some more interrogation. There were hiding the ﬁlm in the lining of the ﬁeld
feet off of the ﬂoor. I was six feet tall three or four enemy guys in this room jacket they took it and threw it on the
so I didn’t quite ﬁt into the cubicle. It and they all started yelling at me at ﬂoor in front of me. They told me that I
was extremely tight all around. There once and accusing me of mass murder could prove that I didn’t have any ﬁlm
was a door at the foot of the cubicle and and drug smuggling and espionage and if I stomped on the ﬁeld jacket, which
the guards tried to close the door on my whatever else they could think of. It would crush any canisters if there were
feet, but it would not quite close. was pretty easy to forget that you were any there. I knew there was no ﬁlm in
The guards pushed on my feet to in a training situation after having just the jacket so I readily jumped up and
force me to draw them up into the cu- gone through the isolation in the box. I down on it. That seemed to satisfy them
bicle, but there wasn’t enough space for guess I did take these guys pretty seri- and they sort of wound up the inter-
me to bend my knees to draw up my ously. Then one of them, who seemed rogation and they escorted me back to
feet. You can get a sense of how I was to be the senior, accused me of taking the room where I was to spend the rest
resisting their ill treatment. After a few photos of their installation and plan- of the night.
vigorous whacks with their truncheons ning to sell the photos to anyone who The next morning ﬂyers were placed
on the soles of my boots, I found that I would pay me good money for them. outside the doors of the prisoner’s
could draw them up so they could close Of course I denied their accusations. rooms. On the front of the ﬂyer there
and lock the door. They insisted that I had canisters of 35 was an 8 X 10 inch picture of an air-
I don’t know how many hours I was mm ﬁlm hidden on me or hidden in the man jumping up and down on his ﬁeld
kept in the lock up but I do remember lining of my ﬁeld jacket. I had the ﬁeld jacket. The caption read, “AMERICAN
that I ﬁgured these guys were getting jacket with me so I knew that there was AIRMAN DENOUNCES HIS COUN-
pretty serious. I don’t know what would nothing in the lining except maybe a TRY AND THE VIETNAM WAR BY
happen if you were claustrophobic. I piece of beef jerky or a remnant of a STOMPING HIS UNIFORM INTO
also didn’t panic completely because Hershey bar. Besides that, I didn’t even THE DIRT.” It was a pretty good pic-
I knew that I was still in the Air Force have a camera. The thought did occur ture … and it was of ME!
Page 26 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
miles to serve as the honor guard. As and movies that have inspired a fresh
A Noble Farewell For they talked with us, I realized that, to interest in World War II, a just war that
An American Soldier those men, my father was not simply an may ultimately eclipse the anguish
by Joan Caraganis Jakobson elderly war veteran they had never met, of Vietnam in the nation’s collective
but a member of their military brother- memory. I doubt I’ll ever fully accept
I was an antiwar protester; my father hood whose life and deeds were impor- military ideology, but I understand
was a veteran loyal to the military. I tant. I began to see the Army through that the Army offered my father and
think I ﬁnally understand why. my father’s eyes and to understand members of his generation a recogni-
Two days after my father died, as the the camaraderie and connection that tion of their commitment and courage.
visiting hours at the funeral home ended sustained him. The following day at It provided reassurance that they had
and we were putting on our coats, there the funeral service, the soldiers draped contributed a signiﬁcant service to their
was one last visitor. He was a stooped, the American ﬂag over the cofﬁn and country and a bond among soldiers that
solitary man who walked slowly to the accompanied it from the church to the survives even death.
open cofﬁn and gazed down at my fa- cemetery. As we gathered at my father’s Soon after we got home from the
ther, lying in his military dress uniform. grave site under a light December rain, funeral, my son called me into his
Suddenly, the visitor stood up straight four members of the honor guard stood room. Unbuttoning his shirt, he said,
and, still looking at his Army comrade, at attention. “Mom, remember when Grandpa gave
gave the brisk salute of the spirited, One soldier raised his riﬂe and ﬁred me his dog tags? I kept them on a shelf
young GI he must have been 55 years three shots while the bugler played with some of his medals, but when you
ago. Then he slowly lowered his arm taps. The ﬂag was removed from the told me he’d died, I put them on.” He
and became an old man once more, coffin and slowly and meticulously paused, looking down at the metal tags
turning and shufﬂing out the door. His folded into a triangular shape. After hanging from his neck. “He wore them
gallant gesture has come to symbolize one soldier inserted the empty cas- all over Europe with General Patton,
a profound shift in my feelings toward ings into the ﬂag’s angled pocket, the so I thought I should wear them until
the United States military. rest of the guard lined up in formation the funeral was over. I think he would
My father was a retired Brigadier behind the highest-ranking officer, have liked that.”
General, a World War II veteran of the who approached my teenage son. The I think so, too. And I think he would
Battle of the Bulge and the march on ofﬁcer, holding the folded ﬂag on his have been gratiﬁed to learn that his
Bastogne, who maintained an unfal- outstretched palms and looking straight grandson’s generation, those who grew
tering belief in the righteousness of at my boy, said, “Please accept this ﬂag up after the glorious victories of World
the United States Army and any war on behalf of a grateful nation.” War II and the raging divisiveness of
it might choose to fight, including And so it was, at the end, the United the war in Vietnam, have achieved the
Vietnam. I spent the late 60’s and early States Army that provided my family equanimity that allows them to wear
70’s marching in and organizing anti- and me with a noble conclusion to my dog tags with nothing but pride.
war protests, including the Washington father’s life. I began to realize that
and New York moratorium marches in the military traditions I had once con- Your Story or Stories
1969, and formed a women’s collec- sidered unquestioningly rigid endure Have you enjoyed the newsletter sto-
tive to raise money for a bombed-out because they serve a purpose. Every ries that our buddies have written up?
hospital in North Vietnam. morning, as long as he was able, my Everyone says that they have. Now it’s
I believed that the armed forces were father raised the American ﬂag on the your turn. Think about the crazy situa-
an instrument for senseless destruction pole outside his house, observed a mo- tion you had in the air, on the ﬂight line,
and imperialism. Visits home for family ment of silence, then stood at attention in some local joint, or in the hootches.
dinners meant arguments with my fa- and saluted. I had always thought this Write it up so other guys can read it
ther that ended with my storming away exercise sweetly eccentric but meaning- and say, “Oh, yeah, that’s the Vietnam
from the table. Although our conﬂicts less – now I envy the ritual that I, as a I knew” or “Something just like that
subsided as the war wound down, I civilian, will never know. happened to me.”
couldn’t begin to solve the mystery of The impassioned arguments that my You don’t have to be a Pulitzer win-
my father’s boundless devotion to the father and I had about the war in South- ning journalist. Write up your tale or
Army. Until he died. east Asia echoed across the country and tales and send them to:
The day before his funeral, my across the generations. Thirty years firstname.lastname@example.org or
husband, daughter, son, and I were later, those tensions have been greatly Pat Hanavan
introduced to six soldiers from the 10th eased, in part because of the passage 12402 Winding Branch
Mountain Division who had driven 400 of time, but also because of the books San Antonio, TX 78230-2770
April 2011 C-7A Caribou Association Page 27
Page 28 C-7A Caribou Association April 2011
Non Proﬁt Org.
12402 Winding Branch U.S. Postage Paid
San Antonio, TX 78230-2770 Permit No. 1957
Address Service Requested
MEMORABILIA ORDER FORM
Contact Jim Meyer at email@example.com to check availability of items.
Fill out this form and mail with a check to: C-7A Caribou Association, c/o Jim Meyer, 3019 Oneida, San Antonio, TX 78230.
1. Polo Shirt* Size - Please Mark: M L XL XXL Qty. _____ @ $18.00 Total: ____________
2. Colored T Shirt Size - Please Mark: M L XL XXL Qty. _____ @ $15.00 Total: ____________
3. Round Engine (R-2000) T Shirt Size - Please Mark: M L XL XXL Qty. _____ @ $12.00 Total: ____________
4. Denim Shirt Size - Please Mark: M L XL XXL Qty. _____ @ $25.00 Total: ____________
5. Denim Hat One size ﬁts all Qty. _____ @ $13.00 Total: ____________
6. Baseball (white) Hat One size ﬁts all Qty. _____ @ $13.00 Total: ____________
7. 457th Replica Patch Qty. _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
8. 458th Replica Patch Qty. _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
9. 459th Replica Patch Qty. _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
10. 535th Replica Patch Qty. _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
11. 536th Replica Patch Qty. _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
12. 537th Replica Patch Qty. _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
13. 483rd Replica Patch Qty. _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
14. Caribou Lapel Pin Qty. _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
15. Caribou Poster (12" x 18") Qty. _____ @ $5.00 Total: ____________
16. Caribou Challenge Coin Qty. _____ @ $8.00 Total: ____________
17. Caribou DVD – 1:10 long Qty: _____ @ $5.00 Total: ____________
18. Caribou decal (outside) Qty: _____ @ $3.00 Total: ____________
*Polo shirt colors: White, Gray, Yellow, Red, and Light Blue (please specify) Total: _________________
Note: Each amount above includes cost of purchasing item and domestic shipping. Any excess funds are a donation to the Association.
Photos of items can be seen on the web site: http://www.c-7acaribou.com/memorabilia/memorabilia.htm