Robert J. Allen, Pilot
71st SOS, Nha Trang, Phan Rang, and Tuy Hoa, 1968-69

Flew C-119G/J Willow Grove Air Reserve Facility, Pennsylvania (1959 – 1968) (Aircraft Commander/ Instructor Pilot/ Chief, Standardization and Evaluation)
Flew AC-119G Lockbourne AFB, Ohio (1968) (Student) Nha Trang, Phan Rang and Tuy Hoa, Vietnam (1969) (Aircraft Commander/Instructor Pilot)
Flew AC-119G/K Lockbourne AFB, Ohio and Hurlburt Field, Florida (1969 – 1972) (Instructor Pilot/ Standardization and Evaluation Flight Examiner/Chief Pilot) Logged over 5,000 hours in various models of the C-119, 678 hours of which were in combat. Over 6,000 total hours of flying time.
After leaving the cockpit in 1972, served as Airfield Manager/Director, Operations and Training at Wiesbaden AB, Germany (1973 – 1976), Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio (1976 – 1980), and Grissom AFB, Indiana (1980 – 1982). I completed Air Command and Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Between first and second active duty tours, attended and graduated from Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania (1958 – 1962) with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Education degree; while at Rickenbacker AFB, attended and was graduated from the Graduate School of Administration, Capital University, Bexley, Ohio (1978 – 1981) with a Master of Public Administration degree. After retirement from active duty, worked at the Defense Construction Supply Center (DCSC), Whitehall, Ohio (1983 – 1996) as a Logistics Management Specialist in charge of disaster and emergency planning and operation of the Center Command and Control facility. In June 1971, I married Georgianna Vorhies Bundy.
In the 210 missions that I flew throughout Southeast Asia, in South Vietnam, Laos, a small portion of North Vietnam when my navigator got a little “mixed up”, and other places to the west, most were relatively routine, although my crew and I probably did not think so at the time!

I recall a mission early in my tour that took us to patrolling “the trail” in Laos. Because of where we were flying, our guns were to be loaded strictly with “ball” ammunition – no “tracers”. We located several trucks moving along and we rolled in to “hit” the lead and tail vehicles, essentially stopping the convoy. With the front vehicle in the NOS and clearance to fire, we all were amazed when a steady stream of red tracers left the aircraft, headed for the target. Almost immediately, several weapons of varying sizes began returning fire.

On a mission near Dak To, troops on the ground reported taking fire from a hillside, but as soon as we entered the area all got quiet. After flying around for a little while, we left the area, flew south for about 20 miles, turned out our lights, and reentered the target area. Thinking that we had left, the enemy resumed firing, and were doing so just in time for the sensor operator to pinpoint his position.

We immediately fired upon the location and subsequently witnessed several large explosions.

Late in my tour, we were called in for a TIC (troops in contact) situation west of Chu Lai. As we entered the “firing geometry,” several enemy guns opened fire immediately below us. The aircraft took several small caliber “hits” and the DASC (Direct Air Support Center) directed that we depart the target area. Instead, a call was made for fighter support and we subsequently directed an attack on the gun locations. After the flight of F-4s did their thing, no resistance was experienced and the attack on the fire support base was broken.

On a mission in III Corps, we were called in to relieve another gunship that was just about “fired out.” A fire support base was under attack and all manner of air support was called in. A C-130 “Basketball” was overhead dropping flares, a young trooper on the ground was doing a superb job of directing where to put the ordnance, and a flight of four Army helicopters arrived on the scene. The flight lead (Blue Max Lead) gave the impression that he thought he was going to single-handedly win the war, but first he needed to know the location of ALL friendly forces! The trooper, who had a propensity for vulgarity and who was busy with other transmissions, simply told Blue Max to “shut the Hell up, hold high and dry, and let Shadow do his job.” By the time that our ammunition supply was nearly expended, the attack was broken and all was quiet.

All this happened some 37 years ago. ‘Tis a little difficult to remember back some four decades.

The funniest thing about the last tale is that years later my wife and I were at a party and the host was proud to tell everybody in attendance that he had a tape he wanted to play. The tape was a recording of a mission in III Corps and of his crew and how they supported a TIC. He went to great lengths to build up “his crew’s” exploits. He played the tape and all were awestruck as they listened to how “Shadow 62,” his crew, had gone about its business. Then the tape was over and everybody was talking about the mission. I simply asked when he had been on a gunship, for “I was the aircraft commander on Shadow 62 that night, and I don’t remember you ever being on my crew!” Reluctantly, he had to admit that he had gotten the tape from a friend.