Boris “Borey” C. Chaleff, Navigator
71st SOS, Nha Trang, 1969
I reside in Indianapolis, Indiana where I was born (1923). I graduated from Ben Davis High School in 1941 and was drafted. I served as a B-17 navigator in Europe with the 569th Bomb Squadron, 390th Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force. After the war I returned to Indianapolis, joined the Air Force Reserve, and attended Butler University where I earned my bachelors and Master’s degrees in Education. I began teaching but was recalled to active duty during Korea to fly B-29s with the 19th Bomb Wing, Guam.
I returned to teaching but was again called to active duty in June 1968 when the Air Force activated my reserve unit, the 930th Tactical Airlift Group, Bakalar AFB, Indiana and re-designated the unit as the 71st Special Operations Squadron. I served at Nha Trang AB until June 1969 when the 71st was deployed to Bakalar AFB and deactivated. Soon after returning to Indiana I was promoted to colonel. I accepted an opportunity to serve an active duty tour as a Section 265 officer with Headquarters Air Force Reserve assigned to Headquarters USAF at the Pentagon. I continued as a reservist on active duty at the Pentagon for over 14 years, serving the last two years on the Reserve Forces Policy Board of the Secretary of Defense. I retired in April 1986 having accumulated 43 years of military service that included credit for 27 years of active duty.
My most exiting mission occurred while flying the late Shadow mission assigned to fire on four checkpoints to disrupt the attempted night time repair of bomb craters. While on CAP over the South China Sea we contacted the Shadow crew we were replacing and learned one of the four checkpoints was manned with two twin-barrel 50-caliber machine guns. We knew the gunners would expect us to enter the area by our standard route flying due West from Chu Li. Instead we altered our approach, arriving from the North with all four 7.62 mini-guns firing. We never heard a peep from that checkpoint the entire night.
The thing I will always remember most from my gunship experience is the satisfaction of talking to the troops on the ground who were always grateful that Shadow was there to protect them.