Robert D. Farmer, Maintenance
17th SOS, Phan Rang and Tan Son Nhut, 1970-71
I was born in New London, Huron County, Ohio on May 1, 1950. I enlisted in the United States Air Force at Bangor, Maine in November 1968 and served until my discharge in February 1972 as a Sergeant (E-4).
In 1968, the Draft was going strong and I thought it would be better to enlist than to be drafted. After boot camp, I went to Sheppard AFB, Texas for Aircraft Mechanic Technical School. My first duty assignment after tech school was to Lockbourne AFB, Ohio with the 4408th CCTS where I worked on C-123s. I decided to volunteer for a worldwide tour and was sent to Vietnam. I arrived in Vietnam February 1970 and was assigned to the 17th SOS at Phan Rang AB to work on AC-119G gunships. After five months at Phan Rang, I volunteered to go to the FOB at Tan Son Nhut AB, where I spent my last seven months in Vietnam.
While I was at Tan Son Nhut, I volunteered to return to Vietnam as a Flight Mechanic on the C-7A Caribou. So after my 30-day leave in the States, I went to Hurlburt Air Field where I worked on A-1E Sky Raiders for a short time before beginning training as a Flight Mechanic. I went to Tyndall AFB, Florida for physiological training in the altitude chamber and ejection seat. From there, I went to Dyes AFB, Texas for air crew training, followed by survival training at Fairchild AFB, Washington. Jungle survival school at Clark AFB, Phil ippines was the final training before entering Vietnam for my second tour of duty in September 1971. I was assigned to the 457th TAS at Cam Ranh Bay AB. I flew as a flight mechanic/load master on the C-7A Caribou through 1972. U. S. Troop withdrawals sent me back to the States early. When I returned stateside, I was discharged from the Air Force at Travis AFB, California. Civilian again! I have many fond memories of my service and wouldn’t change a thing, except for maybe staying in for twenty years.