Douglas “Doug” Frost, Navigator
18th SOS, Da Nang, 1970-71
I was born in Berkeley, California on June 14 (Flag Day), 1936. We moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1939 where I was raised. Upon entering the University of Utah, I joined the AFROTC. In 1958 I served as the Cadet Commander and was subsequently commissioned a second lieutenant. I completed Navigation School, then flew out of Plattsburgh AFB, NY for 7 years as a B-47 Navigator/Bombardier before being reassigned to Mather AFB, CA as a Navigator/ Bombardier Instructor. From Mather AFB, I was sent to Indiana University where I earned an MBA before being assigned to the 18th Special Operations Squadron in the AC-119K. I was stationed at Da Nang AB from April 1970 to March 1971. As the additional-duty Admin Officer, I spent many hours typing all the Air Medal Citations with 4 carbon copies!
I remain impressed with the incredible coordination we had with ten crewmembers on one intercom. On target there was no rank; every crewmember was essential to a successful attack and to our survival. Positioned in the cargo compartment, I remember the IO and Gunner hanging out the back of the aircraft reporting the AAA. We literally “fell out of the air” evading AAA. I can see a fighter doing that, but an old cargo aircraft? The AC-119 was a rugged aircraft.
Three missions stick in my memory. In January 1971 we took a 23mm shell in the right jet engine. The explosion blew the engine cowling through the wing causing a fuel leak that continued through our touchdown at Da Nang. Fortunately, the fuel never caught fire. In late February 1971 we caught eight NVA PT-76 light tanks setting up an ambush for a South Vietnamese supply column near Hill 31 in Laos. We destroyed all eight tanks. Then there was the night of incredible airspace congestion during a TIC in the A Shau Valley. The area simultaneously included a FAC, a flare ship, two F-4s, our gunship and who knows how many Army helicopters, most flying lights-out, and some at undisclosed altitude, and all of us trying to prevent the enemy from overrunning a U.S. ground position.
Upon leaving Da Nang I finally got to apply my MBA as Base Comptroller at Hurlburt Field FL, the home of the Special Operations Forces. From there I did a hard-luck tour at Aviano AB, Italy as the Base Comptroller and Deputy Commander for Resource Management. In 1978, I was assigned to SAC Headquarters, Offutt AFB, NE. I completed a joint assignment with the U.S. Army Comptroller at 8th Army Headquarters in Yongsan, Korea (1981 to 1983), then returned to SAC Headquarters. I retired in July 1986 as a Colonel and remained in the Omaha area where I began teaching at Bellevue, a small, private, local University.
During my 20 years at Bellevue I earned a Ph.D. while advancing from professor to the Dean of the College of Business. As Dean, I originated the Center for Information Technology that includes the Online MBA Program. Today, the Online MBA Program is the largest in Nebraska, with over 300 online students from around the world. The program allowed me to teach students from Thailand, Nepal, China, Russia, and South America, among many others. I retired from BU in 2006, and have spent much of my time volunteering as a member of the Board of Directors for the $340 million SAC Federal Credit Union, where I presently serve as Board Chairman.