Jimmy Grant, IO
18th SOS, Nakhon Phanom and Da Nang, 1970-71
Jimmy Grant was born March 31, 1947 at Gainesville, Georgia. He was an Army brat from day one because his father, Charles Grant was career Army. Jimmy and his mother Alma, brother Charles, Jr. and sister Carolyn moved to wherever his father was stationed, if allowed. Jimmy graduated from Fort Knox High School, Kentucky in 1967. Because of living around Army Posts all his life and not seeing any future in driving tanks or humping the bush, he enlisted in the United States Air Force on June 26, 1967 at Louisville, Kentucky.
Grant immediately reported to Lackland AFB, Texas for three months basic training. His first assignment was to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. While there in 1968, he received his first Vietnam Tour of Duty assignment with the 459th Tactical Air Squadron (TAS) based at Phu Cat Air Base, Republic of South Vietnam. As Loadmaster/Engineer/Flight Mechanic on the C-7A Caribou. Jimmy served from 11 November 1968 to 22 November 1969.
Upon returning from Vietnam, Grant was stationed at Warner Robbins AFB, Georgia as a KC-135 mechanic. Still wanting to fly, he somewhat volunteered for Special Operations. Not long thereafter, he received orders for AC-119 Gunship Training and his second Tour of Duty in Vietnam on 30 April 1970.
Staff Sergeant Grant reported to 18th Special Operations Squadron Headquarters at Phan Rang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam on 14 September 1970 and was assigned to Stinger Alpha Flight based at Da Nang Air Base. Later in his tour, Grant was TDY to Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand for more Stinger combat missions in Steele Tiger (Southern Laos) and Lam Son 719.
Jimmy Grant was the IO on the infamous Stinger “Polish Bandits” aircrew which made history in destroying 40 enemy trucks on the Ho Chi Minh Trail over a two-night period. The first night of that historic aerial combat feat will remain forever engrained in Grant’s mind because of intense concentrations of enemy anti-aircraft guns in the extremely hostile area of operations.
A lighter side to his second tour in Vietnam was one night when his buddy Ron Morrison had been out drinking wine and eating rice at a restaurant across the street from their barracks at Da Nang. Ron returned to the barracks quite inebriated and while attempting to get on his top bunk, fell backward to the floor hitting his head on the dresser just as the lights in the barracks went out. Everyone thought the base was under attack. There was lots of blood on the floor from Ron’s cut head but the injury wasn’t too serious. Ron consequently got sick and started throwing up wine and rice. Ugh, the sights, sounds, and smells of war zone living.
For his service in the United States Air Force and for his heroic efforts during his two Tours of Duty in Vietnam, Grant was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, eight (8) Air Medals, USAF Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Award, Outstanding Unit Award, American Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Small Arms Expert.
Upon his second return from Vietnam, SSgt. Jimmy Grant separated from the Air Force at his port of entry, Travis AFB, California. He returned to Georgia and worked in a Cotton Mill from 1971 to 1973. In March 1973, Jimmy went to work at General Motors Corporation in Doraville, Georgia where he worked the line until 1982 when he was elected to the position of Union Representative which he held for twenty years. He was also Chairman of the Local 10 Veterans Committee and Chairman of the Region 8 Veteran Council. He was Representative on the United Auto Workers (UAW) National Veterans Advisory Committee from Region 8. During the last two years he worked for GM, Jimmy was appointed by the Chairman of Local 10 to work with new car projects coming into the plant. After 30 years with GM, Jimmy retired and started a Mobile DJ Service in 1986 which he closed after 20 years running on January 1, 2007.
Jimmy Grant and his wife, Teresa will celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary on May 17, 2007. They are proud parents of two sons and extremely proud grandparents of three grandchildren, Wyatt, Austin and Phoenix. Jimmy and Teresa Grant live in Oakwood, Georgia.