Clayton L. Green, Maintenance
71st SOS and 17th SOS, Phan Rang and Nha Trang, 1969-70
I was assigned to the 4th SOS at Nha Trang and performed engine maintenance on Spooky, AC 47s and Shadow, AC- 119s and was then transferred to 71st SOS, later becoming the 17th SOS. I moved to Phan Rang as an R-3350 engine mechanic on Shadows because of my prior experience on R-3350 engines and was run-up and taxi qualified. I was then designated as Taxi and Run-Up instructor for the 17th SOS and was placed on flying status as a flight mechanic.
I spent the majority of the tour TDY recovering battle damaged aircraft or making mechanical repairs all over Vietnam and Thailand, often times under hostile ground fire. On one occasion I was deployed to Ban Me Thout East TDY to recover a Shadow that had made an emergency landing on a PSP runway due to #2 engine failure. A short time after I arrived, the base was under attack by “Charlie”. Charlie was trying to destroy Shadow and mortars were being launched at the airplane and small arms fire continued thru the night until the next morning. Fortunately, the Army was there to handle the ground assault. I proceeded to change the engine in record-setting time, flew the test flight with the crew, landed, performed the dash-6 inspection and flew home to Phan Rang with the crew. Upon returning to Phan Rang, the Squadron Commander awarded me a commendation. I was also nominated for the Bronze Star for changing the engine in record time under hostile ground fire. In addition to Phan Rang and Nha Trang, I spent TDY time in Ben Hoa, Chu Lai, Tuy Hoa, Pleiku, Phu Cat, Da Nang, Ban Me Thout, Cam Ranh Bay, Tan Son Nhut, Udorn, U Tapao, and NKP. I had opportunities to fly several missions and witness the magnificent firepower and devastation of Shadow and the intense but exemplary performance of the flight crews and maintenance crews. “Deny him the Dark” was a very appropriate slogan for the mission objective.
I was discharged from the Air Force at Mather AFB, CA in 1972.