Jack L. Halsey, Navigator
71st and 17th SOS, Nha Trang and Phan Rang, 1969
I was born in Yakima, Washington, 29 October 1935. Upon graduating from the United States Military Academy (West Point), on 4 June 1958, I was commissioned in the Air Force. I retired in June 1978 as a Lieutenant Colonel and Master Navigator with 815 combat hours and 4763 hours of flying time that included the C-118, AC-119G, and C-141. My awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters.
I was assigned to the AC-119G in June 1968 as one of the first active duty navigators. I served as a Squadron Navigator with the 71st SOS at Nha Trang and the 17th SOS at Phan Rang AB, RVN.
First Shadows to Vietnam
Two pilots, a flight engineer, a crew chief, and I ferried one of the first AC-119Gs from the plant in St. Augustine, FL to Vietnam. We left St. Augustine December 18th and arrived at Nha Trang on January 11th. Our route was St. Augustine, England AFB, McClellan AFB, McChord AFB, Elmendorf AFB, Adak NAS, Midway, Wake, Anderson AB, Clark AB, and Nha Trang. Grumman had not calculated new fuel consumption curves for the newly modified aircraft, so we flew one extended leg over land to see whether the AC-119’s fuel consumption would be reasonably approximated by existing C-119G estimates. The test leg began at England AFB, LA and followed the CONUS border to McClellan AFB, CA. As far as I know, ours was the only AC-119G to use a 360 overhead pattern for landing at Nha Trang.