Gerald “Mingo” E. Marsland Jr., Gunner
18th SOS, Da Nang, 1969-70
I was born at Providence, Rhode Island in 1948. In 1967, I graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, my home town. On 2 February 1968, I entered the United States Air Force at Lackland AFB, Texas.
I was assigned to the 18th Special Operations Squadron from October to December 1969 at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio. Departing Lockbourne in December, I was in the third wave of 18th SOS AC-119Ks ferried to Vietnam. I served as an aerial gunner on Stinger gunships stationed at Da Nang AB from December 1969 to January 1971. Following my tour with Stingers, I served at Takhli from November 1972 to March 1973 (Credible Chase), and at Udorn from January to August 1974. I was discharged from the USAF at Luke AFB, Arizona in December 1982.
The most exciting Stinger mission that I experienced was the night we flew through a B-52 Arc Light strike. We flew straight into the bomb drop with MK 82s hitting the ground beneath us. Then there was a BIG “Break Left” called and we flew away from the area. Five minutes later, the Airborne Command and Control Center (ABCCC) “Moonbeam” put out a warning of the Arc Light over the radio. Moonbeam was late; the bombers were early. We were very lucky that we were not hit by one of the bombs.
I currently live in Presque Isle, Maine.