Dale E. Martin, Gunner
18th SOS, Nakhon Phanom, Da Nang, and Bien Hoa, 1972
I was born in September 11, 1952 In Wisconsin; the youngest of 7 children raised on a dairy farm. I followed in the footsteps of my 4 older brothers; together we served 56 years in the military. I joined the AF October 1970, and went to tech school at Lowery AFB. After tech school I was assigned to England AFB, Louisiana as a weapons Technician. While at England AFB I met my first crew chief, Americus Floyd, who had just returned from Vietnam as a gunner on the AC-119 Gunship. I was interested in the exciting stories he told which prompted me to quickly get my 5 level so I could apply for gunships.
I was 19 when I arrived in NKP, Thailand. On my first mission I sat on an ammo can behind the Pilot. We were over the Ho Chi Minh Trail and spotted a truck park, when the pilot called in an F-4 with canister bombs. The canister holds numerous small grenade size bomblets. I saw numerous flashes on the ground thinking we were being shot at and therefore called out break right, break right!! The pilot questioned who called the break, only to find out it was the new scanner.
One of my most memorable missions we flew out of Bien Hoa on a TIC where we were under heavy fire until we ran short of fuel and ammo. We landed at Pleiku, refueled, rearmed, and flew a second mission.
I served 24 years in the AF and retired at Luke AFB in October 1994 as a Master Sergeant. The medals I received include the Distinguished Flying Cross and 6 Air Medals.
After retiring from the Air Force I worked at an automotive dealership as a Recon Manager in Phoenix AZ. I had met my wife Jeanette, who was also in the AF and stationed at Lakenheath England, in 1976. Jeanette and I are now retired and enjoy spending time at our summer home in northern AZ, as well as with our children Chris and Brad, and grandchildren Ariana, Kenedi, Connor, and Claire.