Byron “By” Douglas Maynard, Navigator
18th SOS, Nakhon Phanom, Phan Rang, and Da Nang, 1972-73
San Jose, California was my birthplace in 1933. I graduated from Lincoln and James Lick High School at San Jose in 1951 and then graduated from San Jose State University in 1955. In 1956, I entered the U.S. Air Force at Lackland AFB.
I was assigned to the 18th Special Operations Squadron as a navigator/ sensor operator on AC-119K Stinger gunships. I flew out of Phan Rang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam (RVN) during January 1971 and then out of Nakhon Phanom (NKP) Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand from February to July 1971. From July 7, 1971 to January 1972, I flew out of Da Nang Air Base, RVN.
My most exciting combat mission was my first Stinger mission, flying out of NKP hunting trucks on the Ho Chi Minh Trails in Laos. We had a big ‘AAA’ time and were lucky to get back to NKP without taking any hits. The next night, my longtime friend, Bob Bloomfield, went up with my crew and sustained a six-inch hole in one of the vertical tails for their effort, as well as many other close 23mm rounds. My first mission was the worst. Gladly, the rest were less stressful.
The things that I will always remember about flying Stinger gunships are: Bingo Points, which we learned had to be reconsidered for one engine returns! That we must not toss out miniguns to reduce weight!
I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Air Force in February 1977 at Beale AFB, California. I currently live in Penn Valley, California.