James “Jimmy” L. Montgomery, Gunner
18th SOS, Da Nang, Nakhon Phanom, and Bien Hoa, 1971-72

I was born in 1948 at Sandy Ridge, North Carolina; and grew up in Monroe, NC, graduating from Winchester Ave High School in 1966. I could not afford college so I joined the USAF to fulfill my military obligation early in life.

Some of my most exciting missions include a mission where a “Break Left” was called and the aircraft rolled over 130 degrees from wings level. The Aircraft Commander nosed the aircraft down to maintain enough air speed to pull out. It was my most terrifying mission!

Another time we were trying to kill a truck with only 2 minutes to RTB (Return To Base), and we started getting painted by a radar controlled quad (4 barrels) 23mm AAA gun. The first burst of AAA missed us but the second put 2 rounds through the right wing, splitting it from the tip to the fuel cell. It also sheared the aileron push rod, making it very difficult to turn left. The entire crew decided to stay with the aircraft and bring it back. I received my DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) from that mission.