I was born in Chicago, IL in 1941 and graduated from Manatee High School in Bradenton, FL in 1960. While in high school, I was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. I enjoyed it very much and my first airplane ride was in a Grumman U-16 Albatross. I had no plans for college, so I enlisted in the Air Force in 1960.
During 1960-1964, I served as a Crew Chief on C-124s. I served as a Flight Mechanic on VC-131s from 1964 to 1965, on C-47s from 1965 to 1967, and C-131s from 1967 to 1968. During 1968-69, I made the mistake of separating from the Air Force. I soon got homesick for the Air Force and reenlisted. I went to Homestead AFB to process in and found out I was going to Vietnam. They said I would be flying as a Flight Mechanic/Flight Engineer on C-47s, maybe AC-47s.
I was sent to Nha Trang and, because my AFSC was for a Flight Engineer on recips, they assigned me to the 71st SOS. (AC-47s were being assigned to the South Vietnamese Air Force.) Since I had not attended jungle school, I was sent to Clark AB for jungle survival training. I started basic AC-119G training on local flights with MSgt. Scott and TSgt. Thomas during daytime.
On April 6-7, 1970, we supported Dak Seang in the A Shau valley for night drops with our spot light to light up the drop point. One other night, we were called to defend a Special Forces camp west of Da Nang AB that was being overrun. We got over the base and they were taking incoming fire and we could see the NVA troops breaking over the outer fence, so we were cleared to work the area. We had a C-130 flare ship at 10,000 feet dropping flares, and by the time they reached our altitude, they were burned out. Along with enemy gunfire to dodge, we had to watch out for the flares with their nice cable hanging down to crash into one of our props or windshields. Our relief aircraft was delayed due to maintenance and we were close to bingo fuel, so I leaned the fuel mixture more. If we departed the TIC, we knew the camp would be lost. Finally, we heard the relief aircraft coming in. We briefed them and just made it back to Da Nang.
From 1970-1974, I was assigned to C-130Es at Forbes AFB, Kansas, then Kadena AB, Okinawa on C-130Es, and from 1975 to 1978 to Hurlburt AFB on MC-130E/H. I retired from the Air Force in 1981 at Hurlburt while assigned to the 8th SOS on MC-130s. I live in Bradenton, Florida.
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