Wayne R. Rodgers, Crew Chief
17th SOS, Phan Rang, 1969-70
I was born 29 January, 1949 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and went to Portsmouth Senior High School, graduating in 1967.
I joined the Air Force on 21 July 1967-at Fort Worth, Texas. The reason I joined is that I grew up down the road from Pease AFB in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and was influenced by the Air Force Airmen that I got to know at my Dad’s Citgo Gas Station just off the main gate.
I was a Crew Chief from May 1969 to May 1970 at the 17th FOL at Phan Rang. One of my most exciting events, other than keeping my aircraft fit for flying, was that I flew on ONE combat mission just so that I could say; “I flew a combat mission in Vietnam!” After that, I stayed on the base and used the Photo Lab to learn how to develop my own film, and print the photos myself.
Memorable events included having a steak and potato feast when we had the chance, and self-teaching myself Black and White photography and darkroom film development and print making.
One of the most humorous things was my first Christmas away from home in a hostile area. You had to laugh – no real Christmas Tree. My most memorable person was my roomy, Bruce Muller.
I separated from the Air Force 27 April 1974 at Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC as a Staff Sergeant.
My wife Ellen, and I have two children, Evon and Jennifer; and two grandchildren, Hannah and Riley.
I am currently an aircraft sheet metal and structural technician.