John Daniel Santivasci Jr., Logistics
18th SOS, Bien Hoa and Nakhon Phanom, 1972-73
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was my birthplace in 1952. I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia and graduated from Great Mills High School in 1970. I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1970 for family stability and I wanted to serve in Vietnam.
I was assigned to the 18th Special Operations Squadron at Nakhon Phanom (NKP) Royal Thai Air Base and Bien Hoa as Logistics/Intelligence during 1972-73. One exciting AC-119 event in S.E.A. for me was when I was assisting the aircraft mechanic with engines run-up and the gunship jumped the blocks and we starting taxiing. Here I was a Sergeant seeing my whole career going out the window. Another time I was helping to refuel an aircraft when a rocket attack occurred. I was blown off the wing, damaging my sternum. Consequently, I was recommended for and awarded the Purple Heart.
At Bien Hoa, a rocket hit between the tails of a gunship being backed into a revetment. The damage to the gunship was so extensive that a crew from the States came over to make repairs. I worked with that crew for 42 hours straight, getting the massive damage repaired. Eventually, we finished and the aircraft flew several more missions. I will always remember the friendship and closeness of the crews. I had never been exposed to that before.
I retired as a Master Sergeant from the Air Force in June 1990 at Andrews AFB, Maryland. I currently live in St. Leonard, Maryland.