Fort Mitchell, Kentucky is where I was born in 1952. Plantation, Florida is where I grew up and graduated from Plantation High School in 1970. To avoid getting drafted into the Army or the Marines, I joined the Air Force. Later in life, I completed two years of college at Broward Community College.
I served with the 18th Special Operations Squadron at NKP and Bien Hoa from November 1971 to November 1972 in aircraft maintenance. I’ll never forget the one morning that we were pushing the gunships back into their respective revetments when suddenly we came under attack by 122mm rockets. I remember feeling a warm sensation in my back and before I realized what was happening, I woke up under the Coleman tug that was being used to push the aircraft into the revetment. The tug operator, I don’t remember his name, asked me, “How did you get here so fast?” Without even knowing what to say, I automatically responded, “I Flew!!” As the rocket fire subsided, everyone started coming to their senses. After seeing me under the tug, Sergeant Dunbar happily said to me, “Good to see you Schuler, I thought you were dead!” As I glanced over my shoulder and looked where I had been wing walking the Stinger, I began to understand why the Sarge said what he did. There where I once stood was a crater formed from a rocket hit!
I will always remember the friendships made during my tour of duty with the AC-119 Stinger gunships. The camaraderie between us all was simply super. Age, color of skin, or ethnic background could not separate us during the tough times; times that I will always cherish. We were like brothers!
I separated from the United States Air Force on 17 December 1977. I currently live in Plantation, Florida; still proud to be a Stinger!
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