Donald Paul Stevens, Electronics Maintenance
17th SOS, Phan Rang and Tan Son Nhut, 1970-71
I was born in Houston, Texas in 1949. I graduated from Richfield High School at Waco, Texas in 1967. I joined the Air Force in 1969 because I was young and not ready for college and because of the Vietnam War. After I separated from the Air Force in July 1973 at Carswell AFB, Texas in Fort Worth, I entered college and graduated from Tyler Jr. College at Tyler, Texas in 1975 and McLennan College in Waco, Texas in 1978. My wife, Chris, and I currently live in Waco.
My most memorable event while I was with AC-119 gunships was when I got a chance to fly on an AC-119G Shadow gunship with the crew. Although it was not a combat mission, it gave me some insight of what it was like to be aboard one of the planes with the crew. I am pretty sure it was a hop from Phan Rang to Tan Son Nhut at Saigon. The trip gave me an above the ground perspective of Vietnam and its natural beauty. It also reminded me of how serious our mission in Vietnam was and how dangerous it was for our AC-119 crews. I had so much respect for them.
I will always remember the closeness of our 17th SOS unit (C Flight) at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. I had many really close pals among the young and older enlisted men as well as officers. I loved the time I was there, yet hated it! I missed my wife, Chris (we are still married now for forty years). I was proud to serve with the 17th SOS in Vietnam for 364 days. I am still proud of our group of guys.