David G. Vaux, Gunner
18th SOS, Da Nang, 1971-72
I spent a year overseas in Thailand loading bombs and weapons as a 46250 at Takhli, Korat, Ubon, NKP, and Udorn, Thailand. While there, I was impressed with aerial gunners I met and soon discovered I wanted to be flying like them. For my follow-on assignment, I requested Paine Field or McChord AFB, Washington so I could be close to home. I got orders to Langley AFB, Virginia. Consequently, I did some work and got myself selected for the Palace Gun Program. Within weeks I was packing my bags for AC- 119K aerial gunner training at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio.
My assignment was to the Stinger forward operating location at Da Nang AB, RVN. I arrived in May 1971 and lived in the “Cave” – a bottom floor room in the Gunfighter Village barracks. My roommates were Denny Chamberlin, Lloyd Kilgore, and Dan Jensen.
I flew as an AC-119K Stinger Gunship Aerial Gunner on Captain Shuman’s crew and many others during my 12-month tour. Squadron Headquarters was at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB. We got to fly an aircraft to NKP every fifteenth mission for aircraft servicing.
I separated from the service at Travis AFB, California on May 22, 1971, as an E-5. I am retired after thirty years as a heavy equipment mechanic, and make my home with my wife and two daughters in Silverdale, Washington.