FROM FORMER GUNFIGHTERS
Danang, FEB. 1970 to FEB. 1971
was with the 20th TASS, worked in the hanger on 02-As maintenance and part
time for Flying Tiger Airlines doing maintenance on freedom birds DC-8s
from Feb. 1970 to Feb. 1971. One thing that happened to me when I was working
part time for Flying Tiger Airlines at Danang in November 1970.
35th TFS / 421st TFS
My first day at DaNang:
366 SPS K-9
DaNang, Vietnam 1971-72
Title: Friendly Bite///////
4/67 - 4/68
I've got one little
story for you. It was one of those encounters that I wish I had a camera.
When I was working in the jet shop, I had to take one of the big Hyster
fork lifts to pick up a couple of crates to take back to the shop. Now
this Hyster fork lift was one of the big ones. By itself must of weighed
at least 5 tons. I picked up the two crates and on my way back to the shop,
along came a snake from under one of the buildings heading for the brush.
Now not being to familiar with the type of snake it was, this one stretched
from one side of the street to the other. I'am saying no less than 15 to
18 feet long. And was bigger around than my thigh. An easy 10 to 12 inches
in diameter. The snake slithered sideways as it was trying to get across
the street and past me. I moved slowly, inching closer and closer. As the
snake got right in my path I ran over it. I thought with all this weight
that was sitting under me I was sure to squash the wholly shit out of this
thing. But ! as I drove over the snake I got off the fork lift and walked
around to see what was left. It was still moving off to the brush. It looked
as if it hadn't been touched. Two sky cops were right behind me and saw
that I drove over the snake. They pulled out there trusty 38's and took
two shots each (they missed) at the slithering behemoth as it continued
off into the bush. I don't know if the two sky cops look into the
366th gunfighter website. But it would be interesting to see if they are
still around and see what they remember.
DaNang, Vietnam 5/71 - 4/72
I got to SEA in May'71 and flew 16 missions with the 34th TFS at Korat. When Danang lost some A/C and crews PACAF picked 4 of us new guys to go fill the shortages. I arrived at Danang in Jun'71 and flew 194 missions with the 4th TFS. Had 10 RP 6 missions. Did a lot of in country snake & nape in I corps, II corps and the DMZ.
DaNang, Vietnam 1969
I deployed from Eglin AFB with the 4th TFS in April of 1969. I was one of the lucky ones that stopped over in Hawaii for a few days to service the Squadron Acft as they passed through on their way to Danang. Once we had all the planes airborne we climbed aboard our 141 for the long , tiring final leg of our trip. As we were getting off the plane at Danang our new First Sergeant was standing at the door writing people up for hair cuts.I spent the first two weeks in country working 12 hours a day on the flight line and 4 hours a day pulling up grass at the orderly room. WELCOME TO VIETNAM.
DaNang, Vietnam 1972
DaNang, Vietnam 1966-1967
I WAS STATIONED IN PHANG RANG IN 1966, EARLY IN THE WAR, WITH THE 389TH
TFS, 366 TFW. THE REST OF THE WING WENT TO DANANG. OUR PILOTS
FLEW MOSTLY SEARCH AND DESTROY MISSIONS, SOMETIMES AGAINST NOTHING MORE
THAN ELEPHANTS. ABOUT SIX MONTHS LATER WE WERE RELOCATED TO DANANG
AND THE PILOTS WERE MIG HUNGRY. THEY WON SOME, LOSSED SOME.
BUT I LOVED THOSE GUYS. THE BRAVEST, CRAZIEST BREED ON EARTH.
MY FATHER HAD FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR II, FRANCE, BELGIUM, GERMANY AND FROM
HIS STORIES I HAD LEARNED MORE ABOUT SURVIVAL IN COMBAT THAN THE AIR FORCE
EVER THOUGHT ABOUT TEACHING ME. I LOADED BOMBS, 20MM, ROCKETS AND
MISSLES BUT WHEN OFF DUTY LIKED TO HAVE A FEW BEERS AND MOST OF US DID.
ONE NIGHT, WITH ONLY ABOUT SIX WEEKS LEFT IN
DaNang, Vietnam 1968 - 1969
Several years ago I was asked to share some of my Vietnam experiences with my daughter’s history class. I was somewhat shocked to see the class studying the Vietnam War in textbooks, much as I studied World War II when I was their age. The realization that these children weren’t alive during the Vietnam Era and knew only of the war through history books and the like, was obvious but still hard to imagine since it seemed like yesterday and very real to me. As I described my role in the war, the children seemed confused that I didn’t crawl through swamps, directly shoot and kill anyone or return to the U.S. as a “crazed” Vietnam Veteran. How could this be as those were the common portrayals, misconceptions and expectations of anyone labeled a “Vietnam Veteran”? Yet as I was describing my specific duties as a Jet Aircraft Mechanic, working on F-4 Phantoms built in St. Louis by McDonnell Aircraft Company, it seemed to stimulate a new perspective on what a Vietnam Veteran could be. I went on to describe my daily activities on the flight line at DaNang South Vietnam, working for the most part 12 hours a day, 6 days a week toward keeping the F-4s ready to support our ground troops or fly other missions as required. It would have been a routine job had it not been for the extreme weather conditions coupled with physical exhaustion; along with numerous rocket attacks, sniper fire, bomb dumps exploding, propaganda and other measures used by the enemy to disrupt our mission in any way they could. The base at DaNang was attacked many times and the reality of war was all around us. Still through it all we continued to perform our jobs everyday to the best of our abilities, as we knew our small part was contributing to the much larger goal of defending freedom. To put it in perspective I told the class to imagine living with the prospect of being shot at or killed at anytime by a rocket or by other means while performing your normal duties or while asleep, then continue to do this for a year or longer. They understood completely and thanked me with a much appreciated round of applause. In no way did I want to downplay the importance of the courageous men and women who served in field combat roles and were in many instances true heroes. But I wanted to help the class understand the broader definition of what a Veteran could be. That they came in all shapes and sizes, colors and creeds, while having varied military backgrounds and responsibilities; with a willingness to put themselves in harm’s way (many at a very young age) to the point of sacrificing their own lives, so others could enjoy the true freedoms we have become accustomed to. Returning to the U.S. to become Engineers, Lawyers, Doctors and even Presidents. Webster defines a veteran as “a person of long experience in some service or position, especially in military service” or “a person who has served in the armed forces of a country, especially in time of war.” While this is certainly true it is easy to see many qualities in a veteran that are not always displayed in others. Patience and calmness in the face of adversity, maturity often beyond their years, wisdom in knowing right from wrong, steadfast perseverance toward a goal and patriotism for a truly blessed country. A country blessed in part by the many veterans throughout history, who were ready and willing to make sacrifices so others could benefit from the opportunities that freedom presents. Thanks to all Veterans! Please remember them with gratitude and continue to pray for and support our active men and women of the armed services while they perform all of their important duties. Most importantly this year, we must all demonstrate patience, perseverance and patriotism toward defeating terrorism both here and abroad. The millions of veterans who have gone before us would want it that way.