Military Service:

My Grandfather

As Interviewed by Tyler B., March 16, 2018

My Grandfather: In His Own Words

This is my grandfather talking about his time in the Vietnam war.

I flew for about seven years in the Vietnam war, six of those were in cargo planes, and I was actually flying out of Dover Air Force Base and McGuire Air Force base in Delaware and New Jersey. I first started out in a propeller airplane, four engine propeller airplane called the C-124. And then later transferred to the all new four engine jet C1-41 cargo airplane. I flew about 5,000 hours in those two airplanes, and I flew about, approximately 70 combat missions in and out of South Vietnam. I went to Saigon, and Cam Ranh Bay, and De Nang, and several others that I’ve forgotten about. After I was finished with the cargo airplane I volunteered to fly the RF4C Phantom which is a twin engine jet fighter plane, but this particular aircraft was designed to be basically a spy plane or an intelligence gathering reconnaissance aircraft. I flew that out of Udorn Thailand, and than out of Zweibrücken in Germany. I ended up with about almost 190 combat missions in that aircraft. I flew in North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. We probably got shot at about at least 20 of those missions. Finished that up in August of 1973.
The scariest day of my life, was, the tenth of December 1972. And we sent a flight over North Vietnam and it got shot down. I was up over North Vietnam at the time that it got shot down, I didn’t see it but I heard it over the radio. The pilot in the aircraft got killed and the backseater, reconnaissance systems operator ended up parachuting out and became a POW. The very evening I got scheduled to fly the exact same target over North Vietnam the next day. So that was probably my scariest moment, was getting scheduled to fly a mission that someone just got killed on. Everything went okay, we were shot at during the mission but we weren’t hit and came back okay, but that was the scariest moment of my life and that probably had a lot to do with who I am today.