Phuoc Vinh August 19

I arrived in Vietnam to get my checkout as an aircraft commander.  I'd been in-country for 19 days but unable to get in any short field landings.  On my 20th day I finally got a frag with some short fields--to Phuoc Vinh and Song Be.

The weather was pretty grim for the first leg to Phuoc Vinh.  TSN went below landing minimums as we took off and Phuoc Vinh was calling a broken ceiling at 400'.  I couldn't find a hole down through the overcast so I got a radar approach (GCA).  My first short-field landing wasn't great, but we delivered the goods--a mobile ALCE module.

About 15 GI's needed rides to TSN but the Phuoc Vinh aerial port representative refused to put them on the manifest unless they surrendered their only copy of their orders!  When we said we could take them without their being manifested, the aerial port guy said he'd call the AP's and tell them there were stowaways aboard!  We took some of them to TSN anyway.

At TSN our squadron commander, Col. Perbetsky, hopped on for the second trip to Phuoc Vinh.  The winds were 20 knots gusting to 30 so I had my hands full, but my landing was better than the first one.  Colonel P flew the leg back to TSN. 

Song Be August 19

We were scheduled to fly to Tonle Cham but the weather there was below landing minimums.  So we loaded up fifty 55-gallon drums of motor fuel bound for Song Be.  Before we left I bought a case of beer to take to the Song Be ALCE folks.  My landing at Song Be wasn't too bad and I delivered the beer to ALCE.  The sarge gave me a case of C-rations in return.

So on my 20th day in country I got some short field landings and finally felt I was moving forward toward completing my checkout.

An Khe, August 20

We're taxiing out at Chu Lai.  We're on that good old An Khe - Chu Lai - Danang - An Khe - Bien Hoa - Tan Son Nhut - Binh Thuy - Than Son Nhut pax run.  As we taxied out at TSN we discovered that our radar was inop.  The nav was kinda upset about going without it (it's his main tool) but as long as we stay out of the soup there's no problem.  We had to do some gyrating to stay clear of clouds the first leg, but we did stay clear.  My landing at An Khe was not too astonishingly smooth, but that's nothing new for An Khe.  Or me!

At An Khe I gave the baggage tug driver a message to give to Bob Hodson.  John Bernat wanted him to come down to TSN on his next trip.  Later on our return to An Khe we had the distinction (?) of using their new aluminum ramp--the first C-130 there.

An Khe, September 4

Our first stop was An Khe, my nemesis.  However, for the first time I made a pretty darn good landing there.  I dropped off the manual there that Bob Hodson had asked me about (AFM 71-4, Packaging and Handling of Dangerous Material for Transportation by Military Aircraft).

I sat out the legs to Chu Lai and Danang since they're both long fields and the IP, Major Shannon, wanted to give the copilot some practice.

At Danang I tried to find out something for Mike Self about the intel unit he is being assigned to there, but I couldn't even find it in the phone book.  I don't think it's THAT secret.

I flew the leg to An Khe and made another good landing there.  I believe I've finally got that place figured out.  Major Shannon said he's going to put Pete and me up for our checks on September 11.  That'll allow several days more of flying and a few days after in case the schedule gets messed up.

It did.


Vietnam and Cambodia


Taiwan (CCK)



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