April 30, 1971
Our first stop of the day was Kontum, a little airfield up in the
highlands near Fire Base 6. One month earlier, the NVA overran and occupied Fire Base 6. Lt. Brian Thacker was
for his heroism in that battle.
hauled 100 Vietnamese troops up there. Made
a pretty good max effort landing. On to Pleiku, about 20 miles
south. Next stop was spozed to be Song Mao (near Phan Rang), but
Hilda sent us to Danang because of weather at Song Mao. Had a
rail lock problem at Danang but chained down our cargo and here we are
at TSN getting the lock fixed. The thunderstorms are getting
pretty thick. Not too pleasant flying through them at night.
Pilots and navs earned their pay during night thunderstorms.
Caribous, C-123's and the VNAF generally flew in day VFR
conditions. We flew day and night in any
weather. If the destination field's weather went below minimums
to land, we were diverted to the next best place.
May 1, 1971
returned from another day at the Southeast Asian War Games. I
love you. We visited Kontum again today--my landing was not as
pure as yesterday's. On the way to Pleiku, B.V. (the copilot) got
suddenly hit with a case of Ho Chi Minh's revenge and by the time we
reached Pleiku he was almost immobilized. As luck would have it
we had to make a go-around for an aircraft on the runway and during
those few extra minutes he was afraid he might not die! But
everything came out all right (ich) and he was OK for the rest of the
On that same leg to Pleiku we carried a Vietnamese sergeant, his
wife, and 2 kids. They scrunched up into a little corner of the
airplane like frightened rabbits so I brought them some Cokes and let
the little boy ride up front. He was glued to the window the
whole trip. We often neglect common courtesies when dealing with
the Vietnamese. It's nigh impossible to make people comfortable
when there are 130 combat-loaded onto the airplane, but we should
remember that they're people too.