Flight suits and parachute knives
didn't fare so well on getting a new flight suit at
supply. When I took in my old decrepit one to exchange it
they informed me that in TAC you're only authorized 3 flight
suits (in MAC I had 4). So they took my old one and didn't
give me a new one!
"WARNING: This knife
may be issued only to the armed forces and is intended solely
for use in emergency survival conditions. Unauthorized
possession of this knife may constitute serious criminal offense
against federal, state, and local law."
picked up a switchblade knife (it goes in that long thin leg
pocket on a flight suit). It's designed for cutting
parachute shroud lines but is equally (and more frequently)
usable on peanut butter.
The New Haven Nine, May 2-3, 1970
On May 1, President Nixon authorized the invasion of Cambodia.
This set off protests at college campuses across the US (when I got
to Vietnam, the invasion was over and I was transporting refugees
Some 20,000 people assembled in New Haven, Connecticut for a May Day
of Black Panther Bobby Seale. The governor
feared that the Connecticut National Guard could not contain the
situation so he asked U.S. Attorney General John
to send in backup federal troops. Every crew at
Pope was put on alert, including us RTU students.
Pope AFB is next door to Ft. Bragg, home of the 82nd Airborne, so
Pope C-130 crews flew 2,000 paratroopers and marines to New England
using 46 of Pope's 50 C-130's. There weren't enough PCS crews
at Pope to fly all those C-130's, so some crews were filled in with
The news of this protest was soon eclipsed by the massacre at Kent
State May 4th.
Jane Fonda May 16, 1970
a demonstration on Pope. This apparently scared the
military powers that be to the point that they cancelled the
scheduled Armed Forces Day displays.
Jane Fonda was arrested at nearby Ft. Bragg for distributing
leaflets. This was two years before her infamous trip to Hanoi
The drop zones and landing zones at Ft. Bragg were used for many
joint military exercises. Some of the techniques we
demonstated were impressive but rarely used in Vietnam.
mostly for show. The pilot's takeoff charts showed no actual
performance improvement, but it looked good.
Low-Altitude Parachute Extraction System (LAPES)
was much more
"interesting" to the pilot. Instead of dropping the load from
1000' or so we dropped from about 8'. The interesting part was
avoiding a crash after the load went out.
The loadmaster unlocked the rails and deployed the drag chute.
The load accelerated so quickly that the rollers
in the floor
smoked. As the airplane became more
tail-heavy, I kept it in level flight by pushing the nose farther
down. By the time the load reached the ramp, the yoke was full
forward to the stop.
Suddenly the load was gone, the airplane was no longer tail-heavy,
and it was ready to dive into the ground. I had to immediately
pull the yoke back to the opposite stop to keep from hitting the
ground. In about a second the elevator traveled from full down
to full up and more than a few C-130's "landed" in the drop
zone doing LAPES.
This technique was used in Vietnam when things were too hot to land,
offload, and take off again. This
shows a LAPES drop onto the runway at Khe Sanh.
But usually we landed and offloaded