CCK December 12, 1970

I got an unusual assignment--go fly a C-130 from CCK to...
  1. Kadena, Okinawa with crew rest
  2. T-63, Thailand
  3. U-Tapao, Thailand with crew rest
  4. "As required"
  5. CCK
It's a 4,000-mile round trip.  There must have been something pretty important in Okinawa that was needed quickly at a grass field in Thailand.

To Kadena, December 12, 1970

The trip up here was sans sweat and it looks like tomorrow should be a good leg too.  Roger went DNIF (Duties Not Including Flying--sick) so I have another copilot who comes on kinda strong, but he's a good copilot.

To Danang and U-Tapao, December 13, 1970

I dragged my crew out of bed at 8:30 this morning.  I hadn't slept too well so I was feeling kinda bushed myself.  We sauntered down to the BX where I bought a souvenir of the exotic orient--an Oral B40 toothbrush.

One of our aux fuel tanks had been emptied and capped off due to a leak so we couldn't put on enough gas to get us to Thailand, so we stopped at Danang for gas.  By this time it was dark, which was too late to go to T-63, so we just pressed on to U-Tapao.

I let S. make the landing at Danang and he made one of the poorer approaches and landings I've seen here despite his hot rock jet jock talk.

How different this is from MAC, where everything was organized.  Here nobody knows what's going on so the AC has to hunt around for the quarters, transportation, load contact men, maintenance and such.  It's kinda interesting this way though.

At U-Tapao the enlisted quarters weren't ready and no officer quarters were available, so the whole crew stayed at the Swan Lake Hotel in Sattahip. Nice change of pace.

Our crew chief spent all night working on the bird.  I chased down a maintenance officer to approve a missed meal for him.  Tho it's worth only $2.50, I wanted him to know his efforts were appreciated.

To T-63 and Nakhon Phanom, December 14, 1970

T-63(Watthana Nakhon)
Flying in Thailand was good duty--good weather, no terrain to avoid, nobody shooting at us, no friendly fire to worry about.  I filed a flight plan using visual flight rules--there were no navaids at our destination, a 3700' field.

T-63 was located in the Watthana Nakhon district of Thailand, east of Prachinburi and about 20 miles from the Cambodian border.  To navigate there we just flew out to a distance on a TACAN radial and there was T-63, a small grass airfield on a plain in the middle of nowhere.

There was nobody to contact on the radio so I wanted to check out the field conditions before landing.  I flew a low downwind (wouldn't risk that in Vietnam) and observed a grass strip with no permanent buildings and no other airplanes. 

I made a 180-degree turn to final and planted it on the grass--even got compliments on the landing.  There were no ruts in the runway so I don't think big airplanes landed there often.  It was the first and only time I landed a C-130 on grass. They may not have had much in the way of facilities there, but surprisingly they had a 10K all-terrain forklift, so offloading was easy. 

Today that grass strip is a civil/military airport with a 5,000' paved runway.

Then onward to Nakhon Phanom, just across the river from Laos.  NKP was better known as Naked Fanny.  That's where the "as required" portion of our itinerary began. 

To Cam Ranh Bay and CCK, December 14, 1970

At NKP we picked up a load of ammo and headed for Cam Ranh Bay.  Instead of flying directly across Laos, we flew the long way, south to the Gulf of Thailand, around Cambodia, and up the coast of Vietnam.  As we neared Cam Ranh Bay, approach control suddenly directed us to a point out over the South China Sea (called Snapper on the chart).  Seems that the Phan Rang airfield had just closed and approach control was diverting some low-on-fuel F-100's to Cam Ranh Bay.   We orbited at Snapper for a while, and they cleared us back in.  I let the copilot make the landing so he could recover some of his ego after his "ohmygod" at Danang the day before.  He did a pretty good job too.

Back at CCK, December 14, 1970

Taipei Control (the air traffic control center for Taiwan) had some kind of radio problem so we contacted Tainan Approach, the southernmost radar control facility.  As we neared CCK we were given vectors to an ILS (Instrument Landing System) approach, then we learned that the ILS wasn't actually working.  The weather was OK so the navigator gave me an ARA (Airborn Radar Approach).  No sweat.  Just another day at the office.


Vietnam and Cambodia


Taiwan (CCK)



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