CCK December 12, 1970
I got an unusual assignment--go fly a C-130 from CCK to...
- Kadena, Okinawa with crew rest
- T-63, Thailand
- U-Tapao, Thailand with crew rest
- "As required"
It's a 4,000-mile round trip. There must have been something
in Okinawa that was needed quickly at a grass field in Thailand.
To Kadena, December 12,
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
another copilot who comes on kinda
strong, but he's a good copilot.
To Danang and U-Tapao,
December 13, 1970
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.
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.
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.
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
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
the Watthana Nakhon district of Thailand, east of Prachinburi and
about 20 miles from
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
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
Today that grass strip is a civil/military airport
with a 5,000' paved runway.
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.