53 Military Airlift Squadron
Norton AFB, CA - 1974 -1976

I didn't get to go to war in the O-2A, however the C-141 provided me that opportunity.

With the wind down of the war, the need for FACs disappeared, so I was re-assigned to fly C-141s.

The C-141 is a large, jet transport. Not only did I have to learn how to fly a "heavy," I had to readjust my attitude. As a FAC, I was my own boss. Once given the mission, I had complete authority to carry it out. As a co-pilot on a C-141, I didn't have much autonomy. Also, I missed not having to look through the gun sight to see where I was going. As much as I tried, I couldn't convince the Military Airlift Command that the Starlifter needed one.

The job did provide me with the opportunity to see a fair amount of the planet, mostly the Pacific Rim.

It was during this assignment that I got to participate in the evacuation of Saigon. I spent nearly two months shuttling between Than San Nut and Clark and Anderson Air Bases. I estimate that I transported about 4,500 people from the country.

I didn't like flying straight and level, and the Military Airlift Command preferred that I didn't do otherwise. So in 1976, when the Air Force had a momentary pilot surplus, I contacted the Military Personnel center and told them I was an electrical engineer.

Their response was "call this number, and when can you start?"

For more information on the C-141 click here.