53 Military Airlift Squadron
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.