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Lew Price

A Taste of Life
Military Air Transport Service 1961-1965

Some excerpts from Climbing on Course,
(a five-year autobiography).
Copyright (C) 2003 by Lew Paxton Price.

[Webmaster note: This is a long and detailed account of Lew's experiences while on active duty. It is interesting reading, but it is not likely that you will read it in its entirety at one sitting. Lew has thoughtfully provided the links below to facilitate your resuming where you left off when you return--Thanks, Lew]

In Chronological Order
[Click links to jump to Sections]

Prelude   Training Period   Survivor   Grid Navigation   Cairo   Fuel Problem   Sleeping
Fulfillment   Congo I   Charlie's Partner   London   Paris   Congo II   Lost   Ruth Mudd
Typical Soviet Trick   Some Anecdotes   Ocean Stations   Coriolis   Bill Schwinger
Atlantic Missile Range   Maintenance Problem   Djakarta   Keflavik   VIP Vacation   St. Elmo
Gliding Again   Frosty   Ulcer   Pappy when a Line Navigator   Cuba   Strong Wind
Thule and Tragedy Trepidation and Canadians   Down Range and Line Check
More Guantanamo and a Trawler   Buddha  Farewell to the Queen   The C-130 Hercules
TAC Training   The Champion Snorer   Middle East Tour I   Middle East Tour II   C-1 Status
Andy's Triumph   Southeast Asia I   Southeast Asia II  Last Days   Aftermath

[Note: Click small images to enlarge]


In primary pilot training, I lost three days due to the flu and never caught up. Just before everyone else went to the next base for pilots, I washed out. This bothered me a lot at the time.

A colonel had a little talk with me. He had gone to great lengths to get me a plush assignment as a navigator in Military Air Transport Service (MATS). He explained that it was a great place to go as a navigator, and he asked if that made me feel any better. I did not look any better than I felt, but it turns out he was right, and I should have been more grateful. In school I had taken geography and history--and learned very little of value. In MATS I really learned a lot of geography and history--as well as a lot of other things.

My due date to report to my new assignment was 15 Dec 1961. I reported early to the headquarters of the 30th Air Transport Squadron (ATS) McGuire AFB in New Jersey. McGuire was named after Tommy McGuire who was a P-38 ace in the Pacific in WWII. The 30th ATS was flying C-118s, and they needed more navigators.

The C-118 was a four-engine transport that was considered "medium" at the time. Douglas made it to improve upon the C-54 of WWII fame. It had the power on two of its four engines to do what the C-54 did with all four of its engines. It cruised at 240 knots which it made it easy for a navigator, because its airspeed was almost precisely four nautical miles per minute. It also had a roll that was two minutes in duration. Most airplanes have a natural roll as they move along, but a two-minute roll was special, because that was the precise time it took the averager on a periscopic bubble sextant to complete its work during a shot. This feature allowed a navigator to have pinpoint celestial fixes when the sextant error was known.

The C-118 came in two basic forms. There was the 1951 model and the 1953 model. In most ways the '53 was better, but the '51 had a drift meter (a hole in the floor that allowed one to discover the ground speed and course if there were stationary objects below). The drift meter was needed for flights across places like the Sahara Desert. The floors on both models had been beefed up for carrying cargo, and sometimes this was extremely useful.

The crew compartment consisted of a bulkhead behind the two pilots, a place behind on the left for luggage and crew bunks, and the navigator's station behind on the right with four seats behind that. This was the layout of the '53 model. The '51 was different, and included a latrine behind the navigator's station.

The engine analyzer for use by the flight engineer was located on the right of the door frame to the cockpit. The engineer's seat was removable and was located in the doorway when in use.

The hole for the periscopic sextant was in the center behind the navigator. One needed to climb on a stool to put his eye to the eye-piece. Once in flight, the sextant was mounted and left there until it was no longer needed. It was packed away before landing.

The RADAR set was an APS-42 with the screen to the left of the navigator and was controlled by the navigator. It had a pencil beam and a mapping beam, could be held to sweep back and forth through a sector or sweep 360 degrees around continuously, and could be adjusted up and down--but that was only when it was working. It was a tube machine that often quit when it was needed. The APS couldn't take power surges well; so, it had to be shut off right after landing before the props were put in reverse to stop the aircraft.

The LORAN set was to the right of the navigator. It was also subject to tube failure. Tubes for the LORAN and the RADAR were available, and in-flight repairs sometimes worked.

The Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) controls were in front of the LORAN set, and the navigator would set the proper squawk on it when the controller on the ground requested it.

There was another door to the outside where the navigator's table was located. One of the things the navigator always checked was the door-holding mechanism and its safety strap to make sure the door was properly secured. The table was put in place after takeoff and removed before landing.

Most of the time, the C-118s carried people--usually 68 of them plus the crew. Sometimes there were those who were more than people (called generals). The 30th was considered one of the VIP carriers who landed at Andrews from time to time to pick up such people. Sometimes the C-118 performed air evac missions. When people were carried, there were flight attendants on board, usually female, who served the passengers from big ovens in the left rear of the fuselage. The ovens could be removed for cargo flights. They could sometimes be a problem: like the time a C-118 took off into a tornado and was forced down into a forest at the end of the runway. All the passengers on the left side were crushed by the ovens as the plane abruptly stopped.

The people varied, but when the Army had their boys in the airplane, the Air Force enlisted men who serviced the airplane had nothing but comic books to choose from after the Army left. If it was the Navy in the airplane, there were a lot of pornographic magazines and sometimes even one as "uplifting" as Playboy could be found. If there were Air Force people (which was most of the time), there were magazines left like Field and Stream and True.

Most of the flying was through weather--or so it seemed. The 118 had de-icer boots on the wings that helped when icing was occurring. However, the best solution for icing was an altitude change. Ice formed when the outside air temperature was about 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing for water occurs at 32 degrees, but the air over the wing or into the engine carburetors was more rarified and caused the temperature to drop from 34 to 32 degrees. When icing occurred the plane could go up to an altitude where it was too cold for icing to happen--or go down to an altitude where the air was too warm for icing to happen.

The LORAN antennae was a long wire on top of the fuselage and would often take on ice. This was not usually considered a reason to change altitude; so, the navigator would be without this nav aid when icing occurred there. This type of icing did not seem to affect the wings or carburetors.

Of all the electronic nav aids, the RADAR altimeter was the most reliable. I never had one fail; so, pressure pattern was always available to use over water as a measure between the heading and the actual course.

In MATS, all aids that could be useful to the navigator were to be used. LORAN was one that could be accurate to within 50 feet when close enough to its broadcasting stations. It was better than nothing when farther from those stations. Celestial was good when there were no clouds above and partly useful when there were spaces between clouds. However, it was critical to take a good three-star fix when possible so that the sextant error could be discovered for that particular instrument--otherwise celestial single lines of position would be in error. Pressure pattern was extremely accurate as long as the RADAR altimeter and the pressure altimeter readings were begun right away--this always gave a perfect course line when computed and plotted. When nothing else was possible, the waves on the ocean could give an idea of wind direction and velocity. Clouds could provide the shear levels and wind directions. Radio was good when close enough to the radio transmitter. Of course, there was map reading and RADAR fixing when the RADAR was working.

During WWII, the Germans developed a type of navigation, used to vector bombers to London, called CONSOL. There was at least one occasion when knowing how to use this nav aid saved us. It was primitive, but would get through to a plane when nothing else would, consisting of a system of dots and dashes over a particular radio frequency. It had a range of 800 miles over land and 1,000 miles over water.

The most critical aids for navigation were the weather progs. These were forecast maps of wind velocity and direction along with the highs and lows for two altitudes and for certain time periods. Using them was like using dead reckoning except it was more like "live" reckoning. One could plot the plane's course on the prog and interpolate for altitude and time. Then the navigator could compare this to the wind that was encountered previously to determine the likely drift and ground speed for the near future.

In MATS, there was the basic crew of two pilots, one navigator, one flight engineer, and one loadmaster or flight attendant. Such a crew must rest after 16 hours of crew-duty time. Crew-duty time is defined as time on the ground or in the air while working. There is an augmented crew in which one each or more of the crew types are added to the list of crew members with the exception of the flight engineer which can remain one only. This type of crew can have a much longer crew-duty time. This is because the crew bunks are available, of course, with people to use them.

On airways, the radios are used by the pilots to navigate, and the navigator need not work. Once off airways such as over an ocean, at or near the poles, or over the Sahara, the navigator is working while the rest of the crew can rest with exception of one pilot who often seems to go to sleep in the cockpit. The navigator can be very busy when part of a basic crew.

Upon reporting to the Squadron Commander, I was provided with plenty to do: like being vaccinated for everything in the world, getting a passport, taking classes in various kinds of survival, etc. Flights from McGuire were of two basic varieties. One was the more usual type that happened (these always had a backlog). The other were flights that came up due to the changing conditions in the world. We flew everywhere except into communist nations--and that could change.

Scheduling set me up with an orientation flight to Europe so that I could see a real MATS crew in action. The crew wore class A uniforms on these passenger flights just like airline captains wore. The route was McGuire; Harmon, Newfoundland; Prestwick, Scotland; Rhein-Main, Germany. This was the most common route taken by the 30th. Others went to other points in Europe like Paris, Madrid, and Mildenhall in England. There was a common run to Ascension Island which meant a couple of stops in Recife, Brazil, where the bulk of the squadron's coffee was picked up. (The only way we could afford all the coffee we drank was to use Brazilian coffee mixed with Maxwell House. The Maxwell House was much better but more expensive.) There was a run to Thule, Greenland; another to Churchill, Canada; and a Bermuda turnaround. When we went west, we went through Hawaii to Guam, Wake, or Midway--and from these to the Phillipines, Taiwan, Okinawa, or Tokyo.

One of the things I realized right away was the complete and total difference between navigating as taught by the Air Training Command (and the Academy) and that which must be learned in actual line navigation. Both ATS and the Academy were way behind.

After we arrived at Rhein-Main, we were able to rest and have some bratwurst, sauer kraut, and mashed potatoes in Frankfurt. The flight back to Prestwick was fine, but when running up the engines prior to take-off at Prestwick the flight engineer noticed a problem with the number two engine (using the engine analyzer), and we wound up staying at Prestwick at an "after new year" new year's party. The host's daughter was mixing drinks and giving them to us, and she got carried away with the proportions of gin and orange juice. I came down with a terrible cold, and it was fortunate that we did not get the airplane fixed for a few days. I have had an aversion to gin ever since.

On the way back I found out that the navigator is also responsible for filling out the per-diem forms. The flight calculations were based upon Greenwich mean time (GMT--sometimes called "Z" time), but the per diem is based upon local times. Per diem means essentially "living cost per day". There were bureaucratic rules on how much for each location would be required for average quality meals and lodging. If one were frugal, the allowance could supplement one's income slightly. Per-diem computation is complicated. As if this were not bad enough, when flying in the Pacific the international date line is crossed; so, sometimes we seemed to have arrived before we left, or to have required two days to fly only a few miles.


Training Period

Squadron duties included flying, taking turns at being the duty officer, an additional duty (such as personnel officer, administrative officer, flight commander, custodian, intelligence officer, pay agent, administrative assistant to the commander, etc.), and odd jobs such a leading the Air Force contingent in a ticker tape parade in New York.

There was alert duty for emergencies. The quick response type kept the crews in the visiting officers quarters (VOQ) on base. Home alert meant staying at home with your bags packed. When at the VOQ, there was a lot card playing. I read a book on poker just so I could 'stay even' even though they were not high-stakes games.

There was local flying which meant testing airplanes coming from the consolidated maintenance squadron that were supposedly repaired, practicing in-flight emergencies, and checking sextants (for the navigator). At the end of each year there were a lot of locals to burn off the gas that had been carefully rationed during the year. If the expenses were not up to the budget we were allocated, Congress would cut the funds for the coming year (a stupid system).

After returning from Europe on my orientation flight, I found I had been scheduled for a number of courses prerequisite to becoming a qualified MATS navigator. I had already taken the course on ditching which involved using a warm swimming pool and was nothing like a real ditching in the North Atlantic. Ditching for real usually meant going down at night in a storm using the light from parachute flares shot out through a hole in the crew compartment for that purpose. The pilot was supposed to land in a trough between waves and land parallel to the waves. Otherwise, the plane would break in half. This sounds easy except for the fact that there were always secondary swells which meant at least two other systems of waves besides the primary; so, the pilot had to see all this and make sure to land so that all the swells were allowing the necessary trough to exist.

The North Atlantic is cold. When one is in the water, he or she has about 20 minutes to get in a life raft before turning blue and drowning. The life rafts are stored above the passengers. They must be pulled back to the door, taken out, and inflated before the plane sinks. This must be done in an orderly fashion with no light except that coming from flashlights. The passenger seats in the 118 face to the rear, and they have tall headrests; so, chances are, the passengers would survive the impact. But getting the twenty-man life rafts out of the door by moving them over the passengers could be a problem unless the passengers were able to help sufficiently. To top it all off, the survival equipment, including the rafts, had only a 50 percent rate of reliability. Half of them would fail. The budget did not allow for more reliable equipment, and what we had was old. So we were very much against ditching.

In the ensuing days, I was given basic and combat survival, and RADAR and LORAN familiarization so that I could make in-flight repairs. I met my navigation instructor and was scheduled for my first flight instruction (26 Jan 1961).

Before each mission, the navigator would find the correct time. I am not sure what the navigators did, but I had a shortwave radio that could be tuned to WWV in Greenwich, two watches that were both good ones, and were with me so I could be sure of the time. There was a briefing at the squadron headquarters prior to going to the airplane, and the navigator provided the time hack for the crew at the initial briefing. The aircraft had several clocks that had to be set during the preflight check. Having the correct time was critical for celestial navigation, and correct navigation was critical in case we had to be found in the water after ditching (God forbid).

Navigators carried large briefcases with lots of charts in them, because we might not be able to obtain the correct ones in foreign lands if we were needed elsewhere suddenly. The charts we normally used covered large areas and were usually sufficient to take in the entire route of flight for one complete mission direction. Aircraft Position Charts were used by commercial airlines. They were a lot smaller than our Global Loran Navigation Charts (GLCs) or our Global Navigation and Planning Charts (GNCs), with a ratio of one mile to 6,250,000 miles. We had the airline type of charts in our briefcases, but we seldom used them except for references. Our GLCs had LORAN lines on them; so, we used them most of the time. Both they and the GNCs had a ratio of one mile to 5,000,000 miles--meaning that a pencil line was about a mile wide on the chart. There were also route charts (1:2,000,000) which were laid out in strips for airline route use. They lacked the luxury of seeing what was outside of those strips. And there were Operational Navigation Charts (ONCs 1:1,000,000), World Aeronautical Charts (WACs--1:1,000,000) and Sectional Aeronautical Charts (Sectionals--1:500,000). We used the ONCs for greater detail of island chains in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. The WAC charts were best for RADAR navigation. The sectionals were used for approaching and leaving hotspots or trouble spots where we wanted a lot of detail. Lastly, we had Local Aeronautical Charts (Locals--1:250,000) which were used when we wanted even more detail on trouble areas.

The MATS navigator's log was much more abbreviated and efficient than the ATC version, with more information in it. The log was very important, because it carried the same weight as a ship's log and could be used in court or for purposes of investigation when such things were necessary. In addition to the log, the navigator made out a Range Control Chart which showed the estimated and actual fuel used for the time flown. Readings for this chart were given to the navigator by the flight engineer who used the fuel flow meters rather than the fuel gauges to come up with the correct answers. The fuel gauges were always incorrect. They were checked periodically, and little red marks were put on them to show how far off they were.

I was also given a course in Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) which I later found useful when we were attacked electronically. The navigator was the designated ECM officer on board. It was supposed to be a cold war, but being killed by electronic means makes one just as dead as being killed by a missile or gun.

There are numerous squall lines in the North Atlantic that must be penetrated by any airplane that normally cruises at altitudes lower than 20,000 feet. Hopefully, the RADAR will hold so that the navigator can tell the pilot how to avoid the cumulonimbus formations. With the RADAR on pencil beam, forward sweep, aimed at the same altitude, and with the correct gain, the hearts of the giants can he seen and can be avoided (usually). Entering one can cause severe damage to the aircraft.

During my first training mission, I failed to meet the speed requirements that Neal, my instructor, set for me. When I attempted to do something right, he would complain that I was too slow and needed to get more done. His technique was to have at least six lines of position (LOPs), and preferably ten or more of them. He would have them crossing at odd angles, never a pinpoint, and would then choose the center of the mess and say we were there. Of course, most of the LOPs had to be adjusted to actual time for the fix, because they were taken at other times. I realized later that Neal never knew where we actually had been at the time of the fix. I eventually referred to this style of navigation as "the shotgun approach."

At the time, I did not know any better and tried to do what Neal told me to do. Needless to say, I was not recommended for a check ride after this training mission. The Chief Navigator for the squadron was not happy. Brad Hosmer had been there the year before and had checked out in one ride. Therefore, all Academy grads should do the same. The average number of training missions for navigators was four. It took me six with Neal bothering me about speed before the Chief decided to give me a new instructor. During the ride I took with the new one, I was still trying to do what Neal had told me to do. However, I was given an OK for a check ride from a flight examiner. By this time, I was nervous and frustrated.

Something of interest occurred on one of the training flights on which there was another navigator on board. I will call him "Mark" which is not his real name. We arrived at Rhein-Main in the wee hours of the morning locally, and I overheard Mark and Neal conversing. They proceeded to fill me in on the conversation.

Mark lived in base housing where the walls between "apartments" are rather thin, and one gets to know his next door neighbor well. The night before going on this flight, Mark's neighbor was obviously very angry, and Mark asked him why. There was a contingent of F-106s at McGuire. The neighbor was an F-106 pilot. He and his wingmen had been scrambled to intercept an object that had been discovered by two ocean-station vessels (our east coast RADAR picket line) hovering at a high altitude off the coast.

The 106s climbed to altitude and converged on the object. It looked like a green ball, and the 106 RADAR sets picked it up, reinforcing the visual sighting. As the interceptors approached it, the object began to climb straight up. The 106s went up after it, and it left them far behind, disappearing in the distance.

When the pilots came back for their intelligence briefing, the intelligence officer attempted to make them sign a report indicating that the first pilot was seeing a reflection in this windscreen and the second was seeing the jet exhaust of the first one. The pilots refused, and there were veiled threats. Consequently, they were angry when they arrived home.

My flight examiner was Pappy Grant. He was in the Air Force as a hobby. His full-time job was blueberry farming, and he was studying bionics now, having a degree in marine biology already. He was never sloppy, but he always looked like a blueberry farmer. He was also something of a philosopher and taught me a lot as time went by--like not picking up anything while skin diving because it might be poisonous.

Pappy got to know me on the way to Newfoundland when we were still on airways. When we left Newfoundland he looked at what I was doing as I started to navigate.

"What are you doing?" he asked. I told him what I thought I was doing.

"You are doing it all wrong," he said, "Slow down. Accuracy comes first, and speed will come with time and repetition. Let me teach you a few things on the way over, and you can show me what you can do on the way back."

He then showed me how to investigate the waves on the LORAN set to see which stations were reading accurately and which ones were not. He showed me how to make a transition when good ones began to fade and others would become prominent. He told me that two or three good LOPs meeting at a pinpoint were superior to ten that were widely spread out. He showed me how to use the progs and our instruments to tell how the wind was shifting. By plotting our course and the prior-known winds on the progs themselves one could see how the highs and lows were shifting. He made sure that I used the first opportunity to use a classic three-LOP celestial fix to check the sextant error. Most of all he showed me how to take my time and get the correct results--just like I had always wanted to do. When we arrived at Madrid he showed me how to down a delicious mixed grill at one of the best restaurants.

Pappy told me to forget what I had learned from Neal so that I could start with a fresh slate and have room in my head for what Pappy could teach me. On the way back I found that it was easy to navigate the 118. Pappy gave me a thumbs up, and in his report he said "Lt. Price's chief difficulties encountered on this trip stemmed primarily from attempting to work too rapidly. This tendency was (unintelligible) created by 'checkitis'. He will undoubtedly develop into one of our better navigators with further seasoning. He is qualified to perform the duties of a MATS transport navigator." I was expected to initial this, and although I did not for one moment believe that checkitis had anything to do with my working too rapidly, I realized that Pappy was giving Neal a break, and I initialed the report.

The next time I saw Neal was on a Churchill, Canada, flight; he was a staff officer who no longer flew except to get in his flight time to get his pay. There was no mention on the flight orders of his being an instructor, but this could have been a simple omission. By that time, I was seasoned and not willing to conform to anything that did not make sense to me. I did not believe that he had deliberately meant to teach me the wrong things; so, I had no grudge against him. We got along well enough by staying out of each other's way.



On 5 June 1961, I attended a course called "Nuclear Weapons Training" while simultaneously doing duty on home standby. We were allowed to do other things while on home standby as long as we told the squadron duty officer where we were and carried our packed bags with us.

We were being pushed hard most of the time. The average flight time per month was supposed to be 110 hours. The max was supposed to be 125 hours. Exceeding this was not good for us; so, we usually were not overloaded. There was a time later when I began to develop mild symptoms of combat fatigue, but I got over it. I noticed later that my number of recorded flying hours was incorrect. I actually had about 200 hours more in MATS than the 4,600 plus hours that was listed. Once I figured out our average work hours per month including training, duties, and flying. It came to an average of about 360 hours per month as compared the average civilian load of a little over 160 hours of work per month. There are only 720 hours in month on average, and 240 should be used for sleeping. So the number of waking hours, including time to eat, comes to 480, making the free time including eating 120 hours--which is 4 hours per day, and that is usually taken by other necessary tasks like paying bills, etc.

Most of us began to hate telephones, because they meant leaving home again on short notice--sometimes before the wife could even wash the dirty laundry from the last trip. Some managed to either ignore the phone or leave home between scheduled flights. We were never able to enjoy ticketed events like Broadway plays, concerts, opera, etc. But the seafood restaurants were available at a moment's notice, and sometimes when going through Harmon, Newfoundland, we could take a half-dozen lobsters home in the unheated baggage compartment below the passenger deck.

On 19 June I was the navigator on another trip to Rhein-Main and back. On the leg from Rhein-Main to Lajes (Terceira in the Azores) the LORAN antenna iced up badly, no celestial was possible, there were no radio stations available for our use, and we still had to find a way to arrive at a little island after 600 miles with no fixes. All I had was the weather progs, pressure pattern, and my best guess on how the winds were shifting. After 2 hours and 45 minutes in the weather we came abeam Lajes and only missed it by 12 miles. This was some of the best educated guessing I have ever done.

In the summer of 1961, I met a navigator who survived a crash into the forest after taking off from McGuire into a tornado. His broken neck had healed, and he was still flying.

Before the crash, the plane had been cleared for take-off--right into blackness even though it was daylight. There had been pressure from higher up to keep the schedule; so, no one in the crew attempted to stop the take-off.

The plane attempted to climb, and encountered a downdraft. All possible power was added, but the plane still came down and hit some trees so that the wings swiveled forward and the inboard engines went into the crew compartment. The surviving navigator was in the passenger compartment on the right side. His seat belt was not tight enough, and the downdraft caused his head come above the headrest in the rear facing seat. As the plane ground to a very sudden halt, his neck was broken.

The ovens on the left-forward part of the passenger compartment came forward and killed those on that side. One survivor managed to get out and bring help. When he succeeded in finding a road, some MPs from Fort Dix picked him up and threw him in the drunk tank, disregarding his story completely. Half a day later, someone noticed that an airplane was missing, and the wreck was eventually found--after almost all of the injured had died.

The circumstances of this crash became legend, and, for a time, the policies at McGuire changed to prevent such a thing. Also for a time, the idiots comprising the military police at Fort Dix were a little more careful who they threw in the drunk tank. From that time on, anyone on the flight deck at the time of take-off could call an abort. This rule was kept with flight crews since--regardless of any pressure from above.

It was about this time that another navigator told me his secret for not being bothered when he arrived home after a trip. First he took the phone off the hook. Second he took a shower. Third he took two rolls of 50 pennies each that he always had ready for this purpose, removed two pennies from each roll, scattered the rest in the yard, and told his kids to find the 100 pennies. Fourth, (you can guess what). After that he gave his wife the dirty laundry from his B4 bag.


Grid Navigation

On 7 July 1961, Lt. Larry Arnold gave me flight instruction on grid navigation. In most latitudes we relied heavily on magnetic compasses. The magnetic north pole is not the same as the geographic north pole, and the longitude lines coverge at the geographic pole. The confusion from these facts and their consequences caused polar navigation to become grid navigation in which a gyrocompass takes the place of the magnetic compass, and a grid is superimposed upon the map. Gyros precess for three reasons: (1) earth rotation, (2) earth revolution, and (3) mechanical friction. So it is necessary to check the amount of precession with time in addition to taking fixes. The airplane's autopilot follows the gyro that is precessing, and as it precesses, the airplane actually flies a series of curved courses between corrected compass headings.

At night, one can use Polaris to check the heading to see what precession is being experienced..During the day, one uses the sun, which involves a lot of celestial shots. One must also keep log or graph for precession. Coriolis force is very strong near the poles; so, this means winds can change direction and velocity very abruptly and very often. In short, there is a lot more for the navigator to do. If the RADAR works, the navigator can usually use its mapping mode to take fixes. Otherwise, more work is needed. Overall, grid navigation is a much more difficult proposition that normal navigation.

To add to this, the crew must essentially memorize a large manual on arctic problems and how to deal with them. It is much easier to die from not being on course if the plane goes down, because it will be more difficult to find for rescuers with dog sleds.

On this flight we only flew as far as Sondrestrom, Greenland, via Goose Bay, Labrador. We had an augmented crew; so, we were able to arrive back at McGuire after 27 hours of flight time without crew-resting. Larry Arnold reported that I was ready for a flight exam on grid navigation.

Goose Bay, Labrador

On 11 July I had another trip to Mildenhall, England, via Harmon and Prestwick. Then on 24 July I was on crew going to Thule, Greenland, for my flight examination on grid navigation. We crew-rested at Thule for a day.

In the summer at Thule, the sun is up all day long, and leaving the officer's club at 11:00 PM with the sun staring you in the face in unnerving. The base is close enough to the glacier that guys can hike there and chip off blue ice that has been under extreme pressure for millions of years. Then they can go home to New Jersey and use the ice at a cocktail party during which the ice keeps making cracking noises as it decompresses.

The base has central heating that is moved over the ground (one does not dig easily in perma-frost) in cylindrical insulated ducts which form an inverted "U" over the roads (for an expansion joint and to allow traffic to run under the duct. There are small, double-paned windows that cannot be opened in the greatly-insulated buildings. Instead, there are holes in the walls a little over an inch in diameter with discs of metal that can be rotated over them when ventilation is not wanted. The exterior doors have shelves at their bottoms which overlap the door frames so snow cannot come between the frames and the doors. There is survival gear in every building in case of a phase, which is when the exterior temperature, wind chill factor, and/or snow becomes so extreme that survival outside becomes nearly impossible. Runways are metal grating lying over the perma-frost.

When an aircraft lands in winter, it is placed in a large hangar where the oil is drained from the engines and kept warm until it is time for take-off. Then the warm oil is poured into the engines, the engines are started, and the plane is able to take off. On this flight, this wasn't necessary, because it was summer at Thule.

The aspect of the base is a grayish-brown with various shades of white when snow falls. There is said to be a woman behind every tree, but there are no trees or bushes at Thule. Many of our WAFs would arrive smiling and poor, and leave tired and wealthy, having sent as much as $500 back home to their bank accounts in a time when that was a lot of money. Although the guys usually disliked the flights to Thule, the gals loved them.

There was no fence around the base to keep the guys in. The harsh conditions do that very efficiently no matter how crazy they become from being confined for long periods without feminine companionship. One kid sought to stow away in the nose-wheel well of a C-118 one summer, but the jar of the landing caused him to fall out, and, in his frozen condition, he shattered all over the runway. Another time, two men decided to escape in the winter across Baffin Bay toward the base at Goose Bay. The water in the bay is frozen in winter; so, one can walk across it. Their exit was discovered when they failed to report to work, and their precise location was discovered by air as they made their way south. Nothing was done to apprehend them until they reached Goose Bay. Then they were brought back without having their records adversely affected--and kept at Thule for some time as arctic survival instructors.

Another time, an aircraft was unable to land due to bad weather at both Thule and Sondrestrom. There was not  enough fuel to continue; so, the crew prayed while the pilot began a very slow descent through the undercast. The plane dropped lower and lower, the altimeters unwinding very slowly. Then the altimeters seemed to be stuck. The engines were going strong, but there was no evidence of motion. Suddenly there was a man standing in front of the plane signaling to shut the engines down. The engineer had looked outside and then noticed some white ridges just below the fuselage. He had opened the door and dropped out the dipstick which remained upright stuck in some snow. So he decided to go out and tell the pilots that they had landed. The airplane is still there.

I was checked out as a polar-qualified navigator on this flight. Later, I was told that this was the first time anyone had been recommended for a polar check flight after only one polar flight or had become polar-qualified on the first polar check flight. I had lived for years in Michigan before going to the Academy, and cold weather survival seemed like normal living for me. As a result of this and the unprecedented first, I was scheduled for a series of flights to the north country--and this trend continued. To be fair, I should mention that scheduling later rewarded me with a flight to Rio de Janeiro, something that rarely ever happened.

Reo High Rises

Rio HighRises
Whirlwind Looking across Bay--Rio

Whirlwind Looking across Bay--Rio
The Beach--Rio

The Beach--Rio



Somewhere around the 10th of August, there was a locust plague in Egypt. I was one of the crew that was sent to Andrews AFB to pick up a cargo of bug dust in big drums. The seats had been taken out of the 118, and the drums tied to the rings on the floor.

Two pilots were doing silly things to one another (so-called practical jokes). Most of us would have probably put one in the hospital for some of those things, but they didn't bother anyone else. The worst thing was when one left the cockpit to go to the latrine (in the tail). The one still in the cockpit waited a few moments and then pushed the wheel forward followed by pulling it back abruptly. The guy came out of the latrine with a flying suit soaked from head to foot with what had been in the honey bucket. I doubt if he had another flying suit, and we had no showers on the airplane. I hope he somehow managed to beat the other pilot silly later on, but if he did, I never knew about it.

We had a chance to land at Cairo and see some aircraft from other nations. There was a Tupolev 104B painted white and light gray with red markings. The "A" model had set an altitude record for its type on 6 Sept 1957--12,000 meters (36,814 feet) while carrying 20,053 kilograms (44,209 pounds). On 11 Sept, it set a route speed record of 897.498 kilometers per hour (557.67 miles per hour). It was a picture of husky sleekness, its two large jet engines located against and as part of its fuselage were the approximate equivalent of four of our engines. There was a French Sud-Aviation SE.210 Caravelle III. This type came out in 1959 with two Rolls Royce engines developing 11,400 pounds of thrust each. Its cruising speed was 484 miles per hour and it carried 80 passengers.

Below are pictures taken from the passenger terminal in Cairo.

Below is taken from the flight line at Cairo.

The pyramids were in the distance and we could see them during landing and take-off, but from the sky even the great pyramid was very small.

Below are pictures taken at Wheelus.

Below are pictures taken at Lajes.

There were no flies on board the plane on the way to Cairo, but there were some on the way back.

The wing later received a letter of commendation from the American Ambassador to the United Arab Republic (Egypt) for our prompt and much appreciated response to the locust plague. We worker bees received copies of it.

It was in August of 1961 that the Soviet Union erected a wall between East and West Berlin. This caused a bit of trepidation among us. We did not want to have another Berlin Airlift with MIGs making head-on passes to try to drive us off course. Fortunately, nothing more happened for awhile.


Fuel Problem

There was a "pony express" mission to Wheelus in Libya, and we left on 18 Sept 1961 deadheading to Harmon where we crew-rested for a day before flying our own plane to Rhein-Main. There we crew-rested for two days and then flew another plane to Wheelus. At Wheelus we crew-rested for a day and then flew to Torrejon in Spain. There we crew-rested again briefly and then flew to Lajes in the Azores. There we crew-rested again before flying to McGuire via Kindley in Bermuda. I refer to this as a "pony express" mission, because the idea was to take an airplane straight from start to destination by simply changing crews (like the horses were changed for pony express riders).

On climb out from Wheelus late on the 23rd, flying in the dark, there was a loud explosion from our number two engine and a lot of abrupt flame, followed by silence and darkness as the pilot feathered the engine. We went back to base for another rest while the engine was changed. It had blown a jug (from too much manifold pressure for the RPM perhaps?). We landed and blocked in just one hour after take-off. The next day we took off with a different 118 and arrived at Torrejon without further difficulty. Nor was there any problem on the way to Lajes.

There is a little book that was given to all C-118 navigators that is called the MM 55-9 or FUEL PLANNING MANUAL. Under normal conditions, it is used to plan fuel for a flight. One enters the aircraft gross weight and expected altitude of the flight; the expected duration of the flight, should have been calculated from the expected winds aloft; the course; and the average true airspeed (TAS). The expected flight duration plus ten percent, plus holding time in case of a delay in landing, plus time to the alternate, plus time for approach and landing, provide other necessary figures. This gives one the ability to go into a graph and determine the expected fuel that will be required for the flight as well as the amount of fuel load that should go into the fuel tanks.

It is possible to do other things with the MM 55-9 when one spends a little time thinking about it, even if it was not really intended to be used in such a fashion. The slope of the fuel line varies with the power setting, and the fuel used per hour for various power settings can be determined by looking at the appropriate part of the fuel line. To maintain the correct airspeed, a higher power setting is required early in the flight, because the airplane weighs more. As the fuel is burned off, the gross weight decreases, and the airspeed increases; so, the power can be reduced. These reductions continue throughout the flight, and the airspeed curve is a stepped line that can be averaged if one wishes to do so. If someone wishes to increase the power setting, the fuel to be used can be calculated--not easily, but correctly. However, we were not taught how to do this.

As we took off from Lajes, the weather was becoming bad, with blowing rain and a low ceiling, but we were able to take off without difficulty. We turned toward Kindley immediately and climbed on course, and I began to take RADAR fixes off the islands. At 12,000 feet we leveled off, and I took a LORAN fix and then checked it with the ADF's (automatic direction finders--radio). We seemed to be moving very slowly. About half an hour later, about an hour into the flight, I took another fix, and the engineer passed me the fuel readings. When I plotted the fix and the fuel readings it became apparent that we were facing a very large and unpredicted headwind.

I examined the weather prog and realized that the headwind was likely to dog us most of the way to Kindley and that we were likely to run out of fuel before we ever arrived. I then advised the aircraft commander (AC) of the problem.

The copilot called Lajes back to tell them we would like to return. They advised us that the weather had closed in the field, and we could not land there. Our alternate for Lajes was Santa Maria, and it was also closed down due to weather. In fact, the entire group of islands that comprised the Azores was expecting to have low clouds and fog for many hours after we would have run out of fuel, and Europe was too far away for us to go there.

We dropped down to 8,000 feet in an attempt to find a flight level that would have less of a headwind, and I started doing some calculations on range control. After a few moments, I concluded that we might be able to reach Kindley in Bermuda by increasing power to the engines if we did so very quickly. According to the fuel planning manual, this was possible, but still risky if we should happen to find a stronger headwind later in the flight. I had been tracking our progress with good speed lines and realized that even at 8,000 feet the headwind was much too strong. So I plotted my solution on the range-control chart and stuck my head into the cockpit to talk to the AC.

At 8,000 feet, the wings were icing up, and the pilots were becoming concerned. Ice will not build upon a wing if the outside air temperature is high enough above freezing, and that is what we usually depended upon in a storm at our usual altitudes. Nor will ice build on a wing if the temperature is at freezing, because the passage of the air over the wing drops the temperature to well below freezing. However, when the temperature is just above freezing, the air over the wing drops to freezing, and ice begins to build on the wing. Ice on the wings causes loss of lift and increased weight. The result is that the airplane goes down. I was in favor of dropping down to 6,000 feet, both to escape the ice and to further reduce the headwind component. The air at 6,000 feet should turn out to be warm enough that ice would not form on the wing. We subsequently dropped down to 6,000 feet and flew there until I could take my next fix.

Meantime, I proposed my solution of increasing power. I did not expect resistance. I thought that everyone would comprehend that such a thing could work. Think of it this way. If the headwind had as much velocity as our true airspeed, we would be hovering, and the only way to make headway would be to increase power. In this case, the headwind was not that strong, but the same reasoning applied. What I had not counted on was the way pilots are trained.

Pilots know that they can make the airplane stay up longer by reducing power. This does two things, it decreases the loss of horsepower due to friction which makes the engines burn less fuel, and, if one has a tailwind, one can use the tailwind to push the airplane to destination. Pilots are supposed to know that, when faced with a headwind, there can be less fuel lost if power is increased. However, they are seldom faced with a situation where fuel is low and there is a strong headwind; so, they forget. Here, in MATS, the old timers tell the youngsters about this, and most of the time there is understanding. But not always. Remember, a pilot has a lot to remember.

I had a dilemma. At 6,000 feet we still had too strong a headwind, and if I did not convince the pilots very soon, we would not be able to reach Bermuda regardless of what we did. Each minute that we burned more fuel at the reduced rate of power, we had a lower ground speed and allowed the headwind to spend more time against us. Chances were already marginal, and we needed to increase power right away. I, for one, did not want to ditch. So I kept badgering the pilots and the engineer, not in a bad way, but in a desperate, logical way. This took about 15 or 20 minutes of valuable time, and I did get a bit pushy. In fact, I was considering getting rather nasty if all else failed.

After about 15 minutes and very carefully showing my calculations, the engineer saw the light. He helped me persuade the second pilot, but the AC, the one who should have known the answer immediately, would not be convinced. It took all three of us working on him for another five minutes before he agreed and increased the power on the engines to what I recommended. It was apparent that he did not understand why we should increase power, but he did understand the urgency that we felt, and that meant to him that we might be correct. Every minute that we had used to convince this AC was one more minute of wasting precious fuel. It was still possible that we would be ditching rather than landing at Kindley.

As the hours passed, the engineer monitored the fuel flow meters and passed the readings to me, the headwind continued, but did not increase. The weather continued to be cloudy and we encountered rain for the next five and one-half to six hours. The range-control chart showed that we were still in the black on fuel, but just barely. We began to break out of the weather with Kindley just ahead of us. The tension had been extreme for all of us, and with things looking better, we were able to breathe more easily. The copilot asked for a straight-in approach, mentioning that we were low on fuel, and the request was granted. It was sunny when we landed with only fumes in the fuel tanks.

We arrived back at McGuire on 27 September 1961. At squadron headquarters after this trip was over, I made some exploratory inquiries to see how many pilots and navigators were aware that an increase in power was sometimes a proper solution to a problem. Surprisingly, many pilots had not thought of it and did not know how to compute it. So I made some attempts in our after-flight bull sessions to bring out the necessity and the method of calculating the power increase. Most of the people were both interested and receptive, realizing that the knowledge could save them someday.



There were three men in the squadron who were very short. Two were pilots, and one was a navigator. It was customary for the flight crew to meet the passengers as they stepped into the airplane. The object was to make the passengers feel at ease and confident that their crew was going to take good care of them.

Normally, the flight crew consisted of those who are available at the time, and height is of no consequence. But on one flight the three short ones were together. During the passenger boarding routine most of the passengers seemed a little astounded at their crew but were not too concerned--except for one lady who refused to ride on the aircraft with "those kids". After that, a rule came down that only one short man could be on the crew at the same time. Actually, all those guys were extremely capable, and it was a pleasure to ride with them.

On 6 Nov, 1961, I was part of a basic crew with one of the short pilots who looked like Doogie Houser except he was shorter. He was very congenial and a good pilot and seemed to be proud of the fact that he sat on a pillow to see over the instrument panel. This was another "pony express" flight. We stopped first at Birmingham to pick up troops and then flew to Harmon where we crew-rested. We took off with a different airplane and flew to Prestwick and then Rhein-Main. The rest at Rhein-Main was brief (only half a day) before taking off with the same airplane on the 9th.

We landed at Prestwick, spent the necessary time on the ground, climbed back into the airplane, and had difficulty with number three engine on run-up. So, we went into crew-rest for almost another day, taking off with the same airplane at 5:45 AM local time on the 10th. An hour passed on the way to Harmon, and number three failed completely; so, we turned back to Prestwick and landed after a little over two hours flight time. And we went back into crew-rest.

By this time, we had been awake only a short time, expecting to be working rather than sleeping, the sun was up, there was a whole day ahead of us, and we were slept out. There was no way that we could go back to sleep, but we were scheduled to take another airplane out at 2:00AM local on the following morning, which meant that we would brief at midnight, only 16 hours away. I could not sleep and ate a late dinner (about 9:00 PM as I recall), packed, and prepared for the briefing. At 2:00 AM, we took off again.

The headwind component was rather extreme on our return to Harmon, and the weather was rough, keeping me too busy to even think about dozing between fixes. By the time we entered the Continental Air Defense Identification Zone (CADIZ), I was tired, and keeping to the narrow corridor on the way in kept me stressed. By this time I was working on coffee and adrenalin.

I was the only navigator. We had started at the time when I should have been sleeping. The two pilots could trade off in their duties, but the best I could do was try for cat naps on the way to Harmon, and trying had not been successful. By the time we arrived at Harmon, I had been awake for well over 36 hours. I was too tired to eat, and it was early in the morning local time.

At Harmon, we were quartered in a room for four, and there were three of us, but only one key. I went to sleep, and the two pilots left the room to eat without taking the key. I slept for 15 hours straight and awoke, thoroughly refreshed, and as it turned out, with another day to recover before we took off on the night of the 13th. But for some reason, the pilots were angry with me.

After much inquiring, I found that they had come back from their meal expecting me to open the door, but they pounded and pounded on it and could not wake me. Next, they obtained the key for the room next door which would allow them to open the door between the two rooms and get in that way. But my bed was against this door and it opened into our room. So they pounded on this door to no avail. Finally, the two of them were able to push on the door which pushed me and my bed far enough into the room that they could open it, and there they found me still sleeping soundly. That was the last time they ever took my awakening for granted.



On 23 Nov, 1961, I briefed for another flight to Madrid. Madrid was a very popular destination; so, there three other navigators on board and one extra pilot. Pappy Grant was going to give flight examinations to all three of us line navigators on one mission. This trip was kind of a semi-formal, semi-annual navigator proficiency exam for me, and with Pappy as the examiner, it was likely to be a lot of fun. The crew-rest in Madrid was scheduled to be for three whole days. Madrid was a great place to eat everything from appetizers and wine at sidewalk bars to roast duck with orange sauce at the better restaurants. There were wild strawberries for desert. And there was the flea market on the big hill to buy wonderful things.

During one of our meals, Pappy told us about a mission in the Pacific years ago. It was commanded by an AC who was retiring upon returning home--this was his last trip. So he decided to do something he had always wanted to do. He brought a lot of empty beer cans on board and periodically during the flight he would open the door to the crew compartment and throw a few back into the passenger compartment to the tune of raucous laughter.

I asked what happened to him.

"Nothing", Pappy replied, "What could they do? Ground him? He was retiring--and chances are he only did what all of them had wanted to do for years."


Congo I

There are 905,378 square miles, the equivalent of the area of that part of the United States east of the Mississippi River, in south central Africa, which was once populated only by people other than white--at least some of whom were reported to be cannibalistic. It is bordered in the north by the Ubangi River, running essentially east to west, then turning south to become part of the western border, where it becomes part of the Congo River, and then turns westward once again as the Congo to empty into the Atlantic Ocean. In the late nineteen-fifties and early nineteen-sixties, on the east side lay what was called Uganda and Tanganyika, the border lying partly in Lake Tanganyika. On the south lay Angola and the Federation of Northern Rhodesia.

In the fifteenth century, Europeans were aware of the Congo River, but no major incursions were made until 1876 when Leopold II, king of the Belgians, sponsored the "International Association for the Exploration and Civilization of Africa," which, in truth, meant "Exploration and Exploitation of African Resources by Europeans and Principally Belgians." By August 1877, Sir Henry Morton Stanley had traced the Congo River to its mouth. Subsequently, a committee was formed to study the Congo (Comite' d'Etudes du Haut Congo). As a result of agreements made by Stanley with native chiefs, stations were opened, which led to the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 recognizing the International Association as a sovereign state. Thus, the Congo Free State was formed with Leopold as sovereign. The name of the Free State was a politically inspired oxymoron as it meant freedom for the European nationals to enslave the true owners of the area, and, of course, the true owners had no voice in the matter. However, this was the proper way for European nations to behave in their race to steal the wealth of the earth by means of other peoples' misery.

In 1889, Leopold bequeathed his rights to Belgium, with Belgium reserving the right to annex the Congo Free State after ten years. However, rather than preparing the natives for annexation, the Belgians continued their exploitation, and the option of annexation was never exercised. Ill treatment of the natives continued and worsened until it came to attention of other nations, and an international commission of inquiry visited the area during 1904-1905. Remedies were introduced, and the state was ceded to Belgium. It was formally annexed to Belgium a year later (1908) and named the Belgian Congo. Abolition of monopolistic trade regulations followed as well as increased care for native health. But new industries and better communications at this point led to increased exploitation of the natives, as was the case in most of the other countries of the world at this time.

Rule of the Congo by Belgium was in the colonial manner, similar to the way the American colonies had been ruled by Britain. The Belgian governor exercised unrestricted power, his responsibility being only the administration of the colonies in Brussels (Belgium). The Congolese population had no means of participating in their own government. In 1957, elective borough councils were instituted in large cities, but this was still far from what is considered self-rule. The police force, called Force Publique, was colony wide, literally an army staffed by Belgian officers, with no Congolese attaining the rank above sergeant.

On 4 January 1959, a large-scale nationalistic outbreak occurred, leaving scores of people dead in Leopoldville. In succeeding months, riots occurred in other major population centers. Fearing a complete revolt, the government in Brussels drafted a program for attainment of self-rule in stages over a period of years. If it had been followed unimpeded, it is possible that this program would have worked. Had it been attempted years before, it might have been timely and productive. Now, however, the Congolese nationalistic leaders demanded immediate independence. With only about 100,000 European nationals living among 14 million Congolese, it was apparent that the Congolese would win any physical confrontations; so, the demand was granted on January 27, 1960.

The formal proclamation was scheduled for 30 June, the new nation to be called the Republic of the Congo. A form of representative government was planned, political parties were formed, and elections were held. But shortly after independence was declared, several adverse events occurred, including the mutiny of the Force Publique, a military intervention by Belgium to protect Belgian nationals, and the arrival of a United Nations force in an attempt to keep the peace. Strife between opposing forces in the new government threatened to lead to civil war with nations of the east and west joining in the conflict.

The population of the Republic of the Congo as of 30 June 1960, consisted of 14,150,000 people of which 110,000 were Europeans, about two-thirds of whom were Belgian and the majority of the balance British. By the end of 1960, there were only 45,000 Europeans, over half of whom were in the District of Katanga, located at the extreme south of the Republic. Although some of the Europeans had escaped by leaving in a timely manner, many had stayed and had been killed in the fighting, disliked by many Congolese in all of the Congolese factions involved.

In 1960, in the Congo, MATS participated in the largest airlift operation since the Berlin airlift of 1948. By early August of that year, the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) and MATS had transported approximately 4 million pounds of equipment and supplies to 9,000 U.N. troops in this country, and had taken out 2,500 refugees.

The Africa of the early nineteen-sixties was not the Africa of the late nineteen-nineties. At that time, there were no satellites to map the area, and much of it was uncharted rain forest, broken by poorly charted mountains, streams, rivers, and lakes. The only major attempt at mapping was being done by U. S. Air Force C-130s in an operation that seemed endless in its magnitude. In the rainforest of the Congo, which comprised most of that area, the tribes still lived, resentful of the encroachments of civilization brought by the whites, who, when caught, were often invited to dinner as the main course.

The detribalized Congolese generally lived a life similar to that of slaves in the deep south of the United States during the early eighteenth century. Those that were better off were only able to rise to the level of lower management or sergeants in the Force Publique. Their usual role was similar to the "slaves" of our industrial age who barely earned enough money upon which to live and who worked for long hours each day. In the cities, their work places were factories, and outside the cities, their work places were plantations and mines.

The Belgian government was in favor of keeping the Congo as a colony, if not in name, at least in fact. It was a major source of raw materials for Belgium, a critical part of the Belgian economy. The Belgian nationals in the Congo were varied in level, but always above the Congolese. A few were major owners or executives of industries. Some were high or middle management. And some were merchants, hotel owners, restaurant owners, or other types of businessmen. In almost all cases, the European nationals were of classes that would lose if the status quo were severely altered. Their occupations, houses, business holdings, and life savings could be lost if too much change were to occur too quickly. Yet, they had not prepared the natives for independence. The natives were still largely uneducated insofar as managing their own industries and their own government.

Sporadic fighting continued throughout 1961 in various areas. The European nationals who remained were torn between a desire to keep their holdings, which were often substantial, or to start all over again with nothing, as refugees living in a relatively strange country. Most had lived in the Congo for their entire lives as colonials, and everything they owned, real estate especially, was there. Even the threat of imminent death often failed to dissuade them from leaving. They constituted a strong political voice for maintaining the status quo as much as possible.

The violence might possibly subside, and it was never everywhere at once; so, many of the European nationals stayed, and some of them died for it. They and the Belgian government were largely in favor of United Nations intervention, while most of the natives were in favor of no intervention of in kind whatsoever.

If the Congolese uprisings were to continue to the point of nationalizing the industries, Belgium would lose money from mines exporting diamonds, cobalt, tin, manganese, iron, lead, zinc, copper, silver, gold, radium, and uranium, and from plantations producing oil, rubber, hardwood, and other woods. In addition there would be loss of funds from the export of Cinchona bark, ivory, derris, skins, pyrethrum, cassava, bananas, maize, peanuts, cotton, rice, yams, and sorghums. And all of these industries were made possible by the use of cheap native labor.

If the detribalized Congolese could rid themselves of the foreign yoke and learn to manage their own industries and government, they would gain the wealth back that had been stolen from them. And if the tribal Congolese could rid themselves of foreigners, their own way of life might continue for a longer time before their forests were cut down and their waters hopelessly polluted.

In January 1962, the central government of Premier Cyrille Adoula successfully thwarted the secession of Orientale Province. The federal Chamber of Deputies, on 8 January, directed Antoine Gizenga, federal Deputy Premier and leftist political leader at Stanleyville, to return to Leopoldville to answer accusations of alleged secessionist activities. On 13-14 January, Gizenga's forces attempted to seize military control of Stanleyville, but they were defeated by troops loyal to the Leopoldville regime. The central government immediately censured Gizenga and dismissed him as Deputy Premier.

It was "revealed" on 17 January that Congolese troops supporting Gizenga had murdered twenty-two European Catholic missionaries at Kongolo in northern Katanga on 1 January. The alleged murderers were captured later in the month by central government troops. The United Nations forces placed Gizenga under "protective custody" on 20 January and flew him to Leopoldville, where he was arrested and imprisoned by the central government. This action did little to inspire trust in the United Nations, as if there had been very much before, and with Gizenga in custody in Leopoldville, there was danger of further violence either to liberate him or to vindicate him. Although it may never be proven, it was apparent that this action of the U.N. forces, the intervention in Congolese affairs by fraudulently acquiring Gizenga so that he might by imprisoned by his political enemies, was premeditated.

I believe that it was the premeditated duplicity of the United Nations that caused a MATS crew to be briefed at 11:25 AM on 19 January, to fly "as directed," returning on or about 31 January 1962. Obviously, there was foreknowledge that Gizenga would be imprisoned in Leopoldville in the very near future and that United Nations troops would be needed there to prevent his release by his followers. Otherwise, our take-off on the 19th would not have been necessary.

The people of the Congo were mainly Bantu and Sudanese tribes, with small minorities of Nilotics, Pygmies, and Hamites. Four main languages were in use with several hundred different dialects. In the large cities, the principal language used for business was French. Although many of the natives had been detribalized, many of the tribal traditions continued. The failure of Belgium to educate the population in representative government, the example of double standards (one for Belgian nationals and another for Congolese), and oppression of Congolese via the Force Publique, had only increased the Congolese hatred for all whites. These things, the reluctance to involve whites in the conflict when blacks were available and the increasing distrust of the United Nations forces by the Congolese, led to the United Nations' use of black troops rather than white troops to enforce the peace. And in the ensuing years, black U.N. troops were flown into the area while those whose contribution was complete were flown out. These troops were brought in largely from or through Nigeria and Ethiopia, via military aircraft of which a large part were from MATS.

The aircraft that left for the Congo on 19 January 1962, had an augmented crew but no females and no additional crew members. The crew wore class "A" blues as usual but carried olive drab flight suits, plenty of clothing, personal firearms, and personal survival kits. The aircraft was a 1953 model, and the passengers looked like any other group of passengers. The first portion of the flight was routine, from McGuire to Lajes and Rhein-Main.

After a very brief rest at Rhein-Main, our crew departed for Wheelus AFB, Libya, taking another aircraft, a 1951 model C-118, which meant that it had a driftmeter. A driftmeter is a device seldom used for flying over the ocean, but excellent for flying over land devoid of radio navigational aids, and Wheelus is located at the top of the Sahara Desert, which is an area devoid of any navigational aids. We Left at 0835Z (9:35 local) which made for daylight flying in some of the most beautiful country in the world.

On the way to Wheelus we passed over the Swiss Alps, covered profusely with snow, a lovely view of jagged peaks and small towns nestled in valleys between them. I spent much of my time looking out the window and taking 35mm slides, this being the first, and possibly the last time I would see them.


Looking toward the tail of the 118 as we leave the Alps along the west coast of Italy:

Later, we flew over Naples, Italy, with Mount Vesuvius nearby, and again I took several shots with my camera. The shot I took of Vesuvius was and is spectacular, showing the coast with the town right on it, the volcano in the immediate background with the crater on top, a hazy valley behind and more mountains behind that, until everything blends into a haze that obscures the horizon.


I took some other shots of a lighthouse off the coast of Tripoli and the coastline itself as we descended to the Airfield.


We refueled at Wheelus, green as an oasis with white buildings, and began the next leg of the journey which was across the Sahara to Lagos, a coastal town at the south of Nigeria which was the federal capital. We arrived at Wheelus at 1345Z (2:45 PM local) and took off at 1610Z, leaving the clouds that were scattered over Europe and the Meditteranean for clear air except for blowing sand that was sometimes visible far below.

The Sahara Desert is a sea of drifting sand; so, hot in the daytime that the aircraft at altitude was warmed. Even from an altitude of 15,000 feet, it stretches for hours from horizon to horizon. Below, there were some trails made by caravans, which were not well defined enough to use as navigation aids. Occasionally, rock outcrops were seen which could serve as guides for the driftmeter but were not found on the map and, thus, could not be used directly to fix the position of an aircraft. There were no radio aids, LORAN is useless over land as is pressure pattern navigation, and the only celestial LOPs had to be taken from the sun. Even clouds are seldom ever seen and smoke is not present; so, wind velocity and direction could not be determined from these. In short, it was one of the most challenging of places for navigators, requiring something like extra sensory perception for any accurate idea of one's position.

We flew for eight hours on this leg of the trip, most of which was over the Sahara. Toward dusk a radio from Nigeria allowed us to discover how far we had erred from course, and we were able to make any necessary corrections. We had not done badly as I recall, in spite of the difficulties, and in the descending darkness below we knew that we were once more over a land that was gradually turning from sand to rainforest.

Nigeria was a British colony and protectorate of West Africa. It was divided into Northern, Eastern, and Western regions with capitals, located at Kaduna, Enugu, and Ibadan, respectively, and comprised 27 provinces, including the former Lagos Colony and, for administrative purposes, the United Nations trust territory of British Cameroons. The basic racial strain in the south and throughout most of the remainder of Nigeria was the Congo-type Negro. Although Mohammedism is the predominant faith in the northern and western regions, the remainder of the population is largely pagan.

After we landed and refueled, the United Nations troops were marched up to the aircraft, resplendent in their army green uniforms and bright blue berets. Their faces were also very resplendent--much more so than ours--because they were decorated with designs made of scar tissue, the product of many hours of patient and artistic cutting with knives and rubbing with salt or ashes to be certain that scar tissue formed. Each black face was unique in its designs, each mouth had teeth that were filed to points and, admittedly, the effect was fearsome. The rumor was that these people either were currently, or had been, cannibals, and the rumor may well have been correct. As they filed on board and sat in our rear-facing seats, I watched them without making direct eye contact and noted that they seemed to be without fear or even minor anxiety about the coming flight. And on the way to Njili, they slept as anyone would who had been forced to march and climb into an airplane in the wee hours of the morning.

We did not have diplomatic clearance to fly over French Equatorial Africa, and navigation was better over the ocean; so, we flew just off the coast until we came to the western tip of the Congo and then turned east to reach Njili which was near the edge of a very large veldt near some small mountains (large hills?). The mountains were sparsely covered with vegetation that was mostly at the lower levels.

The airfield at Njili was paved and had some small buildings as well as some larger hangars at the edge of it. There were a lot of DC-3s parked on the field as well as a few small aircraft. The people there were not used to servicing C-118s, and our people were needed to supervise. The language barrier was not helpful, and the process took some time. We were tired, hot, stinking, and rather moist (in fact wet) with perspiration, and if it had not been early morning the perspiration would have been worse. The one very pleasant thing about this place was the lack of paperwork since there was no base operations to report to or to give us information.


A truck of the land rover type with an open back, covered only on top with white canvas, came to pick us up. We threw our bags on board and climbed in. The breeze that whipped by as it bounced along was pleasant. Occasionally, a native woman would be seen walking along the side of the road, dressed in a loose white or pastel-colored garment, her head shaved with a cloth over it. This seemed the best sort of dress for the climate. Away from the airfield, the veldt was completely covered with tall grass of a golden color, except by the road where small drainage ditches were lined with short green grass. There were a few small trees, hardly more that shrubs with green tops spread out like cirrus clouds on a trunk devoid of limbs. These trees were scattered about a sea of golden grass. There were no animals visible.

From Njili to Leopoldville:

As we drew nearer to Leopoldville, the land became one of gullies which seem to have been made by many rains, small ones being tributaries to larger ones. There may have been water in the bottoms of them, but we could not see it from where we were. They were lined with dark green vegetation and areas of what appeared to be grazing land lay in between. The view was rich and lush with the various elevations and the colors of green with some shades of brown where the soil could still be seen at the sides of the gullies. When we reached a higher elevation, we could see miles and miles of rolling hills in the distance with alternate areas of grass and groves of small trees. When we arrived at our quarters near the University at Leopoldville, the landscape was even more green with less brown and gold.

This land was very large and very beautiful without very many humans or domesticated animals. We could see for miles and miles and not discover anything but vegetation. Perhaps there were animals out there, but they could not be seen. The University was modern and large, white multi-story buildings with exterior walls that were mostly windows, looming up in stark contrast to the land around it.

The University

Having arrived tired in the early morning, waiting for the aircraft to be serviced, bouncing along in a truck for 45 minutes, and then showering before sleeping, we were ready for bed. But it was not so easy, because the day was growing warmer, the light brighter, and we needed to eat. The last decent rest we had experienced was at home. The rest in Rhein-Main was very brief, not truly allowing time for sleeping, and it was the same here in Leopoldville. We were being allowed only 13:25 hours from arrival at Leopoldville to departure. We could manage with it, but someone was certainly in hurry to have us pick up the next load of troops. It was now the 22nd, which means that Gizenga had been in custody for over a day.

Morning at the University

At midnight, we left Leopoldville in the truck and took off from Njili at 0335Z. We took on another load at Lagos, this time able to see the countryside and the buildings. There did not seem to be an appreciable difference in the vegetation at Lagos from what we saw at Leopoldville, but the land was very flat.


Troops at Lagos

Troops at Lagos

The coast and the cloud formations were visible on the flight back.


The continent, from this side at least, was very green. We arrived at Leopoldville again, this time in the evening, and managed to get some solid sleep until we roused for an 0600Z departure.

Again up the coast, overflying Nigeria, and into the Sahara for another warm day; we arrived at Wheelus after a long twelve hours of flying, only to refuel and fly for another ten hours to Lajes in the Azores.


The lack of passengers or cargo allowed for more fuel and more time enroute; so, pilots and navigators took turns managing the flight, and caught up by taking short periods of sleep in the crew bunks on the airplane. At Lajes we had time for a good meal, and I managed to get a haircut, this being my favorite place east of the U.S. for having my hair cut. This crew-rest was longer but in daylight, and at midnight we were in the air again for an 11:30-hour flight to McGuire. We had left on the 19th and we arrived home on the 26th with 77:55 hours of flying time for the entire trip.


Charlie's Partner

On 28 January 1962, a crew of which I was a member was briefed at 2:25 local time. It was a basic crew of five men going to the Pacific area for another "pony express" run. Initially, I recall, we were teamed up with another basic crew. We were expecting to be gone for a much longer time than usual and had briefed our wives on the bills to be paid and other tasks that they would do alone during our absence. We were to reach our predetermined station via deadheading on a C-124. Upon arriving at Oahu after several stops enroute, we "rested" for three days.

The morning after our arrival, I had a brunch of braized sirloin tips and sliced papaya among other things, the first tips and papaya that I had ever tasted. Both were from these islands and as fresh as they could possibly be, and the tips were so tender and flavorful that the best filet mignon that I have since eaten was no better. I made a vow then to have some tips and papaya every time I came through, and I kept the promise.

One of our very amiable classmates, Charlie Georgi, lived at Hickam. Charlie was in the 50th ATS (Air Transport Squadron) making Pacific trips, and another classmate, Bob Badger, was in the 48th. Charlie at some point asked me to visit him at his apartment. I think it was in the Bachelor Officer's Quarters. And I did so later on, arriving at the door with the correct number on it and knocking. Charlie said to come in; so, I opened the door.

Charlie was not there to greet me. Instead, a large black bird looked at me confidently from his cage. The conversation that followed was something like this.

"Hello," the bird said to me in Charlie's voice, "My name is Kemo. What's yours?" It took a moment for me to regain my composure. Had Charlie turned into a bird?

"I'm Lew," I said in return.
"Come on in and pour yourself a drink. The bar is in the corner," Kemo said, again in Charlie's voice, "Sit down and make yourself at home." I thanked Kemo and was complying when Charlie came in from the other room.
"I see you met Kemo," he said.
"Yes," I answered, "What kind of bird is he."

Kemo (Hawaiian for "Jim") was a Mina Bird from India, described as noisy, bold, fearless, and easily tamed. The Talking Mina Bird, which Charlie had, is described as handsome and self-confident with black plumage glossed with purple and green, relieved by bold patches in the wing and curious bright yellow wattles attached below the eye and on the nape. The bill is orange and the legs are yellow.

Some people say that these birds talk like a recorder without knowing what they are saying. I disagree. This bird knew that when he said certain things, the human to whom he spoke would provide certain responses in the form of actions. Ergo, he knew that what he said elicited those actions, and that means he knew what he was saying. Furthermore, the true size of a bird's brain is the sum of the part that is in the thorax and that in its head. Humans have brains only in their heads. So a bird has a much larger brain than most people think. I once listened to crows talking when they did not know I was there. They conversed much as people do, sounding a lot like some old men in their rockers on a porch.

Charlie, Kemo, and I talked, and Charlie fed Kemo several bites of apple, which Kemo seemed to enjoy. We timed it, and noticed that it required only 50 seconds for Kemo to convert a slice of apple to apple sauce. Kemo could imitate Charlie's voice and accent perfectly; so, that it was evident who taught certain things to him. He could also imitate Charlie's girlfriend's voice and accent perfectly when saying the things that she taught him. And Kemo could cough. I asked why he coughed and was told that a nurse across the hall had come down with a chest cold that lasted several days and that Kemo coughed like she did. But there was a very strange sound that Kemo sometimes made, and when he made it, he seemed perturbed and frustrated. I asked what that was supposed to be. Charlie told me it was Kemo's best version of a telephone ringing.

Other crewmembers on Waikiki

Other crewmembers on Waikiki
Hickam AFB Residential Area

Hickam AFB Residential Area
Hickam AFB Residential Area

Hickam AFB Residential Area
Hickam by Beach

Hickam by Beach
Hickam by Beach

Hickam by Beach


Below is a sequence taken as a squall approaches and leaves:

Below are photos taken after the squall.


From Oahu we went to Wake in our own airplane, then Guam where George Lester was living. George had never succumbed to island fever. He discovered that scuba diving allowed him all the space he wanted, and he used it.

Approaching Agana Naval Air Station on Guam

Runway in the Distance

Runway in the Distance
Abeam the runway

Abeam the runway
Passing the abeam point

Passing the abeam point
On final approach

On final approach

Views from the Visiting Officers Quarters.

We eventually arrived at Kadena in Okinawa and I found out it was the best place to get a haircut when in the Pacific. It was also a place to buy the best brocades and silver items. After Kadena, it was Guam again (Agana Naval Air Station). Next it was back to Kadena.

Sequence of views enroute nearing Kadena as the sun rises:

On the ground at Kadena.

On 12 Feb, 1962, we left Kadena to go back to Agana for another four days. On the 16th at 2:50 PM local, we left for Clark AFB in the Phillipines. We three officers in the crew were not feeling well. I spent my time taking fixes, doing the minimum work, and sleeping between times on the navigation desk, using my mental timer to wake up and take the next fix.

We spent three hours on the ground at Clark and took off again at 11:30 PM local to go back to Guam. The two pilots and I were in real bad shape, and we did the best we could to get back in one piece. The landing at Agana NAS, Guam, was a joke, because Don didn't have the strength to round out, and we literally flew into the ground, striking it heavily but not harming the aircraft. From the airplane, we were sent to the hospital. There, we were diagnosed as having amoebic dysentery, apparently from the Navy mess hall where we had eaten before leaving to go to Clark.

The idiot doctor gave me a sedative when my blood pressure was already low. As a result, I came very close to dying. Later in the night, I attempted to reach the latrine and fainted from low blood pressure, splitting the skin on my forehead open. I woke up, tried to reach the bed to summon someone, fainted and fell, woke up, tried again, and succeeded in pressing the button before I fainted. The next time I woke up I was back in bed and someone was checking my blood pressure. Then they stuck me with a stimulant and an IV to put fluid in me intravenously without asking if I could drink, which I could have.

The next morning, I was given stitches in my head wound and managed to convince them that I could drink. Subsequently, they let me drink and took out the needle that was feeding me liquid. The two pilots were in better condition that I, and five days after we landed last, we were fit to fly again. It is interesting that twice, once in the mess hall and once in the hospital, the U. S. Navy had almost succeeded in killing me, while eating foods of all kinds in other countries in what our flight surgeons considered to be unsanitary dishes, had never bothered me at all.

We left for Wake at 2:10 PM Guam local time on 21 Feb and landed six hours later, which was 10:10 PM local at Wake. There was a chain of circumstances that I don't really recall very well that led us to be flying on the same airplane with a Navy crew on the way back to Hickam.

I believe that when we left Guam after having been in the hospital for some time, we took a '51 model C-118 to Wake. At Wake, it was taken over by a Navy MATS crew. We were supposed to be deadheading on the leg from Wake to Hickam as I recall, and I was "invited" to navigate for the Navy. The Navy had "aviators" rather than "pilots" and "navigators." An aviator is supposedly qualified to do both piloting and navigating. In the old days before the advent of modern navigation, this was feasible. In the sixties, it was ridiculous. There was too much to know about both for one person to stay current with them. Since the beginning of flying, the pilot had been the one who was in command; so, the Navy aviator wanted to log pilot time rather than navigator time. They would take turns being the navigator only because they had to do it.

When they would fly over to Europe, they were able to hit the continent without difficulty and then take radio bearings to arrive at their destination. But how they were able to find an island was a mystery to most of us in the Air Force. One way they did it, was well known. They would ask if there were any Air Force navigators on board and invite them to do the navigating. To give them credit for trying, they did pay attention and try to learn a bit about navigation from us.

I accepted their invitation, because I wanted to arrive at our destination, and I was the only Air Force navigator on board. So I did my thing while two of them watched me, one at a time, taking turns doing so while the third man flew the airplane. Every time my LOP's crossed at a pinpoint (which they almost always did), they oohed and aahed and said things to each other like "Look at that!" and they would then ask what I did and check my figures to make sure that I was not cheating or putting them on. By the time we arrived at Wake, at least one of them had understood what I was doing. I did not expect him to remember it very long, because that would have been a difficult thing to do with so much information at one time, but overall, it might have helped him.

And this was, as I recall, how I met Larry Black, a Navy aviator whom I liked a lot. Larry lived away from the base not too terribly far from us. He was about five ten with dark hair, very handsome, and had a little dark-haired wife who had once thrown knives for a living. She was very accurate at throwing dishes as well and had a temper that ran to red hot when she was jealous, as she could be very easily.

At Hickam we rested for only a few hours before going on once more, with the crew in charge of the airplane, to Scott AFB, Illinois, via Travis AFB, California. We rested briefly again at Scott and then went to Norfolk NAS (Naval Air Station) and from there to McGuire, arriving home on the 24th, having been gone for nearly a month, and with 85 hours of flying time. We were very glad to be back.

It struck me now, with more force than ever before, that this was a life of extremes, of contrasts, with a moment of danger followed by a moment of serenity, a moment of cold followed by one of warmth, a moment of gray shades followed by one of vivid color, a moment of violent movement followed by one of peace.



There were, and I am sure there still are, Coastal Air Defense Identification Zones (CADIZs) on both the east and west coasts of North America. These were zones in which we were made to maintain a very narrow corridor or risk being intercepted by our own Air Defense Command jet fighters. The fighters would have made a pass to look at us rather than firing first, but the expense of having them sent out would have been great, and so would the reprimand given to the AC and navigator on the wayward flight. Maintaining the prescribed corridor was easy enough as a rule on the Pacific coast, but usually very problematic on the Atlantic coast due to weather and strong winds. The zones are usually just wide enough to make radio or RADAR navigation impossible, and the lower altitudes that were necessary for a flight from east to west (due to the prevailing winds) were always much worse for icing of the LORAN antenna and for heavy cloud cover to prevent the use of the sextant.

Invariably, every flight crew experienced a breach of the corridor on the Atlantic side. This breach was usually called in via radio and the circumstances explained before the interceptors were scrambled, and the reprimand would not be forthcoming as long we could tell precisely where we were and have it verified on the air defense RADAR. But many times the weather was so bad that we could not tell where we were until it was too late, and the only thing that saved us was the fact that the weather was too bad for the air defense RADAR to see us. In any case, this was always one of most stressful times during an inbound flight. And the leg from Prestwick to Harmon or from Lajes to McGuire could almost always be depended upon to make the navigator very busy and very tense.

The flight log maintained by the air navigator was a legal document that was subject to basically the same laws and the same scrutiny as a ship's log. The navigator's log and the GLC chart were checked in the squadron later by other navigators, and if any breach was found, it was examined as to circumstances and noted. Usually, the navigators who checked the flight records were able to tell that the navigator on the flight used the best judgment possible under the circumstances. But woe be to the navigator who was found to have been using poor judgment.

The next flight was on 10 April 1962 with Major Flanders. We were a large crew complete with our own flight surgeon, Captain Richard Byrne, who needed some flight time for his monthly flight pay. Altogether, we had seven officers on this flight. The route was from McGuire to Harmon, then to Upper Heyford very near Mildenhall in England, and last to Mildenhall to crew-rest for two days.

The unusually long crew-rest gave us time to have some fun, and Major Flanders organized a trip to London for us and even chartered our own little bus. The skies were mostly cloudy on our drive in, and much of the land was flat and often open despite my preconceived notion that this place was supposed to be crowded. High chimneys above the rooftops of the homes probably hinted that much coal was burned here. The roofs were sloped steeply, indicating plenty of precipitation. Bicyclists were seen frequently, showing that these people were more physically fit than the Americans of the time. They rode with backpacks and with tight coverings for their ankles to keep their pants from catching in the bicycle chains. This was before the days of helmets and tights and racing bicycles that the yuppies have foisted upon us here in America; so, the clothing of the bicyclists was very conventional.

The air was very moist, the green things very green, the deciduous trees leafless, and there was no hint of a breeze. Up 'til this time, there was very little traffic. As we neared London, the traffic increased considerably, and we saw our first double-decker bus. At the suburbs it was obvious that the buildings here were much older than the ones we expected to see in the U.S.--apparently venerated and restored as need be. The streets in London could never be mistaken for those in America.

Trafalgar Square was full of pigeons far more than people. It was beautiful with the big fountains and the obelisk, but I wondered how the people managed to avoid a large dry-cleaning bill with their expensive tweeds and the pigeon bombings. Everything here seemed so old and traditional, so different from the American west and even most of the American east.

The tower of London has an air of its own that was depressing to me even as seen from the outside. The history of the people who lived here is so filled with political murders and executions, and their instruments of torture are so grotesque that one feels ashamed to be part of humanity.

The wax museum had very lifelike figures of the old kings and queens in full size. It was amazing how small people were then, most of the men no taller than five feet four inches, and the women even smaller. There was a figure of Mary, Queen  of Scots, a lady who was beheaded for political reasons. Her figure was not in one piece, the head rolling away from the body after the axeman had severed it. The detail was extreme and shocking. The history of the incident is even more shocking.

We had time to see the crown jewels, London Bridge, the Thames, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Parliament Building, and the other tourist sights. We rode the upper story of a two-story bus and watched a bobby direct traffic.

Westminster Abbey was very impressive. Its major portion was built during the reign of King Henry III between 1216 and 1272. Even today, the building of such a monument would tax the efforts of our contractors and might not even be possible considering the sloppy work that most of them do. King Henry took the credit for erecting the Abbey, but he was not the one who did the architectural and engineering work. Nor was he one of the skilled workmen who risked their lives to build it. And of course he was not the one who paid for it. His subjects did that by means of taxation. If we could spend as much effort being kind to one another as we do in erecting churches and abbeys, we would be much better off. And if there is a Heaven, we would be much more likely to enter it.

This was a sunnier time, in part, so that the depression I felt when seeing the torture instruments, the wax impression of Mary, Queen  of Scots, having her head cut off, and other cheery things, did not affect me quite as much as it could have. It was worse when the fog rolled in. I had a very poor opinion of humanity--especially the English who have committed atrocities against the Scots, the Irish, the Welsh, and the other Kelts. I still feel very strongly that the English should get out of Ireland and stop exploiting these people as they have been doing for centuries. Thank God we had a successful revolution.

The high point of the trip was when Major Flanders treated the entire crew to dinner in the Elizabethan Room of the Gore Hotel in London. This was a room with long wooden tables and wooden benches; straw on the floor; interior decorating of Elizabethan times; serving wenches who dress in authentic costumes; and authentic cutlery, silverware, and food. It was customary to look down the low-cut blouses of the serving wenches when possible (which was often) and to pinch them gently on the buttocks. In fact, they were often insulted if one did not take such liberties with them. The silverware consisted of a knife and a fork with two prongs. The fork was not curved, but straight. There was no spoon, because the soup was to be drunk from the bowl. The colors of dress were bright, as was the decor--no drab colors except for the straw on the floor.

Upon entering, the host asked us who we were and then announced to everyone: "All hail to Major Flanders and his boys from America." And everyone raised their wooden cups of ale or wine and toasted us saying: "Hail to Major Flanders and his boys."

We were seated and treated to soup with bread (much like sourdough--perhaps that is what is was), followed by other courses which were quite delicious. The drink was potent, and we were encouraged to drink long toasts frequently until we were well lit. After the last course, clay pipes were passed out for us to smoke. I am, and have always been, a non-smoker, but I was high from drinking and thought that I would like to complete the experience in time travel; so, I smoked a pipe with the others. And strangely, I did not get sick from the experience, but actually enjoyed it. Even the slight hangover the next day was hardly felt.

Below are photos taken chronologically on the drive to London and in London.

The flight back was through Upper Heyford, Prestwick, and Harmon, and it was relatively uneventful. My navigator cross-training course was coming up, and there would be exams coming; so, I studied my emergency procedures between taking fixes and plotting lines on the GLC and range-control charts.



On 20 April 1962, I was with a crew scheduled to crew-rest in Paris for two days. There was a lot of anticipation from everyone; so, it seemed safe to assume that this would be a memorable experience. This was the first crew of which I had been a member to have three female flight attendants (flight traffic specialists); so, the people in scheduling must have had a heart in letting the gals out in numbers so that they could feel safe going places together. Scheduling also assigned at least one very senior female (not in age so much as experience), Ruth Mudd, to show the younger ones the best way to experience this famous city.

Most female crew members felt somewhat fearful about going alone, or even in pairs, when in strange places, as well they should. Most of the time, the male crew members went places, either alone or together, but never with the females, much to the detriment of the females who really needed to be escorted if they were to enjoy themselves. This was selfish of the guys, and I am one the worst offenders, but this is what usually happened. The guys didn't mean to be selfish, but they were usually older, and wanted to do other things than shepherd the young female crew members. Very likely some of the enlisted crew did help the females out in this regard on occasion, but I was not aware that this happened.

Paris is the city that no one wants to bomb even in a big war, because it has the archetypes for most of our weights and measures, many art treasures, and similar cultural items that should be revered. It is like Babylon was to the ancient world, a place where conquerors entered carefully, lest they destroy something of inestimable value.

Bob Long was one of the other navigators on this crew. He and I achieved later fame in the C-130s, the only two to force the change in procedure for grading low-level tactical drops. We succeeded in making the ton-and-a-half pallets land so close to the bullseye that the scorers were forced to leave the center of the area and work from the edge instead. But that is another story.

The other navigator was Terry Thompson. He became one of my best friends and companions as time wore on, and he and his wife, Joan, spent more time with Sherrie and me than did any other couple. Terry was tall and dark with bad knees from basketball. They creaked when he did deep knee bends. He was also heavier than I, and once when I had been drinking a bit, I bet that I could carry him in a fireman's carry (I was a wrestler at the Academy). I succeeded in falling down instead, to the great amusement of the other crew members we were with, and I lost the bet.

Don Urqhart was one of the aircraft commanders, Captain James McKenzie was the other, and the first pilot was Gary Gibson. Slowly, I was beginning to meet my squadron mates. If enough more years were to pass without excessive change, I might begin to know seventy-five percent of them by sight.

This was my first time in Paris and the first time for some of the others as well. So we made for the usual showpieces: the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the hill where all the artists hang out, the Louvre, etc. The Louvre was interesting in a historical sense to me, as it shows some of the evolution of art, but I did find most of the art boring (though very good).

The Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile is beautiful in its way, a symbol through which traffic drives on the Avenue de Champs-Elysees. It means the arch of triumph of the star, and it comes from a Roman tradition of creating arches over avenues to commemorate triumphs. Perhaps it was a way of advertising for the current ruler so that his subjects would think of his triumph as they passed beneath it. One of the early Roman arches is the Arch of Titus in Rome, erected by Domitian to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile commemorates the triumph of Napoleon's Grand Army for the victory of Austerlitz, in December of 1805, over the Russians and the Austrians. In retrospect, the wars of conquest fought by Napoleon led to the two world wars, in each of which the French suffered greatly. So perhaps the Arc is a symbol of the stupidity of war.

I am not one who favors peace above all else. Any form of bullying or mistreatment of others due to a selfish and unjust desire is wrong. When peace means slavery, mistreatment of any kind, or unfair treatment of any kind, a war begun in self-defense might be better than peace. Peace treaties are meaningless and are usually a means of bullying or wheedling a nation into accepting ill treatment without a fight. The Engish have been especially good at this deception, and Americans are no better, having broken almost every treaty ever made with the American Indians and having resorted to genocide on many occasions. Nor is the American government any better today, still breaking such treaties and failing to honor promises made to the Indian. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is nothing but a front for cheating the Indians for the benefit of politicians. Beware of someone who meets you and then offers you a peace treaty, an alliance, or proclaims immediate friendship. Actions speak louder that words, and perhaps you should ask why this person or nation wants your promise of peace so much.

There is a hill overlooking Paris which has a name that I do not recall. There the artists congregate to sketch and to paint. It was an interesting place to engage in conversation, and I paid a man a couple of francs (each worth a quarter then) for a bad rendering of my profile.

The Eiffel Tower was impressive. It was big, the wind whistled through it, and it swayed a bit which made me have a little bit of vertigo when I was at the top. And what a grand view of the city. This tower blends a lot of engineering with artistic appeal. I have not been to Paris in many years and do not know whether or not is has succumbed to smog, but at this time it was relatively smog free. The population used mostly their feet and bicycles, the air at the top of the tower was fresh and clean, and the vegetation at the bottom of it was a luxuriant green. People sat on benches and chairs at its base, dwarfed by the massive steel, content to let the time pass while they waited.

As in most cities, pigeons were everywhere. Indeed, cities are for pigeons, and they outnumber the people by ten to one. Beware of a pigeon above you when in a city. The classical influence in Paris is very apparent with large columns on many of the buildings. Unlike London, the sky was mostly clear with just a few little clouds to make it interesting for the observer. Unlike New York, the people were seldom found in large crowds, and their attitudes seemed happily purposeful as opposed to frantic. Of course, there were small crowds of people at bus stops, and the cabbies were always frantic, even suicidal at times. It was these cabbies that I classify as the most dangerous threat to my personal safety in all the time I was in MATS.

I did not find the Parisians to be stand-offish. My French was a bit rusty, but I attempted to use it, and I was taught by a man with a Parisian accent, which I had handily acquired. Perhaps this is why the natives seemed friendly.

At that time, my old home town had a river that was very muddy with pollution from a local chemical company. Many of the rivers in the U.S. were like this. The Seine was rather clear and lined with trees and grass. It was one of the most beautiful rivers I had ever seen in a city. Yet it was traveled by barges and tourist boats with at least two decks each.

The second day there I struck out on my own. I wanted to see the people, to get to know the people, rather than to simply see the sights that every ugly American (as we were called then) would see. I went out early and entered the nearest subway station. Across from me was an attractive woman in what appeared to be her thirties. Between us were the tracks about four feet down from us. As I watched, a train came down the tracks on her side to my right. She stepped to the edge of the concrete, watching the oncoming train. As it neared her, she deliberately fell in front of it. I had been the only witness to this tragedy other than those peering from the front of the train, and I was sick. I stayed long enough to watch the gendarmes order the train to be jacked up to remove her remains, and then I left to try to forget along the banks of the Seine.

There was a lovely park there filled with many couples lying on the grass. Having been raised in the midwestern United States and having been drilled at the Academy about not having a "public display of affection," the very loving conduct of these couples in the city of love made me feel a bit embarrassed, and I left. I found a bridge and crossed the Seine to emerge into an old residential area of the city. The homes there were typical middle class, but they held a familiar appeal, and I wandered there for long into the afternoon, just walking. I watched people fishing out of the Seine with rod and line. I went to the bottom of a bridge and watched the water. I watched the wind in the trees and the sky. Then I began to cross the river and return to the hotel, always on foot. I wanted to be tired.

By evening, the shock had worn off, and I had forgotten the sight of the woman dying. I have often wondered what caused her to take her own life. Was it a fatal disease, a love affair gone bad, a drug related depression? To this day, the memory is suppressed. I remember her standing there, and I remember the train coming. I remember her beginning to fall. And next I remember the train braking after it was too late. The part in the middle is gone and probably better so.

We returned via Prestwick and Harmon. The headwind across the pond averaged over 40 knots, the North Atlantic being true to its reputation. It was good to be home again, a few more days into the future. I was beginning to understand more and more that the airplanes we flew were time machines taking us into the future. It was always into the future and never into the past. Each time we arrived at a place we had seen before, we arrived at its future, having missed the days, months, of years between. We were time travelers seeing the futures of many different time lines, a different one for every place visited.


Congo II

Events in the Congo had been progressing since the first time I was there. The people of the Katanga Province were attempting secession, and the central government was resisting. More incidents of violence occurred in Katanga. The Kitona agreement had been implemented on 21 December 1961, signed by Premier Adoula and Katanga President Moise Tshombe, to re-integrate the province within a unified Congo. The principal provision of the agreement was the expulsion of foreign mercenaries from the Katanga armed forces. Tshombe continued to hedge on this provision, but reportedly expelled all mercenaries (about 300) by mid-February.

After the Katanga Assembly conditionally approved the ending of secession (February 15) the province retained a large measure of autonomy. Adoula and Tshombe conferred in Leopoldville from 18 March to 17 April, and again from 22 May to 26 June, but they failed to reach an agreement as to how reunification was to be brought about. They did agree to integrate the two recently opposing armies which was announced on May 30. However, it was reported that Tshombe had not abandoned his hopes of complete independence for Katanga, while Adoula was just as insistent upon the complete sovereignty of the Congolese central government.

Adoula received the support of other countries for his policy of re-integration when he visited the United States in early February. In his address to the UN General Assembly in New York on 2 February, he appealed for more military aid in order that his government might have the means to end Katanga's secession (in effect an appeal to foreign mercenaries, but for the central government). He apparently succeeded in his appeal.

Flight orders were cut on 19 June 1962, for a number of MATS crews and aircraft to fly to the Republic of the Congo. One of these crews consisted of Major Toussaint P. Labbe (AC), 1st Lt. Arnold M. Visnick (first pilot), 1st Lt. Thomas E. Burke (second pilot), Capt. Richard F. Legeza (navigator), myself, SSGT Roger W. McKinley (Engineer), SSGT Clark L. Gilman (1st flight traffic specialist), and A1C Orell Riley (flight traffic specialist). We took off from McGuire on the 20th at 6:20 PM local time, and flew to Harmon and then Mildenhall, where we rested for a day.

We left Mildenhall in the early afternoon of the 22nd and flew to Wheelus in Libya where we had a problem with the aircraft requiring maintenance. We rested for most of a day, leaving at 7:20 PM local time on the 23rd. The next stop was Harar Meda, one of the two principal airfields near the capital of Ethiopia, which lies just outside Addis Ababa to the southwest. Haile Selassie International, the principal civilian airport lies to the southeast, named after the Ethiopian emperor of the time.

Ethiopia lies between 5 and 15 degrees north latitude and 35 and 45 degrees east longitude. Most of the western half is a high plateau that borders the southwestern shore of the Red Sea to the northeast and Sudan to the west. Within the Ethiopian plateau are rugged mountains rising to heights ranging between just under 11,000 feet and just over 15,000 feet. The plateau itself is about 7,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, which means that the mountains are actually about 3,000 to 7,000 feet high from base to top. Addis Ababa, the capital, lies at an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet which is also the field elevation of Harar Meda. Several large lakes lie in a large valley to the south of Addis Ababa, and some of the main tributaries to the Nile begin on the western side of the plateau. Although Ethiopia lies at a latitude that implies a hot climate, only the lowlands feel the heat, the plateau being high enough to have a moderate climate, which allows the growth of cereals, vegetables, coffee, and fruits.

The old name for Ethiopia is Abyssinia. However, this is misleading as Abyssinia was but one of the areas which now are part of Ethiopia. In the early sixties, Ethiopia was composed of twelve provinces, each with six districts. Each province was under the control of a governor general, who was responsible to the Ministry of the Interior in Addis Ababa. Prior to WWII, the political system was feudal, the local nobility exercising almost unlimited control over their districts. Subsequently, the nobility were deprived of most of their power in favor of government officials appointed by the emperor. Steps have since been taken to make Ethiopia more democratic, and in 1931 a constitution was granted by Haile Selassie, providing for a Parliament whose members were designated by the emperor and the provincial chiefs, and a civil service.

The Ethiopian-Italian War interrupted the implementation of the constitution (1935-1936), and a new constitution was drafted in November of 1955, by both Ethiopian and foreign "experts." Each Ethiopian would be able to vote for members of the lower house of a two-chamber Parliament. A liberal bill of rights was also incorporated. And a modern civil and penal code was introduced, replacing a system of torture and mutilation.

In spite of all this, Haile Selassie maintained control with a right to appoint members of the government, veto all legislation adopted by Parliament, and to dissolve Parliament at will. Even so, Parliament had the right to revise and abrogate imperial decrees issued between sessions. Eritrea, the most recently acquired portion of Ethiopia which allows access to the Red Sea, was an autonomous self-governing territory with its own elected assembly handling its own domestic affairs. Only defense, foreign affairs, currency, and trade were handled by the federal government in Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian army, in the early sixties, had been trained by British and Swedish officers and was highly professional, consisting of approximately 30,000 officers and men. The police force, consisting of about 20,000 men, arbitrarily enforced the laws. In fact, the political system and the justice system were largely like those United States is moving toward now, full of corruption, ill-conceived laws that were sometimes enforced and sometimes not, and favoritism for those who licked the right boots. Nevertheless, the rights of the individual had been greatly improved over what they once had been.

The first known inhabitants of Ethiopia were called Cushites (in the ancient world, Ethiopia was called Cush). Hamitic people from the north migrated into the area, then Semites invaded at various times beginning in the second millenium BCE. These influences have determined the character of Ethiopia's most important languages. In 1962, the Amhara and Tigrina were the largest groups, constituting about a third of the population. They are Coptic Christians. About 40 percent of the Ethiopians belonged to Galla, African tribesmen of Hamitic origin who raided and infiltrated the area from the 15th century on. Most of these are Muslims. About half a million were Somali who were herdsmen and fanatical Muslims. In addition there were Negroes called the Danakil who lived between the desert plains east of the highlands, also Muslims. And there were numerous smaller tribes who were partly Muslim and partly pagan. To me the majority of the people of Addis Ababa looked Semitic, with dark skins and facial features similar to European whites.

After one false start, we had a nine-hour flight over Libya, Sudan, and Ethiopia arriving over an airfield near Addis Ababa called Harar Meda at 6:20 AM local.

Harar Meda had a short dirt runway at an elevation of 7,000 feet. The aviation gasoline to be found there was of the 85 octane variety. We were expected to be taking off with a heavy load of troops the following day. The elevation alone caused the engines to perform below their norm. The 85 octane fuel in lieu of the usual 100 octane appreciably added to the problem. The short runway was another adverse factor to be considered. The dirt runway would have an effect on take-off as well, but not so much as the other factors, due to the very large tires on the C-118, which were designed to work well at primitive airfields. The upshot was that the enlisted people who handled the fueling and the aircraft configuration had to work at the airplane during part of the crew-rest. They removed the seats and the survival gear (which was mostly for over-water flights anyway), placed the seatbelts on tie-down rings on the floor, and fueled the plane with the 85 octane variety, being sure to keep the fuel load low enough to allow us to take-off within the limits of safety needed for the load we would be carrying.

We were taken by bus to a hotel in the town of Harar Meda where we were to go into crew-rest for a day. The hotel was white stucco with a tile roof and comfortable enough. The weather was warm, and the windows remained open for cooling purposes. The atmosphere was almost rural and very tranquil.

Actually, the crew-rest was not really a crew-rest for the officers either, as we spent some time planning our mission to come. There was no base operations, fleet service, weather station, or any other convenience here, and the charts (maps) of the area were not very accurate. In fact, a mountain top or a bend in a river could be miles from where it was shown on our charts. We had to figure out where we could stop for fuel, and this figured into the fuel we were allowed to carry out of Harar Meda. We had to plan for possible eventualities in weather as best we could. We were directed to wear civilian clothes during this series of missions, and I believe this policy had to do with the growing dislike of all UN people and whites is in general. In any case, uniforms were out and civilian Bermuda shorts were in, and that was OK with us.

The following are excerpts from a letter to my brother during this mission.

Right now I am reclining on a lumpy little bed in a tiny little hotel located in a tiny little place called Harar Meda on the Ethiopian Plateau. If anyone else put this in the first paragraph of a letter, you'd think they were joking--I know. But as usual, I'm not joking.

There is a quart-size bottle of 12% beer beside me which is normal for this area, and it is potent. The people here are very poor and yet they more than pull their own weight in the world. They are sending troops to the Congo--good troops--even though it is expensive for them in both money and manpower. That is what we are doing here--taking them to the Congo on a long series of shuttle runs.

About a week ago I was told I was to go to Ethiopia for about 12 days. Then I was told 15 days--then 18--then 20. Now that I am here, we find that it is likely to be 24 days or more. (Two of the local fellows are here now making my roommate's bed. They have a certain aroma about them that tends to convince me that there are no bathing facilities close by. I know there aren't any in this room.)

This little airstrip here is barely big enough to put a 118 down on, and all parking is in the grass. The C-124's (our mobile repair shops) really do have it tough.

As I was saying, when I first got the word of the trip, Sherrie screamed and moaned, and I said "It'll help us pay the bills a little faster." (From the per diem profits.) Tiny observed the packing and asked how long it would be (in dog language), and I told her quite a while. Tiny takes it harder than any of the rest of the family. Sherrie can tolerate it better. The baby and the cat don't give a damn either way.

I checked up on the latest dope [in those days this meant information] regarding Stanleyville and Albertville in the Congo and added something new to my survival gear (against regulations but necessary nonetheless). I now have my gunbelt, holster, ammo belt with 35 rounds, and the .45 auto with me. It makes me feel more secure somehow.

We left on the 20th of June and arrived at Mildenhall, England on the 21st. At Mildenhall they switched aircraft on us and gave us this old dog we came in on. It is a flying wreck of a '51 model that can either be nice as sugar or lousy as Gertie. (The usual 118s we fly are '53 models.)

She took us out of Mildenhall on the 22nd and we flew the long way around to get to Tripoli. The French and Portuguese don't like us when we turn civilian and fly for the U.N.; so, we have to go around them and all their possessions.

We arrived at Wheelus AB near Tripoli on the 22nd and were told to push on to Harar Meda. However our little bird threw a fit and we were forced to crew-rest until the 23rd at Wheelus. The next day, we tried again and managed to get 30 minutes away from the base before we noticed a lack of power on number two engine due to two of the jugs (cylinders) misbehaving (bad sparkplugs). Upon landing, we noticed a hissing noise from number four (we had to turn around and land again at Wheelus), and upon investigating found that a couple of the exhaust stacks were burnt through. We thanked our lucky stars for the jug trouble on number two because it led to the discovery of the stacks on four. Four could have, at any time, started burning, and an engine fire over the Sudanese part of the Sahara Desert at night is no picnic--especially when we never carry parachutes.

We finally managed to get away on the 24th and arrive here on the 25th (this morning). I plan to get some rest as soon as I finish this letter.

You'd like it here as far as the climate is concerned. The elevation in Ethiopia varies from 6,000 to 14,000 ft. The mountains as well as the lower areas are old rock with very little vegetation. There are hundreds of little lakes scattered about in the little hollows with green things growing in profusion around their edges, but everywhere else it is as dry as a bone. The humidity is very low as might be expected.

The trees that do grow here are typically African with typical African tree flat tops--seldom do they grow up after reaching a certain height.

The people are very tall, thin, and dark, but without the noticeably Negroid features. They are not a bad looking people under their ragged, unkempt exterior. In fact, I feel rather sorry for them because they do seem to be trying.

The Arabs in Tripoli and its associated area are so undeserving that, I feel, they can go their own filthy, uncaring way for the rest of eternity, and it won't be any skin off the teeth of the rest of the world. I am convinced that the Arab is little more than an exceptionally stupid, lazy, dirty, and insulting animal. It is too bad that they represent a part of homo sapiens.

I'll write more as the trip progresses. Please pass this letter on to the folks. They may enjoy reading it. Think I'll catch 40 winks...

Have been talking to my roommate since waking up (it is still the 25th), and have been informed of several interesting things. It seems that the airstrips we'll be flying into from here are even less compatible than this one, the country we'll be flying over will be the wildest on earth, and the necessity for a good aircraft greater than ever.

The fuel we use to take-off from here is low octane and can't give us proper performance--just one more little inconvenience. It will limit our cruising range as well as our speed and the runway length required for a given load.

The people fighting in the Congo don't trust anybody and it is necessary to use caution to avoid being shot by friendly U.N. forces in certain situations. Can't say I blame them. The Congo is a rather bloody mess that is becoming worse it seems.

I finally found the shower. It is called a wash closet and there is only one in the whole hotel (one men's closet I mean). The water is only luke warm at best and right now there isn't any. No electricity either.

Guess we are pretty lucky here. I understand that we may be staying in the airplane in the smaller spots in the Congo.

Some kind of bird is making a high, demanding chattering noise outside. It sounds like the jungle, but the exact opposite is actually the case.

This whole trip is one big safety hazard. This morning five airplanes including ours converged on the field at once at only two different altitudes. The chance for mid-air collisions during the ensuing orbiting (we had to orbit because we couldn't all land at once) was much too high. There are no let-down plates for any of these little fields which means that, to land, the pilot has to judge the runway length by eyeball and set the plane down like a bush pilot flying a Piper Cub. The operation is a mess because we had planned to make our shuttle runs during daylight only, and there are no night facilities to use for landing. The planners failed to allow proper time for refueling at our turnaround points; so, we can't get back by nightfall. Consequently, it is necessary to stay and come back the next day. It is hard to understand how a person can allow only one hour for refueling when the way it is done is by hand-pumping fuel from drums.

This place is completely overcast now with no instrument landing facilities at all. I pity anyone who is low on fuel and trying to land here now.

We have to take malaria pills since this is the worst of places for catching the disease. Water purification tablets are used before we can drink any . . . .

The following morning we took off with a load of Ethiopian troops in UN uniforms. Although their uniforms were the same green with a blue beret, their faces were not decorated like those of the Nigerian troops we had transported earlier in the year, nor were their teeth filed. They filed on board, sat on the floor, buckled their seatbelts on (then called safety belts), and stoically prepared for the flight. We took off at 9:15 AM local, before the air could be heated as it is later in the day. This allowed us the luxury of denser air, which was desperately needed to offset the other conditions.

We took off to the northwest, turned and climbed, flying almost due south to Kenya. There were some puffy clouds and some cumulonimbus in the sky, and the terrain below was brown and jagged with tablelands and deep gullies. Here and there were dry riverbeds and some that were wet. Patches of green appeared only occasionally. Over all of this was a light haze that grew as we went further south.

Once over Kenya, we turned to the southwest toward the radio beacon at Entebbe, Uganda, on the north shore of Lake Victoria. From there we were able to set a course directly to Kindu in the Congo about 250 miles south of Stanleyville on the Lualaba Congo River. During the course of the flight the ground had become obscured by clouds. We knew the jungle was there, but we could not see it.

When we reached Kindu, I could tell via the RADAR that we were there, but not with much detail, because the river had a different course than what was shown on the chart. We could not tell how low the overcast was, and we were getting low on fuel. There was not even a radio at Kindu, which was a short dirt strip. It was surrounded by high jungle which would make it very difficult to find if we were able get below the ceiling, and flying a search pattern for it might lead us into a high, unexpected object before we could avoid it. We had been told that the natives in the area had eaten an Italian aircrew only a few months before (their finger bones were found around a child's neck, strung in the form of a necklace). We did not wish to crash-land in the jungle. So we circled a couple of times trying to decide what to do.

The pilots had just about to decided to try to go down into the undercast in an attempt to break through when we had a stroke of luck. Unbeknown to us there was an ancient DC-3 on the ground, and its pilot. He heard us circling, realized what our problem was, and got on the radio that was in the DC-3. We used the ADF to home on his frequency while he told us how high the ceiling was at the field. In this fashion, and with his directions as he listened to our engines, we were able to come down in the right spot and land. We thanked the man profusely as the Ethiopian troops disembarked. Then we watched the fueling of the airplane via fifty-gallon drums which, due to the short field and the difficulty in fueling, was kept to a minimum.

At Kindu we actually performed a double function, bringing in troops and removing troops who were already there, in accordance with a policy of rotation.

From a letter dated 26 June 1962:

We are on climb-out from Kindu with a load of Ethiopian soldiers. The other navigator is working. I had my turn finding our way down here.

The jungle looks rather forbidding at this altitude. Actually, it is quite beautiful, but only when four engines are going strong. We wouldn't have a prayer if we were forced to put down here.

Kindu is a little place in the Congo several hundred miles south of Stanleyville if you know where Stanleyville is. Kindu is also the place where 13 Italian airmen and officers were killed by the natives who mistook them for Belgians. It was all in the papers then. The runway is extremely short with jungle all around it--so short, in fact, that our maximum load of 68, each weighing 250# with baggage, has been reduced to 45, each weighing only 200# with baggage. We can't carry much fuel either, which is good in a way because fueling is done by hand and takes forever. The planes (six altogether) have been stripped of emergency equipment and all unnecessary items in an effort to lighten them as much as possible.

We left Harar Meda this morning at 0630 hours Greenwich time (0930 local time) and arrived at Kindu 4 hours and 40 minutes later. We are now making a short hop to Entebbe (located on the northern shore of Lake Victoria) where we will crew-rest for 10 hours. We have to stop at Entebbe for two reasons: (1) we need some maintenance done and (2) we can't land at Harar Meda at night. Tomorrow morning we will go from Entebbe back to Harar Meda where another crew will relieve us until the next day.

There are a lot of cumulus clouds out here every day and we have been dodging these thunderbumpers all the way. (Please excuse the poor penmanship, but this airplane and no writing table don't help it a bit.)

The troops going back home look happier than those we took to Kindu (they work in six month long shifts and we are shifting them). I don't blame them for wanting to go back to the high, cool mountains of Ethiopia. Kindu is hot, humid, and the worst place (according to the authorities) in the world for catching malaria. We were glad to leave too. This old bird used an awful lot of that short runway. Things are looking up. Entebbe is supposed to be the nicest place in this section of Africa. More later...

After take-off from Kindu, we flew to Entebbe again but this time to land and take on as much good fuel (Esso gasoline) as we could carry. At Entebbe was a modern airfield, control tower, and passenger terminal complete with tourist attractions such as the native bows and arrows, and the superb African artwork that I purchased there and still have on my wall at home. The art was a type that I had never seen and have never seen since. It was on black construction paper in a style that was very descriptive of the natives, their dugouts, their dress and customs, their implements, and the local wildlife. Yet the art suggested rather than depicted each scene. I bought these treasures for fifty cents each and today would not take a hundred dollars for one.

Entebbe is in Uganda with a population in the early 60s of about eight thousand. It was the residence of British protocol officials on Lake Victoria and included such facilities for Europeans as botanical gardens.

Uganda is the former British East African territory of Uganda. It attained its independence on 9 October 1962; so, it was not independent at the time our crew was there. It was bounded on the north by Sudan, on the east by Kenya, on the south by Tanganyika and Rwanda, and on the west by the Republic of the Congo.

Uganda is a fertile plateau with mountains on the eastern and western borders, desert on the east, and Lake Victoria on the south. It has a total area of 93,981 square miles of which 13,689 square miles are lakes. The population in 1959 was 6,536,616 and included Africans, Asians, Europeans, and Arabs, with the six and a half million Africans dominating.

In the early 60s, this little country exported coffee, seed cotton, sugar, tobacco, tea, copper, gold, wolfram, and lead, and had a national annual income of approximately $429,000,000 which was not bad for a small African nation.

The British were careful to be sure that Uganda did not obtain its independence at too early a date, taking it in stages. It attained internal self-government on 1 March 1962 before attaining complete independence on 9 October 1962. It's first act after independence was to refuse diplomatic recognition of any country which allowed obvious racial discrimination (such as the Republic of South Africa).

Although Uganda has had its ups and downs, including rebel movements, it has suffered less strife than many African nations, which is largely due to an early economic plan that has helped the nation to have a high economic growth rate. People who can see things improving, and who are able to feed themselves, are not as likely to rebel as those who are hungry and who see little hope for the future.

It is interesting that one of the rebel armies in Uganda is a minority of fundamentalist Christians (Christian Fundamentalist Lord's Resistance Army) which receives its support from the Islamic government of Sudan. And the other (Allied Democratic Forces) is composed largely of militant Islamics.

The first completely free election in Uganda was in May of 1996. Since then, various government strategies have reduced the rebel influence to almost nothing. The economy is still growing and Uganda's future looks bright.

We arrived at Entebbe at 6:45 local and the troops disembarked to stretch while we fueled and shopped. We were needing some maintenance at Entebbe and could not land at Harar Meda after dark; so, we crew-rested and did not leave Entebbe until 3:45 the next morning. We arrived back at Harar Meda at 6:50 AM and found that quarters there were not available for us; so, we had an hour-long bus ride to Addis Ababa, which was cool and pleasant.

We checked into the hotel, the largest in Addis Ababa and very likely the largest in Ethiopia, had breakfast and rested a bit; then I joined the navigators from other crews to swap information. During the various flights, the navigators had managed to glean bits of information such as the proper locations of mountain peaks (one had an actual location that was ten miles away from its supposed location displayed on the aeronautical charts), the correct way the rivers wound, and any details that might be helpful for crews flying in troops in the future (all of us included).

Unlike the rural atmosphere of Harar Meda, outside this hotel were various beggars, con artists, and prostitutes--often black with hair dyed red. I was enough of a sucker in those days to give a pair of my trousers to a beggar/con-man. He later sent me a letter asking for money to come to the United States.

There were also policemen outside who took payouts from the beggars, con artists, and prostitutes and who supplemented their income by stopping an automobile every so often. Everyone drove as they pleased which meant that every driver broke the law all the time. There was a mandatory court visit if one were caught breaking the law, except that there was a standard bribe for the cop that stopped the lawbreaker; so, that the court visit was not necessary. The cops would collect their "protection" money then spend part of the day selecting and stopping cars at random until they felt they had made enough bribe money. Then they would go home, their duty done. This interesting state of affairs meant that there was no incentive to obey the traffic laws, and no one did.

From a letter dated 27 June 1962:

We had a close shave this morning. I felt that I had done a good job of navigating to find Kindu yesterday, and I did do a good job, but it wasn't nearly as critical as the one Dick Legeza (our other navigator) did today. He had an easier job finding his way back to Harar Meda from Entebbe, but if he hadn't been absolutely right, we would now be piled into the side of one of Ethiopia's high mountains.

We arrived with a cloud layer below us that completely obscured everything down to a level considerably below the mountain tops. We were forced to let down through the soup completely blind and believe me, I was a little worried. We broke out at last in the place we had aimed for with mountains scattered everywhere except where we wanted to go. Have you ever watched a couple of pilots trying to develop X-ray vision before? Ours seemed to be doing so.

We put down in Entebbe last night (in Uganda) and were pleasantly surprised by their modern airport and better economy. We had a first-class meal there at a first-class restaurant and were waited on by boys so sharp that they almost clicked their heels when they turned around. They were very clean and wore white robes with blue-violet sashes and matching fezes (the little funny hats). Of course, they were barefoot, but that is customary. They were a real switch from the half-clothed, ragged, dirty people of the poorer African countries.

We were quartered (housed--not cut up) in Addis Ababa this time. Addis is the big city near the little city of Harar Meda. Accommodations were lacking in Harar Meda; so, they sent us here by bus. The narrow, people-crowded, animal-crowded, seldom-driven roads are navigated here primarily by using the horn and the exquisite driving skill of the native bus driver coupled with his occasional lack of good judgement and don't-give-a-damn attitude.

The Ethiopians waved at us and cheered as we went by; so, I guess we aren't hated here. They are a proud race eager to get money, but not so eager that they beg. They must shine your shoes, carry your bags, or do something else before they accept money. They have 1200 troops total to be used in the Congo alone, and this is a big war effort for them. However, they are eager to be a part of the U.N. and to pull their own weight. Their troops are light, wiry, and yet tall. They average about 5' 11" and weigh about 135# apiece. They live on little, but do a lot. Their faces are not the flat-featured ones of the Congolese, but the high-cheeked-boned, lean faces similar to the white man's. [Actually, they are not Negroid at all.]

Incidentally, I was chosen by the press, upon landing this morning, to appear in a newsreel and in papers all over the world. They took movies and plates of me chatting with an Ethiopian Lieutenant and shaking hands with him, the idea being that the U.S. and Ethiopia are the best of friends and are cooperating in the U.N. effort here. Good propaganda for the world and the folks at home. It seems that the press gets everywhere--even to this unlikely spot.

I bought a Uganda bow and arrow for $1.25 and tried it out. It is crude beyond imagining, but still effective up to 40 yards with very sharp, poisoned arrows. The arrows are made of bamboo except for the tips which are made of fire-tempered hardwood inserted inside the hollow shaft. They are feathered by wrapping a threadlike material around the feathers and shaft to hold them on instead of glue (poorly phrased, but you know what I mean). The hardwood tips are sharpened to needle-like points and then dipped into poison just prior to being shot. The full draw of the arrows is only 15", but with tips included, they are about 22" long.

The bow is made of some kind of light colored wood. It is perfectly round, but tapered toward the ends and bent in an arc. It is only about 42" long and binds badly near the end of its pull which is about 30#. It is unfinished wood and prone to drying out unless water is applied to it now and then. The bowstring is of twisted hemp, resembling twine for packing, but so crude that it varies in size from one end of the string to the other.

The outfit could not do serious harm as we know it due to the lightness of the arrow, but when tipped with poison, the arrow needs only to break the skin.

I seem to have the trots again, but that isn't unusual here, and these are nothing compared to the bout I had with dysentery in Guam last February. I still have an ugly scar on my forehead as a souvenir of that episode (I hit my head on something when I fell during a fainting spell).

I'm a little tired; so, will quit for now. More later...

I had my nap and it sure does feel better. Also, I have exercised for awhile to get my circulation back and keep my muscle tone. This type of job I have requires a lot of endurance, but involves insufficient exercise to keep up one's endurance. Consequently, it is necessary to do calisthenics regularly while on long trips.

I got the first bath and decent shave since three days ago and that feels better too. This hotel is quite nice compared to many in the area, and the entertainment (a small orchestra) practices near my room; so, I am constantly entertained. The Ras Hotel (where I am) is the largest in Addis Ababa and Addis Ababa is the largest town in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, much walking in the town is not very wise unless accompanied by one of their soldiers or policemen because the people almost smother you in their efforts to sell you everything from a shoeshine to a night with a woman. Consequently, walks are not too practical and I'm cooped up. The weather isn't good for walks anyway since the clouds that endangered our arrival have decided to drop their load.

The next morning (28 June 1962) at 10:45 local, we left with another load of Ethiopian troops. Again, we took off to the northwest and then turned to climb out to the south.

We were interested in climbing quickly to avoid the high terrain above which we would be flying. Albertville was our destination this time, and we were taking a route through Kenya and Tanganyika. Albertville was further south than Kindu had been, located on the shore of Lake Tanganyika which is a long lake that constitutes most of the border between the Congo and Tanganyika.

From a letter dated 28 June 1962:

We're climbing out of Harar Meda again--this time bound for Albertville. Nice clear weather. Rumor has it that we'll be going home early and may be back by the 4th of July. Can't say that I'll mind. Our planes are getting in worse shape every day we are away from good maintenance facilities. We should move out of here in two days and then probably go help move troops out of Berlin. I don't mean that we'll fly the Berlin corridor. I mean we'll pick them up in Rhein-Main and take them back to McGuire. This is only a guess, but it will probably prove to be correct.

Africa is nice to look at, but it is such a pest house and many of the people are so primitive, dirty, and disagreeable in their warring that I'd hate to live here. Sherrie will be a welcome sight.

Looks like we have a few scattered thunderbumpers below us, but don't think they'll get up this high.

You should see this bunch of Air Force "civilians" now. A lot of them are growing various types of beards and mustaches, and a few don't shave at all. The uniform varies from bathing suits to various stages of civvy dress and flying suits. Flying suits are by far the most formal flying attire.

Speaking of uniforms, I have to get out of this flying suit soon and back into my Bermudas. We aren't allowed any military uniforms in the Congo.

This old plane is holding up pretty well. It is a Navy bird that was one of the first 118s ever built and it still is more reliable than any of the newer types of aircraft. I turned down the chance to go into jets twice and gave a very definite "no" a third time--I was lucky not to be drafted. I like these old 118s because they can get into places that jets can't begin to go, and they can go through more hell with less sweat than any other airplane in the Air Force with the exception of the old C-47 which is also a Douglas aircraft.

Number one engine has been using a lot of oil, but I just looked out the window here at number three, and it makes number one look like a slow drip by comparison. The pilot says there's no sweat--it's normal, but he hasn't bothered to look at it. I'll bet we transfer oil from four to three before much longer and I don't think we can get oil at Albertville. Damned oil appears to be leaking rather than coming from the exhaust stacks of the engine.

Thunderbumpers are getting bigger and higher. We'll have to start dodging them soon.

Riley, our colored flight attendant, really is missing his wife. He has nightmares quite often of late and this operation isn't helping his nerves. Our survival here is dependent solely on us, and if we ever had to crash land, it would be mostly crash. Rescue couldn't get us out either for at least three days and that is a long time. We aren't used to the odds being stacked this way--I'm happy to admit--and it will be nice to get back to safer ground.

We are now in midst of lots and lots of big, billowy, bumpy thunderbumpers. These cloud alleys are beautiful. This is fun--to watch us weave through these "mountains" of whiteness. All above is clear blue sky. The contrast of the white on the blue is something to see...

30 June

Am in Addis Ababa again. Just got back from a buying expedition to the local flea market (bargaining type of buying), and seem to have done all right. Among other things, I got a fancy bone swagger stick that puts Bat Masterson's to shame. It is a good thing to carry one in this part of the world--especially after dark, if you know how to use it. Do you think you would like one? They are fancy, but easily usable and look good with a dress suit.

Got some good news recently. The little country called something-or-other Urundi is being kept under control by Belgian troops who aren't leaving when the locals get their independence tomorrow; so, we won't have to fly any troops down to that hotspot (they have threatened to kill every white in the country when they get their independence).

Some of the people can be pretty nasty since they are cannibals and still sell human flesh on the black market. One of the leaders of a group of revolting cannibals once said of the U.N. troops: "The last one tasted fine. Please send us some more." They are like that. The Italian crew that was killed and dismembered in Kindu was found in pieces such as a head and a few fingers strung like beads around a five-year-old child's neck. The kids like to use finger bones for objects of trade. Most of the pieces of the Italian crew were never found. Nice people.

The disease and filth in the market today wasn't exactly appetizing. It is unbelievable the number of diseases here that go unchecked. A lot of the crew members have picked up a few of the milder ones. I am one of the few who doesn't seem to catch much even though I eat a lot of things I've been told to be careful of. My present roommate has been alternately vomiting and doing runny #2s all day.

We had today off, incidentally--the first one since this shindig started. It was nice to have some time for a change. Tomorrow we are going to be at it again--to Stanleyville I think--then a few days of flying to Asmara and that will be all--I hope. Sure will be nice to get back home where things are clean and less malevolent in general.

I have never regretted bringing that .45 for all its extra weight . . . .

The next morning (1 July 1962) at 9:35 local, we took off with another load of Ethiopian troops. The sky was dark, and the air was relatively cool due to thick clouds overhead. Again, we took off to the northwest and then turned to climb out to the south. The RADAR set had failed and was of no use; so, we were more interested than usual in climbing quickly to avoid the high terrain above which we would be flying. Albertville was our destination this time with a stop enroute at Entebbe.

About twenty minutes after we had leveled off, Dick Legeza was navigating, and Major Labbe had gone to the rear; so, Arnie Visnick was in the cockpit on the right side with the autopilot engaged. Tom Burke was off duty as was I, and I had just climbed into a crew bunk and was fast asleep. There was still no appreciable light coming through the clouds; so, we were flying blind, relying on instruments to stay on course and ignorant of what the clouds ahead would be like. The engines were droning on and on in their usual way, which entered the crew compartment and the cockpit with a volume that inspired confidence.

I remember awakening just after falling asleep and realizing that it was the loudness of the silence that had awakened me. The usual comforting baritone had been replaced by a very eerie whistling sound as if a great wind were blowing outside the aircraft. It took only a moment to remember that we could not have landed and that we must still be flying. But what was allowing us to fly? Where was the drone of the engines? As I leaped out of the bunk the airplane started to pitch up preparatory to a stall and I began to realize that our end might be near.

I noticed Dick at the navigation station, seemingly as concerned as I was, then the nose dropped and the airplane began gliding and picking up speed. The door to the crew compartment opened and Major Labbe came through it, obviously in a big hurry. Before he could enter the cockpit, which seemed like an eternity, the drone of the engines began again and we started to climb.

The aircraft had entered the edge of a cumulonimbus cloud that could not be seen because we were flying blind. Moisture from it had entered the engine intakes and iced up the carburetors within only a few seconds. Arnie had realized what was happening and turned on the carburetor heat for all four engines. While he was doing this the autopilot had tried to maintain altitude with no engines going, and the nose had pitched up as the plane had begun to enter a stall. Arnie had finished turning on the carb heat for all four engines, then disengaged the autopilot and pushed the wheel forward to lower the nose. The nose dropped, the aircraft picked up speed which prevented a stall, and the angle of descent was stabilized with a glide established.

The internal combustion engine is very much like a human body. It breathes air, eats (gasoline), and excretes (exhaust fumes). If it is not allowed to breathe, eat, or excrete, it stops working. Each of our engines had a carburetor, a device where fuel and air mix. It is into this device that air must enter through an intake. Carburetors ice up from cold, moisture-laden air entering the carburetor air intake. The velocity of the air moving through the intake causes the air temperature to drop which makes ice form very quickly. Ordinarily, carburetors ice up completely, and no air will go through them into the engines. This means that the carburetor heat will not work because ice has completely blocked the intake, and the warm air will not enter the carburetor. Once this has occurred, it takes a very long time for the ice in the intake to melt, and that will occur only after the aircraft has left the area where the freezing moisture is causing the ice to build up. Meantime, the plane usually crashes.

This problem is usually avoided by turning on the carburetor heat before the plane enters the cold moisture-laden air. Then warm air is introduced into the cold air, preventing the moisture from freezing. If the ice completely blocks the intake before the warm air is introduced, there is no way for the warm air to move toward the blockage, and the blockage stays there until it melts from a rise in the outside air temperature. On the other hand, if the carb heat goes on before the blockage is complete, there will be a very small orofice for warm air to move through, and the ice will melt fairly rapidly.

Arnie had realized the problem immediately and turned on the carb heat before the carburetors could ice up completely, leaving a very small opening in the ice to allow heated air to flow through. This saved us and allowed the ice to melt so that the windmilling propellers would restart the engines. Had he done the usual instinctive thing of first turning off the autopilot and establishing a glide so that the near stall could have been avoided, then he probably would not have been able to turn on the carb heat soon enough to save us, and we would have crashed into one of the features of the rough terrain below. We were lucky that his reactions were correct considering that he had only a tenth of a second to think about the problem.

We continued on for a time without further difficulty, the sky lightened as the heavy clouds were left behind, and we arrived at Entebbe, spent an hour and twenty minutes on the ground refueling so that it would not be necessary at Albertville, and took off again. Thick vegetation became visible below as we were reaching the bottom of Lake Victoria. We flew on and landed at Albertville without further difficulty. There, the troops disembarked quickly and we were off with only ten minutes of ground time from blocking in to blocking out.

At Entebbe


At Albertville


From a letter dated 1 July 62:

Darn! We had to feather number two engine on this beast we have today right after take off from Albertville. So we dumped our fuel and landed on three engines. It wouldn't be so bad, but back in Mildenhall, England, the same thing happened with the same old pig of a bird and that held us up for awhile. We aren't getting enough flying time for the time spent away from home.

We have to have one engine change now before we can go home, and getting a new engine can take weeks (our old one blew a jug--split a cylinder in other words) . . . .

It became painfully obvious that the engine must be replaced and equally obvious that there were no maintenance facilities here, much less another engine. Subsequent inquiries established that the nearest engine to be had was in Italy, and it was arranged that an aircrew would fly it and a maintenance crew to us in a C-124, which would arrive in two days. It would take one more day to change the engine, which meant that we would be in Albertville for three days.

To the Town

The countryside here was hilly but not rugged, with trees of all sizes scattered about and grasses in between. Lake Tanganyika was very beautiful, but when we thought of swimming after being exposed to the heat for some time, be were told that people seldom swam in the lake due to leeches, which quickly attached themselves to one's body and were difficult to remove.

View from Hotel

Lake Tanganyika

The city was much like any other city in appearance but with almost no whites in evidence. The blacks would see us and mutter to themselves, giving us sidelong glances that appeared to be hostile.

We were taken to a hotel owned by a Belgian and his wife who were running it themselves for the most part as they could not afford help for two reasons. One, the help was not to be trusted due to the animosity the blacks felt toward them, and two, there was a black market for money which did not allow them enough profit to pay for help. The government would not allow them to charge black market prices for the rooms, because it was attempting to stamp out the black market, and the black market was so widespread that everyone equated their transactions by the black market prices.

Uprisings and "riots" were still continuing which endangered whites in general, and the hotel owner and his wife were much concerned for their own safety. They were afraid to leave, because they still entertained hopes that all would turn out well for them. If they were to leave, they could take only the clothes on their backs. On the other hand, between the government and the black market, they were being ruined, and there was danger of being killed in the next uprising.

The government could not be blamed for wanting to keep the currency at a higher value on the international market, but it was losing and possibly had already lost the battle. We did not have enough cash for this unexpected stay at government exchange rates and soon found a way to exchange U.S. dollars for black market prices. This allowed all of us to stay in a suite for only a dollar a night each. Food and local products were easily obtained for comparable values.

From a letter dated 2 July 1962:

We had to disembark and take quarters in Albertville so I didn't have a chance to finish the last entry. This place is humorous in that it is funny to see how worried a crew can get, but it isn't really because we have good reason to be worried. The friendly ones here are friendly, but that 10% that isn't will snipe at you or, if they can, outnumber you and bump you off. You see, the enemy troops here (there is a "truce," you know) sometimes like to have some sport and if they can, they'll kill for the pleasure of it. They don't get caught by the authorities because nobody will squeal on them for fear of sudden death themselves.

The crew has been sticking together at all times--no going out except when necessary and then we all go together. Door locked always--especially at night and sleep with a weapon of some kind in reaching distance. Pilots have been computing how to best make an emergency three-engine take-off if required before we can get the fourth engine fixed. The fourth of July is the big worry because people get rowdy on that day and the chances of being mobbed by drunken troops is increased.

It seems funny to hide all day so not many realize you are present, to wear only civilian clothes to attract less attention, to keep the blinds pulled to prevent snipers from shooting from the hill across from the big window, and to make jokes about cannibals at the same time.

Last night, oddly enough, I slept better than I have in a week in spite of the noise outside (it was Independence Day for them yesterday). I still don't understand why these people turn loose more on the fourth than on the first, which is their own holiday. According to the other people here that we have talked with, there are a lot of firecrackers going off on the fourth and they like fireworks; so, to them, the fourth is a lot of fun. However, the noise makes it easier for the snipers and the mobbers to perform without being caught.

We would have left on three engines by now except that the loss of one more engine would doom us, and we have 500 miles of jungle to cross with a mountain range in the middle of it.

Albertville is one of the richest towns in Africa, actually, the inhabitants are well-dressed (in their own peculiar style), and they live in fairly decent homes. The vegetation is beautiful, the lake is huge (like one of the great lakes in the U.S.) but full of leeches (it can't be used for swimming), and malaria is rampant. The hotel here is fully as nice as any of the middle class stateside variety, and it is clean. Believe me, that fact is a boost to our morale after living in those blankety-blank Ethiopian filth patches and being charged four times as much for it.

We have little hope of taking part in the rest of this operation now that we are stuck here, and it looks like we'll be here for a long time.

Our colored flight attendant is more bothered than ever. I asked why he didn't just dress like the natives if he wanted to escape a horrible fate, and he answered, "Suh, Ah'm eithuh one o' the crew or not one o' the crew, an' Ah feel that whateveh happens to the crew happens to me too." He's a good man (very young), and judging from the amount of fear he has to overcome, he is probably the bravest among us.

Think I'll volunteer to be one to go along on a run out to the plane today to get some necessaries like canned emergency food. This place can blow up at any time, and we need the food here. It isn't dangerous (very) to drive out to the plane unless the truck breaks down. I sure am disappointed in the screwed up way MATS does things. MATS crew members fly into the Congo and into Laos, and we aren't even trusted enough to be allowed to take weapons. Ever heard of such a shitty deal? Excuse the word, but it is the only one I know of to describe the situation. This outfit I'm in is rotten to the core in many ways.

If I were caught with my .45 it wouldn't be pleasant, but I'd rather take the consequences that way than to be without it if things break loose. Damn the stupid apes that don't give a hoot about the crews that do their dirty work for them. If we can carry a whole plane-full of troops with all kinds of weapons and ammo, why in HELL can't we at least have our own weapons? . . . .


We did not go out except when necessary as we were cautioned against it, and when we did go out, the whole crew went together. Since few crowds were in evidence, we were safer in numbers, and avoided being attacked by being more numerous than those who might otherwise have wished to attack us. We acquired some African beer which was 12 percent alcohol, unlike the 6 percent of American beer. It came in quart bottles which were meant to be poured into a pitcher and shared by several people. We also bought meals since we had to eat, and on such an occasion I was poisoned by some bad fish and became very ill.

My solution, since no medical help was to be had, was to drink a quart of African beer at one sitting before going to bed. I was so drunk as a result that I felt no pain, and apparently the alcohol killed the microbes. In the morning I woke up refreshed and well, and rapidly flushed all the trouble down the toilet.

During this time, we kept our sidearms with us when in the hotel room, even sleeping with them under our pillows. We knew that we would have no warning if the blacks decided to stage another uprising while we were there. We made plans for a three-engine take-off in case it appeared that an uprising was imminent. According to our calculations, by removing all unnecessary items, we could make the plane light enough to leave the ground. It would be taking a chance as we could easily lose another engine on take-off, but it would be better than staying here in Albertville and facing certain death.

From a letter dated 3 July 1962:

We may get out of here sometime tomorrow. All the parts are present, but the work of changing the engine has still to be done.

The fellow running this hotel is really in a sad position. It has taken him over 30 years to get this far along, and all he has is tied up in this hotel. He can't sell it--he's stuck with it and it keeps he and his wife here. Every day some of the Congolese come in and want this or that or complain to him is such a way that it keeps him edgy. Nothing bad enough to put them away--just veiled threats.

The economy here is rapidly going to pieces. Articles are bought and sold, rooms are rented, and money changed in banks according to the official value of the Congolese franc (1 dollar = 65 francs), but on the black market, francs are sold between 200 and 265 to the dollar, which indicates the deterioration of the peoples' faith in their own economy in spite of the government's pains to prevent it. We have been buying francs to pay for our room and board from someone here at 200 to 1. The man we deal with gets them at 265 to 1; so, he makes a fat profit.

I seem to have been poisoned by some disagreeable food last night, but am recovering steadily. Hope to be able to eat a full meal by morning. Tried to have a bit today, but part of what came up was blood (only a little), and rather than cause further irritation, am now just letting the bad stuff go through and come out the other end. Darn this place anyway.

Am so darned homesick it's pitiful. The rest of the crew is out eating dinner now. I am staying here since I don't feel quite up to it yet. I do have a loaf of bread to munch on and water to drink.

The noises here are weird at night. There are funny sounding birds and insects, and the natives still like to beat tom-toms and chant and dance. This latter desire when coupled with modern music played on a phonograph results in a rather odd sound. "My Darling Clementine," "Never on Sunday," and "Down by the Riverside" sound especially fetching in the local rendition with an attempt to make their words sound English.

It sure will be nice to be home again in the good old USA with less insects, less cannibals, and more whites. The chameleons will be out before long. They come out by the lights to catch moths. I'd like to take one home, but it would be more trouble than it's worth. I sure do miss Sherrie.

4 July

I found the complete cure for ptomaine poisoning. I simply drank a quart of Congolese beer on an empty stomach and beer killed all the germs and flushed me out inside.

We got number two fixed and took off from Albertville this morning. Right after take-off, number two began to overheat and we found that the oil cooler doors wouldn't open. We decided to push on to Entebbe anyway and not stay for the evening of the fourth.

By pulling the manifold pressure back to 20 inches and feathering it once, we got by with number two anyway. Just before descent, we restarted the engine and landed with all four.

We go back to Harar Meda this morning and leave Friday for Wheelus and, eventually, the U.S. We now have six more hours until take-off. These plans I am making are assuming that everything goes as planned otherwise. Maintenance trouble here in the back woods of the world has caused a lot of lost time in more cases than just our own.

Have been purchasing Christmas gifts like mad here (all over Africa) at about a fifteenth of the stateside price. Should be able to really unload by the time Santa is ready to start again.

We got a bit of a shock this morning when a man with a burp gun (a black civilian type) went down the outside steps of the hotel next to ours. We still don't know why he had it except maybe to make noise on the fourth. There don't seem to be any laws regulating the possession of firearms in Albertville. The white people in Albertville never smiled once when we were there. They seemed to feel that they had lost everything already. I don't think they have any real hope left.

We found out before we left that the Congolese francs are 80% counterfeit which accounts for the cheap money. Upon examination, we found that we had mostly counterfeit bills in our wallets--there were watermarks on only a few of them.

In two days time, the engine we needed did arrive and was installed. The C-124 subsequently left and so did we, grateful to fly back to Entebbe for another refueling and shopping tour. It was 29 June when we arrived back at Harar Meda. Again we were taken by bus to Addis Ababa and our hotel, and on 1 July, we were taking another load of troops out of Harar Meda to Albertville, this time without difficulty.

I could write a whole book on the way I feel about Africa now. I mean from the political standpoint in particular. First I would say that uninformed or ill-informed individuals such as Soapy Williams should keep their noses out of other people's business. In fact, Americans shouldn't even express opinions on African politics unless they can view things here first-hand and mingle as an anonymous nobody with the population. How can we criticize the British and the others who started their rule here when we don't know the full circumstances or can offer nothing but pat solutions?

We say let the Africans have Africa, but is that right? I have seen here a contrast between rich and poor. The rich and better-to-do Africans are those who have gained what they have from whites. I don't like missionaries from the religious point of view, but from the education they brought, the hospitals, the medical practices, and the resulting higher economic level coupled with better food and living conditions, I believe they were a very good influence.

Today, the blacks who work for the whites don't think in terms of responsibility to the employer, but in terms of being cared for by the employer.

Anytime a crisis arises, the black asks for help from the white and expects the white to get little or nothing in return. "My child is sick. Let me take her to the doctor with your car and let me use your medicine." "I must leave now even if you need me because my uncle is sick and wants to see me." "Get me some clothes because these are worn out." It isn't that the black can't do these things himself. It's just that he is much like a pet dog or cat in his dependency.

The typical African black's idea of independence is simply complete freedom unhampered by social or economic responsibility. The government should just give them money to live. They are now being "oppressed" by the whites in charge of things; so, let's kill the whites! The whites (who worked for what they have) have a lot of wealth that should be ours; so, let's kill them!

Complete independence results in complete chaos as a consequence, and Africa returns to the stone age. In addition, the whites that have worked to create a home here and have helped innumerable times are forced to give up all they have or wait to be killed. These people cannot handle themselves any better than ten-year-old children and shouldn't be given independence until they have a more realistic outlook and a greater sense of responsibility.

I, personally, think the British have done a lot in advancing these people. Their system of developing automatically functioning local political systems (such as Canada) that are still a part of the commonwealth is the best way I know and the fastest to set a country up--well on its way to self-government and a better standard of living. It is nice to dream of the original African as an unspoiled, wonderful, simple, sweet, un-diseased, healthy person. However, these savage, cannibalistic, vindictive, cruel, selfish, lazy, dishonest, ignorant, quarrelsome, ill, short-lived realities are a far cry from a nice dream. And I do not believe it can be truthfully said that the whites made them this way. On the contrary, it is the white's moral standards, ideas of unity and the brotherhood of man, and of mercy and generosity, that is slowly offsetting the bad qualities.

Ethiopia is now independent and ruled by a man who is a dictator in almost every way. To some extent, he is revered by the ignorant. To a larger extent, his policies are tolerated only because of fear. Freedom in Ethiopia is nonexistent as we know it. Disease is rampant for no good reason. Poverty is equally evident, but unnecessary. Atrocities of both the moral and physical variety are being committed daily (I can't take the space to list all the examples), and graft is almost a way of life. The Golden Rule seems to have been forgotten by the people in power, but the people still have pride in their troops (who are U.N. paid and equipped--it's a good living). Of course, we don't suffer. It is our diplomatic immunity that saves us and the unseeing, pleasure-bent tourist.

Given the chance, the now wealthy (by African standards) Congo will become another dictator-ridden Ethiopia--and so will all the other fledgling African states.

The British don't want their part of the continent to turn out like the Congo (a battleground leading back to the stone age). They have economic reasons, of course, but they also have moral reasons and whichever is the strongest reason is not important. It IS important that we realize the sin we would be committing to push the British into giving independence to unready countries. We would do just as well to force parents to turn their ten-year-old loose instead of waiting until they are 17 or 18.

What better system is there than to train the people who are to take over when their training is complete? Granted, the country would remain a part of the commonwealth, but that is mutually beneficial and leads to a more united world. And the British system of government and their trading policies make ours look sick by comparison...

[As I look back, at the comments made by my younger self, I can agree in part. I have no argument to tender that would justify making a nation of unready people independent. I do blame the European nations for exploiting the people of Africa in days past which led to this present condition. However, at this point, premature independence is not the answer, and this has been proven, because, to this day, the many small nations of the world which were exploited and then given their independence are still weary from coup after coup, and their ability to obtain a stable independence is very much in doubt. It appears that they only become stable when they have a dictator, regardless of what he calls himself, and that they fall apart when the dictator dies and the power vacuum once again exists.]

From a letter dated 5 July 1962:

We flew through a heck of a storm on the way up here to Ethiopia. The plane bucked and was struck several times by lightning. The rain came in sheets, and once three of our four engines quit. The pilot turned on the carburetor heat in time to get them going again, however.

Addis Ababa is as bad as ever, but this will be the last day here I think. Tomorrow we leave. It's a good thing 'cause I'm running out of clean clothes.

On 7 July in Ethiopia, we packed our bags and checked out of the hotel. We were to be deadheading back to McGuire. After taking off from Harar Meda with a load of returning troops, the plane turned north to drop them at Asmara near the upper tip of Ethiopia. We flew from Asmara to Khartoum, refueled with 100 octane gasoline, and then flew back to Wheelus in Libya for a very short rest.

From a letter dated 7 July 1962:

We didn't get off on the 6th, but we did leave this morning. What has happened in the last day and a half could fill two books. Remind me to talk of it sometime when I am around and the conversation is lagging . . . .

From a letter dated 9 July 1962:

We got out of Wheelus on the 8th and crew-rested at Mildenhall, England. Now we are enroute to Harmon, Newfoundland and will be home by 11 o'clock tonight.

Just helped one of the crew navigators (we are a deadhead crew now--not working) fix the LORAN set. We had it all apart and had a good time doing it. It's the first time I have had to fix one.

Home now . . . .

We flew from Wheelus to Mildenhall for another short rest before leaving for McGuire via Harmon. We arrived back on 10 July.

Trouble continued in the Congo in the ensuing years. All of the subsequent history is too detailed to be given here. However, the country had been ravaged by war, the whites who were the key to the economy killed, and the people overrun by bands of rebels. The economy had been undermined by these things to the point of severe hardship for the masses. Although it would take years for the economy to recover, the people wanted immediate relief. This led to discontent with whatever government was in power, and further conflagration. There were no immediate solutions to be had, and strife was the result. Needless to say, the whites we had met in Albertville were more than likely killed after we left.

Looking back, the plight of the Congolese reminds me of the wisdom of the writers of Star Trek. Had the Belgians not begun the robbing and manipulation of the Congolese, the British would have. In fact, practically every European nation was guilty of such crimes as they attempted to outdo one another in their race to strip the world of its resources. And the United States was founded upon the crime of genocide in regard to the people who were the true developers and owners of the western hemisphere. Here, our government still robs the Natives of their treaty rights and practices other kinds of duplicity and corruption when dealing with them.

Adherence to the Prime Directive is vital if we are to ever become an advanced species. Until we have the guts to face ourselves, realize what we are, and begin to act in ways that show that we are not merely technologically advanced brigands, we will not rise above our hypocrisy and move on to a better way of life.

From a letter dated 15 July 1962:

. . . Am pulling Base Officer of the Day again so have time to write. Would have written sooner, but had to make use of almost all of my time on a project which you should find out about next Christmas if all goes well...

Just was interrupted by a phone call from a civilian patrolman in a neighboring township. He says a Navy jet just crashed there, and we were the closest base to call. I notified Traffic Control, and they are taking it from here. Looks like more headlines. I just hope the pilot got out before it hit.

I wrote Tim a long letter in diary form while I was on this last trip, and he will pass it on to you after he reads it. I didn't bother to type it, and it was written under conditions (at times) that made good penmanship impossible; so, you may have difficulty deciphering it. Lots of luck . . . .



On 9 Aug, 1962, I was on a short trip to Churchill, Canada, with Major Flanders as the AC. Since the trip was over land rather than water, LORAN and pressure pattern were useless. The weather was not conducive for using celestial. There were no radio aids to be had. The terrain was very flat--like a cold, white Sahara. To complicate matters further, the landscape was constantly changing, looking different every month because the lakes and rivers freeze, the snow comes and goes, and water levels in the waterways change to make new waterways while blocking the old ones. So even though the trip was in daylight, the maps were useless. Yet, we did find Churchill well enough.

On the way back to Winnipeg, the RADAR (which could usually help to some extent) developed some difficulties which made it impossible to use as a nav aid, and it probably would not have helped anyway. This was the only time I ever was truly lost.

It would not have been so bad if we had not been in an area that supposedly was monitored so well with defense RADAR, making an interception by fighters very possible. All we could do was hold the best heading we could and hope for the best. No interceptors came, and when the radio at Winnipeg finally came in, we were on course.


Ruth Mudd

On 22 September 1962, it was Rhein-Main again via Harmon and Prestwick, but this time, we had enough fuel and a low enough headwind to overfly Harmon and go directly to McGuire. We had a standard augmented crew of three pilots, two navigators, one engineer, and two flight attendants. Major Flanders was one of two ACs.

Ruth Mudd had left us some time back to work as a stewardess with Flying Tiger Airlines. She had been a ditching instructor and a senior flight traffic specialist with us. On 23 September, a Flying Tiger Airline Super Constellation with 76 aboard ditched in the North Atlantic near Scotland. Another aircraft was on the scene and directed rescuers to the area. Forty-eight people were rescued. We heard that Ruth had kept her head and aided others immensely during the incident. Unfortunately, she had sacrificed her own life. The details of this incident are mentioned near the end of the a letter that I wrote on the back of a South Africa GNC chart while I was flying.

The Flying Tiger Constellation that ditched while we were in Rhein Main was something of an old friend. The same plane (usually used for government contracts) made many crossings either a little ahead or behind us or at a different altitude. It left Germany just after we landed there and was due back to McGuire at the approximate time of our take-off for the trip home. Unfortunately, three of its engines eventually quit (Connie's have "soft" engines and when one goes it is tough for the rest to take the load).

It radioed that it would have to ditch, and Joe Lewis (lucky he was there), a friend of mine flying another C-118 with a 30th crew, accompanied it to as near a spot to help as the 118 could get. He circled after the aircraft ditched while his navigator fixed its position accurately so that help might find it sooner.

The swells were from twelve to twenty feet high as they often are, and the light from the flare was small help to set the plane down properly with them. It's fuselage snapped upon impact with the crest of the swell, killing several people instantly. Most of the others escaped before the plane sank. Help arrived shortly afterward and saved or picked up what was left of most of the people. One raft drifted off from the rest & I don't believe it has been found yet. Still, it was one of the most successful ditchings of the last two years.

I knew at least one of the people on board--an ex-30th flight attendant who probably has made over four hundred crossings with us without ditching. Don't know if she was among the survivors or not. It is a rather sad incident to say the least and sort of a grim reminder that the Atlantic crossing is usually a double or nothing shot that depends largely for success upon our maintenance people. May they continue to do a good job in spite of their shortages of manpower and equipment.


Typical Soviet Trick

On 29 September, a standard augmented crew left for what, according to our orders, was supposed to be Rhein-Main. We went stateside first to pick up passengers at McConnell AFB, near Wichita (Kansas), and after crew-resting went on to Rhein-Main via Harmon, Newfoundland, and Lajes, Azores.

At Rhein-Main we spent three days, allowing time to go to Frankfurt and enjoy ourselves. I went shopping and picked up some slacks, some scotch whiskey, some leather and leather thongs, scissors, lipstick and perfume (for Sherry), and some other items.

We left at 8:10 PM on 5 October, on a different aircraft for Sembach Airfield near Kaiserlautern, Germany. From there we flew across France and part of Switzerland to Nice and along some islands arriving at the toe of the boot that is Italy, and then the Ionian Sea. We were on the way to Thessaloniki, Greece.

When we arrived at Thessaloniki, we spent only 50 minutes on the ground. From there we went on to Wheelus in Libya for a crew-rest of about 15 hours before going to Athens where we spent only an hour before going on to Rhein-Main again for a four-day crew-rest.

On the 11th, we left Rhein-Main for Torrejon, Spain, and seven hours later flew on toward Thessaloniki again. Leaving Italy behind and heading toward northern Greece, the Soviets turned on one of their radios. Albania was just north of Greece on the west side, and as we followed the radio beacon toward what we thought was the Greek Coast, I noticed that we were being directed north toward Albania which was a Soviet country. This was a typical trick that the Soviets pulled to bring our aircraft into their airspace so that they could shoot us down and then claim that we were spying on them. They only did this at times when there were conditions that would not allow us to see the land below, and this time that was the case--but they failed to jam our RADAR--perhaps it would have cost them too much power at that distance--, and the RADAR showed the land beneath us when on its mapping mode. Many of our aircraft had been lost this way in times past. I asked the pilots to ignore the supposed beacon and gave them a heading that would take us the correct way into Greece.

We returned to Rhein-Main and spent another two and a half days there. Then we left for McGuire via Prestwick and Harmon, arriving back just after midnight local on the 16th.

During the flight legs I scratched out a letter on the back of parts of a used GNC chart. It seemed a shame to waste a chart that had been used and which had part of it removed for the squadron records. So I would cut it into stationery-sized pieces, and the one who received the letter could look at the side with chart on it as well as the side with my poor handwriting. The letter was discovered after the above had been written and the appropriate part follows below.

We picked up a load of troops in Wichita after crew-resting there for a day and are presently bumping along just above a light cloud layer that is causing me to make more mistakes than usual.

We are scheduled to go into a NATO operation when we get to Germany (our present destination) and will be making two trips to Athens, Greece, before returning to McGuire. Total time away should be two weeks. Right now it is my turn to vector our plane around some of the build-ups in the area (with RADAR). We just passed a dilly of a thunderstorm. Will be passing over Lansing & then Flint, Michigan, in two more hours or so--close to the old home.

Looks like its going to be a soft two weeks. The only function a navigator has flying to Athens is to be sure the Reds don't lure us over the border & shoot us down. They have quite a battery of false radio beacons & jamming equipment set up in that area that can be troublesome if they choose to use it. Normally it is not a problem as long as the navigator is aboard, because we are trained to outwit the "Lorelei's" and have nothing else to do but that. [This is not true if there is an undercast and the RADAR breaks down or is jammed.]


Some Anecdotes

On one of the succeeding trips to Greenland, someone stole my parka. Our cold weather survival gear, which includes a fur-lined parka, snow pants with suspenders on them, mukluks, and heavy gloves, is a vital part of our equipment. Loss of a parka can mean death. I never found out who stole the parka, but I needed one, and it cost me $25 to replace it which was a lot of money then, and tough on our budget.

On 5 Dec, 1962, I had another line check from Pappy Grant. It was Rhein-Main trip. Sometime during the two days of meals with Pappy, he related the following story to me.

It was in the Pacific, Pappy (a younger man then) was navigating, and it was daylight. Suddenly, the displays on the RADAR screen and the LORAN screen both shrunk down to points, and the compasses began to gyrate. Pappy stuck his head up in the cockpit to see what the problem was and found both pilots gibbering and looking as far back out their side windows as they could. When he asked, one of them claimed that a flaming ball had just passed the plane head-on, narrowly missing it, and he was afraid that it might come back from the rear. The other pilot told the same story but said that there were four balls rather than one. Eventually the RADAR, the LORAN, and the compasses went back to normal.

The route back to McGuire was through Prestwick and Harmon. There were cumulonimbus clouds diagonally across our path at one point as usual. I have wondered about these giants that have such black hearts as shown on RADAR. The Norsemen with open ships powered with oars and a single sail once navigated these waters, and they were threatened by giants in the squall lines that threw down sleet and hail, while lightning flashed and thunder roared among them. Were these the frost giants that the gods fought, who would triumph in the end in spite of the efforts of the gods? The Norsemen could see their towering height (up to 30,000 feet in the air), feel the ice that they showered down, see Thor's lightning bolts, and listen to the sound of his hammer as he fought them. And their ultimate triumph against the gods--was it to be the next ice age?

How much more difficult and filled with discomfort and lurking death this ocean must have been to the men who rowed those Viking ships. And how lucky we were to be able move through the domain of these giants without being swatted like the gnats we were to them--at least not swatted very often.

At the approximate equal time point (ETP) for three engines, the pilots shut down one of the four engines, due to excessive oil loss. This was common with the old airplanes. The amount of oil it took to fly from one point to another was just as critical as gasoline, not because the engine was burning oil, but because of the oil leaks. Sometimes when I was not on duty, I would sit and watch the oil stream out of the engines and back over the wing. And all of these aircraft had oil stains along this path at every engine location. The engine that was shut down would be restarted for landing later.

With one propeller feathered, the headwind which was averaged at over 40 knots plus, and our zigzagging around cumulonimbus, our flight time from Prestwick to Harmon was a full twelve and a half hours. The flight plan from Harmon to McGuire was to be a short one; so, the oil reservoirs for the engines were filled, and we took off on time, arriving back on the 9th at about noon local time.

Returning from a Paris hotel in December, the crew took two cabs to get to Orly Field. One cab was a Citroen, and the other was a Mercedes. The ride was likely to be fairly tame, because it was on the French version of a freeway and not the kind of problem we encountered with cabbies whipping in and out of traffic in the city. We were wrong. The cabs began to move at speeds so far in excess of the rest of the traffic that it seemed we were in a world of our own, and we were a bit frightened by it. It seemed that we had hired two maniacs. They pulled up one behind the other at the terminal at Orly, and, as we removed our bags from the trunks, the cabbie that arrived last handed a bill to the one who had arrived first. We all looked at one another, and one of the pilots grimaced. Someone started chuckling, and the desire to kill both cabbies was gone.


Ocean Stations

Ocean stations were ships with crews who remained as closely as possible to a particular location to perform as RADAR picket vessels guarding our coast line, act as way points for aircraft, rescue crews of downed aircraft, etc.

If we were high enough to avoid the curvature of the earth, they could be reached up to 150 NM away and give fixes up to 100 NM away. Each had a beacon that could be turned on at any time at our request, but we had to remember to ask them to turn it off. Each ocean station had certain co-ordinates of latitude and longitude where it was supposed to be. Waves and wind prevented the vessel from being exactly on those co-ordinates except for a few moments each time it corrects its position. When it eventually drifted off to about ten miles away from its position, its crew would move it back. Meantime, it could radio its current exact position to any nearby airplane.

We could ask it for the sea conditions and the altimeter setting. The sea conditions are worth knowing in case of ditching, as is the altimeter setting. Over water, our altimeter was set for a pressure of 29.92 inches of mercury. But this was not the correct setting for making an approach to land or water. The highs and lows move over the ocean, and this causes the altimeter setting relative to the earth's surface to change. It is the current setting relative to the water near the vessel that the vessel could give to the crew of the airplane.

To each ocean station that we passed, the navigator was required to fill out a report for the pilot to send to the station. The report included the aircraft identity, the frequency being used, the departure point and time of departure, the destination and estimated time of arrival, the flight level (altitude), the fuel remaining on board in pounds, the last known position and its time, the estimated time abeam the ocean station vessel, and the next estimated position and time. We also were to request the current exact position of the vessel, a RADAR fix from it, their best known wind direction and velocity at our altitude, our track and ground speed according to their RADAR, the use of their beacon, and the sea conditions.

The men on the ocean station vessels were there for very extended times in often very boring conditions. When we would pass one, they would ask if we would send a message to a loved one in the states. We were always glad to do this and drop the loved one a letter or postcard when we arrived back at McGuire.



On a northern trip in Feb 1963, this time to Thule direct, it took us only five and a half hours to arrive by deadheading in a C-135. We spent seven hours on the ground at Thule and then flew back as the crew of a C-118 going to McGuire via Goose Bay. This time a friend of a friend who was stationed at Thule was brought some fresh milk (a Lt. Monroe). And on the flight back, the RADAR was working.

In the northern latitudes, the coriolis force is so strong that there are times when the winds become nearly catastrophic. On this flight back, we ran into some that varied from about 100 knots from the east to 100 knots from the west as we flew through the eye of a small low pressure area over Baffin Bay and into the Davis Strait. I kept the RADAR painting the coast of Baffin Island as we crabbed first to the left and then to the right to stay on course. Without the RADAR this time, the flight would have been a real problem. On the RADAR set, we could actually see the aircraft begin to drift and were able to correct to offset it. Due to the ground speed lost by crabbing, we lost a lot of time, and this was the longest leg from Thule to Goose Bay that I had ever flown. The average headwind component was about 55 knots.

Goose Bay, Labrador

Goose Bay, Labrador
Helicopter in the distance at Goose Bay

Helicopter in the distance at Goose Bay
F106 at Goose Bay, Labrador

F106 at Goose Bay
Goose Bay, Labrador

Goose Bay, Labrador


Bill Schwinger

The routing for a trip on 27 April of 1963 was McGuire, Harmon (Newfoundland), Orly (France), Rhein Main. There were four navigators on this flight. Two of the four navigators were additional crew members getting their flight time, a lieutenant colonel and a major from higher headquarters.

The other regular navigator was Bill Schwinger, who had a father who was a dentist. Bill was a rather interesting individual. He had an extra set of teeth that he had made for himself with some of his dad's dental supplies. When he put them on over his normal teeth, they made his whole face change shape and the effect was almost nauseating because he had used green and black to great effect on the gums and teeth. You could be talking with Bill at one moment, turn your head, and then turn around to see this total stranger with rotten teeth and gums where once had been Bill.

Bill had used these things most on blind dates. It had been a good way to check a girl's ability to withstand hideous people--and check her sense of humor as well. He would meet the unsuspecting victim with these horrible teeth installed and watch her discomfort until he was sure he had gauged her reactions, usually conversing with her before dinner and then slipping the teeth out when she was not looking and watching her look around to see where he had gone. The new guy seemed to have appeared to her rather suddenly, but who was he and why was he here? In any case, he was a lot nicer looking than her date.

I once watched Bill go up to a bar and order a drink. He slipped the teeth in when the bartender was not looking, and when the poor guy turned around he could not see the fellow who ordered the drink. So the bartender disposed of the drink and turned around to see Bill (without the teeth) asking where his drink was. This could be done several times in a row before a bartender would catch on. But the real treat was watching Bill, with his teeth on, greeting our passengers the first time they would board for a flight. Their reactions were priceless.

Aside from Bill, this flight was fairly routine, which was all right with us. We left McGuire on 27 April and arrived back on 30 April with a total of thirty-three and half more hours of flight time for the month.


Atlantic Missile Range

There was a very pertinent reason for the location of the Atlantic Missile Range. It takes a lot of energy to place a payload in orbit, and the energy is furnished by fuel. Fuel weighs a lot, and as it is carried aloft, more fuel must be used to raise it. Consequently, it is best to use as little fuel as possible to send a payload into orbit. Orbital speed is attained by driving the payload horizontally as opposed to vertically, and that takes more fuel, much of which must also be carried aloft before it is fully expended. One way to conserve fuel is to let Mother Earth help. The earth rotates at about a thousand miles per hour near the equator, and that rotation can help move a payload horizontally. So the best way to aim the launch vehicle is to the east, the direction the earth is spinning.

Sometimes, accidents occur, and vehicles with payloads are lost. This means that they crash somewhere on earth. It is best for us to have them crash in an unpopulated area. So launching from the Cape in an eastward direction, allows for the least consequences in case of a failure. The objects drop into the ocean, and only the fish catch the debris. The tracking stations are on islands because RADAR installations are easier and less expensive to supply and maintain on land.

There were RADAR installations on various islands in the Caribbean and on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. Our trips to move personnel and provide supplies were along the island chain, then to Recife in Brazil, and from there to Ascension Island.

In May of 1963, there was no Cape Kennedy to launch payloads into orbit. The place was called Cape Canaveral, and it lay about halfway down the east coast of Florida near Titusville. It was the place where large multi-stage missiles sent small things into orbit, before there was a space shuttle. The small things sent into orbit included Project Mercury capsules which orbited the earth with a man inside. On 15-16 May, the last of the Mercury missions took place with Major L. Gordon Cooper, Jr. inside the capsule. He made 22 orbits which lasted for 34 hours 20 minutes. His observations proved to be invaluable for future manned missions.

Cape Canaveral sat on a slender peninsula running north and south off the east side of the Banana River which isolated it so much that it seemed not be part of Florida at all. It was comprised of a launching site which was part of the Air Force Missile Test Center, a unit of the Air Force Research and Development Command. The Center's installations also included Patrick AFB about 18 miles to the south which served as administrative and support headquarters and the Atlantic Missile Range which extended over more than 5,000 miles of ocean from Cape Canaveral to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.

The Center was under Air Force jurisdiction but tested missiles for the Army and Navy as well. Its function was that of a research and development installation as opposed to the training of crews which occurred at Vandenberg AFB near Lompoc, California--it was part of the Pacific Missile Range. The Atlantic Missile Range consisted of twelve major tracking stations, mostly located on islands between the Atlantic and the Caribbean. The stations were Cape Canaveral and Jupiter in Florida; Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, San Salvador, and Mayaguana in the Bahamas; Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands; the Dominican Republic; Mayaguez, Puerto Rica; St. Lucia in the Windward Islands; Fernando de Noronha; and Ascension Island.

Ascension is a British Island 800 miles south of Liberia, Africa, and 1500 miles west of the Congolese coastline. It is a volcanic island having an area of about 34 square miles, 9 miles long and 6 miles wide. In the past it has been used as a hospital base and coaling station. In WWII, it was a place for bombers from the states to land enroute to Africa or India. In the sixties it was the last site to use RADAR to track our missiles as they launched satellites, space probes, and men. Later, it watched the take-offs of the space shuttles as well.

Ascension is noted for its healthy climate, sea turtles, and the sooty tern. The highest point there is 2,817 feet above sea level on the top of Green Mountain which is an extinct volcano, and there is a plain that is 2,000 feet above sea level. The island was discovered by the Portuguese in 1501, but not formally occupied by any nation until 1815 when the British took possession after Napoleon's exile to the island of St. Helena, 750 miles to the southeast. In 1922, Ascension was annexed to the colony of St. Helena. In WWII, the Americans built an airfield on the island.

Recife, Brazil, was a wonderful place to crew-rest--which we did on every down range trip. We would arrive after a rather warm flight with landings, ground time, and take-offs on the various Caribbean islands. We would land in sweaty flight suits just before or at twilight, see the various WWII aircraft on the apron that the Brazilians used at that time, and go to the hotel that was only about two blocks from the ocean (we could swim safely there then in either daylight or on moonlit nights--the sharks came years later due to pollution from the mouth of the Amazon River).

At the hotel, we would order steak sandwiches and Cuba Libres from tables in a pleasant area outside. The proprietor, who was like a mother to most of the flight crew, would sit and converse with us even though I am sure we stank. The steaks were home grown Brazilian and very tender in rolls covered with melted butter and with vine ripened tomato slices enclosed. After the flight over the Amazon jungle (especially if the pressurization and refrigeration on the aircraft had failed), this was heaven on earth. After that we could go to our rooms, take a shower, and go swimming.

In the daylight the next day, we could buy butterfly trays for fifty cents each, the best rum, anything else that we wanted to take back--and of course the squadron coffee beans that would be ground and tempered with Maxwell House. There were mango trees throughout the suburbs near the hotel, and one could pick and eat this ripe fruit if one did not mind the fibers between the teeth afterward.

Views of Recife.


Maintenance Problem

On 24 June 1963, I was part of crew which was to eventually arrive at Dahran, Saudi Arabia. The first leg of this flight was to Charleston.

The aircraft that we flew, #3269, had just had all four engines changed. This was always suspect as most of our engine failures in the past had occurred with new engines (testimony to the qualifications of our maintenance people). This was the first time I had ever been on an airplane which had new engines all the way around. And short of Charleston, our first stop, about two hours out of McGuire, three of the four engines failed in rapid succession. We were left with one engine which was also new, and it was an outboard engine. In case I have not mentioned it before, we never carried parachutes, and crash landings at night were very hazardous.

We declared an emergency and began to arrange for a straight-in approach to Charleston. The approach to such a landing must be made in such a way that we do not land short. The usual response when it appears that one might land short of the airfield was to apply more power to the engines. The application of much power to only one outboard engine at such a low speed would cause offset thrust to the extent that it could not be cured by the rudder, and if it could, would cause a lot of drag along with any aileron needed to balance the rudder in a necessary slip. Nor could the approach be such that we might overshoot because we could not apply power to climb and go around. Usually flaps are not used on such a landing except perhaps at the very last minute, because the single engine would be forced to pull with offset thrust against an even greater force. So it is best to land slightly "hot."

We were not excessively concerned about landing on just one outboard engine. Our altitude was good, and there was no reason that we should have difficulty in arranging a proper descent. In fact, the pilots were trained to make landings under these conditions with no engines working. What concerned us was that the only working engine presumably had been installed by the same people who had installed the three dead engines, and we were not yet at Charleston and still had to fly for a time before arriving. So we sweated for awhile, and I believe we dumped fuel enroute to be as light as possible for the landing.

People have their own dream vocabularies, dream scenarios that are symbolic of several paragraphs of words. Most of these personal vocabularies come about as the result of extremes in life, events of great happiness or events of great pain, sadness, or terror. If one has had a traumatic or has had reason to fear a traumatic experience, the experience becomes part of the dream vocabulary denoting a very stressful situation.

Should the one remaining engine quit, a possible alternative would be to try to land on a highway or roadway below. This could conceivably be amid traffic, between power poles and power lines to either side, and between overpasses and bridges fore and aft. I still have this image of such a landing as part of my own personal dream vocabulary, and when I dream it, I know that I had better examine my life carefully to find the way out of whatever I am being warned about.

As we approached Charleston, we began to drop down for the final approach. After a time, I heard the landing gear drop into place, and the airplane slowed down. We kept on losing altitude, and everything seemed to be normal. Then there was the squeak of the tires touching the runway, and we were rolling along the hard surface. This landing was a tribute to the MATS policy of flying locals in which one-engine landings are practiced regularly.

Immediately following this episode a new policy came out that no aircraft would take-off with more than two new engines, and preferably with no more than one new engine.

Another aircraft, #3239, was flown down to us which allowed us to take off again about 18 hours later. We flew to Kindley in Bermuda; spent 3 hours on the ground; and departed for Lajes, Azores. At Lajes, the ground time was normal (2 hours), and then we were off to Torrejon in Spain.



On 9 July 1963, orders were drafted for a flight crew to go to Djarkata, the capital of Indonesia. On the way there, we stopped at Wake among other places, and I also spent some time collecting small shells from hermit crabs, trading them some less good-looking shells for theirs. They always chose the prettiest; so, the crabs must have had a very well-developed sense of beauty as well as senses to see that beauty. Although I realized that in reality I was stealing from the little crabs, I decided that I had nothing to give them that they really wanted and, besides that, I could not manage their language well enough to negotiate with them. I was a big bully, and am certain that they were cursing me in crabese. If you have never been cursed by a hermit crab, count yourself lucky. Very likely some of my bad luck since has been due my crab-eviction acts.

Some of the shells I found were not taken from hermit crabs, and two of these were conical, which I found out later belonged to a type of sea snail which had a very hard stinger with which it drilled into the shells of other live shellfish. The stinger delivered a poison which could kill a human in moments, but I was not aware of this until Pappy Grant informed me on a mission in which he was talking about marine biology. I placed the shells I had collected in the toes of my dirty socks and they spent the remainder of the trip well cushioned from harm.

Djakarta lies on the north coast at the west end of Java. As we flew over it, we noticed its large size (a population of approximately 3 million people). A volcano lay in the background in stark contrast to the flatness of the city. On the south coast of this narrow island, which is over 100 miles in length from east to west, lie twenty-two eruptive points. The island of Sumatra lies only a few miles to the west of Java across the Strait of Sunda, and in this narrow strait lies the little island of Krakatoa, famous for its destructive eruption in August of 1883. Coming in, we flew over Krakatoa.

The most interesting part of being in Djakarta was the people. They were quite small as compared to us Americans, and we had one pilot, Curtis Norling, who was very, very tall. As we shopped in the downtown area, the sidewalks were moderately crowded, the insides of the shops more crowded, and we towered over the little people in a most conspicuous way that made us a center of attention wherever we went. There were no other Europeans to steal our thunder, and Curt, with his basketball height, elicited giggles from the little women for half a block away. They did not mean to be rude. In fact, they were very sweet and pleasant in every way. It was just that they could not help giggling. The men stared, but did not giggle. The children were awed at first and then began to giggle like their mothers. Later, on several occasions, Curt strayed from us, but he was easily found by listening to the giggling that accompanied him everywhere. And when there were no buildings in the way, he was easy to see above the crowd.

Silverwork, woodcarving, and hatmaking were very common here. Almost all of the carvings were crude, but I found one that was a work of art in Teak, worthy of the finest sculptors in the world. It was of a nude Indonesian woman washing her hair from a bowl. Her pose was exquisitely lovely, and the work was true-to-life. If I recall correctly, I paid the equivalent of $6.00 for it in Indonesian currency which was a fortune for these people. It is still my favorite sculpture.

After our stay we left Djakarta in the afternoon, taking off with a few passengers at 6:15 PM on the 15th. There were no weather stations for us to use in this part of the world; so, we trusted our luck as to enroute conditions. And about an hour after take-off, just as we were about to enter the South China Sea with Borneo ahead and off our right wing, we began to run into trouble. Fortunately, the RADAR was working well as we entered an overcast sky filled with cumulonimbus clouds. I watched the RADAR set, with the pencil beam at our flight level painting the storm clouds that towered above us. There was no going above them or below them. We must go around them instead. And they formed a maze, as each one blocked the ones behind it. We dared not be caught in one for fear of having our wings torn off or our fuselage snapped in two.

This was some of the busiest and most physically stressful navigating I have ever done. I would plot a course in my mind that would avoid the nearest monster clouds and give a heading to Wayne Hagberg (our Westpointer AC), who, true to his intrepid nature, turned to it quickly and without complaint. If he was frightened, he did not show it, flying blind in the haze and the now driving rain and trusting that the bearings I was giving him would keep us out of trouble. On my part, there was no such faith because I could not tell when we might find either a blind alley with clouds on either side and no room to turn around, or an area when the clouds would simply close in as more cumulonimbus clouds rose upward.

We were strapped in. The turbulence was not severe but present nonetheless. And somehow I had to keep track of our progress on the chart so that we would be able to avoid excessive deviation from course. Had we deviated excessively and been forced to ditch, we or our remains would not ever be found. After about twenty minutes of this, my subconscious said "to hell with the book" and began to show me a new way to navigate. There just was not enough time to keep my face in the RADAR set, give proper headings, and plot our position properly. Needless to say, I had no way to take fixes. There was no LORAN, radio was nonexistent, celestial was a joke, and pressure pattern was no good this near the equator.

We had entered a *typhoon, according to the dictionary a tropical storm of cyclonic force and peculiar violence, occurring in the western Pacific and the China Sea. Typhoons have a certain circulatory pattern of wind which can be roughly established. There is a thing called airplot which involves plotting true headings and airspeeds and applying the wind later, but this would not be accurate enough, soon enough to keep us on course. Normal dead reckoning took too long. So, I just put the problem in my head and adjusted as for dead reckoning without using my calculator. I had a fair idea of what the drift would be for each heading, and I used this, rotating the vectors in my head. This worked. It gave me time to get the whole job done and the adrenalin helped to speed things up. Deep inside I was thanking God that Wayne was very precise when it came to turning to a heading. Most pilots were rather sloppy in this regard, and it took me extra time to see what they actually did as opposed to what I had asked them to do.

[In the vernacular of the early sixties, a cyclone is a particularly violent tropical storm. A hurricane is a cyclone existing in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly near the West Indies. A typhoon is a cyclone existing in the western Pacific and the China Sea. ]

In August of 1962, a typhoon hit Taiwan and killed 30 people. It then struck the Phillipines and killed 155 people. On 12 September 1963, the death toll was set for a typhoon which had hit Taiwan, the Phillipines, the Ryukyus, and Japan. This was, I believe, the one through which we flew. In any case, there was little doubt as what it was as it was confirmed as a typhoon by weather people at Base Ops when we arrived a Clark AFB.]

For the next two hours we fought our way through the typhoon. Each time we thought we had run out of options in the maze of clouds, a way through them presented itself. The rain continued unabated, the light turbulence wore us down as we did our best to coordinate our motions adequately to do our jobs. Turbulence in an airplane is not like the steady roll of ship. Instead, it is sudden, abrupt, and full of G forces that tax your muscles over a period of time. If you are trying to plot positions on a chart and move your arms and hands to work control knobs, the task becomes difficult. For each zig we made, I tried to arrange an appropriate zag to get us back near our course line. Sometimes we did not find the right zag very quickly, but we did all right on average. And after five hundred miles or so, we began to break out of the clouds.

It was Bob Long's turn now, and after briefing him, I fell into the crew bunk that Bob had just vacated, so exhausted that I fell asleep immediately. I did not wake up until someone shook me and told me we were landing at Clark in the Phillipines. When we were on the ground later, Wayne complimented me and told me that when Bob was finally able to take his first fix, shortly after I had retired, we were right on course and only 16 minutes behind flight plan. This was phenomenal considering the conditions that we had been facing, and I was pleased.

When we arrived at Wake, we rested briefly, and I had time to skin-dive and collect more shells. We departed at 9:50 PM local on the 17th and arrived at 9:20 AM local at Hickam, having gained a day crossing the International Date Line. About four hours later we left Hickam.



Iceland, although very warm as opposed to Greenland, does have glaciers which may have led to its name. However, it reaches an average in January of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and a high in July of 52 degrees, which is moderate considering its latitude which centers at about 65 degrees north. It is a volcanic island lying on a submarine ridge extending upward from a point just north of Scotland and arcing in a northwesterly direction; so, that its distance from the southern tip of Greenland is about the same as its distance from the northern tip of Scotland. This feature has made it a valuable piece of real estate from time to time when short-ranged aircraft have needed a place to refuel when crossing the Atlantic.

During WWII many U.S. fighter planes flew from the United States to Harmon, Newfoundland; from Harmon to the southern tip of Greenland; from Greenland to Iceland; from Iceland to Scotland; and from Scotland to points of dispersal. From time to time an aircraft of longer range, such as our C-118, has used Iceland as a place to land when in distress, such as an engine out when Scotland was too far away. Even P-39s and P-63s (Bell Airacobras and King Cobras), provided by us to the Soviets, used Iceland on their way to the USSR, piloted by female Russian combat pilots.

The interior of Iceland consists of mountains and high plateaus that are devoid of human settlement. Most of the lowland is in the southwest. The country is filled with volcanoes of all sizes and shapes and with their accompanying hot springs and geysers. The climate is relatively mild due to the ocean moderating it. Iceland suffers from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and occasional thunderstorms, but it seldom has violent windstorms and never tornadoes. The greatest threat is flooding due to volcanic eruptions' melting the glaciers, although there are times when the volcanic ash and lava cause deaths.

Iceland has very little native flora and fauna. Above the 2,000 foot line there is almost no vegetation, and below it only lichens and mosses. On heaths and slopes there are heather, berry bushes, dwarf birch and small willows which rarely grow higher that two feet. Conifers have been imported from Alaska and northern Norway and have been thriving. There are over 400 floral species and some imported flowers found on lawns. The only native animals are mice and foxes, but reindeer have been imported, and polar bears sometimes drift in on an ice floe. There are about 100 species of birds.

There are approximately 200 glaciers or eternal snowfields in Iceland, innumerable rivers coming from the glaciers (none navigable), and many lakes. Salmon and trout are found in the rivers, and trout and waterfowl in the lakes. The tremendous potential for harnessing the water has given the population an almost never-ending source of electricity. All towns and villages and most homesteads have their own power plants.

The language of Iceland is one of its great resources, having been essentially the same since the time of the early Vikings. Consequently, any Icelander can easily read Viking inscriptions, Eddic poems, and sagas dating from the 13th century. The isolation of an island population has allowed this, whereas those bound to a continent such as Europe have been so influenced as to evolve a different language.

Icelanders had been forced to import fuel for heating purposes for centuries. Just prior to WWII, the Icelanders had planned to use their volcanoes as heating sources and were to buy pipes from Denmark. However, the British and Germans, both of whom had been supplying coal to Iceland at a cost, blocked the sale of the pipes. During the war, the heating plant was finally built with American pipes. The plant was ready by 1943 and by 1950 most of the homes in Iceland were heated in this manner, as were many newly created hotbeds and greenhouses which produced fresh garden vegetables and flowers.

After the war, the U.S. asked for air and naval bases in Iceland which the Icelanders did not want. A compromise was reached when the U.S. agreed to withdraw its soldiers and man Keflavik Airport with civilians. Iceland was admitted to the United Nations on 19 November 1946, and it joined the Atlantic Pact on 4 April 1949. Under the Atlantic Pact, the Americans were allowed to re-enter Iceland and take over Keflavik Airport. In the early sixties, the Americans at Keflavik Airport were rotated periodically. This rotation and the need for supplies from America were the reason for MATS flights to Iceland.

On 26 Aug 1963, orders were cut for a crew to fly to Keflavik, Iceland. We took off for Harmon at 4:10 PM local and arrived at Newfoundland at 9:20 PM local. We were delayed at Harmon for over and hour due to RADAR maintenance. Since the time in the Congo when we lost the RADAR and were nearly killed for lack of it, and since the typhoon in the South China Sea where it saved our lives, I was very particular about leaving with a bad RADAR set. Our AC, Col. Labbe had been in enough scrapes, including the Congo thing, that I am sure he felt the same as I did.

We left Harmon at last, and six and half hours later we landed at Keflavik at 8:55 AM local time ready for crew-rest. We had left McGuire in the late afternoon, and I had not slept since the preceding morning and was very tired. As I recall, we were quartered in spare rooms that the Icelanders had in their homes. I dropped my bags in my room, showered briefly and went to bed. My dreams (sleeping experiences) were the strangest I had ever known. Something about this place was very different. First, as I began to doze, my astral body began to fight to get out of my physical body. It seemed to be jarring me up and down on the bed. Finally, as I fell asleep, I believe it succeeded in leaving.

We had a day at Keflavik to look around, and later that day I did manage to see that we were on what appeared to be an almost barren piece of land with mountains and rocks and little vegetation. The colors were browns and grays except for the few places where people lived. I did not understand a word of their language, but most of the Icelanders seemed to speak English. Sleeping that night was difficult, and I lay awake after having slept during a large part of the day. I fell asleep toward morning and did not awake until it was time to get ready to leave.

We took off just after noon local, lost an engine, and came back after having flown for only forty minutes. The two hours taken while the problem was repaired gave us time for lunch on the ground, and then we took off again. Seven hours later we landed at Harmon, and from there it was only four and a half hours to McGuire where I wrote up the RADAR which was still a problem.


VIP Vacation

On 8 November 1963, a squadron flight order was issued based upon another flight order that had been sent from ATW headquarters. It designated a crew of nine to be sent to Ankara, Turkey. However, in reality, it was to be a flight to various points in Europe so that three Pentagon generals could visit for a time and go sightseeing and shopping. There may have been some other motive as well, but this was not apparent.

The other navigator on the flight was Terry Thompson, one of my best friends at the time. The AC was Captain Claude (Gerry) Dunne. There was a second AC, 1st Lt. Richard Kauffman, and then a first pilot, our very tall Curt Norling. There were two engineers, and one was a student. And there were two flight attendants, one of whom was SSGT Pearl Walls, a very large and amiable black man who made every flight with him enjoyable by telling us some of his exploits.

This flight was prepared especially for the accommodation of the generals and their staffs. Everything was to be done for their convenience. This meant that the itinerary could change according to their wishes. There were some changes to be made in the aircraft interior configuration, and this was done on the ground at Andrews after our arrival there on the 10th. We stayed at Andrews for a day, taking off at 6:00 PM local time on the 11th.

During our stay, Terry and I visited the usual points of interest in Washington DC. We did not remember that we were no longer athletes in school and decided to climb the Washington monument via the staircase rather than take the elevator. This had been easy for me to do when I was a cross-country runner in high school, but it was not easy after spending many hours sitting when doing squadron duties or flying. And after this climb, I was sore for three days. Terry had bad knees that acted up as a result.

We headed for Lajes, and right after take-off General X asked me if there was anything I could do to make all of the various legs of the flight go faster. I told him that if I ignored the directive to attempt to stay within 25 miles of course, I could set a single heading and let the aircraft drift. The drift would average to nearly zero by the time we had passed through all the highs and lows, and we could give position reports that might allow rescue teams to find us in spite of our drifting should we have to ditch. This technique would prevent us from losing ground speed due to crabbing. It is based upon the same principle as swimming across a river. The only way to do it with the least effort is to head at ninety degrees to the flow and just drift downstream. Otherwise, all one's energy is spent fighting the current.

The general thought this was a great idea, and when I informed Gerry that this is what the General wanted he agreed to it. Even so, this was a flight without much of a tailwind. The weather patterns were set so that the winds blew from the left and from the right. Our heading was averaged well so that we hit Lajes right on, and LORAN allowed us to give accurate position reports, but we still took nine and a half hours for this first leg of the flight.

We spent a little over two hours on the ground and took off again, only to turn back because of something the general had forgotten to do. We spent two more hours on the ground and left Lajes at 11:05 local time, heading for Northolt Air Base just on the western outskirts of London. We did well on this leg with a stiff average tailwind, arriving at Northolt with a flight time of 5:20 hours. Apparently, the General liked London, because we stayed there for two and a half days.

Terry and I visited the wax museum again, noting the obvious fact that people a few hundred years ago were much smaller than we. John Glen was there now, but the likeness seemed slightly off. This visit was gloomier than the last one, the fog rolling in more frequently. The Tower of London was more depressing than ever, and it seemed to bother Terry too.

The hotel rooms in England are what we might consider walk-in closets. The taxes and living expenses rose there far above our own and at an early date; so, accommodations are small. There is room to sleep (on a small bed) and to place your clothes and that is all. Some rooms had private baths as did ours, and others did not. With the current trends here in the States, we will be building smaller rooms on our hotels and motels in the near future. Smog was not bad then. The fog was thick and will always be thick; so, today, there are probably plenty of exhaust fumes to go with fog, and London today may be like L.A.

Below are photos taken in London

We took off from Northolt at 8:20 AM on the 15th to go to Bonn, the capital of the German Federated Republic, a town of about 120,000, only an hour and forty minutes away near the Belgian border and located so that the Rhine runs right through it. Historically, it was one of the places where the allies crossed the Rhine near the end of WWII. What the generals wanted at Bonn is difficult to guess, but I suspect it had to do with buying some good German wine at a low cost, as we spent less than two hours on the ground there before flying for another hour to reach Hamburg in northern West Germany not far from the Danish border.

Hamburg, the largest seaport in all of Germany, located in the German Federal Republic, the capital of the State of Hamburg, is situated on the right bank of the northern branch of the Elbe only 93 miles southeast of the mouth of the Elbe where it enters the North Sea. In the early sixties it was the third largest seaport in the world with immense dock and harbor facilities. It is noted for two ornamental, man-made waterways, its ecclesiastical structures, its public buildings, large commercial library, zoological and botanical gardens, and other attractions. In Hamburg are manufactured distillery products, machinery, optical instruments, precision tools, and wrought metal. Here, we spent three hours on the ground, understandably, since Hamburg is a great place to look around, take photos, and buy liquor (if you are a general on a bogus business trip).

In the course of our flying, we became acquainted with the Captain who was the aide for General X. He was a nice guy, but harassed all the time. We all felt sorry for him, although he did not say a word against his job. It was apparent what was going on by just watching the way the General ordered him around. In fact, the General reminded us of a nagging wife who could not do anything on her own. I felt that it was fortunate for the General that he was in the Air Force, since he did not appear to have even the qualifications to pump gas at a filling station--much less be a leader of men.

We flew for another hour to Copenhagen. Here, we rested for two days. We were supposed to have gone to Stockholm, Sweden first, but something changed, and this part of the tour was cancelled. Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark. It was a large city which had a population at that time of about 850,000. However, it is only one of three cities which are joined, and the other two, Frederiksburg and Gentofte, when included, brought the population up to about 1,300,000. In Copenhagen are numerous parks and lakes, and the city is located on an island. There is a castle on its inner harbor which is now a seat of government. And there are museums, churches, the Royal Library, famous gardens, several palaces, the Royal Theater, and other historic buildings in the city itself. Denmark had a king at this time, but he was a figurehead much as the English queen is today.

In Copenhagen, Terry and I spent some time together and some time going our separate ways. I liked the Danes. They were innovative in almost all respects, seemed relaxed and happy, and well aware of their own individuality. Most of them spoke some English and were easy to converse with. Even things like the curbs on their streets were more sensible than ours were at the time, curving up rather than going up straight; so, that problems, such as scraping the sides of your tires when parking, did not exist, and wheelchairs could even climb them without difficulty.

From a postcard sent on the 16th from the Hotel Mercur in Copenhagen. The picture on the card was of the Canal Copenhagen with many watercraft upon it and tall trees lining each bank.

This place is really impressive. The sciences, mechanical gadgets, conveniences, economy, monetary system, social system, government--everything in fact--seems to be the most intelligent, efficient, and with the best taste of anything or any society I have ever seen. There are so many little innovations, and the best of all the other nations that I can't begin to describe it here. Ask me about it next time we are together. Love you all--say hello to the others for me. Lew

I was late in arriving at the airport this time and was last to board the plane, missing the preflight briefing and planning. I did not give an excuse for this, and after being reprimanded, began to ask enough questions from the others to find out what had happened. It seems that I had either not called in at the right time or not often enough (normally we never call in) so that when General X changed the time of take-off the night before, I did not know it, and I was not the only crew member who had not known it, just the least lucky (others had been told when they happened to be in the right place at the right time). Even so, I monitored take-off in the nav position and had the displeasure of listening to General X raising hell with his aide, because the Captain had failed to put film in the General's camera. General X had spent the whole time taking photos with a camera that had no film in it. I wanted to laugh.

The aide and I talked quite a bit after this, and I had discovered that part of his duties were spit-shining the General's shoes, laying out the General's clothes, taking them to dry the cleaner, and other such tasks. In reality, he was more of a personal valet than a Captain. After listening to a General who could not even load his own camera, chewing out another man who was his intellectual superior, I made the decision never to accept a job as a general's aide. There were only a few ways to really go up in the Air Force, and one that would allow an officer to eventually make general was to become a general's aide. I did not like what I had seen of generals to date, and I did not wish to become like them. For darn sure, I did not want to shine their shoes or wipe their rear ends.

At this time, my experience with generals was limited. I had been privy to the political maneuvering of the wing commander, because junior officers were ordered to be at his staff meetings on occasion. This man was a politician who probably would not even be able to mow lawns in the civilian world. He did not fix his problems. Instead, he disguised them so that his superiors would not recognize them. His military superiors seemed to me to be fools with their indices and other ineffective means of measuring his performance. For example, there was a maintenance index for measuring his performance that consisted of counting how many times our aircraft actually blocked out on time. His aircraft always blocked out on time. I know that this report that he sent up was correct, because I had witnessed on many occasions how this was done. Whenever we turned down an airplane due to maintenance problems discovered during our preflight inspection, a tractor would come out, hitch up to the airplane, tow it from the blocks, pull it in a circle, and then park it again at the same spot. Yes, the blocks had been removed, and it had left its parking place on time.

And this last General was obviously very self-centered, not knowing the meaning of leadership, and not caring. Ultimately, he did more to influence my eventual decision to leave the Air Force than any other single human being. For this I thank him. But in all fairness, there must have been some general somewhere who was worthy of the title.

We flew only two hours and arrived at Wiesbaden, Germany, to "rest" for another two days in which the generals enjoyed a lot of recreational activities, and we workers did as well. Wiesbaden was in Prussia, in the province of Hesse-Nassau. It was formerly called the government of Wiesbaden and the capital of the Duchy of Nassau. It is situated among vineyards and orchards in the Taunus Mountains about three miles north of the Rhine. Within it are the royal palace, the ducal palace, various government buildings, the courthouse, the museum and picture gallery, the library, the royal court theater, and other notable buildings. It also has springs of alkaline water which are quite famous. Its large manufacturing businesses are in wine, chocolates, and surgical instruments.

It should be pointed out that on flights such as these, we were not notified in advance so that we could research the places and their attractions. The generals did not care to enlighten anyone for many reasons. And we were usually too tired and too poor to spend much time and money on going to the various tourist attractions. So to a lot of us on this trip, a city was just another city. Wiesbaden was all right as cities went. I was not one for drinking and night spots, and my interest was in seeing the city and sometimes speaking with its inhabitants. After so many trips to Frankfurt, this city did not seem very new. After leaving Wiesbaden, we went to Etain Air Base, near Verdun, France.

Verdun is a town near the German border that has a citadel and is surrounded by 16 major forts and 21 smaller batteries in a ring with a circumference of over 30 miles. During WWII some of the heaviest fighting and most severe artillery fire occurred at Verdun. The town is famous for its liqueurs and confectionery which was probably the reason we stopped there for over two hours after having flown for less than an hour. The generals came back looking satisfied and carrying some things that they had bought. Another hour's flight brought us to Orly; so, that the generals could have a day or so in Paris.

This time in Paris, I tried to spend some time with the rest of the crew, but what they considered entertainment was not what appealed to me. So I took off on my own. A met some people on the street, and an older woman appointed herself as my guide for the afternoon of the second day. She steered me to a pleasant place to eat, and we enjoyed an excellent meal while I had time to practice my French.

Some younger Frenchmen were seated at a table not far from us and struck up a conversation. They made some sly remarks about my relationship to the woman which I ignored at first and then protested. They asked where I was from, and I asked them where they thought I was from. My short hair must have provided a hint of an American serviceman, but there were some other people who also had short hair and my accent was definitely Parisian. They seemed to settle upon my being Italian, although in retrospect, I believe they must have been joking. We talked for awhile before the woman and I finished our meal and left. She had other places to go, and I was happy to have had a pleasant visit; so, we parted, both having profited from the exchange. For the rest of the day, I wandered and looked at the usual things, returning to the hotel early enough to be ready for a nap before leaving that night. We left shortly after midnight local time.

Our course took us over the Cote d'Azur (the azure coast) at Nice, the part of France so famous for its beaches, located on the eastern tip near the Italian border. To our left was Monaco, the smallest sovereign nation in Europe with an area of 395 acres, just over half a square mile. Monaco is actually a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean that makes over half of its income from tourists and is known for its natural beauty. Its population at the time was about 22,000.

Monaco was held by the Phoenicians from the 10th to the 5th centuries BCE. They were replaced by the Phocaeans. It was dominated by Rome until the 9th century AD when the barbarians and the Saracens erected a fort. Holy Roman Emperor Otto I conferred it to a Genoese prince in the 10th century. The prince's line was deposed during the French Revolution, was re-established in 1814 under the protection of France, and from 1815 until 1860 Monaco was under the rule of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In 1861, it became a French protectorate. In 1956, its ruling monarch, Rainier III, married Grace Kelly, an American movie actress.

From Nice, we flew over Elba, the island granted to Napoleon in 1914 as a sovereign principality for his exile. After his escape and defeat at Waterloo, it was given to Tuscany and, thus, became a part of Italy in 1861. This has been its status since except for a short time in WWII when it was occupied by the French.

From Elba, we flew over the island of Ischia, just off the Italian coast about 60 miles west of Naples. This island was a summer resort noted for its mineral waters, rich soil, fruits and wines of exquisite flavor, and enchanting scenery. It is an island with an active volcano, Mount Epomeo, as its highest point. At the center of the volcano is a lake which abounds in fish. However, this little paradise of 27 square miles was severely stricken by its volcano during an eruption in 1302 and by an earthquake in 1883 which nearly destroyed one of its three towns.

Unfortunately, all of these things were only visible on the RADAR set and by a few lights, because we passed over them at night. As Naples came into view, we could not see Vesuvius as I had during a previous flight. We turned just past Naples to go toward a radio beacon at Caraffa located on the instep of the boot that is Italy. There, we turned again toward a beacon on the large Greek island of Peloponnisos. From there we turned to Kavouri Beacon just south of Athens, and then to Rhodos Beacon on the Greek island of Rhodes just off the Turkish coast.

After Rhodes, we aimed at a point about 70 miles south of Antalva, Turkey, still over the sea, and then to a point between Cyprus and Turkey, at which we turned to go to a beacon on Turkey itself at Silifke. From Silifke, we turned directly to Incirlik, an Air Base near Adana, where we landed.

Turkey is republic that has descended from the old Ottoman empire. It is a nation of fiercely independent people who are largely Muslims. In the past, they have been aggressive militarily, but since 1791 have not attempted to move against the west. Since 1677, they have had difficulties which spread to severe animosity with Russia and in the early sixties were our greatest aid in keeping the USSR at bay in the sense that our mutual support and their location at the "belly of Russia" was a threat that allowed us to deal more effectively against the threats of the Soviets. Their effect upon Russia might have been likened to what Cuba's threat to the U.S. would have been had the Russian's successfully placed missiles in Cuba.

The population of Turkey was about 30 million when we were there, and its area about 296,185 square miles. All of its citizens over 21 years of age were allowed to vote for its bi-cameral Grand National Assembly (like our senate and house). In 1961, due to public education, over 40 percent of the population over 7 years of age were literate. Wheat, barley, sugar beets, grapes, potatoes, onions, olives, cotton, and tobacco were the most important crops, and meat, wool, mohair, and silk cocoons the most important animal products. Large scale industrial production included textiles, sugar refining, cement, steel, chemicals, paper, and food processing. Mining was largely for coal, copper, chromite, iron, and sulfur. There was also a large petroleum industry.

Incirlik [pronounced in-sir-lick] was the base where we usually did our business in Turkey, located near one of the Turkish capitals called Adana. Adana is the fourth largest city in Turkey, trading chiefly in cotton, wheat, and oats. Originally, Adana was a Roman military post. Our stay at Incirlik was about five hours long, and this time it was probable that our generals were actually doing some Air Force business. We left Incirlik just after noon on the 21st to fly for about an hour and a half to Ankara.

Ankara was the capital of both Turkey and a province of Turkey, although its population was only about 250,000. It is located on the Ankara River which is a tributary of the Sakarya. Its modern portion contains legislative and educational structures, and several parks. In ancient times it was known as Ancyra, and was the capital of a district in the third century BCE, and after 25 BCE the capital of the Roman province of Galatia. It was successively occupied by Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, Latin crusaders, and Ottoman Turks. As the capital of Turkey in 1923, it was called Angora. Its name was changed to Ankara in 1930. Here, also, there was a slight possibility that the generals were actually doing some Air Force business during the day-long stay that we enjoyed.

Our quarters in a hotel in Ankara were spartan but adequate and clean. Terry and I had time to go shopping and look around for a short time. We bought some puzzle rings to take home, two apiece, one for each of our wives and one each for us. These silver rings were made of four separate smaller rings which went together in puzzle fashion. The story was that the wife was given the ring as a wedding band which, if removed, would come apart. Only the husband knew the secret of putting it together again. Thus the husband could be more certain of his wife's being faithful when he was not at home. This seemed logical to us, because a husband who was smart enough to know that his wife could figure out the secret of the ring, would not bother with the ring. On the other hand, a husband who was marginal in intelligence, would not know when his wife was smart enough to assemble the ring and would live in blissful ignorance with his wife and her ring.

We arrived at Ankara at 2:35 PM on the 21st, and bought the rings a few hours later along with some other things. Terry began to try to put his ring back together right after he bought it, and I wanted to look at other things. I watched Terry struggling with his ring while I selected a Turkish block flute (similar to a recorder) and some very beautiful meerschaum pipes. I could see Terry working on his ring and soon realized how to put the pieces together. Terry had solved most of the problem, and I memorized how he had done it. However, I could see that he was missing one crucial part, and I figured out what that part was but made no effort to actually put the ring together.

When we left Ankara the following day, just after ten in the morning, Terry was still working on the ring and standing beside me as I monitored the climb-out after take-off. I had one earphone of the headset over my left ear while listening to Terry with my right ear. He finally became disgusted and gave it to me. "You try it," he said, since I was chuckling at his efforts. I was still monitoring the climb-out as I took the ring and put it together in something less that a minute. I never told Terry that I was able to do it based upon his efforts, and he never figured it out.

From Ankara, we flew to Athens, taking seven hours enroute and arriving at 1:10 PM local time. We had rested enough on the flight to have enough energy to look around a bit, and there were a few things to see in Athens. We were scheduled to spend at least two days here, and we all planned to take advantage of the opportunity.

Athens (Athenai) was named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, who had sprung full grown from the forehead of Zeus in one myth, and was the patron goddess of the city. The city is located on a plain on a peninsula that is the southeast tip of Greece, with a small mountain on the west (1,535 feet), a medium-sized mountain on the northwest (3,639 feet), another medium-sized mountain on the north (4,631 feet), and a third medium-sized mountain on the east (3,370 feet). The peninsula has a smaller peninsula that extends to the west, reaching to the large island of Peloponnisos; so, the effect is a large bay from northwest to southeast with Athens at the top. With water so close, the swimming is ideal, and there are always people bathing in both the sun and the water. Once a city-state, Athens is now the capital of the kingdom and of the Department of Attica.

Athens is rich in monuments of the preclassical, classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. We visited some of these, but at that time I was not aware of the secrets that were disclosed by the dimensions of their construction, and much of their significance was lost so that all that remained was an impression of great age. In addition to the monuments are modern buildings which comprise, among other things, the Academy of Science, National University, and two Libraries, indicating that the Athenians still take their patron goddess seriously. There are museums and many educational institutions, government buildings, and many other places which only served to frustrate me. I would need at least a month to see all that I wanted to see here.

That evening, just after dark, the whole crew was walking along a street. The shops were closed; some people were out strolling; and from certain alleys the usual peddlers of sex were appearing. We were stopped by a man who was doing his best to interest us in some pornographic pictures when suddenly all the sounds of conversation that had been in the background stopped. There were a few sounds of traffic in the distance, but mostly there was silence. One of the strollers said something to the peddler, and his sales pitch stopped. The people around us were looking very sad, and some of the women were crying. Tears came into the eyes of the little peddler, and he gripped the arm of the nearest one of us. A man disengaged himself from the sobbing woman he was with and approached us. "I am very sorry," he said in English, "Your president is dead."

We were not approached by any peddlers as we found our way into a bar. Gerry, as the Aircraft Commander, went to call the hotel where we were staying. The silence that had greeted us as we entered had been broken by a few very low conversations as people sensed our mood. Eventually, Gerry returned and said we would be leaving the next day and that the time for departure had not yet been set.

As I watched the bartender pouring us drinks, my mind went back to the night when Kennedy had chosen Johnson as his vice presidential candidate. Sherrie and I were sure that Kennedy would win, had followed his campaign, and now we felt certain that he would be assassinated in office. We had looked at each other, knowing that Johnson would be next in line, and we were sure that Johnson would find a way to become President. There was no doubt in my mind then that Johnson and Ladybird were party to Kennedy's assassination. Today, I have a different view of it all.

The drinks came, and one of the Greeks showed us how to put a puzzle ring together with only one hand while sampling a drink with the other. We were engaged in conversation, possibly in an effort to remove us a little from our grief. We did not take it like the Greeks did. It had not really sunk in yet, and, in effect, we were still in shock. To the Greeks, Kennedy and Jackie were royalty, the king and queen of America. Their exploits were presented on the news in Greece every day. America and Greece were on the best of terms even though our aid to Turkey of late had been perceived badly by the Greek government. The grief that the Greeks felt was real, and it was an eye-opener to us, in the past having been more often approached by those who apparently wanted only our American dollars.

I awoke the following morning, took a moment to remember who I was, remembered what had happened the night before, and then wished that I had not remembered. There was packing to do and breakfast at the airfield. At the cafeteria at the field, I picked up a glass, still hot from the dishwasher, and poured cold orange juice into it. The bottom of the glass fell out in a perfect circle where the cold juice had risen just before. This seemed like an analogy of the way I felt. With Kennedy gone and Johnson in charge as my Commander-in-Chief, the bottom had dropped out of American hopes for the future.

Under Johnson the war in Vietnam escalated beyond belief, the opium trade flourished with our GIs becoming the victims, hundreds of thousands of people died while a few profited, and the majority of American women of the Vietnam generation were fated to be single for most of their lives. It has been argued that Johnson, with his political expertise, eventually saved us from worse, but if this were so, it was not in keeping with his usual view of life and probably had more to do with public opinion than any decent feelings on his part.

We left Athens on the 23rd shortly after noon local, flew back to Andrews via Torrejon and Lajes, and rested briefly at Andrews before going home to McGuire. I arrived at home late at night on the 24th to find Sherrie as stunned as I was. Ruby had shot the alleged assassin only a few hours before, and we both knew that this had been planned as well. Perhaps it is more merciful to be born stupid so that one cannot see the corruption and manipulation that characterize even a nation that is supposedly free.


St. Elmo

By November of 1963 I had been an instructor for some time and was well aware of a few things that helped my navigation even more than before. One was my assessment of the majority of pilots. They were good at emergencies, as a rule, and also at standard landings and take-offs, but the majority of the time they simply sat looking out of the windows and waiting for something to happen. If I or any other navigator asked for a heading change, they would not quite comply. Although it took precious little effort to turn to the heading that the navigator desired, they would come within a degree of it at best and then quit, too lazy to bother with details. I believe that this was one of the reasons why the squadron commander chose navigators to be the admin officers.

The pilots would even tell us that if we gave them a heading change of a degree, they would not do it, assuming that our navigation was not accurate enough to warrant the trouble. Our attitude was that one more error in an accumulation was bad, and they would add to that error with their complacency. The only time this was not true was later on in C-130s when their officer's efficiency reports were at stake due to missing the target on low level drops.

Various ones of us tried to have them turn to the correct heading by asking them to turn three degrees right and then, after a moment or so, asking them to turn two degrees left. This had mixed results, as they often failed to get the heading we wanted anyway.

There are no lines on the ocean, but the charts and maps show lines on it. When crossing from one ocean zone to the another, the pilot must send in a position report with the coordinates and time of crossing. On one occasion, when I had just given the pilot (a member of the Academy class of '59) a position report and time on crossing an oceanic boundary south of Greenland, I gave the him a heading to which to turn while he called in the position and time I had given him. Fifteen minutes later, I looked at the compass and found that we were going back the way we had come. Further investigation found that the autopilot knob was still turned, the pilot never having turned it back to neutral after his first turn to the right, and we were still slowly turning to the right. I didn't bother to tell the pilot what he had not done. Instead, I rapidly checked our position, and gave a new report and time of crossing as we crossed the same boundary going in the reverse direction. The pilot called it in again as we continued the turn (the autopilot was still turned to the right). I then gave him another report and time as we went back to our original heading and crossed the boundary a third time. Then I turned the autopilot knob until we were on the heading I wanted, and I maintained this practice for the rest of my time in MATS.

I have always wondered what NORAD thought we were doing when they saw us make a giant circle over the ocean. Perhaps they thought we had dropped something and had gone back to pick it up.

What I finally did, and what I told my students to do it as well, was go to the cockpit and turn the autopilot knob to set the correct heading. It was simple enough, requiring no more time or trouble than having a lazy pilot turn to an improper heading. Sometimes the pilots noticed me doing this, and sometimes they never even saw me. If they noticed, I told them what I was doing, and they became used to it after a few times. If they did not notice, I just let them alone.

The autopilot went out frequently, and then the airplane would be flown by hand. When this occurred, the pilots would almost never keep a single heading, but would wander around (their attention span was not very good). My solution to this was to climb into the unoccupied seat after I had taken a fix, computed the wind, and made the plot on the fuel graph--and fly the airplane myself until it was time to take another fix. After a time, the pilots became accustomed to my doing this, and it was routine. I think perhaps my instigation caused other navigators to do the same, or perhaps some of them thought of it on their own. In any case, there was one instance of the navigator performing a landing, having attained the confidence of the pilots. By the time my tour in MATS was over, I had hundreds of hours of unlogged pilot time, most of it on instruments.

I had also learned to monitor the pilots on occasion to be sure that they were awake, although they usually appeared to be (their eyes were open, but sometimes glazed). In truth, the navigators got along well with the pilots, and the pilots seemed to enjoy having the navigators proficient in some of the piloting skills. After all, there might be times when the pilots might be sick or injured, and the navigator would have to do some of the flying.

Saint Elmo's fire is a phenomenon caused by the discharge of static electricity. Mediterranean sailors regard it as evidence of the protection of their patron saint, Erasmus or Ermo, and Elmo is a corruption of Ermo. Perhaps this fire is actually evidence of protection, because it bleeds off static discharges that might otherwise cause severe problems. It has been seen on the tops of ships' masts for thousands of years, on other points such as the tops of windmills or lightning rods since their invention, and more recently on aircraft.

Cumulonimbus clouds are nature's dynamos. Inside them, strong updrafts push rain, snow, sleet, or hail upward as it tries to fall downward. This is thought to cause static charges to accumulate within the cloud. Various theories disagree as to exactly why these static charges accumulate from such action within the cloud, but it is known that vast differences in electrical charge occur between various parts of the cloud until the potential between them is great enough for lightning to occur. Usually, lightning occurs within the cloud itself, but sometimes the earth builds a charge that is opposed to the nearest dominant portion of the cloud. This dominant portion is negative and the earth below then becomes positive. As the electrical potential between the cloud and earth increases, a path of ionization forms, and electrons from the cloud travel down it in the form of lightning, reaching within about 100 yards of the ground before an answering stroke transfers about 10,000 coulombs of positive charge upward from the ground to meet it.

If the path of ionization starts early enough, it may bleed off current quickly, before the lightning can occur, and this is what causes St. Elmo's fire. The current bleeds off at points highest to the cloud, such as ships' masts and lightning rods, and it bleeds off best at sharp points. Aircraft, such as the old C-118 had several short lengths of wires trailing from the trailing edge of the wing to help bleed off static electricity and, thus, avoid lightning strikes on the aircraft. However, there were times when the difference in potential between the aircraft and the surrounding atmosphere was great enough that one could see the dance of St. Elmo's fire all along the wing.

During a flight to Churchill on the 12 Dec 1963, we were between various columns of cumulonimbus clouds with a cloud layer above and another cloud layer below and moving through light, almost misty precipitation. The static charge on the aircraft was building with an insulator around it, and it was not being discharged adequately from the trailing wires. When the pilot told me to take a look outside, I saw ghostly green tendrils of fire leaping up all along the top of the wing, an eerie sight even when one knows the reason for it. This continued with us watching for some time before a large stroke of lightning hit us and discharged the bottles of carbon dioxide in the engine cowlings that we use to combat engine fires. It also did something to the RADAR that prevented it from working any further. For all this, the St. Elmo's fire was a beautiful sight and one that is seldom seen by most current-day aircrews, much less the rest of the populace. [One of the strange things about this fire was that its flames went upward, and the flow of air over the top of the wing did nothing, it seemed, to make them blow backward.]


Gliding Again

On 18 Dec 1973, I was on another Rhein-Main trip. On the way back from this Rhein-Main trip, I was navigating, and we were over the Atlantic about halfway between Prestwick and Harmon when we had another memorable experience. The rumble of the engines ceased, and the same eerie whistling that I had heard in the Congo was there again. This time, the plane's nose only pitched up slightly before dipping a bit as the two human pilots disengaged the autopilot and took steps to prevent a stall. For a moment, as the plane went into a glide, I panicked. Inside I said "Oh shit, this isn't right. Sherrie and the kids need me, and now they'll probably never know what happened." This made me angry at fate, God, or whatever had caused this stupid thing to happen.

I grabbed my flashlight while estimating how much time we would have before we hit the water, knowing that once we hit, there would be darkness and chaos. If we did not break up on impact the motion of the sea would be preventing us from easily taking down the life rafts. I knew that this time our problem was not lack of carburetor heat because we had been flying in a storm front as usual with the carburetor heat on, and the RADAR had not indicated any change in cloud types.

Outside the night was very dark without moon or stars. We were at 10,000 feet, and I wondered why these things never happened in daylight and/or when we were at 17,000 feet which would give us more time to send out a mayday. I had an idea of where we were, but began to calculate our exact distance since my last fix so that the pilot could send it in, assuming that anyone would hear us. I realized that there were easier ways to die and wondered why I couldn't have chosen one.

And then instead of anger, there was black despair in my guts and stomach. I really didn't mind dying, but preferred to do it later. I did begin to think of the events of my short life which had been devoted to preparation for becoming useful to humanity. What a waste this was for all of us. This seemed to go on forever, and then the rumble of the engines began again, and we began to regain the altitude that we had lost.

The fuel gauges on the old airplanes had become less and less accurate with time. They would indicate plenty of fuel in the tanks when there was none whatsoever. The maintenance people did not have time to re-calibrate them; so, they placed a note in the books that the tanks were empty when the fuel reading was still 100 pounds, 300, or whatever. This time no entry was made to show us that the gauges would show 700 pounds at empty. We usually had between twenty and twenty-five thousand pounds of fuel at take-off; so, 700 pounds was not a lot. But it was a lot more than what was normally expected for a fudge factor to be. There were a lot of things to check when the engines quit, and no one expected the problem to be with the fuel gauges; so, it took some time for the pilots to realize that the problem might be best dealt with by switching fuel tanks. After trying several other things, they had switched tanks, and the starving engines came back to life.



In the late fall of 1963, I had the urge to try to make my own alcoholic beverage; so, I took some honey and raisins and placed them in water with dried yeast in a large container with a lid that allowed pressure to escape. In about two weeks, I had something that tasted like a cross between Champagne and beer. When refrigerated and then tasted, it caused one to smile. So Sherrie christened it "Instant Smile."

Once this wonderful beverage was brewed, I needed a way to store it; so, I placed it in some old Champagne bottles and wired them closed. At first we stored these bottles in unrefrigerated cabinets, but then one of them exploded. So we tried the refrigerator, but there was not room for them all. However, we had built a snowman called Frosty at the first snow and had continued to keep him nice and plump with further snows. So one night, I hollowed out Frosty's large belly and filled it full of bottles of Instant Smile. This was perfect because the cold stopped the yeast from growing, and no one could tell what was inside Frosty.

When we wanted to have some Instant Smile on special occasions such as with lobsters flown down from Harmon, I would cook the lobsters while Sherry made the salad. We would have everything in readiness. Then I would go out to Frosty in the darkness without a light, look in every direction carefully to be sure no one was watching, burrow into Frosty until I felt a bottle, drag it out, and repack Frosty's belly with snow.

Inside, I would place a large mixing bowl on the kitchen table and set the bottle inside it. Then I would carefully begin to undo the wire on the top. When the wire was nearly undone, the cork would shoot up and dent the ceiling, and a fountain of Instant Smile would gush upward to just below ceiling height, fall down, and fill the mixing bowl. We would pour it from the mixing bowl into our glasses and begin our meal.

Frosty lasted for a long time, because I kept him to accommodate the rather large batch of Instant Smile that was not about to be used too soon. The neighbors must have wondered why Frosty stayed so plump, but they never mentioned it; so, we continued to enjoy the wonderful beverage until there was a thaw.



What was supposed to be my first trip to Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, began on 25 February 1964 at McGuire with a briefing just after dinner. This crew had four pilots, two who were AC's, two navigators, an engineer, and three flight attendants, all of whom were male. We took a '51 model C-118 and headed for Travis AFB in California, arriving there in ten and a half hours. We went into crew-rest there for a little over a day and then took ten hours to get to Hickam in Hawaii, arriving late on the 28th. During the crew-rest, there was time for me to visit with Mother and Dad, and I remember that Mother drove down from Auburn and took me back to their home. There I met their neighbors, Frank and Kathleen Dutra, and had a chance to see Dad's nearly completed boat.

At Hickam, some stomach pains that I had been having became more severe, and I was forced to visit the flight surgeon immediately after landing. He diagnosed it as an inflamed stomach lining, prescribed a drink of milky appearance and consistency, told me to rest in bed for the next three days, briefed me that I might be acquiring a stomach ulcer, and then said to come back when the three days were up. I took his advice, and after a couple of days the pain lessened, and I was able to eat almost normally again. Meantime, the crew I was with kept going the usual route: Wake, Guam, the Phillipines, and Saigon.

When I went back to the flight surgeon, he said I could fly and that he thought that I had an ulcer but would not report it as such. He also told me how to take care of it and that if it were to be acknowledged by a flight surgeon as an ulcer, I would be removed from flying status. Four days later, the crew came back, and we returned to McGuire. I had spent almost a week in Hawaii, had about three days of bed rest, and some time to visit Charlie Georgi and his lovely wife.

Excerpts from a letter to my parents dated 2 March 1964 follows.

I am staying at Hickam until the crew comes back from Saigon to pick me up. I finally had to see a flight surgeon, and I do have an ulcer. However, the doc is a good Joe, and he put it down officially as acute gastritis so I can continue to fly.

He gave me a talk on ulcers & how to control mine and told me if the trouble continued (which it hasn't since I have been on medication) to go back to the doc at McGuire & get off flying status permanently (a sacrifice of over $200.00 a month). He warned me about the consequences of not taking care of it & not reporting it if it continues.

Now I am off alcohol & greasy & spicy foods. Need lots of milk & am supposed to eat aluminum hydroxide (amphogel) like it's candy. The doctor is really good at looking out for our best interests. At McGuire, I'd have been grounded for good.

In time, this condition should abate & the ulcer disappear altogether, but I have to watch the emotional stress, diet, & keep taking medicine. Oddly enough, it had to have been the excitement of seeing you all that triggered if off (the straw that broke the camel's back). Guess it was tougher on me than it was on you, Mother. Evidently, the odd hours, & emotional as well as physical strain at McGuire have been the basic cause of all this...

Sherrie doesn't know anything about all this yet & don't know if I'll say anything until I get back. With the exception of a choice few, it might be best that nobody know about any ulcer but me.

Am watching Chuck Diver work right now. He's in a Special Air Missions Squadron. Remember him? He was one of the country boys from Michigan & one of my best friends. He has a wife & two kids now. Told him to come and see you for a while when he's by Travis. No need to do anything special if he shows up. He's part of the family.

Have contacted several of the other guys while I have been here and they all seem to be in good shape. Met one of them on his way back to the States. He's flying an F-100 & refueling every couple of hours in flight. Since he's been in 100's he's had to bail out once (in a Florida swamp) because of a bad bearing in his engine and he's been away from his wife two-thirds of the time. Looks like he's really having a rough time of it and the bad part of it all is that this is typical of TAC [Tactical Air Command]. I'd love to see the good American taxpayer that tries to cut down on service benefits & defense spending put up with the kind of life a TAC fighter pilot has. Maybe someday there won't be any good troops left and the Russians can have the country. It would serve the damned uninterested civilians right. I'm glad now that I didn't get through pilot training. I'd have chosen F-100's if I had and the mortality & divorce rates in TAC are terribly high.

Hawaii is beautiful. The sun seems to help the spirits, & morale, in general, is higher here than at McGuire. Seems that the southerners try to get assigned here and they're all quite friendly and willing to bend over backward to help.

In two or three or four days or so the crew will be coming back & I'll go home with them. I hope by then this thing I have will be under control enough to be able to fly on the ridiculous McGuire schedule and not get upset . . . .

After that the ulcer went basically dormant as I made certain of my diet and tried not to worry excessively. I also began to take lots of a particular type of chewable horse pills which were basic (as opposed to acid) and would absorb any unwanted stomach acid. [Much later, it was discovered that stomach ulcers are usually caused by a bacteria. It was also said that people with diets including spicy foods like Mexican foods did not get stomach ulcers. I began to eat more spicy foods, and they seem to have prevented further stomach problems. However one should not take spicy foods during a stomach ulcer flare-up.]


Pappy when a Line Navigator

On 7 May, Dick Goodwin and I navigated to Spain and back, landing at Rota as well as Torrejon, both ways. Rota is a small town in southern Spain just north and across the bay from Cadiz. Below this southern tip lies the northern tip of Africa and Tangier.

I was talking with one of the guys on one of these trips, and the subject of Pappy Grant came up. A story about Pappy followed that some will find amusing, while others may be appalled. In any case, it was alleged to be true, and I heard it from more than one source in the time I spent in MATS.

Before Pappy started flight examining young navigators, he was a navigator himself on board what was then the new Douglas C-118. At that time they were the recently-inaugurated queens of the skies. On one particular flight over the Pacific, night had fallen, and only one pilot was at the controls. The only ones in the crew compartment were the pilot in the cockpit and Pappy at the navigator's station. This left room for passengers to come forward and view the banks of instruments and look at the stars in the clear night sky or at the clouds in the starlight if the airplane were flying through or near clouds. Usually, one of the flight attendants would bring them forward.

On this particular night, the little, blonde flight attendant brought forward a tousle-headed boy of about five years with eyes as wide as they could open and pupils dilated to match. He viewed the cockpit with awe and did not even notice when the flight attendant turned and left, closing the door to the crew compartment behind her. After his questions were answered, the boy turned to Pappy and began to ask questions about the LORAN set, the RADAR, the radio compass, and all the other funny machines that a navigator used. Pappy explained until the little fellow began to fall asleep on his feet. Then Pappy tucked him into the lower crew bunk and pulled the curtain closed.

It was not much longer before the boy's mother arrived. She peered cautiously into the dark cockpit, even attempting to look down by the rudder pedals and under the seats. She checked all the nooks and crannies in the crew compartment but hesitated before the crew bunks lest she embarrass someone by pulling back the curtains and peeking. Finally, she approached the seemingly busy navigator and tapped him on the shoulder. Pappy turned slowly and looked up into her anxious eyes.

"Excuse me, Sir," she said, "but have you seen a little boy here recently?" Pappy leaned back, screwed up his mouth slightly, and scratched his head.
"Oh, yeah," he drawled at length, " little feller 'bout so high with dark hair?" He held up one hand to show the boy's height.
"Yes," she answered.
"Did you lose him?" She nodded.
"Isn't he in the back?" She shook her head.

"Hmmmmm," Pappy said as he got up and peered into the cockpit. Next he opened the door to the passenger cabin and looked up and down the aisle. Then he went and peeked into the crew bunks, shaking his head. He stood once more, looking puzzled and scratching his head.

"Just a minute, Ma'am," he intoned, reaching for the doorknob to the crew latrine, which was above the root of the right wing on the old '51 model. He abruptly flung open the door and rushed in, slamming it behind him.

Inside, Pappy quickly loosened his already-too-loose shirttail, messed up his hair, and splashed water all over himself. Then he charged out again, slamming the door as before.

"He's not on the right wing, Lady," he said breathlessly, "Just a minute and I'll check the left one."



The United States had a large investment in Cuba that was mainly in public utilities (electricity and telephones). In 1960, Castro nationalized all U.S. assets. Provision for compensation was made through 25 percent of the foreign exchange in sugar sales to the U.S. in excess of 3 million Spanish long tons (one long ton = 2,272 pounds). With measures too numerous to mention in detail, Castro began to court the Communist nations--or perhaps they were courting him--, and Cuba/U.S. relations became more strained. U.S. newsmen were arrested and removed from Cuba, and two assistant Attache's from the American Embassy were arrested and accused of conspiring with counter-revolutionaries. Formal accusations against the United States increased until on 3 January 1961, the U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. President Kennedy specifically stated that the severance would have no effect on the retention by the U.S. of the naval base at Guantanamo.

In 17 April 1961, U.S.-trained Cuban refugees invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. The fact that this was a poorly planned and poorly executed endeavor was clearly the fault of the United States. The repercussions of the attempted invasion were multifold and included considerable loss of respect abroad for the United States and increased relations between the Latin American countries and the Soviet Bloc.

In July of 1962, Soviet shipments of arms to Cuba accelerated, and by 3 October, eighty-five ships had unloaded Soviet military equipment and personnel. There were 4,500 Soviet servicemen in Cuba and at least 18 surface to air missile sites under construction. Soviet fighter jets in Cuba ranged from the older MIG-15s to the new MIG-21s. The Soviets also delivered two guided missile patrol boats.

On 4 September, President Kennedy issued a statement to the Soviets calling [for an end] to the arms build-up in Cuba. On the 11th, the Soviets warned that any attack on Soviet ships or Cuba would mean war. On the 13th, Kennedy warned that the U.S. would move swiftly against Cuba to protect itself but that such measures were not yet needed. On October 3, Dean Rusk, the U.S. Secretary of State, announced that American ports would be denied to nations whose ships were carrying arms to Cuba. On 22 October, President Kennedy declared that he had evidence of a series of offensive missile sites being built in Cuba which would be able to strike the U.S. with nuclear weapons. Kennedy then declared that, as of the 24th, any ships bound for Cuba with offensive weapons would be turned back.

For a few days there was increased tension as this measure took effect and the U.S. mobilized its Air Forces to strike against Cuba and to retaliate more swiftly in case of a nuclear strike against the U.S. On 28 October, Krushchev agreed to dismantle and remove offensive weapons from Cuba. On 11 November, the U.S. government announced that 42 medium range missiles had been shipped out of Cuba, but medium range jet bombers still remained along with Soviet troops and technicians.

At the time, it was not known that Kennedy had agreed to remove our missiles from Turkey where they were menacing Russia just as Cuba would have been menacing the United States. The deal Kennedy and Krushchev made caused both men to look good to their own people so that both could remain in power. We in MATS knew what had happened, because we supplied the bases in Turkey, but the public did not find out until years later.

During 1963, the U.S. government backed down on any promises, direct or implied, to support Cuban revolutionary groups in any way whatsoever. In spite of this, rebel groups still waged guerrilla warfare, and groups of exiles made raids on the Cuban coast. Castro issued a statement that he supported peaceful coexistence, which was somewhat different from his previous revolutionary line. However, he still continued to subvert other South American countries, and he refused to sign a limited nuclear test ban treaty. Indications that Castro was moving to the view of the Chinese communists seems to have led to a reduction of support from Russia. Excessive hurricane damage severely crippled Cuba's ability to export crops, caused many deaths, and reduced many to homelessness. U.S. Red Cross efforts to help were turned away, but eventually 9,703 refugees were allowed to come the U.S. in exchange for $53 million worth of food and medicine to Cuba.

Guantanamo Bay is on the south coast of Cuba's east end just below the city of Guantanamo. The United States had established a Naval Base there shortly after it had acquired Cuba from Spain. A seaplane base had been added, and two airfields which lay on either side of the narrow entrance to the bay. The station has been a thorn in Castro's side, but a boon to the populace as it has often been used to bring in needed supplies for the Cubans. Technically, the base is leased to the United States, and the U.S. has refused to allow Castro to cancel the contract.

In 1960, as a result of difficulties in both Cuba and Panama, the naval base at Guantanamo was given a higher strategic priority as it was apparent that the communist nations were making strong efforts to gain a foothold in the western hemisphere.

Around the property leased by the U.S. is a high chain link fence with barbed wire on top; it is patrolled to prevent saboteurs from entering the area. After the Soviet military aid began coming into Cuba, Soviet tanks were parked just outside the fence so that they could shoot down any aircraft that flew over Cuban territory outside the leased area. All U.S. aircraft flying into the area were advised not to fly outside the leased area and to be aware of the danger of interception if flying into areas other than those designated for approach to the Naval Air Station.

In February of 1964, Castro retaliated for the U.S. detention of Cuban fishing boats off Florida by cutting off the water supply to the Guantanamo Naval Base. The Johnson administration realized that the base must be self-sufficient and ordered that three water conversion plants be built which would produce 2.2 million gallons of fresh water daily, and 500 of 2,500 Cuban workers at the base were dismissed. Until the water conversion plants were built, fresh water would be shipped into the base. U-2 reconnaissance flights were continued over Cuba to warn of any possible build-up of offensive weaponry.

My first flight to Guantanamo Naval Air Station was on 19 May 1964. We were a crew of six men, a basic crew, and no one else wanted to go with us. Giles Maupin was the AC, and Roy Schauer was the copilot (a 2nd pilot from EASTAF). We flew to Norfolk Naval Air Station in Virginia first, to pick up Navy people who were destined for a tour at Gitmo as we called the base. From there we flew south and a little east to miss the Cuban mainland and made an arc around the east end, arriving at the base from the south side.

We approached with care so that we did not fly outside the leased area, touched down at about 3:00 PM, and watched some Navy Crusaders make touch and go landings while the passengers left the aircraft. I was very impressed about the way the Navy landed even when they had a long runway and no arresting wire. Every landing they made was a hard one. It was down fast and on a very small spot with a high impact that testified to the high structural strength of a Navy airplane.

We spent the night at the base and left just before noon on the following day, being careful to plan the take-off so that we would avoid the non-leased territory. I can remember our banking after take-off to avoid flying over the Soviet tanks and my realizing how difficult such a thing would be for a large jet aircraft. I was glad for being in an airplane that was more easily able to handle tough situations

From letter home on 20 May 64.

Just looked out the window and saw a big coral reef that indicates we are on course. We are, as you might want to know, at 11,000 ft. between Great Inagua and Acklins Island in the Carribean--just four miles west of the big coral reef, to be more precise--time is 12:24 local. We are on a heading of 350o and the weather is beautiful.

Spent a day in Guantanamo and was very impressed at all the naval might and Marines that we have there. It is most encouraging to know that they are available if needed.

I am working now, but it is an easy leg after coming out of Cactois Island [handwriting is bad and this island may have another name] and there isn't much to do except look out every so often.

The Carribean makes me feel pretty lazy. The water is blue and calm, and the clouds are big, puffy, and far between. The coral reefs are vari-colored, but red stands out prettiest. Wish you could see it. Maybe one of these days we will all take a cruise in a big fiberglass trimaran I'm designing. It would be a lot of fun. If I do stay in for five more years, I'll have enough money stashed away that Dad won't have to work full time and can maybe get a job that will let him have the summer off.

We just finished climbing to 17,000. Pilot had to alter around a huge cloud, but we came out just on course as he altered right and were two miles left to start with.

Wish all the trips we have were this enjoyable. It is only six short flying hours from McGuire to Guantanamo, and the climate is out of this world. Ulcer has been non-existent for some time now, but still have to take my "anti-indigestion" pills. Because I was feeling well, I had a few "Rum Goodies" on the Marine Corps while relaxing in the bar. They rolled us for drinks and lost about nine out of ten. They were very amiable, accommodating chaps who have about the most dangerous job I can think of (they land F4Us on aircraft carriers pretty regularly).

Situation on the Naval base is still hot in the sense that occasional saboteurs are still shot and any Cuban that comes too near the perimeter fence is shot. The Cubans would still be shooting from their side of the fence if they thought they could get away with it. They were sniping for a while until we started shooting back. The base isn't likely to be overrun with heavy ships offshore and mine fields around it--not to mention the Marines who have been cleaning their rifles regularly.

We are going to be over Nassau at 1840Z (in nine minutes). I can get one more easy fix after that on Little Abaco Island, and then I'll be working harder and won't be able to write anymore . . . .

We arrived back at Norfolk with a load of Navy people leaving Cuba and then pushed on to McGuire, landing at night on the 20th.


Strong Wind

On 30 May 1964, I instructed a CONAC student on the way to Lajes; we rested there 'til the next morning and then flew back. This was a unique trip in that as we were flying through the CADIZ into McGuire we slowed down like the hand of God had grabbed us. We had to revise our estimates and call them in on several occasions, because the airplane could not make more the 50 knots headway for about an hour. John Pontin, the CONAC navigator, and I both confirmed that we were just not going very fast. The headwind was in excess of 200 knots on occasion, and there were some clouds below us that looked as if they were boiling. On the ground later the weather man told us that we had been flying over a horizontal tornado which had caused the high winds. We had taken 12 hours to go from Lajes to McGuire, a distance of only 2191 nautical miles.


Thule and Tragedy

I had a grid check with Joe Griffin as my flight examiner on 28 July, 1964. We flew to Goose Bay, Sondrestrom, and then Thule, arriving at Thule late on the same day. And here we stayed. As I recall, we had a weather problem even though it was the middle of the summer. The surface winds were too high to even be outside comfortably, much less take off. We had time to go to the BX and get lots of vodka and cream de cocao, and time to play some pool at the Officers' Club before things went really bad.

From the night of 28 July until early morning of 5 August, a period of a week, we were forced to stay at Thule. We spent most of the time in the barracks, with only a few of those little holes in the surrounding gray walls for ventilation, drinking black Russians and playing a card game called hearts. Periodically, we walked about a block, over to the Officers' Club to eat, play pool, and play the slot machines. But, due to the winds, this did not happen very often. And it seemed that there was daylight here eternally so that sleeping was difficult after a day of playing hearts and drinking black Russians.

Major Boss Vest was our AC during our incarceration, 1st Lt. Gordon Kampert was our first pilot, and Captain James Lyon was our second pilot. Joe, they, and myself knew each other better than we had ever wanted to by the time this week was over. However, I must admit that these guys were all great, and no one ever became irate or even annoyed with anyone else. But, OH, were we badly in need of exercise by the time it was over. I learned a lot about pool playing from Joe on this excursion, and he was one of the best there is at that game. Unfortunately, his good coordination failed to rub off on me.

On the 4th, before we left Thule, Joe finished my evaluation which included another recommendation for me to be upgraded to instructor when a vacancy existed. I had been instructing for a long time without having been given the title. The title did not mean any increase in pay; so, I had not been concerned at the lack of it.

On the 5th, we took off at what was supposed to be 3:40 AM Greenwich time or just before midnight on the 4th McGuire time. In reality, there is no local time at Thule, and that is most apparent after one is there for a week in which there is everlasting daylight. We were very glad to leave and managed to do so before the wind could come up again, flying back the way we had come and arriving at McGuire in the afternoon of the 5th.

We had been flying to Guantanamo for some time now, as had our sister squadron that was being equipped with C-135s (four-engine jets by Boeing). The jets were great for some things but not for others. This was a time when members of our squadron were being recruited to fly in C-135s. The squadron that was to have these aircraft was the eighteenth, and we lost a few people to them. I was not interested because a jet engine took five seconds to react after power was added or taken from it. In other words, it took five seconds for the engine to respond after a throttle adjustment. This was critical in an emergency and required the utmost care by the pilot. Also, the C-135 took a much longer runway, was no good for airfields such as those we had used in the Congo, and, in general, required more babying than the C-118.

One of the C-135s from the 18th, which was piloted by two people who had transferred from the 30th, was taking off from Guantanamo when the pilots realized that they would not be able to turn in time to prevent flying over the Soviet-built tanks at the end of the runway. They banked hard left abruptly, and the bank was too steep, forcing them into a stall. The big airplane fell and crashed inside the chain link fence, killing everyone on board. The crash apparently was not reported to the news media, because there is no record of it in my Encyclopedia Americana Annual, but it happened. And the repercussions at the Officers' Wives' club were horrific, with one wife blaming another because her husband allegedly was responsible for the death them all.

Take-off is considered the most dangerous part of a flight, because the aircraft is at minimum airspeed and climbing with no runway in front of it to land upon. It can achieve no additional kinetic energy to help it if an engine is lost, because it can't dive without crashing. On the other hand, landing is easier, because there is a runway in front of the aircraft. Banking hard when landing is no problem. The speed that one loses in the bank can be replaced by putting the nose down. When taking off, one can also put the nose down but not very much. So a bank immediately after take-off can be a problem, especially if the aircraft loses an engine.

The pilots of the C-135 could have probably taken the risk of getting shot down and improved their chances of survival over what they actually did. However, flying over Cuban territory outside the leased portion, and certainly crashing due to being fired upon, would have caused an international incident that would ultimately make the U.S. lose face. And the pilots responsible would have no chance of being promoted. But lack of promotion is better than dying; so, subsequently, most of us resolved that when we flew into Guantanamo in the future, we would not pay so much attention to the arm twisting of the Johnson administration, and would take our chances with the tanks if a similar situation were to occur.


Trepidation and Canadians

Ten of us left for Rhein-Main on 13 October 1964, taking off two hours later than usual. The winds were good to us all the way and we took only three hours and forty minutes from take-off at McGuire to the blocks in Harmon. We had a problem with an engine at Harmon and had to crew-rest there. When the proper maintenance had been performed, we left. We were able to overfly Prestwick and arrived at the blocks in Rhein-Main with a total flight time of ten hours and forty minutes, indicating an average tailwind component of over 30 knots.

We lost our plane to another crew whose plane was awaiting parts and were in Rhein-Main for three days and able to relax and enjoy ourselves a bit. We left on the 18th at 2:40 in the afternoon and flew to Prestwick. At Prestwick, we had some problems with number one engine and spent an extra hour on the ground. About an hour after take-off, the problem appeared again, and we turned back and landed. We went into crew-rest for a day while the engine was repaired and took off the following evening at 10:40 PM local time.

There is a thing we called the equal time point (ETP). It is the time in a flight when returning takes as long as continuing, making the return option no longer valid. In the event that an engine or two is lost, it must be recomputed for the current situation and the more appropriate airspeed. At the beginning of each flight it is computed, and it is re-computed during the flight as necessary.

About five and a half hours into this flight, there was a problem with number three engine leaking too much oil. It was a high-time engine and not considered very reliable. Rather than shut it down entirely, the pilot reduced power to it, hoping to reduce the leaking and to conserve engine life. I was asked to re-compute the ETP, and to see if Keflavik was close enough to be of any help.

I recomputed the ETP for our lower airspeed and found that we were already too far into the flight to go back to Prestwick. I also computed the time to Keflavik, Iceland, after looking at the prog and found that the winds plus the distance made it a poor candidate. So far, we were not too worried, the average headwind component was about 25 knots, not any more excessive than usual for this leg. We were in a weather front, but that was normal also. And the partial loss of an engine was also normal these days. Then number one quit entirely and its prop was feathered.

I computed our present position, gave it to the pilot, and re-computed the ETP. Keflavik was out of the question. We were still committed to Newfoundland, but this time it would be the civilian airfield at Gander as it was the closest airport available. Meantime, the copilot had radioed our position and our problem to Air Sea Rescue, and they decided to send out a C-54 to accompany us and to orbit in case we had to ditch.

The flight attendants were called forward, one-by-one; so, as not to alert the passengers to our difficulty. They were informed of the situation and told to be prepared just in case. After that, I don't think any of them slept.

As the hours passed, the other navigator continued to take LORAN fixes and pressure pattern readings. I may have been helping as I could not sleep. The clouds were so thick that celestial was out of the question. The pilots kept radioing our positions as we crept along. The C-54 came to meet us, and we knew it was there but could not see it. I was appalled at the reduction in our airspeed, but at least it allowed the C-54 to stay with us easily. It was an older aircraft with smaller engines and could fly about as fast on all four of its engines as we could on two and a half of ours. I had difficulty trying to avoid dwelling upon the thought of ditching in this darkness into the storm swells below. If we were to ditch, even with the C-54 above, we were not likely to survive. The air temperature outside was enough to freeze us within a few minutes even without the ocean. The C-54 was not a seaplane and could not land to pick us up even if the swells had been small enough to allow it, and the nearest ship was likely to be much too far away to help us before we succumbed to the cold and died.

I tried to think about other things like Sherrie and the kids, the last time we were at my parents, the times I spent in the forest in New Jersey with a bow, running along a woodland path in Michigan as a teenager when I did my conditioning for cross-country and track, and even times when I was younger in grade school.

My will had been made long ago, but there wasn't much to will to a widow. The service did not care for dependents of dead men. Sherrie would be on her own except for our parents and siblings. Life as a single mother with two youngsters was tough. Even if another man wanted the responsibility of two kids, the adjustment would be a difficult one. I decided that I definitely could not afford to lose my life here at this time.

It was over five hours after the problems began, with dawn just breaking, when we began our descent into Gander. The storm was behind us, and there was light in the east with the coast of Newfoundland beckoning below. The pilots increased the power on number three again so that we would have it for the landing. There was enough oil left for that. The C-54 crew wished us well and went on their way with our heartfelt thanks. We landed just after 5:00 AM local time, and number three was shut down immediately after we landed.

After leaving the airplane, I headed for the men's room to brush my teeth. My mouth tasted terrible after all those cups of coffee and a four-hour-old meal. I was exhausted with the tension of flying on only two engines, the extra fixes and position reports, and the maintaining of the narrow corridor as we went through the CADIZ. Technically, the other navigator had been working while I was supposed to have been sleeping. However, under the circumstances I had only been able to doze occasionally. In case of any further adverse developments, it had been best that I be well apprised of the current situation rather than waste time if there were only a few moments to send out a mayday message and prepare for ditching.

We debriefed and were told that we would be quartered at the nearby Canadian RADAR site with the Canadians. We ate ravenously at the cafeteria. A small bus took us to the RADAR base shortly afterward, we were showed to our rooms, and for a time we simply died. I slept until dinner time and was hungry again. As I recall we had dinner at the Canadian Officers' Club.

The Canadians were very amiable and conversations started up. Unlike the American Officers' Clubs, the Canadian clubs at that time were stag and women were not allowed. We went into the bar and found most of the Canadian officers there. They told us that we could order their local brew, a purplish-brownish sweet liquor made from molasses, for only fifty cents a glass. Other kinds of liquor cost more. The local padre was the bartender, and he was also a good drinker.

As the night progressed, we were invited to play spin the bottle, and on the floor, set into the tiles, was a circle about which we were to sit with a hole in the middle for a pointer which could be spun about. The padre was the first person to spin the pointer. The person that it pointed to named an alcoholic drink. Then he spun the pointer. The next person it pointed to paid for the drink and spun the pointer. The third person it pointed to drank the drink in one gulp, allowing only a swallow of beer as a chaser. Then he spun the pointer to start the cycle over again. As this dangerous game continued, we became more and more inebriated until finally, the game broke up. Needless to say, the loser was the one who had drunk the most drinks.

The next game was more difficult, especially now. One must stand at attention against a wall with his heels against the wall, take a beer bottle, squat down and place the bottle on the tile floor, and place his hands on the top of the bottle. The object was to push the bottle as far out from the wall as possible without touching the floor with anything but the bottle and one's toes. Then one had to pull the bottle back and stand up, again without touching the floor with anything but the bottle and one's toes. Some of the Canadians could extend their arms all the way out. They had the most terrific stomach muscles I have ever heard of, and we had no way of duplicating their feats with a beer bottle.

We were then told by the padre what was necessary to become a master Drambuie drinker. Drambuie is liqueur made from Scotch. Scotch is made from malted barley, dried in a kiln over a peat fire. The smoke from the peat permeates the whiskey, giving it the smoky flavor. Drambuie keeps the smoky flavor while having a syrupy sweetness to it. There is a long story leading up to the way to tell a master Drambuie drinker, but the bottom line is that the master drinks his Drambuie flaming without burning himself. The padre proceeded to illustrate this by holding a match over a liqueur glass filled with Drambuie until the alcohol was burning and then waiting for it to boil. He then tipped his head back and poured it into his open mouth.

One of our pilots, a Captain whose name I will not mention, took this all in. He was a rather crude but likeable man, big-boned and macho to the point that I enjoyed ribbing him, although I doubt that he realized what I was doing. He did not seem to realize what the boiling point of alcohol was, and he seemed to have missed the principle of the pouring, but he was damned if he couldn't do as well as that little padre. So he tried to attain his master's degree in Drambuie drinking and burned his lips doing it. When one burns one's lips, he has failed the test.

I couldn't resist the temptation to bother the Captain by beating him and to uphold the honor of the Americans among the watching Canadians, and the other crew members wanted nothing to do with this challenge. So I let the padre fill the glass and light the Drambuie, watched it boil, and then tipped my head back and carefully poured it into my mouth without allowing it to touch my lips. It was simple enough and tasted fine (I have always liked Drambuie). I was then pronounced a master Drambuie drinker, the first master's degree I had ever attained.

After this, the home brew was free, and the war stories flew. A bit later, all drinks were free, and things kept going into the wee hours. We all woke the next morning with hangovers, but I think I had the worst. It was the worst I had had since Scotland just after the new year in 1961. At this time I vowed never to do something so foolish again, and I have kept that vow to this day insofar as drinking is concerned.

We took off the next morning at 10:20 local time and made it all the way back to McGuire without our heads actually splitting. I was glad that this flight was on airways and the pilots could do the navigating.

From a letter home on 22 Oct 64:

. . . I just got in last night after one of the worst trips I have had to date. It was supposed to be a three day trip, but it took eight. We left McGuire last Tuesday and got to our first stop. #2 engine had over 100 rpm drop on the run-up out of Harmon, Newfoundland, and we crew-rested there while maintenance was performed. We took off the next day and managed to conserve enough fuel to go direct to Germany without stopping in Scotland. In Germany, however, our plane was taken by another crew whose plane was awaiting parts, and it was over three days before we got out of there. We stopped next in Scotland to refuel (our plane at this time was one of the oldest most beat-up planes in the fleet), and on the take-off run-up we detected a fouled plug on the #1 engine. We taxied back in and maintenance replaced the plug. We tried again and finally took off, but one hour out we had a dead cylinder on #1 and had to pull off almost all power to that engine. We had to turn around and come back.

We crew-rested in Scotland while the cylinder was replaced and tried again the next day. On the run-up #1 started smoking so we taxied back in. Maintenance went over the engine thoroughly and found nothing wrong. They surmised that the smoking was due to a pool of oil they had neglected to wipe up that was inside one of the exhaust stacks. We didn't believe this was the cause, but we couldn't prove anything, because the engine checked out OK on the run-up except for the smoke.

We went ahead and took off. By this time I had the definite feeling that we would have trouble about the time got to the middle of the pond. I seldom ever have such premonitions, but when I do, they usually turn out to be right. After all this trouble I guess we were all a little skittish. I was more than skittish. I was worried, and if I hadn't been in the military with orders to do this thing, I would have gotten off and told them all to go to H.

We did fine until we arrived at our ETP (the point where it takes equal time to go back or to continue on with four engines). At this time I woke the other navigator, and I went to bed. A half hour later, at almost precisely our three-engine ETP, #1 began to backfire atrociously and it was feathered. We had two good engines left now and one high-time engine that was running, but for how long we weren't sure.

There was a long way to go. Over five hours of flying. The pilot put us on a power setting designed to take a minimum of effort from the engines and started a gradual let-down (in steps of a thousand feet at a time) that was designed to relieve the engines occasionally and still not let us get too low. We changed our destination to Gander, Newfoundland. It was closer than Harmon, and Harmon weather was looking bad. We were hoping that Gander weather would stay good. The Navy at Argentia dispatched an air-sea rescue plane to escort us, and it intercepted us later and flew off our wing until we got to Gander.

I was very thankful to feel the wheels touch the runway at Gander. But all this had its humorous side. When the engine was feathered we all made a big effort not to let the passengers know anything was wrong (most of them were asleep at the time). We continued to act normally, joking as usual and being careful not to let them see us looking at the left wing. On the landing, I was sitting across the aisle from a master sergeant and his wife as the other navigator was monitoring. The master sergeant suddenly looked out at the left wing and noticed the dead engine in the morning twilight.

"We landed without that engine!" he informed his wife.
"Don't worry, Honey," she replied, "We haven't bothered to use it for several hours.'"

I could have choked upon hearing that remark, and I wondered how many other passengers had noticed. I found the answer in the men's room inside the terminal. The passengers were discussing the engine while I was brushing my teeth. Apparently, most of them had realized that we were flying without it, though not at the time it was feathered. They were debating how significant a thing it was. Most of them had either been on board a plane or known someone who had landed without an engine, and they realized it was only a little more than a routine occurrence. Of course they didn't know that most one-engine-out flights are of short duration with three strong engines instead of two strong ones and one half sick. They didn't appreciate the fact of the cold Atlantic beneath us. They were blissfully ignorant. But they were still discussing. One man still felt that the situation had some serious implications, but he was squelched completely when another man made the comment that ended the discussion without the least doubt of who was right.

"It obviously wasn't worth being concerned about," he said glibly, "Didn't you notice that the crew wasn't even worried?"

I couldn't help but make an odd sputtering noise through the bubbles of toothpaste in my mouth, and a few of them looked at me with mild surprise. They never found out that I was merely relieving myself of an unsuppressible snigger.

The engine was changed at Gander while we crew-rested again, and we got home finally.


Down Range and Line Check

1 November 1964 was the date that a crew of eight left for another down-range trip. We took off at 9:55 AM local time and picked up some people at Charleston. They must have been in a hurry, because my records showed that we had only twenty-five minutes there from blocking in to take-off. Then it was to Patrick AFB again on the Cape for a brief crew-rest. The Cape had a new name since the President's death and was now called Cape Kennedy. [This was changed back later to Cape Canaveral.]

Nineteen sixty-four was a busy year for NASA with the launching of fourteen scientific, meteorological, and communications satellites. The Soviets had kept their one-up-manship by launching twenty-three, but their technology in most ways was still inferior to ours, and they were trying to make up in quantity what they lacked in quality.

Some of the most notable of our launchings were the Ranger, Mariner, and Explorer satellites. The Ranger satellites were to be sent to the moon for photographing the lunar surface at close range. The Mariners were to be sent to within a few thousand miles of Mars to take photographs of the Martian surface. The Explorers were to be placed in orbit above earth to measure certain things happening in the ionosphere.

The two Ranger satellites we launched in 1964 were a fifty-fifty proposition. They were identical satellites designed to impact upon the moon while sending photographs to us on the way down. Ranger VI, the first one for this year, launched on 30 January, failed to transmit the photos. Ranger VII, launched in late July, was successful, transmitting 4,316 photographs before impacting on 31 July.

Explorer XX, a 300 pound satellite used for scientific investigation was launched into a near polar orbit on 25 August. Explorer XXI was launched on 3 October and achieved only half of its planned altitude. Explorer XXII was successfully launched on 9 October, achieving a near-circular, almost-polar orbit.

The morning of 2 November, we took off from Patrick and flew to Antigua where we spent an hour and a half on the ground. Recife was the next stop where we rested for three-quarters of a day and enjoyed the luxuries of more steak and tomato sandwiches, fresh fruit, and the warm ocean. We arrived at Recife at 6:05 AM on the 3rd and departed five minutes after midnight on the 4th. We arrived at Ascension Island at 8:45 AM local and were off again after an hour and a half, arriving back at Recife just after noon local time and staying until 8:00 AM on the 5th.

From a letter home that Sherrie wrote on 5 Nov 1964:

. . . Lew got a letter today from the Association of Graduates USAFA Colo. One of his classmates, Lt. Valmore W. Bourque, was killed in action against the enemy in Vietnam the 24th of October. They were carrying vitally needed ammunition and supplies to Vietnamese & U. S. Army Special Forces personnel. While preparing for their air drop, they were subjected to intense enemy ground fire, making their aircraft completely uncontrollable & causing an immediate crash. All aboard perished. Lew and I feel badly. He was stationed here a little while back and had a real sweet wife. They gave him a military funeral service with full military honors and buried him at the Academy today . . . .

The flight to Zandery from Recife was in the daytime when temperatures can soar. Unfortunately, our cabin pressurization and our air conditioning failed shortly after take-off, and we were forced to make a compromise between a high altitude where the temperature would be cooler, and low altitude which would allow us to breathe without taking oxygen all the time. We chose 15,000 feet which was still too warm and still made working difficult for a navigator.

There is an oxygen mask at the navigation station which I could use if I wanted to do so. I did not want to use it because the oxygen tube interfered with my work. I knew that if I became oxygen-starved I would likely try to hyperventilate; so, I took great pains to prevent this by moving slowly enough that my breathing did not become too excessive. Excessive breathing exhausts too much carbon dioxide from the lungs. This, in turn, takes too much carbonic acid from the blood, and that makes the blood too basic, which is what causes hyperventilation symptoms (dizziness, the feeling of not being able to catch one's breath, and eventually passing out). Oxygen starvation, known as hypoxia, was less of a problem at 15,000 feet, as it merely leads to one passing out and then recovering automatically as his metabolism slows down.

In spite of the discomfort and the excessive tiring of oxygen deprivation, I enjoyed this flight back. The sky was full of scattered cumulonimbus clouds which we zigzagged around. Each started at an altitude of about 5,000 feet and extended upward to about 18,000 feet, except for a few really large ones that went up about 25,000 feet. The Amazon River, its tributaries, and the jungle below were clearly visible, a brown snake with several heads and tails amid an ocean of green. And, of course, the blue Atlantic was there, either in the distance or just below, according to how far we were from the coast.

Just before landing, I did breathe oxygen for awhile as did the rest of the crew. We arrived at Zandery at 1:30 PM local and were in the air again by 4:00. On this leg we were over the ocean where the temperature was more agreeable, and we dropped down to where we could breathe easily, landing at Antigua at 8:00 PM where we spent only a few minutes before going on to Patrick, arriving at 2:00 AM local on the 6th and crew-resting.

On the 5th, Mariner III was launched; but burnout was premature in the last stage of the Atlas-Agena rocket; and there were difficulties with the shroud, the solar panels, and the control systems. The mission was a failure. On the 6th while we were at Patrick, Explorer XXIII was launched from Wallops Island, Virginia, to the north of us, but still using the down-range RADAR tracking facilities. It was created to study the micro-meteorite hazards to space travel.

We left Patrick at 4:10 PM local on November 6 and arrived at McGuire four hours later.

Back at McGuire on 9 November, there was a squadron meeting to pre-plan the reassignment of squadron personnel to other squadrons. The 30th squadron was being deactivated, and the people were to go to new squadrons which had either C-135s (four-engine jets by Boeing), or C-130s (four-engine turboprops by Lockheed). Some of the people would be transferred stateside or overseas to other bases. We were to report any preference we had before 20 November. Our choices were C-135s, C-141s (the new giant starlifter jets), overseas C-118s, stateside C-118s, or schools for more training.

I was not interested in going overseas, having seen enough of what was there and being somewhat family oriented. My overseas date had been changed with every mission overseas so that it was not a mandatory option. Another stateside C-118 assignment made no sense for a navigator. I had taken Squadron Officer's School via correspondence, several courses (all that were available) for intelligence officers, also via correspondence, had applied for graduate work in physics or math and the application had been denied for the present; so, schooling did not seem to be what I wanted. I did not like the jets for various reasons. That left the turboprops which were probably the safest, best performing, and most versatile aircraft of them all. So I chose to go into C-130s at McGuire. Later, my choice was accepted.

My annual flight evaluation was on a trip to Rhein-Main on the 16th, with Joe Griffin as the flight examiner. It was not the usual run through Harmon and Prestwick, because we had engine trouble about an hour after taking off at McGuire and came back. We were ten hours late by the time the airplane was ready. And again, about half an hour out of Harmon, we came back, this time going into crew-rest for eleven hours while the maintenance people worked on the plane. We finally arrived at Prestwick without further difficulty and then went on to Rhein-Main.

On the way across, Joe mentioned that a friend had been staying with him and Caroline, his wife. The man had been having terrible nightmares, moving abruptly and screaming in his sleep. When asked about them, the man related a story. He was in the Air Force and had recently been to Vietnam where he had wanted to see how the other half (the Army) lived. One of our advisors invited him to go on a hike through the jungle of the variety typical of their "hikes." Joe's friend accepted.

There were the two Americans and several Vietnamese. The Vietnamese were carrying automatic weapons. They did not encounter any Viet Cong, but on the way back from their foray as they were moving along a narrow jungle path, there was a terrible scream from behind and everyone turned around to see the last Vietnamese soldier being disemboweled by a tiger which had been lying in wait (they usually took the last one in the column). It was too late to save the soldier. The other soldiers cut the tiger in half with their weapons. Joe's friend had not been the same since.


More Guantanamo and a Trawler

On 6 December, the day that I was promoted to Captain, it was Guantanamo again, and we picked up Navy people as usual at Norfolk, Virginia, took them to Cuba, carried other Navy people back to Norfolk, and returned to McGuire. We were careful to avoid the bad areas where we might get shot down, and we spent less than a day at Guantanamo, returning on the 10th.

On 19 December 1964, my birthday, six of us left for Lajes at 10:50 in the morning. Halfway there we ran into some foul weather. There was another aircraft ahead of us which was having trouble with its navigation equipment and a couple of engines. Typical of their homicidal mentality, a Russian trawler crew decided the aircraft in trouble would be an easy mark to destroy, and the trawler began to jam the RADAR and play games with the ADF's. Usually, the object was confuse the crew into thinking they were where they were expecting to be while vectoring them into a mountaintop or the ocean, the last phase being a phony ground controlled approach. And it worked. We had lost some that way.

I spotted the problem on the RADAR scope since it affected ours as well and used some of our ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) techniques to locate the trawler. We were in radio contact with the aircraft ahead, and I advised their navigator of the problem and told him the location of the trawler. This allowed him to use the trawler as a very reliable navigation aid. Then I began to make records of what was going on as it occurred. In effect, we had an ECM fight with the trawler which lasted about four hours, and in the process managed to help the beseiged aircraft ahead of us, which landed safely.

When we arrived at Lajes, we were subjected to a lengthy intelligence debriefing, and I, as the "ECM operator" (or the closest we had to one) on board, bore the brunt of the paperwork. I didn't get to bed until the wee hours, and I was very tired by then.

We flew back at the appointed time without incident, and I thought nothing of it until about the middle of February 1965, when I received a complaint from higher headquarters regarding the ECM incident. My reply was as follows:

1. At the time of the incident mentioned, myself, the crew members with which I was flying, and the intelligence officer at Lajes were unaware of any requirement to turn in form 100's at our home station.

2. As the form 100's were secret when filled out, I have not kept any personal copies.

3. I do not remember the details of the incident sufficiently to be able to submit a proper report at this date as the report turned in at Lajes required six separate form 100's and three pages of narrative.



There was another trip to Guantanamo on the 22 December with Gordy Kampert in command. He had just turned into an Aircraft Commander, and he was rather cocky about it, having gained some weight with his new sense of prosperity and more dinners out with his wife.

We began the approach to Norfolk NAS, and I watched the runway on RADAR as I always did. We passed over the end of the runway at about 75 feet of altitude and dropped on down to 50 feet. The airplane rounded out, but we were still a little bit high, and I waited for Gordy to push the wheel forward and let us drop down a bit more before the final round-out and touchdown. I waited and waited and then felt the airplane drop. I was jarred as we hit the runway with a loud and unpleasant noise, and then I wondered if the wings were still on the fuselage.

We trailed hydraulic fluid from the landing gear struts all the way into the parking area, and by the time we had arrived, the struts had lost all fluid, and the airplane had settled down like an old Cadillac with broken springs. But at least the wings still clung to the fuselage. As we exited the aircraft, I asked Gordy what had happened.

"Well," he answered,"you know how I have been putting on weight lately. I really wasn't used to being this big. I had the seat adjusted like I always do at just the right height and forward enough to reach the rudder pedals easily. But when I pulled the wheel back to start the round-out, my stomach was so big that the wheel caught on my safety belt and I couldn't get it forward again."

The hydraulic seals on the landing gear had burst with the impact, but the rest of the airplane was all right. We had new seals installed and were back in the air within three hours.

On the flight back from Guantanamo, we were threading our way through cumulonimbus clouds that projected well above our altitude and were growing as we watched them. We were keeping well away, about three miles or so at least. Suddenly, there was a roar and a clattering as tiny missiles struck the windscreen, nose, and leading edges of the wings. Gordy reduced the airspeed rapidly until we were just above a stall, and we continued for a time through the hail until it eventually ceased. One of the big clouds had thrown the hailstones out of its top for a distance of over three miles, and the only way we could avoid damage was to slow down so the that impact on the airplane would be lessened.

We landed at Norfolk without further difficulty, spent 50 minutes on the ground, and went on to McGuire, arriving just after midnight on the 24th. I told Sherry what had happened on the landing at Norfolk, and she observed that Gordy and Carol were always a lot of fun.


Farewell to the Queen

On 1 January 1965, the sixth anniversary of his seizure of power, Fidel Castro displayed land-to-land missiles and jet planes supplied by the Soviet Union, and censured the United States as his enemy. Four days later, Cuba and Communist China announced the concluding of a five-year trade pact designed to make "new contributions to the struggle against imperialism headed by the United States." Castro also received a delegation of Viet Cong and began offering to send troops to fight on their side. And he was broadcasting Communist propaganda by radio each week to Latin American countries and training men at thirty terrorist and guerrilla warfare schools in preparation to sending them to Latin American countries for their "wars of liberation."

On 18 January, the Soviet News Agency reported that Communist Party delegates from 22 countries in the Western Hemisphere had met in Havana, Cuba, in November and December to work for greater unity in the Communist movement. Reportedly, Communist revolutionaries in Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, and Haiti would receive active aid in their efforts to seize power by force.

Cuba was now regarded as a Communist military base and a base for fomenting trouble in the Western Hemisphere. Apparently, the Soviets felt that the Johnson administration was weak, or they were bribing Johnson in some fashion (not a difficult thing to do), because they were now sending 84 ships a day to supply Cuba, and spending $1.5 million a day in so doing. Supplies included everything from Soviet military personnel to missiles for the Surface to Air Missile (SAM) sites. Johnson was doing nothing to prevent this build-up via shipping as Kennedy had done.

On 2 February 1965, I was scheduled for a line check for upgrading to instructor, with Dick Goodwin as the Flight Examiner. We were supposed to go to Rhein-Main, but at the last minute, we were sent to Cuba instead. Rhein-Main always had a six month backlog of missions. There was always something or someone to take over there or to bring back. However, it was low priority as compared to the hot spots that came up, and that was one reason it always had the backlog that it did.

I was not especially pleased at having my line check as an instructor altered the way it had been. The biggest challenge an instructor has is to judge correctly just how far he can let a student go on his own. If the student feels that he is not trusted, that someone is always watching him, he can seldom do his best. On the other hand, if the student does something that is not right, he needs to be gently corrected before his error compounds and jeopardizes the mission. Rhein-Main trips were usually standard and allowed one to teach a variety of techniques to a student while allowing the student to practice them without someone constantly looking over this shoulder. A trip to Cuba, on the other hand, was a trip in which a navigator, instructor or otherwise, prefers to be completely in charge, a trip where he knows how to respond to the slightest threat quickly. The fact that SAM sites could launch their missiles at us at a moment's notice was an incentive to get the navigation right at all costs.

Our flight to Guantanamo this time was almost identical to those we had made before. We flew first to Norfolk, then to Guantanamo, and then back to Norfolk before returning to McGuire. I had been instructing 2nd Lt. Owen O'Donnell, and looking over his shoulder a bit more than usual since we were in a zone of severe danger. As a result, I was given a very complimentary write-up by Dick, and, with Col. Labbe's and Col. Stormo's endorsements, was upgraded to instructor status officially, effective as of 5 February (although the orders erroneously said 19 February) when I took the written exam for instructor. As I look back at my records now, I am amazed at how I looked at that age, certainly not as pretty, but very much like my eldest daughter. But age makes changes, and I no longer look that way.

From the McGuire Airtides, 12 March 1965:

C-118 LIFTMASTER--Pictured in one of its many trans-continental flights is the C-118
Liftmaster, long the workhorse of the MATS fleet. The C-118 is a fast, safe, comfortable,
four-engine aircraft which can be modified easily to suit any MATS requirement.

McGuire C-118 Phaseout to End Decade of Service

Many Firsts Highlighted Aircraft's 10-Year Career

When the C-118 Liftmaster phases out of McGuire this year, it will leave behind a record of outstanding service.

Long the workhorse of the Military Air Transport Fleet, the C-118, the military version of the DC-6, was assigned to McGuire in 1955 as a part of the 30th Air Transport Squadron which had moved to McGuire under the command of Col. Coleman V. Williams Jr. The aircraft is currently assigned to both the 30th and the 38th ATS.

Thirty-four C-118s are currently used by the 1611th Air Transport Wing to aid in the airlift of some 55,000 military personnel channeled monthly through the MATS Passenger Terminal.

Before the advent of the C-135 Stratolifter into the transport fleet, the C-118 was flying 10 to 12 trans-Atlantic flights per day.

Part of the unique accomplishments of the C-118s outstanding record can be attributed to its simple, durable aeronautical design. The four engined, prop aircraft can carry 76 fully equipped infantrymen or 15 tons of cargo, almost 3,000 miles at a top speed of 327 miles per hour.

Many McGuireites have been associated with the C-118 during the past 10 years and have many fond memories of the aircraft. One such person is CWO Anthon P. Barnat, 1611th OMS, who has worked on and off with the C-118 for the majority of the last 10 years.

In an interview, he recalled certain outstanding highlights of the C-118s career:

* It was the first aircraft equipped to carry polio patients, being fitted out with special wiring to carry iron lungs.
* It was the first military aircraft to use female flight attendants, or stewardesses. At one time, over 200 WAF were assigned to McGuire as flight attendants.
* It was the first aircraft designed as a dependent special, being modified with playpens, special feeding apparatus, and even people qualified to assist in the delivery of children.
* The C-118 was the prime vehicle of the "hot-dog" runs of recent years, which were shuttle flights for distinguished persons from McGuire to Washington and then to France.

Along with performance of these regularly scheduled missions, the C-118 played a major role in Operation Safe Haven during which 14,000 Hungarian refugees were airlifted to the U. S. in late 1956 and early 1957.

Tactical support of certain Army-Air Force joint exercises, such as Operation Desert Strike, Polar Strike, Long Thrust, Gold Fire, Indian River, and other tactical maneuvers have been assigned to the C-118.

Another aspect of the C-118s record, and perhaps the one that brings it into public view most vividly, was the mercy missions. Many times in the 10-year period, a C-118 has been diverted from its scheduled mission to fly to the assistance of an individual who was sick or injured and unable to get to adequate medical facilities. Whether carrying an important serum, transporting a sick or dying victim, or carrying military personnel to aid the civilian community in a disaster, the C-118 has been ready to serve.

Completion of these mercy missions has always been accomplished without delay or interference with MATS mission requirements.

The last time I ever flew in the C-118 was on another trip to Ascension Island, a down-range mission that I never expected to take again. We took off on 21 February 1965 and picked up passengers at Dover, flying from there to Norfolk, then Hunter AFB near Savannah, and at lastly to Patrick near Cape Kennedy. All the stops enroute to Patrick were just long enough to have some people scramble aboard; so, someone was in a hurry. We went into crew-rest for a day at Patrick.

But before leaving the C-118, there are a few things I have to say about her. She flew through the weather rather than above it. This is sometimes uncomfortable, but it does allow one to see things rarely seen by those who do not fly through weather. St. Elmo's fire, though not usually as spectacular as the incident mentioned earlier, was still seen from time-to-time in a very lovely display. Views below decks of clouds or in "caves" of clouds with cumulonimbus stalactites, stalagmites, and columns, are a sight that never fails to thrill one and make one realize the vastness of things around him. It is both a humbling and a relieving experience, letting one know that the universe is much bigger than he is and that he need not worry that anything we do will ever really have much effect upon it in the long run.

Clouds come in all shapes from the stratus that lies like a blanket to the nimbus that rises upward, from small rain clouds to towering monsters. There are tall anvil-headed clouds that spread out at the top to show where the jet streams begin, ruffled looking clouds that show where turbulence lies between air masses, clouds that are formed by mountain effect and tell an aviator where the updrafts and downdrafts lurk, clouds that are white, clouds that are gray, clouds that are black, orange, or pink. And I never grew tired of flying above, below, around, and through them. Seeing them from within was and is the privilege of those who move in the domain of the frost giants.

There have been times in this old queen of the skies, not when I was there unfortunately, when ball lightning has rolled down the aisle of the passenger cabin, causing flight attendants to jump into the laps of nearby passengers. This phenomenon is nothing to be concerned about if one does not touch it, being a ball of ionized air moving along with the airflow from the air-conditioning, in a relatively dry environment that prevents an easy discharge. There have been times when the turbulence was enough to make a navigator slightly airsick. This was not fun, but definitely added to the feeling of being personally involved.

The sound of the queen's engines was serene and comforting, never too loud, but loud enough to know that you were in the womb of a powerful metal being. There was the usual smell of oxygen masks, tube-type electronic equipment, and coffee. But there was also the smell of the fabric of the seats and curtains for the crew bunks, and of the dinners heating in the ovens. Even the smell of the leather of the navigator's personal kit and the rubber around the eyepiece of the sextant had a different quality when inhaled with the background of the other smells. The sound of the engines was her voice, and the blend of odors was her perfume.

The ancient Kelts had their horses which were loved by their riders, and the modern Kelts have their airplanes which are "ensouled" and loved by their crews. I loved and trusted this supremely reliable lady that Douglas had created, and I knew I would miss her. During her time, this beautiful queen had reigned within the mists of the air ocean that surrounds this lovely ball that orbits our yellow sun - and she had triumphed.


The C-130 Hercules

A set of orders came out on 4 March 1965, relieving me of duty with the 30th Air Transport Squadron and assigning me to duty with the 29th Air Transport Squadron effective as of February 29. The new set-up deleted the 30th squadron altogether. The 38th was the only one keeping the C-118 temporarily. The 18th and 40th squadrons had been in existence for some time, flying C-135s, and they were being augmented with people from the 30th and 38th. The 29th, as I recall, had also been in existence for some time flying C-118s and was going to become a C-130 squadron. There were also changes in assignment that affected the 1611 Field Maintenance Squadron, the 1611 Civil Engineering Squadron, the 1611 Supply Squadron, and the 1611 Air Transport Wing (Headquarters for the Wing).

Sometime between 27 February and 11 March 1965, I was given an orientation ride in the C-130. My impressions were generally favorable. It had four turboprop engines which were much smaller than the piston engines of the C-118, but developed the equivalent of twice the horsepower. The C-130 could perform on two engines as well as the C-118 could perform on all four engines. It had a rate of climb when empty that was essentially the same as that of an F-100 without its afterburner on. It had a very fast cruising speed which may still be classified since the airplane is still in the inventory. When lightly loaded, it handled almost like a fighter plane, able to sustain high "G" loadings better than many transports of the past. And it carried a very large load as compared to the old, similarly configured C-123. These features were what led it to be nicknamed the "Hercules."

Its engines made a high-pitched sound that required one to wear either earplugs, earmuffs, or a headset to avoid hearing damage when within close proximity of the aircraft. Failure to do this, resulted in permanent ringing of the ears due to damage to the interior of the cochlea. The sound inside during flight was just a lot of "white" noise which my subconscious, when I was dozing, always turned to either classical style symphonic music or choral music, neither of which had ever been heard before. When not on duty, and in the crew bunk, the music would lull me to sleep and awaken me later.

This airplane did not look much like anything I was accustomed to seeing. It squatted at its parking place looking very much like a large pregnant goose, with a black radome for a nose that protruded like Jimmy Duranti's, and a set of wheels placed on either side of its fat square fuselage. The wings drooped in a curve when the aircraft was on the ground, and then rose to curve upward as the aircraft began to use them during take-off. The wings had no dihedral, their upward curve during flight serving the same function. The wing was high on the fuselage, the horizontal stabilizer even higher, and the rudder was very large and protruding far upward above the other parts of the aircraft. There was a large portion at the bottom of the rear of the fuselage that could be dropped to make a ramp which could allow vehicles to drive up. Its in-flight profile showed the fuselage hanging down from the wing and the tail curving upward.

There were rails on the ramp that allowed heavy loads to move backward and drop off the end to parachute down into a drop zone. When the mission was parachute drops, the ramp at the rear came down at an angle as the aircraft mushed along only slightly above a stall and the things being dropped slid down this inclined plane that was the ramp and fell, the chute opening just after dropping. There was a door near the left rear of the fuselage for entry and exit to the plane, and to discharge paratroopers when necessary.

The latrine was a potty with a curtain over it. There were no passenger seats. Cloth and metal seats could be erected for personnel if need be, or could be folded and stowed on the fuselage sides when we wished to carry only cargo. Sometimes we carried parachutes since we seldom had passengers, and wore our flight suits to work instead of our class A's. There were occasions when flying on airways, that I worked with a flight traffic specialist to re-configure the back from a cargo bay to a troop carrier or vice-versa. The change took only two hours with both of us working, and the airplane was so cleverly designed that either way it looked like that was all it was designed to do.

The crew compartment had two levels. The pilots sat low in front with the engineer perched above them and between them. Behind the engineer was the upper flight deck, with the navigator's station on the right, dominated by a computer, and then the usual RADAR set and LORAN. On the left of the upper flight deck were the stairs leading down to the cargo bay. And at the rear of the upper flight deck, were the crew bunks. The cockpit area was dominated by windows looking almost everywhere.

When the wheels retracted after take-off, they did so by means of a screw mechanism that was powered by an electrical motor. The wheels did not need to go very far to retract because they were never extended very far. The computer had a partner in a type of RADAR that provided the drift and the ground speed. To the information provided by the RADAR was added the pressure altitude, RADAR altitude, true heading, and indicated airspeed. One need only to look at the computer readout to see what the wind was. However, this was an old computer compared to those of today, making it large and able to do only one simple thing well. And it was guaranteed to be out of commission at least half of the time, and no one could guess which half.

In flight, the C-130 wallowed unpredictably through the air, unlike the C-118 which had a very predictable two-minute rolling motion timed perfectly for the two-minute averager on the navigator's sextant. This meant that a perfectly accurate celestial fix was virtually impossible in the C-130. Any speed line in the fix would usually be good, but any course line was bound to be slightly erroneous. The cure was to use celestial for speed lines and pressure pattern for course lines.

Later on, when I was teaching students in the C-130, I found that they failed to understand the importance of recording readings from the aneroid and RADAR altimeters because they thought that the computer would always do all their work for them. Halfway through a flight leg, the computer would fail, and they would be in trouble, because they had no way to carry pressure pattern. But this seldom made enough of an impression on them to do what was needed, and the flight examiners for the 29th were lax enough to pass them anyway.

Ditching in any aircraft was never a pleasurable thing to do, but in the C-130, with the wing on top, it appeared to be suicide. The C-118 had a wing on the bottom of the fuselage with the partly empty fuel tanks in it, allowing the plane to float long enough for the crew and passengers to position the life rafts, climb into them, and exit the airplane. The C-130, with the wing on top, would have its fuselage immediately under water hanging from the wings which would be floating. Also, on impact with the water, the crew compartment with all its windows would take the brunt of the force with no wing to help. The only saving grace was that the life rafts were on compartments in the wing that could be accessed from the top. This was fine as long as there was someone to get out of the airplane and a way for them to get out.

Long after I left the service, the versatility of the C-130 became legendary. It was used by Air-Sea Rescue to fly out to an area where a plane or surface vessel had gone down and then fly a search pattern. On the way out, when speed was needed, all four engines were used at high cruise power. Once over the site, two engines would be shut down and the other two reduced to normal cruise power for the slower search pattern. This conserved fuel and made the search easier for those looking at the water.

After the successful use of "Puff the magic dragon," the C-47 with gatling guns mounted on the side, a super dragon was built which was a C-130 with larger gatling guns firing from the side. As did Puff, this ship would patrol sectors in Vietnam, and when a fort or village was threatened or when a large concentration of guerrillas was discovered, the C-130 would go into a left bank that aimed the guns at the jungle below. In only a few moments, the dragon tongue of tracers would caress the jungle with flame that spread one bullet for every square foot in an area the size of a football field. The airplane could continue this rain of fire until the ammo ran out if necessary, because the fire came from the side of the plane and a constant bank kept it trained on the same spot below. The carrying capacity of the C-130 was such that the ammo just didn't run out.

C-130s were also used as tankers to refuel attack helicopters, as electronic countermeasures ships, as aerial command posts, and later to fight forest fires.

I was given a 60-hour course of indoctrination on C-130 navigation and C-130 systems, and passed the written exam, during the period between 1 March and 11 March.

On 11 March 1965, a crew of 13 people left McGuire at 8:25 PM local to fly to Rhein-Main. This was an unusual flight with three pilots being checked out by a pilot flight examiner (FE), two navigators (including me) being checked out by an FE, an FE engineer being checked out by an FE while he checked out a student engineer, and two student loadmasters being instructed by another. This squadron had no female flight attendants, as its mission was such that they were sent to other squadrons. Remember that this was at a time when women were not assigned combat roles.

The C-130 carried a lot of fuel and flew over the clouds, as a rule. The few clouds that went higher could easily be avoided. We flew at 25,000 feet directly to Prestwick from McGuire in a little over ten and half hours from take-off to blocks. Rhein-Main came next and we crew-rested for less than a day and went back to Prestwick, flying from there directly to McGuire. What was usually a 33 hour trip in the C-118 came to only 27 hours total. The computer malfunctioned after a bit, but the fact that I was carrying pressure pattern and had excellent celestial (we were over the clouds) as well as excellent LORAN (no antenna icing above the clouds) made the trip an easy one.

One other plus for the C-130 was that, when flying from west to east at 25,000 feet, the prevailing westerly jet stream could be giving us a boost in ground speed. When flying in the opposite direction, we could find ways to avoid the jet stream which would otherwise be against us.

On the way back to McGuire, we were over New York when we heard an emergency sound like the one heard on a ship that is under attack. It went WHOOOOOOP! WHOOOOOOP! WHOOOOOOP!

The infernal sound prevented thought until the pilot, in consternation, shut it off. Finding the shut-off button took precedence over taking corrective measures for the emergency. Obviously, we had a problem, and the airplane had a way of making our adrenaline flow so fast that instead of having calm reactions, we tended to panic. I hated that sound the first time I heard it and never wanted to hear it again. The idiot that decided to place such an alarm on an aircraft should be boiled in oil while listening to it.

Once the alarm had been silenced and it was possible to think again, the pilots found a red light showing a fire in number three engine. The co-pilot pushed the buttons that fired the carbon dioxide bottles in the engine nacelle, but the light did not go out right away. Later, on the ground, the engineer found no evidence of a fire; so, it was assumed that a small fire or severe overheating may have occurred in the compressor section of the engine That was the first and last time I ever heard of an engine-fire light going on in a C-130.

I got a thumbs up on all counts and was qualified as of 15 March when Lt. Col. Webster signed the recommendation.

From a letter home on 13 Mar 65:

. . . I have just returned from far-away Germany and a check ride on a great silver winged bird that is less than a year old, very fast, very high, and most agreeable and easy to navigate. Of course, I passed the check easily . . . .

. . . the 130 is a marvelous piece of new machinery that flies above the weather at a moderately fast pace with a very heavy load for a much longer distance at a time with minimum navigational difficulty. It is designed for the crew in every respect. Like a big Cadillac compared to a horse-drawn buggy when compared to a 118. It is really hard to get lost when flying in such a vehicle. The whole navigator's station is surrounded by little gadgets of electronic wizardry that are both very complex and much more reliable than the older stuff. Most of it is transistorized and maybe that explains part of it. At any rate, that plane is a MATS navigator's dream. I get my own padded seat with headrest, shoulder harness, up and down adjustment, back and forth adjustment, and swivel adjustment that is in the cockpit right behind the copilot. The view through the big greenhouse in front is lovely, and all I have to do is rotate ninety degrees and slide a bit and I am in my electronic cubbyhole with a wealth of information-gathering machines and a navigation computer to help me think. For a guy that has been doing things the hard way for so long, this is a real contrast - like out of science fiction. I couldn't help passing the check ride, but I wonder if the flight examiner could have done as well for me in the old C-118 that needed ESP to keep it on track.

There was one thing that caused be to age a bit, but it seems funny now. Over New York on our way back into McGuire, we were at 24,000 feet getting ready to let down when a sound exactly like that heard in "Ensign O'Toole" began. "Whooooop! Whooooop! Whooooop!" it went and kept right on. It was LOUD too. I looked up quickly from my position and noticed that the big fire warning light for number three engine was on.

"Feather number three," the AC said over the hot mike system.
"Feathered," the engineer replied.
"Fire the left bank of CO2 ," the AC said.
"Done," the copilot replied.
The fire warning light stayed on.
"Fire the right bank," the AC said with more concern in his voice.

The right bank was our last chance to put out the fire and the wing was full of fuel. I was having conniption fits along with everyone else by this time.

"Done," the copilot replied.

The light stubbornly stayed on.

"And us without parachutes," I was thinking, "I wonder what it's going to be like to have the wing explode and feel the oddball type of G forces from the one-winged spin before the crash."

"Did you fire the right bank?" the AC asked.
"I pushed the button," was the reply.
"New York Area Control, MATS 37828 declaring emergency," the AC said on the radio, "Fire in number three and unable to put it out."
"Cleared to descend direct to Kennedy immediately," New York replied, "Request fuel and souls on board."
"23,000 pounds of fuel remaining and 24 SOBs, " the AC replied.
"Get the Kennedy approach plates out!" I shouted at the other navigator in anticipation of the pilot's need.

Meanwhile, the other crew members that were not acting as part of the on-duty crew at the time had been scanning the engine in question and could see no visible evidence of fire. Then the red light on the panel died.

We called New York back and asked for permission to continue to McGuire on three engines. The request was granted and we declared an emergency landing at McGuire and alit. Maintenance has since looked at the plane to determine whether there was a fire or a malfunction of the electrical equipment, but we won't know for awhile. The 130 is vulnerable to overheating in the compressor sections of the engines; so, it probably was a small fire.

The Flight Examiner navigator informed me after it was over that the reason he hadn't told me about the "whooop whooop" sound was because if it happened, it would be self explanatory and most definitely would get my attention. I agreed . . . .

From a letter home on 6 Mar 65:

. . . The base in Georgia is Hunter, and I'll only be there for ten days during which time I'll have made eleven parachute troop drops to become proficient in low level precision drop navigation. It sounds like fun. We'll have a big target on the ground and be graded on how close we come to the bullseye. It isn't quite as simple as it sounds as we have to compute the drift of the parachutes, the distance they travel forward before they open, and half a dozen other variables and be able to change things fast if the wind changes at the last minute. It requires fast thinking and no mistakes. A mistake in combat could lose quite a few paratroopers' lives . . . .

I am not even going to comment on Viet Nam. I feel moderately disgusted about the whole thing, especially since I found out that there is a solution to the problem and that the slow moving, slow thinking higher-ups won't do it. They tried to lose the second world war the same way by not taking the advice of our best and most qualified men, and things haven't changed a bit . . . .


TAC Training

From a letter home dated 18 Mar 65:

Word was passed down that we would receive all our drop training at McGuire; so, I am not going to Hunter after all. Monday, the squadron told me to come in at 0430 Tuesday morning to brief for the first simulated mission. It never got off the ground due to maintenance difficulties.

Wednesday, we briefed at 0400 and got off by 0600. We flew loose trail formation for the first hour, simulating a zig-zag flight through territory in which we would have fighter cover and little danger from ground fire. The flight path was erratic to the extent that any enemy ground observers would be unable to predict even remotely our intended destination. The altitude was 15,000 feet. We changed formation from left to right echelon to vertically stacked trail several times during the flight. My job consisted of monitoring for the most part which means I checked the lead navigator against our own equipment to be sure we maintained the proper track and arrived at our checkpoints at the proper times, kept our spacing from the lead aircraft with the use of our airborne RADAR (1.5 miles between planes), and generally monitored all procedures. Our spacing was 1.5 miles, because we were also flying on instruments simulating weather or darkness and we don't fly close when we can't see the other planes in the formation.

Perhaps I should explain that we were a formation of three, Red 11, Red 12, and Red 13. We were Red 12, the second in the trail formation. At one time we used the V formation, but after a wingman was caught in the lead's propwash enough for him to dive unexpectedly during a drop, we have abandoned it. Eight paratroopers were killed as the plane dived through them on that occasion, and the plane was severely damaged. The trail formation is safer for all concerned.

The mission this morning was a heavy equipment drop in enemy territory. It was a pop-up type which meant that we fly fast and low and then just before the drop itself, we pop-up to drop altitude (we have to be high enough for the parachute to open) and slow down to drop speed. The first half of our flight would be over a relatively safe area, and we would fly loose instrument formation (IFR in our terminology for "Instrument Flight Rules") to a departure point for the last half which was closer formation low level type of flying. Just before reaching our calculated air release point for the drop we would pop up and slow down. After the drop we would descend while turning 180 degrees and then accelerate again to high speed and get the heck out.

Timing during the last half of the flight was very important as we had to arrive over the drop zone within five seconds of our scheduled drop time. Actually, we could be off our timing for as much as fifteen seconds, but this gets proportionately more dangerous in combat because other aircraft are trying to drop too and midair collisions are possible.

We completed the first half, but got behind mostly because of a late take-off. To make up for this, we descended while still enroute to our departure point for the low level portion and closed up to 2,000 feet separation between aircraft. We departed on time at an altitude of 500 feet. It should be explained that in combat we would fly much lower. Probably as low as 100 feet to avoid enemy ground fire, but the FAA won't allow this in New Jersey; so, five hundred will have to do. Our speed was 250 knots indicated which in miles per hour is 288. It is not really fast for the airplane, but it conserves fuel and is fast enough to avoid ground fire, because the enemy can't train his guns fast enough and estimate the distance to lead the aircraft in time to score. Of course there is some danger mostly for the wingmen or following aircraft because the enemy has some time to prepare for them, being warned by the lead plane. Even so, the whole three plane formation passes over in about ten seconds. And each plane is visible for only a second and a half or so.

At this point all the navigators in the formation are working. The "work" is not the blind paperwork and electronic gadgetry of transoceanic navigation, but requires fast recognition of points along the route and constant watching so that any deviation from the planned track or planned timing is immediately caught and corrected. It sounds easy, but when you go by an object at that speed, you have to translate it from a symbol on a chart to a three-dimensional glimpse and be sure that both are the same thing, and when you have to relate object locations on the chart to time intervals on the ground and do it all so quickly, it isn't that easy.

At places along the route we passed over small mountains and did not attempt to clear them by five hundred feet. We had to have been rather low, because we were almost touching the trees, and we scared H out of the sparrows in them, especially the blue-eyed ones. A dog ran out of a big red barn on top of one of these hills, as the lead flew over, and headed for tall timber with utmost speed, and a man ran out as we flew over. His arms were gyrating, but I don't think he was waving. I can't blame the dog much for being alarmed at the big bird with four roaring voices and a wingspan of well over one hundred feet.

Our track over the ground was a series of erratic turns that ultimately described a semicircle boring in on the drop zone. At the third checkpoint, the lead navigator goofed and picked the wrong town. It didn't hurt anything because we were 30 seconds ahead of flight plan and needed to lose the time, but it threw him off course by about five miles, and he didn't find himself until he reached the next checkpoint which, fortunately, was a river. We knew when he goofed, but decided not to risk breaking radio silence to tell him as he had time to catch it. He was 30 seconds behind at the next checkpoint, however; so, we all turned short of it and pushed the throttles forward to make up time. We arrived at our initial point on time and headed for the DZ.

The instructor asked me if I wanted the usual demonstration or, rather, to do it myself, and I elected to do it. I had been giving the prior to drop time "countdown" starting with the 20 minute and 10 minute warnings. As we got closer, I said, "Pilot, Crew, 1 minute warning."

About now the lead popped up, and I felt the roller coaster sensation as we pitched up and slowed down at the same time. The horizon dropped for a moment and then came back to normal as we leveled off at 1100 feet. As we passed over the checkpoint we had picked near the DZ, I clicked the stopwatch and waited.

"Five, four, three, two, one, green light," I intoned. Ten seconds later I said, "Red light." (Green light means drop now and red light means stop immediately). The lead peeled off to the right and dropped down to five hundred feet again, and we followed, and a minute and fifty seconds after red light, we accelerated and got the heck out.

We flew out over the coast and then shot some landings and take-offs in formation at Atlantic City for the rest of the period. I didn't have any trouble and thought it was fun, but I am sure that five hundred feet is too high for actual combat as it leaves us too exposed. Have ten more drops to go. Some will be as lead, some will be at night, the itinerary is varied, but all should be fun.

Wish you could go along and watch sometime. The next drops will be live ones, and I want to see how close we come to the bullseye . . . .

. . . I left out a few things like the way we pitch out in a formation landing. It is a fighter type pattern with almost as steep a pitch as we used with a single-engine plane in pilot training. In fact, that big monster of ours acts like a four-engine fighter of WWII vintage and even climbs much faster (double the climb rate of the P-47 that Rittenhouse flew) . . . .

On March 23, I deadheaded to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for what I believe was a flight physical. There were other men on the orders. I was beginning to notice that 29th squadron administration was extremely substandard in every way, leaving out flight time that had been logged, making orders unreadable, etc. It was just one more thing in a long list of gripes that I was beginning to have. On the 25th, I flew local. On the 26th, I was with a crew of ten flying to Hunter AFB in Georgia for more tactical training.

From a letter home on 1 April 1965:

. . . I got back from tactical training at Hunter the night before last. It is near Savannah instead of being by the paratroop training post as I thought. We don't need to drop troops there and really can't drop more than a couple at a time because of the small drop zone; so, we dropped heavy equipment instead. The weather was so bad here that we had to go there to get our qualifying drops done in time. As it were, I got in my ten drops but still didn't have time for my check ride; so, I'll get it here in the next week or two.

MATS requires that we drop within 350 yards of the bullseye and that we make our drop times within 90 seconds. The squadron wants us within 200 yards and 15 seconds, because this leaves a big safety margin . . . . I can't say I did everything perfectly on my drops, but none of them were over 200 yards, and only two exceeded 100 yards. One night drop I made was abeam the bullseye at 40 yards, and one day drop was abeam it at 50 yards. Those were the best drops I made, and my fourth or fifth best (I don't remember which) was better than any of the drops made by any of the other four navigators that were down there with me. Drop for drop my average distance was half of theirs, and in each drop we made, mine were the best in every instance. None of my first six drops were within fifteen seconds, but the other people were worse, and then we found out that there was an error in the distance from the initial point to the drop zone of half a mile and a fifteen-second error in pop-up time that were throwing all of us off. On my seventh drop I flew as lead navigator in a two-ship, in-trail formation, and I did everything perfectly, was at the drop zone 12 seconds early, but dropped on course 100 yards short. I feel that for the wind conditions I should have been within fifty yards, but the other navigator threw his 200 yards off (it was really a case of his being worse in this instance rather than my being better as the wind was very light). The next time around there was a fifteen knot wind which is a really tough wind to drop with, and I put the one and one-half ton platform fifty yards from the bullseye; so, I felt better about it. I won't mention what the other navigator did as it was rather sad by comparison.

I have found that in dropping I am best off trusting my computer-type subconscious, my instinct, or whatever it is that has let me make close CADIZ penetrations in the past when I didn't logically deserve to be within forty miles. On both my closest drops I did it mostly by feel, using the last five seconds before the timing point to arrive at the stop watch time to the tenth of a second and even changing my mind a bit after the stop watch was going. Each time I ignored my "feeling" and went by the prefigured time, I was off much further. Unfortunately, once we are near the timing point it is too late to move right or left of present track, or I might easily be on the bullseye. Both of my closest drops which were done by the "feel" method were absolutely perfect time wise. One was at 3 O'Clock, and the other at 9 O'Clock. It would have taken a last minute course change to improve them, and that can't be done.

Incidentally, most of my drops were of a quality comparable to the best made in MATS/TAC drop rodeos in which the best crews from each base compete for accuracy. I don't think they were beginner's luck because each time I learned a new way to get closer to the bullseye for any given wind condition. Needless to say, I made a good impression, and two of the navigators that were dropping had been previously tactically qualified, one having made 38 drops before and the other a few more than that.

. . . My crew was good. The AC was a major who had done similar things before and was a good old head, the copilot was a first lieutenant about a year younger than me and a very sharp fellow, and the loadmaster was a young troop who enjoyed pulling the drop release lever. Everyone was extremely compatible and capable and trusted other crew members to do their jobs well. It made for a good team effort, and I would enjoy flying with them anytime for competition.

. . . Jim Webster, a young southern boy, acted as our drop zone control officer which meant that he had to stand on the letter "A" that constituted the bullseye. On each drop, he would stand there and wait for the load to fall (each load was a 2800# or 3000# platform, five yards square, with two 100 ft diameter parachutes attached, falling at a rate of 24 ft/sec.) and hope it would miss him, and then measure the distance from him that it fell and tell us the direction and distance on the radio. I would kid him before the drop each time and tell him I was going to hit him on the head this time. I asked him after my fifty-yard drop whether he liked it or not, and he said it scared him, but the one that scared him most was the forty-yard night drop I made, because at night he couldn't see it coming, and when he heard the big "WHUMP" that close, he jumped. It is claimed that the "A" (the bullseye) is the best place to be because nobody ever hits it, but I don't think I'd want to stand there. I asked him how he felt when we were dropping.

"Ah feel lahke an ant," he said, "lookin' up at a big cow that is about to take a shit on him."

We generally have a good time while flying. Typical conversations over the intercom are like the one that follows.

"You know one good way to stay on course is to watch the cows when we fly over."
"Sure. You see these routes are new to us, but the people down here fly 'em all the time. So if the cows run, you are off course. If they don't run, you are on course."
"Suppose you get off course and they run. Which way do you turn?"
"You just turn one way and if they still run, you turn the other way and fly till they don't."
"See that herd down there? They didn't run."
"Whoops. There goes one."
"The rest of them didn't. Must be a new cow."
"Notice how the calves run, but the mothers don't?"
"Yeah. Was the one back there a calf?"
"No, it was a momma. Just a new cow is all."

So much for the flying . . . .

The other command to use C-130s was Tactical Air Command (TAC) who used them to move the men and equipment of an entire integrated combat force to another location within a few days. At this time, they were using C-123s in Vietnam to bring troops and supplies into areas that were inaccessible by road, landing in what was no more than a clearing in the jungle, or dropping them by parachute. Although the C-130 was considered too valuable to do these things at this time, when more were available, they were supposed to take over the role of the C-123s, and they did later on. We were being trained in case we were needed for use to augment TAC in combat.

In World War II, there was a wooden troop glider pulled by C-46s and C-47s that could be cut loose in flight so that it could land with its load of troops behind enemy lines. The same pregnant goose configuration of this glider was given to the C-123, a twin-engine transport that would replace the glider with far greater capabilities. The C-130 was given the same configuration and the same mission as the C-123, but had a higher speed and a carrying capacity.

We were supposed to be able to do the same things in our C-130s that the TAC aircrews did in theirs in case the need arose. So we practiced short field take-offs and landings, rough field take-offs and landings, airdrops of supplies and men with one and a half ton (3,000 pound) pallets and a few paratroopers, and other things that were applicable in a TAC role. The pilots had to be accustomed to the type of flying needed to avoid ground fire as much as possible in addition to the odd types of take-offs and landings.

The navigators had to be accustomed to the dictates of the various kinds of take-offs and landings, to be proficient in the particular type of navigation needed to fly in and out of dangerous areas, and to be proficient in dropping things within a few yards of a designated point. The loadmasters had to be proficient in physically getting the cargo to be dropped ready and out of the rear of the aircraft at the right time, and to work with the paratroopers so that they would jump at the right time. And the overall crew coordination was vital. Everyone must do his job quickly and efficiently and with timing that meshed perfectly with what the other crew members were doing.

This was a different kind of flying. We spent several hours on the ground laying out the course in increments of a few miles and making out a flight plan that was designed to bring us to the target area within a very tiny window of time so that we would not collide with other aircraft which were dropping in the same zone from different avenues of approach. Some of the drops were solo (one aircraft), and others were in formation. We were supposed to fly at low level to avoid ground fire. An airplane that is high is exposed to the guns of many more people than one that is flying low, and the time that one can fire at it is limited to a second or two at best. There was one level we were supposed to fly for daylight missions, and another that was higher for night missions.

One of the things I noticed right away after we had been trained for this kind of thing on the ground and had become airborne on our first mission, was that the pilots took this kind of thing seriously. They had decided that in real combat, the levels we were supposed to fly were too high, and the speed that we were supposed to fly was too low. So it was not long before they were flying at treetop level, occasionally avoiding a higher tree, a building, or a hill by abruptly pulling up at the last minute and then dropping down again. Nor was it long before we were flying faster than the prescribed speed for training. The speed that we used is probably still classified, but it was a lot greater than the speed that the TAC people had said we should use. Apparently, they felt that safety was more important than ground fire as long as we were not doing it for real. Or it may have been that the book was tamely written in an attempt to save someone's butt in case one of our planes crashed.

So we would fly at treetop level on a course that was deceptive so that we could avoid ground fire and avoid letting the enemy know where we were going. Just before dropping our load, we would "pop up" to an altitude of 1,100 feet, slowing to just above a stall, and the ramp would come down. The higher altitude would allow the parachutes to open before the man or the pallet hit the ground, and the slower speed made for less stress when the chutes would open. The navigator would be on intercom giving last minute headings and a ten second countdown to drop time. When the time arrived, the loadmaster in the rear who was in direct contact with the navigator as were the pilots through the intercom, would either send the pallet out the open rear, or tell the paratrooper or paratroopers to jump.

There were equations for how to do all this that had to be reworked in one's head at the last minute as the computer showed the wind changes, and an error could break a paratrooper's leg or cause a pallet to land in a tree. The object was to hit a bullseye that was marked out in the middle of the drop zone, and to hit it within a few seconds of the time that another aircraft would enter the drop zone. This was not like dropping a bomb because there was more time for the wind to affect the falling object, and the object was moving along with the air mass that we call the wind. Usually, if a navigator could arrange for the object dropped to land within 100 yards of the center of the bullseye, he was considered good.

The reasons that so many aircraft from different directions would be doing this at nearly the same time were: (1) the things to be dropped were needed quickly, (2) the more aircraft that were coming in from various points of the compass, the more the saturation of the enemy defenses around the area, and (3) the more confusing the target location would be for the enemy.

Scoring for each aircrew was later done by some people in a jeep sitting on the bullseye, because this would make it easier to measure the distance from the center of the bullseye to the place where the item that was dropped would hit the ground. It did not seem to occur to the brass that someone might actually hit the bullseye and squash the people scoring the drops. Theoretically, in daylight, these people might be able to drive the jeep out of danger if they could tell that pallet was about to land on them, but this was not an easy thing to judge until the pallet was so close that it would be too late. As the pallets were coming down in excess of 24 feet per second, and each weighed about 3,000 pounds, the effect of one hitting the jeep would be terminal for everyone in it.

On the first mission, we found that the pilots and the navigator, speaking with each other on live mikes, could do a better job of getting the aircraft on course and on time. The navigator would be standing on the upper portion of the flight deck, looking out and briefing the pilots on what to look for so that they could look too. One pilot usually did not concentrate very hard on looking for the checkpoints because he was hand-flying the airplane over and around obstacles as we hugged the deck. The other pilot would be doing the flight-instrument monitoring and also looking for checkpoints. The navigator would be briefing the pilots on what each new checkpoint was so that they could see it and turn on time or just keep on the same course if that was what was needed. The flight engineer would be busy just monitoring the instruments pertaining to the "health" of the aircraft, the many instruments that told how the engines were doing.

The flying of a two or three hour mission of this kind was more tiring that a sixteen hour transatlantic mission. There is a zone of light turbulence near the ground that decreases with altitude until it ceases at about 2,000 feet. Flying at treetop level is very bumpy, and the faster the airplane is going, the more abrupt are the bumps. And this means pulling Gs that are short-lived but random and incessant. The navigator stood with his knees bent to take the shocks, while crouching to see out of the cockpit windows, and using his muscles all the time to compensate for the G loadings.

Needless to say, most of the calculating is done on the ground before the mission and in the navigator's head during the mission, because there is almost no time to sit down at the nav station and work things out. The navigator would take quick glances at the computer to see what the wind was doing, calculate in his head what the next heading should be, note how far ahead or behind they were as compared to the flight plan time at this point, calculate how much to reduce speed if ahead of the planned time or what shortcut to take if behind the planned time, and this was done in seconds. If the aircraft was even five seconds off the planned time, it was wise to correct back well before the error was compounded. The airplane must be at the drop zone within that tiny window of time to avoid a midair collision.

In areas like Vietnam, there are guerrilla observers near every airfield, watching aircraft take off and telling other guerrillas which way they are going. This gives the other guerillas time to position their troops and guns to intercept the incoming aircraft. So on one of these missions it was not uncommon to fly off in the opposite direction from a target area that was close by, then circle around on a two to three hour long course to arrive at the target area from a direction opposite to what the enemy would have expected. Nor was it uncommon to zigzag frequently.

There was only one time when the aircraft could be hit easily by ground fire, and that was at the pop-up when the airplane was forced to slow down and to be high for the parachute drop. In training, the pop-up altitude was 1,100 feet which made it more difficult to come near the target than the 800 feet of altitude used in combat. Of course, at 800 feet we would be closer to those who might be firing at us.

On my first or second mission using live paratroopers, I used a wind that was a few seconds old to guide the aircraft in and to tell the single paratrooper we carried where he should jump. My instructor cancelled the jump. The wind had changed just enough in those few seconds to make the jump too dangerous. At that time, a paratrooper would hit the ground at the same speed as one who is jumping off a two story building, and he did so with a lot of gear on, making him heavy. Falling in the forest out of the drop zone can kill or severely injure him. I received a lecture on this and resolved to be very careful next time.

We hit the tops of a few trees on this mission, and that was the case with about half the succeeding daylight missions. The night missions seldom were that low, depending upon how much moonlight there was, but it was still low enough to be the darndest roller coaster ride I will ever have. At night, the only thing the enemy can shoot at is a roar and the glow of engine exhausts. Perhaps this makes the night drops a little safer even with the altitude being a few feet higher.

When we had finished our training, we had logged nineteen of the most intense hours we had ever spent.

In the latter part of March, we were flying final proficiency drops for the crews to upgrade to being "tactically qualified." On one daylight mission when we were in formation with two other C-130s, we (the crew I was with) dropped a one and one-half ton pallet directly abeam the center of the bullseye. I was frustrated, having computed the precise course and time to drop in my head at the last minute and being unable to alter course to the left, because we were in formation and were not the lead plane. The pallet hit to the right precisely 50 yards from the center of the bullseye. When I computed later where the pallet would have fallen if I had been allowed to alter course left, I was glad I had not done so. If we had turned left to that course, the pallet probably would have hit on or near the bullseye and might have killed the three people who were doing the scoring.

On one succeeding night mission, Bob Long and I, flying with separate crews at different times dropped pallets within 40 yards of the center of bullseye. Ed Ahart was one of the people scoring. He and the others could not even see the pallets falling in the darkness, but they would hear them hit the ground at about 24 feet per second. When they were hitting so close, it was more than the scorers could tolerate. Bob and I had convinced them that the policy of placing the score keepers in the center was wrong, and they moved to the perimeter instead for future missions.

On 5 April, I was pronounced "tactically qualified" along with the other navigators in the squadron. Considering the "thrill" that Bob and I had given Ed, Ed was most enthusiastic and congratulatory. He was mission oriented at all times and really wanted us to achieve a high degree of accuracy.


The Champion Snorer

On 8 April 1965 eight us of deadheaded via C-135 to Travis. The crew-rest in Guam was in rooms with one double bed in the center and bunk beds along the walls. Although I do not remember precisely, I believe there were about ten of us per room. I occupied the top bunk of the bunk beds on the wall opposite the door where I had a perfect view of the double bed.

One senior Aircraft Commander took the double bed. He was the most amazing man I have ever seen. He slept very soundly while doing various types of calisthenics on the bed as he snored. And he had the most wonderful repertoire of snores I have ever witnessed. There was the steam whistle snore, the thunder snore, the waterspout snore, the siren snore, the hissing snore, the snorting snore, the gurgling snore, the foghorn snore, and many variations and combinations of each, all alternating every few minutes to avoid any danger of boring the admirers. My favorite was when he kicked off the sheet, lay on his back, bent his knees, crossed his legs, and bounced the foot of his top leg up and down while doing the steam whistle. We admired him all night long and by morning, when he awoke thoroughly refreshed and smiling, we all wanted to kill him, except, as I recall, Charlie Nash, who seemed to be able to sleep through anything.


Middle East Tour I

Russian communism was, in my estimation, far worse than what Adolph Hitler attempted. It was not really communism at all, but a type of socialism designed to keep the rulers in power. It was grossly inefficient and callous, and the Soviet leaders were always trying to foist it on as much of the world as possible for their own selfish ends. They insisted upon trying to better us in every way with the end in mind of taking over the world with their system. Our philosophy was to let them keep trying to best us while we stayed a little ahead of them, knowing that their efforts would eventually ruin their economy to the extent that their people would revolt, which they eventually did.

On 22 April, 1965, I began the first of our Middle East round robins. Apparently, we were getting as bad as the rest of the Air Force in keeping families apart. This seemed cruel, but the defense budget was always too small, and we were attempting to win the cold war by being as efficient as possible so that the Russians would run out of money before we did. And this measure of sending planes and crews to a European base for flights to destinations that were nearer to Europe than the United States made good sense. Our mission on these excursions was to supply our embassies and bases, and do anything else that the situation demanded. As there were many nations in the area, the situation could change rapidly, and our role would never be routine.

We were sent to Chateauroux, France, which we made our temporary headquarters while we flew all over Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Just after take-off from McGuire, we turned around and came back, taking off again after three hours of maintenance. We flew to Dover to pick up cargo, crew-rested while it was loaded, and on our way out of Dover on 23 April at 2:00 PM local time, were told to watch for evidence of another C-133 that had been lost just a half hour ahead of us.

Once, not too long ago, on a trip back from Thule in a C-118, we were asked to look out for any traces of a C-133 that had disappeared shortly after take-off from Goose Bay. Not even a piece of it was ever found. Nor were any pieces of any of the other 133s that had mysteriously disappeared. At times, they had been grounded for a month or so, but so far no one had figured out why they continued to disappear, and eventually those that remained would be flying again.

Although the C-135 jet transport was billed as the replacement for the C-124, it was the turboprop C-133 that was originally meant to replace the older airplane now that it was too slow for a modern-day transport. The C-124 was a heavy transport and so was the C-133 (the C-130 was only a medium transport). The C-124 was capable of "roughing it" by taking off and landing on rough terrain and shorter fields. So was the C-133 to some extent. Actually, the C-135 was not capable of roughing it and should never have been said to replace the C-124. In fact, the C-124 was in the inventory long after the C-135s had been around for a time. But the C-133 was never trusted until after her major problem was fixed, and then she was not re-ordered from her manufacturer.

It is interesting that in looking at the releases in my Americana Annuals, the Air Force never mentions the C-133 until 1964 and then does not say much about it. Although it is a contemporary of the C-130, it seems to have given enough trouble that someone (perhaps many people) did not want it to go into the history books.

Basically, the C-133 looked like a big C-130E, with the same silly pregnant goose appearance right up to the radome on the nose. But she was bigger. The Air Force never even mentioned the fact to the news agencies when a C-133 disappeared. In fact, the Air Force never mentioned anything about any crashes unless the crash happened to be where the civilians could see it or be injured by it so that it could not be swept under the rug. But the C-133s continued to disappear, and when I spoke to the people who flew them, I found that they were worried almost all the time. And none of them had a clue as why the big planes disappeared.

Most of the cargo airplanes have names as well as numbers. The C-118 was the Liftmaster, the C-124 was the Globemaster, the C-130 was the Hercules, the C-133 was the Cargomaster, and the C-135 was the Stratolifter. Generally, those ending in "master" were designed by Douglas, the ones that begin with "strato" are Boeing designs, and Lockheed had not designed a transport before the C-130; so, there is no tradition in names for it. It was simply called the Hercules.

We never saw any pieces of the C-133 that disappeared out of Dover, but later on a piece of the landing gear was discovered that was floating. It held no clues as to the reason for the airplane disappearing except to confirm that it had gone into the water.

The flight orders for this Middle East round-robin actually had my rank correct which was a surprise. However, the 29th's records had still not penetrated to the people who made out the orders, and very seldom was it ever shown who was a student, who was an instructor, or who was a flight examiner. Usually, this was left blank. I was flying as an instructor in the C-130s but the flight orders do not show it.

We flew from Dover to Lajes, again above the weather as we always were in the new airplane. It was easy flying with the clouds below. The only rub to the navigating was with the celestial. The C-118 had a two minute roll in flight that affected the two minute sextant averager to make a perfect celestial shot. The C-130 had no dihedral and the wing curved upward in flight, which helped it to wallow through the air without any set pattern. The result was that celestial LOPs that were speed lines were accurate. Those that were course lines could vary either way any time. And the ones in between course and speed lines could vary a little less either way. So pinpoint celestial fixes were very rare now.

The flight to Lajes was considerably shorter with the C-130 than it had been with the C-118, and I realized again that I would be away from home more than ever with this new airplane. Before, in the 118, my allowed flight time for a month or a quarter was used up after only a few missions; so, the number of trips I took were limited. Now, with less flight time per trip, my allowed time would not run out before the month or the quarter was up, and I would be away almost all the time. The C-135 people had complained about this already, especially since their airplane was even faster than ours, but no one in authority wanted to do anything about changing the rules.

We arrived at Lajes just after midnight local time and crew-rested again for a day, probably to offload and/or onload cargo. It was another take-off in the wee hours (2:45 AM local) when we left Lajes on 24 April, and five and half hours later we blocked in at Deols Air Base, France.

This base was near the town of Chateauroux. We were told that most of the locals did not even like people from other towns, much less Americans; so, we did not go into town as a rule. The base had two places of entertainment besides the bar at the Officers' Club. One was the movie theater which got old rather quickly. The other was the library. I chose the library and was greatly pleased to find that it was very complete in scientific reference material.

We stayed in Chateauroux for one and half days, and left at 2:40 AM local time on the 25th. We flew the usual route to Nice by the Azure Coast, the islands off Italy, the toe of Italy's boot, etc., with the destination being Incirlik, Turkey. The flight took only six hours and ten minutes from take-off to blocks, and the Mediterranean was just as beautiful at this speed as it had been when flying in the C-118.

The Island of Cyprus had a population that was seventy-eight percent Greek Orthodox, eighteen percent Muslim (mostly Turkish), and one percent Roman Catholic. It had a form of representative government with a Greek Orthodox archbishop as the president. As usual, religion was causing friction, and a church was attempting to dominate a state. The President, Archbishop Makarios, was attempting to eliminate Parliamentary representation of the Turkish minority.

The origin of the dispute was the Turkish minority's insisting upon their rights as outlined by the constitution. The constitution had come into effect when Cyprus gained its independence from Britain in 1960. The details become rather involved, but in my opinion, the Greeks were attempting to dictate, enforcing their views on the Turkish minority just as every majority does in a pure democracy. There must be a system of checks and balances to avoid this, and these checks and balances were provided in the constitution of Cyprus, which the Greeks were unwilling to accept. Fighting had broken out between the Greeks and the Turks in Cyprus, and Turkey of course (and rightly so), was backing the Cypriotic Turkish minority. The United Nations was forced to intervene to prevent another religious war in which the Greek Orthodox majority might annihilate the Turkish Muslim minority.

The United Nations was attempting to mediate the dispute. Essentially, the U.N. mediator felt that the Turkish minority was in the right. The Greek majority was in favor of Cyprus becoming united with Greece, and the Turkish minority was using their veto power against such a union. The Greeks accused the mediator of exceeding his duties and asked for another mediator. The Secretary General of the U.N. declared that the mediator had not exceeded his authority.

The United States claimed neutrality in this issue, which angered the Turks, and they turned to the Soviet Union for support. The Soviets, taking full advantage of the situation, agreed to support Turkey. Since the United States had not supported Turkey, U.S.-Turkish relations deteriorated. There were now disputes over the rental payments for the U.S. manned bases in Turkey, the fact that the U.S. had hesitated in participating in a dam project, and the way that U.S. businesses were operating in Turkey. Soviet-Turkish relations were improving since the Russians had convinced the Turks that they supported an independent Cyprus with full rights for the Turkish minority. An agreement for increased trade and credit between the Soviet Union and Turkey resulted.

We remained on the ground at Incirlik for a little less than four hours and then took off over the Mediterranean in a southerly direction toward Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The flight took only a little over an hour. Most of these countries are no larger than an average state in America, and distances between them are relatively small.

At this time, Lebanon was a relatively peaceful place, although there was tension between it and Israel that had erupted in border raids by a Palestine refugee organization and retaliation by the Israelis against some Lebanese border villages. Also, the Arabs were attempting to deny Israel the use of the Jordan River and were making plans to divert water from its natural paths in the Baniyas and Hasbani Rivers for the purpose of denying water to Israel.

The potential for war with Israel as a result of the Lebanese actions was there. And Lebanon had recently severed diplomatic relations with Germany because Germany had decided to exchange ambassadors with Israel.

Lebanon had a form of parliamentary government and, as of 1964, the Chamber of Deputies was composed of 30 Maronite Christians, 20 Sunnite Muslims, 19 Shi'ite Muslims, 11 Greek Orthodox Christians, 6 Greek Catholic Christians, 6 Druse Muslims, 4 Armenian Orthodox Christians, 1 Armenian Catholic Christian, 1 protestant Christian, and 1 that was neither Muslim nor Christian. As the population was reportedly 50 percent Christian and 40 percent Muslim, and the Chamber was 53.4 percent Christian and 45.5 percent Muslim, it would appear that the representation was approximately correct.

At the time we landed at Beirut (25 April 1965), the Lebanese cabinet was in a state of dissension. It had been reorganized in November of 1964, and its new members could not agree. By the end of July 1965, the Lebanese Foreign Minister would resign, the Chamber of Deputies would severely criticize the governmental policies or lack thereof, the Premier would resign, a new Premier would be appointed by the President, and the new Premier would form a new cabinet.

In the mid-sixties, Beirut was called the Paris of the Middle East, and tourists came to enjoy its belly dancers and to shop. It was still the center of trade for the area and imported items from all over the Middle East to sell to any who were willing to bargain with the shop keepers. I spent part of the one and a half days of crew-rest just buying such things as a hand-carved ivory chess set, and yards of beautiful brocade cloth manufactured locally. At night, the crew went to a club/restaurant to sit and watch belly dancing to the local music. Frankly, I found it to be a much better place to visit than Paris and thought that the title of "Paris of the Middle East" was demeaning. Of course, we were simple worker bees that had not enough wealth to afford the finest places in Paris, and Beirut was less expensive for us and afforded more exotic shopping experiences. Had we been allowed more time, I am certain that the libraries and museums would have been excellent places to visit.

We left Beirut at 5:50 AM local on 27 April. The next stop was Jidda, Saudi Arabia, with a population of about 150,000. Today, such a population is not considered very large because we live in a world that has been more and more overcrowded. But back then, this was a large city. During the last time I was flying into the Congo, we had passed over Jidda just before crossing the Red Sea to go into Ethiopia.

It is a coastal City about halfway down the length of the Red Sea, and the chief seaport of the country for this body of water. There are walls around it. It acts as an air and sea port for pilgrims visiting Mecca, which is only a few miles away. Its people manufacture rugs, pottery, and clothing, build dhows, fish, and dive for pearls.

Since my first visit to Saudi Arabia the crisis between Saudi and Egypt over Yemen had grown worse, and there were whispers of war. King Faisal had been in power long enough to make foreign and domestic improvements, and his popularity was growing. A long-standing boundary dispute with Jordan was being settled. An agreement with Iran was being made to settle a dispute over seabed resources in the Persian Gulf. An agreement with Qatar was being made to set mainland and offshore boundaries. Other problems still remained, but Faisal's record looked good so far.

We spent only 50 minutes on the ground in Jidda and were off again, this time to Asmara in northern Ethiopia. Just this month (April), the Ethiopian ambassador to the United States had resigned his post and exiled himself to the United States to protest "oppressive rule" in Ethiopia. He was accused of taking $20,000 prior to his resignation, which was worth more by far at that time than it is today. He denied the charge and stated that he was resigning to seek a change of status in order to organize an Ethiopian citizens' council for the purpose of bringing democracy to his country.

In March, the United States had granted Ethiopia a $6-million loan for improvement of the country's telecommunications network. The United States was now working with Ethiopia on a two-year economic development program, which entailed loaning Ethiopia another $39.2 million.

We were on the ground at Asmara for over four hours before leaving for Addis Ababa. I had not expected to see Addis again so soon and was not really looking forward to it. We blocked in at 5:05 PM local and left the next morning (28 April) at 9:50 AM, breaking our habit of leaving at the wee hours. Then it was back to Asmara and another four hours on the ground, followed by Jidda again (25 minutes on the ground), then Dharan (2:45 hours on the ground), and then to Incirlik to crew-rest.

Dharan, located on the east side of Saudi Arabia near the Persian Gulf, was the headquarters of Arabian Oil operations. It was on a railroad that runs from Riyadh to Dammam, an oil port eight miles away. Dharan had both an international civil airport and a military air base, as well as oil pipelines that receive oil from surrounding oil fields. It had a population of about 20,000 at this time.

We arrived at Incirlik at 3:00 AM local time and took off after a very brief rest, leaving at 6:45 PM local that same day (29 April) for Athens. Ground time at Athens was only 20 minutes, and we were off again for Chateauroux, arriving at 2:25 AM local time, 30 April 1965, and going into crew-rest for a day and a half.


Middle East Tour II

My thoughts as to what to do in Chateauroux had matured while we were away. At the Academy, I had asked a lot of questions of instructors. The weather instructors did not know what coriolis force was when I had asked; so, I figured it out for myself (no big deal). When I asked other questions, I usually received decent answers. But one had floored me. I had asked a couple of physics instructors what the real nature of light was, and the answers I got were: "Many guys a lot brighter than you don't know, and lots of guys brighter than you have tried to find out. Nobody knows. You might as well spend your time on other things than trying to figure it out."

The response was so negative that I believed them and quit trying. Then my brother the optimist told me not to believe them and try to find the answer. So I vowed to try at the first opportunity. The time at the library in Chateauroux was the first opportunity. So I started digging. I went into the Michaelson-Morley experiment, the Lorentz transforms, the special theory of relativity, and anything else pertaining to what I wanted to know. Standard texts on light were no help except that the equations and the apparent nature of photons and Planck's constant gave me some clues. So I absorbed all I could and then it was time to take off again (12:30PM, 1 May 1965). I could meditate about it on the way to Torrejon. Since the next few legs of flying were all on airways, I had plenty of time to think.

I had a minor setback this time at the library that I was not yet aware of. I went into a restroom at the end of a hall which had the door open. Coming out of a stall, I noticed two women entering. I thought nothing of this. After all, the air base was in France where customs were different. So I greeted them politely, washed my hands, and left.

At Torrejon, we spent only two hours. The next destination was Moron (pronounced Moh-rohn with both Os like the O in "both") which was an airfield on the way to Rota but a little over sixty miles short of it. There we spent over fifty-five minutes on the ground before taking off for Rota. At Rota we were on the ground for less than two hours, and then it was back to Moron again for about four hours on the ground. Then it was Torrejon for two hours of ground time and back to Chateauroux for another day and half of crew-rest.

This time at Chateauroux, I actually got a glimmer of the answer I had wanted about light and I followed it up to realize that the whole thrust of scientific thought was dead wrong and that there was a completely different interpretation for the Michaelson-Morley experiment. Einstein's special theory of relativity was dead wrong, his general theory was based upon incorrect concepts, and the clue that was most obvious was found in what was called "electron spin". I spent the time I had, just checking out the ramifications of my new theory and realized that I seemed to have stumbled upon what most physicists called the Unified Field Theory, except that I would never have called it that in light of what it really was. Then it was time to take-off again.

I also got another glimmer when I went to the restroom. This time the door was closed and it said "Women" on it. I blushed to myself and finally did find the men's room. It seemed strange that both revelations (the physics theory and the nature of the restroom) occurred at about the same time.

On 3 May 1965, we left Chateauroux at 4:45 PM local time. Again we stayed inside Spain, first to Torrejon, then Moron, then Rota, then Torrejon, and last Chateauroux for a whole two and half days of crew-rest.

This time I actually did go to a movie on base. I also relaxed in a bar the first night with couple of drinks and some conversation. Then I went back to the library and continued my research. At the Academy I had taken some nuclear physics and some other applicable courses, but I wanted to check them out again. So I checked into the nature of subatomic "particles", the forces in the atom, the nature of electricity, the nature of electromagnetic energy, gravity, and magnetism, and I found that my theory seemed to clearly and simply explain why these things worked. Furthermore, the theory so obviously worked, that I could not understand how the so-called physicists from the late 1800s to the present, and especially those from the 1930s to the present could have been so stupid as to ignore the evidence presented to them. The whole nature of the universe changed for me at that time and showed itself to be so entirely and interestingly different to what I had believed previously that I began to look at everything as if I had never seen it before. And something else was beginning to dawn in my mind.

We left Chateauroux at 9:50 local on 6 May, heading south again to the Mediterranean and then east to Incirlik. At Incirlik it took a little over three hours to unload cargo before going on to Tehran (Teheran), the capital of Iran. Here, we crew-rested for about 15 hours.

At the very beginning of recorded history, there was a very gradual migration of Indo-Europeans, driven by population pressure, which entered the area we now call Iraq. These people acquired some of the language and customs of the Semites and earlier settlers of the area. Eventually, more population pressure caused them to move northward again where they met another Indo-European migration moving south with the horse. In about the 16th century BCE, the blending of these groups, known as Aryans or Hurrians, according to which person interpreted the old langauges, began to move into what is now Iran and on toward the area we call India. By about the 13th century BCE, they had settled in the areas we now call Iran and India.

When the Indo-Europeans lived in Europe, before population pressure caused them to move sounthward, they lived in a land of trees and smaller kinds of vegetation. Their world was green and filled with water. As they moved southward, they were within the lands along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean and almost as far inland as the Caspian Sea. At the early times of the first migration southward, the lands were filled with forests. There were still many forests here at the time of the second migration, although wood was being used for fuel to make bronze implements of war. They preferred to stay in the watered and wooded areas, but they also preferred their own way of life which often meant that they required more land than what was currently available in the wooded areas. And to the east lay what we now call Iran.

Iran is a great tableland lying at the heart of what was the old Persian Empire. It is bordered by the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the Indus Valley, and the Turanian Desert. It lies at an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet above sea level. It has a few trees which are located only where there is water, either natural or the result of human activity, and natural water is almost nonexistent. There is sand and lots of rocks, and the land is relatively flat. As one looks into the distance, one sees various shades of brown. It was into this forbidding land of dryness and rocks that some of the Aryans moved. This may seem extremely difficult, and it was. However, those who had descended from the group who had lived in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, knew how to build with materials other than wood and stone.

The people who lived in this tableland were neither ignorant nor masochistic. Their chief buildings were air-conditioned, humidified, and ventilated in ways that we are only now beginning to rediscover. They had towers that allowed the wind to force air into underground passages, some of which had water running through them from natural springs. In these passsages, the air was cooled and humidified before being pushed into the rooms of buildings above through small ducts. There were domes on the buildings in which air was heated by the sun, and there were vents at the top of the domes so that when there was no wind to push in the cooled and humidified air, the air in the dome would rise up through the vents, drawing in the humidified and cooled air from below.

The building walls were dense and served to take in heat during the day and to release it during the cool night to warm the building interior. When day arrived, the walls were cool and served to help cool the interior during the hot day.

There were deep holes cut into the earth in which water was stored in cisterns. Air was drawn across the top by the wind from the towers so that water vapor was taken away and evaporative cooling could occur. At night the water in the cisterns could freeze, and during the day, the cisterns remained cool. In this manner, ice and ice water was always available to quench one's thirst.

All of this was done from solar power. The sun creates the heated places on the earth, and the heated places create wind. These things were used in a very creative and simple way to meet the needs of the land's inhabitants.

As these ingenious people moved about within this dry land in the centuries after their arrival, they formed various groups with separate evolutions of customs and dialects, or perhaps some of them had been separate even before the migration into the area. These groups sometimes warred with one another and sometimes settled together in the same area. However, the basic root of the present-day language is still Aryan with some Semitic and other influences.

The Persians were the people who lived near what we now call the Persian Gulf. Next to them were other people who were "cousins" that were also of Indo-European origin. Together, they eventually formed the Persian Empire. This was not exactly an alliance. These people were warriors, and the Persians were the dominant group.

Two centuries before the arrival of Alexander the Great in his conquest of the known world (known by the people who lived there), the Persian Empire stretched from the Mediterranean as far west as eastern Greece in the north and Egypt in the south (as well as a portion of Libya) to India in the east. Its northern boundary was up as far as the top of the Black Sea and the bottom of the Aral Sea. Its southern boundary was the Arabian Sea. It was greater than the dominions conquered by Alexander. And at this time, there was great learning and prosperity, both of which were enhanced by numerous trade routes throughout the Empire. Although Alexander attempted to acquire as much knowledge for his new world as possible, and attempted to take learned writings to his new library in Egypt, much of the knowledge of Persia was kept from him and seems to have been lost forever.

In the beginning of the period of Aryan influence, the religion throughout the area was the same one as the older ancient religion of India, with emphasis on the Vedas. Later, the teachings of Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) influenced the Empire. Far later still, the Muslim religion was introduced. The religious influence of the Persians persists today in the concept of Satan as opposed to God (known as dualism) and the appearance of angels with wings, although the real meaning of these things is not truly understood by either the so-called Christians or the Muslims.

The influence of Alexander the Great and the conquering Arabs in 641 AD added lingual influence, but the inhabitants of the area generally did not accept the language of conquerors for long. The imposition of the Islamic religion did succeed in taking root, and the old religion was superceded. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the religion of Islam began to influence the Persian language of Iran. Arabic came as a vehicle for the religion, and it was considered erudite for scholars and writers to use this language. Eventually, Persian became only a means of connecting Arabic words. The rise of nationalism in Iran at the turn of the 20th century sparked a movement to return to the old tongue, although 98 percent of the population is still Muslim.

Iran, at this time, was ruled by a Shah, a Premier, a Parliament (National Assembly), and a Senate. Premier Hassan Ali Mansur had just been assassinated (in January), and Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi had narrowly escaped an attempt on his life (10 April). A new premier had been appointed by the Shah, Amir Abbas Hoveida, who was pushing ahead with what was named a "revolution from the throne," a program aimed at economic development, political reform, and social modernization. The country was emerging from a depression which had been going on since 1961.

The Premier's assassin and his three accomplices were part of a reactionary Muslim-fundamentalist religious group who opposed modernization and secularism. According to the government, the attempt on the Shah's life had been made by a man who was part of a Communist-oriented group made of students who had been educated in foreign universities.

The United States was interested in Iran for the usual reasons: to avoid its becoming a pawn of the Soviets or Communist China and oil. The modernization could be fueled either by western money or by the Communist nations. The government owned the only oil company in Iran, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). On February 7, an agreement was approved by Iran for them to receive $185 million dollars from five groups of international oil companies to be used for the exploration and exploitation of offshore areas in the Persian Gulf. This was but the initial payment to Iran for the exploration rights, with 75 percent of the profits to go the Iranian goverment and the NIOC and the rest to the foreign investors.

Iran had a membership in the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) which included Britain, Turkey, Pakistan, and the United States. CENTO had held its 13th meeting in Tehran on 7-9 April. In early June a CENTO microwave radio telephone line 3,060 miles long was to go into operation between Ankara (Turkey), Tehran, and Karachi (Pakistan).

Tehran had a population of about two and half million, and it lies only about sixty miles from the south end of the Caspian Sea. It is at the edge of a range of small mountains; so, there is more rock than sand, but the landscape outside the city is still brown where no irrigation has been introduced. The city is a cultural and industrial center with rail and air service. Mountain resorts are nearby. It was founded in the 12th century AD and is famous for its Rose Garden and its museum. Industries and products within Tehran were leatherworking, metalworking, chemical production, canning, soap making, glass manufacturing, sawmilling, grain, fruit, and cotton.

We left Tehran just after noon on 8 May and flew to Peshwar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, near the Khyber Pass. It was a border post with air, rail, and radio service. It had silks, carpets, fruits, horses, dyes, gems, hides, grains, cotton, rice, copper, leather, and woodworking as products, and there was coal nearby. The largest sugar mill in Asia was located at nearby Mardam. Also there was the Islamia University and Animal Husbandry Institute and an ancient Buddhist Cultural Center.

Peshwar is on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, an area that has been contested by the nomads who have been using both countries as their territory since long before these countries existed. The clashes between the nomads and those who wanted to own and keep the land are really the result of two different sets of customs and ways of life. This war of cultures is very similar to one in the Americas between the Native Americans and the European invaders.

Pakistan, prior to 1947, was part of India. It was created after a series of incidents of violence and terror which were caused, as usual, by religious differences, this time between the Hindus and Sikhs of India and the Muslims who were becoming more prominent inside what was then India. Christianity came about through the supposed teachings of one who who taught a way of life of peaceful servitude. And since then, so-called Christians have used these teachings to wage war against anyone who did not agree with them. Mohammedism came about from the teachings of a man who practiced violence and was, in his own way, a general. Yet both of these cults have been responsible for the majority of the wars and atrocities of the world since their inception. In my view, these are not true religions, having lost any claim of relating to the Creator when their proponents decided to be so vile and unforgiving to one another. And this has been the case with many organized religions through the ages.

The only way that the people of India could think of to resolve their religious differences and avoid further bloodshed, was to have two nations instead of one. Pakistan, thus, became the place for Muslims, and India, the place for the other religions. Since there were Muslims in what was to be the smaller India and people of other religions in what was to be Pakistan, a lot of moving occurred with consequent hardships. And to make the moves happen faster, the majorities in both areas began a campaign of murdering, looting, and burning against the minorities. By the time 12 million refugees had passed over the new border going in both directions, one million had been killed. Thus was Pakistan born.

A large part of the middle classes and skilled tradesmen of West Pakistan had been Hindus and Sikhs, all of whom had either been killed or had fled. The incoming hordes of refugees required food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Consequently, there was suffering and chaos in even the wealthiest of the provinces. To add to the problem, there was very little time between the decision to create Pakistan and the time that it was actually in existence. So only a skeletal government had been created for a population of 70 million people. There was no central administration in two leading provinces. There was no legislation. There was only a political party called the Muslim League. Consequently, the leader of the party was elected head of the administration and head of the legislature, and he was already head of the party.

Fortunately, his authoritarian rule was what was needed at the time. Law and order were restored, the government began to function, and the economic system stabilized and resumed operation. However, relations with India, damaged very severely by the terror that had preceded the partitioning, was deteriorating. The border provinces had been left to decide which new state they were to join. Since the populations within these provinces were almost evenly divided between the two antagonistic factions, fighting broke out as to which side the province would join, and the armies of both India and Pakistan were eventually drawn into the conflict. Finally, a cease-fire was arranged, and the new border was set (1 January 1949).

Another problem had presented itself with the death of Governor General Jinnah on 11 September 1948. There was no one to succeed him who could assume his full powers, and the government still had many problems to solve. His principal lieutenant, who was the Prime Minister, was assassinated in October of 1951, and a new Prime Minister assumed the reigns of government. This was the cue for rival political leaders to begin a period of unrest as each fought for control. By 1955, the Constituent Assembly had lasted for seven years without creating a constitution, and the Federal Court ruled that a new Constituent Assembly be created. The new Constituent Assembly created a new constitution which was put in force on 12 March 1956. The latest Governor General was Iskander Mirza, and he became the new President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The number of political factions in the Constituent Assembly was such that no majority could command new legislation. The prospect of elections caused each member to look out for his own interests, and alliances between parties were rapidly made and broken. To confound this, the elections to come threatened to create more confusion, since the choice of candidates was so bewildering. At this point, the new President invited the army to take over power and proclaimed the abrogation of the constitution. Mirza then used the army to throw out the politicians and the republic collapsed.

The army chiefs decided that President Mirza had been an impediment to government and exiled him, placing General Ayub in the Presidency. Martial law was invoked, and corrupt politicians, black marketeers, fraudulent traders, and self-aggrandizing civil servants were prosecuted. Political extremists were put under detention. The new President acted as his own Prime Minister and appointed his own cabinet. He established a series of reform commissions which resulted, among other things, in a major program for land reforms. He appeared to be attempting to bring in an era of fairness and stabilization.

In 1964, Pakistan had an area of 365,529 square miles and a population of 100,762,000 of which eighty-eight percent were Muslim, eleven percent were Hindu, and one percent were Christian. Its chief exports were jute and raw cotton. Its average annual income came to $79 per person. Its expenditures were double its income. When we landed at Peshwar in 1965, the province of Kashmir was still claimed by both India and Pakistan, and it was about to be the cause of another short-lived war. A "new" President, Mohammed Ayub Khan, had just been elected to a five-year term. He was the same general who had assumed power in the fifties, and his party had captured eighty percent of the seats in the National Assembly. Although this general had been accused of being a dictator, and probably was in fact, he was still an element of stability that was very necessary at this time.

We were at Peshwar for all of 45 minutes before we left for Karachi, a city of approximately 2 million. Karachi had been the capital of Pakistan since shortly after it had been separated from India. However, a new capital called Islamabad was being constructed, and Rawalpindi was now the temporary capital. As it takes time to construct new facilities, especially when the budget is limited, the facilities at Karachi were still in use; so, in many ways it was still the de facto capital. It was the chief port on the Arabian Sea, for both Pakistan and Afghanistan. From it were shipped cotton, wheat, other grains, hides, wool, cattle, salt, cement, glass, chemicals, cotton and wool products, leather goods, tile, milled rice, flour, timber, pottery, carpets, metalware, and handicrafts. It had a rail terminal, an airport, radio service, a university, a women's college, and a museum. It also had a gigantic modern hotel as luxurious as any in the world at that time. And that was where we stayed for four days.

Inside the hotel we feasted on some of the best food I have ever eaten. The Pakistanis were essentially Indian in their diet, in spite of their different religion, and their spices are some of the finest the world has ever seen. Curry can come in many varieties, and many were used in the hotel buffets where we could eat all we wanted. There was one dish that the rest of crew refused. It was roast monkey displayed in a foetal position on a large plate, kneeling on its elbows and knees, its head, hands, and feet removed. To the rest of the crew, it looked like a very slender roasted baby, but to me it looked like what it was. And it was delicious. Some people say we are cannibalistic to eat monkey, but I dare one of these people to keep a pet monkey loose in their home and then look me in the eye and tell me they are better than a squirrel.

The hotel was air-conditioned, and the air that entered it was filtered so that all the odors had been removed. And the hotel, for this reason, became our haven. Because once outside its walls, we were assailed with the heavy smell of open sewage which permeated everything--even the clothes that we wore. Also, outside the flies were everywhere, upon the faces of the populace, drinking the liquid from their eyes and creating severe conjunctivitis so that eye diseases were seen everywhere. At the meat market, where fresh meat was sold in the heat of the day, flies crawled and laid their eggs, and it was easy to see why spices were so necessary for the preservation of food.

In the streets, were only a few automobiles, but there were many camels and dromedaries, and one had to be careful to avoid stepping in things that should not be tracked into the hotel. There were streets in which merchants sold camel saddles (leather parts cured in urine) and other wares. And these places were fairly clean except for the smell that was everywhere. There were other areas where disease and dirt were very apparent. Most of the streets were paved, but it was difficult for an American not to feel sympathy for these people who kept on living and maintaining their optimism when life was so uncertain.

Outside the city, there were numerous cattle wandering about while the people starved, but these cattle were not to be eaten because they were sacred. Probably, in the long run this made no difference, because the cattle would only have lasted for a short time as food before they were entirely consumed by the large populace.

On the 12th, we took off from Karachi by beginning the take-off run on only two engines, the engine starters having failed on the other two. The props on the dead engines turned when the speed was right, and by the time the airplane left the ground, all four engines were running. We made another trip to Peshwar, returned to Karachi, and crew-rested for about 15 hours. Every take-off was done in the same manner as we had no way to repair the starters that were not working. At last we left for Incirlik where we rested briefly until the starters were repaired. We arrived back at Chateauroux on the 14th at 1:05 AM local time, left two hours later for Lajes, crew-rested there for another 15 hours, and then went back to McGuire, arriving on the 15th at 2:00 AM local time.

At home I took a coupon we had from buying an encyclopedia set and asked some questions regarding what Einstein had discovered in his late years, since I could not believe that he had been satisfied with his special theory. When the reply came it was from Princeton where his papers on theory of light were on file, and copies of his papers were included. He was using tensor analysis in a special wave form to explain the way electromagnetic energy moved, and this made me realize that he had probably suspected or perhaps concluded much of the same thing that I had discovered in Chateauroux. However, he died before he could go farther with it.

The thing that had been bothering me, ever since my third visit to the library at the base in Chateauroux, had begun to take shape in my mind, and I concluded that religion and science should never be taken separately, because this avenue of research had given me an insight into the true nature of the Creator of this universe.

The time I spent at the Academy had convinced me that Christianity as currently practiced was a farce. We were forced to attend chapel every Sunday until senior year and had to sit through the obseqious sermons that the chaplain gave, in which he blessed all of his superior officers to the extent that it was apparent to anyone that he really wanted his next promotion. It was also apparent that the witch hunts in Salem, the Inquisition, and the crusades were, if anything other than the work of greedy of men, the work of the devil. From what I could see of men and discover from their religions, there was no devil except themselves. However, I was not convinced that there was no God.

The understanding I was now finding regarding the nature of our universe had convinced me beyond shadow of a doubt not only that was there a Creator (not in the sense of creationism) but that Its nature was far different from that postulated by any of the present-day religions. And it led me eventually on another path I have trod for the last forty-six years. Now, the things that I first found in Chateauroux in the sixties seem almost childish compared to my current level of understanding. There is no need for me to feel smug, because one of the things I have discovered is that the oldest religions were not separate from science and that old religions the world over contained writings that indicated someone in each of them knew the real nature of the Creator and Its universe. And, strangely, the Creator has quite a sense of humor.


C-1 Status

From a letter home dated 27 May 1965:

. . . The squadron has become C-1 qualified, passed its operational readiness inspection, and held up through a couple of small crises in the last three months, and now the pressure is off. In fact, the ORI inspectors said it was the best squadron they had ever been privileged to inspect in their entire careers. Since they put us through our paces and actually flew with us as we accomplished their orders, it must be a fair evaluation. However, I know that our paperwork was balanced by our most expert jugglers in a strictly legal way; so, maybe it just shows that our regulations are really no darn good.

To keep everybody happy, we still have to lie, steal, cheat, and forge--and all because we are over-regulated.

Anyway, everybody is happy, and more new navigators are coming in to share the load each day. We still need instructors, and Major Kreber is trying to get me upgraded for the 130s as soon as possible. My original instructor's test still holds for everything except the airplane, and I don't know what they want tactical instructors to have. I feel that whatever is needed, I've got it anyway. The crews I flew with on my drops still remember me as that navigator that beat everybody else by cutting their circular error by better than half--and I get reminded of it at odd times every now and then.

It sounds like all is a bed of roses, I know. I want to point out that the only thing that really keeps us going is well-deserved praise for our accomplishments. All the praisers want in return is blood from us. Not much is it? I know I just got promoted and am respected and can do the job, but it is either darned hard work or never being at home or both that is the price. I can't argue that the Air Force doesn't need us, but why isn't there some way to convince people that more of us are needed? If I get out, I am replaced by one body that does the same ridiculous amount of work until he gets fed up and quits. What we need is more people and less pay for each. I don't need pay raises from Congress, I need another navigator to help do this job. I could do with a lot less as far as pay is concerned. There a plenty of volunteers for service still. Pilots and navigators could be very numerous if it weren't for someone always trying to cut financial corners and wasting money instead, because people get out of service to escape and force us to spend a lot more for training new people. This mess is so big I could go on all day. And I don't think it will ever be solved as long as there are people in our government . . . .

Newspaper clipping follows:

WELCOME HOME - Lt. Col. Noble L Webster, Commander, 29th ATS, center, welcomes home one of four crews that participated in the final phase of CARP testing at Hunter AFB, Ga. On Tuesday the squadron achieved C-1 status after months of intensive training. Shown, left to right [not including Col. Webster], are Maj. Ben Byrd, standardization officer, Maj William Hewitt, first pilot, and 1st Lt. Zeke Encians, navigator.

McGuire 29th ATS Makes "C-1" Status

Achieves Combat Readiness After Months of Training

Full combat ready "C-1" status was achieved by McGuire's 29th Air Transport Squadron Tuesday following successful Computed Air Release Point (CARP) testing at Hunter AFB, Ga.

Four crews, the last to become tactical qualified, were met by their commander, Lt. Col. Nobel L. Webster, and Maj. Ben Byrd, standardization officer, after arriving back at McGuire Tuesday night.

Their homecoming climaxed months of intensive training that had begun last May when the first C-130E Hercules was assigned to the 29th.

In January, the drive toward C-1 status assumed new and more demanding dimensions when the Air Force increased requirements for precision paradrop of personnel and equipment. Crew members who had become qualified under the old standards were required to undergo additional training and testing.

The squadron's workload expanded greatly after January to meet mission and training commitments. During this period, many crew members averaged 100 flying hours per month.

Colonel Webster classified the achievement as a "team effort all the way."

In crediting all base agencies for outstanding support, he singled out the Aerial Port Squadron and the Maintenance complex. "The Aerial Support Squadron contributed immeasurably in rigging our gear and providing technical services at the Lakehurst Drop Zone," he said, "In view of the heavy logistic mission workload, maintenance support was outstanding." He added that McGuire's "knuckle-busters worked 'round the clock in support of the heavy tactical training program."

The squadron's goal was to qualify 85% of its assigned personnel by a March 31 deadline. In all, 41 crews were qualified under standards established by MATS manual 55-1 and AF 51-130 tactical manual.

Last November, the Naval Air Transport Squadron, VR-3, became the first McGuire based squadron to become tactically qualified in CARP operations.

Under the MATS Naval Air Transport Wing, Atlantic (NA-TWA), VR-3 is commanded by Capt. S. Moutunnas. The squadron received its first C-130E on loan from Charleston AFB, S. C., in December 1963.

Crew members of the 29th who participated in the final phase of the training last week were led by team chief, Capt. Charles DeBerry. In team components were:

Team #1: Capt. Robert N. Kendall, flight examiner; Maj. Wendall L. Leach, AC; 1st Lt. Robert H. Merrel, second pilot; Capt. Walter J. Schenning, flight examiner-navigator; 1st Lt. Thomas L. Reinke, navigator; TSgt. Kenneth D. Duncan, flight mechanic, SSgt. Alvin L. Garner, flight examiner-loadmaster; A1C Joseph P. Guttilla, loadmaster.

Team #2: Capt. Harvey L. Moore, AC; Maj. Charles R. Miller, first pilot; 1st Lt. Robert N. Rodney, second pilot; Capt. John Valentine, flight examiner; Capt. Lew Price, navigator; A1C dwight E Wilkerson, flight mechanic; SSgt. Billy J. Hillman, loadmaster; A2C Thomas R. Cooper, loadmaster; A3C Albert A Saville, loadmaster.

Team #3: Capt. Richard T. Dillon, flight examiner; Capt. Albert D. Purvis, AC; Maj. William W. Hewitt, first pilot; Maj. James C. Smith, Jr., flight examiner-navigator; 1st Lt. Esequiel M. Encinas, navigator; 1st Lt. Lowell A. Bombach, navigator; SSgt. George K. Chalmers, flight mechanic; SSgt. Alvin L Garner, flight examiner-loadmaster; A2C Lowell C. Martin, loadmaster.

Team #4: Capt. Robert J. Phildius, AC; Capt. Robert A. Weekley, first pilot; Capt. Thomas N. Simmons, second pilot; Maj. William J. Duke, flight examiner-navigator; Capt. Ellsworth Mosso, navigator; TSgt. Walter L. Markel, flight mechanic; SSgt. Sherrill E. McCarty, loadmaster; SSgt. Payton Toliserro, loadmaster.


Andy's Triumph

MATS GLOBAL HERCULES - Around-the-world flights in support of U. S. military commitments
are one type of mission for the trans-oceanic C-130E Hercules Airlifters of Military Air Transport Service.
Commanded by Capt. Andrew W. Biancur, 29th ATS, one of these long-legged "E"s recently broke
a flight record for the 1611th Air Transport Wing C-130s by crossing the Pacific non-stop.


C-130 Proves Equal to Herculean Task

Wing Information Office

The first C-130E Hercules of the 1611th Air Transport Wing to be "put to the test" passed it with flying colors last week by crossing the Pacific from Hawaii to McGuire non-stop.

In Herculean style, the aircraft, commanded by Capt. Andrew W. Biancur of the 29th Squadron, overflew Travis AFB, Calif. -- the usual refueling stop -- and continued home with fuel left at touchdown to have flown to Newfoundland if necessary.

The flight was neither an endurance test, nor a training mission. It was just a routine return trip, but Captain Biancur thought that since there was no requirement for the aircraft at Travis, and there was at McGuire, there was no reason to stop.

He radioed for permission to overfly Travis, and after receiving the "go ahead" covered the 5,000 miles from Hickam AFB, Hawaii, to McGuire in 13 hours. Five less than usual.

Flying at an average speed of 320 miles per hour, he "step-climbed" to an altitude of 37,000 feet, where the equivalent airspeed was 450 miles. Aided by a healthy tailwind, along with the "true air speed," his fuel consumption was less, and drift was held to a minimum.

The altitude usually reached by aircraft flying this route is 24,000 feet. Though aided by lack of "wind drag" and the total of other factors, Captain Biancur gives full credit for the feat to the "professionalism" of his augmented crew.

His crew on this flight consisted of Capt. Wilber Calmese, 1st pilot; Capt. Tom Simmons, 2nd pilot; Capt. Walt Schenning, navigator; 1st Lt. Jay Ebert, navigator; SSgt. Charles Rogers, engine mechanic; MSgt. Linford Berl, flight engineer; and A2C Jerry Hunt and A3C Sam McCracken, loadmasters.

At least one official description of the C-130E Hercules' capabilities gives its range as "one-stop between the U. S. and the Far East, with normal loads, 4,000 miles with lighter loads."

[There a were few of the usual errors in this clipping, but essentially it was correct.]


Southeast Asia I

From a letter home dated 4 June 65.

. . . I have been on alert nearly all the time of late and will be for a few more days; so, I have had time to do lot of typing and other things here at home . . . .

. . . The service manpower requirements have been limited for a long time, chiefly by McNamara, Mother, or whoever advises him. We won't be likely to be authorized more men for a long time, especially with the idea of keeping the budget down. Incidentally, my equivalent pay outside in the civilian world would be just about $14,500.00 a year. I think Dad asked that once. So you see that we already draw just about $15,000.00 worth. Of course, part of that is considering medical benefits, commissary privileges, and per diem for the time away from home . . . .

On 12 June 1965, eight of us took off at 11:10 AM local to fly an empty airplane to Cannon (don't remember where or what Cannon is). We picked up a load there, and 3 hours were spent loading it. From there we flew to Travis and crew-rested for a little over a day. At 5:20 AM local time, we took off for Hickam where we crew-rested for another day.

This time at Hickam there were a number of C-133 crews who were obliged to take a three-day crew-rest at every stop just so their aircraft could be thoroughly inspected. We had a chance to talk with them. They were frightened deep down inside in a way that they did not even want to talk about. Their morale was low. They knew that nothing had been found to explain the missing C-133s and that meant that they could discover the answer to the mystery personally at any time. We all felt extremely sorry for these people, knowing full well that this could be us any time that fate decreed such a thing.

After I had left the Air Force I continued to wonder why the C-133s disappeared. Eventually, one of my friends who had left later than I had told me the story. One of these big planes had been making a fly-by at an air show. As it passed the admiring crowd, it suddenly nosed over and crashed just past the stands. One of the people in the stands had been taking movies of the fly-by. When the movie of the C-133 was shown, it was noticed that its propellers had suddenly disintegrated, with pieces flying into the crew compartment like shrapnel. Further investigation revealed that the alloy of which the props were made would crystallize and fly apart when the props were out of synchronization in such a way as to produce certain differential *frequencies. The correct out-of-synch frequencies did not happen very often; so, no one could tell until it happened--and then there were no survivors to tell the tale. Subsequently, the propellers were taken off the airplanes and replaced with new props of a different alloy, and there was no more problem.

[*One frequency plus another creates a frequency that is the difference between the original two. This is the beat that a piano tuner hears. When four props are involved, the possibilities exist for several frequencies to occur as differences. I have heard other stories since about why the C-133 was a problem. Perhaps all of these stories are true because the plane was removed from the inventory as a "lemon" even after each new problem was corrected.]

The war in Vietnam had been escalating, and more troops and supplies were being flown into the area. The populace was war-weary, and hundreds of thousands of refugees were fleeing the war to live in camps protected by government forces. This caused more stress on the economy as did the inflation from the influx of U.S. troops and their buying power. Air travel was the only sure way to deliver supplies to outlying areas, and more than 175 airfields and air strips had been constructed through defoliation of the jungle, metal "mats" for runways, prefabricated metal buildings, and other expedient methods. The airstrips required troops to guard them, and this meant more supplies were needed. So it was necessary to build a base of logistical support for the U.S. forces. Thus, major installations were constructed at Saigon, Bien Hoa, Da Nang, and Soc Trang. And Naval installations were developed at Cam Ranh Bay, Saigon, and Vung Tau.

The more Americans there were in Vietnam, the more the U.S. government began to "steer the boat," and Vietnamese support for the U.S. aims was weakening. This was especially true in discussions of war versus peace. The U.S. was making decisions first and then letting the Vietnamese know what these decisions were. In essence, the Vietnamese were helping us in their land when we were supposed to be helping the Vietnamese.

Furthermore, there was much divisiveness in American politics as to whether or not the war should be continued, and this made matters worse. Heavy pressures were put on Washington to negotiate an end to the conflict, based upon the fear that continuing the war would draw in Communist China and we would have another war like the one in Korea. And there was continuing instability in South Vietnamese politics. Yet on 7 April 1965, Johnson pledged one billion dollars for "the development of Southeast Asia." To defend Johnson's decision, there was good reason to believe that the fall of Vietnam to the Communists would lead to the fall of the other Southeast Asian countries as well. The biggest problem was the lack of decision on the part of the politicians. We should have either let the military fight the war to win, or just pull out. By doing what they did, the Johnson administration encouraged the Communists to continue the war and caused more of our men to be killed.

With the use of B-52 bombers based at Anderson AFB, Guam, the need to supply this base was also escalating, even though it was located far from Vietnam itself. And the whole Pacific pipeline of troops and supplies was being reinforced.

We flew on from Hickam, leaving a little after noon local time. Wake was next for a refueling, and then Anderson AFB at Guam where we rested again for over a day, leaving at 4:35 AM local time and flying for eight hours to arrive at Camp Holloway. There we spent about an hour on the ground. We left at 10:35 AM local and flew for an hour before landing at Tan Son Nhut Airport at Saigon, Vietnam.

As I recall, we arrived in South Vietnam this time just after the B-52s had completed a raid on North Vietnam. We were a little concerned over the possibility of reprisals by air. The C-130 did not have armor plating, self-sealing gas tanks, and the other niceties of combat aircraft. I kept a sharp lookout with our RADAR set, hoping that we might have some warning in the event that a MIG should intercept us.

We probably had less to fear than we could have possibly imagined, as the Communists in the north had enough to contend with, without bothering about a lone transport this far south. However, we had little else to concern us over and above the usual; so, we always came here with the best survival gear we could pack into our flight suits.

I had given up on taking the .45 automatic that I had been carrying. It was too heavy, too loud, and the ammo for it was so heavy that only a few rounds would fit into my personal weight allowance. Instead, I was using a .22 automatic that would work well for taking game and made little noise if one used .22 shorts in it. It would not function on the auto mode with the shorts, but one shot would be enough for dinner, and one shot at a time could be fired in it. I did have hollow-point long rifles for it for other purposes, and what it lacked in knockdown power was more than made up for by its increased accuracy over the .45 auto. If I were forced into a situation near the Viet Cong, my best bet was stealth rather than firepower. Of course, the other guys did not necessarily agree with my philosophy.

We were on the ground for less than two hours. At 2:10 local time, we took off for Kadena in Okinawa, landing at 9:10 PM on the 18th. We went into crew-rest at Kadena for over two days.

We left Kadena at 6:10 AM on the 20th. A little over five hours later, we landed at Tachikawa, Japan, slightly west of Tokyo. We crew-rested there for a little over 15 hours, the closest I have ever been to the Japanese capital. We had landed just before noon; so, we had a good look at the city as seen from the field. From this view, it looked like a western city in most respects, complete with the crowds. We were scheduled out at 4:35 AM the next day, which did not give us time to see the town and still rest a bit, knowing that we would be up by 1:00 AM.

Our next destination was Taiwan where we spent two hours. Then it was Kadena again for a day's rest. We went directly to Wake from Kadena and then on to Hickam for a day on Oahu. On the way to Travis we passed an ocean station vessel, and I was given a message to be sent via post card to Mrs. R.E. Fillipi, 1537 Pine Avenue, Apartment #6, Long Beach, California: "See you in about four days. Be sure and bring Corbia with you down to the dock also. All my love, Bob."

At Travis, we spent another four days. I don't remember why we stayed so long, but it left time for me to see my parents again.

We took off from Travis at 40 minutes after midnight local time, and nine hours later we landed at McGuire (12:40 PM local time). We had left on the 12th and were back on the 29th, having completed another long mission.

The ulcer that I had been experiencing had grown worse in 1964 and was accompanied by skin rashes and symptoms of combat fatigue such as extremely unpleasant nightmares. I knew that I would not be able to fly much longer in spite of covering up the symptoms from the flight surgeon, and flying was the only thing I really wanted to do since my other options had failed. So I decided to leave the service. Once the decision to leave had been made, the physical problems began to abate which made me realize that my subconscious was telling me something.

I had applied for a master's degree in either physics or mathematics. On 26 Dec 1963, I had received a letter of eligibility for AFIT (Air Force Institute of Technology) graduate courses for a master's degree in either of these fields, but then I was told that these courses were not currently being offered by AFIT. On 5 May 1965, a letter was sent to me informing me that AFIT had identified me a resource for consideration for September 1965 for science programs, but that I would not be reassigned without authority from Headquarters USAF. On 18 May 1965, a letter was sent to me stating that I had been released from further consideration by the Headquarters USAF Committee on AFIT selections.

I certainly was not going to go far in a service that relied on drinking heavily (very bad for an ulcer and the liver) so that one could be a general's aide or an attache, and thus be properly promoted--and if I had to do either of those things, I would definitely be drinking heavily just to keep my sanity.

There were other reasons for my leaving as well. The privileges we had been promised were being taken away. We had been told that we would be able to have better buying power for our low incomes by buying at the base exchanges and commissaries. However, the contractors running these stores were raising their prices for some reason, and we no longer had much of an edge, if any, over buying at a civilian establishment. Our workload had stayed about the same (360 hours a month), but the time away from home had increased, leaving no time for my family or personal pursuits. I believed, whether erroneously or not, that my mind was considerably more creative and versatile than what was needed for any kind of desk job in the Air Force, and the only rewards that I would be able to reap from such a job would be stress and/or boredom. The obvious politics that would be required for a future in the Air Force appalled me. I wanted to do more with my potential than I would be able to do with an occupation requiring political savvy (lying, cheating, and/or stealing) and work that anyone with a grain of sense could do. Frankly, I felt burned out, without hope for the future as long I stayed in the service. This feeling had led to my body's rebelling and losing its health.

I had not kept my aspirations of resigning a secret, but no one seemed to believe that I would really do it. Once I had definitely made my decision to leave the service, the ulcer and the skin problems left, and so did any symptoms of combat fatigue. Apparently, the hope that this generated was enough to make me better. So I had gone into the last few month with a better body and mind than I had known for some time.

From a letter home dated 1 July 1965.

. . . Col. Lake looked at my resignation and asked me into his office immediately. He said he hadn't planned to see me that afternoon until he saw a paragraph or two of the letter. It made him change his mind. He wished me well and agreed for the most part. Said he didn't like losing me, but he didn't blame me. He pumped me for as much information as he could get regarding my reasons and made sure that he understood each reason well. He had three letters in his desk from prominent congressmen whom he had written to recently to attempt to improve the lot of the serviceman, and he seemed to really be trying to help in a big way. He tries to use the reasons for resignations to aid him in improving things, and since he can't control everything himself, he needs ammunition. He is only a squadron commander, but he is one of the best and not like some of those I have had in the past. More than likely, the only other person I have to see, the wing commander, will be the same way. They seem to be taking things to heart. The joker I didn't like has been removed from the interview chain for these letters, because he was doing more harm than good; so, I won't see him at all.

The paperwork is logged now and can't be delayed or lost without someone squawking in a hurry. They have been going through in less than a week's time lately, and there have been a lot of them. Something must be done soon to retain the experienced personnel, or we'll be hurting worse than ever. It seems that the serviceman feels that the civilians, who block his raises (which are late already) and his promotions as well as legislation to train more to help with the load, don't deserve defending any longer. His dislike for being the goat is increasing, and his dedication is being destroyed. All that has kept most of us in up 'til now has been dedication and a little bit of faith in a few of the politicians and the people. I was made to realize how badly things were going when I spoke with some of the people processing resignations, and it is obvious why MATS, USAF, and other agencies are so concerned. Maybe the trend will force some stupid SOBs to face the facts . . . .


Southeast Asia II

On 14 July, I was the recipient of a new policy, a line check with no notice beforehand. It was easy after all the experience I had had by that time, and the flight was a pleasurable one. Strange as it may seem, it has always been the bureaucrats and their procedures that gave me problems. The trips into areas like the Congo and Vietnam were for real and required some on-site thinking. This trip was one to pick up pallets.

Pallets are things that cargo is tied to. Forklifts or humans pick up the pallets with the cargo on them and move them from the ground to the C-130, and the C-130 moves them through the air to a destination that needs the cargo. After that, the pallet is usually stored and forgotten. As a result, the pallets accumulate everywhere except where they are needed, and new ones are bought to replace the ones that are accumulated. Our mission was to take an empty airplane and pick up pallets that had accumulated at every air base from McGuire to and including all of them in Southeast Asia.

We left McGuire at a reasonable time, because we really had no coordinated schedule. Take-off was 2:35 PM. An hour later, we arrived at Langley where five hours passed while people collected pallets. The next stop was Travis where we crew-rested for part of a day. Then it was Hickam for a day (more papaya and sirloin tips). Then it was Wake Island for refueling, followed by Anderson on Guam for a crew-rest of five days. This was probably the most relaxing and almost boring crew-rest I have ever had.

The next stop was Iwakuni, a town on the coast near the bottom of the main Japanese island of Honshu. There we spent about three hours collecting pallets. We took off at 6:10 PM local time to fly to Bien Hoa a few miles north of Saigon in Vietnam, landing at 3:10 AM local and waiting until enough people were awake to find all the pallets we were to pick up. During the five and a half-hour wait, we slept on the aircraft. During the Congo crisis and at other odd times, we had subsisted on K rations when necessary. This time, we did the same. Actually, they aren't that bad and much better nutritionally than some of the box lunches we managed to grab in some places.

At 8:40 AM local time, we lifted off for Clark in the Phillipines, arriving at 10:20 AM local on 25 July and going into crew-rest. We left at 1:20 PM on the 26th and flew direct to Don Muang near Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, located at the top of the Gulf of Thailand. It was a big airfield filled with U.S. combat aircraft of all kinds.

The early home of the Thai was the valley of the Yangtze River in China. As the Chinese population grew, the Thai were pushed southward, beginning about 200 BCE. Some settled in Assam, some in Burma, and some in Thailand (Siam). The migration to Thailand was slow, and the new arrivals first found the land in possession of the Khmer, the ancestors of the Cambodians, who had acquired their civilization from India. The resulting culture was a blend of Khmer and Thai. In 1350, a new capital was founded by a Thai ruler and marked the beginning of the Kingdom of Siam. Rama Tiboti, the ruler, united all the Thai and Khmer principalities into one State. When the Europeans arrived, as they always did, they set up trade with Siam and began to strive for domination in trade for their particular country.

The French eventually triumphed, and French missionaries arrived, as they always did. As usual, there was conflict, the French used force, and the Thais kicked the French out. The French came back, stealing Siamese territory by sending gunboats up the Chaupaya River. And the French kept on stealing until they had taken 90,000 square miles of Siamese land. As part of the peace settlement after WWI, Siam regained much of its land that countries other than France had stolen and finally, in 1925, regained the land that France had stolen as well.

There were internal conflicts between the royalty and those who wanted constitutional rule, and then WWII happened with results essentially the same as what happened with Vietnam. After the war, there was more internal tension between rival political factions. There was a bloodless coup at one point, and then a new constitution was adopted in January of 1949. Thailand in the early 60s was still ruled by a king but had a Constituent Assembly (a parliament).

We landed at 5:30 PM local, and as I recall, just it time to watch numerous formations of F-105s returning from their first mission to bomb the surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites in North Vietnam. As we watched the flights come over in formation, we noticed that many of them consisted of less than four aircraft. The empty spots in the flights graphically illustrated which pilots did not come back that day. It was obvious that the casualties had been heavy. This was another escalation of the war, and we wondered what the North Vietnamese would do in retaliation.

Although the SAMs did not often actually shoot down our aircraft, they caused our planes to fly at altitudes where the anti-aircraft guns could pick them off. So indirectly, the SAMs did a lot of killing, and they needed to be dealt with.

We blocked in at Bangkok at 5:30 PM local time on 26 July and crew-rested.

At 8:10 AM local time on 27 July we left Bangkok. This time, we flew north and slightly east, landing at a place called Udorn not far from the border where Laos has a little tip extending into Thailand. We were there for only 50 minutes and then took off for Muang Nakhon Phanom a little way to the southeast. There we spent only 30 minutes on the ground.

Vietnam is a very narrow strip of land lying along a coastline. Further inland, Laos is another narrow strip. Thailand is farther inland, with Laos buffering it from Vietnam. But jungles and mountains do not stop guerrilla activity, and North Vietnamese troops in Laos actually outnumbered the native insurgents and would have presumably overrun the country but for their commitment in Vietnam. Early in 1965, Communist China's foreign minister was reported to have promised guerrilla warfare in Thailand within a year. Later in the year, Peking announced the merger of two Communist-supported groups dedicated to overthrowing the Thai government and evicted all U.S. forces from the country.

The Communists concentrated their efforts primarily in northeastern Thailand (where we were at this time), particularly in the economically depressed Nakhon Phenom province along the southern Laotian border. The population in the area were subjected to a heavy Communist propaganda campaign, and some of the pro-Laotian Thais there were supplied with arms. In addition 40,000 Vietnamese inhabited the area who were, for the most part, sympathetic to the North Vietnamese government. It was estimated that several thousand had defected to the Communists in recent years.

For the above reasons, and the imminent possibility of mortar fire from the adjacent jungle, we always spent as little time as possible on the ground. From Muang Nakhon Phanom, we flew to Ubon, just a few miles inside the easternmost portion of Thailand. We landed at just past noon local time and took off with more pallets at 1:50 PM.

In case, you are someone to whom the term "mortar fire" is just a word for a big bang, it might be best to explain what it is and why guerrillas use it so often as a weapon of choice. A mortar "round" is a big round thing that is fired by a very low-compression powder charge from a thin-walled tube. The tube is very light in weight and easy to transport when one is hiking several miles a day. The mortar round is actually like a small bomb or several hand grenades in power, and it detonates upon impact. It is light to carry because it has no shell casing to hold the powder charge. The powder is in "fins" at the end of the round, and the fins are removed one-by-one to lessen the velocity of the mortar round when this is necessary for accuracy.

Since the mortar round is sent on its way by a low-compression powder charge, it gets its short range by lofting upward like a long-shot on a basketball court. This means that it can fire from concealed locations such as behind a ridge or any other barrier. When it fires with just a "whuff" sound from behind a natural barrier (even a grove of trees will do), the people at the target cannot see or hear where the mortar crew is located and, thus, cannot fire on them.

Usually, the mortar crew has a concealed forward observer to tell them via walky-talky where the first round has hit and how to change the powder charge, the elevation, and/or the direction of the tube to make the next one closer. Ideally, the first round goes over the target, the second round is short of the target, and the third right on top of the target, but a good mortar crew can often drop the first round right on the target. And no one can easily tell that a mortar crew is in the area until the first round drops soundlessly from the sky.

I have mentioned that in combat zones we did what was best at the time and did not worry too much about the "book." The C-130, when nearly empty can maneuver and climb almost like a fighter plane. The cargo we had was very light throughout this mission, and ground fire was often a consideration. It is always much more difficult to hit a target that is flying a curved path than to hit one that is flying straight. So at every airfield since the mission began, when in the danger zone of Southeast Asia, the pilots made fighter approaches to landing rather than the by-the-book type. This was called the 360-degree overhead, and consisted of flying over the end of the runway and then banking abruptly while losing altitude rapidly so that by the time the airplane has circled one time, the runway is right in front and only a few feet below. We avoided being hit by ground fire several times in this fashion. Likewise, right after take-off, the pilot would point the nose high while using full power on all four engines, and fly a circular path to altitude. In this manner also, we avoided ground fire on at least one occasion that was known.

From Ubon, we turned back toward Bangkok and, after a flight of an hour, landed at Korat (also known as Khorat or Nakhon Ratchasima). Another 50 minutes on the ground and we were off again for a brief crew-rest at Bangkok.

I should mention that Bangkok was a city of nightclubs, bars, and other places that a GI might like to frequent. In fact, one street reminded me of the main drag in Las Vegas. In the daytime, there were plenty of things to buy. This was typical of Saigon as well. In fact, just as large U.S. cities are much alike to a foreigner, the Southeast Asian big cities are much alike to the Americans. The Thai food was excellent, but I am not sure what it was. There was a high percentage of Chinese in the area who were noticed by their light skin and greater height. Most of the Thais were slight in build and brown, though they seemed a little larger than the Vietnamese. It was obvious that the Americans had created a temporary boom in the economy. Motorcycles were used a lot for transportation--not the big types but the types only a little above a motor scooter. And there were motor scooters too. It was a common sight to see two people on one cycle or scooter, happy and speaking loudly over the sound of the two-cycle engine as they zipped along to their destination.

On the 28th at 7:35 AM local, we left Bangkok and flew for two hours to land at Da Nang (also Danang or Touraine), a relatively large base on the coast of Vietnam about 70 miles from the border of North Vietnam. Here we spent almost two hours on the ground, but the base perimeter was well guarded.

From Da Nang, we went south to Qui Nhon, again on the coast but only a small base this time. After landing on a fairly short runway, we were informed that ground fire had tracked us in, coming from off the end of the runway. The field had water on one side and jungle on the other. The ground fire had come from the jungle.

During WWII, we learned that defensive armament for our bombers was of dubious advantage and that higher performance could be achieved without the weight of gunners and gun turrets. With this in mind, several aircraft companies began to change their design philosophies. Martin came out with an aircraft called the "Mauler" which was powered by one 3,000 horsepower engine. This aircraft could carry three torpedoes, twelve bombs, or rockets.

Douglas designed the "Skyraider" around a 2,500 horsepower engine. It had a design gross weight of 17,500 pounds which later rose to 25,000 pounds. It could carry more of a bomb load that the B-17 of WWII. It began with a designation of AD-1, and as later versions were built, the designations moved up to AD-2, AD-3, AD-4, AD-5, AD-6, and AD-7. This plane, originally built for the Navy and not ready in time to be used in WWII, was designated the A-1 in 1962, and used by the Air Force in Vietnam for low-level attack. One of the most common single-seat variants of the A-1 was the AD-4.

As I guarded the airplane after our landing at Qui Nhon, a man in a flight suit walked along the line of parked aircraft just across a taxiway from our C-130. But he was different. He wore a ranger style camouflage canvas hat (similar to a Stetson but with snaps for the sides to turn up). There was a western-style gun belt around his waist complete with extra ammo. A fast draw holster was on the right side of the gun belt with a nickel-plated, pearl-handled, western-style .357 magnum revolver in it. He was smiling as he climbed into the cockpit of an A-1 parked a few feet away.

He started the huge engine and let it warm up as he taxied to the end of the runway. He did not do an engine run-up, but lined up for take-off right away, not even stopping before the engine began to roar at its fullest volume. I had the impression that it had already been warmed up from a previous flight.

A stiff and gusty wind was whipping across the runway, and sand was blowing from the beach like we were on the Sahara. The A-1 reached the end of the short runway and rotated. About five feet off the ground a strong gust hit it, and it moved sideways about ten feet before the pilot could correct with the rudder. Simultaneously, it rolled slightly. The gust quit and it dropped about five feet. Then it picked up more speed, and, as another gust hit, it literally bounced into a fast climb.

At about 200 feet, it leveled off and banked right to come around in a semi-circle to the approach end of the runway. Then it started strafing. After about four passes in which it tore up some jungle rather badly, it landed and taxied over to the same old parking spot. The cowboy climbed out and went back into the building from which he had first emerged. The whole sequence probably took less than twenty minutes, of which most of it was the time it took the man to walk to and away from his A-1. Wondering if I had been dreaming, I was pinching myself when the rest of the crew came back to the airplane.

We were on the ground here for 50 minutes. A few miles south was Nha Trang where we picked up more pallets (1:35 hours on the ground). From there we went to Bien Hoa again and were on the ground for over two hours while the pallets were loaded. One of our problems was that, at times, no one seemed to have bothered to find the pallets or to get them ready to be loaded. They were not a high priority in the minds of the people at these bases. The people would take time to see what we wanted, where the pallets were, who would load them, and then would get around to loading them.

Tan Son Nhut, the last stop before Clark, was located at Saigon and had lots of pallets. After less than two hours on the ground, we left this base at 9:40 PM, climbing quickly on a curved path into the darkness with only the fiery exhausts from our engines visible. There were telltale flashes on the ground, now easy to see, and the tower informed us that we were being fired upon. Fortunately, at this stage of the war, the Viet Cong were not very accurate at shooting aerial targets, and we left unscathed, heading for Clark again in the Phillipines.

We arrived at Clark on the 29th at 1:20 AM local time and stayed just long enough to rest, taking off at 4:30 local in the afternoon. This was another flight to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. After an hour and half on the ground, we left for Kadena in the Ryukyus where we crew-rested for two days. On the 31 July at 6:15 PM local, we took off for Midway, blocking in more that ten hours later at 8:30 AM on the same day. We had crossed the International Date Line again.

Midway was and is a great historic location. During WWII, the Japanese were enjoying a huge majority in number of aircraft carriers and battleships after their attack at Pearl Harbor and the Battle of the Coral Sea. Subsequent battles had left the United States with even less. The Japanese were planning to attack Midway with a large carrier force and then to invade it. U.S. naval intelligence found out what the plan was, and the few remaining U.S. aircraft carriers were dispatched to intercept the superior Japanese force. The result was a clear victory for the U.S., and Midway was saved. The Japanese Navy lost the backbone of their carrier strength here, and eventually the war. This had been the turning point in the Pacific Theater.

Midway itself is a little bit of sand lying on some coral in the vast ocean, valuable only as the one place to park when touring the Pacific at this latitude, and without fresh water except by sinking a well. However, for its purpose, it is unexcelled, and we were certainly in need of it. It is 6 miles in diameter and is actually two islands with elevations no greater than 12 feet above sea level. The total area for the two is 28 square miles. There is coarse grass and bushes on them and a population of about 500 people. It has a lagoon with fish, turtles, crabs, and crawfish, as well as some birds.

In 1859, a man named Brooks found it (it was uninhabited by humans then), and it was subsequently named "Brooks." In 1887-1889 a shipwrecked crew lived on it for 14 months, and several died of scurvy before they were found. In 1903, Midway was made a responsibility of the U.S. Navy Department, and it was also made a station for the trans-pacific cable system. In 1935, it became a stopping point for Pan American Airways between Honolulu and the Phillipines, and a hotel and other facilities were erected. In 1939, it became a site for air bases and a submarine base for the United States.

We left Midway two hours after our arrival and spent another ten hours to arrive at Travis in California where we went into crew-rest for about 15 hours. We left Travis at 4:00 PM local on August 1 and arrived at McGuire at 2:10 AM local on the 2nd, having been gone for 19 days and accumulating 99:30 hours in flying time.

When I was a cadet at the Air Force Academy, the Colonel who was head of the psychology department asked if I would like to volunteer to be what was called (if memory serves correctly) an "M candidate". I volunteered. This meant that my Air Force career was to be carefully followed to see what factors influenced decisions made by myself and others who ruled my life to some degree. For this reason, my letter of resignation was extremely straightforward.

I had no real quarrel with the Air Force or my immediate commanders. Most of them were well aware of what made various officers resign and enlisted men fail to re-enlist. They often made a special effort to cure the problems that led to such actions. My gripe was with those who would not attempt to cure the problems. This included certain members of Congress and certain old-school Air Force officers. I have very little that is good to say about most politicians, and I tend to consider many of them traitors. The points that were in the letter follow.

1. The Air Force was a breeding ground for politicians masquerading as officers. The OER system lent itself to this condition.

2. One's social activities should be one's own concern, and officers should not be ordered to attend social functions or to belong to a club.

3. One's advancement in rank or right to remain in the Air Force should not be influenced by whether or not one prefers to drink alcohol excessively and attend social functions in which it was considered necessary to become drunk or act a fool.

4. The fringe benefits promised by the Air Force had been slowly removed over time.

5. Navigators were considered second class citizens who were not allowed to command an aircraft or a flying unit. They were not considered for promotion as quickly as pilots. This was a ludricrous policy in many cases, since it was well known that the schooling of navigators was more intense and their varied capabilities at least as great as those of pilots.

6. MATS was in need of many more people to shoulder an increasing load, and nothing was being done to keep those who were shouldering the load or to increase the authorized number of personnel to a level commensurate with MATS' needs.


Last Days

There was another long time headquartered at Deols in France where we flew more missions to Europe and the Middle East. On 13 Aug 1965, Col. Jesse A Irwin, Vice Commander of the 1611th Air Transport Wing, had written a "favorable communication" to Brigadier General Roland J. Barnick, the Commander of the 16llth Air Transport Wing, which was forwarded on 27 Aug to Col. Gerald M. McNulty, Deputy Commander of Operations of the 1611th Air Transport Wing, who forwarded on 2 Sep. it to the 29th Air Transport Squadron Commander. Copies were then passed out to us workers. The letter written by Col. Irwin stated:

1. During the period 26 -29 July 1965, I was afforded the opportunity to fly with one of your C-130 aircrews. The crew compliment was:

Maj. Hewitt, William W., 39630A
Capt. Kendall, Robert N., 65740A
Capt. Martinez, Jerris C., AO3040242
Capt. Price, Lew P., 59352A
1st Lt. Mika, Francis, 3128644
1st Lt. Rodney, Robert M., AO3107415
TSgt Duncan, Denneth D., AF14489026
A1C Jones, William J., AF 135631126

Major Hewitt was being given a check ride by Capt. Kendall. The itinerary involved numerous locations in up-country Thailand and Vietnam.

2. I wish to pass to you my appreciation for the fine manner in which the crew members conducted themselves throughout the trip. The trip was a burdensome itinerary involving numerous landings, long hours and, at times, laborious handling of 463L pallets retrieved from the several locations visited. It was a distinct pleasure to have been associated with this fine crew.

3. Please pass to them my sincere compliments for a mission well done with a genuine can-do attitude.

The last flight I had in a C-130 was on September 2, 1965, to Westover, Andrews, and Wright Patterson. It took one day to complete, and the rest of the month I was held in, preparing to leave the service.

While in MATS, I had been part of a crew in over 137 missions when not including those that branched off from other missions. My flying hours were excess of 4,800--don't know exactly what they were because 29th Squadron people had left out a lot of them. It seemed silly to look back; so, I didn't until later when I decided to write about the experience.



We left as planned and drove to California, towing the Corvair with the Buick. After a time staying with my parents, we found a place to rent at Colfax in the foothills above Sacramento. Not long afterward, I was hired by Pacific Telephone & Telegraph as an engineer at their northern counties headquarters in Sacramento, located between two of the largest earthquake fault systems in the United States.

Pacific Telephone turned out to be the key to my further education. Its equipment was unique in that it was unlike any other equipment ever devised. It was designed by Bell Laboratories, manufactured by Western Electric, sold to the various telephone companies of the Bell System, and maintained by the companies who bought it. In Pacific Telephone, I was trained in open wire transpositions, cable technology, digital carrier systems, radio systems, microwave systems, grounding, protection from lightning, earth resistivity, and other parts of cutting-edge electrical and electronic technology. This was like a graduate course that could not be found in any college. And like the Air Force, the Bell System had its own language. Following acceptance of my thesis, I was "graduated" to become an engineering coordinator for the creation of new buildings and building additions, designed for use by the various departments of Pacific Telephone.

Yet, even at this early time with the Bell people, the C-118 influenced my life at times when other people were terrified. In a way, the old queen was like a mother to me in times of stress. She had always brought her crew through the worst of times, and her presence, even in memory, was warm and assuring.

We worked on the fourth floor of a four-story building with a steel frame that magnified any motion of the earth upon which it sat. One day, I was in the men's room, relieving myself into a urinal. The water in the urinal began to slosh, and I noticed that the wall was moving in and out rhythmically, about six inches in and six inches out and then a repeat, and this motion continued for some time. I was concentrating upon a problem and was also quite interested in continuing the necessary relief of my bladder. Subconsciously, I felt that I was back on the C-118, emptying myself in a urinal at the bouncing tail of the aircraft during a storm, just as I had done for over four years. And with this very comforting thought, I grabbed the chrome handle on the wall with my left hand, bent my knees a bit to take the expected G forces, and continued to do what was most important to me at the time. This felt good--much better now that there was the soothing, rocking movement to which I was accustomed.

Two other men had been in the men's room with me, and I noticed that they were sitting on the cold tile floor against the wall and were holding their arms over their heads protectively. This seemed odd, but perhaps these folks in California always did odd things. We had recently gone to a movie in Sacramento, called The Battle of Britain, and the people of the movie audience were certainly the oddest that we had ever seen.

I finished what I was doing, flushed the urinal, and zipped up just as things began to calm down. The two guys got up off the floor and looked at me with undisguised, frank admiration.

"Man," one of them said, "are you cool!"

By the time I had figured out why he had said that, they were gone.

The foregoing was obtained from sources
which include letters written at the time,
flight orders kept with notes on them,
other published orders, squadron records,
my navigator's black book, course certificates,
the C-118 Fuel Planning Manual (FM 55-9),
shot records, passport, squadron records,
reference books published in the 1960s,
navigation charts of the 1960s, and memory.

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