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Wed, 29 Aug 2007                                                                                                                         SUBJECT: HELICOPTER STARTED FIRES

I'm sure that the H-43 has started a few fires with that tailpipe, but I have a story about the landing light of the H-3 starting a grass fire. While I was at Hill AFB in 1974 we were operating in the east remote training area doing confined area landings. At the time the thinking was that if the landing light was turned on during the approach that the birds would get out of our way. After a few landings we stayed on the ground  while the IP discussed the approach with the pilot. I got out of the chopper to make a walk around & while I was standing in front of the H-3 on the long cord the grass under the landing light burst into flames. The pilot turned the light off & I stomped the fire out before it could spread. We never sat on the dry grass with the landing light on again. (BILL CRAWFORD)

Wed, 29 Aug 2007                                                                                                                         SUBJECT: HELICOPTER STARTED FIRES


When I was with the H-43 at Davis Monthan We made a rescue in the mountains. The victim was critical, so we headed for the hospital. They did not have a helicopter pad. We landed and after we put out the GRASS FIRE, caused by the Tailpipe exhaust, we were able to unload the patient. (HARVEY MELTZER)



Mon, 27 Aug 2007                                                                                                                                                 SUBJECT: DOOR GUNNER


Attached is the story on A1C Dobos that I saw the first time around. In this one she is an aerial gunner on a HH-60. I suppose she could also be a gunner on the AC-130 as well. The photos in this story and the one in Jack's email are the same and she's posed in a HH-60.


I've been trying to locate her and recruit her as our first female 'Rotorhead', but so far I've not had any luck getting in touch with her. According to the story she is with the 66th RS at Nellis AFB, NV. If any of you know how to make contact with her, see if you can get her to join our group. (JIM BURNS)



Tue, 21 Aug 2007                                                                                                                                    SUBJECT: SECRET SUPPLY POINT


I’m not sure of the year, it was either 62 or 63. I was stationed with the 48th ARS Eglin AFB Fla. I do remember that we didn’t get our 43’s for almost a year after school. But the old H-19’s kept doing there job very well. We were the last ones I believe to lose the 19’s. I had set up one of the biggest unknown supply points available. The only folks that knew what I had was our little bunch and 1 secret guy at ARS Hq. I would get calls almost daily for goodies to support the other 19’s still in ARS. I spent 12 years in ARS. Twice at Eglin, then off to France and England. (Det 12 LBR.). (HARVEY MELTZER)


Sat, 14 Apr 2007                                                                                                                               SUBJECT: 23rd AIR FORCE STAND UP

When the TAC helicopter troops had to leave TAC and enter MAC when we  stood the 23rd AF up at Scott under MAC in 1983 some of them made up  the patch.   There was no love lost between TAC and MAC in those  days.  They even had a big MAC patch burning party down at Hurlburt  but they eventually got over it.  The 23rd moved from Scott to  Hurlburt in 86 and in the late 80's became the AFSOC.  I retired as  the DO of the 23rd AF at Hurlburt in 1988.  The AFSOC picked up all  rescue helicopters until recently when combat SAR went back to ACC  (the old TAC).  Go figure!  You can please some of the troops some of  the time but you can't please all the troops all the time.



Mon, 13 Aug 2007                                                                                                                                                  SUBJECT: FAA SUPPORT

I flew as chase pilot for FAA certification of the Windecker Eagle with a H-43B!  In December 1967, a H-43B (1559) and a crew (P, CP, FM, & 2 FF's) from Det 18 , WARRC, Webb AFB was detached and assigned on TDY to the Windecker Corporation at Midland-Odessa Continental Airport for three days.  Upon arrival we were briefed by Dr. Windecker that our mission was to fly chase the next day with our FSK and full bunkered crew in case of a crash! We did that for two days without incident.  But there were some interesting side things going on! The Windecker Eagle was a two seat light commercial aircraft, manufactured completely out of fiberglass and composite materials! The only metal being the engine, firewall and landing gear! A lot of USAF officers, including a Lt General, were attending along with the FAA Certification Group! When I asked about the USAF interest, I was told they were interested in the material for radomes, etc. The other thing was we were flying along a pre-planned path and monitored by a radar site in the area.  With the H-43 being a lot of fiberglass and wooden blades, I believe to this day, they were running comparison radar tests on it and us for research into Stealth technology! I was the Pilot; Dennis Olson, CP; Carlos Joiner, FM, and I don't remember the Firefighters! (JOE BALLINGER)

Wed, 8 Aug 2007                                                                                                                             SUBJECT: GATHERING WATERMELONS

I can't find the picture of the watermelons.  Our pilot got a nasty call from the base commander about us stealing the watermelons. We had so many onboard at one time we were to heavy to take off and had to unload some. All the troops and wives got watermelons.LOL They were the Base Commanders watermelons he had planted for the deer or wild hogs.  We made the mistake of having the base photographer onboard. It ended up in the base paper. I think the picture showed Bill or me handing the watermelons up to the pilots.  Fun stuff. (JACK WATKINS)


Thu, 10 May 2007                                                                                                                                                  SUBJECT: MAINTENANCE

As most of us can appreciate and as the 58 MXG (maintenance group) CC undersigns his signature with, "Iron Sharpens Iron".  All our Pave Low operators know that nothing happens mission-wise without maintainers making it happen.  Always was and always will be the case.  The article didn't mention the maintainers specifically because only the ops unit was being closed, not the mx squadron.  Crew chiefs were spread around as the ops back enders were, to the CV-22 and the HH-60 also there at Kirtland.  Specialists the same, but most will stay in place until normal PCSs because as we know, specialists work all acft.  We expected overages in all 53 related specialties and now for the first time in a long time, can actually let many folks move to other careers that manning shortages prohibited before. (TOM GREEN)


Tue, 10 Apr 2007                                                                                                                             SUBJECT: UNAUTHORIZED PAINT JOB

In October 1975, I reported to Tyndall as a 431X0 and was assigned as a crew chief on one of the MARS helicopters. (I have a picture somewhere). I can't remember the number though. We (the squadron CO on down through maintenance) got in trouble because maintenance stripped the airframe down to bare metal (including the Brown rubber sealant) and repainted the entire helicopter their in the hanger. As it turned out that was a job that was supposed to be done at depot. All the squadrons was allowed to do was touch-up to fight corrosion. That chopper looked great after the poly paint job. But we sure caught hell for it-----hahahaha That was my MARS bird




Sat, 7 Apr 2007                                                                                                                                         SUBJECT: AIRCRAFT TRANSFERS

In 1971 I was at the 39th ARRW HQ and Maj. Dan Durham and I (can't remember who the co-pilot was) were sent to Homestead AFB to ferry one of their HH-3E's to Tyndall AFB. When we got to Tyndall, we were told to just re-fuel and keep on going. We were now to take the bird to Randolph AFB (I think or maybe it was Williams AFB) where it was going to be put on a C-5 and shipped to Clark to replace their HH-3E that had sunk.


Then Dan and I went on to Edwards AFB and picked up a MARS CH-3E and delivered it to Tyndall...that little two day TDY turned into about a week and a half.  (JIM BURNS)


Fri, 6 Apr 2007                                                                                                                              SUBJECT: REFUELING PROBE INCIDENT


The only thing I can think of, we had probe problems with sticking and one airman was pulling on one to get it out and the stops broke and it came flying out and hit him in the stomach.  It almost killed him.  He got out of Nam.  We did not have any spare probes.  (JACK WATKINS)


Sun, 1 Apr 2007                                                                                                                          SUBJECT: NAVY SHIP ACCOMODATIONS

I was the Sq CC of the 55th ARS for this deployment.  The 41st ARS  provided half the force and we had one of the original NRS birds with  us although the systems were limited.  Somoza was removed from  Nicaragua via other means and we never had to extract him as  originally planned.  Shipboard ops with the old HH-53's was  interesting.  On the way out to the Saipan the Captain wanted to if we were Marines or Air Force.  When we confirmed Air Force he said  he would make it easy for us.  He would but the pointed end of the  ship into the wind and we were to land on the blunt end.  Interesting  deployment to say the least.


We came down close enough to Panama for the H-1's to bring us out  supplies and personnel.  We took a female crew chief out with us and  the Navy made her return to Panama when we got close enough for the  H-1's to come out.  At that time there were no female personnel on  Navy ships.  She was one popular gal on the Sipan.  Her name was  Alice and when she departed on the H-1 the Captain put an  announcement on the ships TV system to all personnel on board that  "Alice doesn't live here anymore".


Capt Murphy was an  interesting individual.  All business and ran a tight ship.  After  Alice left I got to sit in on one of his Capt. mast procedures for a  navy troop that had been caught stealing.  Sort of like an article 15  in the AF.  They still do bread and water in today's Navy.  I was up  on the bridge one night with the XO and learned an interesting fact  about the bridge.  I started to sit down in Capt. Murphy's chair on  the bridge and was told in no uncertain terms that nobody but the  Capt. sits in that chair. 


After the operation was over and we were  deploying for the states the night before we were to take off at o-dark-thirty heading up toward Cuba and then on up to FL and home one of my P.J.'s called and advised me that the giant was going to walk tonight. I could just see me up before Capt. Murphy in his Capt. Mast drill with the P.J. in tow.  All went well even though I didn't  sleep much.


As we took off we requested permission to cross the bow and down below the anchor was a beautiful set of six foot long green footprints.T he P.J. lit smoke flares on broomsticks off the ramp of the Jollies  as we flew by and we got some pretty good pictures.  I'll try to find you one and send it.  I think it took us four AR's to get back to FL  and the last one was in and out of the weather right over Disneyworld.  When we filed our travel vouchers after we got back to Eglin we had to pay the government a few bucks a day for the time we were on the ship.  They said we had food and lodging and the payment was a sir charge we owed for eating in the officers mess.  We did eat good!  Go figure. (JOHN FLOURNOY)

Sun, 25 Mar 2007                                                                                                                                             SUBJECT: BLADE TRACKING


I can add to the hazards of tracking blades with the flag and grease pencil procedures.  Even with the fog of CRS I can remember when I was taking a trace on the aft rotor of an H-21 running at high power and stuck the flag into the blades.  The first hit tore the bungee off of the flag frame and one of the "S" hooks went through a wooden blade making a noise that get's your attention quick.  When you tracked the aft rotor on the H-21 you stood on a B-4 stand that was jacked up as I recall because when the aft rotor coned at the high power trace you needed to be on a stand to control the flag --which I clearly did not in that one case. (DON LARSEN)



Sat, 17 Mar 2007                                                                                                                                                      SUBJECT: RELIEF TUBE



I have been trying to remember his name for a long time now.  I knew him in the 21st SOS.  He was a real character.  Once when I was flying copilot with him on a mission he told me the story of his run-in with a relief tube.  To sum up a story that he told in excruciating and hilarious detail, he had to go bad enough in the helicopter that he tried to use the relief tube.  Seems it was plugged up, but he found out after he started to use it.  He proceeded to tell in detail about holding the tube and himself and calling for help.  Seems no one heard him for some time.  Someone finally got him a plastic bag. (JERRY KIBBY)