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Tue, 11 Apr 2006                                                                                                                                        SUBJECT: JOLLY GREEN MOVIE

There's some old National Geographic movie scenes I've seen dozen of times on TV, showing footage of a Jolly Green Rescue. That's me doing the pick-up and Sgt. Earnie Beddell riding up the hoist with Capt. bars on his flight suit. We were in a 40 ARRS chopper but we were 21st FE's. The whole thing was staged for NG. Those mountains featured in the movie were just across the river from NKP. We had a blast doing it but all the JG FE's were upset because me and Earnie were in it. (HANK FANNIN)



Sat, 8 Apr 2006                                                                                                                                                                    SUBJECT: CH-3B


I would like to give you a little history on the six (6) CH-3B Sea Kings the AF operated for several years at Hickam Hawaii .  I was stationed at Hickam in the mid 70s and was a crew chief on them.  The Sea Kings first flew in 1959.  The AF never contracted for nor ever took delivery of a CH-3B.  The first three (3) CH-3Cs delivered to the AF starting with tail # 62-12577   (577s first flight was June 1963.  I become her crew chief and flight engineer in late 1968) were CH-3Bs but were converted to CH-3Cs before they ever left the Sikorsky assembly line (at least, this has always been my understanding).  The conversion incorporated a redesigned rear fuselage, loading ramp, retractable landing gear and a steerable nose wheel instead of the tail dragger wheel.  In 1966 all CH3-Cs became Es with the incorporation of the APU and the T-58-GE-5 engines. (I’m rambling, aren’t I). All 6 of the CH-3Bs we had at Hickam were on loan from the US Navy.  We lost one at sea due to bad weather and continued on with only 5 until we picked up our CH-53Cs.  At that time we returned the Bs back to the Navy.  We used the Bs to support a classified mission called “Catch a Falling Star” which was mid-air recovery of film dropped from satellites.  The MC-130E Talon was primary mid-air recovery for the satellite film drop.  If the C-130 missed the mid-air catch the choppers was used to locate and recover the film after it hit the water. (KELLY DAY)


Thu, April 06, 2006                                                                                                                                      SUBJECT: MAINTENANCE TALK


If my memory is correct (sometime there are doubts), this was the bird we test flew at Nha Trang when they closed us up to send us to Udorn. All birds & maint. & aircrew were already at Udorn. They sent one aircraft to Udorn to replace it. After all maint.& released from FCF, we flew it to Saigon to replace the one they sent Udorn. We had to take space available MAC flights to get to Bangkok. It took us over 30 days to get out of there and it was during this time frame that the mortar attack occurred. It was pretty intense. Well over a hundred rounds. Anyway,I remember this because, the crew chief & I were talking about all Maint. that had just been done and flown to Ton San Nhut. The complete tail # should be the same as 689 mentioned in an earlier email. As soon as I find my  old records my Form 5 should put this mystery to rest. (PHIL ARMSTRONG)



Thu, 6 Apr 2006                                                                                                                                          SUBJECT: COLD WEATHER OPS


Ladd was a Base about 26 miles from Eielson right outside Fairbanks. I believe its called Ft. Wainright now. We lived in Quanset huts when I first got there. Damn it was cold in the mornings before we got the fire started.  And talk about having to pee in the middle of the night; we had to go outside to an outhouse. The coldest it got while I was there was 50 below. We didn't work when it got that cold but  30 below was normal operations. Sure gets cool under the rotors at that temp. When we got the H-21's we would climb up in the engine compartment while the bird was being preheated and stand back by the engine compartment while it was running to stay warm. The pilots though wouldn't come out till we got the birds all nice and cozy in the cockpit. (BOB RUNNINGER)


Thu, 6 Apr 2006                                                                                                                                           SUBJECT: COLD WEATHER OPS


Here's a small example of what I mean; Some things had not changed from when you were in Alaska to when I was there 72-75. I guess Ladd AFB was by then Ft. Wainwright, but we kept a bird on alert at Eielson AFB,  24/7,  (also supported the gunnery range out by Ft. Greeley but don't remember the name of the range) and rotated a bird to there every week from Elmendorf. We didn't have to go outside to pee, but never the less it would get just as cold as you described. Along with the temperatures not changing was the fact that the 30 below was still the break line for normal operations, anything below the 30 below line was emergency only operations, above that ... normal operations. Seems like when it was down around the 10 - 30 below range, we would load up the passengers an crew on the bird in the hanger before we opened the hanger door and towed the bird outside (except for the poor ole cold FE, who had to help with the towing ... I know, I know, sob! ... sob! ... I can hear you all crying for the poor ole FE!!). When I was with the 39th ARRW at Eglin one of my units was at Thule, Greenland, and if I am remembering correctly, their procedure was to load all the passengers and crew on board, fire up the APU and get the heater going good before they opened the hanger doors and when they returned they but the bird back in the hanger and shut the doors before they shut down the APU and heater. (JIM BURNS)



Wed, April 05, 2006                                                                                                                                               SUBJECT: FIRST RESCUE


A side note I got my first save before I was even on crewmember status.  I was working with the pilots on 291, we had a ferrocious beat, but we couldn't find anything wrong with the aircraft,  but I wasn't willing to let it go, I had the pilots crank it up one more time, I got under the main transmission and watched what was going on, I noticed that one of the main servos was bouncing up and down.  So they shut it down and pulled the errent servo off and found that the mounts was corroded.  So I ordered a replacement servo and I got it timed, I reinstalled it. The pilots started engines and I checked for leaks and everything settled down nice and smooth.  They decided that I should go and fly with them to check out the servo on FCF.  Everything checked out just fine as we were returning to base we got a mayday call from an A-1E pilot comming back with a shot up aircraft, so we headed in his direction, The A-1 driver kept talking how he should punch out since it was falling apart, when the engine finally quit he bailed out and we picked him up.  When we got the A-1E driver on board he noticed that we were not armed, and he said "you had better get the hell out of here," I said you bet, and we did. That was probably around March or April 1969. (WILL DAVIS)



Tue, April 04, 2006                                                                                                                                            SUBJECT: ELECTRIC HOIST


Some of the things I remember about the hoist. I only had to use the electric hoist in the 21st on a check out training flight. I didn't have to use either hoist on any real missions, I used the 15ft ladder on one mission for an emergency exfil, the rest of the missions we were able to land. I did use the electric hoist at Tyndall in 1965 & remember that the cord to the hand held control was prone to getting tangled in the pulley on the floor. When the hoist frame was folded back into the cabin it became a real head knocker. 64-14222 had the hydraulic hoist installed just a short time before the shoot down at Maung Phine on 6 OCT 69.  My form 5 shows that I flew an CH-3C on 20 MAR 68 at Forbes AFB.  Everything after that date was on H-3E's. I never logged time on 691 so the M-79 could have been fired on 291 but I can't remember for sure. We were unloading the team into the step van & the aircraft had been shut down before the ground crew found the M-79 in the hoist panel because when it was found the van had already gone & I was outside. (BILL CRAWFORD)


Thu, March 30, 2006                                                                                                                                               SUBJECT: GROUND FIRE

I really have enjoyed everyone's stories.After reading the things that others have gone through in the 21st, I feel that I had a pretty easy time of it. The only time any of the choppers that I was in got hit was after we parked at NKP & were unloading the team & one of them fired an M-79 round between Max Shiffman & myself & it lodged in the hoist control panel. Lucky that it didn't go far enough to arm, so it didn't explode. (BILL CRAWFORD)

Sat, 25 Mar 2006                                                                                                                           SUBJECT: MAINTENANCE COMPLIMENT


Hi Lew,


As I remember, I was always happy to get assigned to Phoenix (something I really liked about that name -- rising from the fire!) for missions and I always felt good flying on her. I don't ever remember having an abort with 292 (as a matter of fact I can't ever remember having an abort for maintenance my whole tour). A real tribute to the job you guys did. I just went back an looked at my flight records and according to them I had 35.3 hours of flight time in 292 during my tour. You did real good ...!! Thanks. (JIM BURNS)

Sat, 25 Mar 2006                                                                                                                                         SUBJECT: JUST ANOTHER DAY

You saying that the bird was over loaded and trying to fly, reminded me of a extraction (I think it was a 'hatchet' force) of a big team one day East of Tchepone. The team had been running and had got to a relative flat area, on a high knoll, where we were able to land. As we got on the ground they all started scrambling to get on and I looked back to see hands grabbing the ramp and seeing some of them trying to boost others up and crawl onto the ramp (the way we were sitting the ramp was probably about six feet off of the ground). Anyway we got several on board and tried to hold off the others for them to wait on the second bird. We did a quick weight an balance check (the ole combat style .... FE -"give her a try sir and see if she'll get off the ground", Pilot -"nope...not yet... kick a couple off and I'll try her again", FE, after kicking a couple off, "try her now!", Pilot -"I can get her off the ground now, let's go" then we started forward in a low, low hover until we 'fell' off the side of the knoll and dived for flying speed. Just another 'pucker' factor day in the 21st!!  (JIM BURNS)

Sat, 25 Mar 2006                                                                                                                             SUBJECT: A GOOD IDEA--AT THE TIME

I just remembered a funny story that happened in early '69 (I think). You remember the guys in the 20th Pony Express used to come into NKP once in a while. Well I got to know some of their FE's fairly well. One day about 3 or 4 of their birds came into NKP and landed for fuel. I had the day off and saw them coming in and thought I would go and say Hi to some of them. When I got to the Flight Line, one of their guys said to me "Hey J.D. we are short one FE for the mission we are going on after we refuel. Would you like to fill in". I said sure and went to PE and got my gear and met them back at the Flight Line. The thought never occurred to me to ask Col. Houser if it was okay for me to go. Long story short, I went with them and we got back just about dusk that evening. I don't know how he found out but Col Houser almost gave birth to a Rag Doll when he did. I got my butt chewed out royally by him and was told never to do that again!!!!!! He said "Don't you get enough of combat flying with us)?????? I said "Yes Sir, but it sounded like a good idea at the time since they were short handed".. (J D ADAMS)



Mon, 20 Mar 2006                                                                                                                                 SUBJECT:  67-14703 DEDICATION


At the dedication of 703 at the Robbins AF Museum I met Darwin Edwards who was a pilot with the Jungle Survival School (and later with the 20th SOS). Darwin was one of the pilots who accepted our H-19B's at Clark. I didn't know Darwin then or when he was in the 20th, but thought it was interesting that we probably at least crossed paths at Clark. Darwin was the Director of the Robbins Museum and participated in the dedication of 703. He has since lost a battle with cancer and has passed on. There were a couple of things Jim H and I noticed about 703 while we were there ... one, the drop tanks look funny and I don't think they were the same tanks we flew with at NKP .... two, She had a beautiful paint job including a shiny 'clear coat' finish, definitely not the way She looked at NKP. (JIM BURNS)



Sat, 18 Mar 2006                                                                                                                                      SUBJECT: H-19 ENGINE FAILURE

As far a problems with choppers, I had an engine quit on a H-19B once, about 1960. This happened as we were flying along the beaches of Long Island, N.Y. in January. We made a nice autorotation onto the beach, but after that is when it got miserable. Changing an engine on the beach of Long Island, N.Y, in January is damn cold. We had a big bonfire going and we would work for about 10 minutes, then set by the bonfire for about 30 minutes, then back to work and repeat the cycle. As I remember it took us about three days to get the job done and I don't think I have ever been colder in my life. Seems like on top of the cold temperature there was a steady wind blowing off the ocean the whole time. I think that was the only time in my life that I drank coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker, but that was the only hot liquid we had, so I drank it. (JIM BURNS)


Thu, 2 Mar 2006                                                                                                                                                  SUBJECT: RUST LICK CART

While Jim Moore and I were at Kadena we kind of were running the flightline but that's another story altogether, part of our duties was to wash and rustlick the engines during postflight.   This was a pretty laborious task as we had two levels of flight line to work at.  Literally two levels, if you have ever been to Kadena there was a lower line and the upper line with a good sized hill in between.  One evening Jim and I, as industrious as we were, were washing the birds on the lower line and when we finished that task decided we would take a short cut with the rustlick cart and rather than go around the flight line to get to the upper line we would just pull the cart up the hill using the bread truck.  Well...the ground was damp and muddy and we were inclined to use a rope rather than anything substantial.  So we backed the bread truck up to the edge of the top ramp and tied the rope from the truck bumper to the rustlick cart at the bottom and proceeded to pull the cart up the hill.  The little wheels were not meant for the mud slope and the cart tipped over about half way up snapping the rope,  the rope snapped up and hit the truck and the cart tumbled back down to the lower ramp.  We had rustlick and water everywhere and it didn't do well for the cart either.  Fortunately we did not damage the truck but had a hell of a time getting everything right again to finish the job on the birds on the upper ramp.  The shortcut turned out to be one hell of a job.  Jim and I were so clandestine with the complete operation not one knew but us what had transpired.  So goes the story of the Rustlick Cart endeavor at Kadena...We still have a good laugh about it to this day...Actually you had to be there!!!. (JERRY BUCKNALL)


Thu, 2 Mar 2006                                                                                                                                         SUBJECT: BULL Vs HELICOPTER


You guys reminded me of an incident that took place at Minot on the H-19's.  Must be all the H-19 talk that jogged this one from the back room.   We were in Missile Command, actually a base flight operation supporting the newly installed missile sites there.  We would be tasked to transport the missile crews to the sites and back when their tour was over.  The land the missile cilos(sp) were on originally belonged to the farmers.  Some farmers were really upset with the military coming in and taking over the land.  They were compensated but we constantly had problems with obstacles and such being placed on the helo pads trying to prevent us from landing.  One morning we arrived and found a bull on the pad.  We hovered in and tried to scare him away, we eventually got close enough to where he was able to attack the front of the chopper and punch a hole in the clamshell door.  Common sense overruled testosterone and we immediately backed off. We eventually landed elsewhere and had the crew trucked in.  We wrote the damage up in the forms as "Gored By Bull"  Hey Guys....that's no bull!!!  We got all kinds of attention when we got back to base.  We also  found out later the bull was tethered to a stake right in the middle of the pad, he couldn't move if he wanted to.  To my knowledge no action was ever taken against the farmer. (JERRY BUCKNALL)



Wed, 1 Mar 2006                                                                                                                                                  SUBJECT: H-21 DISLIKES


One of the things that added to my dislike of the H-21 occurred one day when we were shuttling an Army officer (I think he was a one star) to the Pentagon for a medical retirement hearing, or something like that. Seems like at the time you had to be a two star or above to get to ride on the Huey, anyway, we had to cross Washington National Airport at 1,000 feet or above and then just about do an autorotation down to the Pentagon helipad (the Pentagon being located right next to the airport). So here we were, just chugging along at about 1,000 feet, right over the runways at the airport, when the damn engine seized up. Oh...sh__ ! Now we're in a real autorotation, trying to call an emergency into to Washington National on our way down, to a pretty nice landing, between the runway and the taxiway. The tricky part of this was that there were airliners taking off, landing and taxiing all over the place. We did make it to the ground without hitting or getting hit by anything, and after we were on the ground we finally got in contact with the tower .... of course they wanted to know just what the hell we thought we were doing ... but after they realized we didn't have much choice, they were then o.k. with our un-announced and un-authorized landing.  (JIM BURNS)



Feb 27, 2006                                                                                                                                                              SUBJECT: H-19 STUFF


No that picture is the H-19B that the Air Force Museum painted with the tail number & Hop-A-Long to look like the real H-19A 51-3893. Here's a picture of the real one taken at Reese AFB TX by Bill Lyster. Bill & I plus a couple of other guys that came in later rebuilt that sucker. You mentioned about having to drill a tapered hole in an H-3, we had to put a shaft in the tail rotor gearbox & it had to have a tapered hole drilled into it. Figuring out exactly where the hole had to be drilled & the pitch links & pitch beam angles was as hard as drilling the taper. Bill Lyster did most of that.



Mon, 20 Feb 2006                                                                                                                                  SUBJECT: CHOPPER EXPERIENCES


I was with the HH-43B's from 1960 (picked up a brand new one from the factory 59-1593 that was my bird at Suffolk Co. AFB, NY) until my "Green Hornet" tour in 67. The 67 tour with the "hornets" was my first experience with the UH-1F's and when I left there I went to CH-3C's at Patrick AFB, FL, then had some more UH-1F and then UH-1N experience with the 1st Helicopter Sqdn., Andrews AFB, MD in 70-71. It was kinda funny that while I was at Nha Trang AB, RVN having my first Huey experience there was a guy named Ron Smithham there who was assigned to the rescue HH-43B detachment and he had just came off of several years experience on UH-1F's. We found out about each others background and helped each other out a lot with maintenance experience an issues on our birds. I always thought that AF Assignments had screwed up and reversed our assignments ... such is life!! I am in email contact with Ron and we still shoot 'war stories' and other BS back and forth to each other.  (JIM BURNS)



Sun, 22 Jan 2006                                                                                                                                          SUBJECT: H-19 DIFFERENCES

The most obvious difference that I remember is that the ‘A’ models had the straight tail cones and the ‘B’ models (and later models) had the ‘drooped’ tail cone. Another big difference (not visually obvious) was in the engines, The ‘A’ had a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 and the ‘B’ had the Wright R-1300 with an increase of about 150 hp. I’m pretty sure the hoist was just ‘mission’ equipment and I’m pretty sure the ‘A’ models we had at Suffolk County AFB, NY had hoist.  A couple of other things that I think were visually different ….the horizontal stabilizers on the ‘A’ were angle down in sort of a ‘V’ shape and on the ‘B’, I think they were horizontal (straight). Also I think the vertical fin on the ‘B’ was wider than on the ‘A’. (JIM BURNS)



Sat, 21 Jan 2006                                                                                                                                                  SUBJECT: H-43 RECORDS


The HH-43B that set the helicopter altitude record of 32,840 feet in 1961 was 58-0263 and I think it’s the one in the museum at Wright-Patterson. There were some records set in 59 by Majors William J. Davis Jr. and Walter F. Hodgson, but I’m not sure who was flying it for the record in 61. Carney’s name seems to ring some bell, but I’m not sure from what, he could have been the pilot for the 61 records. (JIM BURNS)



Sat, 21 Jan 2006                                                                                                                                         SUBJECT: MAINTENANCE GUYS


I'm like you in that I didn't get a chance to know most of the maintenance guys.... but there is no doubt that they were the greatest. I can remember very - very few times when birds were not ready as scheduled for missions or when birds were rejected or aborted. They always gave me a bird that got me back safe and sound (in spite of the things we did to abuse the bird while on missions) for which there can be no words to express my gratitude. I’ve run into a couple of Dusty maintainers and I always tell them “thanks for all they did”.   (JIM BURNS)



Wed, 11 Jan 2006                                                                                                                  SUBJECT: HH-53C TRANS PACIFIC FLIGHT


I was sent to Eglin AFB in Florida to transition into HH-53C's with ARRS. I must have done a pretty good job because I was selected to be one of the FEs that flew 3 new night rescue equipped HH-53C's from Eglin to Udorn Thailand to join the 40th ARRS Squadron there. We left Eglin about the middle of March, 1971 and arrived in Udorn about the first week in April of 1971. Due to adverse weather in Alaska and breakdowns on the Helicopters, it was a Looonnggg trip. 18 days enroute and 87 actual flyinghours to get there. But we made it!!!!!!  (J D ADAMS)


Mon, 9 Jan 2006                                                                                                                          SUBJECT: 21ST SOS DUST DEVIL PATCH


Thought you’d all like to know the answer to the question I asked Col. Hauser.  I’ve attached the original patch and a photo of TSgt Kipi taken on the porch of the 21st hooch.  He’s the one standing in a white tee-shirt wearing flip-flops on the left… I worked for him while I was at NKP, until he DEROS’d in November.  I stayed another 6 months (and should have stayed longer!) (JIM HENTHORN)


Jim, an Armament man Sgt Kipi(SP) from Hawaii won the contest for designing the patch. I was gone TDY when the hat was adopted. Someone had to O.K. it. Might have been Maj Roy. Hope this info helps.The patch was approved by Air Force.The original patch had three pack burros on it and we didn't think that was appropriate for our mission. 21st was originally a Troop Carrier Heli Sqd.(Harry Hauser)


Fri, 6 Jan 2006                                                                                                                                         SUBJECT: LARRY DREYER'S E & E


We must have been flying together the night we picked Dreyer up from town, the Tech Rep and his ladies helped get him to the NKP East without the SP's catching him and your right about the SP's on board being kept in the "dark"--so to speak, about what we were up to. I had forgot about the Tech Rep being involved with getting him there. The award was a fake "tongue and cheek" award that we got the commander to give him...seems like it was about the time he rotated...and it was about the mission where we picked him up in town. It was something about his successful E & E and rescue from hostile SP's that were tracking him down. As I remember....Dreyer was prior Army and had got those Thai Jump Wings when in the Army and on some exercise in Thailand. Don't remember the full story. (JIM BURNS)