A proud "big bro." advance reading tip.....

A proud "big bro." advance reading tip.....

Joined: February 27th, 2005, 4:16 am

August 17th, 2012, 2:50 pm #1

Just received an advance look at September's "Smithsonian Air&Space" and its feature article, "Airman Down". The article traces America's SAR efforts over the years up to present Mid-East ops, and the Vietnam portion covers the shootdown and valiant rescue of my younger (fifteen months) brother, Randy, in Laos in 1969. Randy, one time in the 60s, jokingly accused this (then) MAC puke of "backing up to the (combat) pay window", and, compared to him and the SAR guys, I grudgingly must admit, he was right. It was a distinct pleasure to personally meet Don Dunaway, A-1 "Sandy Low Lead" on that long ago Easter Morning, and brass-balled Jolly Green drivers, at a recent CSAR reunion at Moody AFB. I think yinz'll find the piece worth reading.

Bondo Phil
USAF (Ret.)
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Joined: April 4th, 2006, 7:00 pm

August 17th, 2012, 7:13 pm #2

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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 4:16 am

August 17th, 2012, 8:33 pm #3

I had just been sent the Acrobat file from Randy, and had no idea that the mag would be out with the article online already. You did look at the extra pix, didn't ya?

Randy mentions 65 minute that he can't remember. Martin Baker techies told him during interviews that, according to the ejection parameters of the MK-7 seat, he should've been about ten feet under ground when his chute opened--the seat was never found, or even spotted by the Sandys or Jollys. A miracle....and on Easter morning.....the only SAR in all of SEA that day.


This (the article) all happened because of HS. From outta nowhere I received an email about nine months ago from the author who had seen some of my builds on the site. He had heard about my brother from some other sources, and thought perhaps I was related. He didn't know how to reach Randy, and I did, so it all started from there. They did an interview over the phone, and also, I suspect, via email.

Phil
Last edited by bondo455 on August 17th, 2012, 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 29th, 2005, 4:15 am

August 17th, 2012, 9:58 pm #4

Just received an advance look at September's "Smithsonian Air&Space" and its feature article, "Airman Down". The article traces America's SAR efforts over the years up to present Mid-East ops, and the Vietnam portion covers the shootdown and valiant rescue of my younger (fifteen months) brother, Randy, in Laos in 1969. Randy, one time in the 60s, jokingly accused this (then) MAC puke of "backing up to the (combat) pay window", and, compared to him and the SAR guys, I grudgingly must admit, he was right. It was a distinct pleasure to personally meet Don Dunaway, A-1 "Sandy Low Lead" on that long ago Easter Morning, and brass-balled Jolly Green drivers, at a recent CSAR reunion at Moody AFB. I think yinz'll find the piece worth reading.

Bondo Phil
USAF (Ret.)
Congratulations and thanks to all involved!

Thanks to HS a couple of years ago, I was able to connect some of the crew members of a helicopter that picked me and several Montagnards up off a firebase during an event back in 1971; about 39 years later, they were again in contact.

An Old Soldier, but not faded away. Yet.
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Joined: February 27th, 2006, 6:25 pm

August 18th, 2012, 3:49 am #5

Just received an advance look at September's "Smithsonian Air&Space" and its feature article, "Airman Down". The article traces America's SAR efforts over the years up to present Mid-East ops, and the Vietnam portion covers the shootdown and valiant rescue of my younger (fifteen months) brother, Randy, in Laos in 1969. Randy, one time in the 60s, jokingly accused this (then) MAC puke of "backing up to the (combat) pay window", and, compared to him and the SAR guys, I grudgingly must admit, he was right. It was a distinct pleasure to personally meet Don Dunaway, A-1 "Sandy Low Lead" on that long ago Easter Morning, and brass-balled Jolly Green drivers, at a recent CSAR reunion at Moody AFB. I think yinz'll find the piece worth reading.

Bondo Phil
USAF (Ret.)
Thanks for the post.

Mike
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Joined: April 4th, 2006, 7:00 pm

August 18th, 2012, 4:04 am #6

Congratulations and thanks to all involved!

Thanks to HS a couple of years ago, I was able to connect some of the crew members of a helicopter that picked me and several Montagnards up off a firebase during an event back in 1971; about 39 years later, they were again in contact.

An Old Soldier, but not faded away. Yet.
n/t
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Joined: December 29th, 2005, 4:15 am

August 18th, 2012, 4:01 pm #7

Going through some old documents a couple of years ago, I ran across my file copy of a recommendation for awards for the crew members of a Huey that picked up two loads of wounded Montagnards from a firebase in Kontum province in 1971. Since I never found out if the awards were followed up on before I left country, I asked for assistance here. Bo Roberts referred me to the appropriate Helicopter Pilots association, and I was able to locate the pilot and co-pilot, and get them together.

The helicopter had been delivering supplies for an operation, and was hovering above a steep slope below the top of the firebase. I was supervising the Montagnard [RF/PF] forces to offload the supplies, and move them up the slope to the base. A mine exploded just under the right skid of the helicopter when the crowd of 'Yards reached that point, wounding several of them. The helicopter immediately departed the area, but came back to evacuate the wounded after checking for damage, which was not too bad to the machine.

They delivered the first load of wounded to the Vietnamese hospital in Kontum, and then came back for the rest of them and me. Most of the wounds were to the lower extremities of the troops in the front of the group, and shrapnel to the right skid and lower right areas of the helicopter, including the 'window' [?] by the right leg of the co-pilot.

Although my recommendation for awards for the crew was not acted upon by their unit commander, I was successful in getting the Yard Sergeant recognized for his actions: The Vietnamese Life Saving Award and the Cross of Gallantry with gold star; although wounded pretty badly in the groin area, he refused to be evacuated until all his men were, and worked with me to treat them as best we could until they reached the hospital.

An Old Soldier, but not faded away. Yet.
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 4:16 am

August 18th, 2012, 4:49 pm #8

Another touching story from that tragic decade, Larry; muchas gracias for sharing! nt
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 4:16 am

August 18th, 2012, 9:31 pm #9

Going through some old documents a couple of years ago, I ran across my file copy of a recommendation for awards for the crew members of a Huey that picked up two loads of wounded Montagnards from a firebase in Kontum province in 1971. Since I never found out if the awards were followed up on before I left country, I asked for assistance here. Bo Roberts referred me to the appropriate Helicopter Pilots association, and I was able to locate the pilot and co-pilot, and get them together.

The helicopter had been delivering supplies for an operation, and was hovering above a steep slope below the top of the firebase. I was supervising the Montagnard [RF/PF] forces to offload the supplies, and move them up the slope to the base. A mine exploded just under the right skid of the helicopter when the crowd of 'Yards reached that point, wounding several of them. The helicopter immediately departed the area, but came back to evacuate the wounded after checking for damage, which was not too bad to the machine.

They delivered the first load of wounded to the Vietnamese hospital in Kontum, and then came back for the rest of them and me. Most of the wounds were to the lower extremities of the troops in the front of the group, and shrapnel to the right skid and lower right areas of the helicopter, including the 'window' [?] by the right leg of the co-pilot.

Although my recommendation for awards for the crew was not acted upon by their unit commander, I was successful in getting the Yard Sergeant recognized for his actions: The Vietnamese Life Saving Award and the Cross of Gallantry with gold star; although wounded pretty badly in the groin area, he refused to be evacuated until all his men were, and worked with me to treat them as best we could until they reached the hospital.

An Old Soldier, but not faded away. Yet.
the "wide-butt, many-motor", MAC force (C-124/C-133A). We'd pick up five remanufactured Hueys at Corpus and take 'em in our Weenie Wagon to Saigon/Danang, etc. Returning, we'd have five shot up helo.airframes, and when I say "shot up," I mean SHOT UP! Between nav. fixes I'd often go down to the cargo deck and look 'em over. There would be white rat poison sprinkled all over the interiors, but the fractured, holed, cracked canopies told the grim story....

Phil
Last edited by bondo455 on August 18th, 2012, 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: April 4th, 2006, 7:00 pm

August 19th, 2012, 2:15 am #10

Going through some old documents a couple of years ago, I ran across my file copy of a recommendation for awards for the crew members of a Huey that picked up two loads of wounded Montagnards from a firebase in Kontum province in 1971. Since I never found out if the awards were followed up on before I left country, I asked for assistance here. Bo Roberts referred me to the appropriate Helicopter Pilots association, and I was able to locate the pilot and co-pilot, and get them together.

The helicopter had been delivering supplies for an operation, and was hovering above a steep slope below the top of the firebase. I was supervising the Montagnard [RF/PF] forces to offload the supplies, and move them up the slope to the base. A mine exploded just under the right skid of the helicopter when the crowd of 'Yards reached that point, wounding several of them. The helicopter immediately departed the area, but came back to evacuate the wounded after checking for damage, which was not too bad to the machine.

They delivered the first load of wounded to the Vietnamese hospital in Kontum, and then came back for the rest of them and me. Most of the wounds were to the lower extremities of the troops in the front of the group, and shrapnel to the right skid and lower right areas of the helicopter, including the 'window' [?] by the right leg of the co-pilot.

Although my recommendation for awards for the crew was not acted upon by their unit commander, I was successful in getting the Yard Sergeant recognized for his actions: The Vietnamese Life Saving Award and the Cross of Gallantry with gold star; although wounded pretty badly in the groin area, he refused to be evacuated until all his men were, and worked with me to treat them as best we could until they reached the hospital.

An Old Soldier, but not faded away. Yet.
...that we non-veterans can only imagine. Big salute to all of you!

Regards,

Lee G.
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