As Promised, here is Part One, two, and three of Tachikawa Remembered written and edited by yours truly. Hope you like it.
This is it!! The sum total of everything I can remember that was worth remembering about Pat and my time in Japan. Parts one and two deal with life in Japan, part three deals with some of the flying aspects of the tour, and part four with Khe Sanh specifically. Hope you enjoy them.
Gary Glasscock (CC, 1964-66) and Fred Sheckler have sent me a story that they put together that describes what life was like for our maintenance troops during the period leading to and the early days of the squadron's participation in the Vietnam war. Their memory for names is much better than mine and a number of our maintenance troops are recognized. The names will be familiar to a lot of Jennies. The story is archived below and provides a valuable insight into life in the trenches during the mid-1960's. Those of us who flew the C-130A tended to take these folks for granted and frequently and unfairly growled when the bird wasn't ready when we were or broke before we could get it into the air. Nonetheless, without these folks long and mostly unappreciated hours we wouldn't have been able to do the job at all. It's a worthwhile walk down memory lane so take a look.
During his time at Tachikawa Gary also sent a number of news articles from the Stars and Stripes and Kanto Plainsman to his mother back in the States. The articles chronicled a number of events related to the 815th. She placed the articles in a scrapbook which, thankfully, Gary has retained. Over the past few months he has passed a number of these articles on to me and I have posted them along with a couple of comments by myself below. Hope you find them interesting. I did.
- On April 24, 1965, C-130A, tail number 57-0475 crashed while executing a go-around in bad weather from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base. The crash resulted in the loss of the aircraft and crew. Double engine failure, possibly caused by fuel starvation, was the stated cause of the accident. This accident is considered the first Viet Nam War related C-130 loss. The aircraft and crew belonged to the 815th Troop Carrier Squadron. Gary Glasscock provided the Stars and article concerning the accident and it is posted below. Of interest is the fact that this was the only loss experienced by the 815th during the war; a remarkable achievement considering that over 60 Viet Nam related C-130 losses were recorded during the same period.
- In October of 1966 the Kanto Plainsman published as article regarding a number of C-130A flying hour and tonnage records set by the 815th during August of the same year. The article is posted in its entirety below. As a pilot I found a couple of statistics particularly interesting. In today's Air Force, C-130 aircrews average a little over 17 flying hours per month. If you are curious as to whether 17 hours is enough to maintain proficiency - in my opinion, it isn't. Contrast this with August, 1966 where, to achieve the record that was achieved, aircrew had to average around 70 hours - which is a lot! Considering that each flying hour requires a multiple of maintenance hours, our maintainers pulled off a miracle. Enjoy the article.
Gary also came up with a story involving the recovery of a MATS C-130E that ended up driving through the Tachikawa perimeter fence following an unsuccessful windmill taxi start. It illustrates the can-do attitude typical of our maintainers. I know there are lots of other stories out there because I hear tons of them every reunion so how about putting pen to paper and sending me a few. Gary's story is worth the read and is posted below.
I was going through some of my old stuff yesterday and came across the card we carried that spelled out the locations and radio frequencies for all of the ALCCs, ALCEs, and GCI sites that we used while flying out of Tachi. Thought it might awaken a few memories so I posted it below.
Garry Glasscock sent me a fascinating personal account of a Viet Cong sapper assault on "Balls One" (55-001) at An Khe in April of 1966. It is posted below and is a cool read. Another interesting result of the An Khe attack was that it resulted in the award of two of the three Purple Heart medals awarded to 815th crewmembers during my time at Tachikawa. Gary and Sgt. Parr each earned one for their encounter with the barbed wire and, If memory serves, the third was awarded to Earl Comfort who picked up some shrapnel in his leg.
CharlieDonath (Tachi 66-69) continues to be a fantastic source of historical information and pictures - this time really old stuff from Ashiya, Posted below is an article from the August, 1955 Airlifter Magazine, regarding a mobility exercise executed by the 815th at Futema Air Station - the first exercise of its type ever attempted. Check the unit history on the website and you'll find it mentioned. It's a little hard to read but a priceless piece of 815th history nonetheless. He also threw in a couple of C-119 shots that are posted on the "Pictures" page, and wondered if anyone on the roster had flown or helped maintain both 815th c-119s and C-130s.
Pathicia, my much better half, was going through some old boxes a while ago and came across another squadron history - this one written from the perspective of the individual who has been a member of the 815th longer than anyone else. It was apparently written in the 1968-1969 time frame, and the author is anonymous. If anyone has an inkling as to who wrote it, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due, I simply don't remember. Click to open the pdf below, and enjoy.
Dennis Stadler an assistant Crew Chief on "Balls One" (55-0001) and Crew Chief on 57-0499 between 1966 and 1969, sent along some pictures taken on the Tachi flight line. You can check them out on the pictures page. Dennis also sent along an old Stars and Stripes article on "Balls 0ne" that he thought folks would enjoy. Just click to open the pdf flies and read the story.