James (Jim) W. Burns

9 June 1959 – Enlisted at Kansas City, MO and boarded a train to San Antonio, TX and Lackland AFB, TX for Basic Training.

July 1959 – At Sheppard AFB, TX to finish basic training and attend Helicopter Mechanic Tech. School on H-19’s & H-21’s.

December 1959 – At Suffolk County AFB, Long Island, NY., on SH-19A/B’s & HH-43B’s. Assigned with the 52nd CAMRON (ADC) base flight unit with SH-19A’s which were replaced with SH-19B’s helicopters three or four months after my arrival. My duty title was Crew Chief.

September 15, 1960 – At Suffolk County AFB, NY., I went on flight status as a SH-19B crew chief (ironically the first logged time in my Form 5 is a 6:15 hr. flight in a C-47A on Sept. 28, 1960).

February 1961 – At Suffolk County AFB, Long Island, NY., we converted to HH-43B’s. I don’t ever remember going to formal school on the HH-43B.

June 1961 – At Suffolk County AFB, Long Island, NY., we were re-assigned with our HH-43B’s to Det. 46 Eastern Air Rescue Center. Same place…one day in ADC the next day in MATS, same job, same title, new parent. Somewhere around 1963 our unit was re-designated as Det. 5, Eastern Air Rescue Center.

February 1964 – At Clark AB, PI., on H-19B’s & HH-43B’s. My assignment was with the 31st ARS (MATS). When I arrival we had H-19B’s and then in April 1964 we converted to HH-43B’s. My duty title was Crew Chief, Flight Instructor and Flight examiner.

June 1964 – November 1964 I was TDY with the first rescue unit to deploy to SEA; we were located at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. I was the only one from the 31st, with most of the guys being out of Japan and a couple out of Korea. We had three HH-43B’s and about twenty to twenty five guys counting the P.J.’s, and couple of 3rd MOB guys and that was the total strength of NKP at the time. We stood alert during the day and then stayed in town at night. After the Gulf of Tonkin incident the base started to build up with a lot of folks arriving and setting up camp.

January 1966 – At Sheppard AFB, TX. on the HH-43B’s. I was assigned with the 3630th CMS (ATC). The pilot school had CH-3C’s, HH-43B’s (can’t remember if there were still some H-19 and H-21 there at the time, but I don’t think so, also don’t remember any H-1’s either. My duty title was Flight Mechanic on the HH-43B’s.

October 66 – At Sheppard AFB, TX., I was re-assigned to 3750th CMS (ATC). Again, same place, same job, same title, new parent.

June 1967 – At Nha Trang AB, RVN on the UH-1F/P’s. I was assigned to the 20th Helicopter Sqdn. “Green Hornets” (PACAF). My duty title was Crew Chief/Flight Mechanic/Aerial Gunner.

March 1968 – At Patrick AFB, FL., on the CH-3C/E’s. I was assignment with Det. 15 EARRC (MAC). My duty title was Flight Engineer/Flight Examiner.

February 1969 – At Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand on CH-3E’s. I was assigned with the 21st SOS “Dust Devils” (PACAF). My duty title was Flight Engineer/Aerial Gunner.

May 1970 – At Andrews AFB, MD., on the V/UH-1F/N’s, C/VH-3E’s & H-21B’s. I was assignment with the 1st Helicopter Squadron (HQ COMD). My duty title was Helicopter Flight Mechanic/Crew Chief. After all these years, I ended up, at least for a short time, on H-21’s (which I never did have any use for) until the CH-3E’s were transferred from Dover AFB, DE.

May 1971 – At Eglin AFB, FL., on HH-3E’s. I was assigned with the  39th ARRW HQ. (MAC). My duty title was Wing Standardization Flight Mechanic. We didn’t have any H-3’s at Eglin AFB and I would visit TDY to the wing HH-3E units at Tyndall AFB, Patrick AFB, Homestead AFB, FL. and Thule AFB, Greenland.

August 1972 – At Elmendorf AFB, AK., on the CH-3E’s. I was assigned with the 5040th Helicopter Squadron (AAC). My duty title was NCOIC Helicopter Flight Mechanic Section.

May 1975 – At Hurlburt Field, FL. on the CH-3E’s & UH-1N’s. I was assigned with the 20th SOS “Green Hornets” (TAC). My duty title was NCOIC Helicopter Section where I was responsible for all the enlisted flight crews.

December 1976 – At Indian Springs AAF, NV., on the UH-1N’s. I was assigned with Det. 1, 57th TTW (TAC). My duty title was Deputy Commander for Maintenance. This was the first non-flying job I had since 1960 and I missed getting into the air on a regular basis.

June 1979 – At Ft. Walton Beach, FL., I retired from the USAF as a SMSgt.

June 1981 – We moved to Navarre, FL (about half way between Ft. Walton Beach and Pensacola, FL. Where I worked for a convenience store chain by the name of Tom Thumb Food Stores (a division of Kroger) as Vice President. I was responsible for Real estate and Petroleum Marketing. I was with Tom Thumb for 31 ½ years.

July 28, 2011 – At Navarre, FL., I retired from Tom Thumb Food Stores.

My flying time log shows;

H-19 40.6 hours
H-21 38.5 hours
H-43 624.9 hours
H-3 1786.5 hours of which 324.1 is combat time
H-1 360.9 hours of which 236.6 is combat time
0-2 3.3 hours (I think this was a ride at NKP in 1969).
C-47 44.2 hours

As far as schools;

Basic Helicopter School, Sheppard AFB, TX. 1959.
CH-3C School, Sheppard AFB, TX. July 1968.
Survival School, Fairchild AFB, WA, April 1969
Jungle Survival School, Clark AB, PI. March 1969.
Arctic Survival School, Eielson AFB, AK. October – November 1972.
MAC NCO Academy, March AFB, CA. June 1973.
Senior NCO Academy, Gunter AFS, AL. October 1976. Class 76-D

I have a daughter, Jo’ell, who was born in 1964 while I was TDY at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, she has three daughters. She’s lives and works in Biloxi, MS. The oldest granddaughter lives in San Antonio, TX., the youngest graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 2011 and took a job right after graduation in Dallas, TX. The middle granddaughter has three son’s (my great-grandson’s).

I have a son, Jeff, who was born in 1966 and he and his wife have two sons who are still in school. He and his wife and family live in Destin, FL.

Ann and I were high school sweethearts and were married in 1958.

Integrity, Honor, and Respect
Some of the best things cannot be bought, they must be earned

©2023 USAF Rotorheads   All Rights Reserved   |   Financial Statement