H-21 Tales


The Christmas tree was the hydraulic servos that were under the cockpit of the H-21. They were accessed by removing a panel under the nose. I think there were four of them & they were crisscrossed over top of each other & a bear to work on the top ones. I remember taping a socket to the end of my finger to get a bolt in one of them.

After our H-3’s went to Vietnam we got two H-21B’s for drone recovery at Tyndall AFB. When mine went in for periodic inspection John Gledhill would say do you want me to do the flight control cables & I would tell him John if you’ll do those cables you won’t have to do anything else. He was really good at that, everyone else hated it. (Bill Crawford)

Bill, you are so right about the Christmas tree. They were a bugger to work on. I crewed one at Tyndall which we used to recover drones from the gulf. We worked out of Apalachicola Municipal airport which it is called now. Back then it was just a dilapidated airfield with some run down buildings. I also crewed one at the 74th AARSq at Fairbanks AK. Were you stationed at Tyndall also? Being short also I remember one time jumping in the back door and the drive shaft door panel was down. It caught me right across the bridge of the nose. I still have the scar. I really enjoyed my time on them especially the drone recovery. We used a long fishing pole affair with a hook like affair to hook the cargo cable latch to a loop on the drone then lifted them out of the water. When the seas were rough we would get the wheels in the water sometimes. The boys from South Carolina who had come down to help on one of the William Tells lost one in the bay when it swallowed a valve. They were picked up all sitting on top of it and it sitting on the bottom of the bay in shallow water. The café we used to eat at ( mouth watering oysters) is still there. (Bob Runninger)

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