USAF ROTORHEAD Members
Enlisted in Pittsburgh, PA on 23 Mar. 1960. Flew on a C-46 to San Antone with a stop in Pine Bluff, AR.
3711th BMTS, Flight 338, Lackland AFB, TX., 5 weeks Basic Training. I was elected “Chow Runner” of our flight.
May. 1960 3767th School Squadron, Sheppard AFB, TX. ABR 43130 Rotary Wing Maint. School. Rank A3C E-2 H-19, H-21, HH-43 maint. I held the distinction of “Class Leader”
Oct. 1960 PCS to Turner AFB, GA. Assigned to the 1376th CAMRON, 1370th Photo Mapping Wing, Air Photographic & Charting Service, MATS. Vertol CH-21B Helis.
Feb. 1961 Promotion to A2C E-3.
Oct. 1961 Passed 43150 test
Jun. 1962 TDY to Aerial Survey Team #5, Georgetown, British Guiana. Spent 1 week at Atkinson Field, boarded an RB-50F for Belem, BR. Maintained CH-21B helis that installed and resupplied HIRAN Radar ground stations.
Aug. 1962 Loaded 2 CH-21B’s to move our heli operations from Belem to Teresina, BR, with an overnight stop in Sao Luis, BR. Continued to install, supply and then move the HIRAN ground stations. Had one emergency. One of the ground station guys became ill, and we had to fly out to the station and pick him up. Upon return to Teresina, he was diagnosed with malaria, jaundice, and possibly yellow fever. Ouch!!!
Nov. 1962 Returned to Georgetown via Belem, and boarded a C-124 headed back to Turner AFB, GA. via Ramey AFB, PR. When we got back to Turner, everyone was still on alert for that little operation called “The Cuban Crisis”. Our RC-130’s and RB-50’s had been flying photo missions, so all USAF markings were removed, with only a UN wreath on the tail.
Jan. 1963 Volunteered for 1 year duty in Aircraft Records, transferred to 1370th HQ Squadron. Processed all maintenance records and scheduled time change replacement parts for 15 RC-130A aircraft.
Jan. 1964 Returned to CH-21B flight line, which was now part of 1370th OMS.
Mar. 1964 PCS to Eglin AFB, FL., assigned to 4485th Test Sq., Heli., TAC. Started with CH-21B’s, then switched to training on the 1st 22 Sikorsky CH-3C’s that the USAF received. We also had the 1st 9 Bell UH-1F’s. Played war games including Indian River I, II, and III. When we painted the bare aluminum CH-3’s OD Green, someone mentioned “Jolly Green Giant”, and later on in SEA the nickname stuck.
Nov. 1964 Flew in a C-133 TDY to Walnut Ridge, AR., then by bus to West Plains MO., to participate in Operation Goldfire I. Somehow I wangled the bus driver job, so I had an easy 2 weeks, taking people back and forth to the airport, going to HQ, and got to go to West Plains every day. We lived in tents on the hill above the little West Plains airport where we had our choppers, and for the 1st time in my career, I carried a weapon. The .30 cal. Carbine had no clip, don’t know if it even had a firing pin. We were supposed to point and yell “BANG” 🙂 Flew in a CH-3C back to Eglin just in time to process out for separation.
Dec. 7 1964 Released from active duty, assigned to Inactive Reserves until Mar. 1966. Some of the guys I was with at Eglin went to SEA with the 37th and 38th ARRS, and did not make the return trip. I guess I was lucky.
Jim has a personal website and is the Webmaster for the site.