Sawyer, William B.

Helo Mech.

USAF 1966-1969

Worked on HH-19’s, UH-1’s and CH-3’s at Little Rock AFB, AR., Albrook AFB, CZ. and Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand.

I enlisted Jan 10 1966 and after basic at Lackland AFB.3 I was assigned to Sheppard Field for Helicopter Maintenance training.   

After graduation from tech school I was assigned to the Helo squadron at Little Rock AFB (SAC Base at that time) on HH-19’s before they were replaced with UH-1F’s in support of the minuteman silos in the area.   

In 1967, I and several other helo mechs, were assigned TDY to Albrook AFB Canal Zone for 6 months working on UH-1’s in support of the Southern Command, based there at that time period. 

On my return to LRAFB in 1968, several of us got orders to NKP.  We all had to go back to Sheppard Field to go to CH-3 school prior to deployment to Thailand. 

I was stationed at NKP with the 21st SOS and had gone on flying status crewing a CH-3 Jolly Green.  

On a night  recon mission Jan 1969 we were investigating a ground fire from ditched munitions near the Mekong River, and in a ground approach we crashed.   

NKP Operations, realizing we were overdue back at base, sent recovery CH-3’s to rescue our crew.  I was picked up in a litter-basket.  I had sustained a fractured spine, broken nose, tooth loss, and facial lacerations. That time period is a blur to me mentally, and upon arriving back at NKP medical facilities I was heavily medicated with morphine, I assume.  I seemed to be out for some time.   

They med-evacuated me south to U-Tapao for 10 days or so, then, sent to Clark AFB in the Philippines, then back to the States ending up at the Keesler AFB hospital where in mid-69 I was temporarily retired from the USAF.  I made E-5 at Keesler before retirement.I was released from Keesler in June 69 and missed Hurricane Camille which occurred August 69.  I moved back to the MS Gulf Coast later on where I still live and did go through Hurricane Katrina! 

Considering everything, I wouldn’t trade my USAF Helicopter experiences for anything.   

Eventually, I used my GI Bill, got a degree, and retired from US Civil Service Navy as a geologist.  I still wish I had gotten my A&E or A&P in Helos!

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

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