Memories

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JimT
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Memories

Post by JimT »

55th U.S Army Aviation Company, Yoido, Korea – 1966 – 1967

When I was 19 I joined the U.S. Army. Vietnam was heating up and Draft Notices were going out. I had received my notice to report for the Draft but I decided I wanted a little control of what I was doing and with my friend Bill Mance went to the Recruiters office and joined. We took some tests and I aced the mechanics test. I believe Bill did also. They gave us our choice and we chose Aircraft Maintenance.

We were sent to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas for Basic Training and after we finished that we were sent to Fort Rucker, Alabama for Aircraft Maintenance School. Bill was assigned to rotor wing and I was assigned to fixed wing. I finished the school and in October was sent to Korea, assigned to the 55th Aviation Company. The base and airstrip were located on an island in the middle of the Han River about 8 miles south of Seoul, near Yongdongpo.

The mission of the 55th was to provide support for the 8th U.S. Army Headquarters and the U.S. Embassy. There I was assigned as a Crew Chief on a twin-engine Beechcraft the Army called the “Seminole” but Beechcraft called it the “Twin Bonanza.” For the next 13 months I worked on the airplanes, did daily inspections and maintenance and some repairs.

For several months I was moved to Tech Inspection where we inspected the work done by Crew Chiefs and ground crew. Then I was assigned as Crew Chief on a Beechcraft Queen Air that was the aircraft of the Commanding General of the 8th U.S. Army, General Bonesteel. I crewed that airplane until November of 1967 when my tour in Korea was up and I transferred to Camp Zama, Japan
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Bill in Oregon
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Re: Memories

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Just look at that slim young fella with the cigarette ... :D
I have heard som pretty crazy stories about duty in Korea -- but from Air Force guys more recently than the 1960s. :shock:
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JimT
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Re: Memories

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Bill in Oregon wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 12:45 pm Just look at that slim young fella with the cigarette ... :D
I have heard som pretty crazy stories about duty in Korea -- but from Air Force guys more recently than the 1960s. :shock:
I smoked non-filtered Lucky Strikes. We got 'em free in the C Rations. And they were 10 cents a pack at the PX. Korea in 1966 - 67 was like the Wild West. Pretty wide open. The Chaplain came in every month to give us a VD lecture. Then he would be the first one out the gate, heading for "those places." When you went out on a Pass you could not get your pass unless you took some condominiums with you. Given out free of charge. We got a whiskey ration, cigarette ration etc. It was a wild time to be a young guy.
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GunnyMack
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Re: Memories

Post by GunnyMack »

Dad was in the navy 50-52, he was an air traffic controller stationed at Alameda NAS. He already had his pilots license (at 16) . All the stories he told was about the never ending card games and playing softball. Somewhere I have a picture of his team when they played the Alcatraz inmates.
BROWN LABS MATTER !!
Bill in Oregon
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Re: Memories

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Jim, did those Lucky Strikes come in a four-pack? We used to kill in Scouts to get at those out of the surplus rations before our scoutmaster confiscated them! :lol:
Oddly, that's what I started my cigarette career with as well, circa 1971 -- Lucky Strikes in the short pack, drinking coffee and whining about dorm food; my college roommate started with Camel straights. We thought we were pretty tough. :lol:
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JimT
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Re: Memories

Post by JimT »

Bill in Oregon wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 5:45 pm Jim, did those Lucky Strikes come in a four-pack?
Yessir they did.
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Re: Memories

Post by JBowen »

Thank you for your service and the pictures.

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Re: Memories

Post by TraderVic »

Smokes (carton) were $1.20 ( 0.12/ pack), as soon as my ship moved into the gun line (combat zone), smokes dropped to 0.90/carton and our pay was tax free. The only deduction was Soc Sec.

If anyone was planning to re-enlist, they waited until we moved into the combat zone so their re-enlistment bonus was tax free, a savings of about $2500.00

Nice pics Jim, I really liked the M14, wish I had one.
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JimT
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Re: Memories

Post by JimT »

TraderVic wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 6:52 pm Nice pics Jim, I really liked the M14, wish I had one.
Me too! I probably oughta sell some stuff and get one before I get too durn old to enjoy it.
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Grizz
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Re: Memories

Post by Grizz »

Amazing photos Jim. Did you ever get to fly the planes? Or get any dual-time? Did you come across a twin called the Bamboo Bomber? I think is was a pilot-designation, but not sure... Thanks for the memories.
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JimT
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Re: Memories

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Grizz wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:19 pm Amazing photos Jim. Did you ever get to fly the planes? Or get any dual-time? Did you come across a twin called the Bamboo Bomber? I think is was a pilot-designation, but not sure... Thanks for the memories.
I did in the Seminole and then later in Japan in the King Air. One of the pilots I flew with a lot was an old guy .. I think he was 52 ... he was worried about having a heart attack and wanted to make sure I could get us back on the ground. At the time I thought he was old also. :lol:

I never ran across a "Bamboo Bomber" ... at least by that name.
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KWK
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Re: Memories

Post by KWK »

Grizz wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:19 pmDid you come across a twin called the Bamboo Bomber?
I read those were retired before Korea. My flight instructor owned one.

Jim, I don't recognize those radial engine, strut braced, high wing singles in your third photo.
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GunnyMack
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Re: Memories

Post by GunnyMack »

Cessna 140?
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JimT
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Re: Memories

Post by JimT »

KWK wrote: Wed Nov 15, 2023 1:18 am Jim, I don't recognize those radial engine, strut braced, high wing singles in your third photo.
DeHavilland Beaver .... nowdays you usually find them doing duty as Bush Planes in Alaska ... work well with floats also.
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Grizz
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Re: Memories

Post by Grizz »

JimT wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:57 pm
Grizz wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:19 pm Amazing photos Jim. Did you ever get to fly the planes? Or get any dual-time? Did you come across a twin called the Bamboo Bomber? I think is was a pilot-designation, but not sure... Thanks for the memories.
I did in the Seminole and then later in Japan in the King Air. One of the pilots I flew with a lot was an old guy .. I think he was 52 ... he was worried about having a heart attack and wanted to make sure I could get us back on the ground. At the time I thought he was old also. :lol:

I never ran across a "Bamboo Bomber" ... at least by that name.
https://www.cessnaflyer.org/cessna-othe ... omber.html

good thing internet is here to clarify old Old memories ! ! I don't recall ever seeing these, but I might have. I do recall seeing Dad on final coming into Anchorage in a DC-3 when I could barely toddle . . .
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JimT
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Re: Memories

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Thanks Grizz. I never saw one. The Navy was still flying the Beechcraft 18 (Twin Beech) and used to come in to K16 when they were in Seoul. They landed one day with an engine out. Had a cracked jug on the right hand Pratt & Whitney R985 and were trying to scrounge parts to get the plane going again. I had a brand new jug and piston that I found squirreled away in the attic above the Office in the hangar and traded them the new jug for a bottle of Scotch. They flew out in a couple days and we all were happy. I kept the piston and used it as an ash tray until I quit smoking.
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Re: Memories

Post by TraderVic »

Good trade !
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Re: Memories

Post by AJMD429 »

.
My cousin was 101st Airborne 'tip of the spear' but I was enough younger and we lived in different states so all I knew was "he was in the army". I had no idea the badassness of which those guys partook.

"Jungle in Black" mentions him actually, and is a good book revealing a guy who lived through Nam and had to cope with vision loss.

You military guys deserve so much more respect than the Snowflake Generation gives you. Truly sad. Not just for you, but for the future of our nation.

Without knowledge of History as the Map of Life, and Religion as the Compass to give us direction, we are lost.
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"first do no harm" - gun control LAWS lead to far more deaths than 'easy access' ever could.


Want REAL change? . . . . . "Boortz/Nugent in 2012 . . . ! "
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Grizz
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Re: Memories

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JimT wrote: Wed Nov 15, 2023 10:10 am Thanks Grizz. I never saw one. The Navy was still flying the Beechcraft 18 (Twin Beech) and used to come in to K16 when they were in Seoul. They landed one day with an engine out. Had a cracked jug on the right hand Pratt & Whitney R985 and were trying to scrounge parts to get the plane going again. I had a brand new jug and piston that I found squirreled away in the attic above the Office in the hangar and traded them the new jug for a bottle of Scotch. They flew out in a couple days and we all were happy. I kept the piston and used it as an ash tray until I quit smoking.
This woke up a memory. DeHaviland Beavers were being flown routinely as island taxis when we lived there. I saw a fully loaded Beaver blow a jug on take-off, he had a foot or two elevation and set down at take-off velocity... he taxied back and tied up to the seaplane dock.

The plane was there for two + days while the mechanic squatted on the firewall, disassembled, acquired a replacement, and bolted it back together. That was years ago, it can't be any better today.

The Cessna Caravan is the best replacement, a dream ride, quiet at cruise, cuts travel time in half, increases gross, and has all the cockpit gizmos a sailor could admire. . .

https://cessna.txtav.com/en/turboprop/caravan

my problem is I can tell everything I (don't) want to know about a pilot before he's airborne :roll:
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JimT
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Re: Memories

Post by JimT »

Grizz wrote: Sat Nov 18, 2023 1:01 pm my problem is I can tell everything I (don't) want to know about a pilot before he's airborne :roll:
Having knowledge of things ain't always comforting. I remember when I finished Aircraft Maintenance School and was traveling to Korea. My flight out of Dothan, Alabama was on Southern Airways, and old DC3. As we started the takeoff roll I was watching the #1 engine out the window and saw several cowling bolts fly past. It was not reassuring.
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Grizz
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Re: Memories

Post by Grizz »

JimT wrote: Sat Nov 18, 2023 1:15 pm
Grizz wrote: Sat Nov 18, 2023 1:01 pm my problem is I can tell everything I (don't) want to know about a pilot before he's airborne :roll:
Having knowledge of things ain't always comforting. I remember when I finished Aircraft Maintenance School and was traveling to Korea. My flight out of Dothan, Alabama was on Southern Airways, and old DC3. As we started the takeoff roll I was watching the #1 engine out the window and saw several cowling bolts fly past. It was not reassuring.
"a collection of spare parts flying in close formation" is one I heard from the pilots several times . . . :lol:
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Grizz
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Re: Memories

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GunnyMack wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 4:30 pm Dad was in the navy 50-52, he was an air traffic controller stationed at Alameda NAS. He already had his pilots license (at 16) . All the stories he told was about the never ending card games and playing softball. Somewhere I have a picture of his team when they played the Alcatraz inmates.
Dad played softball on company picnics, I remember watching them play in the old original ball park in SF. Was that Candlestick? Yeah! Maybe it was a practice field, IDK now. But Mom and Sis and I were seated up on stone bleachers. Seemed like some columns around. Does that ring a bell?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candlestick_Park#/map/0

BUT NOOOO . . .
CANDLESTIC OPENING 1960.jpg
.
I'm remembering something around '49 when Dad was flying for Southwest Airlines . . . glad I have his logs so I can 'straighten out and fly right'. Somehow the kodachromes of my past get shuffled, but still brilliant and gorgeous . . . know what I mean?

p.s. it looks like Seals Stadium is a likely candidate, but it's not in the area I think I recall, or, partial recall IIRC . . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seals_Stadium#/map/0

SOMETIMES reality and kodachrome recall doesn't merge well . . .

Baseball history in SF goes back to the 1860s IIRCC . . .

grizz
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