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Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by gkainz, Jul 6, 2011.
OMG that brings back memories.....
I stumbled into the thread that featured Steve Ritchie's great description of the rescue of Roger Locher. That too brought back memories that go back to the Vietnam War. Steve and I went through the same training program for SEA bound F-4 pilots at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz in 1968. Steve was a guy in back (GIB) as they were called then--fully qualified pilots but not quite qualified enough for front seat duty. Steve and I ferried an F-4 from Hill AFB all the way to Danang AB along with other F-4s escorted and refueled by KC 135s. I lost track of Steve until I returned to SEA as commander of the 56 Special Operations Wing at NKP Thailand. After he became ace Steve paid a visit to NKP giving the base some great high-speed low altitude passes that only an ace could get away with. NKP was active in the rescue of downed pilots housing both the famous Jolly Green squadron and an A1 Skyraider squadron whch participated in many amazing rescues during my time there. Steve was one of the most dynamic individuals I have ever been associated with and this was amply on display in the video. Nail 17 was my call sign as an OV-10 FAC at NKP in 1972-73.
I have respect for one tattoo in this world, a pair of green feet inked on the ass.
Wow. Steve Ritchie is such a class act as is Roger Locher. Great story. Thanks for posting Greg.
To think many of these brave heroes were spit on and ridiculed when returning home makes me want to vomit.
"Where people can be free to reach their full potential".
That was the last sentence in the Video. Kind of tough doing that these days, unless you can somehow make it through the gauntlet of innumerable laws and regulations that block your path to whatever it is your trying to reach. Not many can anymore.
There was nothing quite so cold as that areosel can of green spray paint hitting one's bare buttocks. At NKP the Jolly Greens and Hobos regularly had a party night in which newcomers were initiated with the JG brand. I always looked forward to the times when comely females were involved. For some unexplained reason many of these found their way to the party hootches.
Footnote: On one occassion in 1972 Royal Laotian Army Gen Van Pao was invited to a party for the departing Hobo squadron commander Major Jim Harding but he was spared the initiation. However our ambassador to Laos, Godley and BG John Vessey were not.
but by the grace of God: there, go I. That's a FABULOUS Rotary Club presentation!!
We had a Commander in Chief who would fully support this action.
sad that we don't even defend ambassadors anymore....
Anyone who donates enough money to the right campaign can be ambassador. It's not like they're much special.
"How do you think? If a man has an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine and go into the mountains and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in Heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
I have just viewed the Rescue of Roger Locher. General Steve Ritchie, delivered the messages of we are Family, Patriotism, and anger at the
way the Vietnam Vets have been portrayed . Currently I'm working on a video that will be posted on Youtube and Military Sites. The video is about the Education Center that will be built adjacent
to Vietnam Wall. The land was allocated by Congress and public funds will pay for the site. The Education Center is striving to have pictures and biographies of all heroes who are on the
Wall. The video asks for people to send in scans of the Heroes on the Wall. If you have recruit
graduation books, that have pictures of your platoon please send scans and we will check if any
of the people are listed on the Wall. The video starts with an excerpt of President Truman's VJ Day
speech about the returning serviceman. Then a picture of a cover of the Saturday Evening Post,
featuring a Norman Rockwell painting, about a returning WWII GI. Then Ed Asner is interviewed
about the treatment of the returning Vietnam Vets and other Nam subjects. If you would like to
see the first minute of the video, please click on this link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si704PbXo70. The editing on the entire video will be finished in 2 to 3 and be ready for posting on the
net. I would be most pleased to have Brigadier General Steve Richie on the video, talking about the
Education Center. I do not know how to contact the General, so if someone can pass this on to
him, it would be greatly appreciated. My Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't mean to hijack this thread but I am looking for information about my father who served two tours in Vietnam (gulf of Tonkin incident 1964) and then again in 1969-1970). Like many, he didn't talk much about this, especially when he came home from his second tour in a bottle of bourbon. Colonel Thomas H. (Buck) Barker Jr. Passed away in July 1998. He flew F-100's in Vietnam and apparently was a very good fighter pilot. any information is greatly appreciated. My email can be founding in my profile.
T.H. Barker III
Steve Ritchie has always been a class act. With all his achievements, he chooses to focus on the rescue of his friend, Roger Locher.
Thank you, Steve for remembering the crews, the maintainers and those who died trying to live up to the motto, "... that others may live."
- An old Jolly Green pilot
Great clip and a "Can Do" spirit.
You will notice that there were AF Generals that made the decision to complete the rescue.......... It's called de-centralization and trust. Bravo!
The Benghazi debacle was run by civilians at the "VERY" top without adequate knowledge or dedication to protecting our people for blatant political reasons.
Having flown in VN in 65,66 & 67, I know that it would've been an easy rescue with all the assets in place around the Med.
May a pox be on their house!
Those of you who have lost close dear friends in this God awful war my heart goes out to those. But yet the memories that stay with us during the Viet Nam War never seems to go away.
I'm so glad those who served are now the voice of America and will not stand for another greeting such as those given to us who returned from Viet Nam. God Bless our American Troops.
I was in Udorn at the time of the rescue. Was going to post some images of "555" F4 aircraft but am guessing I have not posted before and the posting rules state I "may not post attachments" yet.
I knew Buck Barker and had the highest regard for him. He was the Operations Officer of the 614th Fighter Squadron at Phan Rang AB while I was there. Frankly if it hadn't been for Buck the squadron would have been leaderless since the Squadron Commander was totally out of his depth. He was a retread SAC KC-135 pilot who had no idea what flying single seat fighters was all about. All he cared about was keeping his pink ass safe. Buck on the other hand was a fighter pilots pilot and understood what it took to strap your ass to a stove pipe and get the job done. My connection to Buck was deeper than just being assigned to the same squadron in VN. Several years earlier he had been a captain in the same squadron when it was at England AFB, LA and my dad was the 1st Seargent. I lost track of him after we rotated back from VN, but I always remembered him fondly.
I only have one question: Why isn't this story already out as a Hollywood movie? Seems like it would be a blockbuster today.
What a well narrated/delivered account of that rescue! Thanks for sharing.
It would be very interesting to hear of some of the good flying done by American Pilots, to accomplish those rescues of which you speak.
Seeing and hearing this video makes me wonder how I got the silver wings of a USAF jet pilot. I had no gunnery training. While in the Memphis AFR I flew F-84Es with Tom Nicholson who flew combat in Korea. Tom was everything I was not. Flying with him was an humbling experience.
Carl E Odom
I am Gene Coleman. I was a Avionics Maintenance Night Supt at Udorn Thailand in 72-73 when this event took place. I remember Roger being brought back by heli after 22 days in the jungles of North Viet Nam. If I look hard enough I think I can find an audio tape of the complete rescue. I also have the base newspaper when Steve was made an ace. I loved being over there at the time these events were taking place. I cam back and retired in 1973. I have some fond memories of the 432nd TRW. Gene Coleman
Thanks for serving, Gene and neat to see you stop by and say hello.
Wow, this thread has over 1 million views.
And I almost missed it. Based on the year, the Jollies must have been 53s. I flew HH-3Es as a copilot right out of pilot training. Assigned to the 37th ARRS out of Danang, but flew out of Udorn the spring of '67. We stood alert at L20A and NKP. My first rescue was about 50SE of Hanoi. We launched from NKP. My funny memory of that was that it was the crop burning season and forward visibility was non-existent, but we could see straight down. As copilot, my job was navigation. We picked up the 105 driver (who had shot himself down by holding his gun too long, it blew up and became FOD) and he was in pretty good shape. After the PJs checked him over, he came up and sat in the jump seat.
After awhile he asked how we were navigating, because the navaids all had off flags. I pointed at the ONC in my lap, my watch and compass. His comment was priceless: "you guys are crazy."
I still have the pewter cup with his name on it. The 105 unit had a routine of picking up the JG crew for a party and giving each member of the crew an engraved cup with the survivors name and the date of the rescue. It's a pen and pencil holder on my desk at the office. Great memories; did NKP ever get something besides PSP for the runway? Taking off out of there heavy, I think we had longer t/o rolls than the A-1s.
Edit: Not sure why I said ONC. We did use those for initial planning, but used 1:250K topos for nav.