Halloween History Lesson...

I've mentioned before an office mate of mine whom is a Viet Nam Vet...one tour enlisted, and one as a back seater in F4s. Today we all got into the Halloween spirit at work and had a pot luck.

Well...this guy put on his Viet Nam "party bag" - a custom flight suit that the guys made for partying at the Club, etc...yes - it still fits him...well.

...but the amazing thing was that he also brought in the chops from the ONC's that he used during combat over Southeast Asia - his bullseye plot from Hanoi, and the area between Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and the Pacific. Sent chills up my spine to think I was not only looking at the real-deal, but also talking to the guy that did the job...and lived to tell about it. All the hand drawn plots of the tanker tracks, diverts, TACANs, etc. Living history...when he talks, I listen.

I won't even try to tell any of his stories - I told him he should write a book. I can relate that he is a veteran of the USAF 421st FS; and that he is definately one of those guys that was then - and will always be - a fighter pilot.

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That's pretty impressive- BTW (re fighter pilot books) if any of you haven't read When Thunder Rolled by Ed Rasimus, do so RIGHT NOW. That book is so good it kept my mind off my mom's lung cancer surgery last summer-

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Jim Atkins

Not really a "Halloween" history lesson, but interesting history just the same.

Let me tell you a little about another combat veteran. Just the other day I was talking to this rather interesting gentleman (I speak with him frequently) and I thought I might relate a bit about him.

He is a "plank-holder" in the 502nd PIR. He made the D-Day and Market Garden jumps and was at Bastogne. He was wounded twice and won the Purple Heart and Silver Star. He was injured in a parachute jump late in the war and medivac'd to the states.

After the war, he ended up being assigned to the 7th Inf Div on occupation duty in Japan and in Sep of 1950, made the Inchon landing with them. After fighting their way through Seoul they were withdrawn (along with the 1st Marine Div) and sent around to the other side of Korea where they made the landing at Hamhung and marched up to the Chosin Reservoir. He was the Adjutant for LTC Don Faith who commanded 1/32 as part of Task Force MacLean as they moved to the east side of the Chosin on 27 Nov 50.

After COL MacLean was captured and died, Faith took over the Task Force (now renamed "Faith" and, after Maj Crosby Miller was wounded, Jones (a newly-promored Maj at this time) took over the Battalion and as "Exec" of the TF. He and LTC Faith led the TF in the withdrawal from the P'ungnyuri Inlet, and when LTC Faith was killed, Jones assumed command of the TF and got them safely to Hagaru-ri. He continued to lead them all the way down to Hamhung, where they were evacuated. During this fighting, he earned another Purple Heart and Silver Star. He also won a Distinguished Service Cross (some say he should have been awarded LTC Faith's Medal of Honor).

That wasn't enough for him and he stayed in the Army and served two tours in Vietnam, one as advisor to the Vietnamese National Police. He was close to, and unsuccessfully tried to stop, Vietnamese Chief of Police BG Nguyen Ngoc Loan, who shot the Viet Cong prisoner in the head during the Tet offensive (captured in a much-published photos and on video).

He continues to remain active in the 101st Association and has made a couple trips to Kosovo during the 101st deployments to boost their spirits. He is a terrific gentleman and, if you look up hero in the dictionary, you should find his picture there. He's my dear friend, COL (ret) Robert Jones.

-- -- -- -- -- "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

My Home Page:

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Bill Woodier

Saw that on the shelves the other day; I think I'll pick it up. Another excellent read, oddly enough about Thuds again, is "Pak Six" by retired Air Force Lt. Colonel G. I. Basil. I was never really interested in, or knew anything about Thuds until I read this book, now I have three kits. I would love to build his, "Terrible Tina" and send it to him, if he's still alive (hopefully). I find it hard to believe there would be a decal set for it, so I really don't know what to do about it.

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. --Leonardo Da Vinci EAA # 729686 delete the word spam from email addy

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