Aug 09, 1967
7th Air Force Newspaper Banner
Vol. 3, No. 31          HQ. Seventh Air Force News          August 09, 1967

Airlift Mishap Rate
Takes Big Nosedive

TAN SON NHUT --- Aircraft accidents decreased by 78 percent in the 834th Air Division during the first six months of this year.

The decrease was attributed to the command emphasis put on this subject by Brig. Gen. William G. Moore Jr., 834th commander.

During the same period last year, C-7A Caribou and C-123 Provider aircraft were involved in 19 major accidents.  This year each type has had only two major aircraft mishaps.

The 315th Air Commando Wing, to which the C-123s are assigned, was charged with seven mishaps in the first six months of 1966.  In the same period, there were 12 major accidents involving Caribou aircraft, which were then being flown by the U.S. Army.  The Caribou are now assigned to the 483rd Tatical Airlift Wing.

While the accident rate in the 834th decreased, mission accomplishments and capabilities incsreased.

The Provider crews upped their flying time 24 per cent while the Caribou crews raised theirs by 15 per cent.  The sortie rate jumped 33 per cent for C-123s during the first half of this year and the C-7As flew 28 per cent more sorties.

In the area of airlifted tonnage, the Caribou crews hauled 31 per cent more and the C-123 crews raised their tonnage by 29 per cent.

The 315th ACW's record of two major accidents extends back as far as July 1966.

Husband, Wife Team Up
In Civic Action Effort

TAN SON NHUT --- An Air Force husband and wife medical team has conducted the first of many planned personal hygiene classes, sponsored by the Tan Son Nhut AB Civic Actions Office, to improve the health of Vietnamese throughout the Go-Vap District in Gia Dinh Province.

Conducting the class are A1C Andres Mercado, 23, of San Diego, and his wife, 2nd Lt. Suzanne Mercado, both stationed at Tan Son Nhut.  The pair explain to the Vietnamese, through an interpreter, the various phases of good personal hygiene and sanitation habits.  There are more than 60 Vietnamese adults and children at the Go-Vap town dispensary near Saigon.

The program is designed to increase Vietnamese kinowledge of how to prevent the spread of disease, which would eliminate much of the treatment requirements at dispensaries.

Airman Mercado, a medical technician at the 377th USAF Dispensary, and his wife, a nurse with the 21 Casualty Staging Flight, volunteered to conduct classes during their off-duty time at dispensaries and hamlets throughout the Go-Vap District, which includes more that 450,000 Vietnamese.

"We hope to send out more teams to promote a better health concept throughout the district," said 1st Lt. A.J. Cesario, 30, of San Diego, Calif., Tan Son Nhut director of Civic Actions.

The Civic Actions Program in the Gp-Vap District is directed by the Tan Son Nhut-based 33rd Wing of the Vietnamese Air Force.  "We work closely with the 33rd to improve the social, economic and overall living standard of the Vietnamese in this area."   said Lieutenant Cesario.  "The program is now progressing toward handling 68 hamlets and serving two million people."

The Tan Son Nhut team accompanied a medical team from the U.S. Army's 190th Medical Detachment, stationed at Gia Dinh, to the Go-Vap Dispensary.  Capt. Charles H. Vancanon, commander of the detachment, led the group, which included Maryanne Dombkowski, of Easthampton, Mass.  Miss Dombkowski works as a nurse advisor under the U.S. Agency for International Development at the Nguyen Van Hoc Hospital in Gia Dihn.

Among the Tan Son Nhut Civic Actions group were SSgt. James D. Black, 24, of Coal City, W.Va., from the Base Civic Actions Office, and A1C David O. Lee, 23, Lake City, Fla., from Headquarters 377th Combat Support Group.

MIG Killer Plans
Bombing Strikes
To North Vietnam

TAN SON NHUT --- MIG killer Lt. Col. Arthur F. Dennis is one of a sprecial breed in Vietnam.

Colonel Dennis, 38, of Sherman, Tex., cp,[;eted jos tpir as am F-105Thunderchief fighter-bomber pilot with the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, after flying his 100th combat mission over North Vietnam.  His target on the final mission was railroad rolling stock in Mu Gia Pass.

Like others of the special breed - men who complete the required 100 missions over North Vietnam and then use their vast combat experience in directing various phases of the way - he isn't finished in Vietnam.

Although he won't be flying an F-105 against targets, the enemy will still be hearing much from him in the form of other pilots who will be hitting targets planned by the colonel.

Colonel Dennis has been reassigned to the Seventh Air Force Directorate of Combat Operations at Tan Son Nhut for the remaining six months of his one year tour in Southeast Asia.  He will work in the directorate's current plans division, developing plans for striking targets in North Vietnam.

During his tour as a pilot, Colonel Dennis took part in numerous headline-making raids in the Hanoi area including the Thai Nguyen Steel Complex, Hoa Lac Airfield, Viet Tri Railroad Yards and Power Plant, Hanoi Power Plant and others.

He downed a MIG-17 in aerial combat April 28 while leading a flight of Thunderchiefs against a heavily defended bridge, a major transportation route across a large river five miles southwest of Hanoi.

Colonel Dennis also flew 100 combat missions in Korea - 60 in an F-80 Shooting Star and 40 in the F-84 Thunderjet.  Unlike his Vietnam tour, his plance was hit three times during raids over North Korea but he nursed the aircraft back to home base.

He describes the air war in the north as "another world."  "The hardest part is the waiting before a mission," he said.  "We received our mission assignments the night before and it's a job staying mentally and physically alert for any task.  Once you are in the aircraft and on the way everything is fine."

"An average mission takes about 3!/2 hours of flying with from 5 to 15 minutes over the target.  The dive bomb run is when the aircraft is most vulnerable to enemy ground fire, but there isn't much time to worry about it - there's to many things to be done."

Colonel Dennis sums up his feeling on the job pilots are doing in Vietnam with "It's great.  It isn't a glamorous life, but the pilots give it everything they've got."

He enlisted in the Air Force in September 1948.  Too young to fulfill a childhood dream of beincoming a fighter pilot, he served his first 15 months as an airman.

Trained as an aircraft mechanic, his first assignment was at Perrin AFB, Tex/. wjere je was a crew cjoef pm a T-6 trainer aircraft.  He applied for pilot training the very day he became old enough.  Early in his flying career, he returned to Perrin and flew the same T-6 he had maintained as a crew chief.

Provider Crewmen
Fight 50-Ton Day

TAN SON NHUT --- Baseball has its homerun with bases loaded, football its 100 - yard touchdown run, and golf its hole -in one.  In Vietnam, the 315th Air Commando Wing C-123 Provider transport crews based at Tan Son Nhut AB have their own Hall of Fame  - the 50-ton day.

The reliable C-123s, in use in Vietnam since 1961, are not the world's fastest, nor largest, nor newest aircraft.  But they are rugged, dependable, capable of landing almost anywhere and can carry everything from livestock to paratroopers.

Crews face a challenge everyday while airlifting men, equipment and supplies into forward combat areas.  Yet, it is the 50-ton day that tantalizes C123 crews.

Few reach this goal in a normal day - most never do.  For those who do, it is the result of hard work and the help of Lady Luck.  Everything has to be near - perfect.  The aircraft has to be in top notch shape, cargo waiting to be loaded at every destination and the weather good.

Even with Lady Luck, the most important factor in attaining a 50-ton day is the initiative, hustle, ingenuity and skill of the crews.

A typical day - from 5 am. to 7 p.m. - was recently spent by Maj. Paul F. Cecil, 33, of Hutchinson, Kan., an aircraft commander, and his crew.  The crew shuttled in and out of Tan Son Nhut, Tan Dau Mot, Tay Ninh and Phuc Vinh, hauling trucks, troops and ammunition.

SSgt J.D. Iampkin, 24, of Segi Seguin, Tex., flight mechanic, handled the refueling and minor maintenance of the aircraft.  A1C William J. Eck, 32, of Florence, Ala., loadmaster, off-loaded and reloaded the aircraft while Capt. Robert L. Rathburn assisted Major Cecil.

The captain plotted courses, handled the radio work and occasionally took over the aircraft commander's seat to maintain proficiency in making assault landings on small unimproved strips.

When the day was over and the crew returned to Tan Son Nhut, Major Cecil said, "We got over 60 tons today."  There was a lot of shouting and patting of backs ... but it was short lived.  The crew men had other things to do, places to go and people to see.  They headed toward their billets for a good night's sleep.

The last anyone heard was the crew members talking about hitting the 70-ton mark as they walked out the door.

Rebuilding Burned Homes
Called 'Finest Civic Action'

TAN SON NHUT --- The scene of a recent fire has become the site of what was described by a Vietnamese district chief as the finest Air Force civic ation effort in Vietnam.

A .28-man work-force, headed by Air Force 1st Lt. A. James Cesario, director of the Tan Son Nhut AB Civic Action Office, completely rebuilt - in four days - three houses belonging to a Vietnamese family of nine.

The original small dwellings, located 12 miles east of Tan Son Nhut in Go Vap District, where burned to the ground when a civilian contract Constellation transport crashed on the night of June 22.  Reconstruction of the houses was completed June 30.  Nguyen Van Tam, owner of the propert, his wife and their seven children were not injured by the crash.

Vietnamese Army Major Binh, Go Vap District chief, said, "This was the finest gesture I have ever seen the Air Force make toward building for the common people."  Mr Tam said he was amazed that the Air Force cared enough to worry about him and to include his judgement and desires in building his houses.

Because of the lack of roads and the possibility of enemy attack, all supplies and personnel were flown to the site by Air Force CH-3C, "Big Charlie" helicopters.  The helicopters made 16 trips, carrying lumber, food, tools and other equipment to the site.

Members of the Tam family helped build the houses, which were painted white with blue trim.  "Frames for the builodings were pre-cut, but we actually constructed the housed from the foundation to the roof  - from scratch right there," said Lieutenant Cesario, 30, of San Diego.

A company-size popular force secured an area one mile in diameter around the site during the reconstruction.  "We heard gunfire all around us, but never got hit," the lieutenant said.

Taking part in the reconstruction project were 15 Air Force members and 10 local nationals from the Tan Son Nhut 377th Civil Engineering Squadron, 2 Vietnamse Army translators, and a radioman and a medic from the U.S. Army.  All building materials were furnished by the 377th

Gas Station Kept Busy

TAN SON NHUT --- Gasoline and oil for vehicles in important; without either one, a vehicle would be of no use.  The personnel of the 377th Transportation Squadron, Tan Son Nhut AB, know only too well the importance of these two items.

The service station within this organization services approximately 500 vehicles per day which amounts to more than 5,000 gallons of gasoline profided to users daily.  Also an average of 100 quarts of oil are furnished to these vehicles.

During a period of 30 days this equals approximately 150,000 gallons of gasoline and 3,000 quarts of oil.

U.S. - Thailand Crewmen
In Unique Partnership

TAN SON NHUT --- A unique partnership exists bewtween Royal Thai and U.S. Air Force aircrews involved in airlift operations throughout South Vietnam.

Aircrews of the two countries work side-by-side doing the same job, the aerial resupply of isolated forward areas.

A 22-man group from Tailand, called the Victory II Squadron, is serving with the 19th Air Commando Sauadron at Tan Son Nhut AB.

The mixed aircrews fly the C-123 Provider assault transport.  The crews specialize in hauling troops, equipmnet and supplies into and out of small airstrips in forward combat areas.  They also airdrop paratroopers and supplies to Special Forces camps during support missions for various ground operations.

Job To Do

"We have pilots, navigators, flight mechanics and loadmasters working with the C-123s," said Capt. Prija Saison, commander of the Royal Thai Air Force Contingent, Vietnam.  "Relation with American crew members are excellent," he said, "We know the job that has to be done in Vietnam -  and why."

Since joining forces with the 19th ACS in July 1966, Thai crew members have become highly qualified and have contributed greatly to the overall C-123 operation.

Typical of the joint Thai - U.S. aircrew flights was a recent one commanded by Thai Captain, Sutep Teparak, of Bangkok.  Thai A1C Malai Bumroonokit, of Bangkok, served as loadmaster.  American crew members aboard included Lt. Col. Charles E. Porter, of Hampton, Va., 19th ACS, copilot, and SSgt. Donald D. Steven, of Johnston, Ohio, flight Mechanic.

Crew Briefed

Before the mission, Captain Teparak briefed the crew.  Resupply sorties flown included delivery of petroleum into Tra Vinh and the airlift of 35 Vietnames Army troop to Duc Hoa.  Both flights originated at Vung Tau AB.

Sergeant Stevens reported hearing heavy ground fire about four miles from the Duc Hoa airstrip.  Upon landing and with the engines still running, Sergeant Stevens checked the aircraft but could not find any hits.  The aircraft took off for its home base - Tan Son Nhut - after unloading.

"There isn't any way of kowing wheather the enemy was actually shooting at us," said Sergeant Stevens.  "At night you can see the muzzle flashes, but during the day the aircraft almost has to get hit to know," he said.  Capt Teparak reported the incident immediately via the aircraft radio.

Captain Teparak typifies the extensive military background of Thai pilots serving in Vietnam.  A veteran of more than 12 years' service, the captain attended the Royal Thai Air Force Academy for five years.  He has flown more than 480 hours and 1,100 combat sorties in the Provider since his arrival in Vietnam 10 months ago.

American pilots who fly with Captain Teparak rate him as an excellent pilot.  The captain was recently qualified as an instructor pilot, the first Thai to hold this distinction.  As an instructor pilot, Captain Teparak checks out both American and Thai pilots.

Work In Harmony

The Thai-U.S. C-123 airlift crews have a close working relationship.  Most Thais speak English very well, some having attended a five-month language school in the United States under the Military Assistance Program.  Crew members from the two countries experience little difficulty in understanding one another during air operations.

An example of the skill and harmoney of the aircrews was the expert airmanship displayed by the mixed crew of a C-123 during an inflight emergency last November.

The Provider transport, carrying 34 passengers, was hit by intense .50 caliber ground fire shortly after takeoff from the jungle airstrip at Dau Tieng, 45 miles northwest of Saigon.  The left flap and part of the left engine fuel tank was shot away and the wing hydraulic lines were cut.  Fire erupted in the cargo compartment immediately.

First Lieutenant Anavil Phakdeechitt, of Bangkok, helped guide the flaming aircraft to a successful crash landing in which only one passenger suffered serious injuries.

Receives DFC

On April 24, the lieutenant received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the U.S. Air Force's fourth highest decoration, for heroism.  It was the first American award ever given to a member of the Royal Thai Air Force for herriism in Vietnam.  Lt Gen. William W. Momyer, Seventh Air Force commander, made the presentation.

Lieutenant Phakdeechitt was decorated for staying at the controls despite intense heat, blinding smoke and fumes.  He closed the side windows to prevent fire from entering the cockpit and helped maintain order among the passengers.

Noncom Association
Holds TSN Meetings

TAN SON NHUT --- The first meeting of the Saigon Chapter of the Noncommissioned Officers Associationof the United Sstates was held July 22 in the Tan Son Nhut NCO Open Mess.  During the meeting temporary officers were elected to positions in the new chapter.

Named as chairman was TSgt. Lawrence R. Gay, 460th Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron:  secretary/treasurer, SSgt. Harry E. Estep, 460th AEMS; and information officer, TSgt., William J. Manning, Headquarters, Seventh Air Force.

Membership in the NCOA is open to all enlisted personnel serving in the grade of E-4 and above.  They may be in any branch of the military service, either active or retired, including members of the Reserve and National Guard.  Members may be male or female.

Further information on the organization may be obtained in the Saigon area through the following personnel:
Sergeant Gay, SSgt. Arthur Becquet Jr., or SSgt. David G. Burk, all 460th AEMS, call TSN local 278, 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily; Sergeant Manning, TSN 3335, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily; SSgt. G.F. Bradley, Hq. Squadron, 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, TSN 4878, 3-1115 p.m. daily.

CSG Drops Grid Pair,
Slips to 5th Place

TAN SON NHUT --- The 377th Combat Support Group gridders would like to forget the last week in July.  It was like a nightmare to them.

They started the week with a 7-won, 1-lost record and were leading the nine-team Tan Son Nhut touch football league.

But before the week ended they had dropped two straight games and had slipped to fifth place in the standings.

The third-place 619th Tactical Control Squadron (7-2) started Group on their tailspin by dumping them, 6-0.

The 619th copped another squeaker in downing the 460th Armament and Electronics Maintenance Sq. in a 1-0 overtime tie-breaker.

The 1876th Communications Sq. tops the loop with a 6-1 mark.  Their 7-6 victory over the 619th cemented their hold on first place.

Comm also grabbed a 6-0 thriller over sixth-place 6994th Security Sq. (6-2)

Second place 377th Civil Engineering Sq. (8-2) posted two triumphs.

They won a 1-0 tie-breaker over the fourth place 6470th Reconnaissance Tactical S. (7-2) and took a 6-0 verdict from the 460th A&EMS (5-4)

The 6470th bounced back with a 7-6 win over the 460th Field Maintenance Sq. (6-7)

Jinx Gone
As Spikers
Post Win

TAN SON NHUT --- The base volleyballers, after losing their first four matches in teh Saigon city invitational competition, dinally chased their early morning jinx to register their initial victory.

It came on July 23 over the Saigon Police Department squad.

Tan Son Nhut won 3 our of 4 games to take the match.  The scores were 15-22, 11-15, 15-10, 15-6.

Playing-coach Fred Baker commented, "It was about time we won.  We couldn't seem to get adjusted to playing those 8:30 and (;30 morning matches.  Now er're on our way."

Baker, hoping to sahke up his netters, made some lineup changes.  One of these was to move Al Sligh from a spiking position to setting.  The switch paid off.

Sligh, along with regular setter George Aki spearheaded the attack.  Spikers Ulise Thidobeaux, Sam Rhoden, Ben Ulcak and Baker all played well in the victory.

AF Sentry Dog To Become Symbol Of Professionalism

TAN SON NHUT --- Battle scarred from wounds suffered in the Vietnam War, Nemo has received first class medical care and is well on the road to recovery.

The Vietnam War is over for Nemo -- an Air Force Sentry Dog credited with saving his master's life during a battle with four Viet Cong in South Vietnam.

The heroic canine left Tan Son Nhut AB for retirement at the sentry dog training school, Lackland AFB, Tex.  Nemo boarded an Air Force C-141 Starlifter at Tan Son Nhut with A2C Melvin W. Bryant, 21 of Port St. Joe, Fla., who is accompanying the dog to Lackland.

Returning to Lackland, Nemo will be a symbol of the professional training sentry dogs receive and the job they are doing in war-torn Vietnam.

The event that altered Nemo's life began on Dec. 5, 1966.  He and his handler, A1C Robert A. Throneburg of Charlotte, N.C., were on patrol at Tan Son Nhut AB.  The proceeding day, Tan Son Nhut had been hit by a Viet Cong mortar attack.  During the attack about 60 VC swept through an opening they made in the base perimeter's barbed wire fence.

The infiltrators were stopped and turned back by the 377th Security Police Squadron's main line of defense.  But four VC eluded discovery by earlier search parties and were hiding within the base's perimeter.  It was the sentry dog's job to find them.

In the silence of darkness, the two sentries walked cautiously forward.   Suddenly their search ended.  Nemo had alerted them to a group of hidden VC.   "Watch him," said Airman Throneburg.  The dog's muscles tensed for action.  "Get him!" -- was the next command and Nemo lunged savagely forward, into the enemy's nest.  Airman Throneburg followed close behind.

In the first moments of encounter, Airman Throneburg killed two of the VC.   But, before additional security police could reach them, Airman Throneburg was wounded in the shoulder and Nemo's snout was creased by a bullet.  The remaining enemy were soon killed by other security police.

Nemo was credited not only with saving the life of Airman Throneburg, but indirectly prevented further destruction of life and property at Tan Son Nhut.

The 377th SPS was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its "heroic valor," against the Viet Cong infiltration force.

A2C Melvin W. Bryant and Nemo CANINE HERO RETURNS TO STATES --
Nemo, a 95-pound Air Force sentry dog who served in Vietnam since January last year, is held by A2C Melvin W. Bryant of Port St. Joe, Fla., who is accompanying the dog back to the United States.   The 5-year-old K-9 is returning to Lackland AFB, Tex., for retirement.   (Air Force Photo)

The battle was over for Airman Throneburg and Nemo.  Master and dog soon parted.  Airman Throneburg was airlifted from South Vietnam, Nemo remained at Tan Son Nhut For treatment by the base veterinarian, Capt. Raymond T. Huston, of Roseville, Ill.

"When Nemo was brought to me," Doctor Huston said, "he was in pretty bad shape.     I had to do skin grafts on his face and perform a tracheotomy to help him breathe.   His right eye had to be removed, but even this didn't lessen his ability.   It only made his other senses -- hearing and smell -- more sensitive.   Now, eight months after being wounded, he is on his feet and ready to go."

The medical care Nemo received is typical of treatment given all sentry dogs serving in Vietnam.  Whether it is a minor ailment or major surgery, all received first class medical care.

Most dogs used by the Air Force for sentry dog duty were former house pets.  Nemo belonged to Samuel Cooks Jr., an on-base resident of K.I. Sawyer AFB, Mich.  Nemo attended a special sentry dog training course at Lackland AFB, prior to coming to Vietnam.

Coincidentally, the man taking Nemo home --Melvin Bryant -- has the same last name as Nemo's original handler, A3C Leonard Bryant who picked him up at Lackland and brought him to Vietnam in January 1966.  Six months later, when Airman Bryant assumed other duties, Airman Throneburg became the dog's handler.

Taken from Seventh Air Force News --Date:  August 9, 1967


Nemo, a hero Air Force sentry dog, and his handler, A3C Leonard Bryant, arrive at Norton Air Force Base near San Bernardino.   Nemo alerted his unit to a Viet Cong attack in Vietnam and subsequently lost his eye in the action.  The dog will be sent to Lackland Air Force Base, where he will retire with the Purple Heart and a unit citation.  (AP Wirephoto)

Nemo Returns - Nemo, Air Force sentry dog, gets a hero's
welcome at Norton Air Force Base, San Bernadino, Calif,
on his return from Vietnam.   Nemo, the first sentry dog in
the Vietnam war, saved the life of his handler and possibly
several others when Viet Cong troops attempted to attack
Tan Son Nhut air base in December.  His original handler,
A2C Leonard Bryant, is accompanying him to Lackland Air
Force Base.  (UPI Telephoto)