European Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Jan 20 1968, Page 12

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European Stars And Stripes (Newspaper) - January 20, 1968, Darmstadt, HesseA �,1 milk in Navy Story and photos by William m. Powers tie Navy c54 s Tail number was87754 and it took off from Saigon Stan son Nhut Airport at 8 . Bound for Cam Rahn Bay and Points hours 1,000 Miles and a dozen landings and takeoffs later the plan would be secured again for the night Back at Veteran and another c54 alter Nate spending a week at a time in Viet Nam from their Home station at Sang Ley Point in the Day 754 flies to Cam Rahn Bay Nha Trang qui Nhon Chu Lai and Danang then turns around and makes the same stops on the Way Back to cargo ranges from passengers As Many As 80 at a time to sewer pipes hand grenades and ammunition anchors or anything else that will fit through the rear cargo doors. Inevitably the daily trip has been dubbed the milk an attempt is made to Fly cargo on Day and passengers the next but if room la left Over after getting on the cargo then passengers Are put on usually any place they la fit on the deck atop cargo crates and once or twice in the for the passengers the hops Are Short. A c54 takes about a hour to Fly from Saigon to Cam Rhan the longest leg of the milk run. Nha Trang the shortest takes Only six min utes. With a Long Day of flying an Many stops the pilots and Crew try to keep ground time to a minimum but it does t always work out that Way. We re real Lucky if we Only spend a hour on the ground in places like this said co Ira n. Kilpatrick. 754 s com Mander As the aircraft rolled to a Stop at qui army and air Force Fields where 754 lands at Are equipped for with rear ramp doors. A c54 has two cargo doors awkwardly located High in the Side of the fuselage. Loading and unloading is our biggest problem. These Fellows Here geared for c130s and c141s, not for older planes like these Kilpatrick said. Fork lifts and hoist bed trucks Are Nec Essary for efficient cargo handling on 754 but if these Aren t around every body pitches in and starts unloading the lighter cargo by hand until they arrive. It the airfields in the Mekong Delta area South of Saigon where 754 occasionally flies the ground support equip ment available is sometimes no More than a pickup truck and a ladder. Kil Patrick routine for each Stop is pretty much the same get the passengers off discharge the cargo take on a new Load and get airborne As quickly a possible for the next Stop. Along with . Military personnel South vietnamese military also Fly on 754. Since they Are permitted to move their dependents by air the plane frequently has several women aboard dressed in to dais the colourful National costume. Other passengers Wear More useful Fluk jackets and Jungle boots. Many of the troops flying have obviously jus come out of the Field. Terminals along the Way Var from the Well equipped ones at Shulgon Page 12 and Danang. To others where the Pas sengers squat on the Concrete or at Best sit on rude wooden benches. For the men waiting to climb on plane favorite pastimes Are cleaning rifles getting mud off boots and sleep ing. Some of the men May need a clean weapon minutes after they climb off754 at their destination. Language gets to be a problem wit the vietnamese passengers since interpreters Are Seldom present on the flight line. Occasionally they climb on the aircraft expecting to go one place and then get off after finding out it s going somewhere else. Once airborne 754 gives Crew an passengers a Birds Eye View of the War. Far below propeller driven fighter scan occasionally be seen making Straf ing runs on pc targets. Close to Saigon roads which stakeout to nearby military bases seem alive with traffic which from the air appears to be a steady Stream of insects wind ing their Way across the Countryside. In open areas in Fields or on Hill tops areas appear under the Wing which Are covered with All sizes of craters caused by weapons ranging from 60mm mortars to heavy . Ith the introduction of Large num Bers of aircraft into Vietnam life has become easier with the increase of navigational aids and larger airports. With changeable weather and the possibility of hostile fire at any time flying in any kind of air plane is still a Chal Lenge. Qui Nhon is the most difficult Placebo land at on the milk run said Kil Patrick. It s got crosswinds a Short rough Field and each Landing there is a different situation he said. When 754 arrives Back in Saigon the Day has t ended for the Crew. The aircraft must be cleaned and if therein any essential maintenance to be done there is no one else to do it. In an air plane that was accepted bythe Navy almost 22 years and 21,000 flying hours ago maintenance is needed More often than on new aircraft. During one week Long stint a troublesome fuel leak in the left Wing plagued the Crew s mechanics. All that was required to repair it were simple hand tools and time which meant the Crew worked until 11 pm., and then got up at 5 . The next a radio component or an instrument goes out. By the next morning the Crew has it fixed and 754 is ready for another Day s for c54s Are not usually readily available in Vietnam. Components some times have to be repaired on the spot or time we had ignition problems and needed parts so i went Over Bandsaw some old friends at air Viet Nam and got them said of Scarcity of parts Load ing problems weather hostile fire or anything else 754 and its Crew help keep the flow of supplies for Navy activities moving. Asked whether maintenance difficulties or other problems have Ever kept 75 on the ground Alfred Grundmeyer flight Mechanic said we be never missed a Mission tax jul. Wjk it a � v v 1s1 -., to. \., Nhon Navy sea bees gather under 754 s Wing out of rain while waiting for truck to take them to work site. At qui Nhon equipment is Short so army troops scramble up ladder with Side arms Jungle equipment a to of / v. Of $ v a 4a % a i la fexx�.%. U i. A i " dependents of South vietnamese military personnel Board c54 at Northern end of run Danang. Favorite occupation of 754 riders t a Nap in Canvas seats. The stars and stripes saturday 1968 Ira n. Kilpatrick checks position of 754 toward coast Juit North of Cam Rahn Bay. Crewmen do own repair work on ancient c54 at Saigon s Tan son Nhut Airport. The stars and stripes Page 13

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