To A Forward Air Controller
& Spouse Home ~Page
Page Is Now Mobile Friendly
It's With Deep Sadness I Must Report
The Passing of Colonel HAL & His
(his life long copilot) wife Hazel
This Page Dedicated To
Both Of Their Memories
Internment Arlington National Cemetery
15 Nov 2010 11AM
She Was Born August 25, 1919 Kenmore, Ohio and
Died October 2, 2010 Murrells Inlet, S.C.
She Was First Female to Receive
Pilot Instructor's license Atlantic City 1938
TO ALL THOSE THAT SENT WELL WISHES
From Proud Children: Chuck, Lynn & Tom
Internment Arlington National Cemetery
3 Oct 2005 11AM
He Was Born June 21, 1920 Atlantic City N.J. and
Died July 19, 2005 Myrtle Beach S.C.
Silver Star Winner & Triple Vet: WWII, Korea, Vietnam
It was a cool fall day at Arlington National Cemetery.
A group of about 30 people were in attendance as
we got briefed on the military service, the immediate
family position & role was explained. We convoyed
out to the the burial site and were surprised to see
a service about to begin for a very senior Admiral
or General officer as it looked just like JFK & Ron
Regan's Military televised service. There was the
service colors, a rifle team, a formation of airmen,
a full band, a separate bugler and there was this
magnificent horse drawn caisson with riders led
by one lone rider less horse with the boots in
the stirrups backwards. It turned out it was an
All Air Force Personnel formation. But it was for
our Colonel Hal. He Would Have Loved It.
Col Hal's Arlington USAF Services; Colors, Caisson,
Band, Formation, Rifles & Bugler
strange thing occurred during the rifle team firing 3
volleys of 7 shots, followed by the bugler sounding
Taps... as if on cue at the final note; an American
Airlines 777 taking off from nearby Regan National
made a most unusual very low at tree top level and
very loud Take Off all the while banking steeply
straight up. As if to say... 'they had just lost one of
their own.' Right Click Picture
Blue Skies mon Capy-tan
An 18 year old 1937 FEMALE Pilot In Training,
Bader Field Airport, Atlantic City N.J.
It Should be stated here a most remarkable event.
A teenager in 1938 got it into His head he wanted
to learn how to fly & went out to Atlantic City lil
Bader airfield, which is very historic place where
Charles Lindberg traveling around the USA to
support aviation, said while deplaning that with
all the boats waterways and airplanes, that this
place looks like an "AIR-PORT!"
Thus the name stuck when reported the next day
in all the world's press. Hal saw a group of guys
in the tarmac parking area & asked "who is the
instructor?' The said "inside the hanger." There
he found some pilots talking & when asked which
of them was the instructor, they pointed to inside
a near-by airplane. He saw a man talking with a
very cute girl & said to the man if he could teach
him how to fly? The girl said "No" but I can!
My mom always had a great sense of humor as
did my Triple War Veteran pilot dad...!
All of this way back in 1938. Dad got the lessons
and they began dating. They got married and
everyone then went to War. Later in 1942 he got
drafted into the Army. He would later in boot
camp get asked if anyone ther knew how to fly?
And with that ended my dad's career as an Army
ground pounder (infantry). Mom must have
taught him very well as he would wind up in a
class for the biggest plane up to then. A plane
that for the first time the tires were bigger than
a wheel barrel in fact taller than a man. The
Superfortress B-29. But out of the class of 200
Only ONE would not go forward. My Dad.
Everyone else got orders to the front. Dad
stayed back AND He Would Become The
Instructor... Imagine that?
Way to go Hazel, You Kept from Harms Way !
Hazel May F. Teenager and Fledging Pilot
Mrs. Hazel May L. Pilot Instructor
Hazel in her Beloved Luscombe Teaching
Harold How To Fly at Bader Field NJ '38
With His Brand New Army-Air Corps Wings
and his Soon To Be Very Happy Bride
Hal and Haze Start Their New Family with a
Toe Head Son Announcement
A.F. Military Internment Service
"FOR A SOLDIER THAT DIED TODAY..."
Colors, Marching Band, Bugler & Rifle Team
Military Funeral Procession Forms Up
AF Pall Bearers Join Up Behind The Casket
Horse Drawn Caisson, Rider Less Horse
Six Horse Drawn Caisson Passes In Review
Procession Arrives At Columbarium
Honor Guard Transfer Ceremony Positioned
Arrival At The Chaplain's Service Theater
Military Honors Rendered by 6 Pall Bearers
A Grateful Nation Salutes Harold's Service
Rabbi, Son Tom, Daughter Lynn End Service
It Sounded Like This
The Final Journey
Now Welcome to VietNam
ALWAYS has the right of way.'
Place : Republic of South Vietnam, I Corps ( border w/ Laos & North Vietnam
Time: Year leading up to the 1968 TET Offensive (May 1967 through May 1968)
Pilot A/C: Lt. Colonel HAL from Offutt AFB (SAC Hqts.)
WWII Pilot Korea Senior Pilot Vietnam Command Pilot
WWII: B-29, Korea: Gooney Bird C-47
Medivac & 'Nam: O-1 & O-2 FAC
Major Hal Awaits Orders For Vietnam
Capehart Housing Offutt AFB Omaha Nebraska
Taken Prior To Tet 1968 At Main Gate La-Vang
Airport where he served as Base & Sqdrn Cmdr,
Quang Tri City, I Corps USAF combat PRESS photo
Nothing, is so good for the morale of
the troops as to occasionally see a
'Snoopy' BIRD DOG /
O-2 Super Skymaster
The USAF Forward Air
Controller FAC is a
military program for controlling air resources
from slow and low flying aircraft. Its primary
mission was to support Army troops by afford-
ing them tactical air coverage. This was done
by 3 different methods. 1, air reconnaissance;
Two, troop support by air surveillance; Three,
by directing fighter/bomber assets on selected
ground targets with use of marking rockets
that'll leave a cloud of color smoke as an aim
aim point for fighter planes flying 'Top Cover.'
'If something hasn't broken
on your helicopter, then
it's soon about to.'
Both 20th & 22nd TASS Flew Gray Low
Observable 0-1 & O-2 Cessnas SNOOPY
(a Beagle Bird Dog) was made the official
F.A.C. Mascot in 'Nam
(Thanks Personally To Mr. Charles Schultz)
"If the enemy is in range,
then so are you."
Maj Hal's Teeny Tiny O-1 firing off some
marking rocket with white smoke burst
‘Don't draw fire;
it irritates the people around you.’
FAC’s have actually
been around since the
dawn of flight, begining with lighter than
air observation balloons during the civil war
when they're used to direct canon (artillery)
fire. In Vietnam FAC’s were in either 0-1
Bird Dogs or 0-2 Super Skymasters (even
though the Army would try and incorporate
OV-10 Bronco's as FAC's from lessons that
were learned in SEA).
The main difference between the earlier 0-1’s
and the later 0-2 was that the 0-2 had to fly off
from a more improved runways & that meant
there would always be more O-1 in country &
available than 0-2’s. O-1's were tail draggers
while O-2's had a tricycle type landing gear.
"USUALLY, It is generally inadvisable to eject
directly over the area you just... bombed."
Top Cover TAC F-4 Phantoms laying ordnance
from )-1 aim points (Tactical Air Cmnd)
The story of
Forward Air Controllers and
Vietnam all began I suppose back in 1965
when the Army requested USAF air assets
to support the arrival of 1st Green Beret
advisors sent by President JFK 20 Cessna
O-1 Bird Dogs were put in theater, difficult
at first due to the hot steamy rainy muddy
jungle conditions and unprepared pilots.
That got remedied by training previous
war combat pilots in new all weather
"Whoever said the pen is
mightier than the sword,
obviously never met
any fully automatic weapons"
Snoopy 1965 20th TASS Patch
1968 TASS Squadron Patch
It was not until December 1965 20th TASS was
commissioned and in full operation. FAC pilots
began round the clock daily missions 1966 in
January. FAC's supported US Marine ops in
I Corps, US Army & ARVN ops in III Corps,
convoy escorts for all services, surveillance
of DMZ & Ho Chi Minh trail for Vietnam
CinC General William Westmoreland.
During 1966 FAC's were given many tactical
call signs such as: Tigerhound, Covey, Raven,
TallyHo and Steel Tiger. In early 1966 20th
TASS was given mission to fly out-of-country
interdiction flights over the Ho Chi Minh
trail under call sign Tiger-Hound AO (air
operations). To accomplish this assignment
20th TASS set up a set of FOBs (Forward
Operating Bases). Khe Sanh, Quang Tri,
Cam Lo, Kham Duc and Kontum. In 1967
when I arrived In-Country we set up hdqts
at DaNang, Dong Ha, Pleiku and Dak To.
My 1st job was get Talley Ho up which was
part of the giant Steel Tiger tri-service joint
operation with the Marines and the Army
as well as Naval Ship-to-shore aircraft and
USAF F-104's, 105's; only all to be replaced
with the new AF F-4C Gunslinger aircraft.
This was the 1st with rotating 20mm Gatling
canon. Talk about something that could
keep the enemy's head down! Very effective
especially when it was controlled by the
USAF FACs. SO, If the mission was to cross
the border either North Vietnam or Laos,
the call sign would revert to Covey and
operated by our 'black' unit the Ravens at
‘If your attack is going well,
you most likely walked into
So, after having gone through the required
O-1 new conversion school at Angels Gate,
Hurlburt Field, Eglin AFB in Florida for
former fighter & bomber pilots who were
now being recruited into Viet Nam FAC
(Forward Air Controller) program then
on to the survival school Fairchild AFB,
Wash. There was also the foul weather
course for SEA (South East Asia) jungle
training school called Palace Chase which
was located at the large Clark AFB in the
P.I. (Philippine Islands). Finally we had
our Palace Gate III Corps Bien Thuy AB
for all Vietnam In Country orientations.
"Remember, Tracers Rounds can work
in BOTH directions."
I HAD ARRIVED IN COUNTRY MAY 1967
& I then went directly to FAC-U (Forward
Air Controller University at Binh Thuy
(pronounced too-wee) AB for all IN theater
indoctrination and pilot orientation. I was
met in Saigon by Maj Gund from the 20th
TASS in DaNang whom I was to
replace and who was "VERY" glad to see me.
LOL. He picked me up in a nice comfy C-130
to DaNang headquarters to sign in. We would
later transfer to a commuter Twin Beech that
could land at Bien Thuy
Friendly Fire - Isn't
PLAY CHINA BEACH
We then immediately took off from Danang
to my first in-country post at the Bien Thuy
landing strip, but first we had to have a close
protective escort with 1 of our single engine
gun ships seen here below.
They're all seasoned instructor pilots, who
were training the ARVN Air Force cadet
pilots. Our Bien Thuy arrival was quiet,
uneventful & quite calm, at least from the
air before we landed.
I would be here for about 3 weeks getting up
to speed in my aircraft, get lay of the land,
familiarize myself with air traffic control in
an actual war zone & practice air to ground
co-ordination with real world practical
experiences very quickly.
Wonderful morning view of Bien Thuy airfield
from the officers / pilots barracks area above.
When We Pull The Damn Pin
Mr. Grenade is NOT our Friend
However, a not so wonderful view of the
Ho Chi Minh 'Half-Hilton' Quonset area
My suite (rack) was third on right, upper bunk
and next to the latrine. With wonderful room
smells that almost competed with the equally
lovely aromas that wafted in from the nearby
local Howard Johnson's OR in other words -
the city sewers... uh, take your pick, same
My only personal luxury was a Christmas
picture of my wife Haze and our new Boston
Bull Terrier 'Tippy.' Everything else was
Here is a close up of that picture... Notice my
Electro Home of Canada Stereo/Record/AM
-FM Radio combo unit on the left with two
Bangkok giant brass candle holders Chuck
had mailed us from Thailand
Notice my 'farmers' tan arms, my new Swiss
Brietling aviator wristwatch and the ever
present look of Vietnam shell shock on the
face... The very first thing you do when you
arrive on Day 1 is to start FIGMO calendar,
otherwise you go nuts I wuz told...
364 Days and a Bag Drag !
FIGMO says it all
Well after Bien Thuy I had my first Combat
Command and assignment.
ENTER KHE SANH (pronounced K-San)
This was the name for the famous battle
locations in "I" Corps that made all the
news all around the world just after
I left for Bangkok for my in country R&R.
Not Exactly Hilton Head HILTON but, sure
beat the Army and Marine Corps Foxholes
After Binh Thuy I flew out in my new assigned
O-1 Snoopy Bird Dog & reported to Khe Sanh
area joint service outpost which was located
in north west corner of I Corps RSVN. The
exact point where north, south VN and Laos
all come together near Mekong river. Khe
Sanh prior to '68 Tet offensive which took
place on the Chinese celebrated date, Jan
30th had a compliment of Army, Air Force
& Marine contingents that numbered about
300 personnel. Army had a full colonel but,
I was next in rank as an USAF Major. Khe
Sanh was an Army outpost with 2 artillery
batteries that covered both ends of the PSP
(perforated steel planking) single runway.
Air Force contingent was made up mostly
of the FAC crews assigned with five O-1
Bird Dog type spotter aircraft.
Our Not So Friendly Khe Sanh AB Next To The Axis
of Laos, North & South Vietnam
War Might Be Hell, But If You Are Not
Getting Paid For It
Then It Can Be Down Right Ugly As Well
Very Nasty area which also had the distinction
of being the forward most out post to confront
the now infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail that acts
as a highway bringing enemy troops, weapons
and supplies from communist mainland China
all the way down into the entire South Vietnam
You can just tell from the ROCKS in the
background that this was very dangerous
territory! NOT a single friendly neighbor
hood to be found & NOT too many lovely
places to go window shopping either!
Wonderful mud everywhere. Welcome to SEA
Paradise Plantation, or at least that was what
we called the arm pit of South Vietnam. Never
dull moment. Very bad battles would be fought
all along here just after I left which was just
The Cessna O-1 Bird Dog would continue to
prove to be an outstanding choice of aircraft
for the theater of operations. It was my 2nd
month at Khe Sanh that I had opportunity
of meeting & flying the former chief of staff
of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) one eye
general Moshe Dayan on his guest tour of
the battle areas & describe the methods we
were using in SEA. He said to me that
although they normally did not fight in a
jungle area, they had some experience in
1956 Suez war around the Nile delta area.
The use of airborne helicopters as strike
forces from the sky (Air Calvary) was an
option he wanted to see up close. Further,
he said they have used similar 'spotter'
planes for some ten years and although
they'd tell nosey reporters the plane were
just liaison planes for commanders when
they actually were really night time desert
observation planes which had some tactical
and FAC uses. Because of his check rides
with us he'd now look into being expanded
upon. He also asked me about my thoughts
on a new type aircraft as he was planning
on getting the IDF-AF to ordering about a
dozen Piper Taylorcraft which were like our
O-1 Cessna. I told him maybe he should
check into a dual use planes to save money.
One, a combat FAC mission and the Other
a peacetime a primary propeller trainer
aircraft. They were already using Piper 150
super cub which could fulfill both missions
easily. Then during combat you would
have air assets, already trained pilots with
in an hour conversion time for some wing
mounted marking rockets would be good
to go. Turned out I was right on the mark!
Here 2 IDF FACs are seen over the Sea of Galilee
on patrol just two years later
So, What Part of "NO"
Didn't You Understand?
Now, my son Msgt Chuck who was stationed
next door at Dong Mung RTAFB, Bangkok.
Would later in 1973, be assigned to Israeli
front as they were battling for their life in the
Look Carefully, above the 2 Tours to Vietnam
row of ribbons there is under 'R' in 'Veteran'
Armed Forces Expeditionary Forces Medal,
1 For the NoKo capture of USN ship Pueblo
& another for 1973 War during Nickel Grass.
Under 'C' in Combat is the Israeli medal for
combat service on Golan Heights with Syria!
surprise Yom Kippur War. My son got special
assignment on the Golan Heights for a month
advising during the war. While there he made
also, similar assessments & recommendations
for IDF-AF to adopt their local Magister jet
trainer aircraft as a Fast FAC. The Magister
trainers were then converted with weapons &
Fast FAC smoke marking rockets for the IDF
Air Force F4 Phantoms same plane our Navy,
Marines & Air Force all used over Vietnam.
ABOVE IDF-AF Fast-FACs / Jet Trainer dual
mission aircraft 1975
Images Of My Camp Life In A
War Zone On The DMZ
Making Tape Letters To Haze, Chuck, Tom
and Linda From My Commander's cubicle
I should mention that in all the war zones we
had free U.S. Mail, no postage required. Haze,
I and Chuck and later my second son Tommy
all used a open reel tape recorder. We would
start a tape (about 30 minutes) and who ever
we sent it to replied on the other side, that way
we knew what the subjects of discussion were
all about. Later I found out Chuck kept whole
bunch of them including the one in my pocket
in the picture above. He would always ask me
to take the battery tape recorder with me and
to tape my air missions.
Coming Soon Aircraft
2-Way Communications !
It once save my life (that is another story)
& another saved some of my fellow pilots
butts in a JAG enquiry about an ARVN
incident. Chuck said he would post some
of the recordings here on my web page.
I am holding him to that...
This is where the 'lucky' Khe Sanh folks
got to hang out, an air conditioned bunker
with real bath rooms. Our command
post, control tower and comm. center
all is safe, secure and damage resistant
reinforced concrete and steel.
The ever present CONEX boxes was for out
side storage of non essentials. A lot of us
would scrounge up folding army cots which
gave you some sleep. This was luxury at
Khe Sanh BTW since most of the 300 troops
were in fox holes & open ditches 24/7! It was
the only A/C and cement building as well. It
rained 366 days out of the year. We worked 2
13 hour shifts every day with no over lap.
Nothing was ON time.
"5 second fuses
a nasty habit of
lasting only 3 seconds."
In-Country 1 WEEK PASS TO BANGKOK
I asked my son Chuck, next door in Bangkok
to book us a hotel room for what we call an
In-Country vacation. Because we had our own
planes, that meant we could hop next door to
Thailand. He said Christmas was booked solid
but New Years was looking pretty good. So I
took my vacation after everyone else came
back from their holiday vacations.
Officers Hotel 'Chao Phrya' Lt Chuck getting a 2 for 1
Check my son in as 2nd Lt! carton cigs + 1 liq got a Taxi
Temple of the Golden Buddha Golden Buddha & Chuck
Largest Reclining Buddha Entrance Marble Buddha
Me and Temple of Paradise Queen's Sculptured Gardens
Hal & Son at Emerald Buddha Tourist Hal, Chuck Mong (Guide)
Temples were everywhere Temple Of The Sun & Gardens
"I really loved taking all of these picture memories
of once in a lifetime exotic sites."
Temple from 'King & I' Farewell at Chao Phrya
As luck would have it, not even 3 days after
arriving in Bangkok, all of South Vietnam
exploded. Wall to wall news (Armed Forces
Radio, Stars & Stripes) & all
Here is what our bases looked like
January 30th 1968... Tet Offensive
the local media carried extensive gory details.
I then got an unexpected bonus, now there was
no longer a place for me & Elvis to land back
in Nam or even come back to in one piece. I
wound up staying almost 3 weeks. So, I Missed
Divine Providence and my resourceful
son again stepped in! Thanks.
NOTE ON TET: The local Vietnamese
celebration of New Year begins
sundown last day in January.
NEXT ASSINGMENT LAVANG AIRPORT,
QUANG TRI (kwon tree)
TASS: Tactical Air Support Squadrons MACV
Compound at Quang Tri City below
Here Elvis & me. I have my side arm (45 cal),
my Tom Cruise Ray Ban sunglasses, my flak
vest on and my white communication helmet
in my left hand. Just back from my early AM
mission. You see here clearly we get those
dark sun tan fore arms from jungle flying.
I wanted to name my bird dog 'Snoopy,' but
that was taken, then my son Chuck suggested
in a Tape Letter to name it Elvis which I and
everyone else thought was pretty funny at the
time. I knew my wife Hazel would appreciate
NOT having her name on a combat war bird!
Here is my ever dependable sqdrn team who
took care of our Snoopy's through monsoons,
dirt, dust, enemy fire, mechanical failures &
jungle rot! Thanks Don Hable & Don Cheney
for always being there. My main man for our
Snoopy maintenance; Sgt Dave Sciacchitano
(shak key ta no) below.
Perimeter post @ Major Hal's base in I Corps,
LaVang Airport, Quang Tri City near DMZ,
btw, when I refer to "I Corps" (pronounced
Eye Core) we're referring to common practice
how everyone stated their location in Vietnam
Marine Corps broke the country up into corps
areas where they had their divisions stationed.
The Army, Navy and Air Force would latter
adopt this new demographic reference as well.
"Major Hal assignment was to the 20th TASS
LaVang Airfield (above). His headquarters
was DaNang Air Base, TASS operated out of
DaNang with eight or nine forward operating
fields, of which Hue Citadel (but not Hue Phu
Bai), Quang Tri (La Vang Airfield), and Khe
Sanh were but three. Khe Sanh was later shut
down by early February 1968 after TET, but
that would be 3 months after your father left
and came down here to Quang Tri." So said
the senior enlisted NCOIC. Also... "Maj Hal
was then assigned to 20th TASS with head-
quarters at DaNang. Then was assigned to
command the airfield and the squadron of 5
O-1 aircraft at the tiny LaVang airport near
Quang Tri city. The FAC's at Hue were all
out of 20th TASS. Colonel Brown, author
of the only book on FAC's in 'nam entitled
"Palace Gate" was ensconced at Hue and
would fly out of the Citadel paved airfield
with his good buddy Maj Hal. All of the
pilots assigned to Quang Tri occasionally
flew out of Hue Citadel, DaNang or some
other airfields for various reasons e.g.
ferrying materials of DaNang & eight or
nine forward operating airfields, of which
which Hue (Citadel), Quang Tri (LaVang
or intra service people. Also bad weather,
enemy activity, etc. But those were not
TDY movements, just tactical issues decided
ad hoc." Here is excerpt from Col Brown
book 'Palace Gate' chapter.
"Many pilots flew for more than one TASS,
but I don't think Maj Hal did. I think he
was always assigned to the 20th. Training
for all FAC pilots countrywide was down
at Binh Thuy (TOO-WEE). Maj Hal was
there for training only. The 22nd TASS
supported the pilot training at Binh Thuy
for all of the FAC squads under the group,
which during Maj Hal's tour was the 504th
Tactical Air Support Group. In 1967, all of
those who checked out on O-2's Skymaster
in Vietnam did so at Binh Thuy - I think
it took several weeks." as communicated
by Sgt. David S. (Maj Hals crew chief).
Here's The Famous Quang Tri Welcome Sign
which translated 'Go Home Yankee or Die'
Here's The Pastoral Country Scene Of Down
town Main Street at Height Of Rush Hour!
First Rule In-Country, Never Ask What You're
Eating. If it Moves: Stab It. If It Looks Back At
You, Smile. And if it is not moving about your
plate better eat it quickly before it flees for its
life Also, when your waiter asks 'Well, Medium
Rare?' Make sure it is burnt to a crisp & then
when they bring it to the table... ask them to
burn it some More! You will Thank me later.
Play Time Is
Yup, That's My Weapon On The Wall, A
Very Necessary Fan, Snoopy Images and
Tape Deck On Desk
"You Know, Any ship can be a
The FACs at Hue were all out of the 20th TASS
and this was Maj Hal's 1st RSVN command...
This Is What Early Morning Roll Call Was Like
For My People. MACV advisors, ready for duty.
There Are 3 Things In Combat
That Are Key To Survival
And Don't Ever Forget It
Yeah, I Forgot All Three...
Quang Tri MACV Twin 40mm Guns Mounted
On A Stationary (immobile) Tank was at Quang
Tri (not at Khe Sanh). Lt. Col. Brown (author
of book "Palace Gate," was ensconced at Hue
Hal & Browny were inseparable, both were
WWII pilots, married, both from Offutt AFB
and came into Nam together in all the schools
and 'Gates.' They talked daily on land line as
well as air-to-air every day. Browny put a
whole chapter on Hal as Harry Livingston.
They would both fly out of the Citadel airfield
during hostilities. All of the pilots assigned to
Quang Tri would fly out of Hue (Citadel),
Hue Phu Bai, DaNang AB, or some other
airfield under different circumstances like
ferrying materials, our resupplies, moving
personnel, or because of bad weather, enemy
activity and protecting the aircraft.
This Is What Later Became Known As New
Commander Hal's 'renovated' QTri Mess Hall
QTri MACV Officers Club Happy Hour Area,
Off Limits To Enlisted Unless They're Buying!
MACV Barracks, Office Area In QTri Compound
MACV Area to South From Defensive Positions
‘There are more planes in the ocean
than submarines in the sky.'
Northern Most Outpost Main St in Capital Hue [whey]
Regional MACV Headquarters Scene Hue & Main Bridge
Freedom Br @ DMZ River Cmdr 'Doc' Hurst & our Barracks
North VN from the DMZ & Looking South into South VN
Captains Johnson & Furbish Buddhist Shrine Grounds
A Favorite Park along the Hue River We All Would Visit
Main Building Of The Historic Hue Citadel
"There is no SANE reason to fly
through a thunderstorm
Armed and ready for a rare night mission
"Try to look unimportant;
they may be low on ammo."
Play Green Berets
Closest to the border with North Viet-Nam was
I Corps w/ Khe Sanh in West, Quan-Tri (Tree)
provincial capital in the central area & Danang
our main Northern base on the Pacific coast.
II Corps was next and then Three (III) Corps
with Cam Ran Bay huge military complex and
Saigon. Then we had IV or Four Corps to the
South where Senator & presidential candidate
Kerry had his missions on Mekong River Delta
followed by Five (V) Corps in the deep South.
Waiting in ready area on PSP all weather surface
We had the most activity due to our location
to the Ho Chin Minh Trail. Our job was to
interdict and disrupt all the traffic Charlie
was using thanks to the direct intervention
of the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and
even the in direct contribution by the Red
(Communist) China. Khe Sanh (San) sat at
the cross roads of the main highway which
over looked entire Ho Chi Minh Trail area.
"The Piper Cub is the safest airplane
in the world;
it can just barely kill you!"
Maj Hal's famous monsoon 'Water Landings'
during Nam's wet season
"You know that your landing gear
is up and locked...
when it takes FULL power
just to taxi to the terminal"
OUR LIL PLAY AREA
This was sort of a 'gentlemen's agreement,
usually like our R&R beachs on the coast.
There is a nice white sandy beach at Na-
Trang. We'd get time off for good work
and earn some rest & relaxation (R&R)
time; but, not too far up the beach, so did
Charlie! We would leave all our personal
weapons at a check point, change into
swim trunks and tote our 6 packs (beer)
& towel for a nice day at the beach. So
Nothing ever happen while at the beach
and we all sorta just got along. If we saw
Charlie, we would wave & he would wave
back. Amazing. I suppose it's funny when
you look back on it years latter, how we
all seem to just get-a-long and co-exist
during a war.
MajHal getting O-1 refueled @ LaVang AB POL area
Dry, Hot, DUSTY summer day, just right for a
'cool' O-1 mission to beat the boredom
"Bravery is being the only one
who knows you're afraid."
Daily activities consisted of reconnaissance
flights of the RSVN and Laotian border areas.
RC-135 (Boeing 707) airborne control aircraft
was always on station when fighters were put
into action (sorties) controlled by FAC's. On
board as a matter of American policy was in
addition to a general officer was a liaison of
the Laotian military who would provide final
permission to strike targets well within the
borders of Laos. Same applied to RSVN
Army liaison as well.
The Air Force is just an
expensive flying club"
Maintenance chief Sgt David S. prepares our O-1
Snoopy for daily mission. Look very carefully, he
is right in front of the engine of our Snoopy O-1
Bird Dog... Really!
We were able to spot for the commanders on
ground, enemy deployment or Charlie's trying
to lay ambushes or planting roadside devices,
yup same thing we call IED's in Iraq today.
We 're most successful preventing ambushes.
Many a mission we found ourselves warning
those on the ground to watch out to their Six
(directly behind them) or we are spotting
movement to your 2 O-clock, turned out to
be a very successful life saving procedure.
"Airspeed, altitude and brains.
TWO are Always needed to
successfully complete the flight"
This Is Either My 'On The Road Again'
maneuver or my
'Back In My Saddle Again' feeling
COMBAT CASUALTY... My O-1 !
Q: What's the difference between a copilot
and a jet engine?
A: The jet engine stops whining
when the plane shuts down.
Then there was the time your father cracked
up a Bird Dog at La Vang. Hal had been flying
over MACV compound with another pilot
as part of a memorial fly by ceremony, when
accidently he then 'clipped' the radio antenna
tower with one of his landing gear & cracking
the wheel axel.
If you're faced with a forced landing,
fly the thing as far into the crash
Gear collapsed on landing with the results
you see in photos below. Hal was uninjured.
'A good landing is when you can
walk away from the plane.
A great landing is when
you can reuse the plane
'There are bold pilots,
and even some old pilots,
but very few Old Bold Piilots.'
not wanting to face a board on inquiry, he
pulled out his side arm and pumped a few
well placed bullet holes. It then became
combat damage. YUP and another one
of those funny local ARVN awards. In the
book 'Palace Gate' Col. Browning would
often state a good buddy Harry Livingston
(nom deguerre for our Colonel Hal) was a
very resourceful guy. (Brown says at the
introduction that he changed all names).
The only time you might
have too much fuel is...
when your aircraft or
vehicle is on fire.'
Talking about coming in on a Wing & A Prayer
So Here, I Dodged another bullet !
As the test pilot climbs out of the
experimental aircraft, having torn
off the wings and smashed the tail
in the crash landing, the fire trucks
all arrive. Rescuer sees the pilot
bleeding and bruised & asks,
'What happened Major?'
The pilot's reply: 'I don't know,
I just got here myself!'
"Col Hal turned what would have been a
case of pilot error by shooting a few holes
in aircraft and calling it battle damage.
He was always a resourceful fellow. I do
not remember the tail number of the air
craft but I think it must have been one of
those you see here from the LaVang O-1
'Battle Damaged' O-1 repaired, Back in action
THEN THERE WAS THE TIME
Speaking of funny, my son asked me once
what was then one of the more memorable
moments I had while on tour of duty in
theater. Well, got my morning assignment
to head up a big Army push into what had
been a Marine Corps area of operation
which the Marines wanted to free up their
troops in that quadrant. I'd be alone on
this mission. I had to wait as the fighter
aircraft was slow for some reason to get
on station that morning & so I sat with
my prop on idle at end of the runway.
Well, as luck would have it I got a little
bored after almost two hours sitting in
a very hot humid Vietnam summer day
cockpit. So, I went through all the many
switches and cockpit controls. Uh, then
there was this one funny looking knob -
yup, I just had to find out what it would
do if I threw the switch on. It turns out it
was an emergency release so that in the
event I went to fire my marking rockets
and they did not launch, I could have an
on board explosion, t his switch would
immediately release the rocket. Well, it
went straight across the field & wound
up in the dining hall tent that luckily
was unoccupied at that late hour of the
morning... I then decided to Take Off
immediately. When I returned to base
later that day, every one came running
up to me saying they finally got rocket
attacked by Charlie but no one was
luckily hurt. I then expressed my
surprise and surveyed all the damage
which later got us all a brand new
dining hall, equipment, furniture &
even a new cook since our old cook
could no longer talk coherently any
more for some inexplicable reason !
So ends the exciting story of the
"Our Base Camp Under Attack." I
believe we all got a medal or some
thing from the South Vietnamese
Air Force as I later would recall.
You know, it's funny how combat
was sort of like that...!
The 0-1, whether by design or accident proved
to be an outstanding FAC aircraft. It provided
exceptional visibility, was not complicated &
was surprisingly easy to fly. However, as the
weapons of Viet Cong & North Vietnamese
regulars became more sophisticated, the 0-1
vulnerability was accentuated. This flaw
was finally countered by a new FAC aircraft.
new Forward Air Control plane was Cessna
Skymaster which is a modified Cessna 337.
It's an inline dual engine aircraft with one
propeller pushing and the other is pulling.
Flying an airplane is more important
than radioing your plight to a person
on the ground WHO is incapable of
understanding or doing anything
about your emergency"
ENTER THE O-2:
The powers to be in Saigon thought after a
while that the O-1 was getting too vulnerable
and so perhaps a faster, higher flying FAC
with a back-up engine was needed. Enter
Cessna 337 which had 2 engines In-Line
with the one in the front the 'puller' and
one facing rearward called the 'pusher.'
Because of the tricycle landing gear they
needed a paved surface free of any dirt,
rocks & debris that's commonly found
on most rural outposts & O-1 ops fields.
"Many pilots flew for more than 1 TASS,
but I don't think your father did. I
think he was always assigned to 20th.
Training for all FAC pilots country
wide was at Binh Thuy, but I don't
think your father was ever assigned
there - he was only there for O-2
training. The 22nd TASS supported
the pilot training at Binh Thuy for
all of the FAC squadrons including
Thailand. Under the group, during
your father's tour was 504th TAS
Tactical Air Support Group. In
1967, all of those who checked out
on the O-2's in Vietnam did so at
Binh Thuy. It took a week."
But those were not TDY movements,
just tactical issues decided ad hoc.
There were 5 official USAF Bird Dog/
O-2 TASS's also later included OV-10s:
the 19th TASS out of Bien Hoa covering
III Corps (& sometimes adjacent out of
country areas); the 20th TASS out of
DaNang covering I Corps and at times
part of II Corps (Pleiku and Kontum),
plus part of Laos and North Vietnam;
21st TASS covering II Corps and parts
of Laos; 22nd TASS covering IV Corps
& parts of Cambodia with headquarters
at Binh Thuy & the 23rd Tass operating
out of NKP Air Base in Thailand and
covering the Ho Chi Minh Trail. There
were also "unofficial" Facs flying out of
Laos with no squadron designation
like the secret 'Ravens'.
My O-2 Check Ride Out From Bien Tuey
''An airplane is built to inherently want
to fly. While a helicopter is a very
compromised design that inherently
wants to thrash itself apart.'
We would have air missions and sorties set
every day and NIGHT seven days a week.
Never a day or night off. We would fly at a
low altitude around 500' so that we were
able to observe up close if there was any
hostile intentions of those we spotted on
the ground. You might think that would
be fool hardy or subjected us to enemy
fire but you would be wrong, Charlie
soon was able to figure out by waving
and smiling he had a chance to live &
fight another day. Shooting at a slow
one propeller O-1 Bird Dog unarmed
Piper Cub or even an O-2 twin engine
Cessna would get a whole squadron of
screaming fighter jets or worse like Puff
a Korean war vintage AC-47 gunship
(and later an AC-130 Gunship) right
down on deck in seconds with napalm,
HE or White Phosphorus which was
impossible to make it stop burning
through the skin.
I then was assigned to the provincial
capital of Hue where I converted to
the newer and a faster FAC aircraft
0-2 pusher/puller twin engine plane
with 28 tubes for marking rockets
even though we rarely carried more
than 10 total since our loitering time
was about an hour. While the O-1
carried 4 marking rockets, two under
each wing; the 0-2 had 4 stations, 2
under each wing in 4 launchers of 7
tubes each. We were also armed with
a 45 cal pistol and a collapsible stock
AR-15 1-hand machine gun for pilots
AF cockpit M-16 personal protection
if we had to bail over enemy ground.
"If you see a bomb technician
try and keep up with him."
After Khe Sanh
outpost, which was wiped out
during the 1968 TET offensive I had to report
to our O-2 conversion base in III Corps Bien
Tuey only to get posted right back up to Eye
Corps again but, this time La-Vang airport
Quan Tri City a provisional capital under
French occupation of 1950's along a famous
highway called the 'Street Of No Joy.' We
were located across the river from a big
Marine forward headquarters and airfield
called I-2, which was all under construction
during the time I was station there. We flew
all the time with an Out-Rider which was a
Marine Corps company officer usually a
Maj who maintained direct communications
with HIS forces and company commanders
during hostile ground maneuvers.
Here Arriving is Major Mikesh (who was my
USMC sector ALO for Hue quadrant in DMZ)
This was a joint service operation as the
Marines had very little air assets on the
ground or in theater at the time. They
also very little in way of heavy armor.
That's all Army & they don't share!
'If you hear me yell;
"Eject, Eject, Eject!"
the last two will be echos.'
If you stop to ask "Why?"
you'll be talking to yourself,
because by then you'll be the pilot.
Sometimes we would have South Vietnam
officers ride along which gave us some local
linguistic communications with their forces
also on ground & in theater. This actually
was suggested by a USAF FAC and proved
to be one of the smartest things we can lay
claim to in a Combined Forces situation.
This is all norm today but was very rare
and a radical departure in those days.
Maj Hal O-2 on a mission in the highlands
"When one engine fails
on a twin-engine airplane,
you'll always have enough
left to get you to the scene
of the crash."
"There were five official USAF Bird Dog/O-2
TASS's (also later flying OV-10s): the 19th
TASS out of Bien Hoa covering III Corps
(sometimes adjacent out of country areas);
OUR 20th TASS out of Danang covering I
Corps and at times part of II Corps (Pleiku
and Kontum), plus part of Laos and North
Vietnam; the 21st TASS covering II Corps
and parts of Laos; the 22nd TASS covering
IV Corps & parts of Cambodia with head
quarters at Binh Thuy and the 23rd TASS
operating out of NKP Airbase in Thailand
and covering Ho Chi Minh Trail. There
were "unofficial" FAC's flying out of Laos
with no squadron designation (such as
the Ravens mission)."
Here both Browny (Lt Col Richard Brown who
wrote Palace Gate) and my O-2 are parked
together as usual FYI this bird (serial #21316)
would be very same plane years later at the
Dover AFB air museum in 1997
see further down
Because of tricycle landing gear all of our O-2
were kept at Hue Airfield down from Quang Tri
My Faithful O-2 Super Skymaster that I used
with my Marines & their ALO (Air Log. Officer)
"Teamwork is essential,
it gives them someone else to shoot at."
Col Hal 1997 visiting his 20th TASS O-2
(same exact USAF serial numbers) at the
Dover AFB Delaware air museum
"What is the similarity
between air traffic controllers and pilots?
Well... If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies;
BUT, If ATC screws up .... the pilot dies"
Coming Here Soon...
ask me about an incident that was
widely reported, second only to TET
but, went largely misunderstood in
press. Let's see if we can try & set
scene for your web readers here"
OK, you wanted to know what a
typical O-2 daily mission would be
BATTLE OF THE PLAIN OF JARS
AND TYPICAL IN COUNTRY
ARMY & USMC COMBAT MISSIONS
Many More Color Images
Here also we Will Embed 2-Way Combat
There Are Now Some WWII & VietNam Era
Tunes here And Some Col Hal Observations
From Saved Tape Letters in his own voice
Play Country Roads
Last Mission 20 March 1968, LaVang
airport, Quang Tri City, I Corps, DMZ
but it works,
it isn't stupid.’
November 2010: Activation Ceremony for
20th Reconaissance Squadron (previously
the 20th TASS). The ceremony is currently
scheduled for the 14th of January 2011 at
Whiteman AFB, Missouri (1 hour from
Kansas City Mo);
Have received overwhelmingly positive
responses to posts on FACnet, FAC
Association and at Covey-FAC.com.
432 WG Protocol at...
Ms Angela Bennett-Engele," she's daughter
of Capt Bennett, USAF Medal of Honor
winner from 20th TASS who was shot down
on 29 June 1972 in Quang Tri Province. Her
16 yr old son (went in to Air Force Academy
and to later fly low and slow in the 20th like
his grandpa did) also wants to be included
at the squadron activation ceremony.
Hal & Haze celebrating 80 years of age
Colonel Hal's favorite 1938 Instructor Pilot,
Here 90 years young
Hazel and Her Good Buddy... Ms. Vicky
during the Summer 2006 in South Carolina
"Things that must be together to work,
usually can't be shipped together."
Hazel Always Thought These Pictures
Were Kinda.... PHUNNY !
Having lost sight of our objectives
we need to redouble our efforts.
Instructor Pilot in Command
1st Lt. Hal's WWII B-29 Superfortress
’Cluster bombing from a bomber is
very, very accurate.
The bombs always hit the ground’
Captain Hal's Korean War
Gooney Bird Medivac flights
from Teagu Korea to
Hal's Soul Mate/Pilot Instructor
Hazel's 1938 trainer Back Ground
and dad's WWII AAF Trainer in
Maj Hal's O-1 Snoopy Bird Dog at Khe Sanh,
DaNang & LaVang fields
Type: O-1E Bird Dog
Task: Joint Service Liaison
Year Built: 1956
Engines: 1 * 213hp Continental O-470-11
Wing Span: 10.97m
Wing Area: 16.16m2
Empty Weight: 732kg
Max. Weight: 1089kh
Max. Speed: 209km/h
Max. Range: 848km
O-2A marking aim points of hostile targets in
III Corps, Bien Thuy, Hue and DaNang
Year Built: 1961
Max. Speed: 370km/h
Comm Gear: Full Ground to Air
Combat Air to Air (call in any air assets)
Engines: 2 * 155kW Continental TSIO-360-A
Special Thanks to all that contributed,
some that shall remain nameless & to
MSGT & Lt / Col Rich Brown
Rodger Bucy Ellicott City & Col Hal THE photog
OUR Family's T-Bird...
Here we have a Thunderbird with
chuckmeister's last name emblazoned on the
side, Thanks to Brian L. (crew member of
the 1998 Thunderbird Team in the center with
my son Dave on the left & me in my Habitual
Honolulu Hat. BTW, I'm not
really that short... as my seven foot son and
my 6'11" Thunderbird relative can attest to
Cascade Lakes in Florida
Col HAL, son chuckmeister, Grandson Mike
Great Grandson Kaizen Scott 2004 Yes Sir
First Great Grand Child 2005 (here 1 year old)
Images... That Were Sent To Colonel Hal and
Hazel (Grand pop and Grand mom)
Me Mike Auntie Nancy Dave
Hickam AFB Mike 2 & Dave 4
'Trick Or Treat' Hawaii HAFB
Family Holiday Memories
Col Hal Lynn Me Dave Nancy
Dave in Grand Pop's Chair
Gun Ship Jet Helicopter Pilot
U of Delaware Graduates
As you can see we're deep
One is Mobile Smart Friendly
but this site has improve over time,
More first hand related material coming to
this site with some anecdotal experiences
thrown in like the battles of Plain of Jars &
Battle for Khe Sanh
There is now sound and video to enhance this site and pictures. Some of the
tunes are from WWII era, some from Vietnam and the Arlington service will
be added to give the reader an impression of what it was like Once-Upon-A-Time.
I have been asked over the years if my mom and dad knew about this web page.
Absolutely. Dad saw on his own computer and heard from me from 1995 all the
way till he passed away in 2005, 10 years. My mother, 15 years from 1995 till
2010. I would take copious notes three and four times a week. They proof read
and offered comments, suggestions and clarifications many times over the years.
I also am in contact with dad's maintenance chief to this day and I still ask weekly
questions from my mom's sister since she dated dad before my mom did. He said
he did NOT know they were sisters BTW. I also talked and have the book Palace
Gate from Col Brown. I have my dad's entire collection of slides and my slides. I
also have dozens of Tape Letters we all used to communicate with one another.
Final thought... in a last phone call on the day before dad passed away he
related that he would like very much for me to do that project I always
promised both him and his dad (my grand father) & to do a Family Tree with the
history / generations / and family story that I never seem to get the time to do.
I finally found the time and it is now up and running at the Link Below. I have
received a lot of help from near and distant relatives on the narratives, spelling,
research and now the web site. It takes weeks and months to collect, sort, find,
transcribe and now post each set of 100 names. Also time frames for the decennial
years to be cross-referenced.
Family names ALL came from the PUBLIC archives, published records,
the Mormon Genealogy Project Library & US Bureau Of The Census web site.
Col Hal and I. Edward... Your Family Tree is
up. I've found 10,000+ of our clan!
Col Hal and Haze DVD with all the family
favorite music is ALPHA listed here...
Hope Everyone Enjoys The Many Hours Of
Listening To Their LIFE IN MUSIC
For Those That Asked At Hazel's Internment;
Her Favorites Were: Neil Diamond, Abba,
Vaughn Monroe, Bill Cosby, Martin Denny,
CCR, Bill Haley, Billy Joel, Enya, Elvis,
and all Hawaiian especially IZ and Classic
Souvenir Album "Island Paradise"
Dad's Favorites Were: Four Lads, Kingston
Trio, Bill Black, Enoch Light, Nat King Cole,
Brook Benton, Hugo Montenegro, Christmas
Music, Roy Orbison, Prez Prado, Ventures,
Provactive & Persuasive Percussion Albums,
Mitch Miller, 101 Strings & Marty Robbins
'You've never been lost until
you've been lost at Mach 3.'
Paul F. Crickmore (SR-71 pilot)-
Our Troops and Salute ALL Our Veterans
Past, Present and Future
This Was Colonel Hal's Last
Computer Screen Saver Above
Here we have USAF Colonel Mayer,
Leah and Colleen in Hawaii
Here an Air Force Vietnam Wheelchair
Vet Stands While All Others
Sit On Their Hands
And then there is this...
There is now a grove of evergreen trees planted
in their name near Rosh Pina, Northern Galilee,
Thanks To Many That Have Joined Gedanke's
GOLDEN KNIGHTS*SR-71 BLACKBIRD
B-2 STEALTH BOMBER
Air Show SCHEDULES
Tower received a call from a crew asking,
"What time is it please?"
Tower responded, "Who is calling?"
The crew replied,
"What difference does it make?"
"It makes a lot of difference.
If this is an American Airlines flight,
it's 3 o'clock.
If it is an Air Force plane,
it is 1500 hours.
If it is a Navy aircraft,
it is 6 bells.
If it is an Army aircraft,
the big hand is on the 12
and the little hand is on the 3.
If it is a Marine Corps aircraft,
it's Thursday afternoon and
120 minutes to "Happy Hour".
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