Air Commando Chronicles
Colonel Bob Gleason has captured the spirit, tempo, and mystique of the JUNGLE JIM and FARM GATE era, as well as many of the facts of that exciting period. This is a story of heroic young men answering a clarion call for what and where they knew not. They were largely untried in the crucible of combat, toddlers during World War II and too young for Korea, but full of zeal and ready to prove themselves worthy of their warrior calling. I was privileged to have served with this group.
One had to experience the early 1960s to appreciate the mood of the United States that was in a struggle with the Soviet Union for dominance on any number of ideological, economic, territorial, and scientific fronts. President John F. Kennedy electrified us with his well-articulated ideals and challenge to Americans:, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." Kennedy brought an uplifting of spirit across the land, coupled with a feeling of commitment to do whatever was necessary to right what was wrong and to build a better world — a democratic world in our own image, or close to it. In this context, a relatively few highly selected Air Force officers, Non Coms (NCOs), and young enlistees across America were asked to blindly commit to service well beyond their commissioning or enlistment oath and to secretly deploy to the four corners of the globe and fight dirty little counterinsurgency wars with the understanding that there would be no recognition or acknowledgment by their government. Colonel Bob Gleason, accurately describes the chilling litmus test for each of the initial JUNGLE JIM volunteers.
This handful of officers and perhaps a hundred enlisted volunteers arrived on the heel of Colonel (later Brigadier General) Benjamin H. King and his initial three staff officers at Hurlburt Field, Florida, on May 7, 1961. All the newcomers were quite professionals, some of the very best at what they did, officer or enlisted, flier, maintainer, or support. All were eager to prove themselves to Colonel King and to each other, and to get ready for whatever President Kennedy and General Curtis E. LeMay might have in store for them. I learned years later that Lieutenant King had been an "Ace" in World War II, with combat in both the Pacific and European Theaters; and later, King, by then a Major, flew more than his fair share of combat in Korea. This highly successful and proven combat leader’s stirring remarks to the JUNGLE JIM cadre on May 8th laid down the challenge and set the tone and tempo for the days ahead. In General George Patton style, Colonel King stated,
Welcome! Some of you are here because you expect spot promotions. Some are here seeking fame and glory, some are here to escape your last assignment, and some are here because your country needs you and you answered the call. Well, all I can promise you are long hours and hard work in preparation for what lies ahead! Dismissed!
Long hours and hard work it was — not by direction, but by choice and in the belief that something important and defining was close at hand. Not quite six months later, the lead element for the first deployment to Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam, departed Hurlburt in secrecy — America had joined in the air war against the Viet Cong.
Being an Air Commando meant something; it made one stand taller than the rest of the Air Force — we were doing something, something important on a global scale. Earlier a detachment had deployed to Mali, Africa, and South American operations were on the near horizon. Colonel King’s inspirational and hands-on leadership drove us to excel. He was always out in front, always doing first what he was asking us to do, and doing it more often and better. He flew the first Douglas C-47 sortie and certified the first Commando "Gooney Bird" instructor pilot during the flight. He followed the same pattern for the Martin B-26 Marauder and North American TF-28 Trojan.
The Air Commando story and its legacy are built on the solid foundation of strong charismatic leadership, can-do attitude, and unwavering commitment by Colonel Ben King, its Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Bob Gleason in Operations, and Major Homa B. "Rocky" Stillwell in Maintenance. In 38 years of service, I never came across another operational unit that was so rich in senior leadership and talent across the board. In a few months, Bob Gleason would move out from under the shadow of Ben King and demonstrate outstanding leadership and exceptional political acumen as Commander of Air Commandos deployed to Central and South America. His operation proved a successful counter to the Soviets who were driving hard and spending big money to enlarge their sphere of influence in our back yard. There were many standout role models, but Colonel Ben King was the kind of leader I strove mightily to emulate throughout my Air Force career. King was driven to fly, fight, and lead men into combat — he excelled at all three. The challenges and the opportunities he gave us to reach and achieve well beyond what was normally allowed or expected of company grade officers and NCOs made the JUNGLE JIM and FARM GATE experience the defining and pivotal assignment for many.
The success of General LeMay’s "experiment" and Colonel King’s leadership has stood the test of time and has become even more relevant as dramatic changes sweep over the geopolitical landscape. Congress, in recognition of Special Operations’ important contributions to national security and global stability, directed that Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and Air Force Air Commandos operate jointly in a Unified Command led by a four star Commander-in-Chief (CINC). In OPERATION DESERT STORM, in January 1991, all performed with distinction. Equally noteworthy, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton, is a Green Beret who spent most of his career in Special Operations.
Today, Air Commandos are spread thin across the entire globe serving quietly but effectively freedom’s cause in scores of Third World countries. They continue to stand tall; they continue to make a difference. Their story is well-worth reading and remembering.
General John L. Piotrowski, USAF (Ret.)
As this narrative makes clear, my military career was strongly influenced by two larger-than-life figures -- General Curtis E. LeMay and Brigadier General Benjamin King. General LeMay was a person of much renown, admired and almost worshiped by those who knew him. He was also disliked and distrusted by others who only thought they knew him. General LeMay spent the majority of his military career in the highest echelons of power interacting -- and often clashing -- with the political and industrial giants of his time.
Brigadier General Benjamin King was most at home in the cockpit of a fighter aircraft or commanding a cutting-edge tactical unit. He was most comfortable when interacting with privates, NCOs, and officers of the line.
Some of the recognition that has eluded Ben King throughout most of his military career is now beginning to come forth. In 1995, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, a coveted award that he now shares with such notables and aviation giants as Wiley Post, Brigadier General Robinson Risner, Colonel James Jabara, and others of equal stature. As one may expect, the person who gave his introduction speech was General John. L. Piotrowski.
A final tale.
It is fitting that I close my memoirs with a final tale involving Ben King that occurred a few months after I had started my last Air Force active duty assignment with the CORONA HARVEST study group. After I had been there for a few weeks, my phone rang. When I answered I heard, "Hello, Bob, this is Ben King. I have been reading your mail." King often starts a conversation with an expression that either bewilders you or immediately puts you on the defensive -- it must be an old fighter pilot tactic to always seek a position of advantage. Because I had not seen or heard from the General in about seven years, I was bewildered. After expressing my pleasure to be speaking with him, I asked what he meant about the "reading my mail" comment, and he responded that a while back he had been detailed as the president of a selection board for promoting officers to the rank of permanent Colonel. Suddenly the light came on.
About a year earlier, while serving as Deputy Chief, MACVSOG in Vietnam, I had been notified by Air Force Headquarters that I had been passed over for promotion to the rank of permanent Colonel. I had been a temporary Colonel for several years. By way of explanation, the reader should know that the normal progression to the rank of Colonel was to first be promoted to a temporary rank for a few years and if your performance was satisfactory, a permanent promotion would follow.
In my case I had one problem. During the latter days as Commander of the 605th Air Commando Group, an incident had occurred that resulted in a letter of admonition written to me from the Commander, U.S. Air Force Southern Command. In brief, this incident had involved a party given for our Squadron by the West Virginia Air National Guard, the unit that had been training with us in Panama for about a month. The party had been held in the Officers Club swimming pool area. A few men had stayed on, following the party. About midnight I was awakened and told that one of my officers had drowned in the pool. Although I had left the party about 6:00 p.m., as Commander I was still held accountable. Thus the letter of admonition. (It stopped short of a reprimand.) I had already been selected for promotion to the grade of temporary Colonel, so my next record review was for permanent Colonel; and then up popped this letter.
When I received the pass-over notification I was furious. The only recourse was to write a letter of appeal. I was advised by the senior USAF Personnel officer in Saigon that I would be wasting my time, for no one had ever heard of a case in which an appeal changed the decision of a permanent promotion board. Nevertheless, I wrote several pages of intemperate prose outlining why I should not have been passed over. I did not challenge the letter of admonition. I did however, stridently defend my record, both forward and backward, and included my volunteering for JUNGLE JIM, although I still could not reveal the nature of that early interview. I emphasized my several tours in Vietnam (all voluntary), including my present assignment as deputy to Colonel (later Major General) Jack Singlaugh, who had requested me for this position. I then drew a sharp contrast between my service record and the service of a number of unnamed Colonels in the Pentagon who had requested an early retirement rather that go to Vietnam even once. It was an angry two-page letter, and I knew that some of those non-combat-type officers might well be serving on the review board. If so, I would be dead. From what I had been told, however, I had little to lose.
I was notified a few months later that I had been granted a permanent promotion. At the time I thought that the letter I wrote must have been a hell of a good effort. Little did I know that my old Commander was the president of that board.
However, in the phone conversation Ben King said that my letter made his position very easy to uphold, and that all except one member of the board voted in my favor. Maybe. Maybe not. In any event, Ben King, true to his colors clear to the end, added,"Bob, the only officer who voted against you was a stupid-ass Colonel from SAC who probably spent his entire military career running post exchanges and commissaries." On previous occasions when King would lash out at SAC or bomber pilots I would tactfully deflect the comment. This time, however, I was compelled to agree with the General.
For all of General King’s many friends, I add this: the old fighter pilot’s pilot may be a little worn in body but he is still stout in heart. After retiring, he started performing in the amateur rodeo circuit in Arizona. He was, as he puts it, a team roper, heading and heeling steers. He kept this up until the horse, which he had ridden for 16 years, began to grow tired — not King mind you — just the horse. Since he was one of the few rodeo ropers who still had five fingers on both hands, he decided to give the horse a break and retire.
And so, it was back to the cockpit for King, but now in his own Cessna. For a few years he served in the Arizona Civil Air Patrol (CAP). There he was one of only two fully qualified instrument pilots in that unit. Although no longer in the CAP, Ben continues to fly, spending his summers in Alaska, Canada, or the Northern United States. In the winter he trucks on down to Mexico and fishes. He is six years out of his latest cancer operation (in his throat area) and is doing well. As one of his fishing buddies, retired Commando "Iwo" Kimes, puts it, "Ben can pack a full week’s supply of chow into a small satchel. About 15 cans of Ensure."
* * *
The most memorable events of these years of my life centered not around what I did or did not do. Rather, they focus on the achievements of others. It is impossible for me to recall each person’s individual accomplishments. Any successful Commander is a reflection of the men behind him. And in that regard, one element of the Command Force deserves special recognition — the non-commissioned officer corps. In an outfit like ours, this is particularly true, and there is a reason for it. These people were given much more responsibilities and opportunities for initiative than in other Air Force units, and they delivered.
Some I have covered in this narrative. Others include such stalwarts as Dan Fletcher, a C-46 crew chief; First Sergeant Markham; Jerry Giesler; Harry Bishop; and Bennie Williams. They represent just the tip of a iceberg of this outstanding talent pool. I add to this list an equal number of dedicated officers such as Captain Loris Miller, Bruce Jennings, Captain Ross Hobby, Floyd Amundson, and scores of others whose names and faces are stored forever on my mind’s hard drive but are not immediately recoverable. Unlike the iceberg that sank the H.M.S. Titanic, this iceberg kept the Commandos afloat. Many are dead now, but none are forgotten.
* * *
A Positive Perspective
They did not die in vain.
One of the most difficult things for many Vietnam veterans is to find a convincing and redeeming answer to the question, "Was it worth it?" While researching material for this book, I came upon the following e-mail submission on the TLC "Brotherhood" network (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia).
These musings, more than any document, official or unofficial, that I had previously read, nicely encapsulates a thoughtful and persuasive answer to this agonizing question.
The author of this letter is Colonel Jimmie H. Butler, USAF (Ret.). Colonel Butler is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a highly decorated Vietnam veteran with over 240 combat missions to his credit. He is the author of several works, both fictional and nonfictional dealing with the Vietnam conflict. His Air War College thesis, Crickets on a Steel Tiger, won him the Air Force Historical Foundation’s highest award in 1980.
Colonel Butler lives in Colorado Springs where he established the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in 1993. He is presently writing A Special Calling, a thriller about international terrorism in a space-age environment.
His e-mail letter to the TLC Brotherhood network follows:
One of the lessons of the Vietnam war was that we had to try a lot of different schemes, tactics and weapons to try and overcome the handicaps of the rules we fought under. When people point out to me that we sacrificed 58,000 lives and for what results, I think in terms of some of the things we tried that built up the effectiveness of the combat forces of the U.S. Some of these lessons would have made some difference if we ever had ever taken on the Russians in open combat, and some made a big difference in Desert Storm.
Some examples: Tactical air refueling: Prior to the Vietnam War, air refueling had been almost the exclusive preserve of SAC, (Strategic Air Command), and for TAC, (Tactical Air Command), employments to get fighters across the oceans. In SEA (Southeast Asia) the air refueling inbound and outbound of a large strike force of fighters became a routine day to day operation. Helicopter Gun ships: Enough said.
Air Rescue Behind Enemy Lines: Some was done in Korea, but I don’t think the U.S. had anything like the resources that deployed to SEA and rescued so many downed crew members. Think about how we started with HHA3 Huskies (helicopters) in 1965 and emerged with HH-53 Super Jollies helicopters by the end of the war. Aeromedical Advances: Again, the old Bell helicopters brought some casualties to MASH (field hospital) units in Korea, but probably nothing compared to the advancements of Dust-Off (emergency medical evacuation from the battlefield), and other helicopter pickups that rushed many wounded soldiers to advanced field hospitals. When my roommate was diagnosed with TB (later re-diagnosed as suffering from meliodosis) in December 1967, he was out of NKP (a military base in Thailand) by the time I finished my current combat mission and was in Japan by that evening. From 1965 to 1970 (minus my year at NKP), I was traveling back and forth across the pond in C-141s. I didn’t keep track of the number of times when my aircraft had been reconfigured as an airborne hospital ward to fly injured troops back to better medical care in the states.
Smart Bombs: In 1967 we seldom hit the Dormer Bridge no matter how many fighter pilots, 2,000 pound bombs, etc., that we threw at it. When we went back north in 1972 after the NVA’s spring offensive I think that Smart Bombs took spans down on the first mission against the bridge. In 1967, some of the F-105s came in with Bullpup bombs. I think the fighter pilot had to follow its image and try to guide it with some kind of joy stick as he followed the Bullpup toward the target. We tried to use them against caves with only limited success. Sometimes they went ballistic and flew wherever the Bullpup decided to go with the kinetic energy it had available. Jay Hayes came back one day in his O-1 aircraft with a claim that a ballistic Bullpup had circled him on a somewhat random path.
Day to Day Control of Tactical Air Power: We learned a great deal about controlling high-speed fighters in battle areas that didn’t lend themselves to the fighter pilot being able to see and identify targets. Combining hundreds of airborne FACS (forward air controllers) with an Airfield Battlefield Command and Control Center aircraft (C-130Es flying as Cricket, Alley Cat, Moonbeam) proved the advantage of having battlefield commanders in the air and much nearer the battles than the staffs at 7th AF could ever be. Certainly there was too much micro management, but a lot of dedicated people helped negate some of those problems. You could argue that those experiences helped prove the concept of an AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft, which of course grew to have their own radar aboard.
We also proved the importance of having an airborne FAC who could race to the sound of battle (even if only at 80 knots) and take charge as a set of eyes that could see so much more than the embattled ground commander. Actually the Vietnam War was kind of a window of opportunity for FACS. We proved ourselves to be much more than just an airborne observers with the opportunity to perform many more functions than we did in World War II and Korea. We also proved that the slow FAC would be obsolete against the massed air defenses of the Warsaw Pact charging west across the Iron Curtain. Vietnam brought the testing of Fast FACS: Misty FACS flying F-105s across the DMZ (demilitarized zone) and directing air strikes in Tally Ho, the part of the North Vietnamese panhandle nearest to South Vietnam. Steve Ritchie (the only USAF fighter ace to emerge from the Vietnam War) told me he flew some of the first Fast FAC missions to control air strikes in areas too hot for Cessnas’.
Three of four FACS from the 23rd TASS, (Tactical Air Support Squadron), were sent on TDY, (temporary duty), to Ubon in April/May 1967 to ride in the back seats of jet fighters and provide a FACs expertise in using 1:50,000 scale maps to help strike targets in Mu Gia, after Lee Harley’s loss on 6 February had proven that Mu Gia’s defenses were much too tough for FACS flying 80-knot Bird Dogs.
Night/All Weather Ops: In 1967 we deployed four (I believe) F-111s to Udom (I think) and promptly lost two of them, if my memory is correct. They went out and didn’t come back. I heard later that some of the monsoon raindrops were of a size that somehow blanked out radar returns from the terrain-following radar being used in 1967. So we learned some lessons the hard way. However, such lessons led to improvements and tactics that would have let us take nuke weapons into Russia at low levels if the Russians had ever decided to take us on. Maybe that’s part of why the Russians never did.
Side-Firing Gunships: We went from Spooky (early slow flying aircraft) to Spector and on to Shadow, (more modern upgraded aircraft), in a very few years. You can all offer other examples that I haven’t come up with in this unplanned discussion. When I look back, I certainly would have felt better if my friends and all the others hadn’t been lost in a war that we didn’t win. However, I still claim that their sacrifices, and the service that everyone of us offered, was not in vain. Because we would go when called and serve with dedication and honor, the Soviets had a much trickier problem than if most of us had said "screw it and let me know in Canada when the Vietnam War is over." We learned some damned tough lessons and paid a high price. However, considering how poorly the Russians learned their lessons in Afghanistan maybe we didn’t do so bad. Perhaps they learned that massive brute forced didn’t always carry the day in a protracted war. Their later demonstrations in Chechyna suggest the Russians didn’t learn enough in Afghanistan.
So, in Vietnam, we lost the battle, but we helped win the cold war. Who knows whether or not the Russians might finally have tried us if it hadn’t been for those tough lessons we learned in the Vietnam War.
Continue to be proud. We answered the call when others didn’t, and we made a difference.
Jimmie H. Butler
Vietnam Veteran and Proud of it.
* * *
Songs of FARM GATE
Air Commando songs from the early days, on the first trip to Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam, in late 1961, led by their “fearless leader,” Colonel Ben “WOULDN’T SAY NO” King. (From the collection of Eugene D. Rossel)
The Land of the Great Monsoon
(Tune: North to Alaska)
We all left from Fort Walton in the Year of ’61
Along with Col King on a flight that was no fun
We went to trash the Viet Cong in the land of the great Monsoon
How did we get there? By an overloaded Goon.
Your feet are getting rotten
Your names have been forgotten
The bug bites itch like a son-of-a-bitch
In the land of the great Monsoon
We pulled out of Montana for the land of the midnight sun
And when we got to Whitehorse we landed all but one,
Frank overflew that Yukon town on a nite that was so black
He had to make Alaska for there was no turning back
The Col bought an engine in the land of the ice and snow
The ground crew changed it quickly because we had to go
We lumbered down the Aleutian chain headed for Adak
The prop ice on the fuselage reminded us of flak
We blasted off from Adak and the clouds were all around
The ice was bad, the weather sad, but we were Midway bound
The west wind lashed our ancient craft with a mighty force
And Maheu and Tegge were ninety miles off course
When we touched down at Midway it was dark as it could be
And it wasn’t any lighter when we got up at three
We took the active runway as dawn began to break
And sixty thousand gooney birds saw us off to Wake
Now Wake’s a little island where Marines made history
And how our gooney’s got there is still a mystery
We descended on the Colonel with grog and a two piece band
And by seven in the evening the mob was out of hand.
* * *
Songs of the Songs of the Gooney (SC-47 Crews)
(Tune: Cigarettes & Whiskey)
Gather around flyboys, I’ll sing you a tune
Of life with the Air Force and four ancient goons
They shook and they shuddered, protesting each mile
But they crossed the Pacific from isle to isle
Departing one morning from old number nine
To Destin the Crestview for one final time
Off for Montana all day in the sky
Watching the US and A pass on by
Commander’s decisions, last minute revisions
They’ll drive you crazy, They’ll drive you insane
Next morning at four we were up and around
Through headwinds and snowstorms the goons thundered on
Three stopped at Whiethorse, but Owens went by
Oh! Elmendorf radar, oh where the hell am I
The next leg’s to Adak, an island of stone
It seemed that good fortune had left us alone
We wondered why we flew this route straight to Hell
But Niles had picked it and he’s TAC Eval
The V.C. and snake bites and bugs that bite all night
They’ll drive you crazy, They’ll drive you insane
The trip down to Midway was filled with remorse
The nav’s all had trouble with the line they called course
Through UHF DF we all got the word
And came into Midway, that blundering herd
One day to Wake another to Guam
They seemed like short trips to our prop driven bomb
Then on to Bien Hoa in the final test
But Lewis decided it’s time for a rest
The couriers and Recon on the banks of the Mekong
They’ll drive you crazy, They’ll drive you insane
We finally made Bien Hoa, but things here are sad
The commander is worried, morale is so bad
But he has a solution that will fix all that
A guaranteed genuine good morale hat
Each week we’re inspected by Generals from Clark
They get here in daylight and leave before dark
But we’ve still got spirit, desire still burns
That someday we’ll rotate and never return
The faucets they all fail, there’s no pay and no mail
It drives you crazy, it drives you insane
* * *
The TF-28 Fighter Pilots Song
The fighter jock were fearless when they left the old home shore
They spanned the Blue Pacific in their F-124
They thought the ride on “Shakey” wasn’t very great
But they never could have made it in their TF-28
We’re finally all together at the station of Bien Hoa
The B-26 boys are the worst we ever saw
They never miss a briefing, they’ve always got the word
But you can’t fly any mission when you haven’t got a bird
We finally got a mission in this foreign distant land
The jocks made practice air strikes, while we dropped bags of sand
And sometimes in the evening when we were free of cares
The Colonel gets us out of bed to drop a hundred flares
You new boys do not listen, pay no heed to what we’ve said
Bien Hoa’s a bed of roses, but we’d rather be at Stead
So hide your apprehension and conceal your many fears
Take comfort in remembering that you are volunteers
* * *
Roster of the Original JUNGLE JIM Organization
4400TH COMBAT CREW TRAINING SQUADRON (TAC)
United States Air Force
Eglin AF Auxiliary Field Nr 9, Florida
SPECIAL ORDER 3 August 1961
Under the Provisions of Paragraph 7 Section V, Chapter 2, AFM 35-13, the following named Officers, this squadron, this station are placed on Unconditional Flying Status Code 1, Effective 1 Aug 61.
COL BENJAMIN H KING CAPT DAVID L MURPHY
LT COL ROBERT L GLEASON CAPT AARON L NILES JR
LT COL CHESTER A JACK CAPT FRANKLIN G OWENS
MAJ RICHARD N BROUGHTON CAPT JOHN R PATTEE
MAJ JOHN L DOWNING CAPT RUBEN H PATTERSON
MAJ HOMA B STILLWELL CAPT JOHN L PIOTROWSKI
CAPT THOMAS L BIGGERS CAPT ARTHUR W PITTMAN
CAPT HERBERT W BOOTH JR CAPT RICHARD J RICE
CAPT GEORGE F BRENNAN JR CAPT EARL D RICHARDS
CAPT HARRY J BROWN CAPT JOHN M ROWAN
CAPT JACK H CAPERS CAPT RICHARD W SANBORN
CAPT HOMER J CARLILE CAPT MARTIN G SAUNDERS
CAPT JOHN D CARRINGTON CAPT PAUL E SHEPARD
CAPT BILLY J CHANCELLOR CAPT RICHARD N SMITH
CAPT FRED C CLOW JR CAPT HENRY B STEIDL
CAPT JOHN S CONNORS CAPT IRWIN C SWETT
CAPT WILLIAM R DAVIS CAPT THOMAS H TEMPLE JR
CAPT SIEGEL M DICKMAN CAPT GERALD F TEWES
CAPT PAUL G DONNER CAPT ARNOLD A TILLMAN
CAPT WILLIAM E DOUGHERTY CAPT EUGENE J WALDVOGEL
CAPT MARVIN A FITTS CAPT LUTHER A WEBB
CAPT DONALD L GEPHART CAPT WILLIAM R WILLIAMSON
CAPT LEROY E GLIEM 1ST LT EDWARD J AHERN
CAPT DANIEL F GROB 1ST LT JOHN R ALBRECHT
CAPT GERALD S HAMMER 1ST LT JOHN W BRIGGS
CAPT JAMES M HARRIS 1ST LT CHARLES R CARROLL
CAPT DAVID E HENRY 1ST LT THOMAS B CARTER
CAPT KEITH H HILL 1ST LT WILLIAM G CASTLEN
CAPT HENRY L KARNES JR 1ST LT JOSEPH J CONDE JR
CAPT IRA L KIMES JR 1ST LT ROBERT F DAVIS
CAPT GEORGE R KIRBY 1ST LT ROGER S EDWARDS CAPT JAMES A KOSTAN 1ST LT LOYD L ENNIS
CAPT ROBERT A LAMBERTON JR 1ST LT RANDALL EVERETT III
CAPT JEAN D LANDRY 1ST LT CHARLES W FISHER
CAPT RICHARD F LEGEZA 1ST LT MAURICE S GASTON
CAPT JESSE E LEWIS JR 1ST LT CHARLES R HARPER
CAPT ARTHUR G LIMPANTSIS 1ST LT JAMES L HARPER
CAPT LAWRENCE L LIVELY 1ST LT WALTER K HENNIGAN
CAPT THOMAS C MCEWEN 1ST LT JOHN A HOPE
CAPT JOHN R MCGAVIN 1ST LT CLYDE L HOWARD JR
CAPT LORIS R MILLER 1ST LT DUDLEY J HUGHES
CAPT HERMAN S MOORE
B. H. KING
WARREN V. TRENT
* * *
4400 COMBAT CREW TRAINING SQUADRON (TAC)
United States Air Force
Eglin AF Auxiliary Field Nr. 9, Florida
SPECIAL ORDERS ) 4 August 1961
NUMBER P-11 )
Under the provisions of Paragraph 7 Section V, Chapter 2, AFM 35-13,
the following named Officers of this squadron, this station are placed on Unconditional Flying Status
Code 1. Effective 1 Aug 61.
1ST LT ANDREW T JESSUP
1ST LT EDWARD K KISSAM JR.
1 ST LT ROBERT L LESCHACK
1ST LT JACK D LETOURNEAU
1ST LT JOHN H LIVESAY
I ST LT ROY I LEWIS
1ST LT ROBERT F MAHEU
1ST LT CLYDE E MARTINEZ
1ST LT RICHARD A MATHISON
1ST LT DONALD J MAXWELL
1ST LT JOHN D MITCHELL JR.
1ST LT JIM A MOORE
1ST LT RALPH M NADDO
1ST LT RONALD G PHILLIPS
1ST LT DEXTER F POTTER
1ST LT BOBBY K REYNOLDS
1ST LT RICHARD A RUSSELL
1ST LT CARMEN T SCARPINO
1ST LT PAUL E SCHUELER
1ST LT GLYNDON V SCOTT
1ST LT WILLIE L SEIRER
1ST LT RONALD L SELBERG
1ST LT RICHARD G SEMPLE
1ST LT JOHN P SLAUSON
1ST LT RICHARD C TEGGE
1ST LT LORENZ J WALKER
1ST LT HILLARD J WALLACE
1ST LT THOMAS R WHITE
1ST LT PAUL R WINDELL
B. F. KING
Warren V. Trent
* * *
Six non-rated officers were also in that original unit: Warren Trent, Administrative Officer; Captain Joe Threadgill, Flight Surgeon; Captain Tom Egleston, Combat Controller; Captain Tony Scarpace, Communications Officer; and Captain Bob Block and Lieutenant Bill Williamson, Intelligence Officers.
It is with great regret that the author could not locate anything close to a comprehensive list of the NCOs and Airmen of this unit. However, I hasten to add that their contribution was every bit as valuable and noteworthy as those on the above rosters.