DRILL PRESS Deployment, 1966

Gary McPherson first posted the following story on the legacy site in 2003.
Here’s an updated version, with some photos from “back in the day”.

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In 1965-66, was part of a TDY group sent to Tan Son Nhut to start up a new operation with two old C-47s sent from Korea. I was at HQ at Kelly when General Klocko asked for volunteers for a special project.* He told me that if I raised my hand, he would have orders cut for me to go back to Crete. I believe a similar offer was made to others. 

In December 1965, part of the group met at Yokota, AB, Japan. We had to wait for the two C-47s to arrive from Korea and then set up the equipment inside. We were attached to the 6988th Security Squadron at that time. 

While the planes were being worked on, I set up two “fly-away” kits and played in the snow. Man it was cold! When both aircraft were ready, we left for the Philippines. If I remember correctly, the tail numbers were 254 and 680. It was so cold inside that I had my parka on and dug into a pile of chutes. When we arrived in the PI, we had to follow the cops to a secure ramp. I opened the door with my parka still on and all I saw were Air Police in shorts. They looked at me like I was from outer space. 

When we arrived in Vietnam, we were attached to Detachment 5 of the 6922nd. We were given two new trailers with air-conditioning and located behind an Army building with two brick walls around it, not far from the GCA tower. I was the only supply type [AFSC 64550], along with a 702 [clerk-typist], the ops people, and maintenance. 

The crews flew daily missions and I went along for the ride as my fly-away kits were working out great. These kits, one for each aircraft, contained spare parts for the back-end equipment. The kits were emptied upon our arrived and the items placed in stock.

The crewmembers of our birds then did a great job. We flew so damned low I could watch in detail what was happening on the ground. I did learn (just in time) not to be the first one to use the honey bucket! 

I was just the supply troop there, but very proud to be a part of that group of people. I went back to Headquarters at Kelly and reported to General Klocko on how things went, then went back to the 6931st in Crete to get married. 

I might add that while I was there in 1966 I went looking for a good friend who was on Crete but left for ‘Nam before I did. You might remember his name:  Adrian Cronauer, of “Good Morning Viet Nam fame.”  After many years looking for him, we made contact again and still talk today. His yell of “G-o-o-o-o-d morning Viet Nam” really started on Crete as “Good Morning Iraklion”, but not as loud.


* MAJ GEN Richard Phillip P. Klocko, at that time USAFSS commander. The project was DRILL PRESS, although Gary did not know that at the time he volunteered.



THE YEAR WAS 1966 NOT 65[1]
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