I remember when......

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This page is devoted entirely to interesting stories provided by former members of the 33rd Trans Co. or 118th AHC. It might be safe to say that the stories are true but in some cases "the names may have been changed to protect the innocent"!!

I remember when......

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The End of My Flying in Vietnam

"Blue 2" following a hard landing and recovery by "Pipe Smoke" to Bird Cage in Bien Hoa
(Looks like they pulled lots a pitch!!)
(Photo courtesy Dave Norton)

Over thirty years ago, on December 23, 1969, my flight status ended. We were on a night “pigs and rice” mission carrying a radio operator and his equipment somewhere I don’t remember. We were near Rach Kien, which is about 15 miles south southwest of Saigon, and some grunts called for a light ship. So the AC, Warren Rudy, asked us if we wanted to volunteer to help since there was no light ship available. “Yeah, sure, what the heck”, there were only suppose to be a couple Vietnamese in a rice paddy that they were trying to locate. On our second pass over the paddy with the light only on for a brief time, like two seconds, they cut loose on us. From what I determined at the time, about 7 or 8 different positions. Don’t know how I figured that out except that tracers were coming from everywhere. I thought it was all small arms fire, but Warren told me last year that there were three fifties in the mix. The only position I had a definite fix on was a guy standing in a hooch door directly in front of us. We were only about 100’ above the paddy and within 100 yards of him. And now I had one more reason to hate those stinking mounted guns. I couldn't swing it far enough forward to aim at him. The gunner told me later that’s the only guy he saw as well and he couldn't get his gun on him either. It didn’t make much difference though, because we learned right away that the old saying, “Under fire a helicopter crew’s life expectancy is only about 7 seconds” was pretty well true. I don’t think the shooting lasted more than a second when the bottom fell out. I was standing up at the time trying to bend my gun mount so I could shoot that guy in front of us. As I’m watching the ground rush up at us I’m thinking, “This is going to be bad, but I don’t think anyone is going to get killed.” And, “Maybe I better sit down.”

We were fortunate that the chopper didn’t change attitude, but stayed level and that we hit mostly in a rice paddy. It sort of compacted the helicopter vertically but everyone was alive. The radio operator seemed to be the most hurt. He was just lying on the middle seat and groaning. The gunner had his ammo can bounce up and land on his leg so he was out of commission . Warren couldn't move his legs. We landed one foot away from the hooch where the guy was shooting from that I couldn't shoot back at. The rotor was stuck in the roof. We must have scared him so bad he left the country or he was crushed under the nose of the helicopter, because we had no trouble with him. He was a bad shot anyway. Back at the unit in Bien Hoa 8 days later I looked over the chopper and there were no hits from his direction.

One of the VC shooting at us got lucky and shot out one of the push pull tube bearings on the rotating swashplate. The resulting loss on that side caused the brackets to be ripped off of the rotor blade hubs and the blades just turned on edge. I had wondered how we had managed to just fall out of the sky.

Things were immediately quiet when we hit. Then I noticed that the grunts were making all kinds of noise on the radio when just a few seconds before they were whispering. I tried to call them to tell them we were all alive but the radio wouldn’t transmit. Then it occurred to me that the power was still on and that we could have fuel fumes ignite and told Warren he ought to turn off the master switch.

The peter pilot and I decided we better get Warren out of his seat since he couldn't move his legs. So the two of us tried to pick up this 145 pound guy and couldn't do it. I decided that we must be hurt and better quite trying. Then it dawned on me that there were a lot of bad guys around and maybe I better get on my gun. I think the gunner already had that figured out and since he couldn't get around anyway he was already on his. So I got back by my gun and reloaded it and we waited. The U.S. troops were only about 200’ from where we went down and in about a minute I hear some noises coming from the left rear of the chopper. I knew I couldn't run or hide so I yelled out, “You better sound like Americans or I’m shooting.” Well, I got the right response and in short order we had a defensive perimeter set up while we waited for medevac.

Two of our unit gun ships, the Bandits, were scrambled out to the area and they were looking for trouble but I never heard any shooting. The medevac finally got there, at least overhead, and then proceeded to fly around up there for 45 minutes. I was really ticked off about that. Warren couldn't move his legs and the radio operator is still lying there groaning and those yo-yos are cruising around up there in circles.

After they finally got down and got us on board I couldn't sit down. My butt was on fire and I thought it was a pinched nerve somehow. I had to hold myself up with my hands on the flight into the hospital at Saigon. A week later when I got my fatigues issued back to me I figured out why. They reeked of JP-4. I never smelled it out there at the crash site, but I sure did then.

Never did hear how the pax did with his recovery, but the flight crew came out of it OK. Warren still has some problems, but was back flying in 6 or 7 months.


Dave Norton
118th AHC, Bien Hoa, 68-70
Thunderbird 521, "The Fabulous Blue 7 ”
Montesano, WA
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Very Bad Day for the "Thunderbirds"!

November 24, 1969

In the distance, UH-1D, 65-12863 where four 118th crewmembers died
outside Long Bien on November 24, 1969
(Photo courtesy Dave Norton)


 Nothing strikes more fear in the heart of an aviator, and particularly a helicopter pilot, than a mid-air collision! Helicopters are really very fragile machines. They operate properly ONLY when ALL rotating and moving parts are undisturbed and functioning correctly, in balance. The slightest alteration from the norm yields results which are most always disasterous. Such was the case this sad day in the life of the 118th "Thunderbirds".

(From the VHPA Aircraft Accident/Incident Data base)

"UH-1D, ^66-771^(exact full tail number was 66-00771), piloted by 2nd Flt Platoon Leader CPT Ed Lemieux and 1LT Wilcox, departed Spartan Heliport at 0730 hrs on 24 November 1969 as the lead aircraft in a flight of eight(8). They were followed by a UH-1D(65-12863), piloted by WO Allen D. Perkins and WO Charles J. Armstrong, flying as chalk two(2).The flight was en route to Xuan Loc, RVN, to perform a combat assault operation in support of the 199th Lt. Inf. Bde. The aircraft configuration at the time of departure was without paxs, basic aircraft and a full load of fuel. The flight departed Spartan helipad with a north departure and a west turn-out at approximately 0740 hrs. The first four aircraft had joined in a diamond formation at 300 feet indicated and 60 knots. CPT Lemieux then accelerated the flight to 80 knots and relinquished the controls to his pilot, LT Wilcox."

"It is unknown, nor could it be established, who was the pilot at the controls of chalk two(2). The flight was flying a heading of 055 degrees at the time of the mishap. It was noticed by several witnesses in trailing aircraft prior to the accident that chalk two(2) was flying extremely close to the lead aircraft."

"At 0745 hrs, as the flight was passing approximately one nautical mile north of Plantation heliport, the main rotor blades of Chalk two (2) came into contact with the tip of one main rotor blade of the lead aircraft flown by LT Wilcox. As a result of the meshing of rotor blades, Chalk two(2) began to bank right and descend rapidly. Immediately thereafter, the main rotor blades struck the tail boom three times and sheared the tail boom aft of the synchronized elevator. Due to severe mast bumping, the mast sheared just below the main rotor head, separating the main rotor system from the main transmission. The aircraft caught fire in flight. One crew member was observed leaving the ship during the descent at approximately 10-20 feet above the ground. Upon impact, the UH-1D hit the ground level, in a slight right side low attitude coming to rest at a heading of 0600 degrees. The ship then exploded and was engulfed in flames. Also killed were crewmembers SP4 Raul R. Barrera and SP4 Michael F. Gonzales. Other aircraft in the flight landed immediately and rescue attempts were made but were unsuccessful due to the intensity of the fire."

"An Air Force rescue helicopter arrived from Bien Hoa Air Base within 5 minutes and foamed the burning wreckage. No movement was observed in the aircraft. The UH-1D burned completely before fire trucks arrived from Plantation Army Airfield to completely contain the fire. "

Lead UH-1D on the ground with CPT Ed Lemieux and crew out of their aircraft along with
some crewmembers from another "Thunderbird" aircraft, attending to LT Wilcox on the ground.
(Photo courtesy Dave Norton)

"Subsequent to the blade strike, CPT Lemieux took the controls and his aircraft went into a descending left hand turn. The aircraft was observed to be losing rotor RPM and it had a severe vibration in the transmission area. CPT Lemieux had no pedal control and was only able to move his cyclic in a radius of 2or 3 inches. He was not able to lower his collective. Before making contact with the ground, he was able to diminish the forward airspeed of his aircraft. At approximately 5 feet AGL, all remaining collective pitch, approximately 7 inches, was applied to cushion the aircraft's impact. The aircraft landed extremely hard on a heading of 240 degrees tearing the tail boom forward of the synchronized elevator and causing the transmission to pitch forward and the main rotor blades struck the ground three times. 1LT Wilcox's seat was pulled back and all the crew members were clear of the aircraft. CPT Lemieux, utilizing the aircraft fire extinguisher, put out a fire in the engine area caused by foreign objects penetrating the compressor wall. "

This record was last updated on 09/20/1998

Carrying LT Wilcox to waiting evacuation aircraft.
L to R: Gerald L. Olding (Crew Chief of Lead aircraft);
Fred Lilly(Gunner from another aircraft,blonde hair);
Mike Lonnon (Lead aircraft gunner behind);
and CPT Ed Lemieux (on far right)
(Photo courtesy Dave Norton)

Duane Speirs remembers:
  "I was in the trail bird and was co-pilot to Dale (Trail) Moore. We had just formed up with the flight when the mid-air happened. Dale had just given me the controls when it happened. I was concentrating on staying in formation, so only saw some of it happen."
Dale Moore remembers:

 "You (Duane Speirs) must have had a ring side seat that day! I know that I, as AC in the left seat, could not see what was going on the right side of the aircraft as you, my pilot, could see. (Remember, not co-pilot! We had no co-pilots then). I remember the rotor system of chalk 2 spinning off, and the tail boom falling away, with the crew cabin doing a slow roll to the right as it fell to earth. It exploded into an orange flame and then black and brown. As we descended, chalk 3, CPT Al said over the radios that his aircraft was following chalk 2 down. I told CPT Al to get back up there and lead the flight on, which he did. (I, a WO1 and not even at that point a CW2, should tell a CPT what to do!) We landed near where chalk 2 had fallen and exploded. I told our crewchief to get out and see if anyone had fallen or jumped from chalk 2. He did, and in head high grass, was out of my sight in seconds. About two seconds after he disappeared, I began to worry. Had I sent him out on a mission that may kill him, or worse? Finally he returned and said that it was just too hot with ammo exploding, to continue. I was so glad to get him back I didn't care what he had done! We then flew over to where lead had gone down. I did not expect it to be any different from what we had seen at chalk 2's location. The lead aircraft seemed to be intact as we landed. And unlike before, I elected to be the one to go over to see how they were. The pilot seemed to be OK, but stated that he thought his wrist might be broken. I went to the left side of the aircraft and CPT Lemieux looked at me and said "Dale, I had no control over this thing!" I looked down at the left tail rotor peddle and it was bent to the FLOOR!! I have no idea how many pounds of force would be needed to do that, but much more than I have in me. Sorry if I have brought back some bad memories."

Dale Moore

Note--if you can provide any further details of this unfortunate incident, contact the Webmaster

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Sometimes in combat there seems to be no reason for some to die and others to live. The difference is often only milimeters or seconds. Many question why they are spared while others never know what hit them. This story emphasizes the overpowering evidence of a miracle for three crewmembers and unfortunate death for one. No doubt, those who survived have asked, "why me?"

The story of the mysterious crash of Bandit 3, UH-1C, 66-15029 on April 20, 1969(the dry season) begins with an administrative lifting of ARVNs at Gau Do Hau, near Duc Hoa, located between Saigon and the Parrot's Beak. The flight, which apparently included several slicks and a light fire team, finished their lifts and returned to Duc Hoa to wait to see if they were needed for support and to have lunch.

SP5 Dave Norton, Crew Chief of "The Fabulous Blue 7" narrates the following story:

Eyewitness remembrance of Dave Norton

 "I didn't like Duc Hoa for lunch because we always parked close to the artillery and of course they would always get a fire mission while we were there. Those 105s cracked so sharp that even with the flight helmets on, it hurt the ears. I was flying as Crew Chief in "The Fabulous Blue 7" with Thunderbird 29er, Lyman Sramek, as AC, a Peter Pilot( I don't remember his name), and Gunner, SP4 George Gomez. We had been flying trail and were responsible to monitor guard frequency in case there was some kind of emergency while we were on the ground."

"After we had time to complete lunch, a couple of the guns took off to go cover the ARVNs. Not too long later, while hiding from the hot sun on the shady side of the chopper, we got the word to scramble. After take-off we learned that a Bandit was down and we were to recover the crew. They were saying the Bandit got shot down and we gotta go pick them up. The other gun team was right behind us. Adrenaline and butterflies were going wild inside!"

"Just a few minutes out of Duc Hoa we located the crash site and the other guns were reconing the area by fire. On the guns and ready for what is sure to come, we head in. The crash site is freshly burned rice paddies with brush and small trees to one side and pretty well open on the other. The closer we get, Bandit 3 clearly is just a bunch of bent up scrap metal scattered around."

Searching wreckage of Bandit 3
(Photo courtesy Dave Norton)

Eyewitness remembrence(con't)

 At first we didn't see anyone and feared the worst for the crew. Gomez and I jumped off and went in search for them. The Peter Pilot we found first sitting on the ground some distance from the wreckage. He is all cut up on the face and head and somewhat wobbly and woozy, but we walk him to the slick. Then out again. Finally, we spot the Crew Chief in the tall grass. He is not so good. His left leg has about 5 or 6 knees. As carefully as we can, we quickly carry him to Blue 7 and lay him inside on the floor(I find out later his pelvis is broken, also.) We looked up, ready to head out to look for others and what? Here is the gunner sitting in the chopper. Other than black ash all over him and a half inch cut on the forehead, he seems OK!

George was having a tough time handling the broken bodies and I'm not doing too well myself. He stays to help the three injured on Blue 7 while I head out again to look for the missing man, the Aircraft Commander, CWO Carl Martin Creal. The damage is incredible! The tail boom was separated and laying to one side. The engine had been torn away and was laying out in the field. The fuselage was standing straight up. Everything was black with soot.

As I went back and was looking around, I couldn't understand where WO Carl Creal could be. Then I went back to the fuselage and looked up at it. The top of the cockpit was gone, but then I saw him, still strapped in the seat and hanging nearly upside down with no helmet on. I just about lost it. There seemed to be no major injury other than a large deep wound in his head over his left eye. After I had assured myself that he was in fact dead, I left and hurried back to the waiting chopper. The others really needed to get to Saigon and medical attention. When I was plugged back in to the intercom, WO Lyman Sramek asked where CWO Creal was. I just said he was dead and the crash site was secure. We high tailed it to the hospital in Saigon.

ARVN security force(with helmets) and "Blue 7 " Peter Pilot on right without helmet.
(Photo courtesy Dave Norton)

Eyewitness remembrence (con't)

 "On the way into Saigon, the injured Bandit 3 Gunner (Dennis Surop, a CE acting as a Gunner that day) waved his hand at me to get my attention. I leaned over to hear what he wanted. He said, "Norton, don't let my foot fall out of the chopper." Again, I about lost it as I looked and saw what he was talking about. His right foot was 2-3 inches inside the cargo area and his left foot was just going over the edge and falling out! With no bone to hold it together, there was only flesh holding it inside the aircraft! As carefully as I could, I got it back inside and as close to where it should be and then put my foot in the way to keep it there the rest of the flight. Then he asked me were CWO Creal was. I couldn't bring myself to say, so I just drew my finger across my throat. The despair on his face just about made me cry."

"Once we were back at the crash site, we learned that another aircraft had picked up WO Carl Creal and taken him back to Bien Hoa. We were told to go get the guns and radios. When we arrived the ARVNs were poking around. We looked over the crash site and got what we were after. Since we had been there last, someone had knocked over the fuselage onto its top, apparently removing CWO Creal's body. The word "KILL" that was written on the bottom was now clearly visible."

Tangled wreckage of Bandit 3
(Photo courtesy Dave Norton)

The crash of Bandit 3 and the death of only one crewmember was a real mystery. Looking at the pictures of the wreckage of UH-1C, 66-15029, it is unclear how anyone could have lived through the crash. CWO Carl Martin Creal was the only person killed. Other than the head injury, described by Dave Norton, there was no other evidence.(later identified as head wound by AK-47) The miracle truly was how all the others on board could have survived!

Dave Norton,later talked to one of the surviving crewmembers and learned what had apparently happened. Because of no action or contact by the ARVNs, Bandit 3 had been on a rocket run and had failed to pull out of the run at sufficient altitude and thus "mushed" into the ground going at a high rate of speed. Several of the crew had been thrown free of the aircraft prior to its rolling and coming to a stop. Whether WO Creal or the new Peter Pilot was flying is not known. The gunner was pretty sure that they had not taken fire during the run.

As a result of their actions to medivac the injured crewmembers from the crash site and the recovery of the radios and weapons, SP5 Dave Norton and SP4 George Gomez, gunner of Blue 7 received the Bronze Star with V device for their actions. Dave Norton to this day feels that he and Gomez did nothing special. They did only what they had to do and what they would have expected anyone else to have done. That is the way it was in Vietnam.

Dave Norton
118th AHC, Bien Hoa, 68-70
Thunderbird 521, "The Fabulous Blue 7 ”
Montesano, WA
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"Pollution IV" the 118th "Smoke Ship" in 1969 with its Crew Chief SP4 Brian Willard(aka "Wizard")
Note the tank and hoses under the seat and the removed Pilot doors. Also note the troops beyond the helicopter. If this is "Pollution IV" what happened to Pollution I, II and III?
(Photo courtesy Dave Norton)

As the picture shows, sometime a commander decided to get rid of the pilot and co-pilot doors on the UH-1H, "Huey." It is doubtful that a company level commander could arbitrarily make such a decision, it had to be a higher command. Just why were the doors on the helicopter in the first place? Was it just tradition, or normal convention or was Bell trying to increase the price of the "Huey" by building them on the helicopter? Surely the doors offered some structural integrity when closed. And, what did they do with the doors after removal and how did they keep them straight and stored? All questions surely will be answered as we look into this interesting development.....I hope!!

We can all remember at flight school how we had to wait until the outside temperature reached near boiling before the doors were removed. The doors would mysteriously start disappearing from the OH-23's or the TH-55's and reappear in wooden racks inside the maintenance hangers. Come early April or May what a welcome sight it was to walk out on the heliport and find the doors gone, removed by Southern Airways maintenance personnel. Those flimsy plexiglass things could magnify the sun's heat causing sweat to pour out from under the helmet, thus running into the eyes and eventually the mouth where you could lick off the droplets before they dripped from your chin onto your lap. But, the "Huey" was a different matter and the doors were NEVER removed, regardless of the season.

A "Huey" without its pilot doors just looks abnormal, even naked... incomplete! So we wonder, "Why did the command decide to remove pilot doors and exactly when? Below is a portion of a 145th CAB Operational Report that apparently led to the decision or justified the action to remove all UH-1 doors. However, being a "traditionalist" some of the reasons for the decision seem a little lame! What do you think?

 145th Bn Operational Report
May 68-31 July 68


7) Removal of Pilot/Co-pilot Doors on UH-1 Aircraft
(a) Observation: The removal of pilot compartment doors greatly enhances the safety of helicopters in a combat flying environment.
(b) Evaluation: Units of this battalion have been flying all combat assault and combat related missions with pilot compartment doors removed from aircraft. The removal allows the following;
(aa) Increased visibility greatly assisting in airborne observation of other aircraft and is felt to greatly reduce the possibility of mid-air collisions.
(bb) Increased visibility in dusty landing and pick-up zones.
(cc) Increased visibility and safety is obtained when operated in an LZ or PZ during rain showers by permitting ground reference to the side when vision is obscured by rain on the aircraft windshield.
(dd) Elimination of shrapnel from doors and Plexiglas.
(ee) Increased ground surveillance through the open area created by these doors.
(ff) Improvement of emergency escape capabilities.
(gg) Increased airflow in cockpit area reducing pilot fatigue caused by stuffy air and high temperatures.
The only disadvantages to the removal of these doors is that protective measures must be taken to avoid damage to the console and it's electrical equipment when the aircraft is in a static condition. This has been overcome by placing a poncho or a salvage piece of canvas over the radio console when aircraft will remain on the ground for an extended period of time.
That all pilot compartment doors be removed from UH-1 helicopters that are directly involved in aircraft operations.

A little survey is planned, 30 years after the fact on this subject. E-mail the Webmaster with your opinion/comments. Your opinions/comments, however vociferous, will be posted here. Comments from those who flew with the doors off are especially desired. We want to see how many liked the doors off and how many did not!


Bob Hoffman remembering when he returned for his 2nd tour writes,

"At that time(1969) the entire 145th BN was not flying with any cargo or pilots doors on the aircraft. I asked why, and as I recall, was told that it was a 12th Group decision and that the reason was that it afforded better visibility and prevented the possibility of the cargo doors coming off and going into the rotor system. Needless to say, we had some radio problems. "

"Apparently there had been a mid air that was attributed to poor visibility from the pilot's compartment and was the moving force in this decision."

"Having flown both with the doors off and on I have to say that I preferred them on. It was a bit cooler owing to the increased airflow, but you also had to keep everything secured and the visibility was not much, if any, better. When flying in rain you got a lot more moisture inside then with the doors on...... I didn't like it."

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Pizza! Yea you're reading right. It was a tradition at the villa to have pizza on Friday nights. For the first month or so of my tour classifying what was being served as "pizza" was a stretch of the imagination. It had more resemblance to tomato paste on sliced bread than real pizza. Fortunately God in his infinite wisdom (maybe the Pope heard about our "pizza" and put in a word for us, but in any event we were blessed with the arrival of Dr. Altamonte, our new flight surgeon, and most importantly a connoisseur of pizza. One look at the Friday night "special" and Doc almost had a heart attack. He vowed on the stop to deliver us from this gawd-awful excuse for pizza and get us some of the real stuff.

Doc collected a few bucks from a number of us pizza lovers and wrote to his mother about our plight, asking her to send the needed ingredients for the making of pizza. A month or so later a large (like really large) box arrived at the villa. Fred Cooper and I were taking the opportunity to make the most of pigs and rice day to catch up on our paperwork. Doc called us over to the mess hall and we began unpacking the box. In it were the ingredients for making pizza dough, some of his mother's home made pepperoni sausage, various Italian cheese rounds and lots of cans of sauce. Oh man, we were drooling just looking at the stuff. Altomonte announced that he was going to make a pizza immediately and set Huyen, our head cook to getting the oven ready. Then he called for Duc, our maitre de and told him to translate to Huyen Doc's instructions on how to make pizza. As Doc mixed and prepared Huyen watched but appeared a bit detached about the whole thing. Doc then put the pizza into the oven and we adjoined to the bar for a beer (or two!).

When it was pizza time we all assembled in the kitchen, including Duc and Huyen. Our eyes were popping; our senses were reeling…PIZZA! Doc cut it up and started passing out slices. When he handed one to Huyen, he said (through Duc) that he did not eat pizza, he only made it. The look on Doc's face was horrific! Someone was refusing his pizza, his work of art, and his gift to the 118th, unbelievable. The look on Doc's face must have scared Huyen because he immediately bit into his slice of pizza, and just as quickly a surprised look come over his face. He had never tasted real pizza and was stunned at its wonderful taste. Nodding his head back and forth and babbling in Vietnamese, he made it clear that this pizza he liked. Within minutes we put away that large pizza.

Doc then turned to Duc and instructed him to tell Huyen that now it was his turn to make a pizza exactly like the one Doc had made. Doc then whipped out his 45-cal automatic and had Duc tell Huyen that if he screwed up the pizza he would shoot him on the spot. With eyes bulging, the cook went about making his pizza, but at every step of the process he looked at Doc to see if he was doing O.K. As soon as the pizza when into the oven we resumed our places at the bar. When it come time to take the pizza out, Huyen was nowhere to be found. The pizza was perfect! He told Duc that Huyen was now and honorary Italian and official pizza chef. A few minutes later the cook peeked around the door. Our happy chattering over this second pizza had drawn him out of his hiding place.

Everyone was sworn to secrecy about the pizza. Friday evening when it was time to bring out the pizza, the aroma reached out ahead of the Vietnamese ladies who waited on table as they delivered the treasure to the bar. It was a mad house. The pizza was gone in seconds and everyone was heading for the kitchen so as to be first when the next one come out of the oven. Within the hour the word had spread along Cong Ly Street and people were showing up from A/501st, the Engineer headquarters, and some people we have never seen before. Unfortunately most arrived too late but the aroma was still in the air. A few more were quickly baked up and everyone announced that from now on the 118th was going to be the place to be on Fridays.

Doc pointed out that this new pizza was being sent over by his family and that it cost money. Within seconds someone passed a basket around and it was quickly filled with cash. Doc Altomonte sent home for a double order of fixings and it was a good thing he did for within the next couple of weeks the place was flooded with "guests" on Fridays, some coming in from as far away as Vung Tau, Phouc Vinh, and even Saigon. The Air force pukes on Bien Hoa air base who had previously denied us access to their "O" club showed up. They made it clear that they had made a grave error in keeping us out of their club and that we were certainly welcomed anytime. We even gained a musical band made up of flybys who played for pizza.

First in Vietnam, first in pizza…the 118th was always the leader in things that matter.


Ted Jambon
"Thunderbird 3"
118th Thunderbirds


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