Master sergeant, U.S. Air Force
Served from June 1968 through December 1969 in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War with 388th Tactical Fighter Wing , and Detachment 1, 561st Wild Weasel Squadron, at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. Retired after 12 years' active service and 10 years' reserve.
Memory: "I became a specialist on the electrical systems of the F-105 fighter bomber while stationed in Thailand. In September of 1972, while I was stationed in Kansas, at Forbes AFB, I was directed to join the 561st Wild Weasel Squadron, then stationed at McConnell AFB.
"The 561st was a SAM (surface-to-air-missile) suppression unit, and we were being sent in preparation of the bombing of Hanoi. From Dec. 18 to Dec. 29, our unit flew round the clock in support of the B-52 raids. That was the only time I witnessed a 'max effort,' which meant our planes would be rearmed and refueled and sent back ASAP. I worked the night shift during that time, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. I was assigned to a red ball truck, which contained specialists who could fix a plane in an emergency, while it was running.
"On one occasion, I fixed a generator problem and saved that mission. The squadron commander was the pilot of that plane, and he personally thanked me after he returned from the mission. He told me later that he had expended all of his anti-SAM missiles on that mission, and that he had destroyed one missile site. Our squadron did not lose a single aircraft during that time, which is a tribute to the brave air crews that flew our planes.
"Later in my active career, I retrained and became a computer repair specialist. I was stationed at Offutt in SAC Headquarters, in Building 500, and I worked three stories underground. After doing that for three years, I returned to civilian life and joined the Nebraska Air National Guard. I worked on the RF-4C in Lincoln for 10 years, as an inertial navigation repairman. I retired from the Air Guard in 1989.
"I am proud to have served my country in time of war, and I salute those in uniform that are doing so now."