Tuesday, September 14, 2010



Between September 16 and September 19, 1970,  I flew in the cargo bay of a C-130 cargo airplane from Okinawa to Wake Island, then to  Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay in Oahu, Hawaii.

On the morning of September 20, I was part of a four aircraft flight of F-4s that departed Hawaii on the final leg home.  Approximately two hours into the flight, one of the aircraft developed a mechanical  problem.  We had to turn back to Hawaii.  Got to spend another night there.

On the morning of September 21 we departed Hawaii, again, and arrived at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in southern California after a flight of  5.3 hours.  My pilot was Lt. Scheuller.  When we arrived, it was late and dark.  There were no bands.  No welcome home ceremony.  No speeches.  No family or friends to greet us.  Just a dark, lonely tarmac.

But we were finally home.

Photos, top to bottom.
1.  Me with my sons post-Vietnam
2.  Lt. Scheuller
3.  F-4 of VMFA-314, over the Pacific, somewhere between Hawaii and El Toro
4.  F-4s on flight line at Hawaii
5.  F-4 taxiing out at Kaneohe Bay
6.  Marines sleeping in the cargo bay of the C-130
7.  F-4s on tarmac at Wake Island
8.  C-130 cargo plane in which I flew from Vietnam to Hawaii.  A long way to fly in one of those.

Monday, September 13, 2010

13 September 1970

13 September
Kadena A.B. Okinawa

I got here late last night!!!  I am out of Vietnam for good.  It’s a great feeling to know I’m not going back to Chu Lai.

We’re leaving here the morning of the 16th and will arrive in El Toro on the 20th.  At least I think I’ll be there on the 20th.  So many things have been changed because of weather and other things - that things could change again.

We had our “brief” for the transpac this afternoon, so we’re all set to go.

122 is leaving tomorrow, as is an A-6 squadron which is going to El Toro.  A guy I was in PLCs with is in the A-6 squadron and is staying in the same room I’m in.  In fact, I borrowed this stationary from him, as I don’t have any with me.

I don’t have anything to do while we’re here except eat, sleep, and lay in the sun at the pool.

My flight is scheduled to arrive at El Toro at 1400 on the 20th.

I should be in Hawaii on the 18th.  I’m supposed to fly to El Toro in a flight of 4 F-4's.

Photo - no more camouflage uniforms.    C-130 cargo plane in background.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

11 September 1970

Friday night
11 September 1970

Looks as though I’ll be leaving Chu Lai tomorrow!!!!!  The rest of our F-4's are leaving in the morning and I should leave sometime after lunch.  Weather permitting!  We are going to Okinawa instead of Cubi Point, and I’m glad about that.  I’m almost afraid to say it, but this is my last night in Chu Lai.

We had a fantastic floor show at the club tonight.  The group was from the Philippines and had some acts that were better than things I’ve seen on T.V. back in the world.  With all the talent they had I don’t know what they’re doing entertaining in Vietnam.

I spent today playing a game called “Risk”.  It’s a game with dice in which a person tries to conquer countries with his “armies”.  Some of us played it about five hours today, just to kill time.  The squadron has a bunch of these games, for some reason, and I happened to see this one this morning and decided I’d learn how to play it.  In the process of teaching myself several other people became interested, so we had a good time.  It’s amazing what we do to kill time these days.

I don’t have anything else to write about......

I just hope all the F-4's get out tomorrow so I can leave!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

10 September 1970

Thursday night
10 September 1970

The typhoon in the Philippines areas has really messed things up here!!  We got five planes out this morning before we got word to stop!  We were told not to send anymore planes to Cubi Point - in fact all planes at Cubi Point were sent to Okinawa - including our five.  Well, now the people who run the war over here, i.e. generals and admirals, can’t decide if they want us to wait here until the typhoon threat passes Cubi Point or go to Okinawa and start our TRANSPAC from there.  

You see, there are three squadrons supposed to meet at one common place where we are to be briefed on all the details to get all these planes from here to the states.  That place was to have been Cubi Point.  However the typhoon has ruined the time table, so if we still want to use Cubi Point, everything will have to be postponed a few days, or they can move the whole operation to Okinawa, which we would like to do.  Kadena A.B. is a much nicer place and a lot of people want to buy stereo equipment and ship it home.  Okinawa would be a much better place for that.

Anyway, I’m still in Chu Lai and I guess I’ll still leave here on the 12th , subject to change!

We had another good movie tonight - “Sweet Charity”.  At the end of a long day it’s very refreshing to see a good movie in the evening.  Tomorrow will be more of the same for me, hours of boredom.  I keep telling myself that any one with average intelligence can keep himself busy, so I must not have average intelligence.  I can’t even read, I can’t concentrate on a book.  All I think about is getting out of this place.

Photos - top to bottom

Speeches, and crews for first four aircraft of VMFA-314 to leave Chu Lai.
Refreshments for the Marines
Dancing woman, entertaining the soon to depart Marines

Friday, September 3, 2010

9 September 1970

Wednesday night
9 September 1970

Well, looks like I get to spend two more days here at Chu Lai.  Don Mikulka came down from Danang to take Pat Skeldon’s place, instead of me taking his place.  So Don is leaving tomorrow with the F-4's and I’ll leave Saturday in a C-130.  I’m not bitter though because what’s two days when I’m going to El Toro!!

122 left this morning at 0700.  I went down to see them off and took a few pictures.  Also this morning we had a rocket attack!  Only six rockets and no damage, but we expect more of the same tonight.

Three generals are coming down from Danang to see 314 off tomorrow.  That’s how popular the squadron is over here.  Of course it’s also a sort of farewell to MAG-13 also.

Today was another of those very long days - and I’ve a feeling that the next two days are going to be worse.

We had a terrific wind and rain storm here this afternoon.  There is a typhoon just east of the Philippines and is expected to hit there about Saturday.  That’s another thing I’m worried about!  If the weather gets bad at Cubi Point, I may be here more than two more days.  I’ve been here for nearly 11 months - so you’d think I wouldn’t mind waiting a few more days - but it’s awful.  I want to go right now.

Don Mikulka said he just got word yesterday that he’s going with us and that he doesn’t much want to go.  He’ll get to stay in El Toro and won’t have to come back.  He was due to go home early in November.

It was certainly lonely today without 122, and it’s going to be worse with 314 gone.  Believe it or not, nostalgia is setting in!  Ha.

Photos - F-4s heading to Hawaii.  Notice the center fuel tank.  Two wing tanks and center tank made for a heavy load of jet fuel.

8 September 1970

Tuesday night
8 September 1970

122 is leaving tomorrow morning,  and all the mail coming to the squadron is being diverted to Hawaii.  So I will receive no more mail in Vietnam!!  314 to leave day after tomorrow.  That one day without 122 here is going to be lonesome!  All the guys I’ve served with all this time will be gone.  Of course I’ll catch up with them in Cubi Point, and then pass them at Hawaii, so I’m not the least bit sad.  Ha.

The movie tonight was Mash.  It’s a satire of the army medical corps in Korea.  It was really good.  Probably the largest attendance at any movie ever was present.

I have all my gear packed and ready to go.  A plane is leaving tomorrow taking all our gear.  So all I’ll have left here is what I’ll carry with me.

I’ll continue to write as I go across the Pacific.

Pat Skelton, from 513, was supposed to go to El Toro and then come back to Vietnam.  He was planning on seeing his wife there for a few days.  However, he got word today that he is going to FAC duty, so he can’t go to El Toro!  What a bust!!  He has to leave tomorrow for his FAC tour.  We all know the war is over (for Marines) but they keep on harassing us. They just won’t give anyone a break.  There will be one F-4 squadron left in Vietnam, and about 80 F-4 trained aircrews.  And one squadron only needs about 40 aircrews.  All the rest of the guys will just be knocking around, filling misc jobs until their time is up.  It is really very ridiculous!!!!  At least I’m getting out!

Photo - Lt. Kurt Wilbrecht, RIP

6 September 1970

Sunday night
6 September 1970

15 (?) MORE DAYS!!

Most everyone here thinks we’ll be in El Toro by the 22nd.  I sure hope so.

I got cookies today and they are the best ones yet!!  They got here in only six days so they are very fresh.

Since I’m a standby crewman from here to Hawaii, I can’t leave Chu Lai until all the planes have left.  I will fly if someone gets sick, etc.  I hope we can get all the planes out of here on the 10th, so I can leave also!!

We had steaks at the mess hall tonight  and I ate two.  They were so good.  Right now I’m stuffing myself with cookies!  Ha.

I flew for 4 hours today!  All at one time.  And my seat was numb, literally, when we got back. It was a test flight.  That’s not as long, however, as it’ll take to fly from Hawaii to El Toro.  That leg will take over 6 hours.  That’s a long time to sit still, not use bathroom, etc.  But it’s well worth it.

Photo - Lt. Mike Breeding.  RIP

4 September 1970

Friday night
4 September 1970
17 (?) MORE DAYS!

I got photos today and hope to get cookies in the next five days!

I did nothing today as it was my first full day in 314 and I, of course, don’t have a job or any responsibilities at all.  I’ve heard that we probably will not be given a job now, as there are none open.  That’s fine with me because I’ve become used to reading all day.

There was a terrific explosion just now and I just about jumped out of my chair.  Don’t know what it was.

I forget to write yesterday that I flew yesterday.  It was a great feeling, that it was my last combat mission.  Now all I have to worry about are rocket attacks for the next five days, and then the flight home.  As far as I know I’ll be flying to El Toro in a F-4, but I’m not sure.

Photo - Another look at the Vietnamese children we left behind.

3 September 1970

Thursday night
3 September 1970

I am now with VMFA-314!!  And I’m going with them to El Toro!!!  We are to leave Chu Lai on 10 September, leave Cubi Point on or about 15 September, and arrive in El Toro between 20 - 25 September.

Someone realized that VMFA-122 had to many people for the number of airplanes we have to fly to Hawaii.  So we had to transfer some people.  The C.O. asked for volunteers and I did.  I hope I’m not sorry!  Ha.

314 is almost all new guys who will have to come back to Vietnam after they get to El Toro.

I got a package of ripples and bean dip.

18 (?) More days.

Photo - Aircraft 00 of my new squadron, VMFA-314

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2 September 1970

Wednesday night
2 September 1970


I’m scheduled to fly tomorrow - so it’ll be (I hope) my last mission.  We’re having a big MAG-13 celebration because it is the last combat flying day for MAG-13!  Quite a momentous occasion.

Yesterday I got my “going home shots” - cholera and P.P.D.  Also was given 8 malaria pills to take back to the states.  It’s really hard to realize that time is growing short - even though I still have some time left on the 12 months.

This morning I shipped the foot locker - so all I have left here are the things I’ll take with me to Hawaii.  Everything else I’ll burn - i.e. green underwear, old towels, old socks, old shoes, etc.  I’m going to build a big bonfire on the last night and burn all that stuff.  Sort of a celebration of my own.

Tomorrow I must do some laundry.  I have to wash the underwear I’ll be taking with me.  And I hope it’s the last time I do my wash by hand.  Not that it’s all that bad - it’s just the idea!  Ha.

Despite the fact that both squadrons are leaving here in a week - there is still a good deal of confusion about who is going where.  Some guys are to fly planes to El Toro or Hawaii, then come back to Vietnam.  But no one knows just who.  A lot of the newer guys don’t know if they can arrange to meet their wives in El Toro, etc.  at least I know I’m going to Hawaii - for sure - at least.