Thursday, January 3, 2019

Speaking of Adventures in Aviation

U.S. Air Force Photo
As you all might remember, I spent 24 years on active duty in the United States Air Force. In my youth, I was an aircraft maintenance kind of guy. While my primary duties in the eight-odd years I was a maintainer (yes, those were very odd years, though fun at times) I mostly spent my time aligning the Weapon Control System on the F-4D Phantom II. (I did work on the F-4C on Okinawa as well, but they made up only about a quarter of the wing.)

In my time on Okinawa, Kadena Air Base to be precise, I had occasion to visit the Land of the Morning Calm, 대한민국, or the Republic of Korea. Where, one magical day, I first laid eyes upon the woman who would one day be my wife. No, she didn't know that at the time, but I did, I was thunderstruck...

My heart was beating as fast and as hard as the bass line in that most excellent tune. Oh yeah, I was thunderstruck.

At any rate, in my wooing of this lovely lady I resolved to get an assignment to Korea. Shouldn't be too hard, after all, most guys did not want an unaccompanied tour to the remoteness of the Korean peninsula. It wasn't quite as modern in the '70s as it is now. Technically it was a military dictatorship under an ex-general name of Park Chung-Hee. Not a great guy, but he did keep the Northern hordes at bay. Korea is now a much more attractive assignment, what with all this...

No doubt my sainted mother-in-law would look upon all that with a rather gimlet eye and make sotto voce remarks about "crazy women." Things were loosening up as the Olympics in Korea approached but were still pretty staid. If the kids had been out on the street like that back in the day, old Park's police would have probably scooped them up as being folks of rather loose morals. Bit harsh I thought, but things have changed a lot.

But even back in the more sedate days of my youth, Korea was a place I liked rather a lot. Mostly because of The Future Missus Herself but I liked the people. Tough but fair. Didn't hurt that most of the ladies were awfully cute as well.

But, as you might gather, all that has little to do with C-130s and air travel. However, at this point you might understand my rather fervid desire to get to Korea. In the absence of an assignment there, Mother Air Force gave me 30 days a year to do with as I pleased and flights to Korea from Kadena ran every day.

Yup, every day.

Space available was pretty easy in those days, again, not many people actually wanted to go to Kunsan. The more "fun" base was Osan, up north nearer to Seoul. (Also within artillery range of the Norks as I recall. Pretty short jaunt for a fighter bomber with Commie Crap painted on the wings as well. But the bars were right outside the gate. Also Seoul, the big city, wasn't far away. An easy bus ride in those days. These days, not so much. Korea is now the land of the six-lane highway and everyone has a car.)

The distance from Kadena to Kunsan is around 667 miles, a rather short flight for a modern airliner but a bit of a plod for mighty Hercules. I don't remember the actual time to fly there on a C-130, but it felt like hours and hours. Flying in the back of a C-130 is rather a lot like flying in someone's basement, or garage if they have a lot of equipment, including stuff on wheels, flying with you. Also, when you're on the ground and want cool air (particularly on Okinawa in the summer months) you get hot air. Once aloft, and I mean way up there in the sky, where the air outside is well below zero, well dontcha know the air conditioner is blasting cold air all over you.

It's also noisy as Hell. Those four big turboprops put out a lot of thrust and a lot of noise.

Go to your basement, if it's winter, open all the windows and doors. If it's summer pipe in heat from somewhere. Now put that video on and turn it WAY UP. If you're feeling really adventurous, make a sandwich from stale bread, have a bag of chips that you wouldn't buy if you went shopping, and toss in a piece of something which looks like it might have been fruit at some point in its existence.

Now make sure you run that video on a continuous loop for a couple of hours. Also, make sure you're sitting in a lawn chair with really hard webbing (i.e. a really cheap lawn chair) and give yourself no leg room (for the true effect, park a riding lawn mower directly in front of you, make sure it smells like oil and gasoline). Also, have 50 of your closest friends jammed in there with you as well. Actually, make sure you include a few people you really, really don't like as well.

That approximates the C-130 experience to some extent. If you could mount your basement on some sort of gimballed platform so that it can be constantly vibrating the entire time, they would be even better.

All that being said, I liked the Herky Bird, she's reliable as Hell even if she ain't all that pretty. I rode them a lot when on Okinawa.

There was one memorable flight to Korea in which Your Humble Scribe was travelling with a buddy, also bound for a spot of leave in the Land of the Morning Calm. We were actually near one of the very few windows (kind of a porthole actually) on a C-130 so we could at least see something other than the other passengers and the tied down equipment. Our view consisted of the left wing of the aircraft, some sky, and if you really stretched, the ground.

At some time well into the flight, buddy Al nudged me, with a rather worried look on his face. As I opened my eyes to see what he was on about, he gesticulated frantically towards our porthole. There, to what did my wondering eyes appear, were two C-130 engines. Only one of which actually had a spinning prop. The other, the inboard one as I recall, was not spinning. It was, what we in the aviation bidness call, feathered.

(Juvat actually wrote about this topic back in March of 2015. A very good post I might add...)

Anyhoo, I saw the engine was not doing anything, I saw no smoke, no fire, nada. Turning to Al I screamed, "WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT, WE HAVE THREE MORE!"

He seemed rather taken aback by the whole thing. We didn't turn around (note in that map above that the bulk of that flight path is over water) as we were past the halfway point, wouldn't make sense to go back, just press on. Which we did.

When we touched down in Korea, Al happened to notice all of the emergency equipment lined up alongside the runway. Which proceeded to chase us down the runway as I recall. Seems someone was taking the situation seriously, I wasn't, not really.

Al chided me for my indifference and said, "If it isn't such a big deal, why were all those fire trucks out there when we landed?"

"Just in case." I answered.

"Just in case what?" Al wanted to know.

"Hell Al, we fix radars, how would I know? Maybe in case the aircraft blew up or something. Just because you can't see a problem doesn't mean there isn't a problem." I was grinning when I said that. Al didn't find it amusing, he was a jittery sort as I recall. Nice enough guy, just kind of high strung I think.

The other adventure I had on a C-130 involved that same Kadena to Kunsan run. But this would be the last one of those, I was departing the semi-tropical isle of Okinawa and was bound for an assignment in Korea. Finally.

Went to the Military Airlift Command (MAC, they don't it that anymore, more's the pity) terminal to fly to Korea and see the love of my life (we had already been married for seven months at this point). I wasn't traveling Space Available, no sir, I had orders, I was traveling Space Required. We boarded the aircraft, taxied out, did a circuit of the field, and landed.

"Hhmm, short flight," thinks I, "hhmm, methinks this is still Okinawa."

Sure and begorrah it was still Okinawa.

We were told that one of the engines had blown an oil pump (something I did once in a VW Jetta, no fun on the ground, less fun in the air) and that after they swapped it out, we'd be on our way.

After a good eight hours, a captain in a flight suit sought me out.

"Sarge, hi, I'm the pilot of that C-130 you want to go to Korea on."

"Uh, hi sir, how are ya?"

"Er, I'm fine Sarge, but we have a problem, we can't go to Kunsan today, we have to go directly to Osan. Do you still want a ride?"

"Hhmm, I reckon I'll pass Cap'n. While my Korean is good enough to find a bus to Kunsan, I'd probably get there after curfew," (which ran midnight to four in the morning), "and I'd rather not mess with that. I live in downtown Kunsan."

"Uh, I thought you were PCSing* there, how can you live downtown?"

"My wife is already there."

"I thought Kunsan was a remote tour, no families allowed?" The good captain was starting to be a bit confused.

"My wife is Korean, she's from there." I answered, yes, with a bit of a smirk. You know how we enlisted like to tweak our officers from time to time. Bless their hearts. (And no, I would never, ever do that to Tuna and Juvat. Well, maybe some, a little.)

"Ah, okay. So tomorrow is soon enough?"

"I've waited a year, I can wait one more day."

The captain walked off, I thought it was kind of cool of him to come talk to me personally, he could have left that to the passenger service guys. Good man that captain.

Me? I went back to my barracks, got my old room back and drank beer and played pinochle with my mates. They were surprised, and happy, to see me.

I told them I just couldn't leave without another game of pinochle and a bunch of beers. Ya know, for old time's sake. It was a good night.

But wouldn't you know it, when I finally got home and started explaining to The Missus Herself why I was late, she already knew. That was always the case, I think the Koreans knew more about our operations than we did. Probably be on CNN these days.


For another great tale of aerial encounters of the no fun kind, go read this. Dave (or Fuzz as his mates called him, see below) is a long time Chanter, Phormer Phantom Phlyer, airline pilot, and an all around good guy. (But don't tell him, you know how pilots are.) He spins a good tale as well. His old blog has many good flying tales, go through his archives, I did, you'll enjoy it. Just clean up after you've left.

Lt Fuzz of Beetle Bailey fame, and Dave's doppelganger.
(Fair Use)
Flying can be very exciting in a no fun kind of way. Probably why pilots make the big bucks. Or so I'm told...

* PCS = Permanent Change of Station


  1. C 130's are very big!!
    I used to rent an apartment just down the road, maybe 2 miles, from the Schenectady County Airport, or Sam Stratton Air National Guard Base as it is officially known as these days, which had several C130's stationed there. We always knew when there was a trip to Antarctica, as they did the supply run down there...from New York State...which never made sense to me. They were also used in the first Gulf War. When there were night flights going on just about the entire county knew about it as the flight line took in a lot of territory, and they are loud. My folks lived 15 miles outside of town, and, yes, were in the flight line as the planes would fly right overhead.

    How did you meet the Missus? Or did I miss that post?

    PS: I am first today!! :)

    1. First you are! Well done!

      Has to how I met The Missus Herself. That's a tale I will never share, it was special, almost mystical. Something which can only be shared by two. The two who were there.

      Sorry but I must remain mysterious in some aspects of my life.

    2. That's ok. Some mystery is a good thing :) The important thing is you were smitten at first sight, and still are!!

  2. One of the many items I enjoy about this blog are the visuals, both photos and vids. The 133rd Airlift Wing out of MSP usually puts up a couple C130's every few days, you can really hear those turboprops from a distance. Didn't know they've been around since 1954. Ah..... who knows when Cupid's arrow will strike?

    1. On that day, Cupid used a boar spear. I was felled rather quickly, and permanently.

  3. My brother lives along the approach to Pittsburgh International, where the 911th Airlift Wing is stationed. He reports that the C-130's are a sweet hum on final in comparison to the C-17's the Wing in transitioning to. Thinking of moving, he is.


    1. Love the sound of the Hercules. At a respectable distance.

      One way to distract me in a meeting at work is to have one or more C-130s flying around Quonset Point. Happens a lot. Which is probably why my boss prefers interior conference rooms with no windows.


    2. At tech school at Keesler AFB, I was in the Drum and Bugle Corps, and the squadron that had that was in the barracks closest to one end of a runway. More often than not, during morning formation, one of the WC-130s would be sitting not far away running its engines up to full power for a while and backing off, then up to full power again. Even though whoever was speaking had a bullhorn, if you weren't in the first couple of ranks, you mostly couldn't hear a damned thing. Good training for the rest of my Air Force experience. :)

      P-3s sounded about the same on Adak. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and one would be running up their engines for a good while making sure everything was copacetic before setting out over the cold, cold North Pacific's infamously bad weather.

    3. Yup, you want those engines working all of the time. Especially out over the mean old ocean!

  4. I believe the C130's out of Little Rock use our mountain as a navigation point, West then turn Northwest over our mountain. Sometimes just over the pine forest. A couple of months ago when I looked up the pilot was waving at me.

  5. I think it was an AF Reg that if an engine was shut down for anything out of the ordinary, an Inflight Emergency (IFE) had to be declared. Once that happened, everybody in the world had to get involved. I think that's where that overused term "overabundance of caution" originated. On my long trip back to Misawa, I spent most of it trying to avoid declaring the IFE, but couldn't. And so much PITA occurred.

    1. Yup, I believe you are correct. Of course, now it's an "instruction," not a "regulation." We don't want to upset the snowflakes do we?

      I can imagine there's a lot of PITA-ness involved with declaring an IFE. Then again, a write-up in the aircraft forms stating "We had to shut down the #2 engine while in flight" would no doubt draw much unwanted attention. Not career enhancing at all.

    2. Probably not as much attention as having to explain why you had to ditch the airplane cause it exploded or something because it wasn't shut down....just saying...and, hey, if you didn't do anything wrong but the engine stopped on it's own, as that happens at times I have heard...Grandpa on Mom's side worked for P&W in their maintenance shop. He traveled all over the world for weeks on end figuring out what/why went wrong and how to keep it from happening again.

    3. Aircraft engines are very necessary things. Glad your grandpa made a difference.

    4. I took a college psychology class on Adak. Because so many firemen at the field were taking it, class was held at the fire station. In the middle of one class, the klaxon sounded and firemen were scrambling to get to their gear and get out to the trucks. A P-3 had lost an engine, it was night, 30 mph winds with gusts up to 45. Shortly afterward, word was relayed to us that they'd lost another engine over Great Sitkin volcano about 26 miles out. We all trooped outside into the wind and rain to see what their was to see. Not much really. They made a good landing and eventually class resumed. The P-3s seemed to fly in all but the worst conditions, and so did the Reeve Aleutian Air Electras and the very occasional Alaskan Air National Guard C-130 (I seem to recall a couple them). The regular Air Force C-130s and C-141s not so much. Those were the ones that irritated people because those "garbage flights" brought all the fresh food out to the island (and usually had Space Available seats). Sometimes they'd get nearly all the way out there, decide the weather was too bad and head back to Elmendorf while the RAA passenger plane came in. I didn't know at the time that they were mostly relatively low airtime flight crews. It was just an irritating mystery as to why the commissary was out of all milk, produce, etc., and led to rather unfair jokes about why the USAF wore sky blue shirts -- so they can hold their sleeve up against the sky and if the colors don't match, they don't fly.

    5. Sometimes the Reserve and Guard pilots have a lot more flying time.

    6. Yep. Learned that sometime after I enlisted in the USAF. It wasn't my first choice. My high-frequency hearing was shot already, and the Navy had met their recruiting goals for whatever period they measured by. The Air Force hadn't, so they granted me a waiver based on test scores (I guess).

  6. OldAFSarg, I just went what the heck are C-130's doing on a page that is generally inhabited by "fast mover" types. Really enjoyed your post.

    I am a former C-130 driver (one of them officer types) with over 3500 hours in the front seats and a few hundred more in other places including those "wonderful" troop seats you so lovingly describe. We did try to take care of our passengers to the best of our ability being that we were redheaded step kids of Air Force Aviation. But, please blame the bad inflight meals on the Inflight Kitchen that was attached to the base mess system; we had to endure them too.

    Deep South, I was stationed at Little Rock from 75 to 77 with return trips to the schools that were there. We did like to wave at the folks looking up at us as we could see you too. I think the funniest thing was the reception we would get from someone on the west end of Lake Maumelle. When we would make west to east airdrop runs at night to the Drop Zones on Camp Robinson, someone would shoot a shotgun or rifle at us. In the time I was there no one took a hit. Just remember that the noise of the C-130 is a verse in the Sound of Freedom.

    1. Ah, but I have a special love for the 130. As a former Hercules driver, you have my respect right off the bat, good on you! Jets are fine, but can you land them in the middle of the back of nowhere on a dirt strip, deliver the goods and get back out again? Herky can, and does!

      Firing a shotgun/rifle at a military bird? Send in Spec Ops and end that asshole's fool existence. No questions asked, no forgiveness offered. I despise those kind of people.

  7. Too bad you didn't turn to your buddy and, in your best William Shatner imitation, say, "There's.. something....On the wing!"

    My mother had something similar happen to her when she was flying B-25s converted to passenger transports during the first year of marriage with my dad, flying from her duty station in Alabama to his in New Mexico. Bit more sporty feathering one engine on a two-engine plane than 1 on a 4 turner. They landed in Podunkia, the flight engineer climbed up in, swore the magic curses, and they took off again, with 2 turning. I seem to remember her saying shortly after that her enlarging baby-bump forced her out of the service, and she got to fly commercial from Alabama to NM, so she flew.... a Stratoliner. (After the B-29 and its variants stopped randomly catching fire and crashing...)

    Since I haven't been on a plane since I was 9, I haven't experienced the joys of delays or in-flight maintenance or any of that. Though the first flight I was on, a twin-engine prop job, was almost the last, as I was having severe pressurization issues with my ears. I think between drinking Actifed (a thick, kinda tasty syrup if I remember) like a western gunslinger drinking whiskey, and a pack of gum an hour, I would never have flown again. Fortunately the cabin air systems of the 707 were better than the prop-job, so further issues were not forthcoming. And when I got a ride in a DeHavilland Caribou, they didn't go high enough to require pressurization (or the lack thereof) so I was okay with that.

    And what Suz said. How'd you (OldAFSarge) meet and court The Missus Herself? I told y'all about how I met and courted Mrs. Andrew. juvat did the same with his lady over Crud. Can't remember if Fish-boy related his paramoring. February 14th is just around the corner...

    1. Holy Cannoli! Your Mom flew B-25s? Wicked awesome.

      Cabin pressure can be a nasty thing if one isn't prepared for it and doesn't (or can't) deal with it. Which is why so many young kids and babies cry on commercial flights. It hurts!

      Aquaman, to my knowledge, has not shared how he met and courted his Little Mermaid. Nor have I. See my comment on Suz's comment above. There are some things in this life which will forever remain a mystery. (I still have to pinch myself and wonder how I pulled off such a feat.)

    2. Flying in B-25s as a passenger. The others were usually nice and let her have a forward looking seat, right where the side gunner would have stood, as backward-facing would open the upper purge valve, so to speak, if you get my drift.

      Re: The special moment... I actually knew someone who paid a bride price of some cattle and 2 horses for his lady's hand. He was a real Mongolian, so...

    3. Ah, that word "in" makes a difference, but still pretty awesome. (Heh, "upper purge valve." I have to remember that one.)

      Koreans and Mongolians are somewhat related. To my knowledge, they both originated in the Altai Mountains. As did the Japanese. Then everyone started migrating. Which was somewhat random until Florida was invented. Now old people migrate there.

      I plan to stick it out here in New England. At least until The Missus Herself decides otherwise.


    4. Heck, if I had to deal with the Middle Kingdomers (Han, not SCA) I'd move to an earthquake prone, storm swept land also. Seems to have worked for the Koreans AND the Japanese. The Mongolians? As long as there's wide open spaces they're fine and hard to pin down.

    5. My father-in-law was skydiving in the mid-60s and got to know a guy who had bought a B-25. It's not clear what he was going to do with it, but he asked FiL if he'd like to get dropped out the bomb bay. :D Of course, he said, "Hell, yeah!" They must've been going pretty fast, though, because when the bay doors opened, FiL got thrown around by the windstream and hit hard or twice (hard enough that he wasn't sure) before he exited the plane. He was way more adventurous than me. Probably why he ended up rappelling out of Marine choppers into jungle in Vietnam a couple or three times 2 years later.

  8. Back in the early Sixties, PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines) flew regularly between SF and Sandy Eggo, with a brief stopover at LAX.
    This was really convenient, as I could visits my family whenever I had enough cash for a ticket, which was about $60 round trip.
    Anyhow, they flew those Lockheed Electra’s (P3 with windows and no ASW gear).
    On two separate occasions, flights I was on feathered props and continued on.
    There was no announcement and the flight attendants seemed to show no extra concern.

    1. IIRC, P-3s routinely shut down a couple of engines while on patrol, to conserve fuel and hey, it's a patrol, what's the hurry. (And they are key participants in Awfully Slow Warfare, ASW, which is what some call Anti Submarine Warfare.)

    2. Yep, we regularly shut down #1 and in very rare instances also #4. I can only remember doing that once. P-3s use a variation of the same T-56 engine as the C-130 and I am paying the price hearing-wise for the hours spent close to the noise.

      There is a very good book by Martin Caiden on the 130 called "The Long Arm Of America" written in the early '60s.

    3. I'll bet that's a good read, Mr. Caidin was an excellent writer. I saw his Ju-52 at Offutt AFB once. Right across the road from my office. Odd to see a WWII German transport, in original livery of course, parked on a U.S. base. Really kinda cool.

  9. We had one or two squadrons of C-130s at Selfridge and there were usually two in the pattern day in and day out and also at night. Touch and goes endlessly as they kept their aviatting quals current. I used to look on those guys as lucky. They never used to crash. Same for the C-141 and C-5 and then they started to fall out of the sky as we went to war and I was very disappointed. Thankfully, Navy, and we moved on C-9s or Tower Air. That one flight on either Hawaiin or Aloha was sufficiently terrifying to never ever do it again. My first flight to Osan was out of St. Louis on Tower Air and it made it, just barely. I can honestly say that speaking as a navy person having commair 747 loaded and loadmastered by the Army is absolutely the very worst way to fly short of C-141s to Rota and Bahrain and Adak. I'll never do that again. I really laughed out loud at NASNI when embarking a C-9 for a flight to a training war on San Clemente Island and the security forces made the Marine Red Team board the flight through the metal detector. Knives, sidearms, M16, M60 were all passed around the barrier and nobody so much as giggled at the shear stupidity of it all.

    1. But, but, the regulations and some fat ass GS-12 in DC mandated that that was the correct procedure!

      An aircraft loaded and loadmastered by the Army? Man, now I've heard everything!

    2. Lots of Caribou and other smaller planes loaded by the Army back in the day, like pre 1975ish.

      I flew on an Army Caribou.

    3. I know, the Army actually has scads of aircraft. But if you can't pick on your sister services, what fun is that?

    4. Heh. I actually flew to Adak in a C-141 once. I was Space A and had been bumped three days in a row. The fourth day, we got in the bus and rode out to the plane. We didn't even get off the bus. The plane had a flat, so we went back to the terminal, waited a couple of hours, then got the word to go go out again. We got there, and were told to go back again. The APU was out. At the terminal we heard that one was being flown out from McChord AFB in Tacoma, WA. More hours of waiting. We got back on the bus and it seemed to be running rough for a bit before we set out. When we got out to plane, we found out it had been an earthquake. Not uncommon there or on Adak. We started boarding the "garbage flight" (fresh produce) which would only be minimally heated. I'd almost been bumped off again, and was 13th on the list for 13 seats. It turned out there were only 12 seats. Oops. The crew had a quick discussion and asked if I'd like to ride in the jump seat in the cockpit. "Oh, hell yeah!" I'd always wanted to be a pilot before my left eye went to 20/200 by my junior year of high school. Unexciting flight, though seeing the tops of volcanoes stretching out for 100 (150? More?) miles over a solid blanket of cloud cover was pretty neat. The landing was more extreme, it seemed the right wing was going to scrape the hilltops as we banked harder than any other flight I've been on. And I was toasty warm the whole ways, unlike those poor slobs in back. ;)

    5. You got to fly in the jump seat? Cool!

    6. Best flight of my life. The weather was actually pretty decent under the clouds. Smoothest flight out there that I ever made. The first flight in a Lockheed Electra was by far the most turbulent ride I've ever experienced. Coming down we felt more like dice in a cup than was comfortable. A few people got sick. I decided I'd better stow my Walkman and headphones in my bag under the seat ahead of me, but I couldn't quite reach it. It was momentarily calm, so I released the seat belt for better maneuverability and that's when the violent downdraft hit (of course). I was airborne for a second and smashed my face on top of the seat ahead of me. I thought I'd actually touched the overhead bins. I got strapped back in as quick as I could and retrieved the Walkman and headphones once we were on the ground. I wasn't pleased to see the wreckage of an RAA Electra that had crashed years before and been moved out of the way to near Engineer Hill by Kuluk Bay. Dad's housing unit was as close to beachfront property as you could get there (he was a 26-year Navy CTMCM) with a beautiful view of the bay, the mountains, and the semi-active Great Sitkin volcano 26 miles away. A short walk to the black volcanic sand beach, which was the polar opposite of Pensacola's white sand beaches. Best view of any place I've ever lived, period. Though Anchorage when I was little came close, with a clear view of the Chugach Mountains and the Site Summit Nike Zeus missile site that was still active at that time (and preserved as a museum now, I discovered). I loved the way fireweed turned the lower slopes a shade of purple, but like Dad, suffered terrible hay fever from that crap.

      OT: A child of the Cold War I am, and a very minor participant. Russia makes all the news today (and is still dangerous with its strategic weapons), but China is the real threat. There's a small voice inside me that wonders if Chinese money is buying the amplification of Russia over all else, or at least helping it along.

    7. A topic for a post just occurred to me. The "invasion" of Adak and how incredibly quickly we were able to build an airfield on an island that has very little level ground. The EPA would throw absolute sh!tf!ts over how it was done. There's a John Euston film about the WWII from Adak, where 90,000 troops and sailors were imprisoned (as they saw it). It could be pretty nice in the early `80s with family, and if you liked the outdoors. Though there was a reason survival cabins and 'barrels' were scattered all over much of the island, since the weather could change for the worse on a dime. Work sites and the schools had cots and provisions for 3 days for whiteouts and storms that would be headline news if it happened in the lower 49 (I'm including Hawaii). The worst I remember, they have no idea how strong the winds really were. The hut housing the anemometer blew away after having been pegged at 115 knots for 30 minutes. In the 2nd floor bedrooms of our family's housing that night, it felt like riding in a sleeper cabin on a train, and sometimes as if it were passing over some really poorly maintained stretches of track. Lots of damage, but nothing major to housing. Lot of chimneys blown away. If the wind got under siding, it peeled most of it off that side. A few cracked or broken windows, stuck doors, leaking 2nd floor pipes.

      If you were single, in the barracks, and didn't like the outdoors (or those outdoors, at least), I can see how it could be a really bad assignment. TDY would be worse. HOWEVER -- Shemya (Air Force) was even worse. Not much island, so very few places to go even if you wanted to go. Unless you liked cliff-climbing over rough seas, of course.

    8. Ah, the Aleutians. Shemya is famous (or was in my day) for the very last place anyone would want to go.

    9. I didn't catch the auto-correct error, but here's what the engineers and troops achieved at Adak (plus a lot more, including a bombing mission against Kiska): Report From The Aleutians - John Huston, World War II.

  10. I could make some comments about C-130s, but if I were to, they would end up being as long as your post, and this is your blog, not mine. So I won't.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. But if you were to email said stories to the blog, I'd post them, listing you as a guest author.

      Just so you know.

    2. There ya go Paul. You know you'll have an audience. See your name in lights and all that.

  11. You are fine gentleman and a great educator, BTW! Thanks.

    1. Why golly gee, thank you Sir. Oh man of many identities and talents.


    2. Hey look! I'm back to normal. I wonder why.

    3. Dave, you should get that looked at.

  12. I did a very similar flight once. Iwo Jima to Atsugi on a C-130, but we had to make stops in Misawa and Yokota first. Fortunately I had my helmet (noise abatement) and the bird never broke down. I don't remember how long that flight was, but I think I was promoted twice while aboard.

    1. "I don't remember how long that flight was, but I think I was promoted twice while aboard."

      Everyone can go home now, Tuna wins the Internet today.

      Seriously funny T.

  13. All 105 of my C130 rides were as pleasant as yours, except they ended with me and 63 of my good friends exiting the aircraft while in flight. (Or in my case, usually while in fright.)

    1. Shows a good deal of common sense to be frightened while jumping out of the back of a moving aircraft.

      Shows a great deal of guts to do it anyway.

  14. Saw at DV on FB. Cicilians: Why would you jump out of a perfectly good airplane?
    Airborne: There's nothing "perfectly good" about an Airforce plane.

    Ah, you survived.

  15. Hey AFSarge;

    The first few C130 rides I did was a sprout with AFJROTC and they were a blast out of Dobbins. The next time I rode C130's was in the Gulf and the British were the drivers. I always wanted to go to Korea, I had been in Germany for 5 years and in my MOS, unless you were overseas, you were not doing your job. I had planned a trip to Korea then to Sinop then back to Germany. That was the plan, but the Soviets had to go belly up then everyone wanted their "Peace Dividend" and the Army dumped 50% of their strength in less than 2 years and I was out. Oh well now I fix planes, LOL

  16. Spent a few hours on C130s (B model...hey its the 60s) out of CGAS San FRAN.
    You forgot to mention under floor heating. Pilots didn't like it, says it took too
    much bleed air,slowed us down. Most flights we didn't need it as we were usually
    below 7000 ft alt.
    Now Red Eye flights on the "Goat" was a real challenge for your ears,and inerds.
    Enjoy your blog and the comments.

    1. Honestly Thom, I had no idea the C-130s had such a thing. Very Korean of them...

      Thanks for reading! (And commenting, of course.)

  17. Oh yeah,feathered engines,we often feathered outboards during SAR missions. We flew
    "light" around 185k with only SAR sled aboard , we were "low and slow"so had extra
    One time we were looking for a missing surfer off Half Moon Bay and had someone turn
    us in to the police thinking we were looking for a place to ditch.We flying about 500ft above the surfline. no joy that time.


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