Training tales 1966

VR-3 assigned me to be an instructor aircraft commander in February of 1966. I did all kinds of training. I did annual training, aircraft commander upgrade training, tactical training and instrument training. Here are a few tales of the training I did.


We would go out on paratroop drops and we did that at low level. We would leave McGuire and fly at 500 feet across the Delaware river, turn left and flying up the coast over the Atlantic, parallel to Seaside Heights, NJ and then head in for a drop at the Lakehurst drop zone. We would raise up too 1200 feet and the Navigator would give the jump sign and out the paratroopers would go. One of the Majors who we dropped brought some cornstalks back to VR-3 for the navigator who put him in the cornfield. Below a C-130 dropping a test dummy at Lakehurst.


The Tactical Air Command gave us orders to train our pilots to come into Vietnam airfields at 1200 feet above the airport’s altitude and make a breaking turn over the approach end of the runway in order to prevent ground machine gun fire hitting our planes on the approach. To accomplish this maneuver we would close our throttles over the runway and make a descending turn. We would hold off putting our gear down until we got slow enough to extend them for landing. With the throttles closed, when the C-130 went through 1000 feet above the ground a warning horn would sound to indicate the throttles were closed and the gear was not down. We briefed our pilots to allow that horn to keep blowing as a reminder to lower their gear.

I did this training with many of our pilots, including the Four Stripe Commanding Officer of VR-3, Captain Montunnas. I gave him the briefing NOT TO SILENCE the horn. Well, when we hit the end of the runway, he went into the turn and started slowing down and descending. When we went through 1000 feet the horn started to sound. He said: “Silence the horn.” I didn’t because of my briefing but he said it again. This time, I silenced the horn. I reached across and turned off his radio reception with the tower. Then I told the tower I was an instructor and knew the landing gear was not down and asked them not to say anything about that on the radio. Then, I turned his radio back on. We kept coming in for the landing and when we got to about 150 feet above the ground, I said: “I have the airplane. Look at your gear.” So, we had to go back out and do it again.


I went out one Sunday morning with several pilots who needed to make some instrument approaches. To do that, I would go to Atlantic City airport where there were two runways and various navigational radio facilities. We were too heavy for landing when we first got there, so I asked the pilot flying to enter a holding pattern. As he did that, which he did correctly, I started setting the ADF radio for an ADF approach. I was looking down at the ADF tuner. The plane was at 20,000 feet and we were 20 miles out over the Atlantic. We were working Atlantic City radar control. All of a sudden, I felt a large bump and looked up. All I saw was the side of a Navy P-3 airplane. It was a turbo prop like the C-130 and was also at 20,000 feet. He was heading from Navy New York to Jacksonville, Florida and he was east of his flight path by at least 10 miles. I got through the flight work with the first pilot flying and then called it off and went back to McGuire. That was as close as I ever got to having a mid-air collision.


I had to demonstrate that the C-130 could be stopped in 800 feet. To demonstrate that I went to the Willow Grove Naval air station in Pennsylvania. If you look at the image below, you can see the first taxiway to the right. That was 800 feet from the end of the run way and I would land on the end and taxi off on that taxiway, to prove that not could be done.


I was asked to upgrade a 1st pilot to be an aircraft commander. The pilot was a graduate of the Naval Academy and was a full Lieutenant. He was a wonderful guy and really great to be around, but he was not a very good pilot. The most demanding maneuver in the aircraft commander upgrade training was to make an approach to an airport with two engines inoperative on one wing and then making a circular landing to another runway, as if the approach got you to the airport but you had to circle to land into the wind on another runway. Normally, I would do that at Atlantic City, but to make it easier for him I decided to do it at McGuire where there was only one runway. So, we had to make the approach to one end of the runway and then fly up the runway, turn around and face the opposite end of the runway for landing.

I briefed him that the pilot would not put the gear down until we were facing inbound to the runway for landing because you can not control the C-130 at slow speeds on only two engines. Well, we made the approach and arrived at the airport and started down the field to the opposite end of the runway. When we got abeam the end of the runway, he called:”Gear Down.” At this point we were not facing the run way, we still had to turn 180 degrees. I did not put the gear down. He had the #1 and #2 engines working and he had to turn to the right into the “dead engines”. As we started into the turn, he called for the gear again. This time, I put the gear down. As they came out, it was harder and harder for him to keep the turn going. By this time we were at about 400 feet above the ground. He said: “We can’t get turned to the runway.” I said: “What are you going to do?” He said: “Go around.” I said: “Good.” At which point he pushed the 2 “good engines” throttles up. The left wing raised high in the turn. We were at about 200 feet above the ground. I said:”I have the aircraft.” I pulled the power off the two engines and then added power on all four engines and climbed out of there.

He asked what we were going ton do next and I said we are going to land and we are going to have a debriefing. As we were leaving the airplane the mechanic who was sitting between us whispered in my ear “Mr. Pateas, you don’t mind if I never fly with you again.”

When we did the debriefing I told him that nI would not recommend him for upgrade to aircraft commander.

Aircraft commander 1966

As an instructor at VR-3, I did several sessions of training 1st pilots to aircraft commander status. One of those pilots I worked with was Warren Scoville. He was a very wealthy young man and was a very capable pilot. We did the local training at McGuire and then I took him out through a trip to Vietnam. Actually, he took me on a trip out through Vietnam, because I allowed him to act as aircraft commander, so he could get ready for his check ride.

All of my training went well with him, but he didn’t get an enroute clearance before takeoff at McGuire. He only had half a clearance and then I failed the intercom system on him and he couldn’t talk to anyone on the radios. When he realized what had happened, he went into a holding pattern at the facility at the end of his clearance and squawked 7700 on his IFF equipment that indicated that he had a problem and then made an approach back to McGuire. He never accepted half a clearance again.

On our west pac trip, we laid over on Wake Island and Warren fell in love with a stewardess from a commercial airline. He also, snuck a large rock that marked the path to the Drifter’s Reef bar into my duffel bag that held my arctic gear.

As that trip went well, he got a check ride and became an aircraft commander. In December of 1966, I was in Tachikawa and tried to leave for the States. We climbed to altitude and when I tried to trim the rudder, the trim did not function. I returned to Tachikawa and was just about to leave my plane when I watched a C-130 make a very LONG landing on the runway and they had to do a touch and go, to come around for another landing. I knew it was Warren.

When we got to the officers quarters I put up a sign about the long landing and invited the crew to my room for a briefing. Well, they came to my room and it was Warren’s crew. When they came to my room, I started giving Warren a lecture about the long landing and his co-pilot spoke up. He said he had made the long landing. I knew for sure that he had, but I said that is not possible because Warren needs 100 hours in command before he can let co-pilots make a landing.

Warren spoke up and said: “Get your arctic bag.” I did and he said: “Turn it over.” When I turned it over, that large rock came out and all of us had a great laugh.

Just before I left VR-3, Warren came to my Country Lakes house at 8AM. I was off for the day and he lived close by. He was in a flight suit and held five bottles of whiskey and king crab legs in his arms. He came in and said: “Can you make some Martinis.” I said: “Sure.” I poured some gin out of his fifth and added a little vermouth. Now the whole bottle was a giant Martini. He asked me to put the crab legs on the stove and I did that. Then I said; “What happened.”

Warren, who was on his third wife at 26, said: “I just got back from Vietnam through Elmendorf. I got to my house and my wife wanted to make love, right there, in the hallway. But I said I couldn’t because I had caught the gonorrhea. Well, a disaster is going on over there. Glasses, dishes are flying everywhere. What did she want me to do, not tell her.”

When I worked for Pan Am, in 1968, I was on a trip that overnighted in Brussels. Warren was then a Navigator for Pan Am. He had come with another crew to Brussels and was to navigate my crew back to JFK. Well, we went out to diner with the Captain and the co-pilot. I was the Flight Engineer. I went to bed early and the next morning Warren was knocking on my door. He asked me if I had some money and when I gave him what I had, he went across the street to a bar where he had spent the night and paid them what he owed them. Then we met outside the hotel for the ride to the airport.

Well, there was a flight attendant on my crew who was very beautiful. When Warren saw her, he asked me how I could allow him to go out to diner with the Captain when this woman was on my crew. He talked to her all the way to the airport. On my crew, there was a Check Captain. He wanted to check the First Officer’s ability to navigate the aircraft using an inertial navigation system that Pan Am was testing, for use on the 707s. In the end, that system was not used.

So, there was the Captain, who owned a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania, the First Officer, me, the Flight Engineer and this Check Captain in the cockpit. The Check Captain was a General in the US Airforce reserve.

Warren did not have to navigate, so he was sitting in the forward lounge, talking to this beautiful stewardess who was working the first class galley. At some point, Warren came up to the cockpit. The Check Captain asked Warren if he had put all our names in the log book. Warren looked around the cockpit and said: “The Captain is busy flying this plane and is worried about the weather at JFK and at his alternate. The First Officer is busy as he can be, trying to navigate this aircraft on the inertial system, my friend Ted, is busy with the fuel system, the electrical system, the pressurization system and sundry other systems and I am hustling the Flight Attendant in the first class galley. Your the only one not doing anything, I thought you had filled out the log book a long time ago.” Then, he walked out of the cockpit.

After a few minutes the Captain told the Check Captain to go back into First Class, to have his lunch and asked him to have Warren come back to the cockpit. Warren came up and sat in the check captain’s seat. The Captain gave Warren a rather long lecture on how to get along on a career in Pan Am. Warren having been raised in Kentucky by very wealthy parents was very polite and listened to everything the Captain said, attentively.

Then, when the Captain was finished, Warren said: “Captain you own a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania don’t you. How often do you move those trees before you sell them?” The Captained answered: “Three times.” Warren said: “No wonder your wife keeps you in the basement and slides your food down to you on a board. Three times to make $2.25.”

Warren never wanted to make a career out of flying for Pan Am, he just wanted to have some fun. He had fun and lasted about four years before he quit. Then, Warren became a successful lawyer in Kentucky and later still, he called the Sheriff and gave him an address. When the Sheriff got to the address, he found that Warren had shot himself and committed suicide. So it goes ….

B-52 Guam 3 Sept 1966

We left McGuire and went to Pope AFB in North Carolina. There, we picked up troops from Fort Bragg, who just completed basic military training. We were to bring them to the killing fields of Vietnam. As the aircraft commander, I was the last of the crew to come onboard after filing the flight plan. When I entered the plane, I looked into the cabin and saw all these 18 year old guys looking up the plane at me. I can still see those eyes looking at me.

We left and went to Travis, in California, Hickam, in Honolulu, Wake Island, then Guam. We laid over on Guam. Andersen Field, on Guam was the home of the B-52s. The B-52 planes stood on a large ramp and were guarded by airmen with rifles.

The B-52s had a hell of a start to their war on Vietnam. Here is a quote from US military history re B-52s: Andersen would play a major part in the Vietnam conflict, when 27 B-52 bombers were launched from its runway June 18, 1965. The aircraft initiated Operation Arc Light, bombing missions over North and South Vietnam to strike Viet Cong base operations and enemy troop concentrations and supply lines. Arc Light missions continued for eight years.

First losses were operational (non-combat) mid-air collision 2 B-52F 57-0047 and 57-0179 (441st Bomb Squadron, 320th Bomb Wing), 18 June 1965, South China Sea during air refueling orbit, 8 of 12 crewmen killed.

Well, when the layover came to it’s end, I was in the flight office filing our flight plan for our next leg. I was dressed in a flight suit with a fore and aft cap. The telephone in the office rang and I was called to the phone. It was from the General’s office. Brigadier General Robert H. Gaughan, was in command of the B-52 aircraft at Andersen AFB. They requested that I come to the General’s office immediately.

I got in a car and was taken across the base to the General’s office. As a Navy pilot dressed in a flight suit, I was uncomfortable and had NO IDEA why I was there. After about five minutes, I went into the General’s private office. He told me that “VR-3” was written on the noses of 13 B-52 aircraft. Well, VR-3 was the name of my squadron at McGuire. He said it was written with a crayon and that made me think of my loadmaster. He always used crayons on pallets when he was loading a plane. The loadmaster with me on that flight was black. It happened 55 years ago and I can’t remember his name.

The General told me that I had to leave the man responsible for this, on Andersen for discipline. I told the General that all the men on my crew were in the United States Navy. I told him that we were a crew and I could not leave anyone behind. I also told him that the Navy insisted on disciplining all sailors by the Navy. Then, I told him he could call Captain Montunas, the Commanding Officer of my squadron. He did not say anything.

Then, I said:”It is good that you only got VR-3 written on your aircraft instead of bombs from the Viet cong. Some of your officer’s will surely get in trouble over this, won’t they?” At which point, he ordered me out of his office and told me to leave Andersen and told me not to say anything about this incident to anybody.

Well, I did discuss it with my loadmaster. He told me that they would not allow him into the acey/ducey club for petty officers. That happened because he was black, so he went to his room, got his crayon and went to work on the aircraft. I can’t understand how he avoided the guards. So, it goes …..

6 March 1966

I got married in February in New York City, with a cocktail party at the Plaza Hotel on 59th street. I took my bride to Greece for our honeymoon. When I decided that I had to get back to VR-3, I told my new wife to stay in Greece for a while because I thought I would have to go out on a trip to Vietnam. It didn’t turn out that way, because instead of going west, I got sent to the east.

We left McGuire on the 6th and we flew over Lajes to Rhein-Main and got there on the 6th. On the 7th we flew to Chateauroux and back to Rhein-Main.

On the 8th we flew to Wheelus AB and then to Athens for a layover. On the 9th we did a Turkey trot. We went to Istanbul, Yalova, Incirlik and Ankara before we got back to Athens, for another layover.

On the 10th we went to Iraklion and Souda Bay, on Crete, then Wheelus and then Chateauroux. We were there on the 11th and on the 12th we started the Italy trot. Aviano, Pisa, Naples and Brindisi. From there we went to Athens for a layover. It was the 13th.

On the 14th we left Athens for Nicosia and Tel Aviv and we got back to Athens for our layover. The next day we would make a trip to Iraklion, Crete and I wanted to take my wife on the trip. So, when we came out to the airport on the 15th, I let her ride with the loadmaster and he got her on the plane.

Tom Stringer was my navigator and we filed to go to Crete via Visual Flight Rules (VFR). As we left Athens, we went down to a low altitude and flew to Crete. My copilot got a little bit scared about our running into an island, but Tom was on the radar and that was not going to happen. Well, when we got to Crete we realized that the unloading of the airplane was going to take a long time because of the cargo that was on board. Tom and Joann and I took a cab to see the grave of Nikos Kazantzakis.

When I was a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, RPI, I wrote a thesis on “The Concept of Individualism as Portrayed by the Odysseus Figure in Literature.” On of the books that I used in that thesis was: “The Odyssey a Modern Sequel” written by Kazantzakis. Here is a picture of his grave:

It says: I don’t hope for anything … I’m not afraid of anything… I am free.

We got back to the plane and left for Athens. Dropped Joann off and we went on to Brindisi and Naples before we got to Chateauroux. We spent the 16th and the 17th there and we left on the 18th. We went out to Tehran and Karachi, Peshawa, and Lahore in Pakistan. We had a longish time on the ground in Lahore, so we went to the airport restaurant. Sitting outside on the patio deck, I looked at the menu for something to eat. With the years that Britain had spent out there, the menu said: Fish and Chips. With that I drank a mango squash. While we were eating, a bagpipe band was marching on the airport apron and practicing their marching and playing their instruments. Oh, Britania.

Well, we got back to Incirlik on the 19th and we left on the 20th, with the intention of going to Chateauroux. As we were climbing out of Incirlik, at about 20,000 feet, we had a problem with one of our generators. The generators on a C-130 could not be de-coupled from the engine, so, when you had a generator problem, you had to shut down the engine. Well, I did that, while still in Turkish airspace, but I didn’t report it. I continued on the flight plan and flew into Greek airspace. Then, I told the controller that we had shut down an engine and that we wanted to divert to Athens. Which we did, for another Athens layover on the 20th.

They put a new generator on the plane and we were scheduled to go to Cigli, in northern Turkey. I had gotten a line check from a Check Pilot, from McGuire to Rhine-Main on the 6th of March. I had a set of his check papers with me in Athens. Well, I have a first cousin named Nick Karis. His mom and my mom were sisters. Well, Nick had a first cousin from his father’s side of the family named George Vavides. George was born in America, but living in Athens at this time, studying how Greek Ancient Theater plays were produced. I called him and asked him if he wanted to come for a flight with me. He said: “Sure”. I gave him a flight suit and a hat to wear and the check captains orders to carry and told him not to say anything and just stand around and watch me do what I did in the office, at the airport in Athens. He was a professional actor and theater person, so that was not a problem.

Well, we went over to Cigli and got off the plane to refile a flight plan to go back to Athens. Unfortunately, there was a lot of hydraulic fluid leaking under the left hand wheel well and it took the mechanic some time to get that dealt with. Meanwhile, Tom Stringer had come down with a cold and we headed to the officers club at Cigli. I didn’t need a navigator to get to Athens, so I told Tom he should have a drink. We were all standing at the bar with a US Air Force Colonel. We were in our flight suits and Tom shot down a couple of glasses of whisky. The Colonel didn’t ask any questions and we left for Athens.

As we were approaching the old Athens airport, down by the water, we were going to fly over Cape Sounion. Well on Cape Sounion there is an Ancient Greek temple to Poseiden, the Greek god of the sea. It is a Doric temple built 444 – 440 BC. As we were overhead the temple, I lowered the wing so George could see it and we were talking about it. Here is an image of it in the setting sun:

Well, caught up with the sight seeing, I forgot to start my descent into Athens. I quickly got going, on getting down for the landing and Athens told us to call passing over the radio beacon at Bouligeameni, just 2 miles from the airport. When we passed the facility, my copilot reported it and the Athens tower said: “I don’t see you.” I told the copilot to say: “Look up.”

With the C-130 you can do interesting things and getting down for a landing is tricky but easy enough to do. I pointed the nose of the plane at the beginning of the leading lights for the runway and just waited till I got to the altitude to stop the descent. I pulled up a little and made a very good landing. The tower operator said: “Wow.”

On the 22nd we left Athens for Ankara. Here is an image of the old Athens airport:

If you look carefully at this image, and if you know it, the commercial terminals were close to the road that runs along the sea. On the far side of the airport are the military hangers. When the runway was elongated, the military side built a taxiway to the end of the runway. On the civil side, there was a taxiway that made you go onto the runway, taxi to the end and turn around for takeoff.

On our last takeoff from Athens we were at the end of the taxiway at the end of the runway. In the taxi block on the civil side there was a Lufthansa flight wanting to leave. The Lufthansa copilot called in for permission to taxi on the runway, to go to the end and turn around. The Athens tower screamed: “Hold your position.” About a minute went by and the tower told Lufthansa they could now taxi on the runway. As they were coming down the runway to the end, the Captain, in a deeper voice asked the tower: “Can you tell me the difference between now and a minute ago.” My copilot hit the mike and said: “60 seconds, Captain.” The tower gave Lufthansa takeoff clearance and he left. That happened 55 years ago, but I have never forgotten how quick witted that copilot was.

We went to Ankara and then to Chateauroux. We continued to Lajes and Charleston and then back to McGuire. We got there on the 24th.

17 July 1966

We first landed in Chateauroux and laid over there. The next day we landed in Germany at Rein Main Airport in Frankfurt. We went up to Fornebu airport in Oslo, Norway. Here is a view:

We came back to Rhein-Main and then went back to Chateauroux. We were there until the 20th and then we went through Athens to Tehran. We got back to Chateauroux on the 22nd.

We left Chateauroux on the 24th and we were going to make a series of stops in Italy enroute to Athens. My wife was in Athens at this time and my crew knew that. Well, my copilot was Jingels Devine. We went into the Aviano airport and we left for Pisa. When we were ready to leave Pisa, Jingels was ready for takeoff and he briefed that if he lost an engine on takeoff he would leave the gear down and circle back for a landing back into Pisa.

Well, we started down the runway and just as we were ready to lift off, we got an engine fire warning and had to shut an engine down. The fire light went out and the engine was stoped.

I told Jingels to clean the airplane up, that means lift the gear and take in the flaps, and told him to fly into some clear sky towards the west. I re-filed the flight plan to return to Chateauroux. So, instead of putting the aircraft down in Pisa with an engine problem we got it to the main base in Europe. The Air Force was very happy about that.

Then, when we got to the Airlift Command Post, the Officer in Charge said we had two choices: Go into a layover for eight or more hours or continue with our trip to Athens with a stop in Naples. I left it up to the crew and they all voted to go on to Athens. That’s what we did and we laid over in Athens on the 25th.

On the 26th we flew to Istanbul and Brindisi and back to Chateauroux. We layed over there on the 27th and on the 28th we left for Spain. We went to Madrid, Moron, Rota and Torrejon and then we went back to Chateauroux.

We did the Italy trot: Aviano, Pisa, Naples and Brindisi. Then we went to Athens and laid over again. On August 1st we went to Nicosia, on Cyprus and then to Tel Aviv, Israel, back to Incirlik and back to Athens for another layover.

We left Chateauroux on the 3rd and went to Pisa and Naples and back to Chateauroux.

On the 4th of August we flew to Lajes in the Azores and then back to McGuire. Here is a view of Lakes:

2 November 1965

We had left McGuire on October 24th and after our October flying we arrived in Chateauroux on October 30th. Now, from Chateauroux we had to fly to Wheelus AB. You can read about Wheelus Air Base here:

“In September 1969 King Idris I was overthrown by a group of military officers centred on Muammar Gaddafi. Before the revolution, the US and Libya had already reached agreement on US withdrawal from Wheelus. This proceeded according to plan, and the facility was turned over to the new Libyan authorities on 11 June 1970.[5]

We went in and out of Wheelus AB pretty frequently, but I never laid over there. This time I left Wheelus for Athens. Enroute, I had a five year old boy sitting on my lap when we passed over an Aircraft Carrier. I rolled up the plane so he could see the carrier. I asked him if he wanted to land on it and he said: “Yes!”

We flew in and out now Athens and around the Middle East for several days and we landed in Yalova. We had to fly low over the field to drive the sheep or goats off the runway. There was just a single runway in 1965. Here is an image of Yalova today.

You can see Istanbul to the north, across the Sea of Marmara. One night, I was in Istanbul and I needed to fly to Yalova. The ceiling was 700 feet. There was only an ADF navigational radio at Yalova and the minimum you could descend to was 1100 feet. I could not fly there on an instrument flight plan. I decided to go VFR, that means Visual Flight Rules and went into the IST operations office to file for a VFR flight. The Major looked at my papers and said: “Don’t you know you can not fly VFR at night from Istanbul? You have to file for SPECIAL VFR flight.”

I said, “How do I do that?” He answered, pointing to my paper, “Put Special here.” So, I added SPECIAL in front of VFR and he approved my flight.

So, I flew a Special VFR flight from Istanbul to Yalova at 500 feet and landed at Yalova at night.

Finally, we got back to McGuire on November 11th.

27 October 1965

We departed McGuire on the 24th. You can read that post. But on that trip we ended up in Chateauroux and when we left, we flew to Incirlik, Turkey. As we got ready to leave Incirlik, we discovered that the starter for our #3 engine would not function. I decided to go out on the runway and taxi down the runway, spinning the prop on the engine that wouldn’t start normally and start it on the runway.

Our first stop out of Incirlik was Beirut, just across the Mediteranean. Well, we dropped off our cargo and loaded what they had for us and then we started three engines and taxied to the runway. Take a look at the Beirut airport. notice how the runway goes right out over the Med.

We got to the runway and got cleared for takeoff. We started rolling down the runway and we started the engine on the roll. The tower operator said: “I think one of your engines is not running.” My co-pilot said: “Keep looking.”

The engine started properly, I brought it up to full power and we made an uneventful takeoff. I did not have any problem with this maneuver because the C-130 had lots of power and we could have lifted off the ground with just three engines.

From Beirut, we went to Jedda, in Saudi Arabia. Later on, when I flew for Pan Am, I went up to Afghanistan and flew for Ariana Airlines. Pan Am owned 51% of Ariana Airlines. We flew an old 707 airplane and went to Jedda from Kandahar. We carried people into the Haj. If you want to read about Saudi Arabia I recommend: VISION or MIRAGE by David Rundell.

At any rate, we started our third engine by a run on the runway and then taxied back for takeoff, at Jedda. Our next stop was Asmara, Eritria. We spent the night there. This is 2500 meters high, too high for bigger planes.

I always liked the Eritreans I met and liked the layover there. Naturally, we started the 3rd engine on the runway and taxied back for our takeoff. And we went to Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. We started #3 and taxied back for takeoff.

From Addis we flew to Cairo, Egypt. Here was the perfect opportunity to tell the US Airforce that we had a bad starter and NEEDED to have one sent to us. That guaranteed that we could have a layover in Cairo. During this time, under General Nasser”s leadership it was hard to get a layover there. It took about FIVE hours for the woman who we were working with to get us cleared into Cairo for our layover. Read about Nasser:

We went to our hotel and then we grabbed a taxi and headed for the pyramids and the Sphinx. I don’t remember his name, but my copilot was from Pennsylvania. On the taxi ride out into the desert, he was afraid we were being kidnaped. When we got out to the pyramids and standing in front of the Sphinx, he looked at the pyramids and said: “We have slag piles bigger than them where I grew up.”

There was a restaurant out out there and it’s entertainment was ending because it was getting late and the tourists were leaving. But we walked in and they had us sit at a big table. We told them they could let the orchestra leave, we didn’t need them for our dinner. They refused and kept them there and they played for us, as we ate the pile of lamb and goat chops that they provided.

The next morning, my friend Tom Stringer, my navigator, and that copilot went to the Cairo museum, but as aircraft commander, I went to the airport with the mechanic who installed the new starter. You see, the Air Force had rules that you were not allowed to make running starts on engines. We, as Navy pilots, didn’t pay too much attention to those rules, unless we were in Cairo.

From Cairo we started a run through Beirut and Incirlik to Chateauroux and got there on the 30th. We left for Wheelus on 2 November.

15 April 1965 Tehran

We left McGuire on the 5th of April and we got back on the 24th. In all that time we had been as far east as Tehran. Actually we were there four times in that stretch of time, and we stayed there for four days, from the 9th to the 12th. During that time we were amazed by how modern the attire was. Women were not rapped in veils and burkas. It was the time of Mohammed Raza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. You can read about him Here:

The first Shah of the Persians, Cyrus the Great, had taken that title 2500 years before the current Shah took the title and Cyrus ruled over 50 million people.

Pahlavi came to power after Mossadegh had NATIONALIZED the oil industry and the United Kingdom and the United States overthrew his father’s rule and reintroduced privately owned oil companies and brought the Shah to power.

I remember going up to a pool, with a small waterfall, just outside of Tehran where the Shah used to go with his harem. When we were there, they were washing huge Iranian carpets in the water and they were using TIDE soap. I know I took some pictures of that. I have to look for that picture. These guys took the wet carpets, folded up on their shoulder, climbed a little up the cliff and unfolded the carpet to let it dry in the sun. After a little while, the hill was covered in carpets and the colors were wonderful to see. Especially through the cloud of a little hashish smoke.

We went back and forth to Karachi and we stoped in Incirlik. We also had a layover in Peshawar, Pakistan. Tom Stringer was my Navigator on this trip and he and I went to the Khyber Pass and walked around the gun shops and ammunition dealers.

Later, in April, we were ordered by radio to stop at Peshawa and pick up some American families that were being evacuated due to a the war between India and Pakistan that had just started. We landed and we taxied toward the tower. We left one engine running and I climbed the wooden steps on the outside of the tower, to an office just below the tower. There was a Pakistan sergeant at a blackboard with chalk in his hand. He was controlling the traffic. I had NO IDEA how to speak to him, so I said: “We come in big plane down from sky and want to file flight plan to leave.” in a John Wayne voice. He looked at me and said: “Excuse me sir, but can I help you?” in perfect English and then it occurred to me how long the British had been out there. The wooden tower was gone in this image.

Well, we picked up the families and flew them to Karachi. There was a US Colonel with a wife and two kids and a couple of other wives. The Colonel was worried about my getting in trouble for bringing civilians in, on my airplane. He said he would figure out how to get transportation after they got away from the plane. I told him not to worry about it and told Karachi that I needed a bus to transport our passengers.


Well, civil rights really got accelerated here in Birmingham, Alabama. At 10:22 AM on this Sunday morning some Klu Klux Klan men killed four young black girls by setting of a bomb against the side of the 16th Street Baptist Church. You can look at this video:

Do a little research on what it was like in the USA with fully visible racism in Birmingham with Governor George Wallace, Commissioner of Safety “BULL” Connor in Birmingham and J. Edgar Hoover as the head of the FBI.

I got to Naval Air Transport Squadron Three, VR-3, at McGuire AFB in New Jersey in September of 1963. Since I grew up in NY City, I went home Friday evening on the 20th of September 1963. On my way to Corona, I stopped at the Village Voice in Greenwich Village to catch Nina Simone singing. I was alone and sat at a table. She came on stage and sang “Mississippi God Damn” for 45 minutes, alone, no band and got up and left the floor. Here is a video:

Well, I really missed her singing and doing Jazz, so Sunday evening on the 22 of September, on the way back to McGuire I stopped at the Voice again to catch her midnight show. She walked out on stage and said” It’s midnight on Sunday night. The people here came to listen to some Jazz. Let’s do Jazz.” and she played for about an hour. Then I drove down to McGuire.

Medgar Evers was assassinated on June 12, 1963. You can read about him here:

August 28, 1963

There was a march on Washington on this day in 1963. Many people attended and 200,000 people marched. Martin Luther King gave his “I have a Dream” speech and Bob Dylan sang at the Lincoln Memorial performing “When The Ship Comes In” with Joan Baez and “Only A Pawn In Their Game” solo before Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his remarkable speech. Check it out:


James Meredith wanted to attend the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford, Mississippi and the US Supreme Court ordered that he should be able to register there and get his degree there. But Ross Barnett, the Governor of Mississippi had segregationist ideals and conversations with both Jack and Bobby Kennedy could not get him to help them get Meredith registered. Here are a series of conversations you can read:

So, the Kennedys tried to get Meredith into Ole Miss, in Oxford, without violence but it didn’t work. Federal Marshalls took Meredith into the university grounds and two men were killed in the mellay.

Though President Kennedy and Governor Barnett talked several more times, the rioting in Oxford forced both men to do what they wanted most to avoid: Barnett had to step aside without his valiant last stand, and Kennedy had to storm Mississippi with U.S. Army troops. Still, James Meredith achieved his goal: on Monday morning, October 1, 1962, he walked across the smoldering, battered campus of Ole’ Miss and registered for classes.

Historians say that President John F. Kennedy simply did not understand the depth and ferocity of Southern racism. The President thought segregation was illogical, and that a cogent argument could make that clear to Ross Barnett. But the Kennedy-Barnett calls show how hard it is for two leaders to work out a problem on the phone if they don’t speak the same political language.

Bob Dylan recorded OXFORD TOWN on 6 December 1962 in response to the Mississippi riots. Check it out:

Oxford Town

Bob Dylan

Oxford town, Oxford town
Everybody’s got their heads bowed down
Sun don’t shine above the ground
Ain’t a-goin’ down to Oxford town

He went down to Oxford town
Guns and clubs followed him down
All because his face was brown
Better get away from Oxford town

Oxford town around the bend
Come to the door, he couldn’t get in
All because of the color of his skin
What do you think about that, my friend?

Me, my gal, and my gal’s son
We got met with a tear gas bomb
Don’t even know why we come
We’re goin’ back where we came from

Oxford town in the afternoon
Everybody’s singin’ a sorrowful tune
Two men died ‘neath the Mississippi moon
Somebody better investigate soon.


Emmet Till was murdered in Money, Mississippi after he said something to a white woman Carolyn Bryant. Read about it here:

The lasting importance of the Till case was the remarkable political achievement of Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till Mobely, her friends and her allies, and the dozens of community organizations and institutions of Black Chicago that they were able to mobilize, to launch a huge national protest movement. What matters most about the men who tortured and murdered Emmett Till and the jury in Sumner who acquitted them is not their brutality or their short-lived victory, but instead what African American activists and their allies across the country were able to build from these outrages. The movement mobilized hundreds of thousands of people over the course of almost two years, raised an immense amount of civil rights money, including substantial startup funds for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and greatly expanded the size and strength of the NAACP. Mamie Till Mobley and her friends and allies brought together a national network of powerful organizations that became some of the most important support for Martin Luther King, Jr. and what became a national mass movement for Black citizenship and equality, which really did not exist prior to the Till case.

24 October 1965

C-130 37835 was one of the C-130s we had at McGuire. This plane was used to fly to a remote airport in th US. A tower operator there knew that this would be the first four engine airplane that would land at this field. He set up his 8 millimeter motion picture camera to capture this landing. Here is that video:

Well, just after I became an Aircraft Commander, I was sent out on a trip to Europe. The aircraft I got was 37835 and after the accident it had, it had no wing tanks. I had to fly to Goose Bay, Labrador to get enough fuel to fly to Prestwick, Scotland.

On the 24th of October Goose had had a lot of snow that had been removed and piled on both sides of the runway. I was getting a Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) from the radar operator at Goose.

The strictest Check Pilot we had in VR-3 was Lieutenant Commander Norman Garsoe. It happened that Norm wanted to go to Rota, Spain because he was being re-assigned there and he wanted to see the housing that was available. Sure enough, he came on my first trip as an Aircraft Commander. In fact, as I was making this GCA he was looking over my shoulder. At about 300 feet above the ground, with large piles of snow on both sides of the runway, Norm said: “Tell me all the electrical components that are on the Battery Bus.”

I turned my head for a second to look at him and then it got to me that he was having some fun. I had to chuckle.

We ended this days flying in Chateauroux and went to the Swans for dinner.