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VIETNAM USAF PILOT'S GROUP


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While walking my dog on Memorial Day, I stopped to talk to one of my neighbors. He served in the Air Force from the mid-1950s until 1976. He knew I was interested in military history and asked me to stop by later. When I went over, he opened up his walk-in closet and said "Do you want any of this stuff?" Inside were the uniform and equipment that spanned his career. He said that if I wasn't interested, he was going to donate it to a local theater group to use for plays.

 

I did not want to appear greedy so I took the items he thought I would be most interested in. The following are the items that he gave me on Monday. He asked me to come back later when we would have more time to go through his uniforms and stuff.

 

First up his K-2B Flight Suit that he wore while flying C-130s in Vietnam

 

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Next his Flight Helmet with mask

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His headset that he wore on the C-130

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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His Jungle shirt

 

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An ERDL shirt he picked up. Actually his load master discovered it in some of the crates they were carrying.

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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When he began his career, he was a navigator ob board the B-57. This is the survival vest that he was isued in the mid-1950s. Notice that the pockets are bulging. It still has much of his survival gear in it!

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Some of his unit insignias.

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His helmet bag with some of the items that were in it.

 

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While he was stationed in Thailand, he traded with the navy for this wet weather parka. The Air Force had not issued them any wet weather gear of their own.

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Not a bad way to spend Memorial Day! Better than your normal backyard BBQ!

 

I will post some of these items in the aviation section with more detailed photos.

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Holy moly ! What a fantastic grouping! I especially like the flight helmet complete with oxygen mask. All of it is good stuff and if he gives you more goodies, be sure and post pictures here.

Thanks for sharing this. thumbsup.gif

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Holy moly ! What a fantastic grouping! I especially like the flight helmet complete with oxygen mask. All of it is good stuff and if he gives you more goodies, be sure and post pictures here.

Thanks for sharing this. thumbsup.gif

 

Thanks Lee! He is really an interesting guy to talk to. He was awarded a DFC while in Vietnam for having to make an emergency take-off (not landing) with one engine out. I have requested his records from NARA.

 

What's funny is the stuff he still uses today. He wears his field jacket during the fall and wears his mukluks when he shovels snow. His nice fur covered mittens are pretty beat up because his dog chews on them when they play!

 

I asked him about a "party suit", but he said that all they did was wear their flight suit with a scarf with the unit insignia. He doesn't think that he has that any more.

 

I feel uneasy asking him if he would want to part with his medals. I always consider those to be a rather personal item, much more than a uniform. But maybe I can come up with a way to politely ask. More likely than not, his family will want those.

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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  • 1 year later...

Wow Erick! w00t.gif

 

'Tis true, my uncle Keith served with USAF Blue Barons (if I understood him and he remembers correctly anymore) in Japan during the 1950s - doing what was then referred to as Aircraft Electrician.

 

Their bird of the day was the C-119 Flying Boxcar. He told me a story about those particular a/c which I was able to verify later - to the effect that his unit's 119s were sent to Vietnam, prior TO openly-known USA involvement, as part of the French military efforts there - apparently for the purpose of dropping napalm and doing other clandestine stuff.

 

I cannot immediately recall the Operation name, but it became famous... maybe it was Dien Bien Phu? Something like that anyway...

 

What I would give to have that patch, from his era - if there even was one issued.

 

He may have one, if he kept anything at all - but he's one of those who got in and got out as fast as possible and has to be bribed to give up the least smidgen of the history he saw.

 

Thanks for showing that and for giving me a heads up about it.

HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








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Don't worry about being greedy. Get anything you can and keep the group together.

 

He already has the idea in his mind that it's time to clean out the closet. Tell him you'll take absolutely anything related to his military service, including clothing, photos, medals, paperwork, souveniers, etc.

 

If you don't do it now, two things will happen. (1) He'll get rid of the rest of the stuff, and (2) you'll always regret it and kick yourself.

 

Ask if he has a portrait of himself in uniform, and even if he doesn't want to get rid of it you could make a digital copy.

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Always interested in the 166th Infantry, 42nd Division, A.E.F.

Quality WW1 studio portraits and real photo postcards of Distinguished Service Cross recipients; showing steel helmets; or other interesting content.

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Very nice group.Hope you can get the balance of the items and keep it all together.That C-1 vest is a time capsule in my opinion.Any update on the other items??

 

RD

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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My word, you got one hell of a haul!!! You MUST get his autograph and a bio going. You lucky so and so!! Dude I hope your deal with the fella with the horns was worth it..... ;)

 

-Ski

In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

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Beast,

 

superb items and luck. I imagine the veteran will be pleased that his items are actually going to someone who will appreciate and cherish them.

 

I agree that if you can get a photograph of the veteran from either his service or of him as he is today, that will add a further priceless human aspect to these fine items.

 

Good luck and congratulations!

 

 

 

Patrick.

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One more thing.....do an interview with him....video or audio tape. That would tie it all together nicely.

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Always interested in the 166th Infantry, 42nd Division, A.E.F.

Quality WW1 studio portraits and real photo postcards of Distinguished Service Cross recipients; showing steel helmets; or other interesting content.

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Folks, thanks very much for all of the kind words on this group! Over the months, I have asked my neighbor for photos and he has promised to get them to me. However, he had a very major surgery, last year and he is still recovering from it. A local school did interview him for the National Archives veteran's project and I have a copy of the transcript from that. There are some errors in it (according to my neighbor) and we have gone over and corrected them.

 

 

Now that spring is here, I hope to see him outside more often. One thing I never did ask him about was his flight jackets. I will bring that up to him and see where those went to. I am working with the Indiana Historical Society to set up a display on Hoosiers and military aviation for Veteran's Day. I hope to have many of his items incoporated in that display and will post photos if everything works out.

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Had a few minutes to take photos of the contents of the vest. My lighting wasn't the best, so I didn't lay everything out. Hopefully you can get an idea of the items that were still left in the vest.

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Wow, what an amazing group!

 

Fantastic.

 

I love the helmet and the complete survival vest.

Written contributor to French Militaria Magazine, UK World War II Re-enactors Magazine &The Karkee Web Research Team.

Remembering the service of:
9095 Pte Alfred Fredrick NEWLAND, 7th Field Ambulance, 2 Division, AIF. WIA 16/11/16 France.
436 Private Albert McCANN, B Company 8th Battalion AIF. Enlisted 26/8/14. Killed in Action 17/6/15 Gallipoli.
VX24056 Gunner George Edward McCANN, 2/3 Composite Anti Aircraft Regiment. Enlisted 7/6/40. Discharged 3/8/44. Served in Australia and New Guinea.



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  • 1 year later...

Well, I was talking to my neighbor last week and he said that he found some of his "old camping stuff" and wanted to know if I was interested in it. Of course, I said yes, so Sunday I popped over and he dug this out of the basement for me.

 

In the box of goodies, were

-pilot's checklists for the C-119A and the C-130.

-All sort of notes and manuals,

-a modified shirt (note the pen pocket on the sleeve)

-his baseball cap with Majors oakleaf,

-a few patches,

-two near mint 1965 dated shelter halves

-a WWII mosquito bar

-two near mint VS-17 panels

-a knee clipboard

-two blue ascots

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Two pieces that I am really excited about are the two blue ascots. The Blue Barons did not have party suits when he was with them, but they wore these blue ascots instead.

 

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That's it for now. As I go through them, I'll take more detailed photos of the patches and other items. Stay tuned!

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Great stuff there! As everyone else said I would definately mention to him that you would like anything he wants to part with. Maybe invite him over to your house and show him your stuff? He would probably like that and too you would be showing him how you value this kind of stuff. Mike

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