Local Stories

MATURE SUBJECT MATTER, VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: WEDU is honored to present the personal Vietnam War experiences of our local citizens. The stories presented here have not been edited and are presented as originally shared by the author. The content may contain coarse language, images, or remembrances that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

Douglas S.’s Story

Shared on July 13, 2017


I entered the military just out of high school in Sept.1963.Trained as an aviation machinist.My first assignment was Incirlick Air Force base in Adana, Turkey.Eighteen months later went to Nha Trang,Vietnam in Oct.1965.The beginning of the escalation had started.Approximately 90,000 U.S. Personnel.I worked out of an old semi trailer that was fitted with primitive equipment.Our unit was eventually assigned to the 14th Air Commando Wing.Now for the forgotten story hardly noticed by history!

Our C-123 Providers were trying to supply by airdropping pallets of live animals (pigs,chickens,and cows) along with ammo and medical necessities into radar sites and remote locations that could only be reached by air.The drop release mechanism would bind and delay the drop by seconds and the “goods” ended up in Charley’s hands.The air craft would level out and reset everything come back around appox.300 ft of the [email protected] 175mph and try it again.The crew chiefs ask us if we could make a unit that would never fail.We did! The first drop with this devise was so fast,they almost dropped the load to soon.This item was sent back to the States,tested and approved….we didn’t wait for their approval and soon replaced all the old releases saving lives and much needed supplys.Our C-123’s also had several “flair” aircraft for assisting ground forces in night engagement.The plane would circle the engagement and “kick” large long lasting flairs att ached to parachutes from several thousand feet….sometimes all night long.This would light up the place like a sports stadium.

There is much more to all of the things accomplished by dedicated Airmen at Nha Trang.

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Retired Officers’ Corporation at Freedom Plaza

Production Credits: THE VIETNAM WAR is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington D.C. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Written by Geoffrey C.  Ward.  Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns.

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