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Updates and FAC News 

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Plea for Help:

 

During the fall of Phenom Penh, Cambodia, April 1975 a pilot flew out a baby in a bassinet tucked between his legs.  The baby survived, is grown, and is looking for her roots with the help of a producer, who is making a documentary of the story.  The following is an excerpt from his plea for help.  A Rustic or Raven FAC may have worked with or know him.

 

I am a producer working on a new documentary following a woman who is learning about her adoption from Cambodia in 1975. She was flown out of Phnom Penh on one of the last aircraft/helicopters before the city fell to the Khmer Rouge and would love to find the pilot, who apparently flew her from the city in a bassinet tucked between his legs! 

 

We aren't sure of the name but there is a prime candidate:


Mr. Khong Lai (or Thais M. Lai), a Cambodian, was a former Continental Air Services  pilot working for Yvette Pierpaoli, of and flying for Continental Air Services, Inc in Cambodia in the 1970s. He was a pilot who helped Hmong fighters, as well as flying our presenter out of Cambodia. He was granted refugee status in the USA in 1975, and unable to return to country or family. We think he would still be in the USA, if still alive. 

 

Or the other possibility any of the USAF or Marine helicopter pilots who flew people out to aircraft carriers on April 12th 1975 in Operation Eagle Pull. That is the alternative.

 

If you have clue that would help this woman, please email Edward Wright <ed.wright@pulsefilms.co.uk>


Announcements:
  • 11/25/2019: Bill Caruthers, Rustic 34, took his last flight on Monday evening, 20 Nov 2019.  A service will be held Saturday, 7 Dec 2019, in Charlotte.  Bill, a Night Rustic flying the O2-A, joined the Rustics in mid-1971 at Bien Hoa. When the Night Rustics dispersed in late September 1971, Bill moved to TSN with the Sundogs. He supported An Loc during the Easter Offensive by the NVA in April 1972. After separating from the Air Force, he flew with Delta until being medically retired due to Parkinson’s disease.  He fought one helluva battle with his disease for more than a decade.  

Bill and Chris’s email is billc114@gmail.com.

Claude Newland

Sam -
                Carruthers.jpg

William B. Carruthers, Jr. died 20 November 2019 after after living with Parkinson's disease for more than a decade. He was a FAC in SEA 1971-1972 and may be recognized by some Red Hats by his Sundog call sign as having covered the Battle of An Loc during the 1972 Easter Offensive. As you are aware, the Red Marker FACs disbanded in January 1971, so the Red Hats and Red Berets depended after that time upon Vietnamese Air Force FACs or other USAF FACs such as Nails and Coveys and Sundogs for close air support.

The Airborne was instrumental in defending An Loc after it was surrounded by NVA attackers. The 1st Airborne Brigade made up of the 5th, 6th, and 8th Battalions and the 81st Ranger Battalion attacked up Highway 13 to relieve the defenders at An Loc but were stopped south of the city. The units along with some artillery were then helicoptered around the NVA blockade. The 6th Battalion defended a firebase set up for the howitzers while the 5th, 8th, and the Rangers fought their way into the town. A regiment of NVA overran one company of the 6th and the other two companies had to retreat to a hot extraction some days later. Refit and resupplied, the reconstituted 6th would rejoin the fight a few weeks later to successfully lift the siege.

Meanwhile, the defenders at An Loc fought house to house against NVA infantry and tanks. The Airborne depended upon layers of air support: Army gunships provided the closest support within the town; the Sundog FACs who kept three birds airborne around the clock directed TACAIR and Spectre support at the perimeter; Vietnamese Air Force FACs directed TACAIR outside that perimeter; and B-52s plastered the approaches to the city and NVA troop concentrations beyond the VNAF AO. Additionally, C-130's parachuted supplies into the surrounded defenders.

When the reformed 6th Battalion attacked form the south and joined up with the 8th, it was clear that the NVA had been defeated. The Brigade was then pulled from An Loc sent north as a backup to the forces preparing to retake Quang Tri. The 1st Brigade lost 346 troopers KIA in the Battle of An Loc with 1.093 WIA and 66 MIA. Nine Red Hat advisors were WIA during the fight. The casualties would have undoubtedly been larger had not Sundog 34 and his comrades braved withering fire to support the troops.

Slow hand salute to a brave warrior,

Gary Willis
Red Marker 18

A celebration of Bill's life will be held on Saturday December 7th at Heritage Funeral Home , 3700 Forest Lawn Drive, Matthews, NC 28079.  Visitation from 2 - 3 PM with celebration outside following.   https://www.heritagecares.com
 

  • 11/21/2019: Charles Waterman, (LTC USAF Ret.) Red Marker ALO the last half of 1971, passed away 9 Nov 2019 in Wenatchee, WA. His wife Mary Ann preceded him in death in 2016 and is buried at the USAF Academy where Chuck graduated in 1960. His remains will be interred next to his wife at a ceremony 13:00 hours, 31 Mar 2020.
    Chuck was the earliest Academy grad to serve with the Red Markers and the only one to serve as ALO.  Slow hand salute to another warrior

  • 10/23/2019: Robert Karl (Bob) Selke, (Col USAF Ret) Flew West on Friday 27 September 2019. Bob flew 462 missions as a FAC in 1969-70 with the 19th TAS and 22nd TAS.  To read his obituary click here.

  • 10/06/2019: FREE FLU SHOTS! for veterans at your local Walgreens Drug store.

  • 10/06/2019: Beginning January 2020, the VA will share your health records with health providers without obtaining your specific authorization.  However, there is an opt out provision.  To understand the details click on  HEALTH RECORDS!.
  • 8/30/2019: Skip Smothermon, Helix 41 and life member, passed away on 16 August 2019.  His career included duties as an IP at Webb and Randolph AFBs and with the 3541st TAC Fighter Squadron.  He was an Air Liaison Officer and Forward Air Controller while serving with the Americal Division at Chu Lai in Vietnam.  Other assignments were as a fighter pilot at George AFB, Udorn and Hahn ABs.  At Hahn he became the Operations Officer and then at Shaw AFB he became the Director of Command and Control for the 9th AF.  His awards include: 1 Silver Star, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 2 Bronze Stars, 1 Purple Heart, 18 Air Medals and an Air Force Commendation Medal.  Skip was the Sheriff on the FACNET.  He will be missed.  Slow hand salute.

  • 8/30/2019: James B. "Briggs" Diuguid, Raven 26, Walt 21/23, and Chamba 04, has flown west.  Briggs flew O-1s, O-2s, T-28s and U-17s and a member.  What follows is notice of his passing.
    • Gentlemen;
      With deep regret, I inform you of the passing of Briggs Diuguid the night of August 27, 2019.
      Briggs flew as Raven 26 from Feb ’71- Oct, ’71.  He also went back for another tour from Spring, ‘74- Spring, ’75, training the Khmers in Phnom Penh.

      Details of a memorial service at Ft Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola NAS will be forthcoming. A possible date of 18 Sep is being explored. This is NOT firm. 

      Cards are welcome.  No flowers, please. Donations in Briggs’ memory may be made to EAPLS (Scholarship), 330 Brookhollow, New Braunfels, TX, 78132 or Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, 105 North “S” Street, Pensacola, Fl 32505 (donate on line  go to:pensacolawildlife.com, Click on  DONATE)

      For my 442nd TFW buds, many times I heard Briggs talk about his days with us. He really enjoyed them and took great pride in his contributions. Here is a snippet from his obit:

      He was privileged to serve as the Air Force advisor to the Air Force Reserve’s 442nd Tactical Fighter Wing during their conversion to the A-10. The enlisted force at the 442nd made him an honorary Chief Master Sergeant, an award he treasured.

      Briggs was a fine officer,  a fellow combat aviator, and a great friend. He is sorely missed. To him, a tearful hand salute.

      V/R
      Darrel Whitcomb

  • 8/19/2019: The FAC Association summer News Letter is out! August 2019 Newsletter.

  • 8/12/2019: Robert C. Kirk, a Helix FAC, flew west on August 3, 2019.  Bob is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jane.  He flew OV-10s out of Chu Lai and DaNang July 70-71.  He was a life member.

  • 5/22/2019: Hall S. Elliott, Covey Easy, flew west on 22 May 2019.  Hall was a navigator thus had letter rather than a numbered call sign.  He primarily flew night missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the O-2 from January 1970 to January 1971.  He was a life member of the FAC Association, a friend and brother.  Slow hand salute - We will meet again.

  • 5/12/2019: Timothy Caruthers, a Nail FAC, passed on in January 2019.  His family is looking to talk to some one who knew him then.  Tim flew O-2s in 1970/71 most likely over Laos.

  • 3/22/2019: Roger Tarr, Cider 30/31, timed out on 19 Mar 2019.  Details

  • 3/21/2019: John T. Buck, Jade 03, flew west 18 May 2019.  Obituary-click here

  • 3/18/2019: Cecil Waggoner, David 33/Beaver, flew west.

  • 3/11/2019: Joe M. Jackson, Medal of Honor winner, flew west 12 Jan 2019.  Rescue at Kham Duc
                                                                              



 

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