Takhli RTAFB

Bios and More - 1998-1 entries

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Bob Kleeman
 April 1998

Our Wild Weasel modification process was to  put in a horizontal stabilizer setting that would enable landing in case of problems. we  lived in the hootches by the NCO and Service clubs. i will never forget my first gecko calling, I was on my way back to the hootch after happy hour. I thought some one was Santa Claus.

Bob Kleeman
Takhli Jan 68-Jun 68

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Dick Williams
 April 1998

I spent a year as a Weather Officer at Takhli - we were located right next to the 355th Wing Command Post in the HQ building and briefed the flight crews on expected take off, refueling, target, return to base and landing weather.  Then about 4 hours later we'd debrief the same crews, collect all the target weather info to pass on to later sorties.  Major Jim Miller was our Detachment Commander - a fine CO and a good friend during my year at Takhli. One of the memorable moments was in July of 1969 when the Apollo astronauts landed on the moon. By some means we had a live video feed on base of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon. The fact that we were getting live video from the outside world was more amazing to me than the fact of the moon landing! Anybody else recall that day?

All in all I met a lot of great people, gained enormous respect for the Thud a crews who put their lives on the line every day. Same for the EB-66 crews along with all the support personnel on base. The Wing Commander for most of my tour was Col. Heath Bottomly, the Bald Eagle.

Some random names from our outfit: Sgt. Roger Lanouette (we'd worked together at Langley AFB prior to my overseas assignment and was I glad to have a familiar face in a far off place), Sgt. Bracco, TSgt. Texter, MSgt Hearn, Capt Main Hutcheson, Sgt. Tony Gaura, Sgt Bill Bays, Sgt Allen, Sgt. Richard Armstrong the El Tech who kept our old WSR-3 turning, lots of Intel briefers we shared the stage with during the mission briefings and afternoon Commander's briefing.

I retired from the the National Weather Service's Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City Missouri in 1999 and I currently do contract truck delivery runs as a contract Slip Seat Driver with Driveaway USA of Lees Summit MO.

Dick Williams

Takhli Base Weather May 69 - May 70
Kansas City MO
email rjw@NSkcsky.net
Personal website: http://www.kcsky.net
Driveaway411 - The 411 on the field of driveaway.

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Bobby Dean
April 1998

There were a lot of great men at the base that did their part the best they could do -- nobody can ask for more.  I'm just now finding out how great they were.   So much of what was going on was outside of any one airman's area of responsibility.   There was an enormous intensity to life in that year and now I find out how naive I was working the flightline.   I'm sure the higher the rank the greater the responsibility and therefore the bigger the picture.

I was a bit older, 24, than the other 1st term crew chiefs.   I had a long love affair with flying.  RC models, then helping a friend build a homebuilt biplane and salvaging a Stearman Biplane and had it partially restored and had completed 91 hrs. studying engineering.   I fit the job at hand but was still a shy type you'd expect to find in engineering.    The type that's too shy to ask, to interrupt the duties but also has more questions than anyone has time to answer.   Oh yeah, there's that, need to know thing --- shouldn't ask anyway, right?

I'm interested in finding out if the info we had on Lt. Rice is accurate.   We didn't see him eject and the story on the flightline was that he rode it in.  He was at least a couple of miles south of the Takhli highway on impact.   I was told the egress troops were under the microscope due to a remove before flight pin/streamer being found in an initiator in the debris.   However it was the initiator for the displacement gear (nuke displacement) which was above the bomb bay in the turtle deck - safetied due to the internal 390 gal. aux tank hung in the bomb bay on the "D" gear.   A good buddy worked out of the engine conditioning shop and he pointed out the remains of the engine.   The engine was claimed to be the largest part of the Thud and the biggest part I saw was the hub of the N2 compressor with most of it's blades gone.   If he really rode it to the ground, it's one of the greatest miracles in USAF history.

There are quite a few good stories from the flightline:  The snake in the Thud.   The Bees in the cockpit abort.   The "several consecutive missions" our Wing Commander couldn't get water out of his water bottle.   I was the crew chief that relieved the day troops (that had serviced the bottle) and parked the Commander.   Col. Giraudo must be a saint, his conduct under the circumstances was an example to follow.    Then there was the paint shop painting the 3,000 lb. bombs white.   The banished load troop with the cross threaded tail fuse on the 750 lb.. bomb ( maybe we shouldn't talk about that one - might offend the banished.)   I didn't follow the commanders lead of quite demeanor on that occasion.   Your site is probably the best place to collect some of the interesting things that are more human interest and outside the air crew operations.

The hot air in the cockpit incident I'm not sure of. [an incident i had asked about involving a Thud returning to Takhli with incredible heat entering the cockpit - Pilot safe - dick williams]    Sounds like a mixing valve problem or perhaps some defect in the A/C duct system.    If a hot duct came apart and blasted hot air on the A/C duct I don't doubt it would heat the cold duct.    I seem to recall the Thud had an air cycle machine.   Real simple and I never heard of a failure in a system.   Hot bleed air is cooled with ambient air (intercooler or "radiator") and then it goes to a rapid expansion turbine where the "cooler" high pressure hot air goes through the pressure drop to come out cooler than the original ambient air coming in the engine intake.   From there it probably went to a mixing valve to regulate the output to the cockpit.  From what I understand its unlikely the rapid expansion Turbine would fail, most likely the mixing valve.

Bobby (in Las Vegas)
Takhli Aug 67- Aug 68

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Gary Jerry
April 1998

Dick, I am so happy to see your page on the net.  I was stationed at Takhli  from Aug 67 to Aug 68.  I was a crew chief with the 333 TFS.  As time goes on my memory is fading, your home page brings back memories of a good time in my life.  I worked mostly on the night shift and partied down town the rest of the time.  Maybe that's why I can't remember much.  I didn't get
many pictures while stationed in Takhli but I am enclosing a document created in MSworks with a few pictures.

I would be most appreciative of any one who has any other pictures would E-Mail them to me.  I would also like to know if anyone out there remembers the Acft I worked on "The Big Badum Bird"?  Pictures enclosed.  I was at the Air Force Museum in the 70s and I could find no record that we even had a Big Badum Bird.  It was named after the Commanders bird (Parakeet I believe)at home in the states.  Keep up the good work.

OK,   time for a recollection about Tahkli.  I hung around the Tahkli Hut bar downtown and one of my favorite stories is about the time I was sitting in the bar and the monsoon was going on.  By the time I left the bar everyone was on top of the tables, and the juke box was moved to the top of the bar after it had floated the length of the bar.  The reason I was on top of the table is because I could have sworn the water was 6 feet deep and those GIGANTIC swimming snakes and I did not get along.  Now I can't remember to this day wether the snakes and water were real or if the Singhai and the Jim Beam had something to do with it.  When I get time I'll tell you about the rice bugs and some other stories.  Keep up the good work and I'll be talking to you.


Gary Jerry Tsgt. USAF, Ret.
Takhli RTAFB  Aug 67-Aug 68

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Jim Lobdell
18 April 1998

I was at Takhli from Nov. 66 to Nov 67 with the 333rd.  I was crew chief on F-105F Wild Weasel  63-8329. I was able to keep my plane with only minor damage.  It was later shot down in 70 by AAA in Laos.   When I was there the wing commanders were Col. Scott and Col. Giraudo.  In the 333rd it was L/C D. Salmon and L/C William Norris.  Col. White was the director of ops. He was the X-15 pilot.  Knew who Col Broughton was.  He had to have the same drag chute repacked and put back in his plane.  I also have both books that Col. Broughton wrote. Also the commander of  the B-66's was Col. Harrison Lobdell Jr. (no relation that I know of)

 By the way here at Ft Wayne we have F-16's.

Jim Lobdell
then: Takhli Nov 66 - Nov 67
now: Van Buren,Indiana

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Gerald Urango
17 April 1998

Hi, my name is Gerald M. Urango, I was stationed at Takhli RTAFB from 1969 to 1970 with the 357TFS.  I found your web site by looking up F-105 Thuds. Please add my name to your list if possible.  Thanks for the memory of my past. The acft I crewed was called the "Underdog"

Gerald Urango
Takhli 69 - 70

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Ralph Reed
15 April 1998

After I returned from Phan Rang in Jan 71, I was assigned to Det 8, 43rd ARRS at Bergstrom AFB, Tx. On May 06, 1972, our entire Detachment recieved orders to relocate to Takhli as part of Operation Constant Guard III. To re-open the base. We were given 3 days to get the helicopters ready for loading, our shots, and pack very light. I remember it was all hush, hush and we could only tell our imm ediate family prior to leaving.

A C-141 landed and we loaded both choppers and all the crew and we were off. I remember the trip over there. Very cramped for space. Some of the guys were sleeping in the chopper and anywhere we could find a place to sleep. I remember sitting in that red web jump seat, NOT COMFORTABLE.

As we landed there at Takhli, there were hardly no personnal there yet. We were it. We gathered at the Officers quarters where we slept for a couple of days on the floor, no bed, no cots, no sleeping bags. Really roughing it.

As we got our alert quarters together we still had no beds so a couple of us went through the base and located some cots. Got the cots and damn near got in pretty hot water. About a week later, they started issueing cots out and found out we already had cots. Our pilot officers had some mighty fast talking to do. For our barracks, when we finally got them, were open bay with weeds around them as high the windows. Have pictures of the mamasans cutting the grass from around them. The FU Lizzards were really bad, kept you awake all night. Spent six months there until my replacement showed up. I wasted no time getting out of there and heading back to Bergstrom.

Anyway Dick, that is about all we did there with exception of pulling alert duty for inbound emergencies. Take care and the very best to you and yours,

Ralph Reed
USAF/ ARRS/ Airborne Firefighter/ Crash Rescue HH-43B
Det. 1, 38 ARRS Phan Rang AB, RVN Jan 70 to Jan 71
Det. 8, 43 ARRS Takhli RTAFB, Thai 72
Now: Houston, Texas

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Amos Parker
9 May 98

The 49th deployed to Tahkli in (I beleive) April of 72 in a four day deployment with the 417th eparting first and the 7th, 8th, & 9th on successive days.  We three hoped it from Holloman AFB, New Mexico via Hickam AFB Hawaii and AndersonAFB Guam. My front seater on the deployment was a heluva fine guy and pilot named Ben Coalglazer.  The filght over was relatively uneventful except for the two Whiskey Fronts encountered at Hickam & Anderson. We ad a utility hydrolic failure whe we dropped our gear on final at Tahkli and had to make a go around so the others could land (We were lead Aircraft) and the take the barrier. Had a bit of a problem  communicating with the Thai Tower operators, but fumbled through.

We went into combat 48 hours later and made multi strikes at An Lok after tanking near Phom Penn Cambodia and a couple of turns at Bien Hua, the tanking again over Cambodia enroute home to Tahkli.  Made for a long day.

Most missions during our tour were in SVN, several in NVN (Linebacker) and none in Laos.  In begining were making multiple strikes at An Lok SVN.  I was Sq. Nav in a fighter Sq.

[ from a later email]

After about a month at Tahkli, a Thai truck driver forced one of our NCOs off the road into a Klong where he drowned.  The Thai base commander  had the driver shot the next morning.  A few weeks later another drunk driver drove into a group of marching Thai troops, hurting several and killing at least one.  He was shot that evening.  While I did not witness any of the activity, either accidents or executions, it was common knowledge.  As much as I used to drink, it seemed a good idea. About time some one became accountable for their actions.  And as I mentioned earlier, it cuts down on repeat offenders.  It might do a lot of good in New Mexico if the executions took place for a couple of months.  Harsh, but effective.

P.S. Wait till I tell about bombing the church.

Keep the faith
"John A. Parker" <amosthefamous@NSpvtnetworks.net>

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Dave Lawlor
10 May 98

Although I was assigned to the Chief of Supply during my stay at Tahkli RTAFB during the period of Dec 66 to Dec 67.  I was NCOIC for setting up a Quick Parts Kit for all the Maintenance ECM Pods, that were used aboard the EC66 and F105's for radar jamming during the missions over Vietnam.  Yes, I can remember the 12 hour shifts, 6 day weeks that the troops worked back then.

Indeed I did get to see many aircrew coming back with aircraft damaged by the missiles of the North Vietnamese.  I was also there when the EC66 crashed during take off I believe it was around September 1966.  Although I did not get to see the crash, we all heard the explosions.
I know that all the guys that I served with did a great job in supporting the Un declared war effort.  I remember that we all kept that 365 day wall calender of the Pin Up Gal and marked every day, getting closer to leaving and heading home to our love one's that we had left behind in the States.  That last week seemed like an eternity, and could'nt go by fast enough for me.

Good to know that someone is putting out infomation about those years at Tahkli.  Hope one day to attend a ReUnion.  Keep up the good work.

Dave Lawlor, SMSgt, USAF, Retired.

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Jack Gurner
May 1998

Hi Dick,

I was at Takhli from April Fools Day in 69 until April Fools Day in 70.,Det. 2, 601st Photo Squadron... "We kill 'em with film."

I was 19 years old and turned 20 in Sept of 69. What an adventure for a small town Southern boy. I am also going to send your addy to Steve Wilson, another Takhli photo vet.

I love what you have done. And, yes, I have a "couple" of photos from Takhli. I have never bothered to count, but I have several hundred images covering a wide spectrum of activity. Everything from shots for the newspaper to air to air stuff. I've got Capt. Jim White showing off some "battle damage" just weeks before he was shot down. (White was brother of Ed White the astronaut...and Jim was doing his SEA tour so he could enter the astro program. Very sad.) I even have a shot of one of your weather guys giving a briefing with snow in the forcast (I think it was Christmas).

I have motion picture film of the town, air to air and even a full 1000' reel of gun camera stuff I swiped from the garbage back in the mo-pic processing lab.

I put together a video tape of still images which is sort of a salute to Takhli. I would be glad to send you a copy if you'll spring for the tape and postage. And, I'll be glad to scan any of my images and e-mail them to you to use. I even have some audio tape of an inflight emergency and a one-baht bus ride to town which includes some music from the bars. ...and that's just the stuff I can remember!!!

By the way, there is one guy asking about an EB-66 crash. Is the date correct? He said 67. The particulars sound just like one that I had to shoot right after I got there in April of 69. We still photo types had to shoot all that stuff...I have several crash shots including four images of
an F-105 going down at the end of the runway.

I had contact with Col. Heath (Bo) Bottomly in Washington state at one time. He was involved with the Campus Crusade for Christ and was running some sort of youth camp up there. He wrote a book which can still be found from time to time. There are a lot of books with images from Takhli. I seem
to remember keeping a copy of the Wings program on the F-105 from the Discovery Channel.

I'll probably think of something else later.

Jack Gurner

p.s. Do you have Jeff Glasser at jbigfoot@NSee.net ? He was at Takhli and has written a book.

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Baytown Bert Marshall
May 1998

Hey!  I got a good laugh out of the barroom Thai.  I remember Ching ching  to mean REALLY  and rain actually sounded like FOON TOKE (falling rain) or FOON JY (raining).  A couple more is MOCK MOCK (very much), this replaced beau coup and BABA-BAWBAW (crazy). MY ME SAMONG (no brains).  POHM LAHK
COON is I love you, a handy phrase for a G.I. Haha!

POPE GUN MY! (Until we meet again)!

Baytown Bert Marshall


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John Collins
June 6 1998

I was TDY from McDill AFB in May 1972 on CONSTANT GUARD lll, a joint chief of staff ordered mission, to help get troops started home from Viet Nam.  I was with the 366th Services Squadron.

We built enough tents to house over 10,000 transiets in abot 60 days. Loved the area, as I am from West Virginia, and it looks like here. Hated the snakes, but otherwise had a great time.  Would love to get a map of Thailand, with Takhli on it.  Do you know of any.

John H. Collins

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Jerry Kurz
12 Jun 1998

I'm new to the internet and just found your E-mail. I was stationed at Takhli AB from January 1967 to December 1967. Assigned to the 357 th TFS. I was a weapons Technician loading numerous 750 lb bombs.  I kept a diary of my daily activity so I was one of the many that loaded RU 504 with bombs. I have a ton of pictures of F-105 so when I figure out how to put them on the internet I will.  Keep in touch

Jerry Kurz
Taklhli Jan 67 - Dec 67  357 th

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R.E. (Ed) Miller
17 Jun 1998

As a 19 yeear old kid, i grew up the hard way in a lot of ways, but takhli was one of the best experiences of my life.   does anyone remember the big boa constrictor up at the radar shop on top of takhli hill??? there was a uso type show with a series of snakes handled by a gi from florida. he also worked on the hill and took care of the boa, she had been captured when she was small just after wwii if my memory serves me. that was a great show. but there was not a bad show at any time... so great to find a thailand site for gi's this is something

Ed Miller

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Wayne L. Reitz
6 Jun 1998

 I was at Takhli  June 72 thru Dec. 72 when the base was re-opened and we moved our planes F-4's from Danang to Takhli. I was a 461 with the 6280 Munitions Maintance Sq. I had gone to Danang from NKP, where I had been from Dec. 70 thur Dec. 71. My wife is Thai. and our 1st child was born at Tahkli, she now a  captain in the USAF and just left for Colorado Springs, where she will be teaching math., we also have a son in the USAF at  Kirkland AFB, Albuquerque ,NM. working in Munitions.

[from later email...]

I haven't ever been back to Taklhi but my wife went a few years ago and traveled around the country for about a month. She never did find any of her old friends but found some new ones. She was originally from down around the  Savannakhet area, her father was in the Hmong army, he is living in the states  now.

I remember going to Takhli, we were all sitting on pallets in a C-130, back to back for  something to lean against. When we got there we had to stay in tents until we could get the houches fixed up because anything of use had been stripped out of them. The new barracks that had been built had Thais in them so we had to kind of fix things up for ourselves. The grass had grown right up to the edge of the roads and they had made a couple of passes down each side to clear it back,at night the snakes would crawl out on to the road. After a few months we got a place down town, back in off the main road, but later we moved into a little compound called Winnies. I've some roles of super 8 film that I haven't looked at in years, always wanted to edit it and put it on video tapes but
never found the time.

Yes Winnies was a great restaurant I remember this one three course meal we had all the time I could just about get it all down, egg roles, cow-pot, sweet and sourer pork, hey I think I'm haveing that tonght!

I drove Line D at night use to see snakes out on the road all the time. The route went from the Dump down to the runway, there was one pad on the right on the way down that was always dark but had a C-130 setting in it once and a while. One night the MB-4 Tug we used for Line D broke down just before the turn on to the runway and I had to walk back up to the Line D shack,didn't like it much. I remember sitting on the flight line waiting for a F-4 to pull out of its spot one night and when the exhaust hit me I fill asleep, for how long I don't know but when I woke up the F-4 was gone but nobody I came and woke me up, and me with a couple of trailers of bombs.

If you ever hear from a Duane Barnes I've been looking for him for awhile. He was at Danang and Takhli with us, he had his wife and kids come over too and we shared a bungalow at Winnies. Last I heard from him he was in Pittsburgh as the USAF advisor at the ANG base there, but that was 20 yrs. ago.

We had only been at Takhli a month or so when they moved in a Sq. of F-111's, can't really remember to much about them though. I seem to remember a road-runner emblem but I'm not sure if it was theirs or not.

Wayne L Reitz

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Jay Henninger
2 Jul 1998

SSGT Jay H. Henninger  Feb 66 - Feb 67.  41 TRS (E66's)  Combat intel debriefer, ELINT Analyst. Night person and  I do answer my mail.

Jay Henninger

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Neil McCutchan
28 Jun 1998

Was at Takhli on TDY Jan. 65.  Was pilot of HH-43Bs.  After a month at the base I was reassigned to NKP where I completed my 179 day TDY to Thailand. One of the flights w/43s I remember was going to Don Maung AP.  Don't recall why.  Probably to pick up some maintaince parts.  But we flew over the ancient capitol and took many pictures.  Don't really have any pics of Takhli - plenty of NKP.  Got wind of your site via TLC.  Have been in contact with fellow pilot from NKP via the board.

Neil J. McCutchan
Maj. USAFR (Ret)
now in Winter Haven, FL


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Richard Comerford
8 July 98

I was stationed at Takhli from March 1973-August 1973. I was relocated on 29 March from Vietnam after the war ended. I was an Air Force 1Lt, later Capt, assigned to the 6280 CSG, then 474 TFW Safety Office. I was the base weapons and explosives safety officer. We had F-111s at the time and were flying missions over Cambodia. We lost one in a mid-air collision over Phnom Pehn. The crew made the fist successful ejection from an F-111 and were in the bar that evening.  I have photos of the F-111 that made it back with part of its wingtip gone. I lived on base. I used to go downtown a lot and eat at Winnie's and Hunter's.  I really loved Thailand, especially since no one was shooting rockets and mortars at us. The people were wonderful. The food was terrific.

I now work for DynMeridian, a part of DynCorp, and am supporting the DOE Office of Declassification in Germantown, Maryland.  I'm a nuclear weapons type and we work classification issues related to nuclear weapons.  This is a follow on from my work as a munitions officer in the Air Force, as was the weapons and explosives safety gig at Takhli. I can relate to Wayne Rietz, who was there a little earlier than I. He was a munitions guy too and trucked bombs and so forth from the bomb dump to the flightline.  That's the "Line D" he talks about, "d" as in delivery.  He relates that he married a Thai and their daughter is now an Air Force Captain teaching at the Air Force Academy.  Isn't that wonderful?

By the time I got to Takhli, the 474th was flying bombing missions around the clock and we had a "preload" operation going in the bomb dump where 6 bombs would be loaded on a pylon (BRU, bomb release unit) and then the pylons were delivered to the F-111s.  Four went to each airplane, so the bomb load was 24 MK-82 500 pound bombs.  Quite a package.  I am fairly sure that this preload operation was the biggest that the AF ever set up and ran for any length of time.  The alternative bomb load was four MK-84 2000 pound bombs.  Also quite a bang.

A big typhoon hit Takhli in the summer of '73 and caused quite a bit of damage around the base.

That summer we also lost a young airman who drowned in the Chao Phraya river when he jumped off a ferry boat.  We launched a big search with motorized canoes and Pedro helicopters up and down the river but no luck.  His body wasn't found until about a week later.  His first name was Lyle but I can't remember his last name.

I took a trip to Bankgkok for five days via Tommy's Tours and stayed at the Hotel Express.  Had a good time.  I was owed a five day in-country R&R from Vietnam which I never got a chance to use while there.  So # 1 good deal for a change.  I've still got about a million slides from that trip which I haven't looked at in 20 years or so. Probably should now that I'm thinking about it.

Regards to all who served at Takhli.

Dick Comerford
Lt. Col USAF (Ret)

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James Lumpkin
12 Jul 98

I was stationed at Takhli Jan 67-Jan 67 with the 357th as a weapons loader.  I left for eight months and came back to Takhli again .  This time I was assigned to the 354th.  I loaded a lot of steel on the F105 during these two years.  I'm glad to see someone setting up a sight like this.  I will continue to visit on a regular basis.  I would be glad to hear from anyone else who was there during these time.

Jim Lumpkin

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John Wible
23 Jul 98

No tropo up to the time I left (Jan 66).  During my year the only radio comm was our HF link with Hq AF at Saigon, and to command posts at Udorn and Korat.  Takhli was a little, sleepy base when I got there.  During '65 it grew daily with the 355th and the wing's support units setting up house.

I have some b&w pictures somewhere.  When they turn up, I'll see about adding them to the site.

BTW, I just retired from civil service (went to work as an Army civilian following '76 retirement from USAF), and a couple of weeks ago we looked for a retirement home in the KC area.

John Wible
TSgt USAF (ret)

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Dave Hart
26 Jul 98

Was TDY at Takhli during Feb 73 during the last part of Linebacker II. Worked at the AFTN radio station (near the fire house). In fact, that's where we went to take showers, since we lived at the radio station.

Dave Hart, USAF (Ret)

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David Snow
29 Jul 98

I was stationed at Takhli from April, 1969 until the base closed in 1970. I worked in the Base Photo lab as a Photographer and photo lab technician. I have several boxes of pictures I shot while there.
 My name is David Snow. I was a three striper back then. I remember a Robert Bjorke, John Evans (SSgt., and married to a Thai girl), and a Tech Sergeant Drapac ("Mother Drapac" we called him!!).
I'll try to remember some more people who were in the Base Photo lab then.

David Snow

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Jim Traywick - "The Mayor of Takhli"
13 Aug 98

I was  an F-105 Crew Chief with the 333rd TFS from  22 Nov 69 til 10 Oct 70. Left Takhli to go to Korat with the Wild Weasels which changed names several times. Started as  Det 1 12TFS then 6010 WWS and finally 17 WWS. Departed Korat May 1972.  Returned to Takhli in Dec 1972 as an F-111A Crew Chief  and departed Jun 1973.

I presently work in the 13TH Air Force Exercise Plans shop and have been the Takhli Mayor for U.S.forces for the past two years during Cobra Gold exercises. I can tell all of the guys who were there, that there have been many changes.  It's grown up a lot.  Lots of jungle growth where we used to live.  Not many of the old barracks buildings are used, so most stand as a skeletal reminder of our past life there.  The old BX and shopping circle no longer exists, just a lot of jungle and the only way I could find it was the circular road, which now has a lot of squatter shanties built on it. None of the buildings exist any longer. Chapel is gone.  And it's hot as hell as always!!

Couple of years ago I was out on an Exercise Related Construction survey and met with the WING 4 commander, who asked me what went on there during the war.  I ended up writing a very long paper for them.  If you want it I can attach it to a message and send it on. It's basically a encapsulated history of Takhli from just before 1962 forward to 1983 or so when we took the first exercises back in there.

One thing I would like to do is find a small place for Winnie.  She has been such a figure in the fabric of Takhli since the earliest days. She had the restaurant downtown and the bungalows.  Many people lived off her cooking.  When I started the exercise this year, my first day as I walked into the Cobra Gold Canteen to see how much work I was in for this year, who do I see but an aging Winnie!  She is in charge of the messing facility.  I HAD NO WORK to do with the feeding of the troops this year. She laughed hard at the story of my doing French toast and bacon I the early morning hours for the flyers. We hit it off well, and I hardly ever paid for coffee, and always got a reduced price for anything else I wanted.  The guys loved her. I would like to get a photo and write a short history of this old gal to put on the board if it's possible.

[from a later email]

As for your question of  my  contacts with Col. Bottomly, the answer is a resounding YES!  I was a crew chief at the time, staff sergeant type.  My aircraft was parked in B-4 revetment which was a direct shot across from the wing kings office. He could look out and see me any time he wanted. A fact not lost on me or the flight chief.  So I had the cleanest revetment, the cleanest airplane and so forth and so on.  Even though Col. B had his own jet assigned and it was down in B-1 revetment, he would always walk out to mine to fly. I say always, but I know he flew his own and others.  It just seemed like he flew mine more often than his own.

One particular mission, I watched him walk over from the 333d Life support area and come to the revetment. He put his helmet bag and 'chute down next to the ladder, walked to the dock box and read my forms.  I put his helmet and 'chute in the cockpit and set things up for him.  He was still at the dock box reading the forms.  I placed the helmet bag down next to the forms on the box and waited while he read. He took his hat out of his flight suit and laid it on the bag, looked at me and said, " How's the aircraft...?"  I went over the small nit-noys I had in the forms and he was satisfied.  He walked to the ladder, which was the traditional starting point for the walk around inspection.  At this time I noticed something about him I had not really paid attention to until then - the man was soaking wet and perspiring heavily.  He normally did not do that, in all the launches I had done with him I had never seen that.  I expected a walk around - he didn't do one. He went up the ladder and I followed.  I wasn't about the question the guy about no walk around, but it was duly noted.  He slowly got into the cockpit and I helped him strap in.  Sweat continued to pour off him.  His bald head was a waterfall.  I was concerned about it enough, that I asked him if he was okay.  He responded that he was and motioned me down from the cockpit, he was ready to start.

Launch went well, cart start and all.  He taxied and I watched from the front row of revetments as the four ship took off.  When I went back to the revetment, I stopped the flight chief and told him about the unusual conditions of the launch and how Col. Bottomly was perspiring so heavily.  We talked for about fifteen minutes, when the expediter truck came racing up to us.  It was an airborne emergency, seems as though my aircraft had a problem.  The canopy was not locking.  The flight chief and I both knew, that was a crock.  He had to check that before he took off and if it was not locked he would have known it at the end of runway inspection and in the run up area at the latest. He never would have taken off if he was doing it right.  So we waited.  The Col. taxied back in, shut it down, made a short entry in the forms and went back to his office.  He didn't even go to debrief.

The man was sick, but being the old war horse he was, he was determined to fly the mission.  I think once he became airborne he may have decided that doing the mission ill was placing everyone's life in jeopardy.  So he came home.

I admired Col. Bottomly.  Most all of us enlisted toads did.  I saw him once over close to the BX. He had stopped his staff car and was heatedly chewing out some major in a flight suit who was standing at rigid attention.  Moped on its side on the ground - he was getting reamed for something. Enlisted troops kinda liked to see that once in a while.

Jim Traywick. Major, USAF (Ret)

Note: --  Jim's excellent writeup on Takhli's history is now linked off the Takhli History page.  Also check out his description of Cobra Gold 97.   Anybody got some photos of Winnie?

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Bobby Smith
23 Aug 98

Hi. I was there from jan 67 to jan 68 in the 355th transportations sq. and again in 74 I was one of the last 3 members to leave there. I later went back and the place looked like a jungle. It was completly grown over.

Bobby L. Smith    Abilene, texas.

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Ed Francisco
24 aug 98

I was stationed at Takli RTAFB from June 1968 to June 1969. I was a aircraft mechanic with the 41st TEWS. and worked in Phase dock on EB-66's. We worked 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week for 365 days.  Some of my spare time (if you can call it that) was spent at the gym where Sgt Richard Peralta held a Kajukenbo karate class three days a week.  Other times were spent at the amateur radio MARS station(AI8AF) with Glenn Butters.  I  had an electronics back ground when I joined the Air Force so I studied for my ham license and it has been a life long hobby for me for over 30 years.  My call is WB4MMW.

I have an article from a Bangkok newspaper which explains the role the EB-66 played in the Vietnam war.  As soon as I get the hang of using the full page scanner I'll send you a copy.

By the way I am still with the government. I work as a biomedical engineering technician at a  Veterans Hospital and I am a memeber of the DAV here.

Ed Francisco

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Murray Hill
24 aug 98

I was TDY to Takhli during Cobra Gold 1997 for 30 days as a member of the 353 OSS Communications Flight.  Lost count of how many plates of "Cow Pot Gai"  I ate during that time, but lost 10 pounds in the process - not bad!    Thanks

SSgt Murray A. Hill
Communications Plans
Kadena AB, Japan

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Dave Dial
24 aug 98


  I had the pleasure of living in "H" dorm during Cobra Gold 98.  I enjoyed the three weeks that I was there.  The folks stationed there "Thai" were very friendly and accommodating.  Thanks.

David K. Dial, TSgt, USAF
Quality Assurance Inspector
Unit 5249 Box 10, APO AP  96368-5249

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Byron Bostwick
25 Aug 1998

I was at Takli in 1966/67 February. Weapons Mechanic Munitions Lead Team MJ-1 driver. Assigned to the 357th TFS. Our load crew came from McConnell as a team. Crew Chief SSgt Gene French, A1C Bostwick, A1C Thompson & A1C McKinnon. Anyone knowing where they are I'd like to get in touch. Worked with the 105 in Okinawa (418th MMS), McConnell, and Takhli 357th TFS.

Byron Bostwick

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Dick Williams
Takhli RTAFB Det 12, 10th Weather Squadron
email:  webmaster@NStakhli.org
 latest update 9 sep 98