Historical Notes of the TEWS Operations

Historical Working Notes

Extracted From De-classified 460th TRW History Documents.

If you can elaborate on any of these notes, please do and email the information to me
at this email address, and I will post it in the appropriate location. J.C.
[email protected]

January-March 1968 460th TRW

During this period, one EC-47 was lost after being hit by enemy ground fire during flight. This crew was recovered.

Steady progress was made in the preparation of the calibration site for the ARD-18 equipment at Cam Ranh AB., RVN. Activation of the site is expected in early April. The ARD-18 equipment indtalled in all EC-47 aircraft in the wing will be re- calibrated while the aircraft fly a list pattern in the vicinity of the site. Calibration flights will be launched out of Nha Trang AB. These calibration will be accomplished at least once every six months for all EC-47 aircraft.

January-March 1968 360th TEWS

Compass Dart EC-47's On 20 February 68 the responsibility for the two Sentinal Sara (JC-47) aircraft was turned over to the 362nd TEWS.

On 31 January the TET offensive was launched. During this ground attack, six 360th TEWS aircraft received damage requiring more than 24 clock hours to return to operational status. This fullfilled Pacific Air Force Reg. 66-24 as being reportable damage. Three other aircraft received lesser damage that same evening. Five aircraft received reportable damage on 18 Febuary and on each on 19 and 24 Feburary. Most of these aircraft were returned to operational status very rapidly. However some of the aircraft received serious damage and were out of commission for most of the remaining quarter. This created a shortage of aircraft.

October-December 1968 360th TEWS

During this period, four EC-47's were damaged on the ground due to enemy mortar attacks, three at Pleiku AB, RVN and one at Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN. And one EC-47 was damaged during flight by enemy ground fire.

Combat damage to the 360th was negligble this quarter. At 0115 on 1 November, 68 schrapnel from a brief mortat attack put a 2" hole in the left flap on aircraft number 254 and nicked a tire. The flap took two hours to repair. On 29 December 68 aircraft number 153 was hit in the left fuel tank by a .30 caliber bullet, probably while at 1000 feet in the traffic pattern. The slug was found in the fuel tank.

On 2 November 68 a warning of probable rocket attack caused a flurry of measure to limit damage. C-47's were put in alternate revetments with jet reconnaissance aircraft between to prevent the destruction of all of one type of aircraft. Crewmembers were restricted to quarters and all got their flak vest, etc., ready-- but it was a false alarm.

Major Jerry E. Marshall, who had successfully crash landed and EC-47 that he was ferrying from the states to Vietnam, signed in.

Our safety record is good in spite of several factors that the venerable old C-47 and her pilots must contend with: (1) routine gross weights ranging up to 28,800 pounds which is only 200 pounds below the maximum gross weight; (2) landing with a tailwind, a nototiously dangerous thing to do in a heavy C-47; (3) flight approaches in the congestion near Tan Son Nhut in the hazy weather present in the quarter; (4) training on flights to upgrade young pilots fresh from Undergraduate Pilot Training who have only flown the C-47 ro 30 hours; and (5) the age of the C-47.

October-December 1968 361th TEWS

Nothing of historic value during this period. There were no flying accidents or incidents during the reporting period. The squadron is approaching 50,000 accident free hour mark.

The arrival of the NE monsoon in early November brought increased rain and low ceilings to the Nha Trang area. The squadron was twice alerted for possible typhoon evacuations and all flying was cancelled on 22, 23, and 27 Nov. 68.

October-December 1968 362nd TEWS

Of the 20 aircraft assigned to the unit, 7 are EC-47Q's, 7 are EC-47P's and 6 are EC-47N's. The two C-47's that the squadron used for the Sentinal Sara mission have been replaced with EC-47Q's. Their job has been partially replaced by the aircraft equipped with "Z" consoles. The number of aircraft has never dropped below the number required to execute the general war plan.

The squadron maintains 32 combat ready and available crews. These crews remained as such for the entire quarter.

The crew upgrading program remained normal throughout the quarter. As is squadron policy, the unit maintains no co-pilots. All pilots are given a left seat checkout after the initial training phase. Pilots coming direct from UPT, and those with limited prior aircraft commander time are normally given an aircraft commander checkout after six months in country and 500 combat hours.

October-December 1969 460th TRW

8 October - EC-47 aircraft assigned to 361st TEWS, Phu Cat AB, RVN, crashed west of Qui Nhon.

12 October - Wreckage of EC-47 aircraft which crashed 8 October was finally located by SAR helicopter. Weather in the area hampered search operations.

16 November - Assistant Secretary of Defense David Packard landed at Tan Son Nhut.

14 December - Colonel Frank Borman, Apollo 8 commander, visited the 460th TRW.

April-June 1970 460th TRW

22 April - An EC-47 assigned to the 362nd TEWS at Pleiku AB, Vietnam, reported the loss of one of their aircraft, number 402. The loss of two lives incurred.

3 May - An EC-47 assigned to Pleiku AB, RVN declared emergency and landed at his home station with with battle damage.

5 May - The Detachment of the EC-47's at Nakhon Phanom AB, Thailand reported that one of their aircraft had been damaged by a refueling truck and would require extensive maintenance.

7 May - An EC-47 declared an emergency and landed without incident due to number two engine backfiring.

7 May - A ground taxi incident occurred with the EC-47 at 0520 which required the notification of the wing staff.

7 May - The 361st TEWS at Phu Cat AB, RVN, reported that the landing gear of one of its aircraft had collapsed while in a revetment and maintenance was completing a post flight inspection.

18 May - The 360th TEWS duty officer informed the ROC that one of the EC-47's was returning to base with fumes in the aft compartment and the navigator and radio operator were sick. The ROC coordinated with the air traffic control agencies for a straight in approach with priority handling of this aircraft. By the time the aircraft was safely on the ground three individuals were sick and unable to complete the assigned mission.

19 May - The 362nd TEWS at Pleiku AB, reported that they were under rocket attack. A direct hit was made on one EC-47 which destroyed it. Another EC-47 was damaged. This item is covered in detail in the 362nd TEWS history.

21 May - An EC-47 declared emergency due to both engines suffering internittent RPM fluctuations. The aircraft landed without incident. 7 June - An EC-47 declared an emergency and landed without incident with an unsafe landing gear indication.

10 June - An EC-47 made a successful emergency landing with number one engine backfiring.

12 June - An EC-47 declared emergency due to sparks coming from the cowling of number one engine, also the engine was backfiring. A successful emergency landing was made on a 3788 foot runway at Tay Ninh West Airfield, Vietnam.

14 June - An EC-47 made a successful emergency landing. The aircraft was on a functional test flight. After practice feathering number two engine, the aircrew was unable to restart it.

24 June - An EC-47 declared an emergency and made a successful landing with a fuel leak on number one engine.

During the month of April, 1970, One EC-47 aircraft received small arms/automatic weapons rounds at or below 4500ft AGL>

Loss of EC-47 number 402 occurred on 22 April, 1970 while on an out-country ARDF mission. A shell exploded under the aircraft, which resulted in the aircraft experiencing a loss of oil and power and crashed shortly thereafter.

On 3 May 1970 EC-47 number 491, while on an in-country mission, encountered a burst off to the right and back of the aircraft. The damage to the aircraft was one small crack and 18 scratches.

During this report period the 360th TEWS completed its 100,000th accident-free hour of flying to set a record in the Republic of Vietnam.

July - August 1971 460th TRW

5 July - An EC-47 from the 360th TEWS diverted to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with and engine out. Landed without incident.

5 July - Five rockets hit DaNang. No damage to our units, though 5 USAF personnel were killed and 38 wounded.

12 July - An EC-47 of the 360th TEWS shutdoun engine because of heavy smoke. Recovered safely.

14 July - An EC-47 of the 360th TEWS landed at Soc Trang due to #1 engine out. No incident.

October 13, 1998. Jim Hart adds, I was aboard this aircraft, AJ-158 when we made an emergency landing at Soc Trang after the aircraft had engine failure on the "Left" engine.

The emergency came when the Co-Pilot feathered the propeller on the "Right" engine. Jim, who was aboard, says he cannot remember any of the names of the other crewmembers, but says, "The Pilot did a hell of a job recovering and making a safe landing."

He continues, "I'm sure it was just an incident to them, but it sure caused a good pucker factor with those of us who were on the aircraft."

19 August - EC-47 45-0937 crashed on take off roll at Tan Son Nhut. Crew evacuated the aircraft with no injuries. A report of this incident is available elsewhere on this site.

31 August - The 460th TRW was deactivated.

July - August 1971 361st TEWS

Combat readiness: For the third quarter of 1971, the 361st TEWS maintained a C-1 Rating. The 361st has continued its policy of extra training for aircrew members to suppliment the loss of flight engineers in the last six quarters.

Flying activity from 1 July to 31 September: The 361st TEWS flew 1166 missions for a total of 7285 hours. 1092 fragged missions were flown for a total of 6983 hours. As in the past, the difference between total fragged hours and total hours is made up by sorties flown in support of our mission, i.e., transition, IRAN, Corrosion Control, Tan Son Nhut Flights, and functional check flights. During the quarter the squadron flew 59 transition flights and 73 functional check flights.

Mission results: During the period 1 July to 31 September, a total of 5868 were worked and of these 4647 were fixed. An average of 4.2 targets per flight were fixed during the quarter. The only reported reaction to targets fixed qas artillery reaction by the 23rd Infantry Division in their normal area of operations. They expended a total of 780 rounds of mixed artillery on the targets.

Safety: Captain Dennis M. Lane continued as Squadron Safety Officer until 22 September 1971. He was replaced by Capt. Joseph Cartwright 23 September 1971. Flying Safety reports no major or minot flying accidents. There were two flying incidents during the quarter. On 17 August 1971, just after becoming airborne, the overhead hatch separated from an aircraft. On 18 August, an attempted high speed turnoff resulted in minor damage when the aircraft struck a TACAN sign at the north end of the taxiway. The Pilot attempted the high speed turnoff with sideloading on the tailwheel before placing the tailwheel lever in the unlocked position. Ground Safety reports on accident on 17 September. At that time, while being towed for maintenance, the aircraft was struck by a vehicle, causing extensive damage to both vehicle and aircraft, but no injuries.

4 July - Aircraft 204 departs for IRAN at Tai Chung Taiwan.

5 July - 5 122mm rockets hit base, two impacted in Gunfighter Village destroying one barracks, damaging one other. 5 USAF KIA, 38 WIA.

5-7 July - Squadron aircraft deploy to Phu Cat AFLD on weather evacuation.

11-13 July - Squadron aircraft deploy to Phy Cat AFLD on weather evacuation.

16-18 July - Squadron aircraft deploy to Udorn and Nakhon Phanom, Thailand on weather evacuation.

25 August - 1 122mm rocket hits base damaging three U.S. vans. 2 122mm rockets hit off base causing 5 CIV KHA, 6 CIV WHA, 40-50 CIV killed in secondary fires, 100 CIV houses destroyed by fire.

25 August - Aircraft 730 departs to Kadena AB, Okinawa, for corrosion control.

26 August - Lt. Col. Wacker becomes squadron executive officer.

24 September - Lt. Col. Richard D. Courtney becomes squadron commander.

11 January 1999. I got an email note today from Rodger Curnow who said the two personnel actions above in aqua color print, actually took place in the 362nd TEWS, and not in the 361st as my source evidently shows. Thanks for the tip Rodger. J.C.

25 September - 5 122mm rockets hit in area just SW of DaNang Airfield bomb dump. No casualties, no damage.

30 September - Aircraft 730 returns from, and aircraft 704 departs for, corrosion control at Kadena AB, Okinawa.

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