434th/71st SOS Guestbook

Welcome to the new 434th/71st SOS Guestbook.

Updated January 8, 2019

What ever happened to the three C-141A Starlifters that brought the 71st SOS reservists home on 6 June 1969?

Three Lockheed C-141A Starlifters of the 438th Military Airlift Wing(McGuire AFB, NJ) transported about 250 71st SOS reservists from Nha Trang, South Vietnam to Columbus, Indiana on 6 June 1969. The tail numbers of those C-141s were #64-0647(confirmed), #67-0013(confirmed), and #65-0221(confirmed). After some research, I was able to determine the fate of the three aircraft. Aircraft #64-0647 was destroyed in a training accident at Charleston, SC on 18 September 1979. Aircraft #67-0013, the only survivor of the three, is currently on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona (http://www.pimaair.org/aircraft-by-name/item/lockheed-c-141b-starlifter). The third aircraft, #65-0221 was last known at the Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, and has been scrapped by now. Virtually all C-141A models were converted to B models by stretching the fuselage 23.3 feet and the addition of in-flight refueling. All C-141s are now out of service, having been replaced by the very capable C-17 Globemaster III.

Jim Alvis

January 9, 2016

I am extremely sad on hearing of the death of Dale Stickles. In all my 13 years as 1st Sgt of the 71st Squadron, 1955-1968, I considered "Stick" as a Friend and the best Flight Engineer I ever saw in the Air Force. He was well liked by everyone, Enlisted Men and Officers alike. Also he could fly that C-119 as well as any pilot. My heart and sincere sympathy goes to his family. The world has lost a great guy. Rest in Peace my friend, you certainly earned it.

M/Sgt R L (Bob) Tate, Evansville, In

April 15, 2009

After forty years I still remember when you all arrived at Nha Trang. I was there from 12 June 1968 to 12 June 1969 with the 1879th Comm. Squadron. My hooch was right next to some of yours. I remember driving by the AC-119's on the flight line just about every day and admiring them.

I couldn't believe I was actually seeing them in real life at Nha Trang AB. They where about the biggest aircraft we had beside the AC-130's, C-130's, C-123's, & C-7's. Nha Trang was pretty much a reciprocating base for we had no jets stationed there. When I arrived in June of '68 I was the only Airman (one stripe) E-2 in the Squadron, let alone Nha Trang AB. My promotion to Airman First Class E-3 didn't catch up to me for 2 to 4 months latter from Sheppard AFB Tex. I just wanted to say hi and thanks for the memories. Oh, by the way I was A1C David J. Ball AFSC 36234 Telephone Maintenance.

January 23, 2009


My name is David Jackson and in the Spring of 1969, I provided the 71st SOS with Intelligence Support as a part of my duties with the 460th TRW at Tan Son Nhut AB. I was a 1st Lieutenant at the time. I also flew a few missions with your people until my boss found out and grounded me. I think the pilot's name was Lt. Col. Donald Beyl and I believe the NOS operator was a Capt. William Joyce. It's good to see that someone is documenting the fine work you folks did back then. When my boss yelled at me for flying with you guys, Col. Beyl gave me two of your 'Deny Him The Dark' hat badges as a souvenir and I still have them. I also have a few photos I took of one of your aircraft (#927?) in its revetment and a few more I took in the air at night over the "Angel's Wing" area of South Vietnam.

It was a privilege flying with you.

David Jackson
former Captain, USAF

To Whom It May Concern:

My Grandfather is the late retired Lt. Colonel Herbert Zumhingst, I type this three days after his passing(March 7, 2008). I am looking for more information on my late Grandfather. I have heard a hundred stories about his time in the Air Force and his love for flying and camaraderie with the others in which he flew. If anyone has any photos or fond stories to share about my Grandfather, I would greatly appreciate if you would share them with our family. Thank you for your time and effort.


Chad Hageman

March 12, 2008

It was with great sadness I received word from Col Borey Chaleff and Bart Dye, on the death of Col Jim Pyle. I knew Jim quite well. For 13 years Jim and Capt George Lutz would periodically go up early for the weekend training and would fly back down to Evansville to pick me and others up to fly us to Bakalar for training.

Jim was Commander of the 72nd until the activation in '68 when he took command of the 71st SOS. He was always an upbeat guy and a d--n fine commander, and I counted him amongst my friends. If they have airplanes in the next life, you can bet Jim will be flying them.

R L (Bob) Tate, 1st Sgt 71st
January 25, 2008

Hello 71st SOS neighboring unit at Nha Trang Airbase. I transferred into the 21st Signal Group's Aviation Detachment on December 29, 1968, just about the same time that your unit arrived. The 21st Signal Group Aviation was a small unit with 3 airplanes (1 Otter and 2 Beavers, and six Hueys). We operated out of the same NW quadrant of the Nha Trang Airbase that you occupied in 1969. I was our unit's Aviation Parts Supply SGT. By the time I went home in August of 1969, we had 8 Hueys and 4 Bell Rangers after "trading in" our fixed wings to become an all helicopter unit. Our mission was to ferry supplies, equipment and men to all the mountaintop Signal Corp cites in the II Corp area, from Hon Tre Island to Tropo Hill Pleiku, from Qui Nhon to Pang Rang. You're welcome to visit our website at www.21signal.org/.

Bill Comrey of Harrisburg, PA
August 7, 2007

PS... Until reading your website I didn't realize your unit was from Indiana. I lived in Indiana as a 4 year old kid in the spring and summer of 1952, when my dad and grandfather were called up for the Korean War and their 28th Division unit trained at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Before their training was complete the war was over and the unit returned to Pennsylvania. Welcome Home.

Message from M/Sgt R L (Bob) Tate, former 71st First Sergeant:

I go back 52 years with the 71st, but I guess most of the guys I served with are now gone.

I was stationed in Japan when Korean war broke; also hit the mudflats at the Inchon Landing, with the 7th Infantry Div (G-3) Operations. Spent 13 months going up and down that peninsula as a 17 year old. Also at Chosen, but not caught in the trap, made it down the MSR before the Chinese cut it. My Division was the only unit to make it to the Manchurian Border (Yalu River) at Hysanjin.

After being discharged in December 1952, I got married and started having kids (seven of them). Then in 1955, I joined the Air Force Reserve and was First Sergeant of the 71st Troop Carrier Squadron for 13 years. We were activated during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but as things turned out okay, I was only on active duty for a short period. We were again activated in 1968 for the Vietnam War. The 71st TCS was converted to gunships and redesignated as the 71st Special Operations Squadron. Because of my situation at home (seven kids, etc.), I was discharged for hardship reasons. To let my squadron that I was First Sergeant of for 13 years go to Vietnam without me was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. For a long time I felt like I let the squadron down by not being able to go, I wanted to go in the worst way, but I had no choice.  

I made that trip from Evansville to Bakalar AFB every month from Jun 1955 to Jul 1968, and it was one of the best times of my life, and I still find myself missing the camaraderie, and most of the guys I served with. I think of them often. I served under 4 squadron commanders while First Sergeant of the 71st, everyone one of them were fine officers and CO's. I remember a great many of the men in the squadron too many to mention by name, but they were, almost to a man, great guys and damn good Americans.

I reminisce quite often and think about all of them. After I came back from the Korean War (infantry) the proudest part of my life (next to my family), was serving as First Sergeant of the 71st for 13 years. There was a sense of doing something useful for the country and the camaraderie was great.

I want to thank you, Jim and Gordon Lake, and all the others for trying to preserve the history of the 71st in particular and the 434th in general; you guys are doing a great job. I know a lot of guys who served in the units would also be proud and grateful.

M/Sgt R L (Bob) Tate  

Check out my Homepage:  http://tinyurl.com/6rg3z

One more reason to be proud of our Troops in Iraq. A must visit site. http://www.beaniesforbaghdad.com/

March 13, 2007

To all 434th TCG Veterans,

Thank you. In honor of all of our WWII veterans I have made a video that showcases WWII Museums and Memorials throughout the Southeast, set to some WWII era songs and music. I do not accept money for this video as it is in tribute to all WWII veterans. I would like to hear from any 434th TCG, or any other WWII veteran, that would like a free copy. I would ask if you have ever written your experience down to please send me a signed copy as I do collect personal stories written by WWII veterans. Thank you.

Scott Ramsey
WWII Interviews

January 31, 2007

To all AC-119'ers,

My wife sent me the updated link from the website and I just want to say again how much fun I had. I guess the camera does add a few pounds! They say 10 but looked more like 15 in my case....Probably had something to do with Col. Mac making sure I had a good plate of food and a tasty cold beverage in my hand when we were at the Hooch....LOL. Thanks againand looking forward to the next reunion.

SSgt Darrin Kast
January 26, 2007

Hello "Neighbors",

From 1965 to 1970, the 281st Assault Helicopter Company (AHC), was privileged to share a corner of Nha Trang Air Base with you gentlemen. On behalf of the 281st "Intruders," I salute your efforts, both past and present! Come visit our website at http://www.281stahc-assn.org/.

SP/5 Jack Interstein
Intruders Operations, 69-71
August 25, 2006

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