Life is short; live it well and be of service
For the past months, I have been going through all the letters I wrote to my wife from SEA.
16 June 1973: just when I was getting somewhat settled into my combat routine – we lost one. An F-4 took a direct hit while dive-bombing a Triple-A position (AAA – Anti-aircraft artillery weapons). The aircraft went in, no chutes, no survivors. This was a real wake-up. When you fly there is a trap that many fall into complacency. We had been warned about this repeatedly at RTU. Although Cambodia was not as dangerous as flying north, it still was dangerous.
Years later, I learned more of the details about this loss. In 2009, I read Colonel Phil “Hands” Handley’s excellent account of his flying career: Nickel on the Grass. Handley told about his long friendship with GIB Captain Jack Smallwood and how he was stunned to learn of his death…
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