The Brotherhood of Warriors

Life is short; live it well and be of service

An American Family

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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