50 years ago, several hundred of us spent Christmas/Hanukkah at Bien Hoa, Phan Rang, Tuy Hoa and Phu Cat. For some of us, it was not our first Christmas away from our families, friends and loved ones, but it was hopefully our last. We missed our families, and surely, they missed us. The pictures of us opening presents in Vietnam and the pictures of our loved ones opening presents at home are now wonderful to look at and shed a tear or two of sadness and of joy.
I certainly remember that day in the 308th bar at Tuy Hoa. We had decorated a tree. For the life of me though, I can’t remember who dressed up as Santa, but I know someone did. The best part of that holiday season was flying a close air support mission for an Army or Marine Corps unit engaged in combat, knowing that we were doing our best to help our comrades. There were no “time outs.” There were no cessations of hostilities. In some ways, it was just another day in Vietnam.
While we are celebrating and giving thanks now, we should take a moment to remember our buddies who were not so lucky, those who did not return home. Their names are etched on walls, on plaques, on grave markers, and in our memories forever.
During this 2019 season of celebration, it’s a good time to look back and realize how lucky we are (and how lucky we were). It would have been easy for us back then, to fall into a mood of self-pity and mope around griping about not being home for the Holidays. But, we were doing what we signed up for, what we took an oath to do. Better yet, we were doing it flying an F-100 and serving with the finest group of men in the world. We can be very proud and thankful that we had that opportunity and that we were able to form bonds of friendship and camaraderie that have lasted a lifetime.
This Christmas and Hanukkah, remember our young men and women who are deployed around the world doing what we once did. Say a word of thanks and hope for their safe return. Let their families know that we care, just as many shared concern and love for us during those tough times.
May you have the greatest blessings of joy and peace this Holiday.
President, Super Sabre Society
This story starts at takeoff at DaNang AB, South Vietnam on a bombing mission in North Vietnam about 7 miles North of the DMZ and ends at arrival at the infamous prison named by Vietnam POWs “THE HANOI HILTON”. MARCH 2-10, 1965
When people ask about being a POW, they want to know what the Hanoi Hilton was like. What happened in the Hilton was the same for all of us. But what happened before we got to the Hilton or some other site was quite different. Some pilots were shot down around Hanoi and immediately became POWs. Others marched long distances before they got to a camp. Some never made it to a camp those stories we will never hear; but most POWs have a unique story to tell about their shootdown and how they got to a POW camp.
Col. Jack Van Loan’s Memorial Service was held on October 26, 2019, in downtown Columbia, SC, at Five Points’ Centennial Plaza where a statue of Jack leaving the P.O.W. camp is situated. About 2oo attended the serv...21 October, 2019 No comment 1 Like
The Solo Flight I first flew the “A” at Nellis, checking-out in the Hun in 1958. I had a couple of dual rides in the “F”, then a chase ride in the “A”. I was sent out to solo over Lak...27 August, 2019 No comment 1 Like
The Super Sabre Society received the following information from Bill Fowler, son of F-100 Pilot Mel Fowler. My father, Lt Col Mel Fowler commanded several F-100 squadrons in Europe and Vietnam. His last command was the 5...05 August, 2019 No comment 4 Likes