28 June 1965 – U.S. forces launch the first major offensive in the Vietnam War. “In the first major offensive ordered for U.S. forces, 3,000...Read More
Terance E. Cawley
“The F-100 was the way to go if you were a fighter pilot,” he continued. ‘The century-series birds were the first ones that could fly supersonic in level flight. It was a great airplane.”
After flying the Super Sabre for a few years at Williams AFB, Texas, and Luke AFB, Ariz., he went to South Korea to serve as a staff officer at Osan Air Base, Korea, before heading off to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo., to become a squadron air officer.
“In 1965 there was an oversight board recommendation to cut the number of air officers per squadron from two to one,” said the colonel. “I was given a choice, stay at the Academy, or accept a set of orders to any base of my choice,” said Colonel Cawley. The choice was an easy one, he said. He went to George AFB, Calif., to fly the F-104C Starfighter with the 479th Fighter Wing.
“In my humble opinion, The F-104 was the greatest jet ever built,” he said. “It was the hottest thing around. The wings were so sharp and thin, the ground crew had to put safety guards on them to keep people from being cut.”
His love and respect for the ‘missile with a man in it’ is well deserved. In 1966 the 435th FS deployed to Udorn, Thailand, in support of Operation Iron Hand missions over the Republic of Vietnam. Colonel Cawley’s Starfighter carried him safely through 100 combat missions.
“We deployed just as the surface-to-air missile threat was emerging,” he said. “As fighter escorts, our aircraft didn’t have (radar homing and warning) gear, so we were dependent on the F-105’s for missile protection just as much as they were depending on us for fighter cover. So there we were; in a big eight-ship formation trying to stay close to each other – playing crack-the-whip over North Vietnam.
“Then, Aug. 1, 1966, we lost two aircraft on the same Sunday afternoon,” he continued. “Boom-boom, my operations officer and another friend of mine were gone.”
Following that loss, the Air Force quickly sent a team in to install electronic warfare gear in the squadron’s F-104s, and thanks to this equipment, he completed his tour safely.” (1)
After retiring from the USAF, Col. Terance Cawley became a T-6 Texan flight simulator instructor at Moody AFB, GA. He continued instructing until March 30, 2007.
(1) From the old to the new, into the wild blue by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres, 23rd Wing Public Affairs / Published April 02, 2007 – See the rest of the article at https://www.moody.af.mil/News/Features/Display/Article/212589/from-the-old-to-the-new-into-the-wild-blue/
- 1952 Joined USAF
- 1953 Pilot Training (T-6 Texan)
- 1954 Combat Crew Training, Nellis AFB, NV (F-86D)
- 1954 Naha Air Base, Okinawa (F-86D)
- IP, Bryan AFB, TX
- F-100 Pilot Training, Nellis AFB, NV
- Williams AFB, TX/Luke AFB, AZ (F-100)
- Osan Air Base, Korea (F-100)
- U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs CO
- 1965 479th Fighter Wing, George AFB, CA (F-104C)
- 1966 435th FIghter Squadron, Udorn, Thailand (F-104)
- Air Force Operation Center, Pentagon, Washington, DC
- 1970-1973 4515th Combat Crew Training Squadron, Luke AFB, AZ/494th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Lakenheath RAFS, England (F-100)
- Deputy commander for the Joint Casualty Resolution Center, Utapao, Thailand
- Chief of data automation at the Air Force Logistics Command, Warner Robbins AFB, GA
- 8/30/1980 Retired USAF
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