Robert H. Custer
Bob flew the F-100 with the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing out of Incirlik, Turkey.
Bob had previously served in the Korean War. An article in the REDLANDS DAILY FACTS | firstname.lastname@example.org on December 6, 2011, tells his story:
“Bob Custer, living in Pasadena in 1949, was called up from the National Guard, sent to Camp Cook (Vandenburg), and then to Japan for 10 months “out in the field.” He said that that was the time of arguing about the size and shape of the negotiating table at Panmunjom and “the big war stopped.”
But bunkers were lined up on both sides of the demilitarized zone where National Guard members were sent in 1952. “The action was minor for our regiment in patrol skirmishes and we were not first line in combat,” he said.
For Custer, the biggest hardship was the cold. As a Southern California boy, he had been to Big Bear, but was unprepared for “40 degrees below” on night picket duty, standing out in the wind, “even with full arctic clothing issue.”
A second remembrance was “ten thousands of mines.” He described Chinese mines cased in wood to avoid metal detectors and mines designed to explode only after being repeatedly triggered. One time they sent a tank repeatedly over one road to detect any mines. When the area was declared safe, the first truck sent out set off a mine.
Custer’s Guard unit was then replaced and sent home after five months. He later qualified for pilot training, served two tours in Vietnam, and completed 200 missions.”
- 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, Incirlik, Turkey (F-100)
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