30 September 1966 – LtCol Walter “Mel” Fowler’s F-100 #553502 is hit in the engine by gunfire over SVN. He came close to capture or death by closely advancing Viet Cong before his wingman suppressed the advancing VC and he was picked up from the rice paddy by an Army Helo. Fowler was serving with
Edward R. Skowron
Ed Skowron left the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts in 1953 to go from high school to flight school and on to 52 years of active aviation. He trained as an Air Force fighter pilot spending 24 years in the trade. He flew various types from the subsonic F-84s to the supersonic F-100, F-105, the A-7 and F-4.
He completed two combat tours in Southeast Asia flying in the first organized mission in the F-105 on Jan 13 1965 and then in the A-7 on the last day of aerial combat in Cambodia on Aug 15 1973 as the “Sandy” Squadron Commander responsible for the location and rescue of downed airmen. Following military retirement, he joined the staff of Learjet factory test pilots and for 26 years flew domestic and worldwide production and experimental testing as well as representing the FAA as a Designated Engineering Representative test pilot.
He also flew customer demonstration and delivery flights. He was type rated in all variants of the Learjet and accumulated more than 15,000 hours of military and civilian flying.
This story about Ed titled We Weren’t Flying Over Laos – Ed “Moose” Skowron appeared first on American Warrior Radio.
We Weren’t Flying Over Laos (by Ben Buehler-Garcia)
Ed “Moose” Skowron accumulated more than 15,000 hours in the cockpits of both civilian and military aircraft. Some were combat missions over Laos that were not credited. However, it was his 99th combat mission in Vietnam that he remembers most.
Ed wanted to be a pilot since he was a child. He wanted to fly for the Air Force or Navy but admits he didn’t like school all that much, which limited his options.
The Air Force had a navigator training program that didn’t require a college degree so he signed up. After beginning training, his class was informed that the Air Force was short pilots and any navigator interested could test for pilot school. Ed jumped at the chance.
Some of his first training would be a Luke Air Force base outside of Phoenix, which would prove ironic later in life. As a 21-year-old flying with nuclear weapons under his wings, he remarks why war is a young man’s vocation.
Ed jokingly confirms that during the early days of the Vietnam War “We were not in Cambodia and we were DEFINITELY not flying over Laos.” He relates one mission while “not flying over Laos”. A covert ground operator radioed he was popping white smoke to pinpoint his location. When Ed saw white smoke rising through the tree canopy he radioed back to confirm. The reply he received was “I did NOT pop smoke – put all your bombs on that location.” It turned out the enemy had been monitoring their radio frequency and ending up paying for that deception with their lives.