Today in History – May 26, 1970 – Capt William D Croom becomes F-100 glider pilot

26 May 1970 – Here’s the story from now LtCol Bill Croom about why he has 218 missions and only 217 landings…

“Why I have only 217 landings…

One day we launched off the pad and as I was climbing out the engine started compressor stalling. By the fourth or fifth time with cleaned wings, I headed home and the engine vibrated and seized. Flames came out both ends, and that was when I became a glider pilot. I was not qualified in gliders.

They wrote it off as a combat loss. The engine failed, probably. We occasionally got “plinked” at (shot at) so I’m not sure if someone shot a round through the engine, but it was 18 minutes from the time I left the airplane until I was picked up. Instead of having to wait for Saigon to initiate search and rescue and scratching around in their air-conditioned offices trying to figure out what to do, Pedro came off the base, turned his radio off because they were telling him to return to base, and came out and picked me up. I bought Pedro a lot of beer.”

At the time Bill was assigned to the 309th TFS out of Tuy Hoa and was flying F-100 #563136. (1)

For more about Bill go to

Source: (1) Dewey’s list

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