Saturday, April 28, 2018

Vietnam on the ground

Doreen Griffith, the widow of Capt Alexander J. Griffith, asked me for any information that would strengthen her claims for any Veterans Administration benefits for which her husband’s service in Vietnam made her eligible.
Capt Griffith served was assigned to the 84th Military Airlift Squadron at Travis AB from 1961 to 1965 as a navigator in the C-133 Cargomaster transport. He passed away on 20 Oct 2012.  I was assigned to the 84th from May 69 to Jun 71. I have prepared copies of my own flight log book for my time during which I flew into Vietnam 17 times. Capt Griffith’s log book would have appeared very similar to mine.
The C-133 flew into Vietnam many times between its first mission in 1962 until the airplane was replaced by the C-5 Galaxy in 1971. Undoubtedly, every aircrew member assigned to the three C-133 squadrons was on the ground in Vietnam many times. Indeed, this is the case with every Military Airlift Command crew member during those years, including Capt Griffith.
MAC crew flew on flight orders prepared by their squadron. Typically, the orders contained wording similar to this, “Proceed to Clark AB thence further as directed.” This wording was used because the squadron did not know in advance when or where crew members would actually land at a base in Vietnam.
Also included is a copy of the pertinent chapter in my history of the Douglas C-133 showing definitively that the C-133 was on the ground in Vietnam many times.
I urge favorable consideration of Mrs Griffith’s claims. Her husband is only one of thousands of MAC air crew who were actually present in Vietnam many times but were never assigned to a unit in country.

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