I was a pilot in the USAF. I flew the T-28 and in the other two assignments, I flew the F-4. I did not fly in what was called The Packs in North Vietnam.
The young Vietnamese pilots I met, some of whom were from Hanoi, were excellent pilots and eager to fight. In fact, one of them continually stated that he wanted to win the war, so he could go chase the stewardess who were flying for the Vietnamese Air Line. [That sounds typical for any young man, regardless of where he is from].
I felt that we were there to do a job. If I had obeyed all of their rules, I would never have expended an ordinance on a mission. It was devastating to me to have to do a mission I was assigned to do within these stupid rules.
I know that nothing I did compares to the struggles that the ground troops went through and I, in no way, want my service to compete with what they did.
My wish is that we could have, (and could have had), strong leadership from the Federal Government and the Generals in all of the chains of command in the military, do what they are suppose to do -- get out in front and LEAD.
Thanks for the opportunity to share. Take care.
Joe D. Parker
USAF - 1963
T-28 and F-4 Pilot
“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale
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