In January 1970 a party of RNZAF technical staff was sent to South Vietnam to experience Skyhawk maintenance in a combat environment. Led by Flt Lt Gary Cameron, the party included two airframe fitters, John Marshal and Barry Thurston and two armament fitters, Roy Turner and Snow(?) Jenkins. The RNZAF party spent almost six weeks attached to US Marine Corps squadron VMA-311, the "Tomcats", equipped with A-4E Skyhawks. The USMC squadron was based at Chu Lai, about 50 miles (81 km) south-east of Da Nang. A second group went later in 1970. The photo below shows (I think) the second group. Can anyone name any of the guys in the photo? And even better know where they are now??
There were six on the detachment including two officers Flt Lts Sudlow And Robinson . Shaun Robinson was 75 Sqn Eng Off. Suds was from avionics Ohakea. The marine corps uniforms were issued on arrival at Danang. The detachment was attached to VMA311 , Mag 11 1st Marine Air Wing.
Wow even better now that I am in contact with someone actually IN the photo! One of you guys gave me that photo at Ohakea in Feb 1995 during the Skyhawk Silver Jubilee, but I can't remember who it was!
Do you have any other photos or stories of your time there you could share with us? I have the transcript of an interview done with Barry Thurston in 1995 about their time there (done for a book on the Skyhawk Silver Jubilee that was never published). Did you hear Barry died a couple of months ago?
Don ,i gave you the photo at the 25th. There is also another of us taken with a group of marine groundies in front of an OV10 Bronco from marine squadron VMO2. i will attempt to post it later.The plaque that is in your photo is from VMO2 and was presented to 75 on our return. It was placed in the aircrew crew room .
I doubt the 75 Sqn groundcrew did any combat flying, but there were several RNZAF Strike pilots who flew as Forward Air Controllers with the USAF in Vietnam. Unfortunately I don't have any more photos for the groundcrew, but hopefully Canberra will post some.