Eighth Aerial Port Squadron, USAF - About this site
 Mobility Operations
Vietnam, 1970

Letter from Cary Louderback, October, 2004
Mobility Operations 1971-2

"Well, as things wound down and troop levels got lower and lower, I think it's
accurate to say things with MOB got a bit hairier.. "

Editor's notes & Glossary:
"Hurcy": - the C-130 Hercules was commonly referred to as "The Herky Bird"
" AT": - the 10k AT was a 10,000 pound capacity Adverse Terrain forklift (see photo on home page).
Seige of KheSanh" - the classic Mobility Operation, where aerial port teams literally brought the air base to the Marines - on the ground throughout the entire months-long seige.
"872" - Home to the 8th APS Mob Team - our barracks at Tan Son Nhut Airbase.
Note about the abandoned C-130 containing the AT:
We would often send a forklift and driver out on a mission alone, to hook up with a full crew at their desitination. In this case, the aircrew and forklift driver were likely extracted by chopper after the aircraft was disabled - for obvious reasons.. There's nothing worse than being stuck in a disabled aircraft at a hot LZ. The C-130 was referred to as a 'mortar magnet'- and a disabled C-130 is a sitting duck...

cary d louderback
8th aps mobility
October 29, 2004


I'd forgotten our old barracks was 872. You jogged another memory....thanks.

Well, as things wound down and troop levels got lower and lower, I think it's
accurate to say things with MOB got a bit hairier.. But, I wasn't there earlier, so
I obviously can't be sure. I was with Sgt. Bob White though, and he'd been in the
seige of Khe Sahn in 68 (think it was 68).  He agreed.

Anyway, places I hit include: Kontum (repeatedly) and it was the worst. We hit it my
first few days with MOB. We'd been somewhere up North, can't remember where but
I know Hue City was VERY close. Anyway, we'd been 3 days and nights with virtually
no sleep, just a rare cat nap on a pallet up on our AT 
(rats were REAL BAD). I'd been
awake for nearly all of around 80 hours (no one believes that, but we know it IS possible).
when we headed to Kontum.

Kontum was VERY HOT when we hit. A 130 had sideswiped a downed Cobra, lost
an outboard engine and leaked most fuel...amazingly no fire.  The hurcy was blocking
part of the strip so we went in on a 123 and short-stopped on a dime.

Weren't those fun landings?

Refugees everywhere, Kontum was nearing overrun and to this day I've never experienced anything crazier. All any local wanted was to get on anything leaving. Anyway, we drug the Cobra off to the side.

Never knew how or why but there was an AT on the downed 130. Crew was picked up before we got there. Seems there  should have been a MOB team with that AT but...

Did the manual ramp drop, got the AT and pulled the Cobra first, the the 130 out of
the way. Huey brought a mechanic in and with a little of our help and, get this, the
good, old versatile AT dropped the engine offwing. To be honest it wasn't a very
pretty DROP. 

We took lots of incoming during that time. My ass puckered more than usual setting on that AT, let me tell you !!!!!!!! I was ALWAYS the driver on our team, seems my night vision was pretty good and I grew up on a farm and have driven everything imaginable all my life.

Did minimal ugly patching on the 130, ripped off some of the worst hanging skin,
used the AT to jump start and fired the 130. Knowing then it'd run, called for a flight
crew. Another Huey later, Hurcy was ready to go.

That's when it got really ugly. Refugees swarmed us and the Hurcybird! Sad to say we had to do whatever it took to get some of them off. Remember in particular seeing one OLD Papasan blown
away by the propwash and rolling away head over heels. No one even seemed to notice.

First time I saw a plane lifting off with people dropping off of it. They continued
to drop as it went up and out of sight. DAMN, it made me puke over and over.

For about the next 18 to 24 hours we turned 130's, 123's, choppers, anything that
would come in. we moved a helluva lot of refugees out and took a helluva lot of
incoming. Have no idea how many locals were hit and only know of one US Major
that got wounded. Still don't know why he was near back of the 130 on turn. We
grabbed him, got him stabilized (his bird never stopped, sure they didn't know and
it's good they didn't keep their bullseye on our ground) and shoved him into the next
bird turning.

Did all we could and finally managed to get our asses on a 130 and left. As luck
would have it our bird lost an engine on takeoff. Three's not a problem on a 130,
right? Got worse. Enroute to Saigon, lost another engine to groundfire. Down to
two sets of props, but we got faith in the 130...no sweat!
No shit, on approach, we lost the third engine. 

Short ending; we managed to land - with credit to an OUTSTANDING CREW. We spun around and off the runway but finally stopped...SAFE. "HOME" at last.

MSGT. William Moore told me and some others that he was gonna put us in
for Bronze Stars. Never heard another word and never saw him again. Didn't
really care for over 20 years.

I do remember that there was a story in the paper about us at Kontom.
Can't remember name of the paper, but it was in 72, around Tet, I think.

Anyway, Kontum was the worst. Sent us back there 2 days later. Spent too
many hours with bodybags then. Never saw our AT again and still feel bad
about leaving it. Was told it was seen a couple miles away with a 50 cal
hole in the engine. Just hope one of ours took it out rather than having it used
against us! People think I'm nuts when I talk about those 10K AT's, but they
were very good, reliable "friends" to MOB teams, huh?

Other places hit:
Phan Rang, Song Be (lots), Pleiku, Quin Nhon, Quang Ngan, Toy Hoa, Banme Thuot,
Na Trang, Da Lat, Loc Nhin, Tay Nhin, Phuoc Vinn, Cao Lann, Vung Tau, Hatien,
Vinn Long, Can Tho (with OL AY) ther for my last couple of months), and all over
the Delta.

Don't really remember these places, some yes some no, but while at Can Tho I did one smart thing. Had a map of RVN engraved and painted with all the places I'd been with MOB. Little did I know I'd "need" that later.

Don't get me wrong...memories of what went on are VIVID!! Names, dates etc, are not, tho.  Like you, I'm sure, Nam will ALWAYS be like yesterday....right?

Sgt. Bob White
SSgt. Chamalouck (sp?)
Tsgt. Miller
Jordan (last name)
A guy with me at Can Tho from Dodge City...name?
A German Shepherd at Can Tho named  "OLAY" pronounced  "OLEE".

He'd eaten so much steak off the ration birds we worked there, he'd often sniff and let 'em lay there. We all ate VERY WELL at Can Tho, but after I'd had about a week of only Kimchee with Koreans and warm beer at Phan Rang, I felt I deserved to eat good!!

Thanks a bunch for the site and for contacting me. First contact with anyone that was
in MOB or had even heard of MOB since I got back HOME in '72.