Da Nang – Pilots

This page is dedicated to all the pilots who have been assigned to the 479th TFW deployment at Da Nang in 1965 during the Vietnam war.

Each time a squadron operated from Da Nang AB they worked with pilot shifts.
This means around 7 pilots were available for war operations and the others were back home at George AFB. The pilots stayed in the famous "The Hooch".
The main role for the F-104C Starfighter in Vietnam during the first tour was divided in two different tasks.
One of them was to fly air patrol missions over the Tonkin Gulf to protect US ships and aircraft.
The second task was to execute bombing missions over Northern Vietnam (especially lateron during the deployment).
During the air patrols the pilots stayed over the Tonkin Gulf for a lot of hours and most of the time they flew with 4 aircraft.
Two were patrolling and two were in a process of being refueled by a SAC (Strategic Air Command) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.
During the refueling the two Starfighters also were assigned to escort this KC-135 aircraft.

A number of pilots are known who served at Da Nang as F-104C pilot. Most famous of course is the 30 years old Capt. Phil Smith who became POW after he was shot over Hainan Island.
He was flying at DaNang Air Base in September 1965 together with 6 others (shift) being Harvey Quakenbush (Flight Commander Sept-Oct shift), Ken Kerwin, R.E. Smith, Dale Carlson and Don Madonna and another pilot, all member of the 436th TFS.
On an official document (see beneath by clicking on it with the mouse), released in June 1965, the 436th TFS commander declared a number of pilots which would be assigned to operate from Da Nang AB.
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DaNang436TFS On an official document (click on it with the mouse for a larger view), released in June 1965, the 436th TFS commander declared a number of pilots which would be assigned to operate from Da Nang AB.

 

Beneath an overview of all the pilots (we know) who have been assigned to Da Nang this period in 1965:

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Major Eusebio Arriaga (436th TFS), seen in September
Major Ira L. Kimes Jr  (436th TFS)
Major Charles W. Ward (436th TFS)
Capt. Harris W. Kirk (436th TFS)
Capt. James R. Alexander (436th TFS)
Capt. Richard E. Blanckino (436th TFS)
Capt. Roy J. Blakeley (436th TFS), was sadly killed while achieving an emergency landing on July 22nd. 1965
Capt. Willard A. Dillon (436th TFS)
Capt. John H. Gale Jr (436th TFS)
Capt. John M. Hammar (436th TFS)
Capt. Stephen M. Korcheck (436th TFS), seen in September
Capt. Mike A. Korte (436th TFS)
Capt. Willard R. MacFarlane (436th TFS)
Capt. John D. Olson (436th TFS)
Capt. Morris B. Parker (436th TFS)
Capt. Howard E. Sargent Jr (436th TFS)
Capt. Larry R. Shassetz (436th TFS)
Capt. J. Lynn Symonds (436th TFS), seen September.
Capt. James J Torson (436th TFS), he was also USAF test pilot
Capt. Charles E.A. Vanduren (436th TFS)
Capt. Boris D. Klem (436th TFS)
Capt. Charles O. Lescher Jr (436th TFS)
Capt. Phil E. Smith (436th TFS), served September, became POW after he was shot over Hainan Island, September 20th.
Capt Richard R. Cole (476th TFS), was shot down in June but survived.
Capt Harvey E. Quakenbush (436th TFS), Flight Commander during September-October shift.
Capt. Dale W. Carlson (436th TFS), served September-October shift.
Capt. Morgan Lilly (??? TFS), encountered an accident in October.
Capt Luther T. Harvey (436th TFS)
Capt Walter B. Harris (436th TFS)
1st Lt. Harold R. Alston (436th TFS)
Rank? R.E. Smith (436th TFS), served September-October shift.
Capt George Wells (476th TFS), served from April.
Capt Tom Delashaw (476th TFS), served from April.
Capt Keith E. Davey (476th TFS), served from April.
Rank? Ray Holt (476th TFS), served from April.
Rank? Bob Lilac (??? TFS)
Rank? David L. Perry (476th TFS), from April - July and September - December.
Rank? Don Madonna (436th TFS), served September-October shift.
Rank? Donald E. Roberts (??? TFS), seen in July.
Rank? Ken Kerwin (436th TFS), served September-October shift.
 ...... Capt. Harry K Martinez (476th TFS), served from April.
Rank? David L Rose (476th TFS)
Rank? Bob Brickey (476th TFS)
Capt. Skip Burns (476th TFS) served from April.
Capt. Smokey Beall (476th TFS) served from April.
Capt. Ron Soltis (476th TFS) served from April.
Capt. Bill Linihan (476th TFS) served from April.
Major Norman Schmidt (476th TFS) served from April.
Col. Darrell Cramer (476th TFS) served from April.
Lt Col. Howard Dale (476th TFS commander) served from April.
Capt. Samuel "Sam" Cottrell (436th TFS?) departed with his F-104C from Guam to Da Nang on 10 October 1965.
Rank? Floyd Vache (436th TFS)
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If you have corrections or additions to this list please do not hesitate to email us.

PhilSmith Capt. Phil E. Smith (436th TFS), served September, became POW after he was shot over Hainan Island, September 20th 1965. This photo was almost sure taken around that time at Da Nang Air Base.
MikeKorte Capt. Mike A Korte (436th TFS) at Da Nang Air Base.
DaNang pilots Pilots at Da Nang Air Base. On the left side it looks like Mike Korte. Who recognizes these pilots in front of F-104C 56-886?.
HaroldAlstonX 1st Lt. Harold R. Alston (436th TFS) flew at Da Nang in 1965 but also flew the F-104C during the second tour at Udorn, Thailand in 1966/1967. (Photo: Harold Alston)

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Finally an interesting Saigon-Newspaper article about the Da Nang deployment, released September, 15th, 1965.

104_15Sep1965_436TFS_Saigon Newspaper-1 104_15Sep1965_436TFS_Saigon Newspaper-2