A Udorn AFB record which still stands!!

In December 1966, the 435th TFS based at Udorn, Thailand, reached a total of 1706 flying hours which is today still a record which has never beaten anymore as F-104 squadron.

At an average speed of 500 knots per hour this time is equivalent to over 34 trips around the world. This is a lot of flying time for a single squadron with only 18 Starfighters!!!
Squadron commander Lt Col. Robert A. Preciado had nothing but praise for his pilots and ground crew.
"An achievement such as this is not only the essence of teamwork and professionalism, it's just plain sweat and hard work", he said.
The LtCol (by then 41 years old), from San Bernardino, California, was especially proud to report that this time was accumulated accident and incident free during the period when operational requirements pressed both air and ground crews to the maximum.

Several individual high time records were established along with the squadron grand total during the period.
Nine pilots broke the magic 100 hour mark for 1 calendar month. This is virtually unheard of in single engine, single place jet aircraft.
Taking high honors was 1st Lt. Addison C. "Ace" Rawlins (25) who logged 127,25 hours.
Lt Rawlins, an Air Force Academy graduate, had this to say: "This is my first tour in a tactical fighter squadron. I was looking forward to increasing my flying time rapidly as possible, but never expected anything like this". Prior to his assignment he had completed approximately 500 flying hours over a 24 month period.

Other pilots who broke the 100 hour mark were: Capt Roger J. Wichers (32) with 123,55 hours, Lt Thomas P. Mahan Jr. (24) with 113,15 hours, Col. Vernon H. Sandrock (41) with 111,55 hours, Capt William J. Sedor (32) with 110,10 hours, Capt Joe N. Fulton (32) with 106,50 hours, Lt Col. Robert H. McIntosh (39) with 110,10 hours, Major Richard B. Hunt (41) with 100,05 hours and Major Karl H. Hofmann (38) with 100,05 hours.

Maintenance crews received their share of honors for the unusual feat.
The high time aircraft for the month (57-916) compiled 156,4 hours.
It was crewed by A1C Jerry E. Lindsey (24) together with his
A2C Louis J. Landreneau (23).
Other crews had aircraft which reached the 100 hours mark as well.
Lt Col. Vernon H. Sandrock stated "This was a great deal of time to generate in a squadron in one month. Generally an entire tactical wing consisting of four squadrons will fly a similar amount of time. So you might say a single squadron was doing a wing sized job!!!"
Likely taken the same day of celebrating the record early January 1967.
Here A1C Jerry E. Lindsey (24) together with his assistant A2C Louis J. Landreneau (23) are seen. They are standing next to Capt. Tommy L. Wilson aside their aircraft 57-916 which held the record.
In total this F-104C compiled 156,4 hours in one single month (December 1966).
This wonderful photo was shared by Tommy L. Wilson.


1 Comment

  1. Tony menius

    I remember that and the squadron was put in for a citation but somewhere up the chain someone decided it was impossible and therected had to be a mistake in the numbers which was later proven but citation was never awarded.


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