One afternoon I was alerted (I might have been in bravo) for a SAAM Mission out of Clark AB, C-141A #957. The flight was April 22, 1980. Clark to Diego. We were to haul a bunch of civilian-dressed guys and their gear to the destination. While on the ramp at Clark, I was finishing up my TOLD card on the flight deck when the Loadmaster came up and complained to the AC that "they won't tell me what's in the ramp pallet." The guy's leader was in uniform and he was an Army full-bird. The AC called for the Colonel to come on up and the argument started. "We need to know what you guys have in that box on the ramp" "no you donít" "is it weapons?"
"Maybe, maybe not. " So, we just assumed we were hauling some class A. After we finished climbing-out and leveling-off, l got up and went to the back and these guys were mixing drinks with whiskey and coke and smoking big cigars. Half way to Diego they changed into uniforms, some wore flight suits, others fatigues. One dude I'll never forget. He was a short, stocky, bad-ass, long-haired blond guy in tiger-striped fatigues. The guy had blue eyes that said "don't f with me." We logged a 10.4, went into crew rest for 12 hours and picked up another airplane which came in from Oman. We took it back to Clark. One of the inbound crew-members forgot a souvenir Mandolin on the bunk. Not sure what happened to that instrument.
The next day the "Desert One" tragedy went down. Later we all got letters of appreciation for this SAAM mission.
I later read Col. Charlie Beckwith's book, "Delta Force." Charlie described the blond commando to the "íT" (he was a delta sniper). I think we may have hauled some Delta guys AND Charlie Beckwith to Diego that day. He never mentions this leg to Diego from Clark in his book, nor does Col. James H. Kyle, USAF, author of "The Guts to Try."
I wonder why this flight was left out of the history books? l wonder what ever happened to these guys we had on our airplane that day, did they all make it? Who were they?
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