Photos and comments courtesy of:
Sgt. John Mack

C-123K Aircrew member
(Loadmaster)

311th Air Commando Squadron
315th Air Commando Wing
Phan Rang AFB, RVN
4/68-3/69




The airstrip at Phan Rang was the home base for our 311th Air
Commando Squadron which became the 311th Special Operations
Squadron August of 1968. During my tour from April 5, 1968 to
March 2, 1969 I was assigned as a loadmaster and aircrew member
on the C-123 aircraft. During this time I logged 902 hours, 153
missions and a total of 1103 sorties. I got to see most of South
Vietnam from the air and from what I saw; this was one of
the best places to be stationed. This scan shows an aerial
photo of PRAB I took after one of our sorties.     (1968)


Another shot of the airstrip with the C 123 parking spots and squadron
offices on the left. Always a welcome sight at the end of the day.  (1968)


A closer view of the airfield.    (1968)


Mike did a great job of identifying the various buildings in this photo.
Otherwise I would not have been able to tell what is what.        (1968)


Base Head Quarters - Right before I was scheduled to
leave I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of the buildings
on the base so hurried around and snapped the following
pictures. Looking back I'm sorry I didn't take more.  (1969)


Base Chapel    (1969)


The new movie theater was under construction before I left. I never did
see the completion of it. Somehow seeing it going up made the base more
"Permanent", like we were going to be here for a long time.          (1969)


Happy Valley drive-in - Can't remember any pictures I saw there,
but a great way to relax watching the stars under the stars. (1969)


A shot of our barracks with the latrines in the middle, just
a short walk away. I started off on the top floor, but wound
up on the bottom. Felt it was a bit safer and proved to be
cooler. Remember the latrines, no doors on the stalls. (1969)


Classic pose at the back of the airplane to send home
to the folks. Note the 38 revolver in the side holster.
I would have made John Wayne proud. (G)  (1968)


This was home for most of my tour. I managed to get part of a
parachute to put on the ceiling (there was a reason for this
....was it bugs ?). Mine was the bottom bunk. At night when it
was quiet you could hear the rats crawling their way around the
outside of the barracks between the sandbags and the walls. (1968)


This is Pat Murray, another loadmaster. He and I
were stationed together at Dover AFB and then at
Phan Rang. Pat was aboard the C-123 that went
down at Chu Lai. He survived but spent some
time in hospital before returning to duty. (1968)


That's me on Pat Murray's 90 cc Honda. Great way to
get around the base. He was good enough to let me
use it when he was flying, and while he was off in
hospital recovering from the plane crash.  (1968)


Outside our barracks are (L-R) Ron, Gene, Pat Murray,
DeChant. Remember the beer and soda in the steel cans.
Sometimes when you popped it there was no fizz, but it
was still cold despite the slight metallic taste of rust.  (1968)


Squadron BBQs were held every so often behind the Squadron
offices. A great time to mingle with everyone. While we knew
the officers, there was always a friendly casual atmosphere
between everyone. Rank never was an issue or obstacle.  (1969)


The meat on the grill was usually steak that somehow
managed to find its way from the supplies we were
transporting (to the various bases) to our grill.  (1969)


That's me again this time at the front of the C-123,
showing off the 38 for the folks back home. (1969)


Pat Murray standing in front of our 311 Squadron Office. (1969)


This photo was taken inside the 311th SOS office. I can't
remember who the two airmen were behind the desk.  (1969)



As quite a few of us recall...it was a beautiful beach,
white sand and blue water. I always thought that some
day I would like to go back as a tourist. Who knows? (1969)


I was the loadmaster on Major Shelton's plane that went
in to evacuate troops and civilians from Kham Duc when
it was under attack on May 12, 1968. For this action I
was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.   (1969)


After the service I moved to Canada and eventually settled in a small
town in Eastern Ontario. I married a local girl in 1971. We have 2
children and 3 grandchildren. I retired in 2003 and as a retirement
project bought a 1950 Ford that I have been restoring. It's a work in
progress, just when I think it's restored something else breaks. (2010)


Click on Drive-In photo to  return to PRAB home page.



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