Very sad news to report that we've lost a good friend
'Phil Garey' to cancer (10-5-09). He will be deeply missed.
Phil and I were in pretty good contact since 1996.
Below is one of the first emails Phil sent me back then.
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 20:27:16 -0800
From: Phil Garey
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.0Gold (Win95; U)
Subject: Phan Rang
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
I got the file and saved it do a disk. I've never used that
stuff, but will find out how to do it. Somewhere I've got
maybe 20 or so shots of Phan Rang, some on approach or some
on takeoff in the old Gooney Bird. My diary shows twenty or
more attacks in my time, 1 Aug 69 to 1 May 70. I flew from
Cam Rhan Bay to PR on a 123, on my arrival day. We got shot
at over the desert, and got hit. I wasn't real eager to fly anyhow.
I was 44 years old and got shot at (and shot back) often enough
as a B-17 tail gunner (SSGT) in WWII with the 8th AF.
Main memory is heat and dust. I went in town quite often, as I
had a buddy who was the Provost Marshall, Black Major. Great guy.
Got the Silver Star for ground action in that attack in early 1969.
Anyhow we used to go in together, but it was really off limits.
My roommate was the Ops Officer and I used to fly off
to Singapore or Bangkok and Saigon quite a lot. That's
what happens when you take an old NCO (MSGT) and give
him a commission. I knew a lot of tricks. I stayed out
at the beach one night illegally, and we got hit...fun
and fireworks. I got away with quite a lot because I
was a Maj-LtCol at the time, and about to be retired.
I can't scan photos, but if I find them I'll
send them to you, and you return! Phil Garey
Phan Rang AFB (1969)
Below are a few closing tributes to Phil from vets who knew
him or enjoyed seeing his writings and his memories during
WWII and PRAB. If you would like to have your tribute to Phil
posted below please send it to me and I'll post it below..---Mike.
Almost thirteen years back Phil and I first contacted each other VIA the
Internet. I was very impressed by the man's service record and personality.
Starting his military career in 1944 as an enlisted man and later in his career
becoming an officer, ending his military career as a Commander at PRAB in
'69-'70. Phil was very proud of his military career, especially his early
days flying the 25 sorties, with his other B-17 aircrew members, over the
flak filled skies over Germany. He did little bragging about those days
but one could tell how proud he was to have served during the war. In our
many emails, and phone conversations, Phil and I would talk quite a lot
about our military experiences and personal life. Throughout the years I
felt close to Phil and how he felt about me, family, and other friends around
him. He will be deeply missed. "Rest in Peace My Friend" ---Mike Vogel
Phil was a unique man having worked his way up through the
ranks. He understood what it was like to be an enlisted man,
and he was a better officer because of this. Quite a career,
his family can be very proud of him.---John Mack
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