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Subject: Re: 131st Aviation Company

Tom Wells
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Date Posted: 11:02:28 01/04/12 Wed
In reply to: Bill Bellinger 's message, "131st Aviation Company" on 05:48:15 11/20/07 Tue

Greetings Bill,
Enjoyed your post. I have a few corrections/inputs but you've probably received most of this by now. I was in the 131st from 7/69 - 8/70. While I'm not sure about the early years, 131st AvnCo was attached to 212th Avn Battalion (1st Avn Bgde)in DaNang. The unit was known as the "Nighthawks" and the planes were called "spuds" or, as the pilots endeared, "shit hot Spud!" The 131st flew missions out of Phu Bai in to Cambodia, Laos, and up the north coast. Part of our unit was stationed in Udorn, Thailand. (Talk about tough duty ... the maintenance guys were drawing hazardous duty pay, temporary duty pay, living in a hotel, working about 5 hours on a busy day, wore civilian clothes during off duty hours, and lived downtown near the clubs ... heartbreaking). I was trained as a crew chief at FT Eustis, worked in the prop shop for a while and then transferred to tech support. It was a relatively quiet year compared to what a lot of other guys went through. Apparently 'charlie' started throwing rocks at them a few weeks after I left. Timing is everything....

The mission of 131st in consort with the 7th AF was declassified some time ago. I found a very detailed report via Google 2-3 years ago that provides great detail about the two operations (both names escape me at the moment). Update - I just found this and it has great detail:

There were 3 models of the OV-1 series and 131st deployed all three: OV-1A had rocket pods on both wings, OV-1B had the SLAR boom (there was a nickname for it but I'll save that for another time), and the OV-1C was a camera ship. All had fuel drop tanks. The plane was a screamer for a gas-turbine craft, included "air brakes" that hydraulically pushed out from the fuselage to slow that puppy down on the right now but, lose power and it had the glide path of a brick. Hence, the requirement for ejection seats. Much more available online. It was an interesting bird.
Hope that helps ... best regards, Tom.

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