These photos are of a T-28 at a museum out west. VT-6 was the squadron I flew the T-28 in, and it's a virtual certainty that if I dig my old log books out I flew this aircraft.
VT-6 was one of two T-28 Trojan squadrons out of Milton Florida. The base was called NAS Whiting.
I don't know if they are still flying, or even if Whiting is still an active base. I was there in the mid seventies.
My youngest brother came down to visit me. He was stationed at the Combat Engineer School at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. I think this was around 1976.
This is a friend of mine, a fellow named John Cowan. He went on to fly CH-46 helicopters. I lost touch with him. Wish I hadn't but you move around a lot in the service and it happens.
After VT-6, I went to HT -8 and flew the Sea Ranger helicopter. On a hot day, you could hardly get it off the ground. A few years ago, I saw the modern version of the helicopter. It had massive engines and four blades, and the pilot said he could lift an elephant with it if he had to.
This is just about the only picture I have of my time in VT-5, at NAS Saufley. The field is long gone, I heard it was converted into subsidized low income housing. The T-34 B is long gone too, though I got to fly it pretty frequently throughout my Marine Corps time, because it was at most air stations as a "hack." That means an aircraft you can just fly when you wanted to for fun.
From there I went on to the Bell UH-1 Iroquois , which is what I stayed with. I wanted to be a fighter pilot but it didn't work out that way. Everybody wanted to be a fighter pilot, but somebody had to fly tankers, helicopters, FAC aircraft, etc. Like the song says " you don't always get what you want."
Another old VT-6 aircraft, and this one I am sure I flew. It hangs from the ceiling of the U.S Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida now.
Here's a T-34B Mentor at Saufley mid 1970's.
Part of the VT-5 flight line at Saufley. As I recall, the other T-34 squadron based there was VT-2.
There weren't any digital cameras back then. I hauled my personal possessions around from Asia to Europe, and in the process some of the pictures got damaged and a lot of them got lost. But still, here's a slightly beat up photo of a T-34 one early morning.
Part of the flight line at VT-6.
Florida was hot, and the big bubble canopy on the T-28 turned the aircraft into a sauna. We kept the canopy open on the ground as much as we could, but in the air it had to be closed. Military aircraft smell like oil, exhaust, fuel, leather, sweat, hot canvas and a lot of other exotic aromas which make a distinctive smell when they are heated up around 90 degrees.
I liked the T-28 best of all the aircraft I flew. I was just born too late. The right time for me to have been flying was 1941-1945. This was as close as I ever got.
Well, Flying was great and I enjoyed it. Counting both military and civilian flying, I started in November 1973 when I got my civilian license through a Navy program at the college. I finished up around 1994, when I couldn't get a medical certificate anymore. Good times, but everything ends eventually.
The T-28 was used all over the free world as a fighter bomber. The USAF secretly operated them, along with A1 Skyraiders, in Laos and Cambodia during the Viet Nam War. Drury's book is the only one I have ever found that dealt with flying the T-28 in combat, and it's a hard book to find. It's really good reading, though.
There are lots of videos on YouTube of the T-28 because it's popular at Air Shows. I like this one and it's short.
A Little Music:
This song below really captures the anger in America that predicated the outcome of the Presidential election. It's a lot older than this time period, but Americans have been furious over the way things are in this country for at least the last 8 years and by my thinking a lot longer. There's just one vulgar line in the song, no bad language but it's a bit coarse.