C119 Joys
by John Cleckner

I was on this "mission" and it was a classic.  Especially for a "new guy".  The 119 was full of legendary jumpers and Green Beret heroes.  (no shit).  I didn't realize this until we got to the motel and everyone slipped into their "special uniforms".
 
Let me digress because this should provide an interesting "thread".  Bill Angel was the Commander on the trip. (until we got there and the Martinis started to flow, I saw him once in a bar and then on the Bird coming back with an 8.2 magnitude hangover sleeping on all the expended chutes)  I was the XO and the new guy.  I have no idea who the NCOIC was but I'll bet someone out there knows who he was.  We flew a Reserve C-119s with 3 Air Force 06s at the controls. (they called one another by their first names and treated us real nice).
 
I had no idea what was going on other than we had a mission, I was a new 02 and had a flame 3 feet long shooting out my ass;  by God we had to  jump the Basic Special Forces Medical Students on Hondo DZ so they wouldn't lose jump pay.
 
We landed after a very long and uneventful trip.  When we got off the Bird we had a fleet of rental cars waiting for us to take us to the nicest motel you ever saw in San Antonio.  I remember riding in a Mustang Convertible behind Bata Boot and his female friend, who led us to the motel.  She was giving him head all the way.  He was in the Median more than he was on the road.
 
We accomplished our mission and was returning home to Ft. Bragg and glorious Green Ramp when we hit "weather".  I was trying to sleep beside Dick Bishop who kept telling me to put on my chute.  I eventually did and then the A/C Cmdr decided to get above the soup.  He went into a max climb. (as much as a C119 can climb) and Bishop went nuts.  He screamed to everyone we are going in.  He convinced me, after all he was an ex-marine and had 10,000 more sky dives than I had so as a Stupid 2nd Lt. I followed him to the door and tried to get it open.  (We couldn't get it open, thank god or we would have ended up in north Georgia someplace) and then I became aware that everyone else was looking at us and laughing.
 
Later Father Tevis was listening in on the headset in the clam shell and motioned to the Boot to listen in.  The conversation went something like this from the Pilot.  "Hey Bill (the 06 Navigator) where are we?"  "I think we are over South Carolina"   Bill, what do you mean you think?  At that point the Pilot broke through the clouds and all we saw was water..  He immediately radioed to Shaw AFB for an emergency landing because they were out of fuel.  When we got to Air Ops we were about a thousand hours over due at Pope.  Everyone asked to use the phone to call home and assure our loved ones we were still alive.  Bill Bennett and I were walking back to the bird behind the Pilot and Co Pilot when we heard the Pilot say, "god I hope they didn't fill those out board tanks, we'll never get off the ground if they did".
 
I don't know whether they saw us back there and were screwing with us, but Bill believed it and so did I.
 
I only remember 3 things rom that point on, we hit the trees at the end of one of the longest TAC Air runways I ever saw, we make it home and Bill Angel was still passed out on the expended chutes when we got there.  Oh and by the way, that was the last time I ever flew in a C119.
 
John Cleckner