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Asia. I am sure that he played


a big role in making


my assign- ment desires come true. In late October I received initial notification that


my next assignment


would be to the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron in the 20th TFW at Royal Air Force Wethersfield, United Kingdom. That news made this flight with “Air Commando One” my most memorable flight at NKP. Colonel Aderholt would retire


from the Air Force in December 1972. Because of his theater expertise, close relationships with both the leaders of Thailand’s government and officials in Bankok, and Laos’ Hmong leader, he was recalled to active duty as a Colonel in October 1973. He returned to Bangkok as the Deputy Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Thailand and Deputy Chief of the Joint United States Military Advisory Group. He was promoted to Brigadier General in May 1974 and became Commander, USMAGTHAI, and Chief, JUSMAG in May 1975. He was the last American general on the ground in Southeast Asia, helping assure safe exit of remaining American forces and managed to find aircraft and resources to evacuate more than 2000 Hmong tribesman from Long Tieng, Laos before it fell to the North Vietnamese. General Aderholt returned to the United States as a hero to all air commandos and retired in the grade of Brigadier General on 1 August 1976.


The Zorro Call Sign The “Zorro” call sign was assigned


to the 606th ACS AT-28Ds when the squadron became part of the 56th ACW. The wing had requested “Sabre” for its AT-28D call sign, but the request was denied. An F-100 squadron at Tuy Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam had already been allocated the “Sabre” call sign and the wing was offered a list of alterna- tives which from which it could select another call sign. The list included


“Zorro”. Tom Deken and I were in the wing operations/intelligence mission plan- ning and briefing area when the denial message was received. During this plan- ning session a communications sergeant told Captain Deken 7th Air Force had denied the squadron’s call sign request and showed him the list of possible alternatives. When Lt Colonel Price, the squadron commander, and Colonel Aderholt, came into the building to review the night’s mission activities, Captain Deken told them that “Zorro” would be a great call sign because it represented a hero who performed good deeds fighting bad guys at night. They both agreed and a message was sent back to 7th Air Force requesting “Zorro” to be the 606th ACS AT-28D call sign. The 7th Air Force approval arrived the next night and “Zorro” became the per- manent NKP AT-28D call sign. During the next month an iconic


“Zorro” patch was designed and approved by Colonel Aderholt for wear on our flight suits (See original “Zorro” patch on this page). The design was a simple red eye mask with a red sword (the sabre we originally wanted) cross- ing behind the mask from its upper left corner to its lower right corner with white “Zorro” lettering crossing in front of the mask from its lower left corner to its upper right corner. Most of the Zorro pilots sent two flight suits with our deployed detachment to Ubon RTAFB to have them embroidered and dyed black at an Ubon tailor shop. The flight suits came back quickly to NKP and we started wearing black the fol- lowing week.


What I Left Behind at Pleiku AB, South Vietnam When I departed Pleiku I left some


of my personal items in my locker in the open bay barracks building where we made our primary quarters when we were on crew rest at Pleiku AB. These were collected by my friends with whom I worked and brought to me by 1st ACS aircrews that regularly flew into NKP to refuel and rearm following some of their night missions in Laos. It would also be through them that I would be able to


28 │ AIR COMMANDO JOURNAL │ Fall 2011


convert the script that I carried out of South Vietnam on my flight to Bangkok. I did not have the chance to cash the script I had accumulated back into dol- lars prior to leaving South Vietnam due to my rapid departure from Nha Trang on 1 April. Script or “monopoly money” as it was commonly referred by the troops was used in all legal financial exchanges by United States military and civilian personnel while in South Vietnam to keep dollars from undermining South Vietnam’s fragile and propped up econ- omy. Although using script kept dollars of American servicemen from flowing easily into the black market for hard to get goods and services, it did not stop illegal transactions. I had saved most of the script that I received during my three months at Pleiku AB with the intention that I would purchase something nice for my wife from the Base Exchange. By my departure date in March I


had accumulated $490.00 dollars worth of script and that was a significant amount of on-hand cash to me during that period of my life. I found out upon reaching Thailand that I could not con- vert the script into dollars and therefore I had a lot of “monopoly money” with no purchasing power at NKP. During breakfast one morning about a month after my arrival at NKP I was joking with a 1st ACS friend, Major William Weiger, about my personal hoard of “monopoly money” and that it looked like I had a worthless $490.00 souve- nir of the war that I would take home to my wife. Major Weiger told me to give him the script and he would try to get it converted into dollars and bring it back to me on one of his future missions. To make a long story very short he did get the script converted and I was able to use the dollars he brought back to buy my wife a gift that summer. I don’t know how he got the script converted to dollars and never asked. There were very stiff rules governing the amount of script that could be converted when a person transferred from South Vietnam so I let his secret be his secret and it remains so today.


Epilogue To only say that my tour at NKP was exciting and rewarding would


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