Sea Stories and Rememberances
a story from Mark C. Elbert
The timing of the Cambodians stealing the Mayaguez was
immediately following the evacuation of Viet Nam. C-2s were
also involved in that. We used Midway (I think) as a refueling
stop to get from Cubi Point to the Coral Sea (?) with Navy Seals.
The carriers were just steaming away from the coast, and were
still close enough that we used their decks as a refuel stop. The
following day, we Medevaced burned Marines from the ship to
Cubi Point, along with some Marine Corps Brass.
An interesting aside to the above flight. I always carried a work
uniform with me, after getting my flight suit soaked with oil one
day. We carried quite a few injured Marines to Cubi Point, along
with someone who was obviously high ranking, but did not have
any collar devices on. On the way to Cubi, he asked me if I had a
uniform with me. I had the green fatigue uniforms we got away with
wearing if we worked the night shift along. (My brother was in the
Army, and these were Army fatigues, with an Army-style name tag,
and my P.O.3 Navy collar device.) He assured me I would get them
back if I let him borrow them. When we arrived at Cubi Point, there
were several ambulances, and a staff car with 3 stars on the flag.
he person that borrowed my uniform, went right over to the staff car,
while the General visited briefly with his troops being loaded into
the ambulances. The General soon left, and I thought that would be
the last time I saw that uniform, and would have to get another
from my brother. About a week later, a Marine came to the Airframes
Shop (where I worked) and returned a starched and pressed uniform to me.
Subject: C-2A's Frequent Wind
From: Mark C. Elbert
I was a C-2A crew member during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975.
I am not sure what you are looking for, but I will try and give you
what I remember.
The Navy had four aircraft carriers, and one helecopter carrier, that
were in the South China Sea, not far off the coast of Viet Nam. Pretty
sure they were: Enterprise, Coral Sea, Hancock, and Midway. I can't
even venture a guess on the helo carrier.
Two of the carriers were able to launch and recover fixed wing
aircraft. The other two were the ones you see the footage of
dumping planes and helos over the side after Vietnamese Air
Force pilots landed there.
The C-2 crews were not night qualified for carrier landings nor
take offs, so all operations were about 4 hour flighst from Cubi
Point, so show and launch times were pretty early to allow for
two round trips on each plane.
VRC-50 didn't have the crews to allow each crew to do one trip
a day, so we were doing two trips per day, and one the next.
As I remember, this went on for a couple of weeks, which made
for some pretty tired crews by the time it was all over.
I remember flying when Clark Radio (the ATC for military aircraft)
announced on the HF radio that Saigon had fallen, and then
listened to the confusion of then trying to recall all the C-141s
& C-5s that were enroute to Saigon.
I can't remember any unusuall loads carried either direction.
I do remember carrying a few Admirals during that time
(one a month was a lot), but not much other than that.
We did not carry any Vietnamese. Hope this helps. Please
don't hesitate to ask me specific questions.