Khe Sanh Veteran Back in Combat

The 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, which has been supporting operations in Southwest Asia since February, recently added one more C-130 to its ranks: a 45-year-old C-130E known as Patches that arrived from Pope AFB, N.C. The aircraft, tail no. 62-1817, has a famous past that goes back to the 77-day battle of Khe Sanh in early 1968 during the Vietnam War. With overland supply of the embattled Marines impossible, Patches and her crew braved enemy fire to land and deliver much-needed supplies to the besieged outpost Feb. 5, 1968. The aircraft sustained substantial damage upon landing and taking off, but finished the mission. Pilot Lt. Col. Howard Dallman received the Air Force Cross for his efforts in leading the flight; all crew members received the Silver Star. “I’m proud to have her on our ramp,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Tulley, 746th EAS commander, from Little Rock AFB, Ark. “It gives our crewmembers and maintainers a sense of pride to know that one of their aircraft has been through something that significant.” (USAF report by SrA. Tong Duong)