Page January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker The Mohawker Newsletter of the OV-1 Mohawk Association www.ov-1mohawkassociation.org A Tribute to Lt. Robert C. Keller, KIA Photo: Carl A Weaver Date of Birth: May 31, 1941 Date of Casualty: Oct 16, 1966 In This Issue Robert C Keller KIA by Brenda Curkendall, Author and Mohawk Pilot 1-4 The Barkley Files 9 From the Left Seat 5 The Barkley Files Pictures 10 Newsletter News! 5 Association Directors/Contacts 11 Photo Album 6-7 Mission Statement 11 Mohawk Mail 8 OV-1 Mohawk Membership Application 12 This newsletter is the sole property of the OV-1 Mohawk Association, reproduction by any means is not authorized without written permission of the Board of Di- rectors. Permission may be sought by writing to the Executive Director, OV-1 Mohawk Association, 4305 North 12th Street, Quincy, IL 62305. The OV-1 Mohawk Association is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation, per IRS 501(C)3. Donations are tax-deductible. Page 2 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker Lt. Robert C. Keller Story ready to "start" the big powerful Lycoming T-53-L-7 turbo-prop engines. We would indicate that all is clear while standing by with a Vietnam was an era of rock and roll music; daily rains aka fire extinguisher (just in case). downpours, 100% humidity, soldiers doing a job often creatively, and mortars being lobbed into compounds. It made a challenging To the best of my memory, I don't think we ever had to use a fire environment, with added stress from incessant military aircraft extinguisher for an engine- start related problem. Sometimes... equipment upgrades and modifications requiring endless nightshift depending on the status of the aircraft's electrical system, a power maintenance scrambles to keep the aircraft mission-ready. Mohawks assist would be required to help in starting the first engine. This was in Vietnam were a classified mission, some Secret, some Top Secret. done with an "APU" (auxiliary power unit). The APU would "plug-in" Pictures and videos are a rarity as a result. The mission provided close to a receptacle in the battery storage area, on the pilot’s side of the and responsive intelligence and even air combat support at times. aircraft, just behind #1 engine. This would involve starting #2 engine The Air Force was at constant odds with the Army over 'capabilities', first. Once #2 engine was started, the APU line was un-plugged, and as they insisted that it was 'their' purview to provide ground forces the #1 engine was started with electrical power coming from the combat air support. Mohawks were already on-scene and ground "running" #2 engine. commanders loved that they could get 'instant' fire support from an Once both engines were started we would walk out 20-30 feet directly overhead surveillance Mohawk, which greatly beat 10 minutes after in front of the aircraft and go through a series of hand signals to calling the Air Force. Pilots and Technical Observers (TOs) loved the verify proper operation of all flight control surfaces. Once this was Mohawk. They loved the bird as it was a total kick to fly. Many completed, the aircraft was ready for flight... from a mechanic’s point mission flights were low, flying along the rivers, looking 'up' into the -of-view, that is. As soon as the pilot signaled that he was ready to trees to spot the Viet Cong (VC). Sometimes the planes arrived home "leave" - we would assist (with hand signals) him in exiting the with trophies… branches and leaves jammed in the moving control "revetment" parking facilities. He would then taxi down the nearby parts of the airplanes; sometimes they returned home with taxiway to the end of the runway. At this point... he would get final decorations… extra holes from enemy fire. Sometimes, when the takeoff clearance and/or instructions from the tower, then maneuver pilot had enough of the heat, they'd climb to altitude to cool off, his aircraft into proper alignment on the runway for takeoff. It was literally. Considering the heat and humidity, inside the cockpit of a always an exciting moment... watching the Mohawks take off into the Mohawk was a sauna, especially flying low level! Some missions night... on another mission." - John Akers were night flights, others were morning or daylight flights, depending The pilots, TOs, and crew chiefs put in herculean hours to meet upon the reconnaissance needed: Infrared (Red Haze), photo nose mission assignments. Many pilots did two tours in Vietnam. The and belly cameras, SLAR - Side Looking Airborne Radar which detects 73rd flew an incredible number of sorties and hours in 1966. Their 'movement' and 'direction' and 'speed' in real time. Some of the effect on the VC was very visible. Ground commanders loved the Mohawks were armed. It was definitely a kick to fly. It was even fully Mohawk! aerobatic for full escape and evasion capabilities. Right seaters, the Technical Observers (TOs), had mission equipment in front of them. Down-time was needed to offset the work stresses. During off-time, In some models it was a console between their legs and the pilot had the personnel of the 73rd would sometimes find their way a few the only flight controls in the aircraft. Both sat on extremely hard miles away to the Australian held Vietnamese beach, Back Beach, a seat pans which covered ejection seats, their means of escape in an real vacation paradise of glistening white sands and lapping ocean emergency. The props were too close to exit out the side hatches. waves against the shore with GI's sunbathing, plus the Aussies had Ejection was the only option. It was a team. bars and even an Aussie PX to boot! It was in this environment circa 1966 when Lt. Robert C. Keller joined "When the shift was over... several (if not all) mechanics would go the 73rd Aviation Company (Aerial Surveillance), Vung Tau. The 73rd over between the hooches and drink beer for a few hours then go to Avn Co (AS) went from a total of nine aircraft at the beginning of the bed. It was always difficult to sleep in the hooches during the day year to twenty OV-1's authorized by June of '66. because of the noise from the nearby airstrip and the always present heat. Sometimes a small group (2-3) would venture off base - down Besides flying the Mohawk and performing intel surveillance on the into the village for a visit to the local bars. Then there were times Viet Cong, Robert (usually called Bob) also coordinated with when we would head out to "Back Beach." That was one of the Intelligence/J2 in Saigon. Bob had a very nice leather briefcase that advantages of working the night shift there were many times when he used when he was in Saigon. His transportation was the 3/4 ton we would go to the beach and play all day. Yea, Back beach was an truck that the 73rd had in Saigon for the use of their pilots during incredible place, considering where we were at and what we were their liaison stays in the city. Bob left the briefcase on the seat of the there for. We would spend most of the day at Back Beach when we 3/4 one night. The next morning, the briefcase had a perfect cut would get tired, we would go up into the grove of trees at the around three sides and a hand-written note on it that said, "Lt Keller, Australian "secure" beach area, and take a nap. The beach was the next time that you leave your briefcase in your truck, leave it always secure and we never had anything to worry about." - John unlocked." and was signed by the EOD Officer (Explosive Ordinance Akers Disposal). It had been deemed a suspicious package and treated as a bomb. Oh the hardships! Robert lost his favorite nice new leather Lt. Robert Keller was special; he was different. He also volunteered at briefcase! and supported a local orphanage. Robert already had two young children stateside, Lory (age 2) and Robert III (age 3), and a loving "Launching a Mohawk was relatively simple. We would assist the wife. Yet, he had planned on adopting a Vietnamese orphan too. pilot with a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft, which included a Robert was used to going above and beyond. Robert Keller was an "walk-around" exterior examination, fluids check, tires, props, etc.. achiever, a giver, a caring person. With our assistance, the pilot and observer would then enter the aircraft and play around with all the knobs and switches for a few Mohawk missions in the 73rd were intense. The Mohawk A Models minutes (right after the crew entered the aircraft, we would stow the were armed, had dual controls and flew missions in pairs. The two telescopic foot ladder). Then the pilot would indicate that he was (Continued on page 3) Page 3 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker (Continued from page 2) In January 2015, Lory Keller were flown in formation. Some crews flew twice a day for 3 1/2 to 4 received an unexpected hours at a time. These were daylight visual recon missions flown at postcard and she was low altitudes of 1000 to 1500 feet and that altitude was usually too totally surprised by the low to safely recover from a mishap. invitation to attend the On Oct 16, 1966, Lt. Robert Keller was on a daylight recon mission, 'Annual Mohawk Reunion'. flying as flight lead in aircraft OV-1A, 63-13130, in a formation of two She decided to go to the OV-1’s. At that time formation training and knowledge of San Diego 2015 reunion! It aerodynamic affects of aircraft in close proximity training were presented an opportunity to inadequate. The accident report stated: meet people who knew her dad. It represented an "Crew of No. 2 (Mulvanity) aircraft in formation of two thought they opportunity to address "The detected an electrical fire odor. Pilot asked flight leader to drop Loss" she feels. She was behind and check for smoke or fire. Neither was visible. No. 1 (Keller) greatly overwhelmed by the then passed under No. 2 to regain original formation. Vertical memorial for her father. stabilizer of No. 1 collided with underside of flaps and right inboard She felt a swell of pride. Lory Keller aileron of No. 2 and damaged right propeller, right cockpit hatch, and The reunion room was full underside of fuselage and wings. Tail section of No. 1 separated and of folks full of empathy. aircraft entered steep dive, exploding on impact and killing pilot and Lory saw her dad recognized. The surprise, the incredible warm observer. No. 2 landed without further damage. Caused by pilot of welcome, the Missing Man table, the empathy and support she found No. 1 (Keller) aircraft passing directly below and close to No. 2 for the first time in her life brought her to repeated tears of joy. The aircraft. Other factors were (1) failure to maintain continuous visual members there were likewise moved by her and her search for their contact in close formation, (2) failure of flight leader to establish safe memories of her dad. After the reunion many Mohawkers searched procedure for changing positions, and (3) lack of knowledge about their old files and pictures. Norm and Ruth Bowser found an in-the- aerodynamic effects produced by two aircraft in close proximity." cockpit video of Robert Keller. They made a DVD of it and sent it to As a result of a mid-air collision with another Army OV-1A Mohawk Lory and her brother Bob. Lory has no memory of him and this was Aircraft from the 73rd Aerial Surveillance, the TO Lt. Albert G. the first time she had seen him “alive”! It was the seeing him as he Hallowell, U.S, Navy, and Pilot Lt. Robert Critchley Keller II, age 25, looked when he was alive that "took her breath away"! were fatalities on Oct 16, 1966 in Kien Hoa Province, Republic of Her dad, Robert Critchley Keller II, was a very smart man. He made it South Vietnam. look easy. He played guitar, did wood carvings, and was handsome. Lt. Robert Keller is fondly remembered… He was great in high school. He was President of his Class, Captain of the Football team, loved by everyone. Robert graduated Class of "Just found out about this memorial. I was in Avionics Repair and for 1959 at Camp Hill High School, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. He went to a while he was our OIC (Officer In Charge). He found out that I loved Lafayette College PA. Keller was active in dozens of activities during to fly and would take me on test flights whenever he could. He was his years at Lafayette. He played varsity football and was a member the best officer I served with in 8 yrs. He was as friendly and kind as of the ice hockey club. To afford college, Army ROTC provided the he could be." - Nickolas F. Zara much needed financial supplement. He was a class officer twice: first "I too was on duty that dreadful day. Lt Keller was one of the most as vice president of his freshman class and then again as vice popular Officer/Pilot and Friend to the enlisted men of the 73rd president of his senior class. He was president of the Maroon Key during my tour of duty from 1966 through 1967. 41 years have Society, President of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, distribution passed since that day. I often pause and think about Lt Keller and how manager of the Mélange, the college yearbook. He also was a he always had a smile for everyone and his wonderful humor over the member of the Knights of the Round Table honorary organization, a radio after the conclusion of a mission. He managed to have a few member of the Varsity L Club, treasurer of the Lafayette chapter of minutes to ask "How are you doing?" That alone was showed the the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a member of the character of this fine Officer and he was respected and appreciated by Scabbard & Blade Society, and was listed in Who's Who in the all of us who knew him. RIP Lt Keller" - James J Dooley American Colleges and Universities. He was also designated a "I was an Photo Interpreter in the Imagery Interpretation Section of Distinguished Military Student. During college, Robert got married the 73rd from February 1966 to Feb 1967 and had flown as an and had a baby boy, Robert Critchley Keller III. Robert's religion was observer with Bob. I was on duty on the afternoon that Bob's aircraft Missouri Synod Lutheran and he attended Trinity Lutheran Church. In was involved in the mid-air with the OV1-A being flown by Capt. 1963, Keller received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Mulvanity. It does not seem like forty years ago! Seeing this web-site Engineering. Upon graduation, Robert went on to become an Army brought that whole terrible afternoon back like it was yesterday. I still aviator at Ft. Rucker. By the time he went to Vietnam, Robert Keller remember Bob's smile for everyone and his sense of humor. He was a II had two children, Robert III age 3 and Lory, age 2. talented pilot, and used to delight in flying and trying to scare the Lory Keller is also an achiever. Lory's love of writing earned her 1st Observers....at least this one." - David M. Lamb prize at an Annenberg School of Communications contest her senior "While not a close friend, I still remember Bob during our four years year of high school. It was a paper on the negative influence of TV at Lafayette he was the type of guy that everyone looked up to- He commercials. That and her careers with Xerox and Blue Shield helped was well accomplished, energetic, motivated and a natural born her garner her first position with the PA State Senate as Research leader. A person you could not help but admire. After all these years I Analyst. Lory went on to serve as Director of Public Relations for the still remember him well and he served as an honor to his Country. Majority Whip and then on to Speech Writer for the caucus. She is May God bless him." - Frank Lehmann proud of her work history, but most proud of her service with the (Continued on page 4) Page 4 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker Senate. "Many, many thanks to the OV-1 Mohawk Association (the Board and Lory's brother, Robert C. Keller III , as a young man, played football members), Paul Jacobsen, John Bosch, Norm and Ruth Bowser, Carl (like his father), and loved lifting weights at the gym. Like his father, Weaver, Brenda Curkendall, Tom Hummel, Mack Gray, George Krejci, Bob was musical. He played multiple instruments. He played and other incredibly kind and generous Mohawkers and others who trombone in the orchestra and symphonic winds as 1st chair. Yet, he are helping me realize my dream of connecting with my father in a never took his trombone home to practice, and for a competition sent way that is meaningful, truthful and historical. I'm so very grateful to in a video tape which he sight-read once, then recorded the piece and have had the opportunity to attend the OV-1 Mohawk Association's won 1st chair for that as well. Robert III finished college later in life. 26th Annual Reunion this past October in San Diego. It was, for me, a Grad School was a point of personal crisis (divorce), yet, 'something in life changing experience - and long overdue. Stay tuned for photos him made him get up and go'. A friend pointed out, "You're a and more from my very first Annual Reunion. It was such a fantastic survivor!" As such, Robert finished grad school as the "Outstanding experience, I'm already looking forward to the 27th Annual Reunion in Student of the Year" from Cal State Fullerton with a Master's Degree Washington D.C.! Please be sure to visit the OV-1 Mohawk in Bio-Mechanical Engineering. Remember, his father earned HIS Association website for more on a wonderful American organization degree in Mechanical Engineering! Robert III had the nature of of which I am very proud to be a member" - Lory A Keller Robert II! He just lacked the nurture and nurturing. It was the "I am so very grateful for this wonderful article about Dad. There's mentoring by veterans which have helped and guided Robert along more content than I've received in a lifetime of being his son." - the way. His father's touch is felt though the brotherhood of Robert C. Keller III veterans. Lieutenant Robert Critchley Keller served his Country, the Army and It is hard for children ages 2 and 3 to ever have an adequate grasp of the Men he served with, with courage and honor. Lt Robert C. Keller their loss, and an opportunity for healing though the grieving process. II had distinguished and meritorious service to his Country earned him Sadly, in her grief, their Mom never talked about their dad which left the following awards: a huge hole in their lives. When Bob died he left behind a docile Purple Heart for wounds received white German Shepard named Tonya. Tonya was a big part of Lory’s Air Medal with V Device life as she grew up. Tonya was her link to the father she could not remember and their bond led Lory to a lifetime of loving and rescuing Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters dogs. National Defense Service Medal Instead their loss festered for a lifetime. It is only with the advent of Vietnam Service Medal Bob's own son that he learned of what he had missed. As a Dad, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon Robert (III) shares 'Grandpa' in-memorium annually every October, Meritorious Unit Commendation the month their father died. It is a horrible month for both Lory and The Republic of Vietnam, Military Merit Medal Robert. They both deeply desire to know more about the man who The Republic of Vietnam, Gallantry Cross with Palm was their dad, what he did, what he accomplished, what he was like. Yet, Robert Critchley Keller II greatest achievements were his children, Both are extremely grateful to the Mohawk Association, that first Lory and son, Robert C. Keller III! And what will we tell his grandson postcard and its supportive members for the help to connect with Tiger when he is old enough to understand? We will tell him that his their dad, and finally start healing. Robert and Lory are both looking grandfather died while trying to protect two other soldiers. forward to the Washington DC Mohawk Reunion in 2016. Photos: Lory A Keller Robert C II Robert C III Page 5 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker From the left seat 1994—5th Annual Reunion, Stuart, Florida Fellow Mohawkers. Why do we attend reunions? Some of us see a few of our members during the year, but the reunion is the event to continue the relationships started long ago. The smiles, hand shakes and hugs, all representing genuine happiness at being together again. Our age dictates that we will lose a few each year. We can not change that. We can and do enjoy our time together. Take a hard look at September 2016, Washington DC. Hope to see you there. - Tom Hummel, President / Executive Director Newsletter News! This newsletter is our way to communicate with all of the members. It is also designed to do triple duty. If you look at the bottom of page 12 you will see a membership application form. That form is a recruiting tool. Every time we publish an issue someone new discovers this newsletter and that informs him that this Association is in existence. If he likes what he reads then he may fill out the form, send it in with payment, and then we have a new member. Please take it upon yourselves to send copies of the newsletter to prospective members and some of them will join the Association. The other thing it does is to help remind members if their membership is about to expire. If you receive your newsletter via snail mail then look at your name and address on the mailing label. The first line will be your membership expiration date. If you are due to renew in the reasonably near future then be kind and send in your dues ahead of time. Send them to Tom Gallucci, address in the paragraph below. This will save us the cost of mailing an invoice to you. If we can eliminate only 100 invoices then we will have saved over $50. It will also free Tom Gallucci to do other important things for the Association. Help us save a buck! If you choose to receive your newsletters and other communications from us by email then the cost to the association goes way, way down. It is almost infinitely cheaper to reach you good folks by email. (One problem with emailed newsletters is that 20% to 30% of the newsletters that we send are never even opened.) If you wish to receive your newsletters via email and you promise to open them then contact Tom Gallucci, 31610 Corte Padrera, Temecula, CA 92592-6443 H (949) 874-1948, or email@example.com. Volunteer Opportunities: We always need someone to research articles and to submit findings that create the articles in the newsletter. This may involve emailing and phoning and email is free and phone calls are free for most of you. If you can spare a little time and want to see your name in print then contact the Editor at 763 493-2428 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Content: With this newsletter you will see PVN (Post Viet Nam) articles in each and every issue. What’s new this issue: We had too much copy and too little space. Rather than going to 16 pages we have in some of the longer articles reduced the type size to Calibri 9 point. Howzit look? Page 6 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker Photo Album OV-1D Mohawk Qualification Course, 1987 L-R: Michael Drumm, Larry Livingston, Tim Welch, Jack Newberry, Benny Hardman Spud pilot and Prisoner of War Captain Bill Reeder as he is being released from the Hanoi Hilton in 1973 Page 7 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker Last mission celebration for Maj James B Thompson, early 1969. Photo: Steve Graham Bob Hope meets Spud crew chief Bob Hansen. Notice the Spud patch on Hansen’s shirt pocket. Page 8 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker Mohawk Mail Hello Paul: My name is Ronald Loving, and that name might ring a bell because my older brother, Martin (Marty) Loving was the only one from the 73rd (I am told) to be killed in a YO-3A accident. He had to take a ride in that aircraft before returning to the USA and it looks like CO from the engine exhaust got him and the pilot. Anyway I am writing you as the historian of the 73rd in hopes that you can fill me in on this and more. Anyway I am looking for some information on the type of a TO&E unit that the 73rd was and where Martin fit in doing his Photo work. Can you give me a layout of the TO&E structure of the 73rd and who worked inside of the photo shop or lab that Martin worked in. If not you, who might be able to fix me up with this kind of information. Best Regards , Ron Loving email@example.com As far as I know the Association does not have those documents. Some of our readers may soon be in touch with you . Readers: Do any of you have any photos of Marty or any documents concerning him? If so then please contact Ron at the email address above.—Editor Dear Editor: During October 1965 I was assigned a SLAR mission near the border of South Viet Nam and Cambodia and checked in with Air Force radar for flight vectoring. At 6,000 feet I was flying a racetrack pattern, 10 minutes north then 10 minutes south. It was 2:00 am, dark, raining, with extremely poor visibility. I requested GCA controllers on the ground at Pleiku to keep me informed on the weather. Around 3:30, requesting radar vectors for landing, I was informed that they were below minimums. Responding that I had understood GCA would keep me posted about the weather, he said “sir, with respect, no one told us about you.” “Sir” I replied, “I do not have enough fuel to make it on to Qui Nhơn. I am at 4,000 feet and have no choice but to attempt a landing. If the runway is not in sight at 500 feet, we will eject, hopefully we will be near the airfield.” An obviously senior airman with a lot of experience took over radar duties. “Turn right heading 180, descend to 2,000 feet. Understand you are low on fuel. Also understand you do not have enough fuel to make a missed approach. I will call out everything for you to do, do not acknowledge me, just do as I say. We are going to bust minimums tonight.” From that point, I heard “on course” and “on glide path.” The weather was solid cloud, rain. The controller gave me missed approach procedures, then said “you will not need them tonight.” There was no chatter: “100 feet, ¼ mile from runway” then “50 feet on course” followed by “10 feet, pull throttles back all the way, raise nose 2 degrees.” I felt the main gear touch, then saw runway lights: I was on the center of the runway. Reversing the engines until we stopped, the tower informed me “due to reduced visibility, do not taxi. Stop on the runway – we will send a tug for you.” The TO and I got out of the Mohawk and looked at the nose wheel: it was about a foot left of the center line and we had about 10 gallons of fuel remaining. I never had an opportunity to meet and thank that controller. He said he was too busy. Several years ago, I was asked by the Air Force, Air traffic Controllers Association to send them this story. They did verify that a similar story did occur in October 1965. My TO that night was Sgt Herman Manley who now lives in Norfolk, VA.. In a recent conversation with him, he reminded me of another incident together. We were on a SLAR Mission into Cambodia. Our OV-1B required a good, working autopilot. In dodging dangerous weather, we became trapped in hostile territory, behind a series of towering thunderstorms. We needed to get through this weather back to the safety of Viet Nam. When we requested radar vectors, Air Force Controllers told us that there were no holes or spots to come through, that the storms were above 60,000 feet. I told Sgt Manley “this is it.” In our recent conversation, Sgt Manley reminded me that I slowed the Mohawk to 150 knots so that he could use SLAR to keep us away from the mountains. The storm raged on with lighting flashes so intense it was almost like daylight. We were being slammed to the top of the cockpit, then it felt like falling through the floor. This situation lasted about 2 minutes and suddenly we popped into almost clear air. With our windshield shattered from hail, we made an emergency landing back at Pleiku. As Sgt Manley and I surveyed the damage, we noted that in addition to the windshield the nose and tips of each tank were bent from the hailstones. Just another completed mission in an OV-1B Mohawk.—John Towler #80 Page 9 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker The barkley Files U.S. Army/German Army OV-1 Mohawk results. Because we were flying so called German aircraft with German Evaluation program summary markings we did not have to comply with the border intrusion After observing the OV-1 Mohawk operations by the U.S. Army in restrictions imposed upon the U.S. Pilots flying in the American sector. USAREUR the German Army requested that they evaluate the We flew flight tracks that were given to us in real time from a highly operational capabilities of the OV-1 B and OV-1 C for possible use along classified (at that time) radar site. Hannover, terminal radar and their northern borders with the East. Such an evaluation would not approach control were in the loop so as to insure that upon departure only help the Germans but also Grumman, the airframe and other and arrival at Buckeburg we did not conflict with civilian air traffic in sensor manufacturers. The attached article “The Mertz Marauders” the Hannover, Bremen, Hamburg. addresses the international political side of the story related to both For several reasons all of the night missions from Buckeburg were a the German and French evaluation programs. Therefore I’m addressing challenge. The 2000m runway did not have lights or any approach only some of the operational highlights of each program and leave the radar or GCA. For lighting we would line the runway with lighted politics to your imagination. smudge pots and hope that they would still be burning when we The U. Army Aviator Team consisted of myself, Major James R. Barkley returned. Night departures and arrivals were handled through Sir (Team Leader from Army Material Command (AMC) OV-1 Mohawk Hannover radar. They would be advised when our aircraft would be Project Managers office), Captain George Mikula and Captain Bill ready to depart. Because of some rather high hills between Buckeburg Simpson, both from Mohawk stateside operating units. In addition and Hannover, we usually would not be acquired until reaching about there were technical representatives from the airframe, power plant, 1500ft (they would say 500m). Upon acquisition, heading information SLAR, IR and camera manufacturers. Just prior to our departure from would be provided to insure adequate separation with other traffic. the states in September 1963, an additional officer was assigned We would then be handed off to our classified tracking radar. When without my prior knowledge. He was Major Frank Wilson from the returning to Buckeburg, Hannover approach control would align the Army Security Agency (ASA). He was a non aviator and initially I had no aircraft up with the Buckeburg runway and as a radar track was lost he idea as to why he was assigned to the team. would say “Good Night” in perfect English. From there on to touchdown, we were on our own. Upon arrival in Germany we were to pick-up a new OV-1 B and OV-C and an L-20 support aircraft from the U.S. Army Aviation Maintenance All of our IR and photo missions, both day and night, for obvious Center (USAAMC), Sandhofen Germany and fly them to the German reasons, were flown ONLY in West German airspace. Many of the Army flying school (HERRESFLIEGERWAFFENSCHULE) located at missions were held in coordination with West German military Buckeburg in the British sector. Prior to departing Sandhofen, all U.S. exercises. Following our first night photo mission over Munster, during Army markings were removed from both Mohawks. They were which time we activated the flares, when each flare illuminated with a replaced with the German Iron Cross on the fuselage and HERR (Army) loud bang, the local civilian population thought that the Russians were on the wings. The aircraft were identified as ABQ and ABW. Because of invading. So, for all future flare missions, the location had to be these unusual markings, I was instructed that neither aircraft could preselected and the population in that region advised in advance. return to the American sector without prior Embassy approval, even There were several IR evaluation missions that are worthy of should we require heavy maintenance at USAAMC. Keep in mind that mentioning. First; it was about mid November and getting pretty cold the State Department, through the American Embassy at Bonn had in that region. The buildings in the military compound at Buckeburg done most of the political spade work prior to our arrival on site so were all heated by high pressure steam. The steam generating plant initially we had wing it as fast as U.S. Military/German military was was located some 300/400m from the buildings to be heated and the concerned. steam pipes were buried some 3m underground. Although steam was Upon arrival at Buckeburg, I was very pleased to find that the German being produced at the source, it was not reaching to garrison buildings. Commander, Colonel Abeling, (a very strict military man), the German Our IR team tech Rep. suggested that an IR mission be flown over the Army Evaluation Team Chief, Major Henri Roaper and his assistant a compound to determine if an underground heat source could be captain whose name I don’t recall, were not only fluent in English but detected. To insure maximum heat reflection the mission was all were Army Aviator graduates from the U.S. Army Aviation Center, conducted at night. On the very first pass, just outside of the steam Fort Rucker. As the evaluation got underway, true to German form, generating plant between the plant and the compound buildings there everything was planned and executed by the numbers. There were was an IR reflection as big as a house. Excavation of the area the morning briefing to discuss each day’s activities, an evening briefing to following morning revealed a large fracture in the steam pipe which review how things went that day against what had been planned and if was repaired and heat restored. So everyone was very pleased. night missions were scheduled, what would expected. Second: During a night IR evaluation mission over the West German Seaport of Kiel and surrounding harbor area, I was a mile or so out over During the next several months many SLAR missions were flown open water and had just completed a 180* turn south back toward generally along the track indicated on the attached map. It was also Kiel. Abruptly the IR operator picked up a hot IR signature with a trail then that we kind of suspected why Major Wilson was with the team. of heat. It was heading east at high speed toward the East/West In addition to English, he spoke fluent French, German and Russian and German boundary. Later valuation of the IR data strongly suggested frequently appeared in civilian clothing. He would leave us for several that the object was a foreign submarine accidentally detected on the days at a time and usually upon returning, we would have a SLAR surface before make a high speed dive. There was one unfortunate mission parallel to the border along an East German location. incident which occurred during the course to the German military The SLAR missions were usually flown at night between midnight and evaluation. The German military had a number of very experienced dawn. As soon as the aircraft landed the SLAR film package was enlisted pilots, most from WW-II days. The U.S. Army invited the removed by Major Wilson and we would never see or hear of the German Army to select two fixed wing multi engine rated pilots to be Page 10 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker sent to Fort Rocker (at U.S. expense) to attend Mohawk training. Two distort or swell, resulting when the flare was fired, it could jam in the enlisted pilots with the required qualifications were accepted and casing resulting in a detonation of all of the flares while still in the attended Mohawk training commencing late September early October. dispenser. A design change incorporating a metal casing had been Training went well until Sgt Watsonburg, one of the German student implemented and all flares of the earlier design were to be withdrawn pilots and a U.S. army flight instructor went out on a night photo from service. For whatever reason the flares used at Fort Rucker were training mission. Both flare pods had been loaded full with flares prior of the old design but had not been withdrawn from use. It’s to departure. Over the designated training area the camera and flare noteworthy to mention that the flares we were issued and were using system were activated. When a flare was activated it should have at Buckeburg were also of the old design. Somehow we were just plain ejected from the pod prior to elimination. Unfortunately it hung-up in lucky. the flair pod and there was a massive explosion which caused total In mid November, shortly prior to the termination of the German breakup of the aircraft and instant death to both occupants. The evaluation, the French government, through diplomatic channels, tragedy resulted in a temporary shutdown of the program. The Sgt. expressed an interest in conducting an evaluation on the OV-1B and received a funeral with full military honors. A lot of diplomacy took OV-1C. Arrangements were made for the team to proceed to a French place behind the scenes before the program was reactivated. Air Base at Metz France. We processed through USAAMAC, Sandhofen A detailed investigation of the accident cause revealed that the flares Germany where all German markings were removed from the aircraft being used for training at Fort Rucker were of a very early lot which and replaced with the French Tri-color. The probably reason for the used a paper wax impregnated material for the flare casing, similar to German Army not obtaining the aircraft are addressed the “The Mertz the outer casing of a shotgun shell. Earlier routine inspections of the Marauders” document. The French evaluation is addressed by separate flare casing revealed that after an extended time, the eliminating enclosure. material within the flare casing could cause the paper outer casing to “US Army OV-1 Mohawk Demonstration team W/German Army (FRG) Evaluators, 09/1962 Major Barkley, Test Pilot/Team Chief” Page 11 January—February 2016 Issue #125 The Mohawker Association Directors/Contacts Mission Statement President/Executive Director: Tom Hummel The Mohawker is a newsletter published four or more 4305 North 12th Street times per year for members of the OV-1 Mohawk Quincy, IL 62305 Association. H (217) 222-4799 C (217) 653-2463 Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org OV-1 Mohawk Aircraft and/or our reunions. 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