Blankenship, Larry K, Sgt

Aircraft Maintenance
 
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 Service Photo   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USAF Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Sergeant
Current/Last Primary AFSC/MOS
43250-Jet Engine Mechanic
Current/Last AFSC Group
Aircraft Maintenance
Primary Unit
1969-1970, 43250, 63rd Field Maintenance Squadron
Previously Held AFSC/MOS
43210-Jet Engine Mechanic
43230-Apprentice Jet Engine Mechanic
Service Years
1966 - 1970
Enlisted Collar Insignia
Sergeant


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 Official Badges 

US Pacific Command Headquarters Air Force


 Unofficial Badges 

US Air Force Honorable Discharge US Air Force Honorable Discharge (Old Style)




 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Semi-retired carpenter. Working parttime for Home Depot just to stay active and out in public.
   
Other Comments:
Not Specified
   
 Countries Deployed To or Visited

My Map

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Burma Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fassu Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria


CambodiaLaosThailandUnited StatesVietnam

Places that I have "worked and played

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1966, Basic Military Training (Amarillo AFB, TX), 3332/312
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Training Units1001st Field Maintenance SquadronHeadquarters Command (HQ USAF)89th Airlift Wing
20th Special Operations Squadron - Green Hornets7th Air Force13th Air Force
  1966-1966, 43210, 3700th Basic Military Training Wing (Staff)
  1966-1966, 43230, 3377th School Squadron (Cadre)
  1967-1968, 43230, 1001st Field Maintenance Squadron
  1967-1968, 43230, Headquarters Command (HQ USAF)
  1967-1968, 89th Airlift Wing
  1968-1969, 43250, 20th Special Operations Squadron - Green Hornets
  1968-1969, 43250, 7th Air Force
  1968-1969, 13th Air Force
  1969-1970, 43250, 63rd Field Maintenance Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1969 Vietnam War


 Remembrance Profiles -  3 Airmen Remembered
  • Roper, Mark, A1C
  • Roper, Mark, A1C
  • Young, Roger, A1C
 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on Sgt Blankenship's US Air Force Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE.
My oldest brother joined the Air Force when I was five years old. I thought he was some kinda hero because he was a "G I" and got to do all the cool stuff "soilders" got to do.
Upon graduation from high school in 1966 I had choices to make......get a job (which I did)......go to college.......get married have a kid to avoid the draft or enlist. I tried the job for a while and wasn't crazy about the choices a high school grad had. The next thing I did, was I went to the Air Force Recruiter and enlisted. Took all the test and ended up with jet engine mechanic training after basic.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
I was assigned to basic training in Texas. Got to Amarillo AFB in the middle of the night. Got fed powdered eggs and fried bologna (burnt) and then went to our barracks for some sleep. Right then I knew that I had made a big mistake. Went through basic with one of the meanest Traning Instructor the Air Force had to offer. Got through basic and went on to "Tech School" for jet engines and changed my mind about the big mistake.I absolutety loved it. Me! a jet engine mechanic . I was going to be a mechanic on jets, fighter,cargo,recon.....anything with a jet engine!

After graduating from the tech school I was given a permament duty station that was fantactic!! Andrews Air Force Base,Maryland. Home of the 89th Military Airlift Wing....The unit that was responsible for "Air Force One" and all other VIP aircraft. I was going to work on the jet engines that powered AF1. How many 18 year olds could say that? I was awestruck! Never would have believed it. After overcoming the thoughts I went to work on the Pratt and Whittney TF33 jets that were used by the VC-135 VIP aircrafts and the C140 Jetstar II . They had J-60 Pand W engines.

Andrews was one of my favorite duty stations because of all the important events that shaped our bnation went on at that base and in nearby Washington, D.C. Just the vast amount of history in that city alone would keep a person busy for years trying to see. I saw Fords Theathre went up to the very spot that Abraham Linclon was shot. Went across the street to the Peterson house and saw the blood stained bed and pillow were Linclon died.

I also enjoyed my time in Southeast Asia......Nha Thrang Vietnam and Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Met a bunch of guys that were from different parts of the U.S. but came together to form one of the best units in SEA. For the first few months that I was there we were bknow as the 20th Helicopter Squadron the we were renamed the 20th Special Operations Squadron. We were into things that the general public and most of the military personnel had no clue what we were doing. Later on around 1972 or so the word got out what we had been up to and it was described as the "secret war" because we went where NO U.S. PERSONNEL OR EQUIPMENT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE!!!! Our time was mainly in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. Giving old "Charlie" hell any way we could.


IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH MADE A LASTING IMPACT ON YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY?
Was not directly involved in combat but gave close support to the ground forces through flying in supplies into remote locations. Also supported troops in Laos,North Vietnam and Camboida when needed. Was involved in the "secret war" that so many denied even being fought.
DID YOU ENCOUNTER A SITUATION DURING YOUR MILITARY SERVICE WHEN YOU BELIEVED THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY YOU MIGHT NOT SURVIVE? PLEASE DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME.
Our squadron, 20th Special Operations, gave everyone “flying hours” every month. That’s how we all got “combat pay” and tax exempt status for that month. One month my buddy and I got assigned to go at the same time and that turned out to be the luckiest day of my time over there. We were going into a area just a few “ clicks” inside North Vietnam on a hilltop reconnaissance site. The landing zone we went into was a radar jamming radio intercept site! The chopper that I was on landed and immediately got a call to evacuate troops from a “hot”spot and had to have all the space on the chopper available. I had put my M-16 in a secure space while in flight and didn’t get a chance to get it back before I got off the chopper. The only weapon I had was a S&W .38 revolver with 6 in the cylinder and 12 in my pouch.At that time I was with a local walking the premimeter checking the razor wire. While I was doing that the choppers all came in to the site and was loading up all returning equipment and troops and as I came into view of the “LZ” I saw all four choppers get airborne! I tried to get someone’s attention because I was being left behind! On a hilltop in North Vietnam without a weapon or ammunition! My ass was in one hell of a jam! Luckily for me my buddy saw me an got the aircraft commanders’ attention and informed him about me still on the ground. One of the choppers came back and “rescued “ me. Just about an hour later we got word that the LZ we had just left was being attacked! The next day we learned that the site was overrun and several were killed and some taken prisoner! The headlines could have been “American Airman captured in North Vietnam at secret radar site.”
I was called into the squadron commanders office the next day and had explain what happened and why I didn’t have my weapon with me. Luckily I gave a good enough explanation of events and saved myself a loss of rank and a forfeiture of pay. Lost one month flight and combat pay. Small punishment for being “rescued” and living to go on serving my country!
FROM YOUR ENTIRE MILITARY SERVICE, DESCRIBE ANY MEMORIES YOU STILL REFLECT BACK ON TO THIS DAY.
Being with a group of guys from all around the US, different backgrounds and personalities and coming together to form the best squadron I've ever been associated with. None even came close after I rotated back stateside.The 20th Special Operations Squadron was one heck of a unit. We worked hard helped each other and always got the job done. Everything from moving five thousand Laosians out of harms way to giving little kids their first taste of chocolate. We did it as a well oiled unit. I can recall pulling "all-nighters" removing a damaged jet engine and replacing it with a new one so the helicopter could make the mission that day. We griped and complained but we still got our job done.

Our unit was awarded the Presidental Unit Citation, The Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor, Republic Of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR OTHER MEMORABILIA, WHICH ONE IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
My Viet Nam service awards. The Presidental Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
TSgt Hewlett. The first "higher ranking" airman that treated me as an equal.I was fresh out of tech school where everyother word was "yes seargent"and where everyone above the rank of A3c was an @$*hole to you.TSgt Hewlett was my training sgt and my first real freind at Andrews AFB
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE AIR FORCE?
Hold your head up high and be proud of what you're doing. It may not seem like you're doing very much but,if you make just one persons life better then you have something to be proud of. Remember that if not for you and all of those that went before and will follow after you we would not be in the great free country that we're living in today. God Bless You and the United States of America!
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
Don' know yet

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