Bengtson, Dennis, SSgt

Transportation and Logistics
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USAF Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Current/Last Primary AFSC/MOS
60370-Vehicle Operations Supervisor
Current/Last AFSC Group
Transportation and Logistics
Primary Unit
1973-1973, 60350, 307th Organizational Maintenance Squadron
Previously Held AFSC/MOS
60134-Packaging Specialist
60154-Packaging Specialist
60350-Vehicle Operator
Service Years
1969 - 1973
Staff Sergeant


 Ribbon Bar




 

 Official Badges 

Strategic Command Military Airlift Command Pacific Air Forces


 Unofficial Badges 

FBI National Academy


 Military Association Memberships
Post 733, San Juan-Marne PostAir Force Memorial (AFM)UTAPAO Alumni Association
  1995, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 733, San Juan-Marne Post (Mason City, Iowa) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) - Assoc. Page
  2017, UTAPAO Alumni Association1


 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Discharged out of Ellsworth AFB, Dec. 73.  Joined MCPD June 74.  Retired after 36+ years as Captain, Support Services Commander.  Start Class next month, Professional Truck Driving.  I did it in the military, I can do it as a civilian.

November 1, 2011, started driving semis for Holiday Express.  Been to Dayton Ohio, West Springfield Mass, Edison N.J.,  Romeoville and Libertyville  Ill, Burns Harbor In, Selby Del..  Drove by Dover AFB and Wright Patterson AFB.  Had a short trip to Dover in 1970 to go aboard the new C5A Galixy.  When I was in Viet Nam 70-71, I shipped a lot of material to Wright Patterson. 

August 2015, stopped driving for Holiday Express and started driving for Ruan out of Clear Lake, Iowa.  Haul an empty tanker to Malcom, Iowa and drop and hook for a full tanker (52,000 lbs liquid egg).  I take that to Gaylord, Mn and agian drop and hook to an empty for the trip back to Clear Lake.  About 10 hours driving time, 12 - 14 hour day.  The good thing is that I only do in twice a week and I'm home everynight.

November 2016, Stopped driving semi when I fell out of a truck and injured my shoulder. Can't climb ladders.  Currently working P/T for a local casino as a Surveillance Agent.

 
   
Other Comments:
USAF
 Lackland AFB Dec 69 - Feb 70
Travis AFB Feb 70 - Nov 70
Cam Rahn Bay AFB, RVN Nov 70 - Nov 71
Ellsworth Nov 71 - Dec 73   TDY Utapio AFB Thailand for 6 monhs in 73

Iowa Air National Guard, Ft. Dodge, Iowa Dec 73 - June 74

Iowa Army National Guard, 1133rd Trans Co, Feb 84 - Sept 90

US Army, Desert Storm 22nd Support Command Sept. 90 - June 91, stationed at numerous sites in Saudia Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahran.

Attended the FBI National Academy, Sept 98 - Dec 98, Class #195
   

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1969, Basic Military Training (Lackland AFB, TX), 3723/19251
 Unit Assignments
3723rd Basic Military Training Squadron60th Transportation Squadron483rd Transportation Squadron44th Transportation Squadron
307th Organizational Maintenance Squadron
  1969-1970, 3723rd Basic Military Training Squadron
  1970-1970, 60134, 60th Transportation Squadron
  1970-1971, 60154, 483rd Transportation Squadron
  1971-1973, 60350, 44th Transportation Squadron
  1973-1973, 60350, 307th Organizational Maintenance Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1961-1973 Vietnam War
 Military Association Memberships
Post 733, San Juan-Marne PostAir Force Memorial (AFM)UTAPAO Alumni Association
  1995, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 733, San Juan-Marne Post (Mason City, Iowa) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) - Assoc. Page
  2017, UTAPAO Alumni Association1

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on SSgt Bengtson's US Air Force Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE.
At the time, so many Marines and Army were going to Viet Nam, and I still wanted to do my part. If I went to the Navy and got assigned to a ship; going out in the ocean, and not being able to see land, couldn't wrap my head around that being from land-locked Iowa. I had already taken a Draft Physical and didn't have the money or grades to get into college. I guessed that I was going to be drafted and didn't want to go into the service as a draftee, so I joined the Air Force. If the draft didn't get me the first time around in December, it would eventually. As I remember it, my draft number was really high, but after looking into the history, it turned out to be very low on the Dec. 69 Draft pick.
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?
In Basic, I was offered numerous jobs, i.e., loadmaster, work in crypto, Officer school, and just about anything in the electronic field. When I turned them all down, the Sgt. told me that if I didn't pick one that I'd end up in Security Police; which is want I really wanted. So; I kept my mouth shut and the Air Force picked packing a crating.

A little OJT at Travis and then off to VN under a special project. As soon as I found out that I didn't get SP I tried to transfer. I was told I had to be in service at least a year before I could transfer.

After the year was up, I was sitting in VN and requested to transfer. I was told that I couldn't transfer in a Combat Zone, I could only do it CONUS.

When I got back (Ellsworth) I looked into SP but they only had openings for air or missile security. I wanted Law Enforcement so I ended up in the Motor Pool as a driver/dispatcher. After I returned from TDY in U-Tapao in 73, I saw so many E6s, E7s and E8s being drummed out. I didn't like the way they were treated so I left.
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?
I was first stationed at Travis AFB in California. Didn't get the Security Police job so I joined the Augmenttees and went through the training. When I was transferred to Cam Rahn Bay, RSVN I continued with it. Every time the base would go on alert, I would gear up and stand a post; sometimes on the flight line, sometimes on the perimeter.
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.
While I was in VN, Cam Rahn Bay, I had the opportunity to ride in a C7A Caribou for a day assisting the Load Master. We landed at numerous bases, some small firebases, but when we took off from Phu Cat, the left engine stopped about 300' off the deck. I thought we were too low to swing around and land, and that we would crash, but apparently, we were high enough and made it. The pilot thought the engine may have sucked in a bird. Waited several hours for a mechanic to fly in from CRB to tell us he was unable to find anything wrong. Got back to just as the sun was setting.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
I had the most fun at U-Tapao, touring the country. We worked 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week. It was hot on the flight line driving the Ukes around towing bombers and tankers, but I enjoyed working around the heavy equipment.

Cam Rahn Bay was my least favorite for obvious reasons. My job in Packing & Crating was important and had to be done, but I didn't get the security job I wanted so I wasn't very happy. Again, we were working 12-hour shifts, 6-7 days a week.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE MILITARY SERVICE, DESCRIBE ANY MEMORIES YOU STILL REFLECT BACK ON TO THIS DAY.
The following incidents didn't seem to impact me then or now, but they are the ones I remember.

The day I thought I was going to crash in a C7A Caribou at Phu Cat.

The day sappers got on base at Cam Rahn and blew up the ammo dump. Mortar skids that were on fire went off and dropped all over the base. That and the Daisy Cutters going off.

The night the sappers got on Cam Rahn and blew up the POL dump. I was in Phang Rang at the time TDY for 30 days. We could see the fire grow from there. Not being there and not knowing what was going on; all I could think about were my buddies back in CRB hoping they were O.K.

The night in Riyadh trying to get my truckload tied down and the Patriots went up to get the Scuds and when they exploded pieces landing all over.
WHAT PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER?
While TDY to U-Tapao in 73; I was assigned to the 307 OMS as a Uke Driver towing tankers and bombers. An OMS Team was going through some sort of test which required a Tanker to be towed. I put the tanker on the spot first time. The OMS Team each got a 3-day pass. I didn't get anything because I wasn't part of the team. I'm sure there was more to their test than just the tow. I'm glad I was part of their test and put the tanker on the spot correctly so they could get their passes.

While assigned the Motor Pool at Ellsworth (don't remember the date). I took a 40' trailer to the flight line, backed up to the ramp of a C141 and helped offload some nuke warheads. Then drove to the munitions storage area and helped to unload them. Received a nice letter from the munitions commander.

These were personal achievements; didn't get any medals or awards for them. To some, they probably seem trivial to what they and others have gone through and accomplished.
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?
I'm proud of all the ribbons that I wore on my uniform, but I didn't do anything special to earn any of them. Most of them are for being stationed at a particular place, or that I was in service long enough (Good Conduct). As I review them now; there's not one that's more meaningful than others. The culmination of all them, to me, showed I did my part.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
There was a Senior Master Sergeant (E8) in charge of the Motor Pool while I was stationed at Ellsworth AFB. I don't remember his name but he was so easy to talk with. He listened and he tried hard to make a difference for a better workplace. He was one of the NCOs the Air Force got rid of towards the end of the Viet Nam era. If he would have stayed in; I may have stayed in also. Seemed like they were always getting rid of the Good Ones.
LIST THE NAMES OF OLD FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH, AT WHICH LOCATIONS, AND RECOUNT WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THEM. INDICATE THOSE YOU ARE ALREADY IN TOUCH WITH AND THOSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE CONTACT WITH.
I was stationed at Travis and CRB with William E. Hall. We both started out OJT at the same time; went to Aberdeen Maryland to school together, another school at McClullen in Sacramento Ca before going to CRB. Also went on RR to Sidney together. Bill loved the Temptations, that's all he listened to. Sometimes I would catch him dancing; by himself. Spent a lot of time at the Navy Enlisted men's club at CRB. Last time I saw Bill was at SEATAC when he boarded a plane back to Pennsylvania. I didn't get his home address and I don't think he got mine. We were just too happy being back in the states. I've tried to contact Bill several times over the years with no luck.

A few years ago (about 2016) I was contacted by Art Phillips. Art and I were stationed together in Utapao together, the same job driving Ukes. I hadn't seen Art since I left Utapao in 1973. During our correspondence, he talked me into joining the Utapao Alumni Association and I went to one of their reunions in Dayton, Ohio in Sept. 2017. It was great seeing and talking with Art again. We still pass messages on Facebook.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE, WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
While stationed at Cam Rahn Bay (70-71) in the Packing and Crating Section, we were assigned to load hundreds of 55 gallons drums full of tar onto trailers to be shipped to South Beach.

From there, they were loaded on barges and shipped off to Thailand. It was a 24-hour operation which required some special lighting for nighttime. At times, the forklift operators would accidentally puncture a drum which leaked tar. When the last drum was loaded, we were all covered in tar, almost head to foot. We had to throw away uniforms, boots, and gloves.

Went back to the barracks, hungry and tired; and covered in tar. Felt like crying at the time - but I laugh about it now.
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
Six months after I discharged in Dec. 73; I joined the Mason City Police Department in Iowa and spent the next 36+ years there. Retired as a Captain. Held the positions of Patrol Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and for 6 months I was the interim Chief of Police. I tried being a Detective but it only lasted a few months.

During my time in the Police Department, I had joined the Iowa Army National Guard. We were activated in Sept. 1990 and went over the Desert Storm before Thanksgiving. Got to eat a Thanksgiving meal at an Air Force chow hall (Tent Version) in Riyadh.

I drive semi now. I was over the road driving through 4 states hauling Hormel Pepperoni. Now It's just one long day and I'm home at night hauling for Ruan running a tanker full of liquid egg. It's only 2-3 days a week now.

In November 2016, I fell out of a truck and injured my shoulder which required surgery. 6 months of rehab didn't help. The retracted muscles didn't come back so now I can't climb ladders, or up the side of a semi to get into the cab.

Currently, I'm working at a nearby Casino as a Surveillance Agent part-time. Interesting work.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
I'm a member of the U-Tapao Alumni Association and I'm going to attend my first reunion with them this September 2017. Art Phillips saw my name on this site and got ahold of me. We were stationed together at U-Tapao back in 73 towing B52s and KC135 tankers. He got me to join and we're going to meet for the first time in 44 years. Looking forward to it.

Life member of the VFW.

Member of the Cam Ranh Bay Air Force Association.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
When I finished high school, I didn't have the money or grades to get into college. The December 1969 Draft was coming up. I was afraid that I was going to be drafted. I had heard how the military treated draftees so I enlisted. I hadn't really grown up yet so the next 4 years in the Air Force was my education to becoming an adult. My military experience tried to discourage my career choice of wanted to be a law enforcement officer, but I believe my military experience helped me to grow up and to get an LEO job. 4 years of military service (2 tours overseas), one in a combat zone, looked good on a resume. On the Draft, I got a high number so I wasn't going to be drafted, but I figured it would catch up to me sooner or later. I really wanted or needed to belong to something that was bigger than me. The war in Viet Nam was what was going on at the time.

Law Enforcement is a para-military type organization, so I fit in fairly well. I always tried to treat people with respect. I think there was a need for me to feel well liked by everyone; so I tried (sometimes really hard) to get along, both in the Air Force and in law enforcement. The Air Force taught me to look at a problem, understand it, think of options to fix it, pick one and go with it. Law Enforcement is the same.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE AIR FORCE?
I would tell new airmen to treat their time in the Air Force as a stepping stone to a career; whether or not the career is in the Air Force or not. Always be careful to who you speak negative things too, and try to stay away from airmen/people who do talk negative. In the back of your mind, always think that there is a voice recorder or video recording running, picking up everything you say and do and will be used against you at some date.

Be very careful about using social media. You think that you deleted it, but it's there, somewhere. Be especially careful about posting photos (FB, etc.).

Always be striving towards what it takes for promotions. Always be looking ahead for a school/class to that endeavor. Don't shy away from volunteering.

Show up early - Work hard - Stay late if necessary, and don't bitch about it.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
SSgt Dennis Bengtson (Bing) - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
TWS and the US Air Force
Sorry to say but I don't remember the names of a lot of Airmen that I was stationed with over the 4 years. One Airman, Art Phillips saw my name on the website and we have gotten together over the phone, emails, and Facebook. I hope that someday, others will see my profile, remember me, and try to contact me in some way. I don't know if it's my age or what, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about my time in service and the bases I've been stationed at. I regret not taking enough photos or writing down names and addresses.

DS 9/16/18

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