Lockhart, Bruce, SSgt

Aircraft Maintenance
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USAF Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Current/Last Primary AFSC/MOS
43270-Jet Engine Technician
Current/Last AFSC Group
Aircraft Maintenance
Primary Unit
1968-1969, 43200, 20th Special Operations Squadron - Green Hornets
Previously Held AFSC/MOS
43230-Apprentice Jet Engine Mechanic
43210-Jet Engine Mechanic
75050-Education and Training Technician
43250-Jet Engine Mechanic
43200-Aircraft Maintenance Manager
Service Years
1965 - 1969
Official/Unofficial US Air Force Certificates
Cold War Certificate
Voice Edition
Staff Sergeant


 Ribbon Bar


Maintenance (Senior)


 

 Official Badges 

Air Training Command Instructor (pre-1966)


 Unofficial Badges 

US Air Force Honorable Discharge Cold War Medal US Air Force Honorable Discharge (Old Style)


 Military Association Memberships
Air Force Together We ServedAir Commando AssociationAir Force Memorial (AFM)
  2009, Air Force Together We Served [Verified]
  2015, Air Commando Association [Verified]
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Retired
   
Other Comments:
Not Specified
   

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1965, Basic Military Training (Lackland AFB, TX), 102
  1965, Basic Military Training (Lackland AFB, TX), 3724/490
  1965, USAAF Recruit Training (Chanute Field, IL), 3347/30065
  1965, USAAF Recruit Training (Chanute Field, IL), 3361 (Instructor)
  1968, USAAF Recruit Training (Sheppard Field, TX), 3752
 Unit Assignments
3724th  Basic Military Training Squadron3355th Student SquadronTraining UnitsField Maintenance Units
Air Force Training Wings14th Field Maintenance Squadron20th Helicopter Squadron - Pony Express/Green Hornets14th Special Operations Wing
Combat Support UnitsAir Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)20th Special Operations Squadron - Green HornetsUnited States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)
  1965-1965, 3724th Basic Military Training Squadron
  1965-1965, 43210, 3355th Student Squadron
  1965-1965, 43230, 3345th Technical Training Group
  1965-1966, 75050, 3361st Instructor Squadron
  1966-1968, 43250, 3525th Field Maintenance Squadron
  1968-1968, 3750th Technical Training Wing
  1968-1968, 43250, 14th Field Maintenance Squadron
  1968-1968, 43250, 20th Helicopter Squadron - Pony Express/Green Hornets
  1968-1969, 43200, 14th Special Operations Wing
  1968-1969, 43200, 432nd Combat Support Group
  1968-1969, 43200, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)
  1968-1969, 43200, 20th Helicopter Squadron - Pony Express/Green Hornets
  1968-1969, 43200, 20th Special Operations Squadron - Green Hornets
  1969-1969, 43200, United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1969 Vietnam Air Offensive Phase IV Campaign (1968-69)
 Military Association Memberships
Air Force Together We ServedAir Commando AssociationAir Force Memorial (AFM)
  2009, Air Force Together We Served [Verified]
  2015, Air Commando Association [Verified]
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on SSgt Lockhart's US Air Force Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE.
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Air Force.
Basic Training
In early 1965, I was a 20 year old kid, living alone, pumping gas for a living. Watching the news, President Lyndon Johnson sent B-52's to bomb Hanoi in February and deployed troops in March to Vietnam. In April I chose to enlist. With no work related skills I expected to be assigned to Infantry if I went Army. While I'm not a coward, neither am I stupid. Infantry was not what I had in mind. My brother had recently been discharged from the Navy and warned me of an "ass kickin" from him if I joined the Navy, and the Marines were totally out of the question (I was a skinny kid and knew I'd never be able to keep up with what they required). I thought I would love the Air Force, but doubted I would qualify. My options were now dismal. I made my mind up to talk with an Air Force recruiter, and as they say, the rest is history.
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?
4/29/65 through 6/16/65: 3724th Basic Military Training Squadron, Flight 490, Lackland A.F.B. San Antonio, Texas (Basic Training); Airman Basic.

6/17/65 through 9/14/65: 3355th Student Training Squadron, Chanute A.F.B. Rantoul, Illinois (Technical Training-Jet Engine Mechanic-Pratt/Whitney J-57); Airman 3rd Class.

9/15/65 through 11/30/65: 3345th Technical Training Group, Chanute A.F.B. Rantoul, Illinois, Jet Engine Instructor
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - 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?
Training; Airman 3rd Class

11/30/65 through 11/30/66: 3361st Instructor Squadron, Chanute A.F.B. Rantoul, Illinois, Technical Instructor of Jet Engine Training; Airman 2nd Class.

12/1/66 through 5/27/68: 3525th Field Maintenance Squadron, Williams A.F.B. Chandler, Arizona, Jet Engine Shop (teardown ).General Electric J-85 engines for Northrup T-38 Talon and F-5 Freedom Fighter Aircraft; Airman 1st Class -Buck Sgt.

5/28/68 through 6/18/68: 3750th Technical Training Wing, Sheppard A.F.B. Wichita Falls, Texas-- Jet Engine training (helicopter application).General Electric T-58 and Solar T-62 Auxiliary Power Units; Airman 1st Class - Buck Sgt.)

6/26/68 through 6/29/68: World Airlines flight from Travis A.F.B. San Francisco, California to Tan Son Nhut A.B. Saigon, South Vietnam; Airman 1st Class-Buck Sgt.

6/30/68 through 10/15/68: 20th Helicopter Squadron (renamed the 20th Special Operations Squadron in August), Nha Trang A.B., Nha Trang, South Vietnam worked in Jet engine Shop, General Electric T-58 Jet Engines; Airman 1st Class-Buck Sgt.

10/15/68 through 4/16/69: 20th Special Operations Squadron, Udorn R.T.A.F.B. Udorn, Thailand, worked in Jet Engine Shop/Flightline as maintenance and engine repair and replacement on Sikorski CH3C/E Helicopters; On 12/1/68, promoted to Staff Sergeant, and on 12/6/68 assigned Jet Engine Shop NCOIC.

TDY-1/30/69---10 days-Don Muang A. B., Bangkok. Maintenance support (test) and ferry aircraft to Udorn.

TDY-3/21/69---7 days-Don Muang A.B., Bangkok. Maintenance support (test) and ferry aircraft to Udorn.

4/17/69 through 4/18/69: World Airlines flight from Don Muang A.B., Bangkok, Thailand to Travis A.F.B. San Francisco for debriefing and discharge.
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 in the 20th Special Operations Squadron. Our mission was combat search and rescue, casualty evacuation, relocation and support of communication sites, and engagement in counter insurgency.

By design, being an engine technician, I was not a crew member on any of our aircraft, but I had the
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - 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?
good fortune to fly with crew members across the Mekong River into Laos on a numerous occasions.

While I was stationed at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, we had two situations and one tragedy. I don't recall the date, but one of our CH-3e's approached one of our Lima(radio) sites in Laos which had been taken over by the enemy during the night. One aircraft took numerous rounds (later to be numbered at 287.) Fortunately, no one was injured and the aircraft returned safely.

On Feb 20, 1969 as several of our CH-3e's were on a mission in Laos, one aircraft (Pony Express 16/Tail #63-09682) developed an oil system failure. They were forced to land and leave the aircraft behind, taking crew and equipment with them. When they returned with replacement parts and repair equipment, the aircraft had been destroyed by the enemy. Later, I saw an aerial photograph of the wreckage and all that remained was a charred black spot and 5 rotor blade tips.

The tragedy happened on Jan 17 1969. Pilot Captain Walter Wesley Martin, Co-Pilot Captain Richard Alan Fleming, Flight Engineer Staff Sergeant Albert Jackson (Jack) Davis, and three civilians lost their lives when their CH3E (Pony Express 20/Tail #62-12582 ) Jolly Green Giant helicopter went down at TACAN Lima Site 36 at Na Khang, Laos, after experiencing small arms fire while landing. The aircraft rolled over the side of a hill, tumbled, and exploded. Three Airmen survived. Jack Davis and I were friends.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
The 20th Special Operations Squadron (Pony Express), at Udorn, was special. This was a wonderful group of men who all bonded with one purpose in mind: to do the very best they could in support of our involvement in the Vietnam conflict. It is my opinion they did an incredible
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which was your least favorite?
job in thwarting the insurgency of the North Vietnamese coming through Laos and Cambodia and I am honored to have served with them. The Squadron earned the USAF Presidential Unit Citation and the USAF Outstanding Unit Award during my tenure, and I received the USAF Commendation Ribbon while stationed there.

I remember that in January of 1969, the Pony Express moved more than 5000 Laotians on 539 sorties from a village on a 4,700 foot high mountain in northern Laos, where they had been threatened by approaching Communist forces. The mission required hauling drums of fuel to the site so that those helicopters could be refueled without having to fly back to our base in Thailand to saved time and possibly lives. This was all done with difficult early morning fog, hazardous mountain terrain, and no offensive or defensive military escort.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE MILITARY SERVICE, DESCRIBE ANY MEMORIES YOU STILL REFLECT BACK ON TO THIS DAY.
I had enlisted anticipating a tour in South Vietnam, but after spending almost 3 years of my enlistment, still in the states, I went to administration and put in a request for a S.E.A. (Southeast Asia) assignment. I realized they would need to expedite the request for me to get
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - From your entire military service, describe any memories you still reflect back on to this day.
my last 12 months overseas. It wasn't approved until early May of 1968. I had but 11 months left on my enlistment, yet they still let me go. At that particular time, as I remember, the Air Force was giving early outs of up to 1 year, at assignment changes. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity they gave me and the experience of that tour.

When I rotated back to the U.S. and began my debriefing and separation process, not certain that I actually wanted to re-enlist, I expected to be offered some incentive to stay, and based on that, I'd make up my mind. Having no immediate family waiting, no employment prospects whatsoever, and returning an E-5, I felt I was ahead of the curve and likely would be far better off making a career in the Air Force. NO ONE ever spoke to me about re-enlistment. In fact, they were in such a hurry to get rid of me, they didn't give me my final physical or dental examination, but suggested that I visit a local VA once I got settled. Neither did they inform me that I could collect unemployment compensation when I got home. So, it appeared to me that the Air Force found no value in me, so I quit.

Hindsight being 20/20 however, I have many regrets. As I browse through so many profiles of men who stayed and made a career of the Air Force, it saddens me that I wasn't one of them. I enjoyed military life; the structure, discipline, pride, and camaraderie, and I was good at it. I am not bitter, just disappointed.
WHAT PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER?
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - What professional achievements are you most proud of from your military career?
The 20th Special Operations Squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/Valor. As I was stationed with the 20th S.O.S. in both Vietnam and Thailand, these awards were given to me for each location. While I was never in combat, our flight crews experienced considerable danger on each and every mission into Laos. These awards were for their efforts, and their risk, and as a member, I am very proud to have been honored with them, and of being a part of this fine organization.
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?
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - 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?
The answer I gave in the question above comes from the heart. Those awards are very special. Having said that, they are Unit awards, given to an organization for their dedication, commitment, and bravery. I am so honored to have them, but, I was simply a member "in the rear, with the gear."

Four months after I was discharged, I received notification that I was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service during my tour with the 20th Special Operations Squadron in South East Asia. This recognition makes me proudest, as it is an individual award, based on my accomplishments.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
I had four men who had an impact on me.

First, a fellow Airman and friend, Richard F. Kaiser. I met him in Tech.Training in June of 65 and we became fast friends. Each new assignment I got, he got. We were together until I left for Vietnam in May
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having the most positive impact on you and why?
of 68. He eventually went to the Philippines. I was discharged in April of 69, and he in June. He flew down to Los Angeles from Travis to visit with me before going home to Geneva, New York. Unfortunately, we lost contact over the years. I've tried to regain contact, but without success.

Secondly,Tech Sergeant Donald E. Daly was next. When I was retained at Chanute for Instructor duty, he kind of took me under his wing (me and Richard) and nursed us along until we could stand on our own. Great guy, firm, but also fair.

Thirdly, one of my superiors at Chanute, Bill Tarpley. He was always friendly and helpful as I struggled along.

And lastly was a guy named John Carpenter (Tech Sgt.) at Williams. Again a superior, who I relied upon to get me through my concerns and doubts, both professionally and personally. I ran into him again, at Udorn, Thailand, and although he was not in my squadron, he tried his absolute best to recruit me into his squadron. Great guy.
LIST THE NAMES OF OLD FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH, AT WHICH LOCATIONS, AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THEM. INDICATE THOSE YOU ARE ALREADY IN TOUCH WITH AND THOSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE CONTACT WITH.
See question 8
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?
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - 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?
When I was at Chanute (permanent party) I bought a motorcycle. When orders eventually came sending me (and Richie Kaiser, who had been my friend through Tech. School, Instructor School, and a year of Instructor duty) to Williams A.F.B., Chandler, Arizona. Richie and I rented a U-Haul trailer to carry all our gear, and the motorcycle, to our next destination. After getting established at Williams, Richie bought the same motorcycle as mine, just a different color.

We would ride all over central/southern Arizona and on occasion, raced one another. He never had a chance: he just couldn't beat me. Eventually we began going to Phoenix Drag Strip to do our racing. I don't recall how many times we raced, but I have photographs of him holding ALL the trophies, HIS trophies. I could NOT beat him on the drag strip, yet never lost "off" the drag strip. He would laugh and laugh and remind me who was king.
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?
When I was discharged, I went home to Albuquerque, NM to see my folks. As I mentioned previously, not being told that I could apply for Unemployment Compensation, I had to figure out what I was going to do. Six months before I came home, I had my dad send
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - 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?
out resumes to airline and aircraft companies in an effort to use my jet engine experience in the private sector. However, without an A&E (aircraft & engine) license, they had no interest. It would take a couple of years of schooling to get the license and I needed to find a job right away. I bought a car with what I had saved, and I headed to Southern California where I lived when I enlisted.

I found an inexpensive motel and started looking for work. Firestone Stores was looking for a tire man in Santa Monica. I was hired and eventually became a salesman, a credit manager, an assistant manager, a store manager, and finally, a district retail sales manager (supervisor of 12 retail locations). That took 12 years to do. Unfortunately, I was never very content or happy with any of it and finally left.

I found an opening with the Dept. of Agriculture, the Forest Service, on a fire engine crew and eventually a timber crew. I loved it, but, it was seasonal work. Again, it would take schooling to become permanent. So I took a test for the United States Postal Service, and became a letter-carrier. I did that for 28 years until I was forced into retirement in April 2009 because of the National Reassessment Program (the result of two Lumbar surgeries due to an on-the-job injury).
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
I am an associate member of Rotorheads (rotorheadsrus@yahoo.com).

Jim Henthorn's Vietnam Veterans Page.

I found these websites while looking for history on the 20th S.O.S. The benefits are merely informative.

I belong to the Air Commando 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?
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - 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?
The military taught me self-sufficiency, respect, loyalty, and honor. I learned that I'm not owed anything, and everything is possible through will, determination, and effort.

In my opinion, I believe military service should be mandatory for all able bodied men. The experience of basic training certainly separates an individual from any dependency upon someone else.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE AIR FORCE?
I have no advice, only gratitude. Every military man or woman I see, I approach and thank them for their commitment, their generosity, and their service. It's an honor to serve.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
SSgt Bruce Lockhart - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
I thank you right up front for your contribution to America's military men and women. I enjoy so much looking at the profiles of other Airmen and their experiences and accomplishments. I have found several Airman that I was stationed with, and thousands who have shared my experiences and I theirs.

DB 8/19/2016

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