18 April

To Family, Friends, Acquaintances, and the folks that were near or there this fateful day, 18 April, 1972.

36 years ago approximately 1226 P.M. local time at An Loc RVN. Acft 63-7775 took a 37mm round from NVA AAA gunners on the run in to a drop zone located at the Military Compound at the south end of the city of An Loc, RVN which resulted in the eventual crash landing near Lai Khe, RVN (Approx. 30 miles North of Saigon [now Ho Chi Minh City at approx. 1240 P.M.]. The entire crew of 63-7775; Capt Doc Jensen AC, Maj. Leigh Pratt CP, me Maj. Robert Kirkpatrick NAV, FE Sgt Ralph Kent, Sr Loadmaster Sgt Ralph Bemis, assisting Loadmaster AMN Charlie Armstead and an ARVN Sgt Kiem survived the crash landing. Due to the assistance and efforts of an Army Helicopter mission from “F” Troop 1/9 Air Cav commanded by then Capt Robert Frank, CW Robert Monette HUEY Pilot, Capt Don Gooch (SABRE RED)Cobra Cover plus the door gunners on the HUEY I was picked up in; SP John DesLauries, and SP Bruce Shearer For the entire group see www.anloc.org and the Little Rock AFB reunion.

The Battle of An Loc was one of the last major battles the US Forces were engaged in and was not the failure projected by the NVA and anti war demonstrators with the help of the media, but rather a very unique win that has never been fully realized by but the few who were there.

A continuing Thanks to “F” Troop 1/9 for your help in picking us out of the rice paddy and getting back in touch with us through these past 36 years. 18 April is and always will be a very special day in my mind and it is one I cherish more as time passes.

Robert W. Kirkpatrick
Master Navigator
Major USAF Retired