Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fan mail ...

As an author, I love getting feedback on my books, especially good feedback. Heh ... I got an email this morning about my novel Special Operations (you'll have to buy it, sorry) from a fellow Air Force vet and aside from the kind words, he has a problem that maybe one (or more) of our readers might be able to help him with:

Mr. [Fixer],
I do hope this actually reaches you. It was the only address I could find. I just finished reading your novel "Special Operations". It was recommended by an old active duty officer friend, who knows of an interest and background of mine. I must say I not only enjoyed it, but have to ask if you perhaps received any "ideas" when on active duty.

My name is all over the Net trying to find data on and offering rewards for information about the 601st DASS (Direct Air Support Squadron), the guys who "First" wore the Black Berets, and "other" events and places. Yes, we wore them even before even CCT did, though theirs was also Black, and in I wore that one too. You see, the Air Force claims that several units I served in as a ROMAD, especially the 601st (for 4 years) never existed, and as a CCT member too! (1268th Aerial Port Sq, another non existent unit that died about the time you were in middle school) Nor, did we do the types of things you described. I doubt anyone did just as you described, but the 602nd DASS, which WAS stationed in Korea, had several very highly classified missions that could have been altered very little, and fit right into the first few chapters of your book. By the time I was on the tenth page or so, my mouth was hanging open. I helped plan many of them for the entire ROMAD field, worldwide. You were jsut [sic] a decade or so off!

You see, the AF, and the US Military in general will never admit that AF units, especially, ever did such things. Well, guess what? They lie a lot!

I started as a Ground Radio Technician, which is the career field that all ROMADs came from, mostly non voluntary. I was one of the wierd ones who loved it. I would be packed in ten minutes if they called me, and 8 of that would be to pack my pain meds and braces. I first served as a ROMAD in 1967, starting in Peshewar Pakistan, at the base Gary Powers took off from. According to the AF, we were never there. Makes you wonder how he got that plane off all by himself!

I served up until 1974, when we were told that ROMADs would be "phased out", and joined CCT (my flash says "Combat Control Team", not AF Combat Control like the nice shiny target ones do) as a Ground Radio technician member also (there were 2 to a team then, the rest being Air Controllers). I was medicaled out of the field due to injuries before the ROMAD career field (then 275X0, now 1C4X0) was created. Sometime in the mid to late 70's all of those units "disappeared". FOIA requests get you the answer they never existed. In fact, if you ask for MY records you will find the National Archives say I went to Peshewar on a TS assignment in 1967, and evidently never made it back, because that is the last entry in my entire personnel record. My reenlistment DD214s all show overseas duty, (2 reenlistment's were AT those non existent units!) but my discharge DD214 at retirement, with 20 years, 21 days (medically ordered, not allowed to re-up because of medical disabilities (probably received carrying radios) shows I ONLY server 2 years and 4 months at Vandenberg AFB, CA, where I retired. NO other entries at all, and strangely enough, showing NO overseas duty at all. I have never been able to get that corrected as if I was overseas, where was I? No place I list existed. I must have been in limbo.

Not getting into it too far, but your book was NOT as totally "fictional" as stated. I wonder what your career field and rank were? I could find little on the Net, and have no time to "poke" too far. But, could have some of those story lines come from experience, rather than imagination? Regardless, a very good read. I am glad it was recommended to me, and now see why. Thanks for a little "go back memory", even if it didn't really exist.

[Name and personal information withheld]

Now, I know certain shit doesn't make it into personnel records (like our time operating around the 'Iron Curtain') due to the sensitivity of the times (the height of the Cold War). The time frame this gentleman is interested in happened before I went in and I hope one of our readers can help him. Email me if you have any info and I'll pass it on. Thanks for your help.

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