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    Army Otter-Caribou Association visit HAAF

    Army Otter-Caribou Association visit HAAF

    Photo By Spc. Scott Lindblom | A member from the Army Otter Caribou Association speaks with 1st Lt. Josh Nutter,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. William Begley 

    3rd Combat Aviation Brigade

    HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. – The veteran Army aviators and Family members of the Army Otter-Caribou Association brought their colorful group to Hunter Army Airfield to reconnect with each other and reconnect with modern aviation and the Soldiers who make it happen as part of their 31st reunion August 4.
    The Otter and the Caribou were the first fixed wing Army aircraft to be deployed as aviation units to South Vietnam in 1962, three years prior to the use of ground forces. Their mission was to support Special Forces personnel in the area. The aircraft were specifically designed for short takeoff and landing for the “Bush Pilots” of Alaska and the Yukon Territory. This made them perfect for providing support to areas which were previously deemed inaccessible.
    Glenn Carr, a retired lieutenant colonel and Caribou pilot, spent 28 years in the Army and his first duty station was Fort Stewart in 1959. When he left there he was the commander of Liberty Field, which is now known as Wright Army Airfield. Back then he said it was a strategic air command base.
    “I remember flying a scrounging mission with the Air Force and I landed an [Cessna Liaison and Observation Aircraft O-1 Bird Dog] L-19 out on the runway and the tower told me to get it under control quick, turn left off the runway onto the grass immediately and shut down,” Carr said. “Then I watched a SAC alert and 18 B-47’s took off right in front of me. That’s exciting to watch.”
    Memories flooded back to the veteran aviators as they were given an opportunity to view the updated version of the CH-47F Chinook Helicopter along with the AH-64D Apache helicopter and the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. Many of the experienced pilots were re-trained on the CH-47 Chinook aircraft when the Otter and the Caribou were no longer used.
    During their time in Vietnam the aviators had colorful calls signs they would use over the radio.
    “My old call sign when I was in Troop B, 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment in Pleiku, Vietnam was Embalmer 6, my gun platoon leader was Undertaker, my lift platoon leader was Pall Bearer, my maintenance officer was Mortician and the hangar was the Morgue. We hoped that had some deleterious effect on the enemy but I kind of doubt it,” Carr said with a smile.
    The veterans especially enjoyed meeting with the many Soldiers they met during their visit. Every chance to connect and share stories with the Soldiers was monopolized upon. The group enjoyed a dinner where Command Sgt. Maj. George M. Dove, command sergeant major, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade delivered the keynote address.
    “For me it’s exciting to meet them and talk to them and get to thank them for their service. They’re a great group of people and it’s great to have them here at HAAF,” said Dove.
    For one CH-47F Chinook helicopter pilot experiencing the camaraderie was priceless.
    “Immediately when they walk up to you they’re not looking at me as a stranger, they’re looking at me as the next generation of what they were. There’s that mutual feeling that we were both a part of something awesome,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Slagle, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment.
    Slagle is an instructor pilot for the CH-47 Chinook and said he appreciated meeting the pilots who flew the first generation of the aircraft he flies today.
    “To meet the pioneers that brought this airframe into existence from engineering to reality and to put it into play for the first time in a combat environment was a real treat for me,” Slagle said. “It is really fulfilling to be able to show them that their efforts helped spawn this machine that has carried the United States Army across the globe.”



    Date Taken: 08.05.2016
    Date Posted: 08.09.2016 11:25
    Story ID: 206513
    Location: SAVANNAH, GA, US 

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