Seventeen Words of English
Marines were not the only pilots to fly at the Rose Garden. This is a
story about one that darn near made a "full stop" out of a "touch and go".
The voice was American booming out in a Texas twang: "Namphong Tower,
NamPhong tower Tiger 12... 15 miles out for staight in for touch and go
In the time had been at The Rose Garden and had never heard of the
"Tiger" call sign. So I whipped the landing numbers out, then out of curiousity
added a "SAY TYPE AIRCRAFT". As the Marine pilots generally used Rose Garden as the
call sign, I knew that this aircraft was a transient.
The Pilot replied in his Texas drawl: "Namphong Tower, Tiger 12 is a
flight of two TEE TWENTEE EEEIGHTS".
I replied, "Tiger 12, Namphong Tower, check three miles, copy flight of
Texan: <Click!> <Click!>
A few minutes later, The Texan radios: "Namphong Tower, Tiger 12, 3
I answered back: "Tiger 12, Namphong Tower, check gear down, wind 210 at
2, cleared for touch and go".
Texan: "Tiger 12."
The two T28s flew a 360 over headbreak and established separation for
the downwind portion of the flight pattern. The T28's did a few touch and gos. When
the Texan flight leader asked for a full stop.
Texan: "Tower, Tiger 12 turning base, requesting full stop."
I replied, "Tiger 12, wind calm, cleared to land, Tiger 11, number 2,
extend downwind for separation."
The T28 rolled to a stop about mid field turned around and taxied back
up the landing runway. This wouldn't do as the wing man Tiger 11 was
number 2 and expecting the runway to be clear for his T&G",
I requested: "Tiger 12 Taxi Clear of runway, Tiger 11 execute missed
The T28 on the runway with the Texan pilot stopped on the runway next to
The canopy opens and out hops a tall American. There is a copilot
remaining in the aircraft but his helmet barely clears the side of the canopy. While
the tall pilot is walking up to the tower. The radio announces in a very
broken English: "Tiger 12 request takoff." I give the permission and
wait for the Tall American.
The Tall American climbs the steps. When he reaches the top I see he is
another one of those pilots with velcro patches. No identifying items
on his flight suit. He only tells me that they are training some foreign pilots He would appreciate
us allowing these flights to use Namphong as a training area.
Meanwhile the two T28s are doing some touch and go's. The Texan thanks
me and says one more thing:"Oh, by the way, these trainees only speak 17 words of
He then walks back to the edge of the runway. The wing man is doing
pretty good T&G's. The plane with the solo pilot is turning base.
T28 with solo pilot (in broken English): "Tiger 12, request touch and go."
I reply: " Tiger 12, wind calm, cleared for touch and go."
T28 with solo pilot (seeing Texan on edge of Runway): "Tiger 12, request full stop."
Tiger 12 came down hard on the starboard main wheel, bounced in the air.
Came down came down hard on port main wheel, bounced again. This last bounce took
the aircraft off the runway into the dirt. It was headed straight for the radar unit
at mid field. It crabbed from one side to the other as it bounced on alternate main
Without much time to think, I pulled the crash alarm. This sounded a
loud claxon type horn in the radar control room. This horn was supposed warn
everybody to bail out and run for it in the radar control room. No doors opened, nobody
came out. The T28 was about 6 feet off the ground still wiggling from side to side
still headed for the radar site. About 100 yards short of the radar site the pilot
somehow regained control, clearing the radome by about no more than ten feet!
The T28 appeared to lose altitude after clearing the radome and hit the ground
once more in a puff of dust. Finally the pilot, climbed up from the dust and
reentered the patten.
A half a minute or so later the phone line to the Radar Control room rang.
Cpl Schnell, "What the #!*& did you do that for? Thats really loud!
Turn it off!"
I answered: "Well I guess it doesn't matter anymore".
Then turned off the alarm and hung up the phone.
Some how the solo pilot got the plane back on the ground and picked up
Texan's Voice over radio: "Tiger flight will depart the pattern to the West.
I answered: "<Click> <Click>!"