click on newspaper article to enlarge. Allen receives the DFC and other medals.
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Marine Corps Aviation offered the path Brian was seeking, and the war in Southeast Asia provided the catalyst. Against his family's wishes, he entered the fray altruistically and unpretentiously. But Brian found military regimentation did not fit his persona. Still, the adrenaline rush while dancing with the devil was alluring, and Air America offered another path with a twist. Flying in primitive conditions where death lurked unexpectedly like a hidden pit viper was daunting. The psychic income from saving lives and accomplishing the mission with his initiative drew him further into an abyss. Seeing first-hand daily collateral damage without reason coupled with a naive approach to affairs of the heart took its toll.
Brian made the full circle and returned to his roots, broken in body and spirit. Now, he has to come to grips with the realization that people and governments are often devious, that life is not always fair, and he has begun to question the purpose of living in a complicated world.
Books by Allen Cates, available on Amazon, click on book covers to links.
In the fall of 1965, HMM-365 (Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron) left Vietnam and returned to the United States. Many of us were sent back to the Naval Air Training Command in Florida, but I asked my commanding officer if I could be stationed in Santa Ana, California. My reasoning was Santa Ana was close to El Toro where the Marine Corps jet squadrons were located, and I was determined to get into the jet pipeline if at all possible.
The old adage of being careful what you ask for came true to form. Santa Ana was deserted. There were no helicopter squadrons there because all had been sent to Vietnam. One VIP H-34 helicopter was all I could see, and for all intents and purposes, it appeared the Marine Corps didn't know I existed.
No problem, I thought, and as quickly as I was able, I drove over to El Toro and asked a squadron operations officer if I could join their unit. He told me he could not get his brother a transfer to his unit but did offer me a ride in a training jet, an F-9 Cougar. I was able to secure the appropriate equipment, and the pilot I was flying with decided he
I would like to thank all the pilots and especially the photographers:
Cover - Chip Lamb - Trojan Phlyers & Blue Angels - photo by Scott Slocum
January - The Flying Bulls - photo by Armin Walcher
February - Thore Thoresen- Norwegian Flying Aces - photo by Joakim Hovde
March - Scott "Buster" Clyman - American Airpower Museum - photo by Ricardo von Puttkammer
April - Tim & Rachel Berry - Litt'l Juggs - photo by Matt Savage
May - Cpt. Bavaria - Bavarian Tailhook - photo by Rainer Steinberger
June - Julie Clark - Julie Clark Airshows - photo by Erik Hildebrandt
July - SkyDoc & Jive - Trojan Thunder - photo by Matt Smith
August - Wayne Milburn & Matt Handley - Aerotech Queensland - photo by Darren Crick
September - Dan Kirkland - Trojan Thunder - photo by David Blackwell
October - Paul Walter & Ken Karas - Trojan Thunder - photo by Ryan Sundheimer
November - Joe Edwards - photo by Bill Paisley
December - Oliver Linde - Skyline Aviation - photo by Oliver Linde
50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. The official commemorative period started in May 2012 and will run through November 2025. The commemoration honors and thanks the veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as POW's or listed as MIA for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to honor and thank the families of these veterans. It highlights the service of all the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of Federal agencies and other organizations that served with or in support of the Armed Forces.
Welcome to the T-28 Trojan Foundation website; a compilation of T-28 history. Our goal is to be the central resource on the "living" history of the T-28 aircraft, the people and event's associated with it.
Inside these pages, as you read the stories, view the photographs of times past & present and watch the video's, you will gain a greater appreciation for the T-28, a more profound understanding of it's role in military aviation history, and inspiration from the many pilots who flew the "Mighty Trojan."
It's legendary tour of duty continues because of all the wonderful pilots who have restored and currently fly their T-28 warbirds for the public to enjoy. I know you will enjoy, as well, all the information this website has to offer.
would show me the ropes with a scheduled dogfight with another Cougar. The trick is to know when to tighten your stomach muscles when pulling G-forces, but you need to know when that's going to happen, or you'll find yourself tightening up when you should be relaxing and relaxing when you should be tightening up. That's rather difficult in a dogfight and changing altitude rapidly.
I never saw the other aircraft and my sinus’s were whistling like an old freight train. I suppose there was disappointment I didn't upchuck, but it wasn't like I'd never pulled G-forces before, and the only regret was the guy took me for granted and made an ass out of himself.
One thing was clear; I wasn't going to get into the jet pipeline at El Toro.
I checked in every morning with operations and was told each time there was nothing to do, and I gathered they didn't care one way or another.
I discussed my situation with a kind senior captain, and he suggested I transfer to the training command with hopes of getting a jet position later down the road. I was reluctant because what was proposed was what I tried to avoid in the first place. Yet, the ghost town I was saddled with was not the answer. Some questioned why I wasn't in Vietnam like everybody else! Explaining I just left didn't seem to satisfy the inquisitors.
I finally caved in, but I asked the captain if he could swing getting me into the T-28 program. At least I would be flying fixed wing. He said he could handle the request and I turned my new black GTO east and headed for Pensacola without looking back.
I had a choice between basic and formation flying, and I chose the latter. The T-28 was easy to check out, and I was quickly riding in the back seat explaining how to use airspeed to control closure rate and hoping we didn't run into each other.
The T-28 is a fun aircraft to fly. It's not fast, but once you get to altitude, there's no difference between 500 knots and 250. The aircraft is powered by the same engine as the H-34 with slight modifications. It's a hot rod nine-cylinder radial that develops about 1425 HP at sea level. Takeoffs are a hoot, and it will set your ears back. You can land it on a dime, and it's fully acrobatic. You don't need a pressure suit with the T-28. Barrel rolls are conducted at a positive G-force and smooth as silk. A loop takes four Gs, and you have to tighten your stomach muscles at the top to prevent blood draining from your eyes and losing sight. Spins have to be induced and are somewhat violent with the nose pitching up and down with a lot of vibration, but all you need to do is center the rudder and stick, and it comes out by itself. A flat spin is something else altogether and if encountered your only choice is to bail out. The T-28 didn't have an ejection seat, and when bailing out in a flat spin you have to make sure you choose the right side, or you may find yourself stuck to the fuselage and riding it all the way down asking yourself why you didn't stay in helicopters. Fortunately, I never had to bail out, and due to the flat terrain around western Florida and Alabama, I'd probably stay with the aircraft with an engine failure looking for an old runway or a flat farmer's field. But, in a flat spin staying with the plane meant certain death.
Teaching formation became old hat after a while, and I transferred to night flying. I liked flying at night. It's colder than the daytime, and you can see surprisingly well at night even with no moon. The engine runs better at colder temperatures, and it's easy to get to 250 knots. The controls stiffen up at higher airspeeds, but the plane remains easy to control.
When all the students landed, I asked permission from the tower for a fast pass that was always granted. I picked up 250 knots, broke at midfield and dropped the speed brake while holding the nose down to maintain altitude and landed right on the runway numbers.
I think I enjoyed night flying better than formation training, but when I was a student, they taught gunnery with planes equipped with 50 caliper machine guns. The instructor towed a target, and you flew alone with no instructor. High above the target, you started your run by rolling and descending and picking up speed and you recovered by rolling out and lining up with the target and squeezing the trigger. The guns made a quite a bit of noise and as you passed by you released the trigger and climbed back up for another pass. We only had six gunnery flights, but I could have spent weeks doing it every day.
Carrier landings was another enjoyable venture. We practiced for several weeks until we could land at a precise place on the runway and then it was off to the boat in the gulf. Two touch and go landings and six arrested and my God what a thrill! You don't need a catapult with the T-28. You held the brakes and added full power, and when directed you released the brakes and took off over the ocean registering a positive rate of climb. Takeoffs were conducted with the canopy open in case the engine quit, and you had to ditch into the water because it was easier to escape the sinking aircraft.
But all of that was when I was a student and now night flying was becoming tiresome. I did not want to go back to a helicopter squadron and jets seemed elusive, and I tried to resign my regular commission. I was offered an assignment to teach students basic in the T2-Buckeye in Meridian, Mississippi, and that may have been a path to what I wanted but no guarantee.
A good friend told me he had an interview with a company named Air America in Washington DC and I offered to fly him there in a T-28. We could take cross countries anytime we wanted. I went along for the interview and asked for a job but was told there were no openings in helicopters that my friend was hired for. I wondered if there were any fixed wing openings and was asked what I was flying and when I told him T-28s he acted as if I had committed a felony. I quickly said I had some C-45 experience, which I did but limited when I was a student.
I was hired and terminated my career with the Marines and spent the next seven and one-half years with Air America starting as a co-pilot for six months in the C-47 and two years in the Pilatus Porter based in Saigon.
I really liked the Porter, but nothing lasts forever, and when flying activity was reduced, I could see I couldn't hold a captain position any longer and would have to settle for a co-pilot spot in one of the larger fixed-wing aircraft.
But there was an alternative. I was licensed and trained in the H-34, and my seniority was higher in the rotary wing division than fixed wing. I transferred to Udorn, Thailand flying the same H-34 helicopter I operated in the Marines. I heard it was a demanding job and I wanted to see if I could handle it and planned on staying one-year max. I ended up staying five more years, but that's another story.
"Me and My T-28"
This website is best viewed on desktop, it can be viewed on mobile devices but the text and photo's will not appear in the same order as the desktop version.
All Photographs, videos and stories have copyrights. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited.
Helen Murphy © 2009-2019 All Rights Reserved
The 2019 T-28 Calendar is now available for purchase $15.00 +s/h
This version highlights many of the airshow performers worldwide (Australia, Norway, Germany, Austria & Switzerland) who keep the T-28 history alive reaching hundreds of thousands of spectators. The airshow pilots spend many hours training at their own expense, their performances reflect a high degree of aerobatic and formation flying skills that the T-28 was originally designed for to train military student pilots then over the years in war as an attack and bombing aircraft. I hope you enjoy the calendar! - Helen Murphy
Author and former Air America pilot Allen Cates cuts through the myths and subterfuge surrounding this elite clandestine Air Force, Air America, used by the United States to fight a secret war. The culmination of Cate's years as a pilot along his in-depth personal knowledge and research into Air America's murky past, describes the background and purpose of this unique organization, then discloses the startling casualties-both those killed in action and those wounded and injured with permanent disability. He shines the light on their cause, long hidden from the general public, and reveals how these brave men were denied recognition and benefits by those who knew the truth, including the US President, Secretaries of State and Defense, and even the Director of the CIA.