Major Meek 2nd from left, Hulburt Field
7 War Stories presents the autobiography of a retired air force veteran who served in the Korean War, the conflict in Southeast Asia, and the Cuban crisis. Mystery and intrigue reign as Meek reveals the intimate details of the clandestine duties that he performed during the "Secret War" in Laos.
He recounts unbelievable tales of heroism that he performed in the line of duty during the Southeast Asia conflict. Experience the feel of the .50 caliber guns in a gunner's compartment during a night intruder mission as well as the firing of a simulated nuclear missile from an Air Defense Command fighter-interceptor as he details seven suspenseful flights that provided the basis for his illustrious career as a pilot.
Grew up in western Oklahoma farm country near Clinton Sherman Air Force Base. Watched all those airplanes flying around in the Blue Sky while I was eating dust in the farm fields. Flying became my dream! Built every Aurora Model I could earn the money to buy! I did not know anything about flying when I went to USAF pilot training. When I started reading about the coefficient of lift, I knew I was in "Sheep Dit!" Was lucky to graduate in the middle of my class. Maybe, I should say lucky to Graduate, period! Higher Education: BA at Southwest Oklahoma University, MBA at Troy State University, Air Force Safety and Accident Investigation School presented by University of Southern California.
United States Air Force 1969 to 1989. Promoted to Lt. Col. but declined for opportunity at Southwest Airlines. Retired USAF as Major. Flew the following aircraft: T-37, T-38, T-28A, T-28B, T-28C, AT-28D, AT28D-5, AT28D-10, T-37 again as IP and Standardization Check Pilot, and finally 10 years of flying the F15A,B,C,D.
Southwest Airlines 1989 to 2007. Flew Boeing 737-200, -300, -500,-700 for a little over 17,000 hours. Retired due to Age 60. COPA Airlines 2007 to April, 2012. Flew Boeing 700NG and 800NG. Retired due to Age 65.
That is the brief. Live happily in Madeira Beach, Florida tapped with the quote, "A quiet little drinking village with a fishing problem."
Backseat in Andrew "Wizzer" Swart's T-28
Backseat in Ken "Luaw" Karas's T-28
I entered the U.S. Air Force through the ROTC program at Duquesne University in August, 1965. My initial assignment was as a GCI weapons controller at Ft. Lee Air Force Station, VA. I had asked for pilot training but was told my vision (20/20 left and 20/25 right) was a disqualifier. I did a lot of eye execises and finally passed the exam and was assigned to Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese AFB, TX, graduating in the top 1/3 for my class. The only fighter aircraft available at that time were back-seat F-4s to Vietnam, so I chose and received a C-141 assignment to Charlestion AFB, SC.
10 months later I received orders for an OV-10 Bronco assignment to SE Asia. Since Forward Air Controllers (FACs) were supposed to also be fighter pilots, I went to Cannon AFB, NM for "instant fighter pilot" school in the AT-33. What a blast! 3 months of formation flying, dropping bombs and shooting the guns with NO check rides or tests! Then on to Hurlburt Field, FL for 3 months of OV-10 training and then off to SEA. There I was assigned to the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS) at Nakon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base (NKP) and flew 250 missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. I also spent several weeks flying out of U-Tapao Royal Thai Air Base in southern Thailand and flying into western Cambodia.
I also flew the then "highly-classified" Prairie Fire mission, infiling Army Special Forces teams into Laos. My return assignment from SEA was initially a T-37 to Laredo AFB, TX, but I was not happy with this and made a few calls and got my orders changed to T-28s to Keesler AFB, MS. This was one of the smartest things I did in the Air Force as it gave me the opportunity to fly about 850 hours in the "Mighty Trojan" training Vietnamese students to fly. We flew the Air Force "A" model for basic contact and instrument training and the Navy "B" model for advanced acrobatics and formation flying. After 2 years at Keesler, we moved the training to Webb AFB, TX and continued to train Vietnamese in the T-37 and T-38s. I was fortunate to be assigned as a T-38 instructor pilot .
As the SEA war wound down, all pilots were required to spend at least one tour in a non-flying job, so I ended up as a Public Affairs Officer at Holloman AFB, NM. The only saving grace to this assignment was that I was on the first Space Shuttle Launch team as the Air Force Public Relations officer on-scene at the White Sands Missile Range in case the Shuttle had to land there. Didn't happen until after I had departed that job.
My next assignment was a second FAC tour, this time in the Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster at Howard AFB, Panama, followed by an unprecedented third FAC tour, this time in the OA-37 Dragonfly at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ. This was my final Air Force assignment and I retired in 1986 as a Major with close to 5000 flying hours. My decorations
include the Distinguished Flying Cross, 13 Air Medals and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. After retirement, I attended law school at the University of Arizona and practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona for 10 years.
Photo courtesy of Vern Spohn
The 3389th Pilot Training Squadron had it's roots established in 1958 at Keesler AFB, MS as part of the Military Assistant Program to train foreign pilots. 55 T-28A's were part of the initial training fleet. Please visit their website for a complete history, stories and photo's of their military service. Click here.
Retired USAF in 1977 ( Retired as an O-4 Major ) T-34, T-28, T-33, T-37, F-100. Corporate: King Air 90, 200, 300, Citation 550, Learjet 25, 31, 35, 55 and 60 pilot. Still flying my 1947 Ercoupe. 2000 hours of T-28 A/B Instructor Pilot time! Instructed at Moody AFB, GA 3551st, Randolph AFB, TX , 3512th, 3389th Keesler AFB, MS in the T-28 and 3389th Big Spring, TX in the T-37. Flew F-100 in SEA (235 combat missions) 1969-70.
Born & Raised in Jefferson City, MO BSBA from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO (1969) Graduated USAF Pilot Training Laughlin AFB Class 71-05 Instructor Pilot at Keesler AFB Jan 71 – Jun 73 - T-28s (As & Bs) Instructor at Udorn, Thailand Jul 73- Jul 74 T-28( Cs & Ds) Instructor at Vance AFB, Enid OK Jul 74 – Dec 75 - T-37s Separated from USAF Dec 75
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Don Schmenk, talks about his 3389th PTS T-28 flying. He explains how Air Force markings got on a Navy T-28.
Joined Missouri Army National Guard in 1978 - UH-1M Huey Gunship (MO Guard taught me how to fly rotor wing a/c) AH-1S Cobras. Transferred to Kansas National Guard in 1986 – UH-1 H Huey Slicks & UH-1H Huey MediVac.
Last 10 years with KS Guard flew C-12 – KingAir 200. Deployed in 2003 to Kuwait – 16 missions into Baghdad International. Ferried a King Air back from Kuwait along the same route the WWII aircraft flew.
Retired in 2004 from KS Guard with 5000+ hrs (1975 hrs +/- in T-28s) Live in Topeka, KS which most people confuse with Wichita and have no idea where it is.
Backseat in SkyDoc's T-28