1:56 | All Al Muller knew about the safety field was that if you were assigned Safety Officer, you would be stuck in that position the rest of your career. When he was assigned to Systems Safety at the HQ level, though, he discovered that it was one of the best assignments possible.
Keywords : Al Muller safety engineering MIL-SPEC F-15 F-16 F-17 A-9 A-10 C-5 Andrews AFB
As an aeronautical engineer, Al Muller had done a lot of interesting work in the Air Force, but as a Forward Air Controller flying out of Thailand, he added the experience of war to his resume. After targeting a vast ammo dump that burned for two weeks, he got a surprise when he returned from R & R.
Forward Air Controller Al Muller had some tense moments when he was confronted by a MIG during a flight. There was also some tension when he encountered a Special Forces soldier who offered him a drink from a skull, but not for long.
Al Muller recalls how his survival training for the steamy Asian jungle was conducted at the top of a mountain in sub-freezing temperatures. At least the pine bough bed was comfortable.
He always wanted to fly. In fact, Al Muller was building model airplanes before he could read. This naturally led him to the Air Force and after basic training and a first assignment transporting troops, he entered the Air Force Institute and became an Aeronautical Engineer.
After the Air Force Institute of Technology made an engineer of him, Al Muller worked on re-entry vehicles and lifting bodies, pure design work that paved the way for the Space Shuttle program.
Al Muller had a nice assignment recovering satellites and their film but the switch to video ended that mission. Before he left Honolulu, a chance encounter with a lost pilot led to a stuffed alligator hanging on the wall. This began an amazing odyssey for the trophy.
At the Air Force Safety Office on his last assignment, Al Muller worked for two legendary fliers, Robin Olds and Chuck Yeager, each with colorful stories surrounding them. Those two embodied an esprit de corps that Al found lacking when he visited bases in his post-service career.
Al Muller gives a surprising answer regarding the hardest thing about being Safety Officer, and recalls how an accident investigation uncovered problems in maintenance.
After his Air Force career, Al Muller worked on some very interesting research, including a burning wing that squirted the craft forward like the squeezing of a watermelon seed and a non-aerodynamic rotating wing that puffed air out through slits.
Roland Guidry didn't just fly any old C-130, he was flying a C-130D, outfitted with skis. The vast network of radar sites in the Distant Early Warning system needed supplies and servicing. Some of the Arctic sites were so distant and isolated, there were no runways for a wheeled landing. It was during this time that he first went to Vietnam on temporary duty supporting the construction of a new base.
Vic Grahn flew a variety of fighters during the post-Vietnam Cold War. It was frustrating; lobbying and waiting for the sweetest assignments. It's all about the connections and, after a chance meeting with a general, it was smooth sailing until retirement.
The first job for squad leader Olin Rossman was patrolling a road that linked his unit's base with the Mogadishu airport. Then his platoon began to rotate through that task, serving as a quick reaction force, and also providing convoy security. Some more up-to-date night optical devices would have helped a lot. (Caution: strong language.)
When a humanitarian disaster began to unfold in Somalia, Presidents Bush and Clinton committed US troops to stop the fighting among the warlords and enable aid to be delivered. Olin Rossman of the 10th Mountain Division was not originally slated to go, but his platoon was tapped at the last minute. (Caution: strong language)
The first job for Zach Johnson after his combat tour was at the Marine Security Guard Battalion, which placed elite Marines at American embassies and consulates. Then it was years at Quantico in various training positions. After his twenty years in the Corps, he went to work for Booz Allen Hamilton doing support work for the Marines.
Ray Davis was back at the Marine Corps schools where he had a run-in with a new boss. Friendships matter and some friends in high places rescued him and got him into a better job at the War College. Then he got exposed to intelligence work at Marine Corps HQ, followed by a tour in Europe. But there was a little place in Southeast Asia that was starting to heat up.
Squad leader Olin Rossman pays tribute to the men in his squad, who fought well in Mogadishu. There was also the medic, who showed incredible courage while treating wounded men under fire. (Caution: strong language)
Not happy with his original MOS, Olin Rossman reenlisted as an infantryman. He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division and trained at frigid Fort Drum in New York. He was well qualified before he saw combat, went to all the schools, including Ranger School where he suffered a mishap. (Caution: strong language.)
It was only a few days after a Black Hawk was shot down that another one suffered the same fate, only this time there were survivors who were pinned down. Olin Rossman was with the relief force that rushed to the scene and his squad held an important intersection in the fight that would become known as the Battle of Mogadishu. (Caution: strong language)
After rejoining the Army as an MP, Ed Fulghum returned to Korea where he guarded inspection teams. His next assignment, back in the States, was in a Military Government company, which was trained to rebuild and reset devastated areas. He decide that the Military Police was a career dead end, so he returned to the infantry.
The plan was complicated, with a lot of moving parts, but there was high confidence that the team would be able to rescue the hostages in Iran. Pilot Roland Guidry describes how a combination of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters would deliver the Delta Force and the Rangers and then extract them along with the hostages. Part 3 of 4.
Everyone remembers Black Hawk Down but the incident portrayed in that movie was not the first time a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Mogadishu. Squad leader Olin Rossman woke up to the words, "Get up and get your squad. We have a bird down." He joined the convoy headed to the crash site. Part 1 of 2. (Caution: strong language)
When he returned from his combat tour in Korea, Ed Fulghum began a long period of being sent all over the place by the Army. A series of short assignments culminated in Germany, where he served until his discharge. He got married and began an unsuccessful job hunt. Should he return to the Army?
The crash site was at a typical Mogadishu intersection with countless places the enemy could be hiding. Olin Rossman's squad had secured the site and he went to help with body recovery. Only one set of remains had been taken out of the burnt Black Hawk when all hell broke loose. They had been waiting because they knew more Americans would be coming. Part 2 of 2. (Caution: strong language)
When Roland Guidry was given the command of the 8th Special Operations Squadron, he had to prove himself because he was not from a special ops background, per se. He did just fine. The missions he'd flown in Vietnam were perfect preparation. He says it takes a certain type of low key individual to excel at that type work.
In the aftermath of the Grenada invasion, peacekeeping forces from all around the Caribbean were assembled to help keep order. Keith Nightingale's battalion was spread all around the island involved in various missions and the locals in all these enclaves helped their liberators celebrate Thanksgiving. Part 3 of 4.
Olin Rossman was mad. Some of his platoon were pinned down at a Mogadishu intersection but his squad was being held back in reserve. He couldn't go and help. Mogadishu was a vast maze of roads and alleyways, every building a potential sniper nest, every alley an RPG threat. (Caution: strong language)
The newly formed Joint Special Operations Command was beefing up the capabilities of all branches. One of the keys was the formation of SEAL Team 6. Over at the Air Force, Roland Guidry explains how they struggled to come up with the assets to succeed at their part of the plan. In the middle of all this, Grenada suddenly became a hot spot.
Clowns in action. That's how Keith Nightingale describes the confusion and snafus during the initial Grenada operation. Most objectives were quickly achieved but there were some difficult battles, including one with a Cuban unit. When the Rangers got to the medical school where American students were waiting, they found out about a second campus with more students. Part 2 of 3.
The rescue attempt failed but it was the genesis of an all out effort to reorganize and improve the special operations capability of the military. Roland Guidry helped manage the air operations as the team began Project Honey Badger, which aimed to mount a second try at freeing the hostages in Iran.
After a long stint with Joint Task Force Eagle Claw, Keith Nightingale left to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne. This unit was called to be part of Operation Urgent Fury, the liberation of Grenada from a Communist takeover. Part 1 of 3.