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56M Reunion Website

Wilbur L. Robinson

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Wilbur L. Robinson
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Wilbur L. Robinson

My first 7-1/2 years were as a GI, ground electronics/comm technician (repairman and installer of radios, radar, teletype, fax, crypto),
Ft Monmouth (Army Sig C), Elmendorf, and McChord.
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Then OCS for a trying 6 months, graduating Mar 55 on my 25th birthday. Had come out on the Master Sgt list while at OCS, but not effective at that time, so didn't change anything. And on into Pilot Class 56M.
Now that was a much more enjoyable bit of training, and what I had always just dreamed of doing.
SAC RB47's were my choice, and grad. high enough in my class to get to choose.Very briefly at Columbus OH, later to be called Rickenbacker, and then 6 years at Little Rock.
LRAFB became one of the B47 training bases, and that helped me speed up my check out into the front seat. Our only o/s deployment was to Morocco in 1956, when Nasser was threatening to start WWIII if he didn't get more money from Ike for the Aswan Dam, but Ike didn't, and Nasser didn't, and WWIII got promptly cancelled.
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Went and sat alert for wx recce for some close calls, such as the South China Sea thing ( Red China threatening to take the Pescadores from Taiwan ).
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Then Little Rock, Forbes and Hunter became the first B47 bases to go into the full-time alert concept. So, we were finding out about all the new procedures which would not work, and passing on the ideas that did.
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Six years at LRAFB, then off to Plattsburgh for 18 months in the bomber version of the B47. Six reflexes in that period to Merry Old Fogbound. Just under a month each.
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Next, Vietnam, for a year in the C123 doing the defoliation mission. During my tour we went thru about all the variations on the basic chemical (2,4-D & 2,4,5-T) with the first one called "Purple" and the last one called "Orange." And, I'll never forget:
"130 ft, 130 kias and 130 db.That little flying air brake could be deafening.But it could slow down faster than anything I have ever seen. (excluding Navy traps)
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Got an early promotion out of VN, but had already been more or less drafted into teaching ROTC, so that assignment pretty much cancelled out the effects of the BTZ promotion. AU and ATC were that way in those days. "Y'all are gonna get Sevens!"
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After a couple of years, came an opening to return to VN in a pilot job and I jumped at it.
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Ended up with F4's, but after the training, not needed at that moment in VN so was sent to Eglin for a couple of years. Chappy James was #2 at the 33TFWing at that time. And some of the future AF generals were there at that time, in that wing.
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Then was assigned to the Wild Weasel Sq in Europe, as asst ops and later ops officer. Lots of deployments to Spain and to Italy, due to the stinko wx in Deutschland, not good enough to permit practice dive bombing at all.
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Kept trying to get back to VN, but it was just as well that I did not get it since the war was winding down as I left Europe, and they decided I would look good in F4's in Korea.So did that for a year, asst DO and later commander of their Submarine at KunSan.
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Bergstrom was the final assignment, as 12AF sub commander. "Admiral" again, and all that.
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They let me fly the Convair 240/340 again, (T29) until it had to go to the boneyard, and I was just lucky that I didn't also get mothballed then.
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Retired just short of the 30 years due to job op, and went immediately to work as a manufacturing engineer for Texas Instruments, the computer factory in Austin.
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Two and a half years there and a flying job turned up with a new start-up airline,
Emerald. Turbo props (F27, F227, and G-1,- - - yes, Virginia, there WAS a G-1 ). Did that for nine years, about half of that as Chief Pilot, which is a lot like sq ops officer. Pay attention to all the details, and make sure everything works out as reqd. Never thru checking and rechecking.
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Interesting charters, including The Dhube Brothers, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Ike Pappas, Britt Hume, George HW Bush on his primary campaign in 1980. And again with him in 1984, but that time Bush rated AF Two, and we had our baby DC9 carrying what they all called "The Zoo." Newsmen, if you know what I am talking about, there is no need to give details, and if not, it could be unnecessarily cruel to do so. They usually managed to Class 26 the interior of whatever plane the candidate had provided for them.

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