Thomas E. Brazier, LTC
U. S. A. F.
C-130 Pilot, 463rd Troop Carrier Wing
During the conflict, LTC Brazier flew a C-130 from a base in the Philippines to Vietnam, with cargo aboard ranging from pallets of Christmas candy to rations and ammunition for infantry bases under enemy fire. He recalls this incident during the TET Offensive in 1968: "When the TET Offensive came I got one or two trips into a place called Khe Sanh. We had to come down this narrow valley in all kinds of weather. We had to break out a couple hundred feet short of the runway under ground control approach radar and we had to be airborne again within something like a runway length and a half because there was a big hill at the far end. So it was a tight squeeze and it was not for the untrained pilots. While you were on the approach you took small arms fire. We were doing something called Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System LAPES; which we would lower the cargo door and as we came near the end of the runway the navigator would flip a green light/red light. When the red light came on the loadmaster would pull a lever and those parachute extractions would drag those palates of munitions and food out the back and these marines would run out there in a hail of fire and offload that stuff. We did that a couple times. But that was probably the most dangerous thing we did other than flying through a typhoon coming home."