Vietnam War Stories
SQDNLDR Reed served in the 12 TRS as an RF-4C pilot from the Royal Australian Air Force during the Vietnam War. Below are photos from his personal collection courtesy of Mc Donnell Douglas F-4E PhantomII's of the Royal Australian Air Force.
I was well aware that the exchange posting was going to be a challenge. Quite frankly all considered, had I been in personnel I would not have chosen me. I can almost imagine the discussions in personnel staff when they were putting together my name along with some other candidates. The Chief of Personnel would have questioned his wing commander (I can almost see it):
“Reed, I know that name don’t I?”
“Yes sir, he is the Canberra pilot who fell off the third storey balcony in Butterworth”.
“Oh yes, trying to attract the attention of his wife wasn’t he, very commendable. He survived that didn’t he? Sound initiative! Send him to the Yanks he shows great promise.”
The job had previously gone to fighter pilots and I was very surprised as well as delighted of course, to be selected. The only jet flying I had experienced was on the now obsolete Canberra with its very basic systems including manual flight controls. I had never even flown a boosted control aircraft so I managed to talk my way into a Sabre conversion and a few hours on the Mirage to at least get some basic understanding of more modern aircraft before fronting up to the USAF and the then hottest military aircraft in the world. The Phantom then held fifteen speed, altitude and time to climb records so it was quite a machine. Had I known the extent of the job planned for me, I would have been much more apprehensive than I was. Fortunately, in this case ignorance was bliss.