The initial

Operational Evaluation (OpEval).  The initial plan was to deploy the QT-2-PCs in I-Corps in the far North of the Republic of South Vietnam (RVN), near the De-Militarized-Zone (DMZ) to support a unit under attack, However, the  monsoon weather in the North would have severely restricted flight operations there, so the aircraft were dispatched to IV-Corp in South on the delta to affect the Mekong River traffic coming from Cambodia. When, where, why, how, and by whom the decision was made is unknown by the writer

Arrival, Unload, and Assembly/Test. The first QT-2PC (#1) entered RVN through Vung Tau and was then transferred to a  USAF TAC C-130 bound for Ton Son Nhut (TSN) at Saigon, then onto another TAC C-130 to Soc Trang Army Air Field (ST AAF), the site of the Tri-(military) Service OpEval.

LMSCs Mr. Wilbur Curtis arrived a shortly thereafter, following  a similar route, with QT-2PC #2 and one of the first Starlight Scopes in country (handcuffed to his wrist).

Both aircraft were assembled, in-country “fam” followed, and then nightly flight operations commenced: Typically two four-hour sorties per aircraft per night.

Note: All identification marks except one were removed from the QT-2PC Aircraft before deployment:  They wore only tail number “1” or “2”: Odd, huh!


Prior to the arrival of a special ballistic hanger was built for the QT-2PCs (because of its very long (57+ ft.) wingspan and the runway was lengthened 2000 ft. (because of QT-2PCs modest performance (a kind description)).


The aircraft were off-loaded and reassembly was commenced by the Tri-Service and Lockheed Teams

The ground team was lead by USA Capt. Heinz Zoegner, QT-2PC Maintenance Officer, USN Chief Boatswains Mate (MM7) Morris, and USAF TSgt Tech Inspector Dorsey.

Soc Trang, Republic of South Vietnam
Soc Trang Army Air Field (AAF)
Soc Trang AAF OPS
Unloading QT-2PC #1 (covered on trailer). Soc Trang AAF Tower in background.
Unwrapping QT-2PC #1 in hanger
PFC Richard (Dick) Wettach unpacking QT-2PC #1
Tri-Service Crew installing wing.
Tri-Service team unpacking tail section.
Zoegner & Hall installing empennage (vertical tail section)
Hall, Roberts, Zoegner & Morris unpacking 4-Blade fixed-pitch (Ole Fahlin) prop.
Quality at work: Curtis, Dorsey, Stith & ?( Help)
Nearing completion of assembly and tests
Some final work
Roll-Out (Soc Trang AAF Tower in background)
Both QT-2PCs on ramp in front of Soc Trang AAF Tower

1968 TET Offensive.

We were briefed on a potential attack eight days eight days after arrival. Of those that believed it would occur, only some believed that it would be significant. As it turned out it occurred on the Vietnamese Lunar New Year and was the infamous 1968 TET Offensive!

TET Notes:

·        A country-wide general offensive.

·        10 % casualties at ST AAF, including our Pfc. Dick Wettach.

·        All available aircraft and aircrews flew all night consuming all fuel at ST AAF.

·        Fearing that ST AAF would be overrun, an action to “Frag” the QT-2PCs was considered, however they were relocated at Vung Tau for their safety.  


Revetment Bunker - Before 75mm
Revetment Bunker - After 75mm (Sadly, a fatal site)
75mm Recoilless near miss, a dud too!
Stith digs in
Bell digs in
Curtis Digs in

Cheap Charlie's Artillery. 

We had action almost every night at Soc Trang: The ARVNs would commence H&I Fire about midnight and about every third night, we took some “Incoming” from “Charlie”


Note: I’ll use “he” herein, although we never new if Charlie was a “he” or “she” or both!


Charlie’s usual routine was to give us a couple of rounds, causing us to immediately get to all of our aircraft that would fly and launch (either to save them from “frags” or to attack Charlie’s site). The rest of us would “get down” ASAP! Charlie would then immediately disassemble his weapon and dissappear.


Our understanding was that Charlie would dig his hole down, across, and then down again.  Our most powerful weapon was 2.75 “ ten-pounders”; so, when he was in his hole, he was relatively immune to harm from them.


Once we all had to land for fuel, Charlie would then “open up” on us with all he had (a half-dozen to more than 100 rounds)!


Some later referred to him as “Mr. Charles”: He was mean, brave, and no “dummy”!    


It seemed that nothing was being done to stop the attacks: Our local ARVN didn’t go our there at night and Charlie was elsewhere in daylight. The rumor was that he was part of the “battle damage survey team” seeing where the rounds hit while doing domestic work on the airfield.


So, our Capt. Heinz Zoegner (a QT-2PC Pilot and our Maintenance Officer), who had spent his first tour “in-country” in Special Forces with “boots on the ground” and was qualified with most of our weapons; acquired (who knows how!), set up, and started shooting back with an 81mm Mortar. We dubbed it Cheap Charlie’s Artillery.


Congratulations to Heinz.


We documented his effort with these “cheesy” photos

Ready, Aim..a, ......
Artist, USAF Maj. Dave Tobey, at work
Planting sign: Tobey, Bell and Trooper ?(Help)
Done: Tobey, Bell & Nordwall
Pure Cheese: Tobey, Bell, Bowers, Curtis & Stith
More Cheese: Tobey, Bell, Bowers & Curtis