NORTH AMERICAN AT-6 TEXAN



the Wanderling


The above graphic depicts a prime example of an AT-6 Texan. That specific AT-6 was manufactured in Dallas in March 1943 originally as an AT-6C. In April of 1951 it was remanufactured in Downey, California into it's current status as an AT-6G. This particular aircraft, delivered directly from the factory and up thru the end of the war was assigned to Tuskegee Army Air Field, Tuskegee, Alabama, remaining there throughout its service-life during World War II serving as an advanced trainer for the Tuskegee Airmen.

She is only one of two known surviving AT-6 Texans to have any connection to the Tuskegee Airmen and the only one flying, the other residing at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum in Detroit, Michigan. Currently owned by Lewis Air Legends she is named "Double Vee," a term that makes reference to the Tuskegee Airmen's double victory over the Axis powers in Europe and over discrimination back home.

During the period 1949-1953, a number of early model-series AT-6s were remodeled, upgraded, and remanufactured in Downey, California similar to the AT-6 above, only to be eventually, shortly thereafter, turned over in some fashion to civilian status, again just like the AT-6 above. It is thought, as arranged by my Stepmother and found in The Code Maker, The Zen Maker, that the AT-6 being flown by a former World War II P-47 Thunderbolt pilot that I flew in after being picked up as a young boy from Victory Field outside of Palmdale, California on a flight from Van Nuys to Texas, was one of those 1949-1953 era updated models. If it was the specific "Double Vee" AT-6 in the above photo is open to question, if it was however, although not totally impossible, it would be a quite the coincidence.


Victory Field was a onetime airstrip used by the military during World War II primarily for training. Abandoned when the war ended it had all but fallen into a chronic state of disrepair as the desert's relentless onslaught continued to wreak havoc across and over the runways in a never-ending battle to return itself back to it's normal state.

Twelve years after my flight out of Victory Field in the backseat of an AT-6 as a young teenage boy just about ready to enter high school I found myself drafted into the military and then not long after that, riding in the back of a U.S. Army CV-2 Caribou.(see) In an almost opposite scenario taking off from Victory Field, except for the abandoned airstrip being in an equal state of disrepair and barely capable of handling any amount of sustained traffic, especially fixed-wing type traffic, the airstrip was instead not in a parched tumbleweed infested dry desert, but in a heavily rain soaked jungle-like environment wedged between Colonial Route 9 and the Xe Pone River along the Vietnamese Laotian border near the village of Lao Bao. If you view the aerial shots of Victory Field, then compare what you see with the aerial view of the Lao Bao airstrip found in the link below, you will gain a much better understanding of what I am making reference to:


LAO BAO VA1-71


Please note the aerial photograph so shown by going to the above link was taken three, possibly four years after my use of the airstrip. At the time the photo was taken it seems to show the area as being heavily pockmarked and cratered, but if by who or what is not clear. I have Google-Earthed the airstrip location area many times and Google's newer 50 years-plus after the fact satellite images, except for a few almost invisible landmarks, show little or no remnant remains of an airfield ever having been there. Lao Boa, which was once nearly a sparse, almost sleepy little hamlet, has over the succeeding years, in sharp contrast to the Laos side of the river, grown into a very large inhabited place with all kinds of roads, houses and buildings. The PDF graphic that comes up by clicking the above Lao Bao link is expandable to a larger size by clicking the plus sign that shows up in the lower right hand corner.

For those of you who may be so interested in a much more thorough exploration into the above and how it relates back to me, Lao Bao, et al, please see the "HOW I GOT THERE (Part I)" segment of Footnote [7] and "HOW I GOT THERE (Part II)" in Footnote [8] as found in The Code Maker, The Zen Maker.



P-40 WARHAWK
PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR

FLYING TIGERS AND MORE
THE BOY IN THE MAN REMEMBERS THE LEGEND

GHOST AND HAUNTED B-29


THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN

ZEPPELINS: HIGH ALTITUDE WARSHIPS



(please click)


F6F NAVY HELLCAT, NAZI SUBS, AND
THE BAJA MEXICO CRASH SITE


DID THE WANDERLING FLY?

(please click)



CLICK
HERE FOR
ENLIGHTENMENT

ON THE RAZOR'S
EDGE


E-MAIL
THE WANDERLING

(please click)




As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS



















VIETNAM BASED UNITED STATES ARMY CV-2/C-7 CARIBOU, CIRCA MID 1960s


The United States Army ordered 173 De Havilland DHC-4 Caribous in 1959 and took delivery in 1961 under the designation AC-1, which was then changed to CV-2 Caribou in 1962. In 1967 all US military Caribou's were transferred to the United States Air Force and redesignated as the C-7.


Below is the sentence in the main text above this footnote is linked from:


"Twelve years after my flight out of Victory Field in the backseat of an AT-6 as a young teenage boy just about ready to enter high school I found myself drafted into the military and then not long after that, riding in the back of a U.S. Army CV-2 Caribou."


The 200 mile or so quick trip in the U.S. Army Caribou was really not much more than a short hop connecting flight. The idea was to get me to another plane that slipped in from Laos that would then be able slip back across the border to Laos and my final destination, the secret city of Long Tieng. An interesting part about the whole Laotian gig was that when I got there the Royal Lao Air Force (RLAF), that had previously been engaging in air strikes against the Pathet Lao and other real and perceived anti-government forces for sometime, had been using of all things, U.S. provided World War II AT-6 Texans as their primary aircraft. In July and August 1963 the Laos air force began phasing them out after they were supplied with more updated T-28 Trojans. For me though, the radio operating ground pounder I was, once in Laos, although it was like fighting in the past with so much of our equipment being World War II vintage, types of aircraft quickly went by the wayside, with old fashion Terry and the Pirates type warlords seeming to take precedent. See:


MEETING WARLORDS, ET AL


KHUN SA: THE SECOND WARLORD


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WAR IN LAOS


















The specific page showing an aerial view of the Lao Bao airstrip in Vietnam circa 1967 sometimes doesn't call up on an individual page basis. If not, in order to see the page so designated it download the entire Tactical Aerodrome Directory - 15 November 1967 and go to LAO BAO VA1-71 on page 93.


TACTICAL AERODROME DIRECTORY - 15 NOVEMBER 1967


A quick reach version of the Tactical Aerodrome Directory (i.e., it loads much faster because the directory is divided into smaller sections), albeit with many redacted pages --- including the LAO BAO VA1-71 on page 93 --- can be found by going to the Texas Tech University Vietnam Center and Archive. Click HERE. See Folder 02, Box 01, Part B PDF or:


CLICK HERE