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(contributed by Thomas Rench)

Memories of 862

By Chuck Hines, from a letter to Thomas Rench:

Photo taken in the 21st TASS Boron FOL revetment at Phan Thiet, RVN, August
1970. The rusty barrels contained sand and were designed to absorb shrapnel from NVA mortars and rockets. My first experience with enemy ordnance occurred while flying 862. Took an AK round through the elevator trim assembly. Still have part of the severed chain linkage somewhere in a drawer upstairs. The sound was identical to a basketball hitting a
backboard and my brain wondered who the hell was out playing with a basketball that morning. (Sounds of bullet impacts one hears during movies are nonsense.) Next, experienced runaway full nose-up trim. Pulled the circuit breaker. Made no difference. It required force of both knees pushing forward on the yoke to maintain level flight. Considered flying out over the ocean and leaving by parachute. Wore a backpack. Finally decided to pickle off the remaining willie petes, take it back to Phan Thiet, then land it. Phan Thiet's runway was PSP . The runway began at the edge of a vertical cliff about 300 feet above the water. Flew the thing home with my knees, made an uneventful landing, taxied to the revetment and shut down both engines. The crew chief, SGT Salley, stuck his head in through the door and asked if I had any write-ups. Told him the bird had runaway trim. He disappeared and I continued filling out the 781 form. Less than a minute later SGT Salley reappeared with a huge smile on his face. "You don't have a runaway trim -- you got a bullet through the elevator and trim tab!" First clue I had as to causality.

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