In his May 26 article, “For many, Vietnam’s wounds still sting,” Sammy Fretwell wrote, “Caught in the middle were soldiers, sailors, Marines and pilots.”
This does the U.S. Air Force a disservice. The Air Force is comprised of many more airmen than pilots alone.
Enlisted airmen maintain, fuel and load those airplanes; pilots kick the tires and fly. Not all of those airplanes are fighters. Some have enlisted airmen as crew to man such things as guns. Enlisted airmen rode penetrators down through jungle foliage to rescue pilots whose airplanes could not return to base. Some bases had towers around the perimeter for security — manned by enlisted airmen with starlight scopes and guns.
And not all officers are pilots. Some have those mundane jobs of making sure that pilots have facilities and equipment to prepare for and perform their duties.
James H Wilson