ATLANTA VOICES: MEMORIES OF VIETNAMPublic Domain
Cal Tax Cal Tax
HIS VIETNAM STORY
Captain, U.S. Air Force
Cal Tax knew he was destined to become a pilot.
My dad was an Air Force pilot in World War II and he taught me how to fly when I was fourteen.
He joined the Air Force ROTC in college and when the war in Vietnam started, his mission involved bombing targets the enemy used to transport war materials.
Cal admits it wasn’t always easy hitting these targets and it sometimes took several tries.
If we didn’t hit the target it meant we had to come back the next day and do it again until we knocked the bridge down or until we severed the railroad tracks.
Anti-Aircraft guns fired projectiles that looked like “red-hot basketballs or red-hot golf balls,” and one good hit would end your flying career.
Tax believed something in him changed as the war went on.
I lost my feeling of, you know, that I don’t want to kill anybody. At that point I wanted to kill everybody who was trying to kill me.
Returning to the states was not a difficult transition for Tax, who says he did not receive any negative feedback.
I never experienced anybody, you know, saying anything bad about me or to me or showing me that they were angry at me or anything like that.
After the military, Tax became a Delta Airlines pilot for 33 years and still flies one of the old bi-planes from World War II as a hobby.
I love the freedom of being up in the air. You’re in control of your own destiny, you’re in control of your own life.