ATLANTA VOICES: MEMORIES OF VIETNAM
Joe Redden's Vietnam War Photos
HIS VIETNAM WAR STORY
Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force
Joe Redden served 35 years in the Air Force, flying the C-130 transport plane and the 02 as Forward Air Command.
The C-130 was supporting the early buildup in Vietnam. We were trying to put an infrastructure in place by doing low altitude airdrops of supplies when there was no infrastructure in place. And then later when there was a cleared landing area we would do assault landings, do a rolling exit from the plane by pushing everything out the back and then taking off without stopping.
He also volunteered as a Forward Air Controller, an assignment that was full of danger.
The aircraft that we flew was a night configured 02 and it had more powerful engines and two pods of rockets and two racks of flares. The main mission was to act as a scout for enemy activity as well as supporting troops on the ground. You had a reconnaissance area that you flew over and you became very closely aware of anything that you noticed amiss- more activity on a trail or things that were once covered and now uncovered, or very uncovered and now well covered, anything that would pique your interest and needed further exploration.
One memorable experience for Redden was supporting a Fire Mission for the Battleship New Jersey.
We flew with the windows open and when that first round went over, it was almost like the whoosh you have that’s the aftermath of a high speed train. That was probably one of the largest explosions I have seen and it only took two shells to destroy three fairly widely dispersed guns.