FIGHT YOUR WAY IN AND YOUR WAY OUT
John W. Korsbeck
RatPack 17, 69-70
Having come from the SF community as a SF demoman ( E-6 ) before going to flight school in July 1968, I had a limited knowledge of the 281stAHC. Then it turned out that my Primary II Instructor Pilot ( IP ) at Ft Wolters - turned out to be Rat Pack 14 Larry Ouverson. Larry never cut me a bit of slack ( I glad he didn't ), but I did learn a lot of " inside " information about the 281st.
Once my class WOC ' Tan Hats ' [ same as MOP Mitchell & Ron Lasonic ] had entered the Huey transition phase and we knew that short of a MAJOR SCREW-UP that we were going to graduate flight school, I started writing letters to everyone and anyone who might be able to assist my assignment to the 281stAHC. I wrote to the CO's 5thSFG ( Abn ) Nha Trang, RVN. CO17th Avn Grp, 10th Avn Btn & the CO 281stAHC.
I received answers from the CO 5th SFG and the Adj. 281st saying that once I was in country - if I could get assigned to 17th Grp, they would do everything they could to assist my assignment to the 281st.
With a 201 file full of " we will help" letters, I arrived at the Replacement Detachment in Long Binh. After 2 or 3 days of " Now what the hell's going on here ", I got orders to the 17th Avn Grp - Nha Trang. Things were going smoothly - so far. Once I got to Nha Trang, I called the 281st to let them know that I had arrived in-country and asked for advice. They informed me that if I could get assigned to the 10th Avn Btn in Dong Ba Thin, things would probably be OK for an assignment to the 281st. Things were looking up.
Little did I know that A LARGE HURDLE was about to be thrown into my path. Upon arrival in Dong Ba Thin and the 10th Btn, I ran into what some would consider a major ( no pun intended ) obstacle. About 10 - 12 ' new aviators ' assembled in the conference room at 10th. Bn. and were shown a map of all the locations - of AHC's that fell under the command of the 10th Btn. The Major that was ' running the show ' was one of the most SELF-IMPORTANT SOB's that I have ever met. He went on to explain that everyone in the room could have his choice of companies to be assigned to EXCEPT to the 281st !!!!!! Then after looking over the assembled group - and probably because I was the oldest one ( 24 ) of the FNG's and I was wearing jump wings & flight wings. I was the first one he asked as to where I wanted to be assigned........ It was at this point that things started to get interesting ......... I immediately told him. " Major - your not going to like my answer and you should probably take a closer look at some of he letters that are in my 201 file before my assignment is made ". I really was trying my VERY BEST to do things in a Proper Military Manner !!!! BUT the Dumb Sumbitch didn't catch on or HAVE A CLUE !!!!!!! He persisted with " Mr Korsbeck - I just asked you a question and now I ORDER YOU TO GIVE ME AN ANSWER". I repeated, " Major, I think you better look in my 201 file again!!!!" It was at this point that he either had a complete breakdown or fell through his ASS. I thought he was having a heart attack, he grabbed my 201 file and disappeared into a back room. After about 20 minutes, he re-appeared - but he still had not reacquired his composure. In his best out of breath - squeaky voice, he gave the following directive: " Mr Korsbeck, get your gear and get down to the tower. With a little luck - maybe a 281st aircraft will come by and give you a ride back to Nha Trang. BUT GET OUTTA MY SIGHT !!!!!!!!!! "
I knew in my heart of heart's, Things were going to be ALRIGHT. If I had to battle this hard to get into the 281stAHC - how much harder could things get? There are some who would probably question the sanity of my quest - but all things considered ....... I wouldn't have traded my time and working with the BEST AVIATION UNIT IN THE WORLD for anything.
IF I HAD TO FIGHT MY WAY INTO THE UNIT - SO BE IT !!!! NOW I CAN SAY I SERVED WITH THE VERY BEST !!!!!!!!!!!
Rat Pack 17