The following write-up was sent in 20 September 2004 by one of our Juvat LTM’s and reunion regulars, “Doc” Lambert:
In Oct 1982 three of us from the 388th FW at Hill were PCSing to Kunsan AB, ROK, and we arrived at General Dynamics in Fort Worth, TX to pick up 4 new F-16s and ferry them to the KUN. The three from Hill were Tom Reynolds, W.O. Johnson, and myself Doc Lambert – the fourth to join us was Pete Mock from Nellis. We launched out of Ft Worth and performed our first air refueling over west TX. We were all qualified to refuel from KC-135s. and once we got a visual on the tanker rendezvous the flight lead said something to the effect “anyone ever refuel off a KC-10?” We were all in agreement -none of us had, so the flight lead stated something to the effect “we are ALL qualified to refuel off a KC-10.” The next refueling was just off the coast of CA and a couple more thereafter enroute to Hawaii. After a short stay at Hickam we all taxied out behind our lead tanker for takeoff. At “last chance” #3 F-16 developed a massive fuel leak, so we left him there and the three of us pressed to Guam. After a short stay at Anderson AB (awaiting our tanker support) we discovered that out of the three F-16 aircraft, we had one with a flat nose tire and another with a dead battery. We switched the good battery out of the flat nose tire bird and the two healthy Brand New F-16s launched for the KUN once our tanker support arrived. Since I was the junior ranked of the three I was selected to remain at Anderson to wait for the new battery and nose tire, RHIP – right?. I finally arrived at the KUN ~ two weeks later. My tanker cell consisted of me and two F-15s going to Kadena. After the F-15s dropped off enroute the tanker and I pressed to the point where they needed to turn around, and I was to top-off and proceed direct single ship to the KUN. No one ever told me that once the tanker goes away that the airspace controllers in that part of the world do not speak English! And of course this is IFR and I’m all alone! Once I finally rec’d clearance below 18K I switched over to Kunsan tower and talked to an American! I had a fuel transfer problem at the last tanker refueling so had extra trapped fuel in the wing tanks as I made my approach to the KUN. Remember, we had taken off from Carswell, Hickam, and Anderson – all with runways zillions of miles long – now I was landing at the KUN with extra fuel, on a 8’K runway, with blowing SNOW. Finally got the beast stopped and taxied to the Headhunter parking – as soon as I opened the canopy and the ladder was attached, I was handed a beer, my JUVAT nametag and a “WELCOME TO THE KUN” greeting! We were the initial cadre for the 80FS as the 35FS had received the very first new F-16s a few months earlier. And, of course, there was much “touting, jousting, and good sportsmanship” as to who was the best F-16 squadron on the KUN – we Headhunters ALWAYS came out on top. Hey, my story and I’ll tell it my way!! Lots of interesting stories along the way in that year – most of them absolutely true and beyond belief!
I served as the Chief of Current Operations on the wing staff, but was attached to the 80FS for flying purposes for my whole one year remote tour. Follow-on assignment was to the 310th TFTS initial cadre (F-16 schoolhouse) at Luke AFB, AZ.
F-16 Headhunter, 1982-1983