55. The Longest Day by George Scott

One day late in September 1969 Lt Appelle came to the Avionics shop and told SP5 Dewey Shepherd, Sgt Renke, SP5 Laing and I to report to the 268th Battalion HQ for a special project that needed to be done ASAP. We reported to Battalion HQ and found a civilian contractor from a security company there that was to instruct us on how to install a Crypto Encryption unit into every ship in the company to scramble the voice on the VHF radio. We followed his instructions and after he left we asked when this needed to be done we were told by yesterday. We grabbed our tools and got started.

We found out later that there was a major air mobile combat assault that was going to take place on October 2nd, 1969 and that every ship in the unit was going to be used. We started up an assembly line process with one person drilling the holes for the mounting plate and another mounting the assembly plate and another one installing the scrambler unit and another testing the installation. We had to travel to every ship on the line to do this and it took us about 2 1/2 days straight with no sleep. The cooks made chow for us that we ate as we worked and they also brought coffee and water to us. We all understood the importance of this project to the safety of the men on those ships and no one complained. We just kept working, taking short cat naps while waiting for parts or for someone else to finish with his part so we could move on to the next one.

We finished the installation of every ship the morning of October 1st, 1969. I was so tired when we finished that I laid down and slept on the flight line next to the last ship we completed. On October 2nd the assault took place and not a single unit failed. Everyone made it back safe and I also got to fly that day as door gunner on one of the slicks. I was glad that I could be a part of something so important. P.S., the civilian contractor said it would take us about a week to modify every ship in the company. He should have stuck around to see what we could do as the maintenance unit of the 134th. There is a copy of the letter of appreciation that we received for our effort as a unit. I have kept it all these years.
AM Def Ser Cam
Last modified: Saturday March 18th, 2023