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Dave Cooke

I worked on the Charleston flightline with the best bunch of guys you could imagine. Every one of was, and still is, a treat. One particular day my boss assigned me to an inbound down on Able row. After the crew door opened and the gears were pinned. the LM came down the ladder mumbling something about a gas mask. I brushed it off as a rant from a tired crew member.

As I went up the ladder and looked to my right, I saw the biggest mess I'd ever seen in a aircraft. The tube was end-to-end trash, almost a foot deep. Empty MRE's, flight lunch boxes, ketchup, laundry, cigarette packages, GI blankets. You name it, it was in that pile of s**t. Just a freakin' disaster area.

My boss came by for the 781's and saw the pigsty. He scheduled the aircraft to go straight to the wash rack, for sanitizing, so to speak. Why the crew didn't open the back of the aircraft and dump it anywhere above FL300 was beyond me.

This was 1975 and the evac of Saigon had caught this aircraft off station at Clark. I never found out for sure but my guess was the aircraft might have brought their evacuees to the left coast somewhere. I now wonder why it wasn't quarantined after coming stateside.

After realizing that their Vietnamese money was now without value, the PAX left it on the floor with all the other trash. I collected a bunch of this 'loot' before I left shift and divided their booty up with the other guys on the line that day. This scans below are the front and back of the only bill I have remaining. The stuff is worth only memories now, but I thought it might be an interesting item for C141Heaven.

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