Everett Wallin – A Mission Abroad to Support the Vietnam War | News, Sports, Jobs

We began to learn more about Everett Wallin’s Air Force service to help us better understand the impact of the Vietnam War on our region.

Everett grew up in Willmar, but has lived in Marshall since 1975. He joined the Air Force after high school and began his career in Germany before being reassigned to the United States.

While posted in Arizona, Everett married his Willmar sweetheart, Phyllis, and they started a family with Lori joining the local team in Arizona and Mark arriving while posted in Washington State.

On April 15, 1965, Everett received reassignment orders. He and Phyllis had a week to prepare for his departure to a Thai base supporting combat operations in North Vietnam.

Since Everett’s family could not join him, they returned to Willmar.

“(M)my father-in-law came to pick up my wife and children. We had to clean the house, of course. You really had to spic-and-span these military homes.

Everett’s outpatient treatment included vaccinations for overseas.

“The body man asked me, ‘Do you want them all today or some tomorrow?’ I said, “Might as well give them all at once.” So, I had five injections at the same time and left on my eldest son’s birthday, April 22.

Everett boarded an airliner in California filled with military personnel bound for Southeast Asia. He stopped at Clark Air Base in the Philippines to prepare for his new unit, the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Tahkli Air Base, Thailand. Then he flew to Thailand on a C-130 transport.

Everett remembered appraising his new home in Tahkli.

“They were building hootchs, trying to house everyone that came in. I had my bunk and a bit. We had mosquito nets under which we slept. When they had more facilities built I had one side of a hootch and another guy had the other side. It was a little bigger, a little better.

He also remembered briefings on the dangers of the area.

“They called it king cobra country. We had cobras, vipers, kraits and pythons. They told us what they were and to watch out for them. I approached one, one day, but he was more afraid than me.

Everett’s Fighter Wing flew F-105 fighter-bombers on missions over North Vietnam. Everett operated the liquid oxygen (LOX) plant that powered the aircraft. The 355th Fighter Squadrons flew missions pretty much all day, every day, creating demand for LOX.

“We worked 12-hour shifts for about three months before more people allowed us to go back to three-hour and eight-hour shifts. Often I was alone. »

Their plants supercooled oxygen in liquid form and pumped it into 500 gallon tanks, like huge thermos jugs. The factory crew transferred it to a 50-gallon wheeled tank which the flight line crews towed to the flight line and loaded the LOX onto the aircraft, whose onboard systems l have converted into breathable oxygen.

Everett recalled that the Fighter Wing’s combat missions took their toll.

“The Air Force had 800 F-105s before the war and lost 400. The F-105s were bombing North Vietnam all the time. They left early—four o’clock in the morning—and came and went all day. You might see three or four come back. You might see two come back. So you would know we lost a couple or one because they usually came out in groups of four. It was emotional at times, knowing that many of them would not return; they would be prisoners or killed.

Everett appreciated the Thai people.

“(The) people were very nice. Very easy going. Lots of water buffalo – children riding on their backs. Once we took a taxi to Bangkok. We paid for it with a carton of cigarettes and a bottle of whiskey. (Everett laughs) We went everywhere that day.

Everett described special days in Tahkli.

“We had visitors like Bob Hope, Martha Raye and Raymond Burr. Raymond Burr sat with people in the dining room. I had his autograph. Bob Hope came with his troupe. It was a very good show. »

Constant letters to and from Phyllis and her children helped Everett during his year-long tour.

“When you’re away from home, it feels slow. But it could have been much worse. I could have been in Vietnam under the guns somewhere. My wife wrote letters every day and I wrote every day. The kids drew something to send to me and that was the main thing for Christmas.

In April 1966, Everett boarded another airliner in Bangkok for the long flight home.

“I reunited with my family in Willmar – where my parents and his were. These days when someone is overseas and comes back, it’s like one day you’re in an area where someone might be in combat and the next day you’re back in the United States. It’s such a quick transition. But it was wonderful to come back.

Everett reflected on the challenges of a military spouse during a deployment meeting.

“I think it’s more difficult for the woman, in a way, because she has everything to do during all this time. For a year she’s in charge of everything, then all of a sudden you come back and things change overnight.

The Wallins adjusted to each other and quickly had to adapt to Everett’s next mission.

The Departmental Museum of Lyon is organizing an exhibition on the impact of the Vietnam War on the department of Lyon. If you would like to share experiences in Vietnam or help with the exhibit, please contact me at [email protected] or call the museum at 537-6580.

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