A Tiny Death - Readers Comments - Comments by Lynn McAtee - 5 Jan 2011
An All-Creatures Spiritual Archive Story from All-Creatures.org

A Tiny Death - Readers Comments - Comments by Lynn McAtee - 5 Jan 2011

In Reference to: A Tiny Death

Dear Frank and Mary:

One of the events in my life that I hate to remember is the crash I touched on, but there is never a day that passes that I don't remember.

It happened in VietNam on the forth day of April 1975, the Baby Lift Flight, an Air Force C-5A aircraft out of Travis AFB Calif. I was one of the Flight Engineers (2) on the primary crew. We, (the primary crew) brought another aircraft into Clark AB Phillipeans and were scheduled to crew rest and go to Yakota AB Japan the next day and then return to Travis as we had been out in the system for several days. However, another aircraft, flown by a Reserve crew from Travis were scheduled to take the "Baby Lift" aircraft to TanSonNhut, Siagon VN, but they declined the assignment and elected to go commercial back to Travis. This put us next up and we took the aircraft to VN.

After offloading the cargo, we began to load passangers and departed back to Clark. On climb-out, the pressure door locks failed and blew out, taking out all but one hydraulic systems (4), and disabling all flight controls except one aileron.

Turning back to Saigon after finding out that we could (sort of) control the aircraft with differential engine power, we attempted to land, after using the emergency gear down system, (no brakes and no wing flaps) and when trying to line up with the runway, lost control and had to crash land straight ahead, into a swamp area of the Mekong river delta. When we touched down, the aircraft tore itself apart, destroying the cargo area, (lower 3/5s of the fuselage), wings breaking off and only the forward flight deck and crew rest compartment and aft passenger upper deck surviving. I was in the forward flight deck and all but one of us there survived, and all those in the passenger deck but one survived, but all in the lower cargo compartment died except three, who somehow survived, no one but God knows how.

Anyway, thats the story in a nutshell. I stayed in the AF 3 more yrs, and wanted to quit flying, but was told that due to loss of qualified FEs, I'd either have to keep on flying or retire. So I said, "give me the papers, I'm gone".

I worked for several years after that, but never felt right and finally realized that God was calling me to the ministry and I'm now a pastor in the church and have been since 1992. The other FE also became a pastor in a different denomination. I've told God many times that I wish He had used some other method to call me, but of course, God being who He is, will do what he will regardless of my desires.

Thanks for your beautiful web site, I really enjoy it.

God Bless you, Lynn.

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