Description: Description: Description: Description: bullet





The Straight Skinny – Night Rustic News, Articles & Archives


Mrs. Margaret Sovich


“Maggi” Sovich was recently laid to rest a little over a year from her passing into her final resting spot at NAS Pensacola, home of the Blue Angels.  Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers over this past year.  By the way, the old man cleans up pretty good.

- Daughter Julie


Frank, Rustic 36, with his children in Pensacola

“I am America”


Our nation is alive and speaks up in this excellent Memorial Day narrative authored by a man in Florida.  Click here to read it.

 DD-214’s Available Online


The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has provided the following website for veterans to gain access to their DD-214 online:


The NPRC, however, will still take several weeks to months to process your DD-214.  If you require your DD-214 promptly, you’ll need to hire a private research company with researchers located at the various facilities where your DD-214 may be located. This will cut the waiting time veterans have had in the past to obtain copies of their DD 214’s and will be particularly helpful when they need a copy of their DD-214 for employment purposes.


One of these companies is Touchstone Research Group. You can find a description of their DD-214 Express Service at

Redeye Roadtrip


Bob Harris and his wife Cheryl made a sizeable roadtrip to visit several of our group at their homes.  Here is one of the photos showing their visit with Wayne Baker and his wife Leslie.  More pics and a narrative may follow.

Description: Description: Description: Description: RedeyeStumpSM

Redeye R-33, Cheryl, Stump R-22, Leslie

Hero Shot Now Posted


I received a great photo of the late Lt.Col Jerry Auth by his steed from his wife Gloria.

Jerry was tapped to be the very first pilot to fly our top secret Rustic mission during the initial ground invasion into enemy sanctuaries just inside Cambodia.

Rustic Wild Bill Goes Off-Grid


Wild Bill Healy has apparently decided enough is enough in Texas, and for that matter, maybe any highly populated area.


Description: Description: Description: Description: IMG_3965

The view from our deck

Description: Description: Description: Description: IMG_3964


“We are now residents of Lake City, CO as of May 16th 2016. Much more to do, but the worst is over.”  - Bill

Bill Carruthers


To my fellow Rustic buddies,


I have been pretty quiet these last few years, but I came across this news about Google Earth and Angkor Wat.  Some of our gang have been there.  Those who have not (including me), can get  a real nice "virtual" tour.  I have wanted to go there for a long time, probably highschool days.  I had  relatives living in China during the 1930s, and other times.  They had told me about Angkor Wat back then.  My great-grand uncle (something like that) was president of the Chinese division of the American Tobacco Co., so they travelled a lot. Here is the link


I have  flown  over the complex when I was returning from a couple of days off in Ubon, back to Ban Me Thout.  I may post a map latter, but obviously, Angkor Wat is a long way from the route back to BMT! 


I would like to say to everyone that being a Night Rustic was a great way to start on my tour in Vietnam. (except, I still stay up late at night)! A great group of guys.


Take care,

Bill Carruthers, Rustic 34

Rustic “Over” Participated

In Retirement Ceremony


Don Mercer, Rustic 41, who was responsible for submitting at least 30 awards being belatedly approved for individual Rustics by the Air Force's Board of Review, attended the retirement ceremony of USAF Colonel Joe Lineberger in Washington DC, during January of 2012.  Don participated in the ceremony and presented the Col. with a personalized copy of the newest book version, The Rustics.  Over worked with Col. Lineberger for over 10 years, but had never met him until being invited to attend his ceremony.  Ed. note: This invitation speaks highly for Don’s professionalism and tactful persistence with the Board (AFBCMR) by being honored to participate. He must have made quite the impression in Washington….

Nicely done, Over!!!

Rustic Zeke Rides Again!


Description: Description: Description: Description: ZekeAirshow1Sm


Las Vegas, NV.-- Nellis Air Force Base hosts an open house every year for the public called Aviation Nation, which culminates each day with the Thunderbirds flying their aerial show.  This event was held November 12th through the 14th, 2010 and purports to be the world’s largest and best military airshow by showcasing many additional aerial demonstrations and performances in all types of aircraft, not to mention numerous static displays of planes.  Over the past several years, Commodore Aerospace Corporation which owns, sells and flies vintage Cessna O-2A Forward Air Control aircraft from the Vietnam War era, was again invited to Aviation Nation to display their aircraft type.  In addition, they were also asked this year to participate in a daily airshow performance by flying one of their O-2A’s in a reenactment of a Forward Air Controller (FAC) mission entailing the rescuing of a downed F-4 fighter pilot.  As an ex-USAF Rustic FAC pilot from that era, Mr. David DeKoker, a native of Morocco, IN now residing in Largo, FL was invited by Commodore owner Mr. Don Nieser, to fly in the daily simulated aerial rescue performance for the crowd.  During the performance, all the radio transmissions between Rustic 32 and other aircraft were heard over the crowd’s PA system.  Other aircraft participating in this rescue were: an F-4 Phantom; two A-1E Skyraiders; and a UH-1 Huey helicopter.  This was Zeke’s first aerial performance in an airshow and his emotions ranged from nervous to anxious, to emotional, to proud, to “absolutely awesome!”  He says he will always remain very grateful for the honor and opportunity of participating.  Following Aviation Nation, he helped fly the three O-2’s in formation back to Oklahoma City where they are based.

Description: Description: Description: Description: ZekeAirshow3Sm

The black bird was used for the performance.


Description: Description: Description: Description: ZekeAirshow4Sm

Over the Rockies heading home VFR to OKC.

                                                                           – Webmaster Zeke

Ever Wonder how our O-2s got to SEA?

Click here

to read this amusing account as written by Colonel Wood.

R-30 Requests Rejoin!


A previous O-2A driver has recently contacted us and has rejoined the formation!  Some may remember Tom (Jammer) Jamrosy from the later months of the Bien Hoa operation.  Rustic 30 was his call sign and he served in our mission from April thru July of 1971.  You can find his contact information here on the site. 


Night Rustic Website Activated Since

Oct. 4th, 2003



Please send all news items of significant events in your life if you would like them posted here.


This site is hosted through contributions from the Night Rustic FACs and designed by webmaster Dave (Zeke) DeKoker of Absolutely Graphic!




Major-Major Roberds Flies West…


Our unit commander (ALO) during the Vietnam War, Rustic 21, Colonel Richard M. Roberds, Ret., will be laid to rest Saturday, Sep 19th, 2020 in Tullahoma, Tennessee.  You may view his obituary here.  Many in our tight-knit unit were very close to Dick and thought very highly of him as a fellow FAC pilot and distinguished officer. His memory will long live on and he will be missed by all those who knew him!

- Rustic 32 “Zeke”

Night Rustic Hat Survives!


On the 25th of February, I flew King Air 350, 615CL, for the last time ‘cause on 3 March, at 12:30 AM , John Tune Airport got hit by a tornado.  I accidentally left my rustic cap on the airplane when I last locked her up and left her to drive home.  The hat survived.  It was rescued today.



- Rustic34, Chunk Thrower

The Night Rustic Patch Flies Again


On April 14th, I and Cheryl joined up with Doug Aitken, Claude Newland, Lendy Edwards and Tom Capps for a briefing on the Rustic call sign history.  Last year (2016), Captain Charles Cole of the 74th Fighter Squadron (Flying Tigers) had asked his Squadron CO if a history wall for their Rustic call sign could be displayed in their Squadron HQ building.  Permission was granted and Capt. Cole started doing some research.  He located the Rustic.Org website and contacted Doug Aitken.  The 74th FS is part of the Air Combat Command, 23rd Wing based at Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA.  Their squadron history goes all the way back to the legendary "Flying Tigers" which is now using the Rustic call sign, so we are now a part of the Flying Tigers history.  The 74th is flying the A-10.

Description: Description: Description: Description: 74th Group Pic1

We all met at Moody late on April 13th and prepared to give a briefing on our history flying combat over Cambodia,1970-1973.  The 14th schedule included a morning breakfast, midday hour long briefing to the 74th, tour of their operations, sim flight in the A-10 and some war story time at the bar.  Each of us gave a brief description of our top secret mission using the OV-10 and O-2.  At the end of the briefing a copy of our book was presented to the 74th.

Description: Description: Description: Description: 74th Happy Hour

My part included what night operations were like compared to the day timers.  I basically said that it was pretty much the same except we did it in the dark with no guns, no armor, no lights, bad weather and high pucker factors.  I also told them how the O-2 was ferried to SEA.  I saved the rest for the bar.

Description: Description: Description: Description: 74th Rustic Wall

Highlight of the day was seeing the Rustic Patch being worn by the new warriors of our time.  I thought about Go-Go Gonzales and how proud he will be when he finds out that his drawing is still in the air.  And, being worn proudly by the new Rustic pilots.  I think Cheryl's highlight was hearing the stories around the bar and being around a lot of real stud muffins.  Click on the photos to view larger image.     – Redeye   Click here for large pics.

Sleepytime Forerunner Photo


Jerry Auth’s wife, Gloria, sent in a group photo of the Sleepytime pilots of our unit just before we received the Rustic mission.  Jerry was apparently absent the day this was taken –probably sleeping as all should have been.  Check out the photo to see who you may recognize.


Thanks to all of you who helped provide the names of these men.  We are still missing a couple actual names, so please help out if you can.

- webmaster      

BNA to HYK !



Description: Description: Description: Description: RusticRidealong

Taken on one of my CIRRUS SR-22 trips from Nashville to Hickory, NC.  I am blessed to still do it.  (Ed. Note: Yes you are, Mike!)

- Chunk Thrower, R-34


Still Looking - Still Looking, Calling Night Rustics!!  We need your Tour photos


Photographs taken during your SEA tour are needed for posting in the Photo Gallery on this website.  If you have a scanner, please scan your photos singly or in gang sheets.  Save your prints into a .jpg or .bmp format and send as an email attachment to webmaster. 

Letter from John Litton

Rustic “Wait-a-Minute” (R-42)




You are always sending out good stuff and I enjoy it.  Sometimes I think back to what we all did and what it took in our day to earn one Air Medal.  As I recall, it was twenty combat missions 120nm or more from “home”, with a 1-50,000 map, at night with an antiquated Starlight Scope or a $15,000 "Coffee Can", where, at times, the only thing lighting the pitch black Cambodian night was the sparkle of small arms or the red/orange tracks of tracers. I'd say we earned every one.  But over the years, I've noticed the Air Medal, typically associated with combat, has lost that luster and significance.  The overuse of this award in peace time has diluted the value and meaning it was supposed to represent.


I was cleaning out the garage today and came across a paper I thought you'd be interested in.  It was issued by the Headquarters, IX Troop Carrier Command, on  15 November 1944.  Here's the meat of what it says -


"Section II: Awards of the Air Medal


........Headquarters, United states Strategic Air Forces in Europe, subject: 'Awards and Decorations', dated 8 Sep 1944, an AIR MEDAL is awarded to the following named officers, organizations and residences as indicated, for the meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flights during the period 17 Sep 1944 to 23 Sep 1944.  As Troop Carrier glider pilots, these officers demonstrated exceptional airmanship and resolution in the execution of missions vital to the vertical envelopment of enemy positions in Holland.  Piloting their gliders over extended routes in difficult weather, and braving hails of flak and small-arms fire, they formed part of the vast glider armada which successfully landed thousands of airborne troops and huge quantities of combat equipment and supplies at designated objectives behind enemy lines. Their outstanding achievements in the greatest operation in military history reflect the highest credit upon the military forces of the United States."


A single Air Medal, but what it represented was the heroism and perseverance to preserve the free world.   The operation referred to here is "Market Garden".  The first name on the list, 1Lt. Clyde M. Litton.


Before Market Garden, he was at Normandy and, like others, went on to volunteer for the Christmas mission to resupply Bastogne, taking in ammunition and being "snatched" out with wounded onboard. For all of that, his uniform, neatly pressed and

stored in a steamer trunk, has simply one lonely ribbon, but what a story it tells.


By the way, he is still around. The stories would make a great movie.


John Litton - Air Unit Manager/Supervisory Pilot

Lancaster Aviation Unit

Regional Aviation Group

USDA-Forest Service


Thanks for the letter John, and thanks for allowing it to be published.

 your best stuff, B&W or color


Logos for Your Use

and they are FREE!


O-2A and new Night Rustic Logos have been submitted to the site for your personal use on any print or digital items of your choice. Click here to view and download them.  These are made available by the original artists, daytime Rustic Jim Gabel and our very own Damon R-46 “Go-go” Gonzalez.  Thanks Go-go and Jim!

Present Day Issues Remind Us

Why U.S. Needs to Follow the Law


1/14/2010 2:25:00 PM 


Immigrants join America
Letter to the Editor

Frank E. Sovich

Yesterday my hope and undaunted faith in this country was rekindled as I attended a "naturalization ceremony" in Kansas City, Kan. It was truly an inspiration to see folks from Afghanistan, Laos, Vietnam, Turkey, Cambodia, China, Russia, India, Cameroon, the Philippines, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico and so many other countries; 85 folks in all, stand tall and be recognized.

For them, it was a birthday, as the judge put it, an awakening of a new day. After years of painstaking immigration trials, a substantial amount of personal fortune paid for both the process and lawyers, they had finally made it to the Promised Land!

As they stood there, their names were read with their country of origin, and the job they currently held; software engineer, real estate agent, translator for the United Nations, university professor, internet engineer, and on and on. And then, boom, it descended upon me like a bolt of lightning. These men and women are legals! There really truly is a process.

A person from Gambia, Iran, Tibet and any other place on the globe can actually get here, legally! The government wasn't lying, it can be done!

I guess that is why the question of illegal immigration is such a tenable subject. That method comes, at a minimum, complete, with the immigrants' demands shouted via a bullhorn, street demonstrations demanding recognition of their countries' flag, and compromises scripted by greedy politicians. Oops, that dark side is trying to sneak out; sorry.

But yesterday, I was truly humbled, and that in itself as those who know me will attest to is a truly remarkable feat. There were so many in that room who certainly could have matched my paltry accomplishments without blinking an eye. I mean, I already knew English, all I had to do was get the degree.

The United States was in full bloom in that courtroom. It was truly a beautiful thing to behold. Our strength really does lie in these people. They ask for nothing, they demand nothing save for getting their shot at success. They had a dream, they fought like heck to make it happen, no one handed them anything, and now they stand shoulder to shoulder with us; the oath of allegiance is complete, the certificate of naturalization is in their hand. Yes, it can be done.

As we were leaving, I felt obligated to find the three soldiers in uniform that also went through the process and shake their hands. I was truly speechless, misty eyed as I held out my hand. Perhaps the glare from the combat medals had something to do with my emotional state. I mean they were proud members of the Big Red One; the army division that landed in Normandy on D-Day, the same division I supported with airstrikes on the Cambodian border in 1970, and now these young men had certainly proven their meddle in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I guess that pride is true of our entire military; young men and women willing to go in harm's way to keep you and me safe.

God love each and every one of them. After that, there was only one last thing to do. I had to locate and hug that guy from Turkey. I mean after all, he was my son-in-law.

ROADTRIP – August, 2014



I don’t usually drive 500 miles, one way, just to play golf.  However, when a dear friend invites you to do anything you go, if at all possible.  Of course, I live outside Washington, DC and Ace lives just a couple of miles outside Burneyville, OK.  We met with five others from Texas and Oklahoma in Highlands, NC to play golf over a three day weekend in mid-August.  Ace and Hangar-man flew to Franklin, NC in Ace’s plane and the others came commercially into Atlanta, GA then drove over to Highlands in a rental.  It took me considerably longer even though I was much closer.  But it was well worth the drive.

Now for you non-golfers, most of the time you play either 9 or 18 holes at least some multiple of nine.  How did we end up playing 91 you might ask?  First of all only I and Hangar-man actually played 91 holes.  The first day all seven played 36.  The second day three of us (me, Ace and Hangar-man) played 37 and the others played 36.  And the third day Hangar-man and I played another 18.  Why 37 you might ask?  Somehow we got lost between number 10 and 15.  So we backtracked to number 11 then played 15 a second time.  We didn’t do any better the second time so our score did not improve.


I had never played more than 18 holes of golf in a day.  But this story is not about the scores but endurance and a miracle payoff.  The third day it was just Hangar-man and me.  We decided to play another 18 at the Franklin Municipal course in Franklin, NC.  Here is where the story gets real interesting, at least for me.  The fifth hole was a par 3.  I used my 5 iron since the pin was around 170 yards away from the tee box.  I don’t usually hit a 5 longer than about 150, but I didn’t want to over shoot the green.  That’s assuming I hit it at all. The ball landed about 18 inches in front of the hole then bounced to about 3 inches on the other side of the pin.  Hangar-man said that it looked close to the hole.  I was shocked that I even got to the green.  After a closer inspection, we saw a divot the size of the hole and the ball just inches away from a hole-in-one.


Well I had to take a picture of this miracle shot.  At first I couldn’t get the cell camera to work.  Then I forgot to even pick up my ball.  Hangar-man said it was close enough for a birdie so I didn’t even hit in the hole.  Then even after retrieving my ball I forgot to repair the divot.  Oh well, my golfing manners could use some work.  Actually I left the divot so that the greens keeper would know where the hole should have been and for posterity purposes.  You can see the picture below.


Was it worth driving 1,000 miles just to play golf?  You bet it was.  Met some new friends, saw some old friends and almost shot a hole-in-one.  Not a bad three day experience.


Description: Description: Description: Description: image015


Written and ‘stroked’ by: Robert ‘Redeye’ Harris

“Over” Completes His Largest Book Project


Don (Over) Mercer, Rustic 41, has informed us that his latest work, a book on the Night O-2A Rustic mission in Cambodia has been completed and is in the hands of the publisher at this time.  This was quite a large endeavor for Don and has taken years in traveling for the collection of one-on-one video-taped interviews, transcription, research, compilation and writing of this book.  We have all been eagerly waiting for Over to get his “baby” done.  The book is titled Lights Out – Destination Darkness

Check Out Kudos

from Native Cambodian


I received two unsolicited emails (one forwarded from Claude Newland) from  Mr. Chhun and feel his comments are very worthy of posting on our Kudos page.  Please check it out. 

Description: Description: Description: Description: ChhunWifeSm

Mr. Chhun and wife




Note: Anyone having news items pertinent to the Night Rustic pilots’ organization should contact the webmaster.



Description: Description: Description: Description: bullet