The Straight Skinny – Night Rustic News, Articles & Archives
Night Rustic Challenge Coin
Damon “Rustic Go-Go” Gonzalez approached Zeke a few years ago with the idea of designing a custom Night Rustic Challenge Coin, but somehow the idea got lost. He recently tried again and this time the two of them sprang into action and they are in the process of minting and distributing same. They have canvassed the full Night Rustic Roster twice via email for those interested in purchasing coins. The overall order is about to be placed for nearly 170 coins! To all those who ordered, “Thanks!” for making this effort a huge success.
-- “Go-Go”, R-46 & “Zeke”, R-32
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: http://vetrecs.us/
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 http://dd214express.com/info/.
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.
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.
2021 50th Anniversary Night Rustic Reunion
Due to the COVID Pandemic of 2020, we were unable to hold our usual biennial reunion that year. So we are holding it this year, which also falls within the 50yr envelope for the Rustic Mission (1970-1971). This year the venue is St. Pete Beach, FL at the Sirata Beach Resort November 10th to the 14th. We will have a good turnout for this event. Those planning to attend are listed on the Events page. You can also see the Schedule of Events planned there as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BNA to HYK !
RUSTICS ARE ALWAYS WITH ME
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
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
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
Regional Aviation Group
Thanks for the letter John, and thanks for allowing it to be published.
2021 Reunion Photos Posted
The photos from the 2021 Reunion in St. Pete Beach at the Sirata Beach Resort have been posted here for viewing. Apologies to all those who have been waiting so patiently for me to get these done. Busyness, back injury and life somehow got in the way, but that is in the rearview mirror now, I hope. If anyone else has other photos they would like to have posted, please email them to me. Visit the Photo Gallery link to view our reunion.
Tom “Jammer” Jamrosy Has
Departed the Fix
Rustic 30, a good friend and member of this elite and unique pilot group passed away November 30th, 2021 following a long illness. I was just made aware of this news. The Jammer was always a friendly and outgoing person, an excellent FAC and he will be missed by this team! May God give his family strength and peace in his passing!
- Rustic 32 “Zeke”
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!
1/14/2010 2:25:00 PM
Yesterday my hope and undaunted faith in this country was
rekindled as I attended a "naturalization ceremony" in
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.
Written and ‘stroked’ by: Robert ‘Redeye’ Harris
Mercer, Rustic 41, has informed us that his latest work, a book on the Night
O-2A Rustic mission in
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.
Mr. Chhun and wife
Note: Anyone having news items pertinent to the Night Rustic pilots’ organization should contact the webmaster.