I arrived at Fort Bragg in early April 1970. It was here that I had returned to active military duty in late summer 1964. My assignment then was with the Green Berets. The place hadn't changed.
I signed in with the Golden Knights and met the commanding officer, Maj. Jerry Plummer, and his staff. I was impressed with the physical fitness of the people in the outfit. A steady job of jumping out of airplanes apparently requires strong bodies, and these soldiers were in excellent shape.
Major Plummer outlined my duties as the aviation officer and introduced me to the organization's pilots. One was John Gresset, the officer I was replacing. There were only two other pilots -- Dick Del Conte and Paul Rose, both chief warrant officers.
The Knights had two airplanes supporting their mission, a C-47 Gooney Bird and a U-1 Otter. Plummer said that two more aircraft were to be assigned along with additional pilots and maintenance crewmen. In due time I'd have a sizable aviation section consisting of four aircraft, six pilots, and an appropriate number of maintenance people.
My assignment included a good bit of travel and temporary duty, especially during the summer months. We would be part of the air show crowd where we appeared with the air force Thunderbirds and the navy Blue Angels. I got to know them all as our paths crisscrossed the country, from rural towns to the largest metropolitan areas.
Civilian pilots were also regular participants in the air show schedule. Beverly "Bevo" Howard was one. He was an old acquaintance who displayed his many aerobatic talents with a Jungmeister biplane.