COLONEL PAT McCASLIN
Patriot, Chapter 1919
In 1970 Colonel Pat McCaslin was transferred to Nakhon
Phanom, Thailand, where he flew an OB-10 light attack plane. He was the
commander of a flight supporting Operation
which, when needed, grew up to 2 CH-53 helicopters and 4 A-1E Skyraiders in
addition to his own aircraft. The group was responsible for inserting and
extracting special forces ground troops from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. “I
can’t remember any of my missions that weren’t done under enemy fire,” he
said. “We later found out the enemy knew about our missions in advance
because our people discovered a saboteur back at headquarters leaking
information to the enemy.”
Once, when on assignment over Laos, a bullet crashed through McCaslin’s
cockpit, into his head and blew glass into his seat. “That’s how I got a
Purple Heart,” he said.
But one mission in particular haunts him to this day.
“We got a call in May of 1971 from a unit of 3 Americans and 7-8 Vietnamese
operatives called Recon Team, Alaska,” he said. “They were in an area close
to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) and called in a Prairie Fire Emergency – the
highest level of urgency.”
McCaslin was 30 miles south and made an all-out effort to reach the men,
desperately calling for backup. But, as he neared the extraction zone and
heard different voices take over after the preceding man died, the American
voices disappeared one by one. By the time he arrived, the voices ceased and
only one Vietnamese survived.
“I felt helpless, like watching my own son getting run over by a car,” he
said, visibly emotional.
Colonel Pat McCaslin received 2 Silver Stars, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses
and a Purple Heart when flying in Vietnam
Pat McCaslin and his wife Jeanette live in Sun City, Georgetown, Texas.
Pat is a member of The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 1919, and
we proudly salutes
Patriot Pat McCaslin.