Wichita

Navy vet gives 50 years to the aviation industry – Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas 2021-10-13 23:00:00 –

Wichita, Kang (KSNW) — A graduate of Peabody was one of the first to see a drone used during the Vietnam War.

Jim Baker applied to the Navy with his high school colleagues. He thought the Navy sounded like a great place to ride the waves, but eventually he was at the forefront of the toolbox.

Jim Baker points out some of the patches on display at the Chase County Historical Society Museum. (KSN photo)

KSN spoke to him while studying an Army Division patch exhibit at the Chase County Historical Society Museum. Major Fort Riley has launched a collection dating back to World War II.

“Look at all the companies we need to maintain our freedom today,” Baker said. “Everything in the army is interesting to me, as you know.”

He especially loves military history and is part of it.

Baker said he worked on DASH, which stands for drone-to-submarine helicopter. He called it the predecessor of modern drones.

DASH (Courtesy of Jim Baker)

“It was basically an experimental program of 66 years,” he said.

Baker said Vietnam was the first to use DASH in military service.

“They plugged the cord into it, started it, then unplugged it and remotely controlled it from the ship,” he said.

The DASH had a radius of about 200 miles and was equipped with torpedoes and levitation devices in case it fell.

“The floater didn’t work, so it always fell to the bottom,” Baker said.

Helicopters were flying around destroyers.

Baker and other sailors once spent 37 days straight in the ocean while thoroughly searching for the missing submarine.

USS Scorpion (Courtesy of NavSource.org)

“We were called to look for it from Norfolk along with other ships,” he said.

They were looking for a disappearing nuclear submarine, the USS Scorpion.

“I couldn’t find the skin or hair,” Baker said. “We searched the designated areas up to the estuary of the Mediterranean and vice versa.”

He said the same people who found the Titanic claimed to have found the scorpions in pieces.

When Baker finished his two years in the Marines, authorities asked him to rejoin and go to Vietnam.

“Go over there and do 90 days of offshore artillery. I said,’No, I don’t want to,'” he said.

Instead, Baker returned to work for Boeing and even maintained his seniority. He worked on the B-52 and repaired the sheet metal.

“There were holes in these panels … holes of different sizes. These were in Vietnam,” Baker said.

But he said the enemy did no damage. It was a hail damage.

Baker was eventually fired from Boeing. Then he found an ad on the paper of a company called Realgie Guller. The company was looking for a helicopter mechanic. He got a job.

“I kept flying them. That’s the motto,” Baker said.

He said contracts through the Pentagon took him to Vietnam many times and around the world.

“I was always a little adventurous,” Baker said.

Swamp (Courtesy of Jim Baker)

He said it was a great adventure, they lovingly called the “swamp” five men piled up in a house away from home.

Their working conditions weren’t very good, as he said he didn’t even have a store hangar.

Baker said the base they worked in Vietnam was a busy place.

“GI, they flew them every day and ran around in grace,” he said. “They didn’t want to go home at night and work in a helicopter. That’s basically the purpose we were there.”

Baker belonged to Cobra’s gunship damage team.

“Shoot and replace the blades, whatever, some of them never came back, you know,” he said.

Baker said the enemy was always chasing the chopper.

“They wanted to stop the helicopter that was carrying the soldiers outdoors.”

(Courtesy of Jim Baker)

Keeping the helicopter in the air was a constant battle.

“One morning, when I get up and go out, the helicopter I was working on the day before will be damaged again by the rocket shrapnel,” Baker said.

He said they worked 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Baker said he often flies to helicopter demolition yard to get parts to repair choppers.

“Just repair the damage and get it back into flight as soon as possible,” he said.

Baker’s contribution was essential to the war effort, after which he spent decades in the aviation industry.

His career spans fifty years, but the historical lessons he continues to share go back even longer.

He sent a lot of pictures home before he got home from Vietnam.

“I thought boy, this would really be something someone would see,” Baker said.

But photography never did that. So he is trying to find a photo to replace them. If anyone has a photo, I would especially like to have a copy of the photo dealing with a helicopter.Please contact Baker at 316-217-6527 Or send him an email jim69bee@gmail.com..

If you would like to see the Army Division patch display, please visit. Chase County Historical Society Museum, 303 Broadway, Cottonwood Falls, Kan.

Navy vet gives 50 years to the aviation industry Source link Navy vet gives 50 years to the aviation industry

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