TFH 4/15: 2 Air Force Crosses – Caldwell & Shaub

The United States Air Force‘s 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron flew the Lockeed C-130 buy Deltasone cheap Hercules for air logistics missions across Southeast Asia, particularly in Vietnam. With the beginning of North Vietnam’s Easter Offensive, some besieged friendly forces could only be resupplied by airdrop.

On April 15, 1972 – 40 years ago – one C-130 from the 776th was struck by heavy antiaircraft artillery en route to its drop zone. The critically wounded aircraft was aflame. The cargo of ammunition was seconds away from detonating. The gallant pilot struggled to regain control of the damaged plane and save it. The loadmaster knew that the fire would be their doom if the cargo remained aboard the plane. Both men received the Air Force Cross for their heroism. They were Captain William R. Caldwell and Staff Sergeant Charles L. Shaub.


Air Force Cross Citation for Captain William R. Caldwell:

buy discounted cytotec online AFC-200pxThe President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Colonel William R. Caldwell, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a C-130E Instructor Pilot for the 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron, An Loc Air Base, Vietnam, in action at An Loc, Republic of Vietnam, on 15 April 1972. On that date, Captain Caldwell flew a tactical emergency airdrop of critically needed ammunition to a besieged concentration of allied forces located in a heavily defended area. En route to the target, his aircraft was severely damaged by hostile anti-aircraft fire, fatally injuring the Flight Engineer and wounding other crew members. Realizing bailout of the injured crew members would be extremely difficult, Captain Caldwell, without regard for his personal safety, remained at his station and flew the aircraft to a successful two-engine landing, thereby saving the lives of his crew. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Captain Caldwell reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Air Force Cross Citation for Staff Sergeant Charles L. Shaub:

AFC-200pxThe President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Staff Sergeant Charles L. Shaub, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as Loadmaster of a C-130 aircraft of the 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron, An Loc Air Base, Vietnam, in the Republic of Vietnam, on 15 April 1972. On that date, while accomplishing a tactical emergency low level airdrop of critically needed ammunition to a besieged concentration of allied forces, Sergeant Shaub’s aircraft was severely damaged by hostile anti-aircraft fire. Realizing the immediate danger to the aircraft and crew, Sergeant Shaub risked his own life to jettison the burning cargo seconds before it exploded and to extinguish a raging fuselage fire, sustaining severe burns on his face, neck and hands in the process. By these Actions, Sergeant Shaub saved the lives of his fellow crew members and prevented the loss of his aircraft. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Staff Sergeant Shaub reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


Charles Shaub attained the rank of Technical Sergeant before leaving the Air Force. He passed away on March 24, 1997. William Caldwell retired from the Air Force as a Colonel on October 1, 1993. I believe him to still be living. The descendant of their Vietnam unit, the 776th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, was reactivated as a provisional unit for the Global War on Terrorism following the September 11th attacks.

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One thought on “TFH 4/15: 2 Air Force Crosses – Caldwell & Shaub”

  1. William retired from the Air Force on Oct 1, 1993. He passed away on Oct 1, 2014. I have been trying to locate him for over 40 years as he was the pilot of Spare 617 when my friend TSGT Jon H Sanders was killed. I guess I will never know the complete story on Jon’s death.

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