Flying with the Spooks

Memoir of a Navy Linguist in the Vietnam War


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About the Book

As a linguist with the U.S. Navy Fleet Support Detachment in Da Nang, Herb Shippey was assigned to air reconnaissance during the Vietnam War. Flying with fellow “spooks” over the Gulf of Tonkin and Laos, his duty was to protect American aircraft and ships threatened by MiG 21 fighter jet activity. Shippey’s introspective memoir recounts dangerous missions aboard non-combat aircraft (EC-121 Warning Star, P-3 Orion, A-3 Sky Warrior), rocket attacks and typhoons, and the details of his service, some of them classified for forty years.

About the Author(s)

Herb Shippey is a retired college English instructor who still teaches part-time. He lives in Tifton, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

Herbert Shippey

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 242
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8672-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4547-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
Chapter 1. Entering the Navy and Recruit Training 7
Chapter 2. Washington, D.C., and New York 22
Chapter 3. Language Training 32
Chapter 4. Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas 39
Chapter 5. En Route to Vietnam 43
Chapter 6. San Miguel, Philippines 49
Chapter 7. Arrival in Da Nang 57
Chapter 8. Standing Night Watch 65
Chapter 9. Flight Duty 69
Chapter 10. Flying Dangerously 85
Chapter 11. Daily Life in Da Nang 91
Chapter 12. Vignettes 100
Chapter 13. Rocket Attacks 105
Chapter 14. Typhoons 111
Chapter 15. Stress 118
Chapter 16. Men of the Fleet Support Detachment 122
Chapter 17. Bennie Trips 133
Chapter 18. SERE School 145
Chapter 19. Return to the Philippines 157
Chapter 20. Da Nang Again 163
Chapter 21. Final Days in the Philippines 180
Chapter 22. Return to the World 184
Chapter 23. Fort Meade, Maryland 187
Chapter 24. Fort Meade Continued 201
Chapter 25. Home 217
Epilogue 221
Index 223