Warren veteran fixed planes in Vietnam | News, Sports, Jobs

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Staff Photo / Allie Vugrincic While serving in the Air Force, Stanley Gregory, 72, of Warren, repaired planes both in Vietnam and at bases in the United States.

WARREN – Stanley Gregory, 72, comes from a military family – his six brothers were all in service.

“My whole family… was in the military. Most of my uncles and cousins ​​- all were in the military ”, he said.

Gregory grew up in Greene. When he graduated from Maplewood High School in 1967, his older brother had already joined the Marines and his second older brother was in the Navy.

So when his younger brother graduated a year later and asked him to join the service, Gregory didn’t hesitate.

“He said to me, ‘If I go to the army, will you go to the air force?’ The stupid statement I made: “Of course, because they don’t have planes in Vietnam” said Gregory.

Gregory did his tech school in Texas, then his whole squad was “bordered red” in Vietnam, he said.

“I was there a year and two weeks and I was able to visit my brother who was in the army” said Gregory. He said that when his brother visited Bein Hoa Air Base, he was jealous of their ” dining room “ and all the great food they had there.

While traveling overseas and back, Gregory was not allowed to leave the tarmac at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. It was only later that Gregory found out that anti-war protests were taking place nearby.

In Vietnam, Gregory worked on the flight line directing landing planes and then worked on tire changes and towing.

Once, while Gregory was helping tow a broken down C-123, the base commander asked the men if they had any references for working with ammunition. They didn’t, Gregory said.

“We didn’t know he was loaded with ammunition”, Gregory said of the plane. “It didn’t explode on us, luckily.”

Gregory also worked on various planes, some of which had their tails lifted off.

He said he saw “Things I probably shouldn’t have seen” In Vietnam. He spoke of bodies in sacks awaiting transport.

“There were 14 South Koreans who were ready to go, to return to South Korea – they were there for five days,” said Gregory.

Gregory also saw things he didn’t expect – he once looked along the flight line to see a young man from Greene in the distance.

“It meant there were more people out there than me from my hometown”, said Gregory.

Vietnam was hot and it rained a lot during the monsoon, Gregory said. While there, around 21 rocket attacks were launched on the base, he said.

While in R&R, Gregory spent seven days in Australia, where he was able to tour the unfinished Sydney Opera House and visit the famous bar, Down Under.

Gregory said he lost around 20 pounds in Vietnam.

“My mother said, ‘You look like a refugee'” said Gregory.

After Vietnam, Gregory traveled to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, where he worked on F-100 and A-7D planes. There he meets his future wife, Barbara “Police officer,” at a dance – Bobby was a “Death of the air force” because his father was a master sergeant. They married in 1971 while Gregory was on vacation.

After about six months with Luke, Gregory transferred with the A-7Ds to Davis Monthan-Tucson Air Force Base in Arizona, where he completed his service in 1972.

Gregory took over the job he left with Johnson Rubber Co. in Middlefield, then worked at General Motors for four years until the company laid off 3,000 men for 18 months.

He started at Warren City Schools as a janitor and then a warden. He spent the last 10 years of his 42 year tenure as a service technician there.

Gregory is a life member of Warren Veterans of Foreign Wars 1090, a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, and a member of the American Legion for 17 years. He served as the County Council Commander of the American Legion in Trumbull for two years.

Gregory and another veteran started Socks for Vets, which collects socks for veterans in Trumbull County, Cleveland and Sandusky. In the first year, they collected 2,000 socks. The second, with the help of schools in the town of Warren, got more than 4,000, Gregory said.

Gregory said he is involved with so many veterans organizations to give back to the community and to the veterans.

Gregory regularly attends the Bein Hoa Air Base meeting, which now takes place every two years. He is always delighted to see a friend from Massachusetts, with whom he has remained close. He collects pins and memorabilia from meetings.

For the 50th anniversary of his service, Gregory received a letter from President Barack Obama and a Brigadier General pinned his birthday pin on him.

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