These are some of the men that were members of the 34th TFS during the Thud era. Click on a name to see a picture from that era and a current address if we have it. Howard Plunkett has compiled F-105 histories on most of the people and these can be accessed via a link under the name.
(Click most pictures for larger images.)
We don't have a vintage picture of Nevin.
He completed 100 missions in June 1968.
As many of you know, I lost my Father shortly after he returned from Korat in 1968. He was reassigned to the 318th out of McChord AFB and about 9 months later he went down in his F-106 on April 22, 1969 in a mountainous area south of the base.
Since I was only 3 years old at the time of his death, I don’t remember anything about Dad. My older brothers would tell me stories about some of the things they would do with Dad and it would always make me a bit jealous, but I always imagined me being there too.
It all began in 1997 (22 years ago), I set out to really find out who my Father was, both personally and professionally. Boy, what an amazing journey it has been. I can’t tell you how many people I talked to and all the miracles I have experienced along the way. One thing I told myself when I first started was, “If you really want to know the truth, you better be ready to hear the truth.”
I contacted the USAF Personnel Dept. and requested his records. They sent me everything that was available, including his accident investigation report, which was heavily redacted. It was incredible seeing copies of his handwriting for the first time and learning so much about the history of his career with the Air Force.
I don’t have many items from Dad, but what I do have, I cherish them. I also made a military display case for him and have it in our office with some of his pictures.
In 2009, I was put into contact with the 34th TFS, and within 2 weeks I found myself on an airplane destined for Dallas, Texas going to my first, of what would be several reunions. Up until that moment, I had never experienced the love, affection and kindness from a group of total strangers in my life. Since then, you have welcomed my wife and I into your lives, your homes, held us close like Family and told us anything we wanted to know, and then some!
In 2014, I reached out to Weyerhaeuser trying to get access to the general area where Dad’s plane went down. It was a long, slow process but over time I gained the trust of the Land Management Office and it looked like they were willing to help. Unfortunately, when I reconnected a few months later, my contact had retired, and all correspondences were gone, and the trail went cold.
In 2018 I decided to re-contact Weyerhaeuser again and start fresh. After I explained everything to the new employee, she searched their records and actually found a file that had been created in 2014 that contained all the notes and newspaper articles I had shared with them earlier.
In August 2019, they granted me a special access permit to the land and set me up with a part time security officer (Bob) they just hired. I met Bob for the first time on a cool and foggy morning. The purpose of the meeting was for me to ride along side in his truck, and we were going to try and find the crash site together. What happened next was nothing short of Divine Grace.
As we headed into the foothills up a gravel road, Bob started to share things about himself. He was 70 years old and born and raised in the area and retired from Weyerhaeuser after 30 years. I asked him if he remembered the accident. He said, “I do, as if it were yesterday. Something I will never forget.” The accident was on the news and being 22 years old at the time, he was not going to miss the opportunity of seeing a real airplane accident! So, he and a couple of friends snuck into the site and he distinctly remembered seeing orange flags all over the ground, and the treetops all busted up like a lawnmower had just come through and leveled them. I asked if he thought he could find the site again. He said, “I will put you right on it Steve!” I had goosebumps, cold sweats and tears started to fill the bottom of each eye. We drove for nearly an hour, seemed like every turn had a story from Bob’s past. Not only had I been placed in capable hands...but with an actual eyewitness too!
We reached the area and Bob slowed as he looked down the hill side into a draw to our left. He sped up a little as he looked, then slowed to a stop when we reached another draw, down below us. With his fingers over his lips, he turned to me, pointed and said, “It was right there Steve...that’s the spot.”
On September 7th, 2019 I returned to the site with my 2 older brothers Brian and Dave. I think we experienced about every emotion one could feel that day. We commemorated the 50th anniversary as we honored a war hero, and our Father. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was able to lay my Father to rest, something that a 3-year-old simply didn’t have the capacity to do so in 1969. This journey has brought (3) distant Brothers closer together and has cemented another chapter in our lives. And my journey.
On September 14th, my wife and I returned, and we were able to share a final quiet moment together at Dad’s site. It was a beautiful afternoon; you could see for miles on top of that mountain. Flowers were laid and a final prayer was shared between us, before leaving. We were in awe at the sheer beauty and quietness of the site. What a beautiful view…and a beautiful end of a journey.
God Bless the 34th!
Colonel Flynn briefing Major "Buddy" Barner.
Colonel Flynn was awarded the Air Force Cross for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from 27 October 1967 to 10 November 1967.
Read the citation on the History Page.