Veteran Spotlight: Norman Nelson

Veteran Spotlight: Norman Nelson

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Today’s spotlight is Air Force veteran Norman Nelson.

Norman enlisted in the Air Force in 1956 and served 22 years before retiring in 1978.

While in the Air Force, Norm worked as an ammo troop and served in a variety of locations, with many interesting experiences.

Early in his career, while stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Norm participated in testing, research and development with munitions systems, during the early 1960s. He took part in the acceptance test on the AIR-2A “GENIE” munitions system, designed for nuclear war heads, during its initial use by the Air Force.

Norman served four tours of duty in the Vietnam War, from 1967 to 1970.

During the war, Norman’s first tour was working with B-52s in Sattahip, Thailand. His second tour was working with prop aircraft, at Nakhon Phanom Air Base. These A-1Es had the mission of bombing the Ho Chi Minh trail. During this second tour, Norm also worked as support for helicopter rescue of downed pilots.

His third and fourth tour took him to Phan Rang Air Base, working with the F-100s and B-57s. He then spent six months teaching English, with the English Language Institute in Saigon.

One memorable experience Norm recalls took place at Phan Rang Air Base loading ammo during a “hot” mission.

“During one particular intense battle occurring 30 miles away, we were loading multiple aircraft with ammo as soon as they would land, with engines running, to immediately send them back out,” he said.

“This went on continuously for hours, and I could see aircraft flying 100 feet apart, inbound and outbound, lined up as far as the eye could see. I have never seen so many gunships in all my life.”

Norman now resides in Perry, Utah, and enjoys volunteering at the Hill Aerospace Museum.

Thank you for your service, Norman.

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