MONTVILLE, NJ – TAPinto Montville recently spoke with VFW Post 5481 Commander Charles Ferry about his service in the U.S. Air Force.
Commander Ferry was born in West Orange and attended Upsala College in East Orange where he was enrolled in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He graduated from pilot training in May of 1957. He was stationed on bases across the United States and earned the rank of Major. He was both an instructor and a command pilot, flying C130 cargo planes and CK-135 refueling tanker planes.
Major Ferry served in Taiwan and Vietnam in the 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron during the Vietnam War from 1972 to 1973 from the Ching Chuan Kang Air Base as chief pilot. He flew 132 missions into Vietnam, earning him the US Air Force Air Medal.
During Ferry’s time flying between Taiwan and Vietnam, he and his crew were selected to fly into northern Vietnam in order to clear the jungle area. In order to do this, Ferry’s mission was to drop 2,000-pound bombs, the heaviest bombs since World War II, three times. These bombs, when detonated, incinerated everything for 500 meters, and were extremely dangerous missions. Once the land was cleared, American helicopters had the space needed to make a safe landing.
When Ferry flew the CK-135s, it involved flying from the Guam Air Force base and refueling bombers – mid-air – that were on their way to and from Vietnam.
Ferry was tasked with flying into north Vietnam after the cease fire was declared in order to pick up the 15-member northern Vietnamese delegation in Hanalei and bring them to Saigon, in south Vietnam, to sign the peace treaty.
Ferry served in the Air Force for 20 years, retiring in 1976. He has lived in Montville for eight years.
TAPinto Montville has profiled several of Montville’s veterans: