News | Nov. 10, 2015

Former Air Force supply liaison reflects on life during the Vietnam War

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Jack Sandmeier, who is currently a supply technician at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Oklahoma City, Okla., spent 24 years in the United States Air Force, several of which were during the Vietnam War.  This week, DLA Distribution is saluting veteran employees, and this is what Sandmeier had to say about his time in the Air Force.

“To me, serving during Vietnam meant pride and tradition.  My father, Air Force Lt. Col. Warren Sandmeier, also served during that time.  I was a supply liaison for the communication squadron; ensuring parts were available at all the bases in Thailand and Vietnam.  Since I was born in the Air Force and lived it all my life, not much changed for me.

I wasn’t in Vietnam, but I was at one of the two Air Force Bases that the B-52’s flew out of.  I was there for Linebacker II, where every five minutes, a B-52 or KC-135 refueler was taking off and/or landing from a mission over Vietnam.  Two of our B-52s were the only B-52s credited with shooting down a MiG-21 .

From my military service, I learned the hard work and mission support I try to bring to my job today.  After I retired, I really missed being on the base and helping the warfighter, so I came back.”

Editor’s note:  Operation Linebacker II was a U.S. Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 88 aerial bombing campaign, conducted against targets in North Vietnam during the final period of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.  Operation Linebacker II is also known as “The December Raids” and “The Christmas Bombings.”  It was a “maximum effort” bombing campaign to “destroy major target complexes in Hanoi and Haiphong areas, which could only be accomplished by B-52s.