Saving US Soldiers in Vietnam

David Norton, BSAE 1964, Retired Forensic Engineer

As an AFROTC student I was assigned to the Conventional Munitions division of the USAF at Eglin AFB, Fort Walton Beach, Fla. upon graduation to fulfill my active duty requirement.
This when the US was in the early years of the Vietnam War, a war that we were not prepared for. Thus, we were using weapons from the Korean War, which were not compatible with the high speed F-100, F-105 & F4C jets of this new war.
Consequently, many of the weapons were ‘duds’ which were recovered by the enemy. They removed the explosive material and put it in weapons for their own use against our ground troops.
My assignment was to upgrade the weapon’s arming system to withstand the tremendous kinetic energy to which they were exposed to during high-speed dive-bombing runs.
I visited the wind tunnels at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee. There I was able to determine the changes needed to meet the new requirement. Hopefully my effort saved many US troops!

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