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Enlisted crew members of “Supersonic Sam’s Unscheduled Airline” pitch in to change a propeller on their single R5D transport plane. The U.S. Marine crewmen are in the unit headed by Master Sgt. Sammy Dobbins, the only U.S. enlisted pilot in Vietnam at the time. They are (from top) Sgt. Leon Gibbs, mechanic; Sgt. Richard D. Wyman, crew chief; Lance Cpl. Guy W. Ealey, navigator; and Lance Cpl. Leonard U. Tippens, mechanic.
Enlisted crew members of “Supersonic Sam’s Unscheduled Airline” pitch in to change a propeller on their single R5D transport plane. The U.S. Marine crewmen are in the unit headed by Master Sgt. Sammy Dobbins, the only U.S. enlisted pilot in Vietnam at the time. They are (from top) Sgt. Leon Gibbs, mechanic; Sgt. Richard D. Wyman, crew chief; Lance Cpl. Guy W. Ealey, navigator; and Lance Cpl. Leonard U. Tippens, mechanic. (Al Chang/Stars and Stripes)

SOC TRANG, South Vietnam — “Supersonic Sam’s Unscheduled Airline,” operating from a small jungle airstrip here, is headed by a U.S. Marine sergeant who acts as president, general manager and its senior (and only) pilot.

Boss of the "airline" is Master Sgt. Sammy Dobbins, 39, a chunky, good-natured enlisted pilot from Santa Ana, Calif.

Sammy’s enterprising airline consists of one battered and overworked, but smooth-flying Marine R5D transport plane and his four enlisted crewmembers.

The "supersonic" tag stems from the constant harassment slower-flying cargo pilots get from their jet pilot friends.

Dobbins and his crew are attached to Marine Medium Helicopter Sq. 362 here.

Dobbins, a veteran of more than 19 years’ service, is the only enlisted U.S. pilot in the Republic of Vietnam and one of the last of a fast-fading breed in the Marine Corps.

Besides flying transport planes, Dobbins is also qualified in jet fighters — although he seldom gets the chance to fly any.

Supersonic Sam’s enlisted crew consists of S/Sgt. Richard D. Wyman of Detroit, crew chief; Sgt. Leon Gibbs, Ardmore, Pa., first mechanic; Lance Cpl. Guy W. Ealey, Santa Ana, navigator-radioman; and Lance Cpl. Leonard G. Tippens, Fort Worth, Tex., second mechanic.

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