Major Edward Ernest McBride
KIA Laos; 27 November, 1968
Major Edward Ernest McBride a Mississippi country-boy, called "Hoss" since a youngster because of his huge , lumbering frame, whose name is on the largest USAF Air Training Command library at Keesler AFB, MS is remembered by his comrades as a great pilot and as wonderful human being who gave his life for his country. Hoss was always very popular because of his gentle personality and his ability to create beautiful music with his guitar. His trademarks were his guitar and his ever present cigar. This library is the only library in the USAF named after a person and an Air Commando and is the largest and most modern of all the Air Training libraries. Because of the nature of his mission on the day he died, what he was doing was never really published. That is exemplified in the dedication of the library which simply stated he was killed while performing FAC duty in hostile conflict with an armed enemy in Southeast Asia. Hoss was a member of the Air Commandos and a Raven Forward Air Controller(FAC). On the day he died he was flying an O-1 aircraft as a Raven FAC near Savannakhet, Laos-the secret war in South East Asia as the newspaper at the time used to call it. The book "The Ravens" by Christopher Robins give an account of the Ravens and how Major McBride "Raven 30" was killed in action on 27 Nov., 1968. Work is being done to turn this book into a movie.
Major McBride was born on 20 Dec., 1930 in Hattiesburg, Miss. He graduated from Demonstration High School on 27 May, 1949. He met his future wife Helen Giraldo, of Bogota, Colombia while she was a exchange student at Miss Southern College and he was a bus driver. It was love at first sight-she knew very little English and Hoss knew no Spanish. An interpreter was used until the language barrier was overcome. He married Giraldo on 13 Sept., 1953 in Hattiesburg, Miss. He enlisted in the USAF on 16 April, 1952 and later went through the Aviation Cadet program and graduated in Class 53G. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt and as a USAF pilot on 16 June, 1956 in Brian, Texas. He immediately started flying fighter aircraft. On 15 May, as a member of the 38 FIS, he was scrambled in his F-86 from Ituzuke AB, Japan to help locate and recover a lost aircraft in extremely hazardous weather. He located the aircraft and successfully help recover it. For this he was awarded a DFC. In 1963 he graduated from Southern Miss College, Hattiesburg, MS. He served in Panama with the 605 Air Commando Squadron and flew T-28 and U-10 aircraft. He served in several South American countries with Military Training Teams(MTT) teaching their Air Forces how to conduct special operations against insurgent forces. He went to the FAC school at Hurlburt Field and was assigned to SEA as a Raven FAC in 1968. The Raven FAC volunteers and were assigned to the "Secret War in Laos." Maj McBride was assigned to the Air Operations Center at Savannakhet, Laos, after an exciting tour at Long Chen Genral Vang Pao's Headquarters which the papers used to refer to as the CIA secret operating base. Savannakhet is located in Southwest Laos on the Mekong across from the Thailand border. Hoss was well like by everyone at this base and his guitar made him a particular favorite. According to the book "The Ravens" Hoss would make candy runs over the towns and friendly troops with his O-1. He would throw candy and gum out of the windows to the kids in the street or the friendly troops on the ground. On 27 Nov., 68 he observed a column of troops which he considered as friendly because they didn't scattered at the sound of his aircraft, and waved at him as he passed over. He returned to throw candy to them, and as he was doing this, the North Vietnamese troops who he took for friendlies opened fired and a single round of .30 caliber hit him in the armpit and traveled through to his chest. The O-1 crashed upside down in a nearby river where he died. He was buried in Hattiesburg, MS next to his father. He is survived by his widow Giraldo who lives in Bogota, Colombia, a daughter Becky McBride who lives in Canoga Park, CA, a son who is a curator of a museum in Cartagena, Colombia, and his mother, a sister and two brothers who all live in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The aircraft he flew include the F-86, T-28, O-1, and U-10. His decorations included the distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart. He was one of the most popular pilots in the Air Commando and will always be remembered by his comrades as a fine pilot and human being.
Gene, I am an ACA member (#2950) and an old Nha Trang U-10 driver
and I just read the article on an good friend of mine, Maj. Edwin
"Hoss" Mcbride. The article never mentioned that Hoss flew the
"Deuce" as well. I first met Hoss in 1959 at Naha AB Okinawa where
we were both in the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing. I was in the
25th FIS, flying F-86D's and Hoss was a Capt. in the 16th FIS, which
was the first in PACAF to receive F-102's. Hoss was a Mississippi
legend who carried a petrified possum tail as a swizzle stick, which
was quite an item of bar conversation. We never did know where he
got it, or if it was even real, but everyone who knew Hoss assumed
it really was.
The F-102 had a real Rube Goldberg braking system which in the final
analysis depended on pneumatics to stop the airplane. There was
nothing ever wrong with powered hydraulic brakes, but Convair hadn't
seen fit to design their beast that way. Well, one day I was
cockpit preflighting my '86 when Hoss calmly called in on final for
36 with an emergency. "Y'all better look out", he said, "'cause ah
don't know where this thing's gonna go'! Sure enough, the last of
his pneumatic pressure disappeared at touchdown. Hoss held the '102
straight as long as he had rudder authority, but as it slowed down
with no brakes or steering it departed the runway and headed for an
ammunition storage area that had freshly dug bunkers in front, with
Hoss along for the ride. Before it got there, the nose gear folded
as it crossed a ditch and the bird slid to a stop at the bunkers
with its pointed nose buried up to the windshield in the soft dirt.
Hoss had opened his canopy at the last minute and the final stop
threw dirt all over him, adding ignominy to the whole affair.
Hoss jumped out of the cockpit, shaking off clumps of dirt and took
off at a run. But after a several steps, he stopped, turned and
walked back, muttering to himself, and then administered a few
well-deserved hard kicks with his huge brogans to the side of the
fuselage below the cockpit, further rippling the skin. Then he
left. "'Ol Hoss gets even!" was the talk of the bar that night!
Hoss was a legend, comparable in many ways to the legendary Air
America (CAT) and ex-Flying Tiger pilot Jim Mc Govern ("Earthquake
McGoon") who was shot down in a C-119 airdropping supplies at the
fall of Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
Art Benjamin, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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