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.

This is an e-mail received from a good friend of Hoss which I believe should be added to his story.

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, or

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