In this episode of The Hangardeck Podcast, “Pitchlock” Pete, Fast Eddie and Raging Rick talk with Vietnam veteran Buzz Lockwood. Lockwood is a decorated helicopter pilot. During his 2 ½ tours in Vietnam Lockwood received 3 purple hearts among other medals honoring his bravery during service.
Lockwood faced many hardships during his service, including being shot down a total of 13 times. Regarding his medals Lockwood was extremely humble stating, “There were tens of thousands of acts of valor, bravery, and courage done by Americans every day during the war – only a few people got recognized, most acts went unrewarded.”
He added that he would gladly return all three of his purple hearts, in turn for not having to endure what he did to get them, stating the hearts were basically rewarding any near death experience. Lockwood graduated from Fort Rutgers Alabama flight school, and three months later he was in Vietnam. He flew a light observation helicopter, nicknamed a Loach by the military men.
The loach helicopters took part in “Hunt and Kill” team, described less harshly by media as “Pink Teams” for the red and white pendants the aircrafts had. The Pink Teams were made up of three aircrafts – two gunships, and one scout. Lockwood flew scout, his job was to fly extremely low to the ground and locate the enemy for the gunships in his team.
Lockwood was one of the brave men who volunteered to be in the war, he was not drafted. Also he volunteered to fly scout, which was a very dangerous job. Regardless of his voluntary service Lockwood expressed, “Not wanted to fight in a war, not wanting to be in a shooting match, or to kill someone – There isn’t anything unpatriotic about that.’
Lockwood shared much of his Vietnam experience with The Hangardeck Podcast, stating that he feels dealing with such an experience is much easier if he can talk about it.