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Shark 138 departs Shark Park

This is Shark 138 on takeoff to the east from Shark Park. The Sharks had two 40mm grenade ships in 1968, and they were Sharks 137 and 138. The revetments in the background are labeled with their tail numbers. Both Sharks had the 7-shot rocket pods shown in this photo and retained them until at least mid-68. Later, in a 1969 photo by J.C. Pennington, Shark 137's was replaced with two 19-shot pods. This was taken in March 1968, which was the monsoon season in Quang Ngai Province. Although difficult to tell in this photo, because of the resolution of the scan, the skies are quite dark and formidable looking with low-hanging clouds. Missions were often flown in very poor weather conditions. (Photo property of Don Richardson).

Webmaster note: I found the above photo somewhere on the Internet in the mid-1990s and posted it on this web page. Recently Don Richardson, crew chief on Shark 138 in 1968, informed me I'd mis-identified this photo as Shark 137. As proof, Don sent me a copy of the original photo. In his note to me he said, "Hi Jim, My daughter got a scanner for her computer so I am finally able to send you a copy of my picture of the Shark taking off. The picture is a little battered and beaten, almost all of my pictures of Vietnam were lost when my basement flooded years ago. It is also quite faded so I took it to Wal-Mart and tried to enhance the color on one of their machines. The original is an 8 X 8 taken with an Instamatic, but when this one came out of the machine it was an 8 X 10. On the back I wrote, '138 taking off, March, 68, Duc Pho. Me, Gordy, and I think Moon and Baker. Note patched bullet hole in pilots door, broke window but didn't go all the way through. Lettering on cargo door says buddha.' We lost the aircraft shortly after this picture, and sure enough, after the aircraft was gone the replacement window came in. I kept it at the end of my bunk against the wall until the mortar attack that killed Carl McCoy, when a piece of shrapnel from the round that killed him came between the barrels and broke the window. ~Don Richardson"

Below is a the scan that Don recently sent me: