DOLPHINS & SHARKS
Loading Rockets into "Patches"
This is Shark 165 (66-15165) being reloaded at the re-arm point at Duc Pho. Shark 165 was nicknamed "Patches" by SP4 Ron Conners, her crew chief, for all the sheetmetal patches covering the many bullet holes in the fuselage and tail boom. Although unreadable here, the name "Patches" is written at the top of the sliding door above the guns. Here WO1 Jim McDaniel is loading a 2.75-inch folding fin aerial rocket (FFAR) into the rear of a 7-shot rocket pod. The Sharks were normally re-armed "hot," meaning the aircraft were not shut down while being re-armed, then they would be refueled hot and returned to Shark Park and shut down in a revetment if they weren't going right back out on another sortie. Note Jim is wearing the 174th AHC Company patch and is flying in regular (non-nomex) jungle fatigues. This dates this picture probably in late 1967. The Shark pilots began flying with the two-piece NOMEX (fire retardant) flight suits in the Winter of 1968 and the Shark patch was designed within the company and was produced by Korean or Vietnamese tailors in the Spring of 1968. Photo property of Jim McDaniel.