This summer, fifty-one years after he served as an A-1H pilot in Vietnam, former US Air Force Lt. Hampton Tillery visited the Tennessee Aviation Museum in Sevierville, Tennessee. He came to see the fully restored aircraft that he flew during the war. Not just nay A-1H Skyraider, but the exact aircraft that he flew during 177 missions in 1970s.
When Hampton, a longtime friend, told the story of his reunion and the long journey that “Pumpkin Pie,” as he had named his plane, made to go from Thailand to Los Angeles and then to Tennessee, I convinced him to sit for an interview so that we could share the story. It is one you won’t soon forget with all the elements of a thriller, incredible odds, bravery, and patriotism. Wrightsville Beach Magazine — a publication in coastal North Carolina where Hampton lives today — published the story this week. You can find a copy across the town if you Iive in the vicinity or read it online here.