Jan 28, 2023 | 0 comments

David Eberhardt was honored Friday, January 27, during the monthly Humboldt Heroes celebration. The ceremony was held at Scott Hammond’s State Farm office on the corner of 7th and G Streets in downtown Eureka. Members of the public gathered at the office to honor this great local hero!

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Scott Hammond, State Farm – January 27, 2023 – Honoring our Humboldt Hero


David graduated from Eureka High School in June of 1968, as the Vietnam War and the draft were front page news. Four of his close high school friends talked about joining the military and planned to follow their family members’ legacy of serving in the Marine Corps and the Army. David’s uncle Al had always been his hero, having served as a bomber pilot in WWII flying a total of 65 missions.

David had always been fascinated with planes and had known since he was young that he would one day like to join the United States Air Force. David enlisted into the US Air Force on February 5, 1969 and completed Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He then studied jet mechanics at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois.

David’s next assignment was to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, as a flight line mechanic. He removed and installed jet engines in fighters like F-100 Super Sabers, F4 Phantoms, A-7D Corsair, and the T-38 Talon. At only 20 years old, he had the exciting privilege of getting to sit in the cockpits of fighter aircraft and test run up the engines. He also certified for a riders permit, which allowed him to hitch a ride in these jet aircrafts on weekends with reserve pilots. What a thrill for a kid from Eureka who loved airplanes!

David’s squadron was then ordered to go to Phan Rang Airbase in the Republic of Vietnam. When the Army C-123 plane touched down there, David and his gear were pushed out of the side door of the plane without it stopping, and he watched it take off. Through the sound of explosions and machine gun fire, someone yelled at David to get in a bunker because the base was currently under attack. Such was his welcome to Vietnam!

David was assigned to the 35th Combat Support Squadron and then to the Technical Training Center at Clark Air Force Base, Republic of the Philippines. There he learned to work on five different jet engines, training to work 12 hours a day for 6 days a week. That was good, because once he returned to Phan Rang and was promoted to Sergeant, he worked with his crew members removing and installing jet engines in planes and helicopters 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, with Sundays off. Vietnam became a blur but there were also stark images that David saw working with Rescue that he can never forget.

David was ordered from Vietnam back to the 6515 Field Maintenance Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in California, which was the Air Force flight test center. All the newest aircraft were there. David was assigned to the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, the largest aircraft in the world, and he loved working on the new experimental aircraft. He also appreciated being out of Vietnam and
not having to witness what was going on in this country about the war.

Upon completion of his regular Air Force tour of duty, David joined the active Air Force Reserves for a two-year tour of duty. As a Staff Sergeant working on KC-135 Transport aircraft, he drove one weekend every month to Travis Air Force Base until he was honorably discharged in February 1975.

As for David’s four High School friends, they weren’t so lucky. They are interred at our two local cemeteries on Broadway in Eureka. He thinks of them every day and asks himself: “Why?” What a shame so many had to die for nothing. Nobody wins a war. But as the saying goes, “All gave some, Some gave all.”

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David receives his plaque as the January 2023 Humboldt Hero


You’re invited each month on the last Friday of the month at noon! Come down to Scott Hammond’s State Farm office located at 537 7th Street in Eureka. If you have a Humboldt Hero you’d like to see honored, please contact Scott Hammond at 1-707-444-2504.

Lost Coast Populist is a Patriot owned News Publication. We truly appreciate what Scott Hammond and other great local business owners are doing to honor veterans in our community.


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