Since I worked on the C-123s at Phan Rang, I knew most of the flight crews. I put me and a buddy on the crew manifest for a flight to Cam Rahn Bay. While in the chow hall, I decided to have more pancakes. My buddy was nervous and telling me, "let's go." I told him I knew the system. When finished, we walked out to the flight line, and our plane was starting to taxi out. I jumped in front, indicating I was supposed to be on that flight. I didn't recognize the pilot. After three times, I moved and found another flight to CRB. When we flew back that night, all the lights were on in the flight line (very unusual) and when we got off the plane, the ramp was crowded with people. They all rushed up to me and my buddy and were hugging us. "We thought you were dead - the plane you were on got shot down losing all the air crew and passengers."
So I'm here for a reason, to share this story. I since put in over 20 years with the U.S. Air Force and also 20 years' civil service. BTW, enlisted retirement pay beats civil service retirement pay.