GRAFTON—On November 11, 2019 I finished my article for the Mountain Statesman’s Veterans Day Edition. Little did I know that this article would leave from here and travel to Ohio, New Mexico, Texas, Thailand and a few other places.
The phones rang the next few days as well. Skip was a popular man, a man’s best friend, honorable service man for this country, and a gentleman to say the least. I guess you could say Skip was a one-of-a-kind.
This man was the definition of humble and kind. This article was a pleasure to write, although I could have never submitted such, without USAF pilot Lonnie Nelson’s remembrance story of Paul F. “Skip” Klug.
The article grabbed a lot of attention and with doing so, I thought I would share one of Skip’s other friend’s memories of the soldier.
I received a phone call from Texas about a week ago and had a pleasure of speaking to another veteran; Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Lt. Colonel Dick Beverlin, CAP, a Texas Wing Advisor to Commanders. Beverlin talked to me in the office over the phone for about an hour, this man is incredible.
I hope to be able to share some of his own stories soon. He talked to me about the article I wrote and wanted to comment on the crash part of the article. Beverlin typed it up and sent it to my email.
“Skip Klug grew up with me in Grafton West Virginia. He and I attended St. Augustine H.S. in Grafton. We also attended West Virginia University together where we were roommates.
Skip was a person who dedicated himself to the task at hand in all that he did. Paul F. “Skip” Klug was a “Speedy FAC” Pilot assigned to the 20th TASS, 504th TASG. On 3/11/70 he was Pilot in Command on a mission out of DaNang to the DMZ area. Aboard was a non-aircrew observer, Major James W. Clement USAF who I understand was a liaison officer to the ARVN. Skip’s aircraft apparently took groundfire and the O-2 crashed on Monkey Mountain on return back to DaNang. The remains of the two souls on board were not recovered for several weeks. It has taken a long time to piece together more details about the mission Skip flew that day. I am grateful to the FACNET and FAC memorial members who helped fill in some of the details of this mission. May we never forget Paul F. “Skip” Klug, Major Clement and all who have given their lives for our country.”
Beverlin’s comment was another piece to Skip’s USAF pilot puzzle. I am grateful to have talked to Beverlin, and I can say through all of the adventures Beverlin has encountered, he still took his time and shared his knowledge and friendship with Skip all the way from Texas.
Beverlin has worked with NASA, stood next to presidents, member of Homeland Security, and still is as a retired status, and so much more. Beverlin and I could talk for days.
He said that the last time he talked to Skip was when he was leaving for the Vietnam mission. Beverlin to his friend to be careful, and Skip commented, “They will not take me alive, and I will see this through.”
Skip was a man who wanted to protect his country and took serious pride in that. Beverlin said that what gave him chills was that his son who is also in the military, told him something every similar before a deployment.
He said, “Son be careful,” and his son looked at him and said, “Dad they won’t take me alive. It won’t happen, they will have to kill me first.”
Upon hearing his son’s reply, Beverlin said that the first thing that popped into his mind was Skip. The honor and dignity they both had was remarkable, and it was hard for him to hear as a father, but he was also, so very proud.
It warms my heart to know the pride these men have took or currently have in serving for our county.
Another USAF pilot that phoned in on this article said, “Sometimes I thank myself at night for being so brave, but to know everyone else rests well at night and are safe due to the history I took part in, is simply the most peaceful thing for me!”
This is what it’s all about for these men. I could not be thankful enough for all of our Veteran’s and current serving Military men.