“I Live On Chaos”: An Air Traffic Controller And Pathfinder In Vietnam

Joseph Bellino


The son and grandson of U.S. Army veterans, Joseph Bellino was a high school wrestler from McHenry, Illinois, who joined the U.S. Army at the beginning of the Vietnam War. He was trained as a combat air traffic controller in Mississippi, and he served in South Vietnam as an elite Pathfinder. In this interview, he describes his training (often on-the-job) and his experiences leading a team establishing landing zones for air assault operations. Following his service in Vietnam, he became an air traffic controller at Chicago O’Hare Airport from 1969 until April Fool’s Day, 2008.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Pathfinder Camaraderie Military Techniques
interviewer Rick Lovering
date 21 July 2019


name Joseph Bellino
service Air Traffic Controller
unit 125th Air Traffic Control Company, 1st Aviation Brigade; MACV; 101st Airborne Division
specialty Pathfinder, Air Traffic Controller
service dates 1965 1968