Friday, May 28, 2010

Thank You All American Veterans and their Families!

Click on (& turn up sound):

Click on: Target Field Home Opener Fly Over

Thanks to Bob Jenkins for the photo and graphics!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

World's Newest Fighter Aircraft

We'll get back to more Reunion photos shortly, but with Memorial Day weekend coming up, I just had to post these photos of F-35, AF01 & AF02, on their way to Edwards AFB for flight testing....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Reunion Photos

Here are 20 more photos; 10 from the Friday Hangar Social, and 10 from the Saturday Banquet.

I've received a couple questions about naming the people in the photos. Of course I know a lot of the names, and can read some name tags in the pictures, but many I can't identify. And, some people may prefer to not be identified on a blog accessible to the public. So if you have any ideas, let me know. Otherwise, I can try to answer specific questions.

Also, a few of you have signed onto the blog as Followers (see green column to the right). I'd suggest you click on the "Follow" bar, so you too can be alerted when we add a new post.

If you missed Reunion photos previously posted, you can catch up by clicking on the following two posts:

Friday sample: So It Has Begun!!

Saturday sample: Happy People!!

Reunion Photo File #3:

? (left), Sandy Sandstrom, Rick Spencer, Jimmy Donlan & Terry Wall

Charlie Feathers & Ralph Neumeister

Bonnie & Claire Gilstad & ?

Harlan Highsmith & John Parish

Erich Hausner, David Abrams & Harry Van Den Heuvel

Jim Dugar, Bob Becht, Chet & Cheryl Baffa & Dick Hanson

The Group Photographer

Bill & Tina Huff and Eileen & Tom Masino

David & Betty Abrams

? & Jo Donahoe

Kathy Huff & Jimmy Ratcliff

Carl Johnson & Bill Thornton

Tom & ? Honeywill

Paul & Helena Rousseau

Kathy Takaes & Ralph Neumeister

George McDuffy & the "mystery winner" in white! (help?)
?? (Help! I know him! What's that on his head?) & Stu Yeomans

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine C-133 article

I had a good conversation today, with Linda Shine, the editor working the C-133 article. I was able to expand a bit on why the airplane is so important to its veterans and other areas of interest. The magazine will hit the news stands at the end of August, so look for it. Thanks to Terry Wall, Don Garcia and several others, we answered the question about loadng ICBMs on both A- and B-models.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Travis Reunion

The event was a great success. The banquet had about 140 attendees. Sid Anderson, the last 84th MAS commander, was the MC. Col Milton Meiklejohn was the oldest attendee, at age 94. CMSgt Bill Oakes, the engineer for the ages, is a bit younger. On Saturday, there was a buffet at the Travis Air Museum, with about 170 people. Everyone was able to climb into 61999 and see her redone in USAF markings.

Sometime this year (per the vice-wing commander), the airplane will be moved out past the main gate, but still on the base. It will be the "gate guard." To do the move, the wings and vertical tail must be removed and then reinstalled. The other museum airplanes will follow later.

Cal Taylor

Loading ICBMs

I talked to those who know about loading ICBMs, including master loadmaster Don Garcia. He says it can be done and was done. A-models could and did load Titan and Atlas.

Cal Taylor

Happy People!!

I've finished editing my Reunion photos, and wound up with about 150 "decent-to-excellent" quality pictures (about 60 from the Friday Hangar Social, and 90 from the Saturday Banquet). I posted a sample of 10 from Friday earlier (go here and scroll down: So It Has Begun!!!! ). So now I'm going to select another sample of 14 from Saturday. Eventually, I'll figure out how to share them all with all of you. Stay tuned, and enjoy!

Master of Ceremonies, Rick Spencer

Sandy Sandstrom & Judy Aylward

John Herren

Vance & Helen Woodward

Becky & Allen Jensen

Guest Speaker, Chaplain Lt. Col. John Groth

John Parish

George McDuffy

George McDuffy & Jack Shield

Col. Gerald Edwards

Sandy Sandstrom

Stan Bryk

Thursday, May 13, 2010

ICBM Airlift

In preparing to answer questions from Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine, I find that I may have made a huge misstatement about ICBM airlift. I was under the strong impression that the ICBM moves were all done in the B-model. Terry Wall says he definitely moved Atlas and his shot in the book shows a Titan loading into an A-model at Ellsworth. All you LMs out there, please straighten me out. This is for an article by John Sotham about the C-133 to appear in SASM in September.

Cal Taylor

And Terry Wall just added the following comment and photo:

I have been under the impression for all these years that we carried Titans in the A models. It may not have been easy fitting them through the door, but it was done, I think. I took a picture in 1962 that I think is a Titan offloading at Ellsworth:

Can anyone identify the missile type for sure?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It Was a Grand Gathering!!!!!!

Thank you all......those who made it, and those who wanted to, but couldn't.....for your incredible response to this "Call to Reunite" in Dover! It was VERY gratifying to witness, and participate in the joy and camaraderie!!

Many have already expressed their gratitude for the work of the Planning Committee, and offered some worthy suggestions. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be publishing many photos of all the action, both on this blog, and to our e-mail list. Meanwhile, check out a few of the photos from the Friday Hangar Social in the last post below.

Also, within a month or so, we will provide an Evaluation Survey to assess your reactions and opinions for future reference.

So, stay tuned!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

So It Has Begun!!!!!!

R-Day + 1

The Hospitality Suite @ the Dover Downs Hotel

Room 725

This is Hank Baker's Great Gathering Place this afternoon before the Banquet Plan begins with a Cash Bar @ 1730, with background music by Hank's All Volunteer, 16 Piece Band!

See you there anytime after 1400 TODAY,
Saturday, 8 May 2010............. :)

War Stories will abound! And look for some Show 'n' Tell DVDs in a corner of the Banquet Ballroom, courtesy of Jimmy Ratcliff and Dick Hanson


Connie & Dick Strouse

?? & Frank Coyle

Dick Quimby, Bob Maguire & ??

Memorabilia Display

Bob Maguire, S/N 0536 & Sandy Sandstrom

Roberta & Charlie Feathers

Friday, May 7, 2010

Let the Reunion Begin!!!

It's R-Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See you in the Hangar!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dateline Dover Post - 04 May 2010

Rick Spencer, our "PR Department," connected with Jeff Brown, News Editor of the Dover Post, which resulted in the following article about our Reunion:

Unique group of flyers to tell the story of a unique type of airplane
Public invited to hobnob with the men who flew the C-133 Cargomaster during the Cold War

Click on the following link for the full article, and a photo of Sandy Sandstrom with ol' 90536: Unique Group of Flyers

Monday, May 3, 2010

On the Way to Dover.....

Welcome Back to Dover!!!!

Rick Spencer, Navigator, 39th ATS, '62-'65
Reunion Program Master of Ceremonies

It's been three years in the planning since the last one, and now it's finally here! And the response from all of you Crew Colleagues has been tremendous. 140 of you (with 100 guests!) are now converging on our old stomping grounds for a Grand Reunion! Here's a Pre-Welcome letter from Rick Spencer! Let's begin the Celebration!!!

Ladies, gentlemen, guests, and all others, we welcome one another back to DAFB and the C-133’s sixth reunion as we head into our Emerald anniversary year.

We also pay homage to those members not with us because of illness, the natural passages of life, or the fatal accidents that we endured.

I am honored, humbled, and somewhat nervous to appear before you, peers all as MC and part of this reunion. It has been some 55 years since the Douglas C-133A Cargomaster was rolled out for its debut in CA and we can all say that we have been with it in spirit, if not body, from its beginning to its end.

Given the size of the USAF and the years gone by, we were a very small group of people maintaining and flying a very large airplane around the world. It was an ‘eye popper’ for all those seeing it. We were involved in important and memorable missions with the best air and ground crews ever assembled. Should I use the word ‘elite’ to describe us? I think so! When one surveys today’s aero technology, we were iron men in wooden ships.

There were a mere fifty C-133’s built, based at two locations, and their lifespan and “heyday’, the 1960’s, were compressed into a very short period compared to nearly all other AF aircraft. The final landing of a C-133A, 61999, some 35 years after its official retirement and subsequent private ownership, was at the Travis Air Show in 2008 prior to it becoming a part of their AMC Museum display. Now, sadly, there are no more.

In one of the quirks of our history, the C-133A now at Travis AFB was originally a DAFB bird, and the display here was originally a Travis bird. That incongruity between what one would expect to happen and what actually happened has created a closer relationship between the two Museums and among all the veterans associated with this historic transport. We are now family; and, we now have an obligation, one to the other, to maintain these special aircraft that were an unusually important phase in the life of military cargo flight.

As an example of the unique capabilities of both the crews and the Cargomaster, our C-133A set a number of unofficial records, including records for military transport aircraft on trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes. Among the longest were non-stop flights from Tachikawa AB, Japan to Travis AFB, CA (17:20 hours on 22 May 1959, and Hickam AFB, HI to Dover AFB, DE in about 16 hours. The only FAI officially sanctioned record was in December 1958, when C-133A 62008 lifted a payload of 117,900 lb to an altitude of 10,000 ft at Dover AFB, DE. I would surmise that some convening here had a direct hand in these and other records.

Our reunions, including this 6th, have always celebrated a grand and glorious interval of our life- that of our service in the USAF and our personal relationship with the C-133A and Dover AFB. We were young then, very young, and it was a time like no other in our lives.

A continuous ongoing and out pouring of interest in one another for over 50 years poses an interesting but central question, “Why?” Our mere attendance would seem to suggest a simple answer-enduring friendship engendered by our small size with a big mission.

But, it is more complex than that and we have to look into antiquity to understand it. So, here is the complex answer and after hearing it one may want to revert to the simpler. It is equally as true. The reasons, in my opinion, for our reunion and hundreds of others involving military veterans revolves about two concepts: one important to the nation and the other important to those who served the nation in uniform.

The former, importance to the nation, is the common sense observation that escapes many of our citizens and the political bodies of the country: that military organizations exist to win wars. Winning the nation’s wars is the military’s functional imperative. In fact, it is the only reason for a liberal society to maintain standing armies. We were personally a part of that important national organization dedicated to preserving freedom and protecting our citizens. We were proud to be so and to do so. And, we remain so.

The latter, importance to the veterans, is traced to antiquity. Aristotle conceived it and the Greeks called it ”phillia”. It is broadly defined as ‘brotherly love’ and it is the glue of the military ethos, then and now. It is that bond formed among disparate individuals who may have nothing in common but facing the dangerous unknowns of military duty. We performed personal acts to help one another that were inherently good. That was the major critical factor for our success during some of the trying times we faced with the C-133.

“Phillia” exists to this day as the foundation for all military organizations throughout the world. The many reunions of veterans that we see taking place every year, including ours, results from an ethos first noted by the ancient Greeks. It exists in the USAF from the ground crews to the flight crews; and, tonight we have participants from all levels of our C-133 organization. Phillia never leaves the individual and the individual never leaves the military. That ethos, ‘brotherly love’, remains to our last.

During these reunion days we will enjoy the fruits of our ‘enduring friendships’ that were fostered and began some 50 years ago here at DAFB. They were the offspring of our relationship with the world’s flagship military air transport, the C-133A Cargomaster. It was the unselfish nature of service for the nation in the uniform of the USAF that brings us together, once again, maybe for the last time, for celebration and to embrace America’s Exceptionalism.

I am not certain there is another AF retiree group that shares such mutual feelings of trust and affection as we. We were one then; we are one now; and, we will be one for all time!

Again, welcome! Enjoy your old friends, enjoy your stories, and enjoy the time together that is always so fleeting.

Sincerely and upon behalf of the reunion committee,

Richard L. Spencer, Ph.D.

Lt Col, USAF Ret.

39th ATS, MATS

DAFB, DE 1962-1965

Another Crew Tale

Countdown to R-Day: 4 Days to GO!!!!

Another Crew Tale......THANK YOU LOU MARTIN!

Unfortunately, due to personal problems, (its hell to be 82, but it is better than the alternative), I will not be able to make the C-133 reunion this year. As you may know, I have 4,700 hours in the “Douglas Vibrator” and was a member of the 39 MAS from July 1964 to June 1970. And was the Standardization Officer from 1966 to 1970. I have many good and bad memories of flying the “Winnie Wagon” and during the Tet Offensive; I flew it for 203 hours in a little more than 30 days. I joined the 39th after leaving my position as a Maintenance Officer for an F-100D unit in Misawa AB, Japan. When reporting in at Dover, I was pleased to see my old C-119 friend from Germany, Gordon Pink, (a flight examiner) and a member of the squadron. Gordy administered my initial line check to the Pacific in May 1965, which took 30 days to complete because at that time the paper pushing generals in MATS headquarters thought that we could stage the C-133 as we did the more reliable aircraft. Because of this policy, we spent many idle days at each stop waiting for an in commission aircraft to fly.

I devote a lengthy chapter in my book “Close Encounters with the Pilot’s Grim Reaper” on the C-133 and write about many interesting events when flying it. I would like to briefly tell you about just two of them which I think you may find interesting.

In May 1965, my crew and I were returning from a mission to Saigon and were enjoying a 24-hour crew rest in Kadina Air Base Okinawa. However, it was difficult to sleep as the wind was howling and a torrential rain was beating on the metal roof of our barracks. Sometime in the early morning an orderly woke me up and instructed me to call the operations officer in ACP. When I made contact, he told me that Kadina was under a typhoon evacuation order and I and my crew were to report to operations ASAP. After waiting in line at the ACP desk, I learned that our evacuation destination was to be Tachikawa Air Base, Japan and we were told to get airborne ASAP.

After the flight engineers pre flighted the aircraft in heavy rain, we started the engines and followed a long line of aircraft to the active runway. As we taxied, we were buffeted by strong winds and heavy rain. When it was our turn for takeoff, we lined up on the runway, turned on the water injection, the windshield wipers on high position and activated the windshield jet air blast.

Just as the copilot shouted, “Go” the aircraft began to vibrate and I heard the muffled sound of an explosion. Both the copilot and flight engineer stated that we were losing the number three engine. While fighting the strong wind gusts, turbulence and heavy rain I scanned the engine instruments and noted that the torque oil pressure, RPM, TPT and fuel flow for the number three engine were all providing erratic indications. This was accompanied by the flight engineer in the cargo compartment stating that the number three engine nose case was shaking badly. I ordered the engine shut down and the propeller feathered (which I was pleased that it did).

During the climb, the copilot asked me if he should declare an emergency and request an immediate return to Kadina. My response, “Hell no, we are not going back to Kadina under these conditions and have the aircraft destroyed by the pending typhoon. In addition, since we are light and Tachi is only a three-hour flight we could still reach an emergency airport in Japan if we lose another engine.

The three-engine flight to Tachi was uneventful, but after landing, we had to sit on a taxiway for an hour while they created a parking spot for us. When the transient maintenance officer came onboard, he was quite unhappy as he said that he would have to arrange for a C-124 to fly in a new engine and propeller and his maintenance people were not very familiar with the C-133.

About five days later with our aircraft repaired, we departed for the U.S. mainland with planned stops for crew rest at Wake Island and Hickam AB. When my copilot and I were approaching the Hickam Officers’ Club, I was approached by Captain Robert Carpenter (a standardization pilot from the 39th) who began to reprimand me for flying a C-133 on three engines from Okinawa to Japan. He accused me of compromising safety, violating MATS directives and committing an overall stupid act. I responded by stating, “Captain, you’re way off base and even though you’re a flight examiner you don’t know what in the hell your talking about. Also, keep in mind that you are addressing a superior officer and I would appreciate it if you would show some proper respect.”

After I explained the reason for my actions Bob (being the gentleman he is) apologized and we had drinks and a friendly dinner together in the O-Club and considered incident closed.

The above incident is just one of the many I spell out in my book along with a full explanation of the cause of our many undetermined accidents, our five month grounding in 1965 and what was done to get the aircraft back in the air.

Sincerely, Lou Martin Lt.Col. USAF (ret.) I wish everyone a great reunion and wish I was there.

Note: A second experience submitted by Lou was included in an e-mail to our list

Let me know if you have any remaining questions about the Reunion.
The Committee is heavy into Final Prep. It's gonna be GRAND!!

Dick Hanson

10849 Falling Water Lane, Unit C
Woodbury, MN 55129
Cell: 651-249-9541