Friday, April 30, 2010

My Best C-133A Trip

Countdown to R-Day: 7 Days!!!

George Stoner has provided a great write up (with photos) of his "Best Trip" in February, 1971, the last year of 133 operations. It's in the form of a 13 page Word document which I am forwarding as an attachment to an e-mail distributed to our list of Crew Colleagues. It's not practical to post the entire story on this blog, so I'm just copying the first few paragraphs here.

Enjoy, relate, and remember!

Thank you George!! We'll miss you next week in Dover!!

My Best C-133A Trip

1971 would see the end of a great career for the C-133A. I had joined the 1st MAS at Dover AFB, Delaware in 1965 when the fleet was grounded. I took my first flight as Navigator in May. The mission went to Southeast Asia and lasted six weeks. We would return home for three days crew rest and begin the cycle over again. This was how it went during the Vietnam War. Out of those 6 years, I was out of the CONUS, 5 years, 7 months and 9 days, all TDY. I had also earned the 5000 hour flying pin.

Flying in a C-133 is an experience few people can appreciate. As crew members in C133 aircraft, we flew all around the world to many exotic places. One of the things that made the C-133 interesting was the fact that we, typically, only flew one leg a day. This meant that many times, after eight hours of flying, we were done. Of course this wasn’t always true, when we flew in the Pacific there were many 24-hour crew duty days. We found ourselves with an augmented crew and very long days with multiple stops. What the crews look forward to most was going somewhere they hadn’t seen before. During my flying in the C-133, we went most of the major places in the world taking outsized cargo of one kind or another. We would fly both east and west out of Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The C-133 was unique in that the greater part of its life span covered the Vietnam War. From the time in the early 1960’s when Vietnam was building, until the aircraft’s decommissioning in late 1971, we were taking many supply flights into Thailand and Vietnam. Our normal schedule from Dover AFB was to fly to Travis AFB, CA. through the Pacific into Vietnam or Thailand and return to Travis AFB. There we would be turned back to the Pacific and repeat the roundtrip over again. It was the rare occasion that we would fly east over the Atlantic Ocean and have a trip to Europe. These were always exciting and interesting because, typically, they did not go to places that we normally flew.

Such was the case in February of 1971. What started out to be an interesting but routine mission turned into one of the memorable flights of my entire career. The mission seemed simple enough, we were to fly two communications vans into Asmara, Ethiopia. The flight was to take us across the Atlantic into the Azores, where we would refuel and crew rest. The next leg took this into Torrejon AFB, Madrid, Spain. We always looked forward to going to Madrid because of the wonderful restaurants and great shopping. When we went to Madrid we only stayed for crew rest and left immediately after 12 hours on the ground. On this occasion, we would stay in Madrid while diplomatic clearance was being arranged for us to fly on through Saudi Arabia. This meant a 24-hour layover instead of our normal 12 and 3. Now there was time to go to the Plaza d’Mayor and sample suckling pig at Earnest Hemingway’s favorite restaurant.

At home, the living rooms of most MAC fliers were festooned with a combination of articles brought back from all around the world. There were ceramic elephants from India and Thailand. There were Hibachi Pots from Japan and all manner of furniture from the Philippines. Anything that would fit on a C-133 on our return trips, when we were empty of cargo, was permitted to be brought back. Usually the results were only limited by the willingness of your fellow crew members to on-load and off-load the shopping articles at each interim crew rest point. So on this particular flight, in February of 1971, landing at Madrid at Torrejon Air Force Base presented a myriad of shopping opportunities. For those who enjoyed the Spanish wines, many inexpensive high quality wines were available at the Class VI store. There was Spanish art work and many of us brought that back. Much of the art was oil on canvas, but the regular assortment of nudes painted on black velvet abounded. On this trip the officers club was having a huge art show. On display were artists from all over the area. As we came in the door, one particular piece attracted my attention - it was a 36” x 24”piece of junk art. The artist Vincent Hayden, was doing a whole series of artwork based on vintage American and European cars. Most of them were in a 12” x 8” format. The particular one that I looked at was a vintage 1860’s steam locomotive. It was made up of a thousand pieces of everything from thimbles, to garter clips, to flashlight lantern housings, to wheel weights, to lamp bases. They were put all put together to form one of the most interesting and eye-catching pieces of art that I’ve ever seen. I ask him the price for the piece and was reluctantly told it was the model for a piece that he had done for the American Museum of Modern Art in New York City and was not for sale. The museum piece had all the pieces gold plated and was on display in New York that very day. We went into the club to eat and after came back out and talked with him again.

George Stoner, LTC, U.S.A.F Retired

C-133A Navigator (1965 - 1971)

(Continued with photos as a Word attachment to our e-mail list)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nuclear C-133 AWACS

Something new in C-133 history, or might have been. Jan 20, 1958 issue Life magazine, page 38 had a picture of a conceptual C-133 nuclear-powered AWACS. Here is a tiny URL.
Thanks to John Szaly, one time engineer at GE.
Cal Taylor

Reunion Planning Post #22

Countdown to Reunion Weekend: 9 Days To Go!!

Memorabilia and "Show 'n Tell"

It's all about Great Memories....and the common bond we all share of our "long ago" experience with that unique Weenie Wagon, the C-133!! And the chance to be with our Crew Colleagues for a couple days, 40 to 50 years later, will be a real blessing. So bring on the "war stories".....all those crazy incidents and escapades.

Dig your stuff out of the attic, basement, and garage.....old photos, flight logs, jackets, flight suits, caps, whatever you never got around to throwing away. Our AMC Museum folks will have a Memorabilia Display Area in the hangar during our social program on Friday afternoon. Be sure to fix your name on anything you want back!

We're also going to have a few videos! The main feature will be a DVD put together especially for our Reunion by Cal Taylor (many of you are familiar with Cal's big red book on the 133, "Remember an Unsung Giant" (click on: ). There is a professional video of "The Last Flight" (when they brought 61999 down from Alaska to it's final resting place at the Travis Museum about two years ago), "in the works," but not completed in time for our Reunion. So Cal prepared his personal video of the airplane as it came through McChord on that trip.......Great Video! AND THAT UNIQUE 133 SOUND!! We'll be showing that for all of you during the Social Event on Friday in the AMC Museum Hangar.

Then we'll have some "Show 'n Tell" videos after the planned event on Friday (about 6 pm), and before and after the Banquet (cocktail, sit-down dinner and program) in the banquet ballroom at Dover Downs Hotel (about 4:30 & 8:30 or 9:00). Some of you who flew with Jimmy Ratcliff remember he always had a camera handy. He's spending untold hours right now, going through his old photos and making a DVD of them. Also I have some old 8 mm movies I've transferred to DVDs that show air traffic at Dover AFB in 1964, and a Far East trip I made with Purdy/Luke/Hangar/Dugar/Sandstrom/Nicewander/Bond in October, 1964.

So "hang around" and rekindle all those old "war stories."

It's gonna be GRAND!!

Dick Hanson, Navigator, 1st ATS, 62-'65

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reunion Planning Post #21

10 days to R-Day!!!

I've just sent the final list of Reunion attendees (Crew Colleagues, not guests) to our e-mail list. In the interest of the privacy and security of our contact list, I'm not planning to post the list of names on this blog.

If you're not on our e-mail list and have questions about who's attending the Reunion, please contact me directly:

Dick Hanson
ph: 651-249-9541

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reunion Planning Post #20

Countdown to Reunion Weekend: 12 days to go!!

Banquet Menu

Getting some requests for more info about the sit-down dinner at the Saturday Banquet. Here's the latest word from the front:

The menu will feature a “free range” chicken breast and a large crab cake, salad and veggie’s with a dessert. It’s an Eastern Shore dinner, better than a buffet. Unrelated to the menu, we will have a crystal centerpiece at each table and water. Wine, if desired, will come from the bar. Wine is $4.00 and a mixed drink $5.00 and Robin (the Dover Downs Coordinator) said the bartenders will have instructions to pour a “Big One”. “Free Range”, incidentally, is not road kill. We checked on that. Ha-Ha!!
Sandy Sandstrom

Thursday, April 22, 2010

61999 in Action, 18 May 1968

I am attaching a photo of 61999 which I believe I took while flying between Andersen, Guam and Mactan, Philippines. My pilots were Capt Stan Bryk and Capt Bill Gilbert. We left Andersen on 18 May 68 in 62010; 61999 was right behind us so we made some lazy "S" turns and waited for them. They were cleared 2000 feet above us. When they caught up we flew loose formation to Mactan. The other Nav. (I think it was Jim Woody) and we took turns navigating.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

C-133 Book

I just shipped 20 of the Remembering an Unsung Giant books to Jim Stewart, at the museum store. I hope they will find good homes with some of the attendees. I will be attending the Travis gathering.

Cal Taylor

Planning Committee Stress Test; Post #19

As time runs down on the Reunion Planning & Preparation clock, we thought we'd recognize the hard workers in Dover who are under the increasing stress of making the Grand Events happen for a "bigger than expected" crowd of Crew Colleagues and Guests (they're even refreshing the emblems and cleaning up ol' C-133A, S/N 90536 for your touring pleasure!).

You know, this has been going on since right after the last Reunion in May, '07, when we started building our Contact List and initiated this Crew Blog, right through the research project in early '09 to find out when and what YOU wanted in the "next reunion," until Reunion Planning Post #1 just nine months ago (how about that for a gestation period??).

Hank Baker
Vito DiFronzo
Gerry Foss
George McDuffie
Jimmy Nolan
Larry Phillips
Sandy Sandstrom
Dick Strouse


And speaking of "stress," here's a link to a video that I think you will agree is pretty amazing! Just for a little break from the Reunion information (more to follow)....

Click on: Boeing 787 Stress Test

Dick Hanson & Rick Spencer, Communications Committee

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Roll Call; Reunion Planning Post #18

Countdown to Reunion Weekend: 19 days to go!!

We've had some requests to disclose the list of names planning to attend the Reunion. We've been reluctant early-on to publish such a list because of our commitment to your privacy, and our priority to protect the security of our contact list that you've generously helped us build. However, our research and discussions have indicated that it's common practice to publish a simple list of last names (NO CONTACT INFORMATION!) shortly before the event, so members can see who they can expect to meet, or not.

So we're planning to publish such a list about 10 days before the Reunion. If any of you prefer to NOT be listed, please let me know by reply e-mail or phone call ASAP!

Dick Hanson
ph: 651-249-9541

Here are a few responses to the above post:

Dick - you and your pals are sure enuf good guys for running this deal - and quite the deal it is! We're coming via light sport a/c - left Fri from Port Angeles - present posn St George, UT. Tomorrow PHX, etc til we get to Dover. Thanks for the great job.
Claire Gilstad

Hi Dick -- I am pleased that you all - finally - came around to doing my - among others - suggestion. This would have been the only reunion that I have ever been to that did not publish the registered attendees in advance.

The ex wife, the ex girl friend(s) and/or current girl friend could all be coming......LOL
See you in a couple of weeks -- Joe Simpson

Feel free to publish anything about me or my address as an Attendee. I am Proud to have served with all of the people associated with the C-133A/B Program. Besides I am too old to remember any problems. Gerald F. Coleman

Let er rip...........Publish. Jack Slocombe

Hi Rick,
Am so happy to hear that!!!!! Now I can go back into my memory bank and remember all the good stuff…for sure I will remember being at Ft. Campbell during the missile crisis…was there on the flight line when the C-133s were churning and turning…this was IT>…thank God only almost….still get goose-bumps thinking about that…
So much looking forward to meeting you also…
Best Regards,
W. Erich Hausner

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reunion Planning Post #17

Announcing Reunion Souvenir!!

Each "Crew Colleague" in attendance at the May, 2010, Reunion will receive one "free" (i.e. included in your fee paid for the event) souvenir cap shown above. Additional caps will be available at the Reunion for your spouse/guest/family/friends at our cost. After the Reunion, any leftovers will be sold at the Museum Gift Store at their price, while they last.

Also, thanks to John Apelt for identifying the following website where you can purchase "C-133 Gear" (T-shirts, Caps, Mugs, etc) with a "C-133 Cargomaster" photo of S/N 62008. Click on: Cafe Press

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reunion Planning Post #16

Booze & Attire

Two important topics we want to address with respect and good judgment!

We feel at our age, we all deserve flexibility and comfort, so there will be no specific Dress Code!

For the 7 May, Friday afternoon Hangar Social/Crew Meetings, "casual attire" is definitely in order. There will be an open bar (no charge) for light & regular beer, red and white wine, soft drinks, tea and water (no hard liquor) with hors d'oeuvres from 1600 to 1900. Remember the Museum is open for visits from 0900 to 1600, and access to our C-133 will be available throughout. And you're on your own for dinner.

For the 8 May, Saturday Banquet @ Dover Downs Hotel, suggested attire is "dressy casual" or "business casual." Coat and tie, if you like; but don't feel it's necessary if you're over that phase of your life!! For what it's worth, I'm bringing a blue blazer and no tie, and my wife's thinking of "nice slacks with a pretty blouse & evening jacket."

Our Planning Committee is trying to arrange for a "hospitality suite" @ the Dover Downs Hotel so you can start gathering as early as 1300 on Saturday, with any leftover beer, wine and soft drinks from the Friday Social. Then about 1730, a real Cash Bar (with hard liquor) will open for cocktails before the Sit-down Dinner @ 1830.

Any questions, suggestions, complaints so far????? Stay tuned! More information to follow...

Dick Hanson

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reunion Planning Post #15

Countdown to Reunion Weekend: 30 Days!!

With your great response and cooperation, we've built an active e-mail list of 138 C-133 Crew Colleagues. We have treated the substantial communication value of that list with great respect. You can count on us protecting your privacy, and not abusing it. During this last month before the Reunion, we are going to pick up the pace of e-mail information and blog postings. Many of you have asked questions we've answered individually, but we now want to share. Plus, we've received some "Crew Tales" and other related material (e.g. interesting photos, videos, web links, etc) from various colleagues that we think you would find interesting.

As always, if you have questions or reactions to anything we send, something you'd like to share with the others, or if you prefer to not receive information this way, please let me know directly by phone or e-mail listed below.

It's going to be a Grand Reunion!! We have over 140 Crew Colleagues who have paid for about 250 people to attend. WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU!!

Standby for much more information..........!!!!

Dick Hanson, and your Reunion Planning Committee
cell ph: 651-249-9541

Sunday, April 4, 2010

C-133 destinations

Last night, I was browsing the 'net for C-133 stuff. A couple of places had entries to the effect that the airplane was such a problem that the AF did not send it to very many places off the usual MATS/MAC routes. Well, I just had a fascinating piece from George Stoner, about a trip to Addis Ababa. Off the top of my head, I can think of descriptions of missions to Antarctica, various places in India, Congo, an old Luftwaffe base in far northern Norway, Thule, Nord, BW-8, American Samoa, Amman, Cochabamba, Woomera, Kunsan, lots of small places in VN, Belgium, Netherlands, Wheelus, Lima, Howard and on and on. From all I've learned in the past seven years, there were no limits on where the old bird went or what it carried.

Cal Taylor