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EAA Young Eagles Go Airborne From War Eagles Air Museum

The first EAA Chapter 1570 YOUNG EAGLES FLIGHT for 2019 was sucessfully completed this past weekend.  As usual, it was conducted at the Doña Ana County International Jetport in Santa Teresa, NM.  The participants enjoyed the fine facilities of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) for the entire operation.  After the event wound down, the volunteers had a lunch and defriefing in the Executive Meeting Room of the Museum.

Most of the young first-time flyers were able to enjoy the many WEAM exhibits after their flights.  Chief Registrar, Melissa Keithly, reported that the morning session saw 55 new Young Eagles take to the skies for their first introductory airplane flight.

[To view any photo in high-resolution, simply click on it – Videos can also be seen full-screen]

Melissa Keithly busily registering Young Eagles for the day’s first-flights.  By the noon deadline she had booked 55 young people for their first personal airplane flight adventure.

Bob Dockendorf and Tomás Peralta surveying the activities as they get undersay.  Tomás was the event’s Organizer.

L to R: Tom Holmsley, EAA Chapter 1570 President, John Keithly, chatting with Fritz Gatlin.

L to R: Juan Brito and Chapter VP, John Singnorino, in discussion before the flying started.

L to R: John Signorino, Juan Brito, Marcia McNamee and Melissa Keithly at registration table as a parent signs up.

Melissa Keithly describing procedure for signing up the children . . .

L to R: Charles Crawford, Tomás Peralta, and Laura Dittlevson, going over the flight line procedures . . .

L to R: John Signorino and John Orton returning from the Fllight-Line . . .

L to R: Kathyn and WEAM Operations Manager, George Guerra, at work behind the WEAM Gift Shop counter.

Pres. John Keithly kicks off the program with his Young Eagle Co-Pilot, Yessenia Cano, in his WT-9 Dynamic Aircraft

John briefs Yessenia on the aircraft controls and instruments, explainnng how they work and why they are important to fully understand.

Yessenia and John taxii out for her first flilght

John and his next Young Eagle, Alondra Tinajero, are ready to taxi out to the runway.

A happy new Young Eagle, Alondra Tinejero, and her EAA Pilot, John Keithly, are all smiles after her first demo flight

John Keithly explains sleft wing aeleron flight control to his nextg Young Eagle, Marco Talamontes

John helps Marco arrange and fasten his safety harness.

Marco gives the thumbs up signal that shows he is ready to fly!

Pilot and his Co-Pilot are ready to start . . .

Marco proudly poses with Mr. Keithly after his inaugural Young Eagle Flight.

Ready to become another Young Eagle, Alfredo Vargas, is all smiles wth Pilot John Keithly.

While Allan Yapor’s father stands by, John Signorino (sitting at right) completes the new Young Eagle’s Fllight Logbook entry and fills out his Official EAA Young Eagles Certificate of Accomplishment, attesting to Allan’s 1st Flight Adventure.

Allan Yapor stands proudly next to his pilot, John Signorino, who is a former Army Combat Aviator and Vice President of the 1570 Chapter.  John owns and manages the security locksmithing firm, Pop-A-Lock, in El Paso, Texas.

John Signorino taxis back from his flight with his new Young Eagle, Vincent Hardy, whose lucky father, Philip, went along in one of the Cessna 182 Skylane’s back seats.

New Young Eagle, Vincent Hardy, is alll smiles after his first Flight Adventure as John Signorino’s Co-Pilot.

L to R: Ground Crew volunteer, Laura Dittevson, Vicent Hardy, John Signorino, and Philip Hardy pose beside the Cessna Skylane.

Back down to Mother Earth for the Pritchetts.

L to R: John Signorino, the proud new Young Eagle, Nicholas Pritchett, and his father, Virgil, pose with the newly made out EAA Achievement Certificate and Young Eagle Log Book.

L to R: John Completes new Young Eagle, Riley Franco’s Logbook, as his father, Ruben smiles with satifaction.

Certificate in hand, Riley and his Dad, Ruben Franco, are all smiles, as is their Pilot, John Signorino.

L to R in cockpit of former Army Helicopter: Mike McNamee and his Young Eagle adventurer, Oliver Oropeza.  Mike is explaining the controls and instruments to his awestruck Young Eagle.  Mike also has a fixed wing Cessna 182 Skylane, which he generously contrtibuted to the event’s group of  working aircraft.

Mike sets the rotors in motion as he warms up his chopper for takeoff.

And, straight up, off they go!

Pilot, John Orton (long-time Advisor and former Trustee of the FASF) helps his Young Eagle, Justin Walters, safely and comfortably secure his seat belt and shoulder harness.  John is both a former army and Air Foce veteran.  His airplane is a U.S. manufactured Diamond DV20, used by the USAF to provide pilot-training for Air Force Academy Cadets.

Final adjustments to the now fastened safety harness, and they were soon aloft.

The new Young Eagle, Justin Walters, poses with his happy Mother, Danielle, and Father, Mike Fisher.

John Orton explains, to his next Young Eagle, Kristopher Zapata, how to use the Headset and mic.

John explaining the instrments and controls to Kristopher.

L To R:  Chapter Ground Crew Volunteer, Charles Crawford and Mrs. Zapata, watch as her son, Kristopher gets briefed by John Orton . . .

Kristopher watches as John Orton goes through the startup checklist . . .

John watches as his next Young Eagle, Daniel Rayos, gets into the cockpit.

John explains to  Daniel the use of the headset and microphone.

Daniel waves adios as John begins to taxi outfor takeoff. The following short (3 min) video shows the start and departure for their takeoff.

El Paso Judge, Alex Gonzalez, just took Larissa Rodriguez (left, standing) up on her Young Eagle Flight in his Cessna 172.  Her parents sat in the rear seat. Ground Crew Volunteer, Laura Dittevson, helps by holding open the passenger door.

L to R: Clearly, Larissa’s father, Andres, enjoyed the experience as much as did Judge Gonzalez. The following short (51 seconds) video is of their return to pick up Larissa’s Young Eagle Certificate and Logbook.  The second, one (1) minute video, is  their discusion of the flight experience.  Jim Foster and his Young Eagle are at the end of this video, too.

Professional Instructor Pilot, Jim Foster, poses by the Cessna 172 in which he just initiated Young EAgle, Amna Noor, to the thrill of flying.

Amna and her father look on as Jim finishes up the paper work.

Jim Foster poses with his Young Eagle Co-Pilot, “RJ” (Ruben) Franco, whose brother, Riley, also obtained his Young Eagle award, earlier, from John Signorino.

EAA Young Eagle Certificate and Logbook in hand, “RJ” poses with his mentor, Jim Foster, and his Mom, Lisa.

German Air Force (Lufwaffe) specialist, Dominic Austen, from chapter 1570, chipped in and did his part, too.  His first Young Eagle of the day is seen above: Zion Hernandez.

Jada Gaton is now a Young Eagle, and her mother, Arecely poses by her, as Pilot, Dominic Austen, approvingly looks on.

Andrea Rayos eagerly moves the control yoke in the Cessna 182 Skylane in which she achieved her Young Eagle status, as did her brother, Daniel, who flew with John Orton earlier. Dominic watches from the door.  The short (11 second) video below shows Dominic and Andrea as they start the engine to taxi to the runway.

His Young Eagle securely belted in, Andy Werner, gets ready to start up his A240 Aerotek Light Sport Aircraft for their flight.  His Co-Pilot is already properly uniformed in his flight suit and aviator’s sunglasses.

L to R: Yound Eagle to be, Michelle Hernandez’ mother, Adriana, takes photos of her daughter, while Volunteer, Charles Crawford looks on, while Michelle poses and Andy Werner describes his Chech built Light Sport airplane to Michelle’s Dad.

FASF Daedalians at HAFB Fighter Squadron 314 Graduation

This weekend’s FASF-Daedalian Graduation Event at Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, NM

< Just cllick on any photo below to view it in higher resolution and larger size>

L to R: Colonel “Spud” Caldwell, Graduation Speaker, MJ Tucker (who managed the Graduation Arrangements), FASF-Daedalian members, Roger Nichols and Col. Mario Campos.

Lt. Col. “Burn” Clapper, Commander of 314th Fighter Squadron, Captain “Titto” Hannah, who shepherded the Daedalians, and Col. “Spud” Caldwell.

L to R: FASF-Daedalians, Colonel Mario Campos and Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, currently a civilan contractor at Holloman, discussing their combat experiences.

L to R: Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton, Lt. Col. “Burn” Clapper, and Roger Nichols . . .

L to R: “Roger That” Nichols, LC Michael D. “Burn” Clapper (CO of the 314th Fighter Squadron), and Col. Mario Campos, Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, pose before “Burn’s” F-16 Fighting Falcon Jet.

L to R: Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, USAF Ret., Roger Nichols and Col. Mario Campos, share a laugh.

L – R: Colonels “Cowboy” Crowell, Col. Jeff Patton, his wife, Tracy, Mario Campos and Roger Nichols enjoy Dinner.

314th Fighter Squadron personnel, parents and guests, applaud graduating students of class 18-HBB at HAFB

Colonel Mario Campos (R), Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, congratulates Lt. “Pickles” Mossing on his achievement in winning the coveted Daedalian Class Leadership Award.

L to R: Roger Nichols, Col. Mario Campos, Daedalian Leadership Award Recipient, Lt. Jason “Pickles” Mossing, Ric Lambart, ColonelsCowboy” Crowell and “Tank” Patton, Commander, 49th Operations Group at Holloman AFB

Colonel Dean “Spud” Caldwell Commencement Speaker, shares what’s ahead for the new Fighter Pilots

L to R: Colonel “Cowboy” Crowell, and the “River Rat” awardee, Lt. Doug “Magnus” Clark, and Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton are all smiles. Lt. Clark also won the Distinguished Student Award in his class, which was the 314th Fighter Squadron’s Class 18-BBH.  The River Rat award is given to the student that the other pilots would most want on flying on their wing in combat.  The River Rat designation came from the Vietnam conflict and is named after the Red River Valley (Association) of the Vietnam war, an organization to which many pilots who flew in combat over North Vietnam belong.  Both of the above Colonels are active members in the FASF.

L to R: Col. Mario Campos, Captain “Tucky” Durbin, event Master of Ceremonies, his wife, Stephanie, and Roger Nichols.

L to R: (Taken by Stephanie Durbin) – Col. Mario Campos, Capt. “Tucky” Durbin, Ric Lambart, and Roger Nichols. The two-finger salute being given by Mario and Tucky is that of the 314th Fighter Squadron.

All thirteen (13) new F-16 Viper Fighter Pilot Graduates pose before their Commander’s Fighter.

 

 

Last Aviator From Doolittle Raiders Flew Into the West Today

The Following story is courtesy of the Air Force Times

A B-25 Mitchell takes off from the aircraft carrier Hornet for the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo April 18, 1942. (Courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio)

Retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole, the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders who rallied the nation’s spirit during the darkest days of World War II, has passed away.

Tom Casey, president of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association, confirmed to Air Force Times that Cole died Tuesday morning in San Antonio. His daughter, Cindy Cole Chal, and son, Richard Cole, were by his side, Casey said.

Cole will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Casey said. Memorial services are also being scheduled at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas.

Cole, who was then Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot in the No. 1 bomber during the daring 1942 raid to strike Japan, was 103.

The Doolittle Raid was the United States’ first counterattack on the Japanese mainland after Pearl Harbor.

Eighty U.S. Army Air Forces airmen in 16 modified B-25B Mitchell bombers launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet, about 650 nautical miles east of Japan, to strike Tokyo. While it only caused minor damage, the mission boosted morale on the U.S. home front a little more than four months after Pearl Harbor, and sent a signal to the Japanese people not only that the U.S. was ready to fight back but also that it could strike the Japanese mainland.

Cole’s influence is still very apparent in today’s Air Force, and he remains a beloved figure among airmen. In 2016, he appeared on stage at the Air Force Association’s Air Space Cyber conference to announce that the service’s next stealth bomber, the B-21, would be named the Raider. Hurlburt Field in Florida in 2017 renamed the building housing the 319th Special Operations Squadron the Richard E. Cole Building.

And when he turned 103 last Sept. 7, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein and his wife, Dawn, called him to wish him a happy birthday.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard E. “Dick” Cole, co-pilot to Jimmy Doolittle during the April 18, 1942, Doolittle Raid over Tokyo, sits at the controls of a refurbished U.S. Navy B-25 Mitchell displayed at an airshow in Burnet, Texas, in September. (Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./Air Force)

Cole was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. In a 2016 interview with HistoryNet.com, Cole said he first became interested in flying as a kid, when he would ride his bicycle to the Army Air Corps test base McCook Field and watch the pilots fly. He said he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in November 1940 because “it was a good job,” especially in the midst of the Great Depression, and after finishing training went to the 17th Bombardment Group at Pendleton, Oregon.

He was transferred to Columbia, South Carolina, in early February 1942, where he saw a bulletin board notice seeking volunteers for a mission. His entire group put in their names.

Cole, who was then 26 years old, trained at Eglin Air Field in Florida for the secret raid.

“We were confined to base, in isolated barracks, and told not to talk about our training,” Cole told HistoryNet. “We knew it would be dangerous, but that’s all.”

The B-25 typically needed about 3,000 feet to take off, Cole said, but they trained to get airborne in 500 feet. And when future Navy Admiral Henry Miller started teaching them how to take off from a carrier, they guessed they were headed to the Pacific to take the fight to Japan.

Then 2nd. Lt. Cole became Doolittle’s co-pilot by chance, when the pilot he had been training with fell ill. Doolittle’s intended co-pilot also became unable to fly.

The B-25s were stripped of all excess equipment, including their bombsights and lower turrets, and loaded up with extra fuel tanks that doubled capacity to about 1,100 gallons. They left port from Alameda, California, on April 2, 1942, and two days later were told they would strike Tokyo.

“We were pretty excited — above all, happy to know what we were going to do,” Cole said. “Things quieted down as people began to realize what they were getting into.”

After the Navy ran into a Japanese picket ship, Navy Adm. William “Bull” Halsey decided to launch the mission earlier than planned. Conditions were rough, Cole told HistoryNet — water came over the bow, and the planes started to slip around the deck. But the wind about doubled the carrier speed of 20 to 35 knots, which helped the planes get airborne.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, tours a U.S. Navy B-25 Mitchell similar to the aircraft he co-piloted. (Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./Air Force)

They reached Japan after a little more than four hours, flying at an altitude averaging roughly 200 feet, Cole said. When Doolittle and Cole neared Tokyo, it was bright and sunny. Doolittle pulled up to 1,500 feet, and bombardier Fred Braemer — then a staff sergeant — dropped the bombs. Cole said they “got jostled around a bit by anti-aircraft” fire, but didn’t think they got hit.

Doolittle’s crew intended to land in Chuchow, China, fuel up, and continue to Western China, but they hit a snag. They ran into a severe rainstorm with lightning. Cole said the Chinese also heard their engines and thought they were Japanese, so they turned off the electric power to the lights. The crew had no choice but to fly until they ran out of gas and then bail out, he said.

Cole’s parachute got stuck on a pine tree, 12 feet above the ground. After freeing himself, he walked west to a Chinese village. Cole rejoined the rest of the crew, who also bailed out successfully, and they were picked up by Chinese troops.

He continued serving in the China-Burma-India Theater until June 1943, and then volunteered for Project 9, which led to the creation of the 1st Air Commando Group.

Cole said that Doolittle feared his audacious mission had failed, because all planes and some of his airmen were lost. Three airmen died bailing out, and eight others were captured by the Japanese.

Airmen with Crew No. 1 (Plane 40-2344), 34th Bombardment Squadron, U.S. Army Air Forces, were among those who conducted the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo on April 18, 1942. They are, from left: Lt. Henry A. Potter, navigator; Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, pilot; Staff Sgt. Fred A. Braemer, bombardier; Lt. Richard E. Cole, co-pilot; and Staff Sgt. Paul J. Leonard, engineer-gunner. (Air Force Photo)

But in 2016, Cole said the raid was “a turning point in the war.” Though the 16 bombers didn’t cause much damage, their actions prompted the Japanese to pull back its forces from Australia and India to shore up the Central Pacific, he said, and they transferred two carriers to Alaska, where they thought the raid had originated, which evened the odds for the Navy at Midway.

“Japanese naval forces were at a disadvantage from then on,” Cole said.

The raid also had two other goals, Cole said: First, to show the Japanese people who despite what their leaders told them, Japan could be bombed from the air. And second, “to give the Allies, and particularly the United States, a morale shot in the arm.”

Cole and the other Raiders received the Distinguished Flying Cross, and Doolittle received the Medal of Honor.

“He deserved a lot more,” Cole said of Doolittle. When asked what he thought of his commander, Cole said, “the highest order of respect from one human being to another.”

When Cole retired, his list of decorations included the DFC with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, and the Air Force Commendation Medal. In 2014, President Obama presented Cole and three other Raiders the Congressional Gold Medal at the White House.

But Cole said the Raiders didn’t feel like heroes.

“We were just doing our job, part of the big picture, and happy that what we did was helpful,” Cole said.

David Lauterborn of HistoryNet.com contributed to this story.

Rio Grande Aviation Council – Kickoff Organization Meeting

Organizational Meeting Title on Display Screens at WEAM

The brainchild of two local aviation leaders, Bob Dockendorf and John Keithly, The Rio Grande Aviation Council (RGAC) was put into motion this past weekend at the executive office meeting room of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at the Doña Ana County International Jetport.

Incidentally, the above photo is of the actual large LED Display screens that were mounted in the War Eagles’ meeting room, but the Rio Grande part was inadvertantly misspelled, leaving the “e” off at the end of Grande.

The two organizers recognized that there was no central or nexus organization through which the area’s many public-interest aviation groups and organizations might express both their legitimate public interests in their common industry, or to work more efficently to help collectively protect those same interests.  In short, the new council would provide a more unified voice for the West Texas and SW New Mexico areas in respect to aviation related issues and interests.

Accordingly, Bob invited the area’s numerous public-interest and non-profit aviation groups to meet together at the WEAM.  At least one or more representatives of each of the local (within a 100 mile radius of El Paso, Texas and Santa Teresa, NM) aviation groups appeared on Saturday, the 6th of April, to help organize this new organization.

Bob and John recommended that the new organization be somewhat amporphous in nature and purposely not be formally structured, rather that it operate without any specific permanent officers or heirarchy.  Its main functions would be to provide a sounding board, brain-storming platform, and a clearing house for the member organizations’ interests.  It would, additionally, help provide a unified collective voice for the members’ common aviation interests.

Attending were: Both the El Paso (215) and Las Cruces (24) Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Squadrons; both the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Air Force ROTC and AROTC units from the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP); The El Paso Daedalians Flight; The El Paso Aviation Association; the El Paso Chapter of the Ninety-Nines (International Organization of Women Pilots); both chapters of the EAA, from Las Cruces (555), and Santa Teresa (1570), NMThe First Aero Squadron Foundation (FASF); the Las Cruces Aviators Club; The several local area High School Junior ROTC units; Air Force Association; the United States Air Force Academy and USAFA Alumni Chapter (USAFA)City of Las Cruces International Airport and the Doña Ana County International Jetport Airport; The Academy of Model Aeronatics; the El Paso Radio Controllers (EPRC – RC Model Airplane Club); The Dust Devil Flying Club, the new UTEP Four Year Aviation and Space Program; and the local Quiet Birdmen (QB).

The representatives of each group discussed their particular assets and current principal needs and goals.

Several other aviation groups were invited, but couldn’t make this intial organizational meeting, but will hopefully participate in future conferences.  Such future gatherings will be held at the WEAM on a quarterly basis.

The following photos show some of those who attended as representatives of their respective aviation groups:

(Any of the below photos may be seen in full high-resolution by simply clicking on them)

Mrs. Mary Dockendorf registers John Adams of the EL Paso Composite Squadron 215 of the CAP.

President Wes Baker of the Las Cruces EAA Chapter 555 parks his Cessna 140 on the ramp in front of the WEAM.

L to R: Col. Mario Campos (Daedalian Society), Juan Brito (EPAA), Fritz Gatlin (EPRC Club), and Tom Holmsley (AMA)

L to R: Todd Parsont (Franklin HS JAFROTC), Ana Donahue (Drone Pilot for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District-EBID), Squadron Commander, Travis McKenzie and Col. Alan Fisher (CAP Squadron 24) line up to sign in for the meeting.

L to R: Ana Donahue (EBID), Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Presidents Wes Baker (EAA 555) and John Keithly (EAA 1570), Col. Mario Campos (hidden behind) Juan Brito (EPAA).

L to R starting with those sitting with backs to the windows: Travis McKenzie and Mike LeGendre (CAP), Rick King (Santa Teresa Flying Club), Col. Alan Fisher (CAP), Malcolm White (USAFA), John Adams (CAP), Ana Donahue ((EBID), Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Wes Baker and John Keithly (EAA Presidents), Col. Mario Campos (Daedalians), Juan Brito (EPAA), Fritz Gatlin (EPRC), Tom Holmsley (AMA), (three people with their backs to camera, and L to R) Elliott Werner (EAA), Bob Dockendorf (WEAM) and Didi Shaffer (Chair of the El Paso Chapter of the 99’s).

R to L clockwise: Rick King (Sta. Teresa Flying Club), Col. Alan Fisher (CAP), Malcolm White (USAFA), John Adams (CAP), Ana Donahue (EBID), Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Wes Baker and John Keithly (EAA), Mike McGee (UTEP), Col. Mario Campos (Daedalians), Mary Dockendorf (WEAM), Juan Brito (EPAA), and Fritz Gatlin (EPRC).

L to R: Ana Donahue (EBID), Todd Parsont (RAFROTC) and Wes Baker (EAA)

L to R: Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Wes Baker and John Keithly (EAA).

L to R clockwise: Ana Donahue (EBID), Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Wes Baker (EAA), John Keithly (EAA), Mike McGee (UTEP), Col. Mario Campos (Daedalians), Juan Brito (EPAA), Fritz Gatlin (EPRC).

Clockwise R to L: (only part of his back to camera) Mike McGee (UTEP), Mario Campos (Daedalians), Juan Brito (EPAA), Fritz Gatlin (EPRC), Tom Holmsley (AMA), Tania Privette (LCA), Andy Hume (Las Cruces Int’l. Airport), Didi Shaffer (99’s), Bob Dockendorf (WEAM), Elliott Werner (EAA), Javier Caraveo (USAFA & AFROTC), Travis McKenzie and Mike LeGendre (CAP), and Rick King (Santa Teresa Flying Club).

L to R: John Keithly (EAA 1570), Dr. Mike McGee (UTEP), Col. Mario Campos (Daedalians), and Juan Brito (EPAA).

L to R: Andy Hume (Las Cruces Int’l. Airport), Tania Privette (LCA), and Didi Shaffer (99’s).

                                      Didi Schaffer (Chair of El Paso Chapter of the Ninety-Nines).

Meeting Chairman, Bob Dockendorf, principal organizer of the Rio Grand Aviation Council

USAF ROTC Cadet Captain Ammber Valverde explains the UTEP/NMSU ROTC programs.

RGAC Organizational Meeting Representatives – L to R: John Keithly, Ric Lambart, Travis McKenzie, Mario Campos, Alan Fisher, Mike LeGendre, Mike McGee, Rick King, Elliott Werner, Tania Privette, Andy Hume, Didi Shaffer, Ammber Valverde, Ana Donahue, Javier Cavaveo, Juan Brito, Wes Baker, Todd Parsont, Tom Holmsley, Fritz Gatlin, John Adams, Malcolm White, and Bob Dockendorf.

 

Roger Nichols Briefs Daedalians on “Linebacker II” in Vietnam

At yesterday’s regular monthly meeting at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Texas, Daedalian Flight 24 (more affectionately known as the General “Nick” Nichol’s Flight – named after Roger’s WWII Ace Dad), listened intently as their immediate past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols, shared a power point – video briefing about the historic American Linebacker II heavy-bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese.

The time was December 1972, when the Nixon Administration’s Henry Kissinger, representing the U.S. interests at the Paris Peace Accords, had just failed to reach a peace agreement with the North Vietamese’s Le Duc Tho in Paris, France.  Kissinger had just over-optimistically announced to the press that “Peace is at hand.”

With the Accords in shambles, the U.S. mounted a massive bombing campaign over the North Vietamese capital of Hanoi.  It was code-named “Linebacker II.”  Fellow Daedalian Fllight and long-standing FASF member, Charlie Overstreet,  had been one of the pilots who took part in that huge aerial assault on North Vietnam,  The majority of Flight 24’s aviators flew during that distant Southeast Asian war.

For those of you who might be interested, here is the short (12:13) segment I of the longer documentary of that “Linebacker II” campaign, which was produced by the son of General Glenn R. Sullivan, who commanded the 17th Air Division out of U-Tapao Air Base in Thailand at the time.  Here is a link to a number of other films made of that same campaign.

The presentation by Roger was both educational, and also nostalgic for those in the Flight who had fought in the skies above Southeast Asia, and who had lost some of their closest friends and fellow aviators in that now historic conflict.  The meeting had an element of sadness, also, because Roger will soon be moving to Oklahoma to be closer to his children and grand-children.  Fortunately, Roger’s many interests in El Paso (where he was born), including the Daedalians, will bring him back on regular visits.

(Click on any photo below to see it in full high-resolution()

             Former USAF aviators (L to R): Pete Brandon, Alan Fisher, Mario Campos, Roger Nichols and Bob Pitt

                              Mrs. Ulla Rice, wife of Colonel Norm Rice, and Col. Bob Pitt

           Roger Nichols (seated) prepares for his presentation with help of Flight Captain, Col. Mario Campos

     Colonel Bob Pitt, Vietnam fighter Pilot, who was wounded over ‘Nam, briefs Daedalians on upcoming events.

             Flight Captain Mario Campos presides over business part of meeting as Roger Nichols looks on.

                                       Pete Brandon (L) and Alan Fisher listen to Colonel Campos.

L to R: Roger Nichols, Mario Campos and AFROTC Cadet Captain, Ammber Valverde (Daedalian Pilot-Training Scholarship Recipient), listen to Alan Fisher (whose finger is seen at lower left)  . . .

L to R seated:  Mario Campos, Ammber Valverde, and Roger Springstead, listen to Roger describe the Vietnam War’s operation Linebacker II.

Roger Nichols holds latest edition of the War Eagles Air Museum Quarterly Magazine, which includes a story by FASF Aviation Scouts and Daedalians Charlie Overstreet, and Virg Hemphill.  The article by Charlie is entitled “Memories of a B-47 Pilot,” while Virg’s story is simply titled “Virgil Hemphill – Fighter Pilot.”  Roger, himself, also has an article in this same edition.  It’s called “Christmas Greetings,” which is about the “Linebacker II” campaign.

FASF Advisor John Orton Joins CAP Composite Squadron 024

The Las Cruces, NM, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has just welcomed another long-time active FASF member to its ranks.  Colonel (USAF Retired), John Orton, who is the only former Trustee who flew his own airplane to FASF Board Meetings over the years, has just become a Senior member of the same CAP Squadron which already boasts several other FASF enthusiasts.  Two years ago, both the FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas, and President, Ric Lambart, were recruited into the same CAP unit by another early FASF member, Colonel Alan Fisher.

REMEMBER: To see any photos in high resolution, simply click on them.

                                 John Orton looks up while working at his laptop’s FEMA training syllabus.

At this past weekend’s monthly CAP SAREX (Search And Rescue Exercise) operation, held at the Las Cruces Municipal Airport, John experienced his first opportunity to take part in one of these regular SAREX programs.  During the afternoon, the Squadron also demostrated how it operates to several AFROTC Cadets from NMSU, one of whom is the youngest active member of the FASF, Cadet Captain, Ammber Valverde.  Each cadet received an introductory flight in one of the CAP’s Cessna 182 Aircraft during their orientation.  These cadets all hope to become pilots in the United States Air Force after they graduate from New Mexico State University.  Ammber has already received a Pilot Training Scholarship from the Daedalian Society.

A Short 3 minute long video clip at the bottom of this page shows part of the briefing of several Cadets by one of the squadron’s pilots, Travis McKenzie.

Here are some more of the photos of John, and of the other FASF-CAP members at work:

L to R: Michelle Phillips, John Orton, Travis McKenzie.

                                                                   Travis McKenzie and Alma Villezcas

                                                                                Walter Dutton at work.

L to R: Jim McConnell, William Benziger, and John Orton

L to R: Michelle Phillips, John Orton, Travis McKenzie, and Larry Burns

L to R: Jim McConnell, William Benziger, and Mike Legendre

Laptop shows one of the large inter-squadron group instructional pages for the SAREX

L to R: Alan Fisher, Cadets Josh Soliz, Daniel Malone, Race Cannedy, and Ammber Valverde alongside Cessna

L to R: Cadet Race Cannedy, Col.Alan Fisher, cadets Daniel Malone and Ammber Valverde get pre-flight briefing

                    Colonel Fisher describes upcoming familiarization flight with Ammber Valverde

L to R: Travis McKenzie explains seat belt arrangement to Cadet Soliz

Cadet Captain Ammber Valverde checks out the Cessna Flight Data Pad

                      Ammber gets instructed on cockpit procedures and instrument pane by Travis McKenzie

Cadets Soliz and Valverde give a ready to go thumbs up, as Pilot Travis McKenzie gets ready to start the Cessna

Wright Brother’s 1st U.S. Military Flyer Replica’s Engine Starts

 FASF Advisor, Jim Davis

Jim Davis (at Left), one of the original founders of the FASF, and still one of our principal Advisors, took the following 7 minute 14 second video of the exact replica of the Wright Flyer Military model, which was first tested in July of 1909 at Ft. Myers, Virginia, the site of the current Arlington National cemetery This particular event filmed by Jim was held to celebrate the 1st start-up and ground test of the identical engine to that which successfully launched that flyer into the air that eventful day.  The entire project to memorialize that first U.S. Military aircraft was manned and operated by old friends of Jim’s.  This video of his friends’ project, called The Wright Experience, is also narrated by Jim. 

Jim’s friends with the “The Wright Experience” team has now built four (4) of the Wright Flyer, B models, one of which crashed, killing the two aviators on board, in a rural Ohio field during the summer of 2011. The others are on display at museums across the country.  See the 2nd video below to discover more about “The Wright Experience” enterprise.

Without further ado, let’s watch this historic replica as it gets rolled out of its temporary hangar at College Park, MD’s historic “World’s First Airport,” adjacent to Washington, DC and Ft. Myers, where that original Wright flying machine was first tested and accepted by the U.S. Army Signal Corp’s newly founded Aviation group.  It was at College Park’s airfield where the Wright Brothers taught our earliest military pilots how to fly their unique aeroplane.  This is in celebration of the tenth anniversary of this event video taped by Mr. Davis.

Wright Flyer – – – and “The Wright Experience” team

(Video length 3:02)