An early member of the FASF, Charlie Overstreet, took his final flight two weeks ago from his home in El Paso, Texas. He was also an active member of the El Paso Daedalian Flight 24 and one of its former Captains. Charlie, over the past ten years, has also been one of our FASF Aviation News Reporters. He was a long-time docent at Santa Teresa’s, New Mexico’s War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM), and was an active member of its Board of Directors. Both the Daedalians, the WEAM, and the FASF will sorely miss Charlie’s positive personality and his incessant “can do” spirit. Here, below, is his Daedalian Flight’s Memorial headline honoring his long service (his wife of 61 years, Mayre Sue, is at the far right with Charlie at a Daedalian gathering):
Charles “Charlie” Overstreet passed away on February 3, 2022. He was born in 1937 to Charlesand Zelma Overstreet.Charlie’sdad was a Coast Guard officer and his earliest memories were of being at Coast Guard Air Stations all around the country, watching airplanes with his dad and younger brother Lane Overstreet. This inspired a lifelong passion for aviation and patriotism.
Upon graduation from the University of Miami, Where he was a member of the AFROTC unit, Charlie was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF.
He entered pilot training at Big Spring, Texas where he met his future wife Mayre Sue. They married in the summer of 1961 when he finished B-47 Stratojet bomber training and was assigned to Forbes AFB, Kansas. While in Kansas, Charlie and Mayre Sue had two sons. The oldest Charles Overstreet was born in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crises, Charlie had to take a couple of hours off a nuclear alert to be at the hospital. James Overstreet was born just before his dad left for B-52 Stratofortess bomber combat crew transition training at Castle AFB, California. In 1969 Charlieand his B-52 combat crew joined the conflict in Vietnam, where he flew 55 combat missions during Operation ArcLight. Upon returning from South East Asia, Charlie left active duty with the USAF.
In 1971 the US Customs Service Sky Marshal program hired Charlie and in 1972 he was promoted to a Special Agent/Pilot position in San Antonio, TX. He transferred to DEA in 1973 as one of the initial stand-up cadre. Within a couple of years, he helped stand up the air branch supporting sensitive counter narcotics’ operation, sometimes doing things with airplanes that are generally frowned upon today.
In 1985 he transferred to El Paso, retiring from DEA in 1994. Refusing to slow down, for 17 years Charlietaught as a substitute teacher at Coronado High School. After retiring from teaching Charlie became a volunteer at the War Eagles Air Museum, he just loved being around airplanes. Charlie enjoyed working with his colleagues on the War Eagle museum staff and as a docent for visiting students.
One of his most recent and passionate endeavors was honoring our Texas and New Mexico veterans through the organization and development of the Santa Teresa Veterans Memorial Park in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. He enjoyed hunting, skeet/trap shooting, cigars, and traveling around the world with his family and friends. Charlie was a member of Safari Club International, The Order of the Daedalians, and the FASF.
Charlie2nd from Right with his fellow Daedalians (L to R) Roger Nichols, Bob Pitt, Ric Lambart, and at far right, Mario Campos, all at Holloman AFB (HAFB), NM.
Charlieintroduces WEAM CEO, Mike Epp at Daedalian Meeting just this past November 3, 2021
Charlie at Daedalian Meeting Podium this past November 2021
Charlie at Daedalian luncheon table with his wife, Marye Sue, and Colonel Alan Fisher at left.
Services were held at Martin Funeral Home, in El Paso, yesterday (Monday), February 14,2022.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for Charlie may be made to the Veterans Project-Santa Teresa Charitable Foundation, 2660 Airport Road #780, Santa Teresa NM 88008. We already miss you, Charlie.
This is one of the British made silk maps tightly folded and inserted into one of the playing pieces of the games of Monopoly which were distributed to POW’s in Germany by the International Red Cross. The maps helped many among the some 34,000 odd Allied POW’s who managed to escape their Axis Prisons in Europe during WWII.
This story is thanks to a submission by Roger Nichols, former Flight Captain of the El Paso Daedalians, and a long-time FASF enthusiast and member. The following is from an Internet Fact-Checking group, “Truth or Fiction,” which ascertained the truthfulness of a number of similar fact-based stories about this interesting aspect of WWII. This summarizes their own research into the tale:
The Monopoly board game was created in 1933 by Charles Darrowwho approached Parker Brothers regarding the marketing of the game. At first, Parker Brothers turned him down but two years later purchased the game from Darrow and today it is one the most popular board games in the world.
Silk maps of Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden did exist during the Second World War, according to an article written by Debbie Hall for the Map Forum magazine in 1999. Debbie Hallhas a special interest in silk maps and was the Map Curator at the British Library, where some of these silk maps are currently on display.
According to the article, The Waddington PLC company in England manufactured playing cards and game boards including the ones for Monopoly that were marketed in Great Britain. Monopoly games were sent to British prisoners of war in Germany by the International Red Cross. According to Hall, Silk maps of the area were hidden in the games along with special features such as a file and compass, made to look like game pieces, along with real currency hidden in the monopoly play money to aid the prisoners in their escape.
Silk map of Holland, Belgium and France
This was not the plan of MI-5 , however, but rather an idea from another branch of the British secret service. Hallexplained that in 1939, the British government had set up an agency designated as MI-9 whose primary mission was to assist resistance fighters behind enemy lines and recover Allied troops being held prisoner.
MI-9 developed the military policy of escape and evasion and that it was the “duty of all those captured to try to escape if possible.” Hall said, “One man who was behind many of M19’s most ingenious plans, including the Waddington project, was Christopher Clayton-Hutton.” This agency found out that the Waddington Company had the technology to print maps on on silk and made a special request of the company. Silk maps made no noise, took up very little space and could be folded into a garment or hidden in a package of cigarettes. A tiny compass was also hidden in uniform buttons and used as a tool for escape in case a pilot was shot down behind enemy lines.
Truth or Fiction recently spoke to Bill Knowles, a former Canadian pilot who flew with the RAF on D Day. Knowles told us that, druing the latter days of the conflict in Europe, any escape routes and safe house information were generally memorized by pilots, by the time he was flying missions, and that no un-coded information would have been printed on anything that could have been intercepted by the enemy as that could have endangered all involved in these types of operations.
The British Official Secrets Act is what bound everybody involved to secrecy and we have sent an inquiry to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK to verify if this story has truly been de-classified and no longer confidential.
Here’s one of most popularly circulated stories about this Monoply game scheme on today’s Internet, and it actually appears to be fact-based and essentially true:
Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the authorities were casting-about for ways and means to facilitate their escape. Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where-stuff-was, but also showing the locations of ‘safe houses’, where a POW on-the-loose could go for food and shelter. Paper maps had some real drawbacks: They make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear-out rapidly and if they get wet, they turn into mush.
Someone in MI-5 (actually, the project ended up in a new branch of the spy agency: MI-9) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It’s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise what-so-ever. At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd.
When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort. By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, ‘games and pastimes’ was a category item qualified for insertion into ‘CARE packages’, dispatched by the International Red Cross, to prisoners of war.
Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were located (Red Cross packages were delivered to prisoners in accordance with that same regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.
As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington’s also managed to add:
1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass,
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together.
3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of
British and American air-crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square! Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an
estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.
Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy Indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful use in still another, future war.
The story wasn’t de-classified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were finally honoured in a public ceremony. Anyway, it’s always nice when you can play that ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.
**** Your editor feels that any listing concealed in the “CARE” packages distributed via the Red Cross would NOT have included any lists of “Safe Houses,” since doing so would expose those who kept such safe havens open and active could be far too easily revealed, thereby posing a direct threat to their lives, not to mention terminating their underground activities.
If you have any other information about this piece of WWII history, please let us know and we’d be glad to print it here. Or, if you have any information to add to this story, please do share it with us. Thanks!
The 8th Fighter Squadron (Fighting Patch at left) has been with us since November of 1940, when it was first organized at Selfridge Army Air Field, in Michigan. Decommissioned for a while, it is now back in the front lines of our Air Defense against any would be adversaries. This weekend saw its first graduating class of new F-16 Viper pilots since its arrival last year at Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamagordo, NM. According to the Squadon’s commander, Lt. Colonel Mark Sletten,each of the evening’s graduates’ training has cost the Air Force about eight (8) million dollars.
The squadron is best known as the Black Sheep Squadronof World War II fame and for one of its commanding officers, Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, one of WWII’s top USMC fighter Aces, whose memoirs inspired the 1970s television show “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron, which dramatized the squadron’s exploits during the war.
Although the original “Black Sheep” group was composed of USMC pilots, their Squadron no longer exists, so it’s been reborne, but this time as a USAF Fighter Squadron, not a USMC outfit. (This clarification the suggestion of Capt. Robbie Ritchie).
“These guys get to be a part of a very special fraternity and we have absolutely trained them up well to go out and be a part of that fraternity, the combat arms we know and love,” said Lt. Col. Mark Sletten,8th FS commander. “For them to be a part of the greatest nation, the greatest
military, greatest service and of course the greatest platform – the F-16, leaving here tonight as qualified F-16 pilots makes us all proud.”
Getting all of the people shown below properly identified could not have been done without the indispensible assistance of the Daedalian Leadership Awardee, Captain Robbie “Ramm” Ritchie,* who made sure we properly identified all those shown. Prior to this specialized fighter training with the 8th, Captain Ritchie had been an instructor pilot. The name used for such already experienced new Basic students is FAIP, which stands for: First Assignment Instructor Pilot. This prior duty assignment helps account for Robbie’s rank of Captain.
Remember: Click on any photo below to show it in hight resolution and full-size.
L to R: Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, Commander of the 8th Fighter Squadron, Colonel Bob Pittand his wife, Julie.
L to R: Col. Pittin conversation with Captain Ely Smith, the evening’s Master of Ceremonies
L to R: Roger Nichols, son of the WWII Ace after whom the El Paso Flight is named, Julie and Col. Pitt,and Dr. Bryan Harris, USAF Colonel, Retired. Col. Harris, now a contractor, is in charge of all the F-16 Viper Maintenance for the 8th Fighter Squadron
All long-time FASF members, Roger Nichols, immediate past Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, looks over the evening’s coming program with the Pitts
L to R: Julie and Col. Pittwith Roger Nichols
Many families attended the graduation and wives and girlfriends of both the 8th’s staff as well as graduating students, busily used their phones to record the celebration. Above, to the the right of the Pittsis the wife of flight instructor, Major Jared Aschenbrenner, collecting memories of the event on her phone camera
Colonel Jeff (“Tank”) Patton, FASF Member, and Commander of the 49th Operations Group, poses with Nichols and Pitt.
View of part of the Dining Hall in the Holloman Club, at which the event was held
Colonel Jeff Patton and his wife, Tracy.
Photo on one of the several large projection screens, showing this Viper Fighter Class’ Students on an F-16’s wing
New Fighter Pilot Graduate,Captain Nicholas Atkins, gets the festivities underway
One of the classes’ distinguished graduates, Robert “Ramm” Ritchie,presented the award for the “Most valuable non-commissioned officer” to Master Sergeant Cope on behalf of its recipient, Sergeant Merril
L to R: Captain Ritchiepresented the most valuable Flight Instructor award to Major Nathan “Stuka” Lightfoot
L to R: Colonel Bob Pittdescribes the history of El Paso’s Flight 24, Order of the Daedalians and its Namesake, General Nick Nichols to the audience as 2nd Lt. Seth Bolonand Colonel Mark “Tyson” Sletten, Squadron Commander, look on. Lt. Bolon is a member of the new incoming 8th Fighter Squadron class.
L to R:Capt. Ely Smith,MC, 2nd Lt Seth Bolon, look on as Col. Bob Pitt presents the General Nichols Daedalian Leadership Awardto Capt. Robbie Ritchie, while Squadron CO., Col. Mark Slettencongratulates him on the achievement. Captain Ritchiewill head to Shaw AFB, South Carolina for his next duty assignment. His classmates are going to all corners of the globe for their new pilot assignments.
Colonel Pitthands the Daedalian Award to Captain Robert Ritchie,as the 8th’s Commander, Col. Sletten, proudly poses beside the new awardee. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart). Lt. Bolon in background
L to R: Colonel Miles “Cowboy” Crowell,with River Rat Awardee, Lt. Scott Lafferty,and fellow River Rat member, Colonel Jeff Patton. This award is given to the student of each class with whom his or her fellow pilots would most prefer to fly in combat.
L to R: Lt. Seth Bolon, looks on as Col.Sletten poses with Daedalian Trophy Winner, Capt Ritchie, as they hold his Graduation Certificate, while Captain Ian “Bear” Leeand Captain Allison “Bandit” Romanko, 8th Fighter Squadron Instructors, look on. Eight Viper pilot students graduated from the 8th FS’ first F-16 B-Course, nearly eighty years since the squadron’s induction on Nov. 20, 1940.
All eight graduates line up on stage for their class graduation portrait. R to L: Captain Daniel Rule, Captain Robert Ritchie, Captain Reese Black, Captain Bradley Beninati, 1st Lt. Evan Wade, 1st Lt. Scott Lafferty, 1st Lt. Kent Greer, and Captain Nicholas Atkins.
L to R: FASF and Daedalian Members, Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols and Col. Bob Pitt, flank Leadership Trophy winner, Capt. Robbie (“Ramm”) Ritchie
Roger Nichols discusses his father’s and his own USAF career with Leadership Awardee, Capt. “Ramm” Ritchie
Below, is the the class video, 11 minutes long, which shows many clips taken from the months of fllight and fighter training the eight members of this first graduating class of the 8th Fighter Squadronexperienced in their work with the Viper Fighter. Aside from a few inserts of actual wartime footage target anihilation (taken in the mideast), the video content was primarily taken by the students or HAFB Public Affairs videographers during their training activities. The video gives the viewer and unique insight into the experience these young men went through this past year at Holloman.
The film uses a number of special effects for the dramatization of some of the student experiences, such as refueling practice and of the TDY (Temporary Duty assignment) to Louisiana’s Bayou country. The video was produced by class member, Lt. Evan Wade, and also shows, quite graphically, to where each of the graduates will be going for their front line fighter assignment. This video can be seen best when your monitor is set to full-screen mode. Lt. Wade garners some top-gun kudos for his excellent production.
* Here is part of the official HAFB Public Affairs Office news release concerning Daedalian Award Recipient, Capt Robbie Ritchie:
This class’ recipient of the coveted Daedalian Flight 24 Leadership Award this
year, was Capt. Robert Ritchie. The Captain, one of the 8th Fighter Squadron F-16
Basic-Course graduates, always knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot.
Ritchie’sfather is a retired Air Force pilot who flew C-130s and T-38s, before
flying for a commercial airline out of Minnesota.
“I was one of those kids that built model aircraft and hung them from the ceiling,”
said Ritchie. “My childhood bedroom was one big aerial battle.”
Ritchiegraduated with an undergraduate degree followed by a Masters of Science in
aerospace engineering from the University of Minnesota, before leaving for Officer
Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Of the eight Viper pilots to graduate from Class 18-CBF, Ritchie was one of five who
were First Assignment Instructor Pilots “FAIP” trained on another aircraft before coming
“On behalf of Class 18-CBF, I can honestly say our experience training here on Holloman Air Force Base has been one of the most professional experiences that we have ever been
involved with,” said Ritchie.“From the jets, to the instructors, to the maintainers, to the air traffic controllers, how the base is run and everything in-between.”
The speaker scheduled for this last Spring meeting fell ill and couldn’t make the luncheon, so the El Paso General “Nick” Nichols’ Flight 24simply turned its focus back on its own members, and towards making sure its most recent past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols (General Nichols’ son), had a proper send-off.
Roger will soon leave to be near his children and grandchildren in Oklahoma. Because the Flight had some extra time, because of the absence of the scheduled speaker, it turned its attention towards gaining a more detailed insight into each of the member’s individual careers, both in the service, and in their later civilian lives. Here, below, are the photos of today’s event – and of each member sharing some of their unique personal history.
Today’s luncheon was also one to which the member’s wives and/or guests were invited. Because Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, was out of state, Vice Captain, Ric Lambartpresided. He shared a group of photos which were taken over the weekend during the regular annual “Dining Out” celebration held at New Mexico State University (NMSU) by the local Air Force ROTC Detachment 505. Many years ago, flight Provost Marshall, Alan Fisher, had actually commanded that same AFROTC unit.
Both Mario and Ric had been invited to attend AFROTC event. Colonel Campos, once an AFROTC cadet himself, was the featured speaker. He shared what the cadets might expect during their own upcoming USAF assignments based on his own experiences.
(All of the below photos may be seen full-size and in High Resolution, by clicking on them)
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreetand Julie Pitt.
L to R: Col. Norm Riceand Roger Nichols.
L to R: Mary Barnes arrives with Flight Chaplain, Roger Springstead.
L to R: Bob Pitt, Virg Hemphill, Pete Brandon, Mary Barnesand Roger Springstead.Col. Norm Rice‘s is seated in the foreground.
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Mary Barnes,and Julie Pitt
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Melissa Fisher and Mary Barnes, speaking withJulie Pitt (back of head to camera)
L to R: Flight Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt, engrossed in conversation with past Flilght Captain, Roger Nichols
L to R: Alan Fisher speaking with Virg Hemphill.Ulla Rice is in the foreground
L to R: Roger Springsteadand Ric Lambartgive a thumbs up to photographer, Jerry Dixon
L to R: Virg Hemphill, Mary Barnes, Pete Brandon, Alan and Melissa Fisher, Norm and Ulla Rice, with Charlie and Mayre Sue Overstreet just off camera to the right.
L to R: Jerry Dixon describes his USMC pilot experience as Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead look on.
L to R: Virg Hemphilllistens as Roger Springstead shares his Naval Aviator career, while his friend, Mary Barneslistens
L to R: Mary Barnes listens as Pete Brandondescribes his extensive USAF and Northrup-Grumman careers
L to R: Virg Hemphill talks about his USAF Fighter Pilot and Airline experiences as Roger Springstead and Mary Barneslisten
Alan Fisher shares his own USAF experiences along with his current active engagements as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol
L to R: Melissa Fishertalks about her own USAF career as both a RN and her later teaching years
L to R: Colonel Norm Rice relates his own Fighter Pilot experiences in the Air Force – and how he and his wife, Ulla,met, when he was stationed in Great Britain
Larry Spradlintells of his own USAF aviator experiences
L to R: Charlie Overstreetdescribes some humorous experiences as both an Air Force Pilot and also during his later 2nd career, piloting for the DEA, as his wife Mayre Sue enjoys the memories. Julie Pitt is at the right.
L to R: Julie Pittlistens and her husband, Colonel Bob Pitt, tells of his experiences over Viet Nam, flying both the F-101 and F-4 fighters, whileRoger Nicholstake it all in
Ric Lambart describes some of the photos taken at this past weekend’s AFROTC “Dining-Out” event at NMSU
L to R: Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols, and Bob Pittpose, after Roger was presented with a special going-away gift from the Flight
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 Nicholsand Col. Mario Campos.
Lt. Col. “Burn” Clapper, Commander of 314th Fighter Squadron,Captain “Titto” Hannah, who shepherded the Daedalians, andCol. “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 the314th 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,Colonels “Cowboy” 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” Pattonare all smiles. Lt. Clarkalso 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.
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’sWWII 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 NixonAdministration’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 linkto a number of other films made of that same campaign.
The presentation by Rogerwas 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 Nicholsholds 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.
Any of the following photographs may be seen in full high resolution by simply clicking on them.
Bob Dockendorf describes the history of the WEAM
Bob described the museum’s history and how it was started by fellow El Pasoans, John and Betty MacGuire, both of whom were avid aviators, 32 years ago.
L to R: Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, and Col. Bob Pitt.
Earlier this year Bob was elected to the El Paso Aviation Hall of fame in recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the local aviation community since taking command of the WEAM.
L to R at right: Bob Dockendorf, Col. Mario Campos, Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and USAF ROTC Cadet and Daedalian Flight Training Scholarship Awardee, Ammber Valverde.
His historical operation had 17,000 visitors this past year, guests who came to enjoy and learn from the museum’s exhibit of some 36 WWII, Korean and Vietnam era “war birds,” many of which are still in flying condition.
L to R: Alan Fisher, Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, Bob Pitt, Scott Drake, Bob Dockendorf, Mario Campos (Flight Captain), Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, and Roger Nichols, past Flight Captain.
In addition to the display of these vintage aircraft, this native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, oversees a colorful collection of over 50 antique automobiles and motorcycles. Bob has been an enthusiastic car collector for many years, and has also been both a student of aviation and history since he was a young man growing up in the Midwest.
Dave Ginn, who just returned from a quick tour to Iraq, describes his experience.
The WEAM also boasts an intriguing climate-controlled library consisting of thousands of books, periodicals, photographs and other documents, mostly related to aviation, automobiles and history.
Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos conducting flight business. To his right, above (left to you) is his guest, former Army aviator and test pilot, Scott Drake.
The War Eagles keeps its admission prices low in order to expose the greatest number of people its educational exhibits and materials. Students are admitted free of charge and veterans, seniors and military personnel are welcomed with a discounted admission price.
Dave Ginn and Alan Fisherlisten to Mr. Dockendorf
While the museum was initially the singular philanthropic enterprise of its founders, the MacGuires,Bobhas recently begun to transition the institution from a privately funded non-profit educational enterprise, to one of a more self-supporting and public nature. Although John MacGuirepassed away in 2001, his wife Bettymaintains almost daily contact with the Executive Director of her beloved museum.
Colonel Norm Rice enjoys his desert while his wife, Ulla, looks on.
The assembled Daedalians, all members of the FASF, and who all also know Bob well, expressed their enthusiastic appreciaton for his presentation. his fourth to this Daedalian Flight since becoming the museum’s CEO.
L to R: Dave Ginnand Alan Fisher
Mr. Dockendorf additionally explained his initiative for a new organization, The Rio Grande Aviation Council. The new group will be devoted to area aviation interests and development, and which will be composed of leaders from area aviation interests such as the CAP, EAA, Daedalians, The Quiet Birdmen, Amigo Airsho – – – and, yes, even the FASF.
L to R: Mario Campos and Jerry Dixon, and (sitting) Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols
L to R: Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and Ammber Valverde
Roger NicholsandAmmber Valverde
L to R: Scott Drake,Larry Spradlin, and Bob Dockendorf
Ammber Valverde and Virg Hemphill
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Jerry Dixon, Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols
Ammber Valverde and Alan Fisher
L to R: Scott Drake, Roger Nichols, Virg Hemphill, Larry Spradlin, and Colonel Mario Campos
The above WWII Army Air Corps’ Pilot Training Film is courtesy of Zero’s Drive in Videos, and it is 35:41 in length. Remember to click on the full-screen view button of the video in the lower right hand corner of the film’s start up screen, if you’d enjoy seeing the larger screen version displayed.
The Flying Tiger’s shark mouthed P-40 is one of the most iconic aircraft of WWII. Here, above, you can watch the film used to actually train P-40 pilots. It was produced by P-40 manufacturer Curtiss-Wright (remember Curtiss? They produced the First Aero’s Jenny in 1916 & 17), and it is in rare WWII color. One of our long-standing active members, Roger Nichols’s (the current Flight Captain of the Order of Daedalians Flight 24, of El Paso, Texas) own father, Major General Frank Nichols, was stationed at Pearl Harbor on the day it was attacked by the Japanese Imperial Air Forces on December 7, 1941. The then young Lieutenant took off to fight the overwhelming enemy forces in his P-40 Warhawk, which he continued to fly on other missions in the South Pacific War Theater, before transferring to other types of aircraft, such as the P-38 Lightening. Claire Chenault’sFlying Tiger’s (see above photo of Flying Tiger version with its unique paint job) deadly weapon in China was the P-40. It was the Army Air Corp’s main front-line fighter at the outbreak of the War. Not as agile as a Japanese Zero, the P-40 nevertheless made up for that with speed, especially in a dive – – – and firepower. This rugged Curtiss-Wright built plane served the Allies around the world, from the deserts of North Africa to the jungles of SE Asia.
The aircraft featured in the above manufacturer’s film is a P-40F or L, both models of which were powered by Packard built British Rolls Royce Merlins for better high altitude performance. Other P-40 versions were powered by American Allison engines. P-40s supplied to Commonwealth countries were known as “Kittyhawks.”The other variant of the Curtiss Fighter was known as the Tomahawk.