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C141Heaven: 2008 Blog

Sunday, December 28, 2008 03:32 pm

Pilot's Story about a low approach

John Attebury sent in some comments about a very low approach.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 03:31 pm

67‑00006/67‑0008 Crashes

In December 2008 C141Heaven received the following note from Francis Tower:

I was the weather forecaster on duty 28 Aug, 1976 when both 67‑0008 and 67‑0006 crashed. We first got the call on 0008 and began our checklists for an aircraft accident. As you can imagine, it got very busy and noisy. It seemed like 45 minutes later one of the flight controllers got a call regarding 0006. He shouted to the commander that he had a report of a C141 crash. The commander shouted back "We already have the Greenland crash".

"Sir", he replied, this one is in England".

As the weather flight follower, it was my job to keep the flight updated on en route weather. So close to England I wasn't able to contact the aircraft through Mildenhall and update the weather forecast.

To this day I feel sorrow for all crew and passengers on both flights.

Concerning 0008, the speculation in the command post from the experienced C‑141 pilots was that flying into Sondrestrom and not having landed there before the pilots view (because of the hump in the runway) was of the runway suddenly ending at the base of the mountains. The crew could have panicked and started a go around with insufficient air speed to clear the enclosing mountains.

Francis Tower
Capt, USAF Ret.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 02:49 pm

Old Travis Maintenance Schedule

From Gary Klein:

I came across the other day stored in one of my closets, a zippered folder containing some material from my stint in the Air Force. One thing that I found that some of the maintenance guys may find of interest is a form that was handed out at the beginning of the shift to the crew chiefs at Travis AFB.

It is a Daily Maintenance/Flying Schedule from July '68 or '69.

Gary L. Klein
Former 602 OMS member and C‑141 Crew Chief

Thursday, September 25, 2008 11:45 am

710th MAS --October 1991

Harold Suggs submitted this photo and roster a week ago:


Thursday, September 25, 2008 11:32 am

Place the mask over your nose...

Mark Dean dug these out of a box of old AF stuff in his basement....

Saturday, September 13, 2008 07:29 am

Scott Airshow...

A couple of emails of note for those of you near Scott AFB....

We are going to be able to open the old CINCMAC plane up one more time before she goes to the new Heritage Air Park being built at Scott AFB. This was the second to the last C‑141 c model to retire. In fact, her last flight into Scott was a month before the Starlifter Farewell at WPAFB. I'm hoping that you can pass on the message below and see if any retirees in/around the St Louis area want to come on out and a spend a little time showing her off. I know there has to be a few Scott Mafia crewmembers still out there somewhere. Would love to see as many 141 alums out there as possible.

For the older guys - C model experience not required (not much changed except glass instruments). Uniforms not required either in case the flight suit has shrunk a little - they seem to do that over time!

I didn't have time this week to check and see what bases are flying in a C-17, C‑5, KC-135 but maybe some Charleston, Andrews, WP or west coast folks can hitch a ride in if they are really interested - just a thought, no plan.

-----Original Message----- From: Greer, Lucia A SMSgt USAF AMC 618
Sent: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 6:04 pm
Subject: C‑141 at the airshow this year - come on out!!
Hey Guys,

Do you want to work the 141 static again this year? We are going to open it up for the Scott Air Show again on 20/21 Sep. Let me know if you want to work any of it. I don't have any set shifts just whatever time you can give 2hrs, 4hrs etc; beggars can't be choosers so whatever you would like to work. Just email me and let me know. If you can think of anyone else that was there from last year please forward it to them or anyone who would like to come out this year. Former front-end crew, AE or Mx - all are welcome. I've got a couple of local area retirees interested in coming in.

The CAP cadets will work the entry and exits so, the crew members (since there are not many of us) who can be on the flight deck/cargo compartment.

This will probably be the last time the old girl gets powered up and walked through as she will be going to Heritage Air Park for her permanent home in the spring.

Air show hours are 0900 to 1700 Sat and Sun. You will get an exhibitor badge that will allow you to park near the flight line and get a free burger or dog.

Last year we were in a great spot on the ramp to watch the flying show from the shade of the wings and this year the weather should be a little cooler. Would love to see you all there. She powered up just fine last year and, had the flight controls not been bolted, she would have passed a full pre-flight. Let's have a great time spending the weekend with the old girl!

TACC/XOPC Commercial Planner
Flight Engineer/Logistician dsn 779-3046

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 04:38 pm


Lee Sisselsky sent in some interesting info and photos of 61-02777 (the one with that ugly 'can' on the back that was used for some special testing).

Click HERE to see the details.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 10:18 am

C‑141 Tail Markings

Does anyone know when they started putting the colorful tail markings linked to the specific bases they were assigned to on the C‑141s? I don't know if this was at the same time they painted them all gray ... or at some point later. If you know, please email or contact me

Monday, August 18, 2008 11:39 am

From Today's Headlines

According to a news story today on CNNMoney.com General Dynamics has agreed to pay $4.06 million to the US Government to settle charges that "a subsidiary fraudulently billed the government for parts used in U.S. Navy aircraft and submarines", including the C‑141! The charges were filed against General Dynamics, and its Armament and Technical Products Inc. unit in a 2003 lawsuit, which alleged that "between September 2001 and August 2003, [they] defectively manufactured or failed to test parts used in various Navy aircraft, including the C‑141 transport plane....".

Now that would be news to all of us C‑141 Nuts.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 03:33 pm

Old Documents

John Burford has been spending a bit of time working on a C‑141 history project and spent some time in the archives at Maxwell. He found the original cover letter Lockheed submitted with its proposal to the Air Force.


Interesting but useless trivia:

Robert E. Gross and his brother (and investors) bought the "Detroit Aircraft Company" for $42,000 in 1932 and renamed it to "Lockheed Corporation". Lockheed had originally been founded by Allan Loughead, who sold it to Detroit Aircraft, which subsequently went bankrupt.

He died of pancreatic cancer on Sept 5th, 1961. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale California, in a crypt next to Walt Disney.

It Ain't the Rolling Stone
But at least he's on the cover!

1968 Lockheed sample stock certificate had a naked lady on it!
Looking to the sky of course!


Sunday, August 17, 2008 02:23 pm

Tube of Pain? Good Job Brownie

In the "olden days" many of the C‑141s crew and passengers came to call it the "tube of pain". We had web seats and if you were lucky some crummy old airliner-typee seats that faced backward and had about 1 inch of padding on them. If you were REALLY lucky they sometimes had a "comfort pallet" with a little kitchen and integrated toilets (it always seemed to me that the proximity of those two creature comforts was too close for a guarantee of sanitation ... and they never put that nice little strip of paper over the toilet seat!)

A few weeks ago an article popped up in the headlines and on the internet detailing a little diversion of Global War on Terror funds to a "Senior Leader Comfort Capsule". It was fruitlessly renamed to "Senior Leader Intransit Conference Capsule" to avoid any embarrassment at the excess and waste of funds. They should still hang their heads in shame that our tax money is being spent this way (but of course, they won't.)


Will they get HBO on that 37" flat screen?


You can see lots of detailed documents about waste of taxpayer funds at this link: Project On Government Oversight click here for a copy of the article.

For my money, they should simply strap these VIP types to a beat-up old pallet with some rusty tie-down chains and hook it to a parachute full of holes and send them sailing out the back of the plane over the ocean somewhere between the US and wherever they are headed for their important meetings. Think of the future savings possibilities.

Of course, Senate and Congressional delegations are one of the prime "customers" for VIP transit. It's unlikely that the budget for this boondoggle will be cut or even given a second glance.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 01:47 pm

Travis Housing Burns!

From today's papers....

Sunday, August 17, 2008 01:43 pm

Still Here

Hi All! I've been pretty swamped with work-related issues for the past month or so and fighting some hackers who did damage to the discussion forums...don't know if I'll ever get them back. In any case, I've been consolidating all the material I've located and you have sent in over the past month and will be posting it over the next week. Please keep checking for new material here on the blog.

Sunday, July 6, 2008 05:07 pm

Hughes TTS

Harold Suggs (MSG Retired, former FE FE) submitted the following image of a poster hanging in his den. If anyone else has any more information regarding the HUGHES TTS .. images, manuals, workbooks, tests, etc., please email or contact me and share what you have in that old box in the garage with the rest of us.

Sunday, July 6, 2008 12:12 pm

eBay Model Find

I want to share my Aurora model I got about a year ago on eBay. My father worked on this plane in the '70s. I felt that 61-2778 was right tail number for this model.

I'm a Crew Chief on MC‑130P 65‑0975 Thanks

Richard Figueroa

Sunday, July 6, 2008 11:47 am


Thursday, Jul 3, 2008 at 2:31 PM

I was not in the Air Force but I do have lots of time flying in the C141 because I was a paratrooper back in the early 80's.

I am including some pictures that were taken by my friend John Tosie. I don't know what the tail numbers are but I got to jump out of C‑141 Aircraft over 60 times. I was assigned to C company 27 Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Airborne) for almost 5 years.

You can use these pictures on you website but please give my friend John credit for them.

(Photos © John Tosie) I first heard of C141Heaven from another of my Airborne friends. When I first browsed it I had a tear come to my eye when I found out the C‑141 was not flying any more. It hurts to see those airplanes broken up for scrap because they were a great airplane to jump out of.

I went to March AFB museum earlier this year and was lucky to be able to go aboard the C‑141 they had there. It brought back lots of memories when I went inside of it.

The C‑141 was the only aircraft that you could not freeze in the door. You were committed to jump when your first foot went out because you got sucked out of the door.

Peter C Duras
Staff Sargent

Sunday, July 6, 2008 08:54 am

Doug Maxwell

An article From the July 4th Saint-Louis Dispatch.

Sunday, July 6, 2008 08:06 am

Attention Norton Alumni....Does anybody know Cisco?

Sat, Jul 5, 2008 at 8:22 AM

I found C141Heaven on the net looking for any photos or information regarding Norton AFB. My father worked on the flight line as a civilian aircraft mechanic from the early 1950s until the early 1980s this was a time that C‑141s were serviced regularly at Norton. I am trying to organize a tribute to my father for the many years of service he performed at Norton AFB.

My father is a colorful character affectionately called "Cisco" by those who know him. His real name is "Charlie Carrillo" some people may have called him "Charlie". His tribute is planned for late October of this year to celebrate his 90th birthday. The new management of what was once Norton AFB (now renamed San Bernardino Airport) has given their permission and support to host the tribute at their facilities on the base.

It should be a fun event and the San Bernardino Historical Society has also expressed interest.

My question to you is two-fold:

1) Would you have any resources to find personnel that may have worked with my father during his service at Norton AFB 1954-1982 and

2) would you have access to any photos of the flight line or C‑141s taken at Norton AFB.

Prior to working at Norton he also worked on aircraft at Lockheed in California and Kelly AFB in San Antonio from 1937 through the 1940's.

Any information or resources that you might be able to provide would be very much appreciated. My father is still in great health and can and affectionately does recount many stories of working on C‑141s and the other aircraft that he serviced in his extensive career.

Thank you for your website, and the information you provide. I would be happy to provide you with any information I gather also, however the tribute is at this time a surprise for my father and I may be limited in that regard. I hope you can help!

Jesse Carrillo [Teletracksjesse@adelphia.net]

Sunday, July 6, 2008 07:50 am


Sat, Jul 5, 2008 at 1:01 PM

This was a picture taken (probably in 1985) during a flight from a 4-ship airdrop in Panama on the way back to Charleston. The aircraft were bobbing up and down but amazingly the one picture I took had them welded in place.

Colonel Steve Cotter
Former Charleston DO, 21st AF/DO during Desert Storm, and McGuire Vice Commander

Saturday, June 7, 2008 05:13 pm

Some new pics


Early 70s view of the transient ramp at Clark.
The crews of these aircraft were looking forward to their first San Miguel.
Copyright: Duncan Williams.

Duncan Williams sent some nice photos from the '70s! Check the following links for his shots:

63‑8089 64‑0619 64‑0652 66‑0177

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 03:05 pm

Some eBay stuff

For bachelors only. It would be very hard to persuade "She Who Must Be Obeyed" that a C‑5 engineer's procedure training panel has any place at all in our home.

Maybe this $5.00 postcard would pass muster?

Friday, May 30, 2008 07:07 am


After a little bit of Googlin' I found a shot of the A-380 center console with a nice close up shot of the mystery device.

From this angle you can see that it's a trackball .. linked to the computer that runs the whole aircraft. Wonder if they are running Windows? Whoops ... it froze ... give me a second, then CTL-ALT-DEL ... wait 5 minutes for it to come back up ... probably not.

The fantasy view of the A380 console

Thursday, May 29, 2008 05:37 pm

Those Frogs are at it again

Someone sent me a link to a special 360 degree viewer for the A380 cockpit. Very cool.

Please email or contact me and tell me what those two 'tits' are in just there on the console on either side of the throttles? Perhaps some sort of pressure sensitive roller-ball mouse type thing? Or just something to fondle on a long over-water flight?

Thursday, May 29, 2008 06:37 am

Info on Sigonella Crash

Got this note from Karl Juelch .... anyone with any insight or other info, please let me know and I'll pass it on to him:

As a former C‑141 Crew Chief and Flight Engineer, it has been a very powerful experience going through the site, seeing long ago half-forgotten names, pictures, and references to events.

I have been haunted by a number of events that happened to me during my C‑141 days, and after years of tossing them around in my head, I am now tying to put them down on paper. Some of my most troubling memories concern the crash of 64‑0264 at Sigonella.

You may recall it was a Charleston crew that went down in 264 on that awful day, but if things had gone just a little differently, it would have been a crew from McGuire instead, and I would have been a part of that crew. We had spent a good chunk of the preceding day trying to get 264 airborne, but one problem after another kept that from happening. We finally burned out our duty day and had to go back into crew rest. Maintenance worked on the acft through the night, and by the time morning rolled around we had been assigned another tail number. I remember as we were leaving breakfast en route to our preflight, we passed the ill-fated Charleston crew and wished them luck. We were in the air when we heard the terrible news of the crash. It was very quiet on the flight deck--we were all stunned and I'm sure more than a little guilty thinking, "There but for the grace of God...".

Anyway, here it is all these years later and I can't let this go. In an attempt to pay tribute to those brave guys (and maybe to find some sort of peace for myself), I've been researching this crash, trying to make some sense of it. One of the things I've been looking at is the causes of the crash. The effect of smoke inhalation on the crew has been well documented as the final cause of the crash itself, but I'm trying to get a better handle on what caused the in-flight emergency in the first place--the catastrophic failure of the #3 engine turbine section. I vaguely recall that at the time the TF-33 engine was not subject to an MTBO inspection regimen and instead was to be "operated until failure". It seems the regularly scheduled overhauls were so seldom turning up any problems it was decided to do away with them as a cost-saving measure.

Do you recall anything about that? Or could you perhaps point me in the direction of someone who might know? I have been scouring the web, searching under as many possible keywords I could think of and have found very little to no information on the crash itself, or on the possible reasons for the TF-33's disintegration (back in 1973 a C‑141 departing Australia suffered a near identical mishap, but they managed to land with no fatalities--though it was a damn close thing).

Thank you for any help or suggestions you could provide!

Best regards,

Karl Juelch

This response came in from Bill Mooney....

I was the jet engine dispatch shop chief at McGoo for a time and remember the engines were due time change for hot section inspections at 6000 hours. The only waver I recall was for 100 additional hours after a boroscope inspection, looking at the combustion cans and especially the first stage nozzle vanes. The vanes tended to bow over time and lift out of the platform base. Also they would warp so bad they pinged the high pressure turbine- we saw it several times with the scope. In my experience the engine failed the most on takeoff roll and on landing when reverse was applied on high time engines..Would love to know how much time was on the incident engine

Bill Mooney

Monday, May 19, 2008 02:49 pm

Surprise Sighting

My wife and I and a couple of wino friends just made a short trip to the Monterey Bay area for a weekend of golf and wine tasting. We flew from Tucson to LAX and on to San Jose. As we were landing in San Jose the pilot took an unusual (for me anyway) route around the west side of the airport to land towards the south... it was the first time I ever recall landing in that direction. I was sitting in a window seat on the left side of the cabin. My camera was all buttoned up per the 'put your electronic crap away' order from the flight attendants. Lo and behold, out the left window I got a great view of Moffett Field and the ramp area next to the big blimp hanger. It took me about two seconds to disobey orders from the cabin crew and pull out my camera. Miracle of miracles, we all lived to fly again!

Out of three quick shots I snapped only one was in decent focus. There, in all it's pure white glory, was NSA 714 ... check it out! The first one below is just a cropped closeup and the second is the 'big picture' view. It made my expensive trip to Monterey worth it just to see this.

Saturday, May 10, 2008 02:43 pm

On eBay this week

If you didn't get enough ACM seat time, you can get more from eBay.

Tin C‑141 toy.

Monday, May 5, 2008 12:21 pm


Finally got a set of pics of 63‑8081 which was a hole in the collection until Steven Hoppe, the former crew chief of this tail number from Nov 85 to Oct 89, sent a bunch to me this weekend.

Monday, May 5, 2008 12:02 pm

Can we all get along?

I got a new photo of 65‑0234 from former C‑141 flight engineer Bob Irvine. The photo was taken at the Monterey California airport at the time of the riots in Los Angeles area during April, 1992 (Remember Rodney King?)

Saturday, May 3, 2008 01:06 pm


From my brother-in-law, Dr. Jeffrey Neff, a PhD Chemist:

Research has led to the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neuron, 25 assistant neurons, 88 deputy neurons, and 198 assistant deputy neurons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-6 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neurons and deputy neurons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neurons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Monday, April 28, 2008 10:46 am

Some New Photos

Last week I got some new photos from the 60th AMW historian. You can view them at these links: 63‑8088








65‑9398 BINGO! A tailnumber we never had a photo of before!



Saturday, April 19, 2008 02:21 pm

Way Back Machine

I got a set of photos from Robert Sawyer and a little description of each one ... these are from a trip to Hanoi back in the 1973 to pick up a number of POW's .. including John McCain. Here's the pics and his comments on each.


This is the first C‑130 to land after the war. On board were representatives of the international team for POW release. On that morning there was a dense cloud cover and no ground support. (seems the USAF had eliminated all local navaids. While trying to find the airport the C‑130 crew was greeted by two Russion Migs The Mig pilot instructed the C‑130 to follow him, followed by a threat to shoot them down if they did not comply. The Mig pilot spoke perfect English --- there was no question as to his intent.

Our delegation was loaded on buses at the airport and driven downtown. Along the way the Vietnamese government had lined the streets with volunteers. There were specific instructions on to take photos from the bus, so our independently thinking translator put the camera under his arm and pressed the lens to the glass. We looked at the prints and identified some interesting characters. From the original 40 in the picture I was able to blow-up and print these shots. We determined that the dark-skinned individual was probably a product of the French occupation and soldier on the town. The guy by the tree was identified as someone who worked for the Americans. We had the suspicion that he had connections in the North, but could not provide it. The photo did.


Another 'under the arm photo'...The Hanoi Hilton.

The guy at the table in the white civies was the 'political officer' for the release.


We identified this guy as the chief interrogator at the Hanoi Hilton. Every time he was seen had a different rank on his collar.


I believe this was the individual that said "Reporting back to active duty, sir." I don't recall his rank or name.

> >

John McCain at the front left side of the line. I had a better photo but someone stole if from me. Years later I saw the same picture on one of the news networks.


A close up of McCain.

64‑0641 on the ramp. My wife and I had been going through some old pictures when I came across the prisoner release photos. I looked up the tail number of the C‑141 and found C141Heaven. One thing led to another and we sent you the photos. Perhaps some folks can identify some of the participant in the release. The people standing behind the fence above are all representatives of what was called the 'international press'. There were all from communist backed press organizations. (Romania, Cuba, China, Russia and other eastern block countries.) We were unable to ID anyone from a western news agency. In fact the US did not have any news media at the POW release in Hanoi. Canada did have a military photo team on the ground. I don't believe the US had any official military photo people at the release.


64‑0641 lifts off.

Saturday, April 19, 2008 02:01 pm

Scott Field Aipark

From the St Clair County Journal - 4/19/2008

A rendering of the final map of Scott Field Heritage Air Park.

Air Park is taking off
By Aaron Sudholt

It took more than a decade, but the Scott Field Heritage Air Park is finally beginning to get off the ground.

The $1.5 million project began earning funding in recent months through the acquisition of grants and donations from private donors valued at about $200,000 - enough to fund the first phase of a project that aims to put five vintage aircraft on display in a park just outside the Shiloh Gate of Scott Air Force Base.

"We are just right at the point where we think we're going to start work here in May," said Larry Strube, president of the Scott Heritage Air Park Committee, which is overseeing the project. "We have a contractor who has agreed to start on a lot of the site work, leveling the site, putting in drainage and getting the (preparatory) things in place to get the ball rolling. With that in place, we're going to get started working."

The park would showcase airplanes commonly flown out of the base by placing them on slightly lifted platforms, at eye level but off the ground enough so tires would not eventually wear out and drop them.

The park will feature a C-9 Nightingale, an aeromedical evacuation aircraft; a KC-135 Stratotanker, used for air refueling; a C-140 Jetstar, used for cargo transportation; a C‑141 Starlifter, used commonly for troop transportation; and a C‑130 Hercules, used for air cargo drops.

The aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the Air Force.

Strube said that the project was left unattended during the 1990s, but resumed in 2001 when the base notified the Belleville-Scott Committee that the museum wanted the planes back if they were not going to be used.

The Scott Heritage Air Park Committee was formed to handle the air park and moved to secure funding.

The $200,000 secured by the committee will be enough to complete the first phase of the project.

The first phase will include the construction of the display area for the aircraft, valued at $100,000. The second will include the parking lot to the visitor's area, the cost of which is still being determined. The third phase will include a visitor's center and also has not been valued yet.

Contractors include Oats and Associates in Collinsville and Holland Construction Services in Swansea.

There should be enough money left over from the $1.5 million that will cover remaining maintenance costs, Strube said.

"There are steps that have to be taken to preserve the airplanes and get them ready for display," he said. "You have to put ultraviolet coatings on the windows, bird-proof them so animals can't get in and build nests like that."

Communities helping coordinate the efforts include Shiloh, Mascoutah, Belleville, Swansea, and O'Fallon.

The committee hopes to have aircraft on display by the time of the 2008 Scott Air Show, taking place at the base Sept. 21 and 22.

In the meantime, donation opportunities are being planned. The committee has a fundraiser June 27 with a dinner auction, beginning with cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. followed by the auction. Items for sale will include tickets for airplane rides, football games and dinners with Air Force generals.

"Hopefully we'll raise a lot of money for the airpark and the air show," said Mike Leopold, member of the Scott Heritage Air Park Committee.

Leopold said the goal was to raise at least $50,000, though the committee hoped for more.

Tickets cost $120 and can be purchased at the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce or by contacting a chamber of commerce in a participating community.

Friday, April 4, 2008 07:43 am

McGuire Project

If you frequent McGuire AFB you may be aware that they have a C‑141 restoration project underway and will be doing a dedication plaque honoring all the C‑141 crewmembers/passengers from McGuire who died while flying (or riding) in the C‑141. These crashes date as far back as 1973 so they are having a difficult time contacting next-of-kin to invite them to the dedication ceremony.

If you are 'old friends' with any of the names listed below, and still in contact with spouses,children, etc. of any of these folks, or if you are a world-class Googler or run a detective services and want to help locate them, please let me know. It's not unusual for one contact to point to another,so if you have any info at all, please let me know and I will pass it on to the folks at McGuire to are attempting to pull all this information together.

Here's the list of names (and the date of the accidents):

  1. 28 August 1973 / Torrejon AB Spain
  2. Capt Thomas R. Dietz
  3. Capt Clinton C. Corbin
  4. 1LT William H. Kohn
  5. Maj Friedrich H Lamers
  6. TSgt Donald R Wells
  7. TSgt Edward P. Babcock
  8. TSgt Sidney N. Hillsman
  1. 28 Aug 1976 / Peterborough, England
  2. Capt John R. McNally, pilot
  3. Capt Leslie C. Birssette, co-pilot
  4. 1LT David A. Lynch, co-pilot
  5. 1LT William G. Martin, co-pilot
  6. Capt Robert A Eigenrauch, navigator
  7. Capt Kenneth M Burkhart
  8. Maj Alessandro Corona, Navigator
  9. MSgt Richard M Cleven, flight engineer
  10. TSgt Gaston J Vargas, flight engineer
  11. SSgt Harry R. Dempsey, flight engineer
  12. SSgt John H. Blackley, loadmaster
  13. SSgt Glenn K. Haberbuch, loadmaster
  14. Capt Dale C. Johnson, co-pilot
  15. Maj Edwin C. Payne, crew member
  16. Capt Charles Barlow, passenger
  17. Capt Olan Melton, passenger
  18. TSgt Bruce Kearns, passenger
  19. SSgt Jean Perrin, passenger
  1. 28 Aug 1976 - Sonderstrom, Greenland
  2. 1LT Leo D. Sullivan, pilot
  3. 1LT Glenn F. Bialke, co-pilot
  4. 2LT Jeffery T. Wilson, navigator
  5. TSgt Garland B. Peer, flight engineer
  6. SSgt Carlos M. Perez, flight engineer
  7. TSgt Patrick F. Quinn, loadmaster
  8. SSgt Charlie J. Bass, Loadmaster
  9. TSgt Leslie Foster, passenger
  10. Capt Robert E. Jones, passenger
  11. TSgt Terry B Ohnmeiss, passenger
  12. George W. Johnson, civilian
  13. Elvin G. Underdahl, civilian
  1. 1997 / Mid-air collision (Africa)
  2. Capt Peter C. Vallejo
  3. Capt Gregory M. Cindrich
  4. Capt Jason S. Ramsey
  5. SSgt Stacy D. Bryant
  6. SSgt Robert K. Evans
  7. SSgt Scott N. Roberts
  8. SSgt Gary H. Bucknam
  9. SrA Frankie L. Walker
  10. A1C Justin R. Drager

Friday, April 4, 2008 07:11 am

Don't Take What You Read In The Newspapers Literally

This little news-bit appeared in the 'Tulsa World' (on-line edition) this morning:

Today in 1975

An Air Force C‑141 transport plane, which was the first plane in an orphan airlift to evacuate Vietnamese orphans to the U.S., Australia and Canada, crashed shortly after takeoff from Saigon, killing about 200 people, most of them children. In spite of the crash that was believed to have been caused by sabotage, the airlift continued until more than 1,700 orphans had been flown to new homes.

Of course, it was not a C‑141, it was a C‑5. 138 people died, not 200.I don't remember ever hearing anything about 'sabotage'. My recollection was "rear-pressure door/ramp lock failure"...but maybe the disinformation machine at the time might have spread that rumor or just didn't bother to put the damper on speculation about sabotage to avoid embarrassment.

For more details on the C‑5 crash see Spring 2005, Airlift Tanker Quarterly. On pages 6-13 there are a series of articles about the babylift operation and the crash. As an added bonus, this same issue has an article on pages 16-18, entitled "Into the Sunset - Saying goodbye to the Venerable C‑141".

There's an interesting website that has lots of Operation Babylift information. See AdoptVietnam.org

Thursday, March 27, 2008 12:20 pm

From the Way-Back Machine

A little eBay find, from the December 1963 issue of Popular Mechanics, page 116:

Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:19 am

McGuire News...

Thanks to Stephen Tourangeau for the heads up on this news:

C‑141 ground breaking

3/21/2008 - Col. James Kerr, 514th Air Mobility Wing commander, Ted Strempack, Thomas B. McGuire Foundation president, and Col. Balan Ayyar, 305th AMW and installation commander, shovel the first dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for McGuire AFB's C‑141 Starlifter Memorial Park. The C‑141 was the backbone of Air Mobility Command and its predecessor, Military Airlift Command, and it traveled the globe for nearly 41 years delivering cargo, troops, and hope during peacetime and war. This memorial, which displays the flagship of McGuire Air Force Base's original fleet will honor the lives lost and the mission excellence demonstrated by McGuire Airmen who flew, maintained, and supported this historic aircraft. The aircraft on display at McGuire was named 'The Garden State Airlifter' in recognition of the state's contribution to the Air Force mission. In August 1967, it was the first C‑141 to be delivered to McGuire.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 06:46 am

New Pics of 40637

Kenneth Weston e-mailed a few shots of 40637 from back in the early '70s.

Thursday, March 20, 2008 09:11 am

Another eBay Opportunity

If it had not said "C‑141-A" I would never have found it. But, alas, I don't need a piano roll according to SWMBO (She Who Must BObeyed)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 11:48 am

Now YOU Can Buy a C‑141

I've got a Google News Alert set up so that any time "C‑141" shows upin the news, they send me an email...and I always get a little tingle when I see the email with the short title "Google News Alert for: C‑141" ...

Sunday, March 16, 2008 07:38 am

Motion Models

If you are looking for nice models of just about any military vehicle that moves, check out Motion Models. Of course, they have a few C‑141s in the mix too, (which sadly, no longer move).

Note:The pictured stand is not included on this one.

Sunday, March 16, 2008 07:23 am


I got a note from Gordon Smith who runs web site about British Naval History.He's got a special page about various aircraft and ships passing through ASCENSION ISLAND DURING THE 1982 FALKLANDS WAR that has a few C‑141 pictures on it (scroll toward the bottom of the page for the aircraft pics if you're not a "boat kind of guy").

Friday, March 14, 2008 04:46 pm

Special Anniversary

If I have my info right...John McCain was released from his POW experience on this date in 1973, along with 107 other POW's. If I'm right about the date then it was on one of these tail numbers:67‑0007, 64‑0641, or 66‑7944. If anybody knows which one, please let me know.

Regardless of your politics, (and unexplainably to me some folks are trashingMcCain on this topic) anybody who got into the mess in Hanoi and surrounds deserves our unlimited and undying respect. No matter what we do, there's no way to compensatethese folks for what happened to them, or to understand exactly what they went through.

I was listening to one of his speeches today on POTUS 08, the XM politics (channel #130) that plays most of the stump speeches uninterrupted and without snarky and stupid comments from commentators. He commented about how he was "one of the relatively few pilots who managed to intercept a missile with my aircraft."

At this point, I'm inclined to vote for Obama ... but if it's Hillary ... well then I'm probably going for McCain! Makes no sense, I guess, but go figure. This is why our pollsters are going out of their minds trying to figure out the voters this year.

Friday, March 14, 2008 04:30 pm

Bully Beef Reunion

A note from David Gualin ... CALLING ALL FORMER BULLY BEEF!

The 6th Airlift Squadron will be celebrating its 75th anniversary on October 4, 2008 . We are looking for all members of the 6th AS/MAS/TCS who served with the squadron since 1933. We will be hosting a formal dinner along with tours of the C‑141 Starlifter memorial and the C-17 Globemaster along with other activities. If you are interested in attending, or have photos/stories to share, please contact Captain Dave Gaulin at 580-278-1328 or email david.gaulin@mcguire.af.mil.

This is truly a historic event--the 6th is the oldest airlift squadron in the Air Force...and the world.

Friday, March 14, 2008 04:27 pm

Finally..photo of 66‑0141

Thanks to Tom Wiles for sending in a photo of 66‑0141.

Monday, February 18, 2008 03:42 pm

Two More YouTube Videos.....

Danny McGahee created a video tribute to 177 ... Click this link to view.

C‑141 demolition .... ... Click Here to View

Sunday, February 17, 2008 01:57 pm

Out of Money

From the Dayton Daily News..

From the Dayton Daily News..

By John Nolan
Staff Writer
Friday, February 15, 2008

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE &' The Air Force has decided that its C‑5A Galaxy transport planes, including the 10 that are housed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will not be fitted with new engines, because of a multimillion-dollar cost overrun on the contract for the project.

The C‑5A Galaxy models, which date to the early 1970s, are still scheduled to receive replacements of their obsolete navigation, communication and surveillance equipment, said Lt. Col. Jennifer Cassidy, an Air Force a spokeswoman at the Pentagon. They are the largest aircraft in the Air Force fleet.

The 445th Airlift Wing, an Air Force reserve unit based at Wright-Patterson flies the C‑5As located there. The planes are used to fly military cargo to Europe for subsequent transport from there in support of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Pentagon was abandoning plans to replace the aging engines in 62 of the C‑5A planes, John Young, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics said on Thursday, Feb. 14. The Air Force will proceed with engine replacements in 47 of the C5-B models and two C5-C planes.

In November 2001, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. an $11.1 billion contract to replace old engines in all 111 planes, which were built by the company. But the cost of the program had reached $17.5 billion in September 2007, the Air Force said.

The cost overrun triggered a Nunn-McCurdy violation, which requires the Pentagon to notify Congress when cost excesses on a major program reach 15 percent.

Young said that under the new contract, Lockheed's costs cannot exceed $123 million per plane.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2242 or jnolan@DaytonDailyNews.com.


The plane has four engines, stands six stories tall, and is almost as long as a football field. It can carry more than a quarter of a million pounds of cargo, including tanks, helicopters, and troops.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base received its 10 C‑5As between October 2005 and January 2007. They replaced the C‑141 aircraft that the Air Force retired.

Sunday, February 17, 2008 07:04 am

Whidbey Island NAS POW Meeting


In December of 1972, an extremely aggravated President Nixon played his best bargaining chip: American air power. The Paris Peace talks had broken down (again) and Nixon gave Hanoi 72 hours to return to the table. Hanoi refused. This time, lock wired into attacking virtually every target of military and economic significance in North Vietnam, Nixon told the JCS Chairman (Thomas Moorer) "I don't want anymore of this crap about we couldn't hit this target or that one. This is your chance to use military power to win this war." (He then added the caveat that "If you don't, I'll hold you responsible.") To bring the Vietnamese back to the table, the U.S. used one of the most powerful tools in its aerial arsenal&'the B-52. In addition to the BUFs, other Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps units were called upon as supporting aircraft. Linebacker II, also known as the Christmas bombings, brought Hanoi to its knees. Eleven days of air strikes in the Hanoi/Haiphong area achieved its goal of "maximum destruction of selected military targets." During that 11 day campaign, 17 BUFs were shot down. My late husband, Roger Lerseth, was sitting on his honey bucket (big time dysentery) in the Hanoi Hilton during that time and said there was shrapnel flying around the prison cell but no direct hits. He was amazed at the precision of an arc light bombing. They dropped the bombs from so high up you didn't hear them until they hit. Linebacker II led directly to the release of our POWs.

Thirty-five years ago to this exact date Operation Homecoming began when the first C‑141 lifted off from Hanoi's Gia Lam Air Base, and, via Clark AFB, brought the first "taxi" full of American POWs home. NASWI celebrated that anniversary on 12 February 2008.

The air in the O'Club that day was redolent with memories that were so thick you had to swat them away, shoot downs and escapes were re-fought&'hands swooping and darting in complex ballets that only happen when aviators get together to re-fight their sorties. The nostalgia was layered on what "&'might have been if only;" the joy of seeing fellow Yankee Air Pirates; and knowing they, too, had survived. A luncheon to celebrate the event began at 1130. Sponsored by MOAA, the ANA, and the PBY Memorial Foundation, our guest speaker was former POW CAPT Bill Metzger (USN, Ret) who provided some insightful comments about leadership, commitment, and, as Ray Kinsella would say, "Going the distance." A not always pleasant experience to re-live, Bill did a superb job and was thronged by folks wanting to talk to him and to the other POWs. BZ, Bill. I thank you. Also present and (I hope) enjoying the company, the smell of JP5, sweaty flight suits, and Jet Noise: The Sound of Freedom!...were former POWs: Wes Schierman and his wife Faye, Gary Thornton and his wife Jeannie, Larry Writer, and Bill Wilson (who is doing his best to kill himself and blame it on Rog). And, I'd like to think, the B-52 guys there&'Ed Wildeboor (George?), Jim Farmer, and Jim Carlton got some warm fuzzies for the recognition of the significant role they played in making the POWs return home happen.

I was an Ensign, Nurse Corps, at Bethesda when I worked on the Operation Homecoming ward. I had worn Bill Metzger's POW bracelet for three years and was thrilled to hear that he would be returning to Bethesda and I would be able to give it to him personally. He had just arrived the night before I came on my morning shift. He and Bonnie were in his hospital room and it was about 0630&'completely composed, incredibly articulate, I was ready to say what I wanted to say. So, with great savior faire, I burst into tears and handed him the bracelet muttering something. I have no idea what&'they probably thought I was daft&'but what I wanted to say (though I didn't know the right words then), was&' Welcome home &' GBU &' CUL. Peach

The three photos below were taken by K.C. Pohtilla

Below please find a press release by www.news.navy.mil regarding our celebration of Operation Homecoming. Not mentioned below (but mentioned in the next Migsweep...so stand by!) is that there were other POWs and B-52 folks there. Also in attendance were POWs: Wes Schierman and his wife Faye; Gary Thornton and his wife Jeannie; Larry Writer; Bill Wilson; and, of course, our guest speaker Bill Metzger. In addition, Linebacker II efforts and B-52 folks were recognized and those who were there were: Ed Wildeboor, Jim Farmer, and Jim Carlton. (And then, of course me, representing Rog Lerseth and coordinating the effort.) A good time was had by all! Ahh, nothing like the smell of sweaty flight suits and JP5 to get your adrenalin pumping!!

My thanks to all you Yankee Air Pirates for all you did and welcome home!


Whidbey Island Commemorates 35th Anniversary of Operation Homecoming
Story Number: NNS080215-07
Release Date: 2/15/2008 9:36:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tucker M. Yates, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Det. Northwest

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Vietnam War veterans and members of the Whidbey Island community gathered to remember Operation Homecoming at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Feb. 12.

Operation Homecoming marked the end of peace negotiations between former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho, Jan. 27, 1973, resulting in the first of four groups of Prisoners of War being released Feb. 12.

Approximately 150 people attended the anniversary luncheon at the NAS Whidbey Island Officers' Club.

Retired Navy Capt. Bill Metzger was the guest speaker for the event. He gave the audience an opportunity to hear about the events which occurred shortly after his F-8 Crusader took off from the flight deck of USS Bon Homme Richard (CV 31) and the years that followed.

"Only a few hours later, I found myself lying naked on a stretcher in a 12-foot square windowless, dirt floor room," said Metzger. "For nearly a month I was left alone to ward off the grim reaper and survive. With a left forearm ripped apart by shrapnel, a fractured right leg and two slugs in my left hip, I was indeed a mess."

After a month he began to fear he would lose his arm to gangrene and began to fabricate answers to interrogations. In return for his "cooperation," they removed the shrapnel and slugs with little or no anesthesia. He also spoke of the treatment prisoners received to allow the Vietnamese to control them.

"Everyone was broken, not to divulge military information of value, but to be brought to submission through the ensuing years, frequent whippings, beatings and other forms of punishment," said Metzger. "Never allowed to see or speak to anyone outside our cell was consistent with the near obsession to keep us completely submissive. It seemed that they actually feared us, so keeping us separated and unorganized served to maintain their control."

Metzger was released on Mar. 4, 1973, in the second wave of Operation Homecoming after spending nearly six years as a prisoner in North Vietnam.

"Remembering our return 35 years ago, it was not as it is so frequently referred to as the return of 'American heroes,' but as fiercely proud Americans," said Metzger. "I thank you, I thank my country, and I thank my God for being able to be back with you again. God Bless you and God Bless America."

Lt. Cmdr. Brian Danielson, Electronic Attack Squadron 129, who repatriated the remains of his father, Capt. Ben Danielson, from Laos and laid him to rest June 15, 2007, felt this event was a good reminder of those who have sacrificed for their country in the past.

"We have to give respect to the people who served and sacrificed themselves through their deployments and their service and I would never want to see them overlooked," said Danielson. "I don't think you can hear it enough and I think today's officers and enlisted are benefited by getting to hear these stories of people who've made hard sacrifices and who've set the tradition for us to follow."

2/9/2008 9:46:32 AM

Operation Homecoming Remembered

From the February 6th Whidbey News Times:

Sound Off: Operation Homecoming remembered

Feb 06 2008

By Christine Picchi

Vietnam ... 35 years ago. The peace that seemed so promising in October of 1972 never materialized and the Paris peace talks broke down (again) on Dec. 13. On Dec. 14, a thoroughly exasperated President Nixon sent an ultimatum to Hanoi: return to the negotiating table within 72 hours. Hanoi refused. To bring the Vietnamese back to the table, the U.S. used one of the most destructive tools in its aerial arsenal: the B-52 Stratofortress. In addition to the "BUFs," other Navy, Air Force, and Marine units were called upon for supporting aircraft. Linebacker II, also known as the Christmas Bombings, brought Hanoi to its knees. Eleven days of air strikes in the Hanoi/Haiphong areas achieved its goal of "maximum destruction of selected military targets." (JCS directive of Dec. 15, 1972.)

On Jan. 27, 1973, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho finally negotiated a peace treaty that resulted in the release of all POWs in exchange for the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Vietnam. By the following month, our POWs started to return, and a nation that had been violently divided about the war came together to welcome them home

Thirty-five years ago this month, on Feb. 12, 1973, the first wave of POWs was released and boarded a C‑141 of the Air Force's 445th Wing at Gia Lam in Hanoi, North Vietnam. Dubbed the "Hanoi Taxi," it headed to Clark AFB in the Philippines. The DoD repatriation program was called Operation Homecoming.

POWs on the first Freedom Flight were those who had been there the longest and those who were most seriously injured. Then Navy Captain, later Senator, Jeremiah Denton who had been a POW for seven and a half years spoke for all of them as the first man off that aircraft. "We are proud to have had the opportunity to have served our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our Commander in Chief and our Nation for this day. God bless America."

The images we saw during the landing of that flight and the ones that followed will remain engraved on our minds forever: The pale saluting officers, the ecstatic wives and mothers, the exuberant sons and daughters, all running toward each other with tears of joy streaming down their faces as they finally embraced.

The 35th Anniversary of the start of Operation Homecoming will be celebrated at the Officers' Club on NAS Whidbey Island on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Capt. Bill Metzger, a former NAMPOW, will be the guest speaker at a luncheon at 11.30 a.m.. It is sponsored by the Military Officers' Association of America, the Association of Naval Aviation, and the PBY Memorial Association. Guests are welcome but you must have a reservation. There are security issues, too, so if you do not have a valid military sticker on your car further information is required. Contact Capt. Chris Picchi at 360.679.6578 or

zipper@galaxynet.com by Feb. 9 to ensure base access and a seat and meal at the luncheon.

Christine Picchi, Capt., USN (Ret.), is the widow of a former NAMPOW. She lives in Oak Harbor.

Saturday, January 26, 2008 10:42 am


It speaks for itself:

Saturday, January 26, 2008 09:47 am

Bandwidth ... I'm getting smarter...slowly

After the fiasco with the retirement video and a huge amount of downloads which exceeded my permitted bandwidth limit I had to remove it. Exceeding bandwidth is like using too many cell-phone minutes ... and even more expensive (my 'normal'hosting arrangement runs about $10/month, which my wife has tolerated quite well for the past few years ...... this disaster cost me over $500 in extra charges and now I'm on her semi-permanent S**T list, at least until she gets some new shoes or jewelry to match.).

I have therefore posted the video to YouTube.... See this link:

C141 Retirement Video

There are a couple of other C‑141 videos I created as well that have been uploaded by other folks over the past year or so. See:


End of the Line

If you've never blown an entire afternoon on YouTube, be warned ... you can spend the entire day chasing links to "interesting things" and you never know exactly what you'll see.

Friday, January 18, 2008 07:30 am

Big Bandwidth Issue

We have been informed by our web hosting service that C141Heaven is using an excessive amount of bandwidth ... they want to double my hosting charges to provide the extra bandwidth to cover these downloads,(and even that might not be enough.)In checking out the source of the problem I found that the majority of the bandwidth used (about 95% of it) is related to download of a few very large movie files ... so I have removed the larger ones from the site .. if somebody has a web server of their own and would not mind hosting these files for us or if you know all about how to reduce the size of the files so they won't be so big please let me know.

Monday, January 14, 2008 04:03 pm

More About Cole Black

A few days ago I posted a newspaper article about Cole Black, a Navy officer and former Viet Nam war POW who recently died in a private plane crash. I got a note over the weekend from Carl Hayden. Carl is a loadmaster at Wright-Patterson and was on the crew of 66‑0177 when they made the last flight to the AF Museum on May 6th,2006.

It was sad to hear Cole Black had been killed in a private plane crash. I did not know him personally but I knew I had to share something with you.In the article it stated he had returned to Vietnam in 1994 and brought back some bricks from the Hanoi Hilton as it was being torn down. When Sec AF Michael Wynne attended the C‑141 POW re-creation flights on 5 May 2006, his personnel assist, John Wheeler, accompanied him.

Mr. Wheeler handed me a brick with Cole Black's name on it with a date from 1994 and 2006 and asked me if I would take it with me on the last flight of the Starlifter.

I was honored to be on the crew that flew the Hanoi Taxi to the Nation Museum of the USAF on 6 May 2006. I put the brick in my helmet bag and took it on the flight with me. A brick from the Hanoi Hilton flew on the last flight of the Hanoi Taxi.

Carl Hayden with Cole's Brick

The Brick in the Cockpit

No Disrespect Intended .... A Box Lunch and the Brick
(Some folks think they both taste about the same!)

Two weeks after that flight I returned it to Mr. Wheeler at his office in the Pentagon.

TSgt Carl D. Hayden
89 AS, Wright-Patterson

Saturday, January 12, 2008 09:24 am

Not Quite Per S.O.P.

J.A. Williams, who now works at McChord on the C17 simulator, sent in this pic and caption:

Air drop mission over Alaska, flying out of McChord. Mid 80's? I forget where we were in the formation but we were obviously not last. hahaha. I was at the panel when the prox warning went off and I looked out to see this guy peeking over our copilot's shoulder. (He was a good buddy of our AC and we'd all been partying the night before...imagine that.) He actually came closer than this, but by the time I got my camera out he'd started to drop back. I've seens tons of 141 pics but don't recall any formations quite like this. Sorry the quality is so poor but hemet bag cameras generally weren't high qual.

Saturday, January 12, 2008 08:14 am

Cole Black

He was a Navy man ... but spent a few wonderful hours on the C‑141 with other POW's when they were released from Hanoi in 1973 ....

Courtesy Karen Black
Cole and Karen Black smile during a POW reunion in 2004.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune, Nov 10, 2007

By Adrian Vore

November 10, 2007

Cole Black of Escondido, who by his own count spent 2,428 days, 18 hours and 35 minutes as a POW in Vietnam, died Friday in a plane crash near Delano in the Central Valley.

Two others also died in the accident &' Bruce Klein, the owner of several pizza restaurants in Oregon, who was flying the plane, and Sally S. Wilson, a retired schoolteacher &' the News-Review newspaper in Douglas County, Ore., reported.

Black was flying in a Piper Aerostar twin-engine plane from Oregon to McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. He had visited Roseburg, Ore., to speak to students about his experience as a prisoner of war. He would have turned 75 Nov. 28.

The plane crashed before noon in an orange grove after experiencing mechanical problems, said Karen Black, his second wife, from their home in Escondido.

Black, a former Navy captain, spent seven years as a POW. He was flying an F-8 Crusader on a mission over North Vietnam in June 1966 when a MiG fighter downed his plane. He was 33 years old, had a wife and two children and was one week away from going home.

He ejected from the plane and tried to hide in some tall grass. "I was captured almost instantly," he told The San Diego Union-Tribune in a 2003 interview.

He was held in four prisons, including the infamous "Hanoi Hilton."

"It's a feeling no one really knows," Black said in the interview. "Nobody knows what it is like to totally lose your freedom and be reduced to nothing. You're thousands of miles from home and haven't got friend one."

Black said he spent part of his time in a 7-by-9-foot cage, with a concrete slab for a bed. Twice a day, the guards served him meals &' a dish of rice and boiled greens that grew in swampy, septic water.

He endured through his stoicism, his wife said Friday night. "He didn't get rattled. He also had "an honest belief that the country wouldn't let him down," and he would be freed, she said.

His strength carried him through terrible times. She said that shortly after he was captured, interrogators told him, "We will reduce you to a dog."

His captors bound his arms so tightly that he still carried scars.

One of his worst moments occurred a month after his capture, said Karen Black, 69. He and other prisoners were forced to walk through the streets of Hanoi in a propaganda spectacle that became known as the Hanoi March. People began throwing rocks and hitting the POWs, who barely avoided being killed.

But it was during the march that Black learned of the code POWs used to communicate with one other. It would relieve what he told his wife was "hours of boredom interrupted things less desirable."

Despite the misery, Black found a positive aspect to his imprisonment. "Not one among us would wish to get shot down again, but I think it changed my life for the better. I came back with a real zest to live. I wanted to do some things," he said in a 2005 interview with the Union-Tribune.

Black and other POWs were released in February 1973. Karen Black said they knew they would be freed the day the guards removed the radios in prisoners' cells that were used to blare propaganda to torment the men.

Although Black was able to withstand his captivity, his marriage to his first wife could not. It fell apart within a month of his return, Karen Black said.

The emotional toll of coming home to a broken marriage was almost more difficult to deal with than his suffering in Vietnam, she said.

Many POWs experienced the same pain, which led Karen Black to write a novel based on the ruined marriages. She self-published the book "Code of Conduct" in 2002. Her research included listening to 12 hours of tapes in which her husband told military debriefers in 1973 about his time as a POW.

Karen Black met her husband-to-be Nov. 27, 1973, at Bully's East restaurant in Mission Valley, where each had arrived separately with friends to have a few drinks. She said they ended up talking for six hours.

"He was genuine, real, such a nice guy," she said. They married in May 1976.

Cole Black was born Nov. 28, 1932. He was raised on a farm in Lake City, Minn. He joined the Navy as an enlisted man at age 17 so he could see the world, Karen Black said. He rose to petty officer first class in less than four years, and the Navy selected him to attend Officer Candidate School. He graduated in 1955 and earned his wings two years later.

He retired from the Navy in 1986, the same year he and Karen moved to Escondido. He attended National University and earned a master's in business and a real estate broker's license. He worked for High Point Realty in Escondido.

Black returned to Vietnam for a visit in 1994 after Karen bought tickets for a cruise. "It was the best vacation we ever had," she said.

They arrived at the "Hanoi Hilton" the day workers were tearing it down. The couple collected pieces of brick as mementos.

Black served for four years as president of NAM-POWs, the national fraternal association of repatriated Vietnam prisoners of war.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters Christie Lambert of Geilenkirchen, Germany, and Stacy Edwards of Escondido; sons Rick Black of La Mesa, Doug Edwards of Tucson, Ariz., and Brad Edwards of Poway; brother, Marlin Black, and sister, Vonne Oliver, both of Lake City, Minn; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Thanks to John LeJeune for signing the guestbook and pointing us in thedirection of this story....

Thursday, January 10, 2008 03:31 pm

This should make you mad ....

George Miller forward me a copy of a newspaper article that recently appeared in the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper. It's a sad story about our current airlift capability.

Click HERE to read it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 11:29 am


Gary Freniere, (TSgt-retired), formerly of the 653d CLSS at Robins AFB, GA, sent in some photos of 66‑0149 truckin' on down the highway back in Octoberof 2000. You can see them and read about the trip on the 66‑0149 page.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 09:18 am

62nd/McChord Breakfast Club

From Bill Crammatte

Well folks, it is that time again! I trust everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Last month we had nine guys show up for the breakfast and what a blast it was. It lasted for the better part of an hour and a half. There were still yarns being spun and stories being told in the parking lot afterwards. What a great bunch of people we had the pleasure to serve with.

We do it again this Saturday, January 12th at 10:00 at Denny's just out Bridgeport Way and across Interstate 5 from the main gate at McChord. If you were part of the Starlifter's history, 62MAW or any MAW, come on out for breakfast and some great company and conversation.

I certainly hope to see you there!

(206) 243-1786 Cell (206) 200-8061

Bill Cramatte

Thursday, January 10, 2008 08:29 am

63rd/Norton Breakfast Club

From E.A. Jeffries:

Just a word or two from the 63rd M.A.W. Breakfast Club.We started our meeting just over two years ago with three members. We now have upwards of 75 members. Just thought you would be interested in our progress.

We meet the 1st Tuesday of the month at the Airport Express Cafe at the old Norton AFB which is nowSan Bernardino International Airport. Next meeting should be Feb 5th.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008 05:24 pm

Corvette Project

Major Richard "Bull" Webster from Wright-Patterson sent me a note about a Corvette refurb project he's working on. It looks to me like he might have picked it up cheap in the Green Zone in Baghdad and brought it back to WP on a C‑5 flight. Customs Declaration: "US Goods, Returned".

When done it will be dedicated to POW's and the Hanoi Taxi. He plans to have the project done in the spring and is planning on putting up some web pages devoted to the project. As soon as I get the links I will post them here.

The state of Ohio has given him plate # 60177.

I fired up PhotoShop and tweaked a shot of a Vette. Here's my suggestion for the paint scheme:

If they do it up right, it should even have the pukey "Lockheed Orange" Naugahyde vinyl seat covers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008 10:51 am

The Outer Whorl

I got this note from Neal Schier, a former C‑141 pilot about a book he's written.

I flew it at McGuire and then in the reserves at Wright-Patt. I recently wrote a book called "The Outer Whirl". The first few chapters talk about my experiences when flying for 'MAC' during Panama, the first Gulf War, and then Somalia. I have listed the link at Amazon below.

Although the book touches on a lot of different themes, old 141 crew-dogs may appreciate some of the sea stories! I have flown a lot of different aircraft since then, but I feel I could slip back into the old Starlifter and never knew I had left! A true gem to fly.

Neal Schier

You click here to see the book on Amazon, along with some nice reviews!

Saturday, January 5, 2008 09:29 am

C‑141 Prints Available

I got a note from Larry Kangas.

Larry was a nav for 21 years (15 in C‑141s). He is also quite an accomplished painter and has a lot of nice aviation related murals and paintings to his credit.You might not want to buy the one above (that's him in the foreground in the blue suit, and I assume that's him on the tail of 66‑0165 with what appears to be a 'non-regulation' haircut ... or maybe it was just a windy day!), but who could argue that the two shown below would not make very nice additions to your C‑141 collection:

© Copyright Larry Kangas

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 04:13 pm

Size is Relative

Randy Bruck sent this photo to C141Heaven last week. It was taken in 1998 at Lahaina (Maui). There was no airshow, but he mentioned"they were flying this thing like a stunt plane all around the bay".

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 10:34 am

F.E. TERPS Training Manual

An eBay find.... C‑141 Flight Engineer TERPS Training Manual. Click here to download the PDF file.(107 pages, about 7.2 mb)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 09:58 am

Donald Arthur Danner

I got this note from Karen (Danner) Reed this morning:

My father was in the 44th squadron at Travis and had to retire six months early as he had terminal cancer. He did not blink an eye to the fact he was going to die but he was upset because he could no longer fly.

My grandmother said that before he could walk...he was "flying clothes pins" so there was no question about his first love. I am looking for any pictures I can get as he only lived until he was 51. Donald Arthur Danner (flight engineer) also known as "Dan". I feel as if my life won't be completed until I know more of the history he experienced and learn more about what he never would talk about....but you know ..that was how it was.

When he was on his way home from flying TDY...we would have our own "RED ALERT" and the house was cleaned and ready for inspection. Of course we never passed. My dad LOVED the C141.

He did training in 1965 October in Oklahoma after we came back from Japan. Over the years I have run into people who flew with him. He did the Bob Hope Tour in 1968 and I will now watch the DVD once more.

Thank you,

Karen Danner Reed

If you knew Don or have any stories or photos that might include him please contact Karen @ kbfini@earthlink.net.

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