I think that the next terrorist attack will be with a “dirty bomb” and in the same two cities that got hit on 9/11. I hope that I’m wrong, but it would be my worst nightmare if it does happen, as I’ve got three of my kids who work in Manhattan and in high target places.
Fred CavaiuoloLas Vegas
Project PaperclipYour article proved once again that some of our shameful acceptances after WWII of Nazis (and, please, don’t insult my intelligence by trying to claim that Wernher von Braun and his crew were not Nazis) were justified because of the communist insurgence in Eastern and Southern Europe [“Project Paperclip,” June, p. 70]. As someone who served in USAF during the heyday of Curtis LeMay and Strategic Air Command (as the major deterrent during the Cold War and especially the 1950s), as a member of LeMay’s personal intelligence team (PIT) at Offutt AFB [Neb.], I saw how many of these “former” Nazis were lauded beyond words.
These men, in order to establish their “creds,” all claimed that they were not Nazis. Be that as it may, I went through that center and was exposed to the same kind of attitude that I am sure many of our WWII people faced.
So, if you think that sugar-coating von Braun is OK, then I suggest that you think about the nearly 30 million human beings killed and slaughtered by his fellow Nazis.
Norman RossTucson, Ariz.
A Toll Too High?So now the Air Force lets it all hang out. Sadly, the news [of personnel cuts to pay for equipment recapitalization] has a very familiar theme [“Aerospace World: Readiness Falling, Keys Reports,” June, p. 14; “For the Air Force, the Bill Comes Due,” April, p. 28; and “The Risk Goes Up,” April, p. 34]. We have been there before—the old “yes, sir, we can do more with less” lie. Sooner or later, no matter how many people you cut—even if you get to a point when just the aircrews and maintenance people are left and they are performing all other tasks as “additional duties”—you can’t generate enough money from the people cuts to pay for the refurbishing of the older aircraft and the purchase of the new aircraft and other things that are needed.
What is really being hidden by our national leaders in the White House and Congress, and even the military, is a failure to adequately fund new equipment purchases, maintenance, and a force of people in uniform, both active and reserve, of sufficient size to meet the military tasks we have taken on; they think that wouldn’t sit well with the voters.
But, I’m just an old retired guy who hasn’t worn the blue suit in a quarter-century, so I probably have it all wrong vis-a-vis the thinking of those in the Puzzle Palace on the Potomac, the Hill, and the White House.
Lt. Col. John G. Terino, USAF (Ret.)Fairfax, Va.
Forty-Eighth Is FirstIn your June 2007 edition of Air Force Magazine you have an article on p. 17 titled “Little Rock Gains Squadron” [“Aerospace World”]. There is one error in the article. It states, “The 41st is the first active duty squadron to fly the new C-130J Hercules.”
Col. Rudolph T. Byrne,Commander, 314th Operations GroupLittle Rock AFB, Ark.
ClassicsI enjoy your “Airpower Classics” series and have a correction for your A-1 feature in June.
Col. Ray Jones, USAF (Ret.)Lancaster, Calif.
More on “Old Shaky”I read your article about “Old Shaky” and this brought back some memories [“Letters,” June, p. 9, and “Airpower Classics: C-124 Globemaster II,” February, p. 96]. I was with the 1st SSS (SAC), Biggs AFB. The aircraft was tail No. 5095. We went to Thule, Greenland, to pick up a KC-97 TDY group and bring them back to Missouri. Everything went well on the trip up to Thule, but the return was another [story]. Our flight plan called for us to [fly to] Ernest Harmon AFB, Newfoundland, then on to Missouri. We left with a p.m. crew time. The six months of darkness had set in and that was a strange sight. [It was] dark all day. We left and on the way there it was time for an engine check. I went downstairs, opened the hatch to No. 3 and 4 engines. I climbed out on the catwalk and opened the door to No.3 then on to No. 4. I went back out the hatch to check 1 and 2.
We finally made it to Newfoundland, secured the aircraft, and caught some sleep. First thing in the morning we went to the flight line to assess the damage. Low and behold the KC-97 crew proceeded to remove the cowling themselves. I will never forget this, although I never received any recognition for my actions, but then this was my job.
Mark MulikGoodyear, Ariz.
I read [retired] Col. Bob Straughan’s account of a C-124 double loaded with PSP, in the June 2007 issue of Air Force Magazine [“Letters: Old Shaky,” p. 9], with a nostalgic tear in my eye. I recall a similar happening in a C-130A. Unfortunately (or fortunately for those responsible) such record-breaking accomplishments are not found in the official record books.
Such “thank you, Mr. Lockheed” stories are still being written—and will be for some time to come.
Lt. Col. Dave Harmon, USAF (Ret.)Greendale, Wis.
I served in the 85th ATS with Dick Rutan. I take strong exception to the letter referring to Dick Rutan “riding” in a C-124. Old Shaky had a lot of seats because it took the concerted efforts of all the crew members to safely and efficiently complete the mission. I crossed the pond in Old Shaky many times and it struck me that the “riders” were the pilots just waiting for the next position report from the navigator so they would have something to do.
Maj. Walt Drowns, USAF (Ret.)Universal City, Tex.
USAFE’s NATO CommandIn Air Force Magazine’s May 2007 USAF Almanac, the organization charts on p. 103, showing USAFE’s NATO command relationships and sub-units, should have presented the following information:
A second wire chart to the right should have depicted the Supreme Allied Command Transformation, Norfolk, Va.; below SACT is the Director, Joint Air Power Competence Center, Gen. William T. Hobbins, USAF, Kalkar AB, Germany.
Gen. William T. Hobbins, CommanderUS Air Forces in EuropeRamstein AB, Germany
Airplane Commander vs. PilotI was very interested in your June article on Medal of Honor recipient Henry Erwin [“A Brave Man at the Right Time,” p. 62], especially since my father was a radar observer in a B-29 from the 39th Bomb Group, “Double Trouble,” which made the longest nonstop combat mission of the war (23:00 hours), as recorded in my father’s diary he was not supposed to be keeping (he “hid” mission data in his New Testament).
I question, however, the article’s generic listing of B-29 crew members, stating that it had a pilot and copilot. According to William Wolf’s superb, definitive book on B-29s (Boeing B-29 Superfortress, The Ultimate Look: From Drawing Board to VJ-Day), the officer we know as the pilot (left seat) was in fact called, in B-29s, the “airplane commander,” while the officer we know as the co-pilot (right seat) was called the “pilot.” This terminology is why one often sees “A/C” painted just before the airplane commander’s name on the fuselage just under his window. In any event, I regret this true hero, Staff Sergeant Erwin, is no longer with us.
Col. Charles A. Jones,USMCRNorfolk, Va.
Colonel Jones is right about the official designation of the aircrew positions. However, the terms “pilot” and “copilot” also continued in everyday use. The senior aviator on B-29s sometimes referred to themselves as airplane commanders, sometimes as pilots.—John T. Correll
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