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C141Heaven: 2009 Blog

Sunday, September 27, 2009 03:25 pm

News Flash from Iran

In case you missed the news from Iran ...

A few facts are now in concerning the crash at the 2009 Sacred Defense Air Show (WTF?) in Tehran.

On the 22nd of September, at 09:02 hours, IRIAF IL-76MD "Simorgh" (Baghdad-2/Adnan-2, No. 1 with 5-8208 serial) crashed near Varamin City, killing all seven crew members aboard. At 09:02 hrs, the pilot radioed to Mehrabad control tower that the aircraft's engines under the right wing had caught fire.

The tower signaled the aircraft to attempt an emergency landing on runway 29 Left. Upon final approach, due to the aircraft's undesirable angle of attack, the over-fuselage rotor dome detached and collided with the vertical tail sections. After that, the aircraft suffered a catastrophic crash.

The crash occurred the day before Whack-A-Dina-Job left Iran to attend the meetings at the UN. He didn't say anything about the disaster in his speeches. It was the only AWACS-type aircraft that Iran had .. and came into their hands way back before the first Gulf War, courtesy of Saddam Hussein who had most of his air force flown to Iran for 'safe keeping'. Iran subsequently decided to keep them and turned the Russian-built C‑141 design ripoff into its only AWACS model. It collided with a US-built F5 during the airshow.

Proving that old saying: "Allah Akbar", the IL-76 aircraft is reported to have landed on the site of the tomb of former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini! Really.

A "Simorgh" is a "fabulous, benevolent, mythical flying creature" of Persian fable.

This WIKIPEDIA link has details on the crash.

Here's a link to a good shot of the aircraft that was involved in the crash. As of 9/27/2009 there have been 59 major (complete hull loss) accidents involving the IL-76.

It was probably one of the F5s shown IL-76 in the photo at this Airliners.net link that collided with the IL-76.

You can see video of the crash here: .

Sunday, September 27, 2009 03:22 pm

For You Stamp Collectors

From eBay:

Sunday, September 20, 2009 03:30 pm

Detective Work Needed

Remember that crazy whacko, Mir Aimal Kasi, who killed two folks outside of CIA headquarters back in 1993? (See WikiPedia for details if you need a refresher.

A couple of days after his capture in Pakistan in 1997 he was put on a C‑141 and shipped back for trial where he was found guilty and executed in 2002.

A little bit of Googlin' turned up the fact that he was spirited out of Pakistan on a C‑141, after being 'rendered' by some special ops guys. They dashed to the local airport and were being chased out of town by the local 'authorities'.

He was then routed back to he US via Ramstein, where he shared a nice first class seat on a C‑141 with some other prisoners. Supposedly he confessed while on the flight back to the US (after being read his Miranda rights, of course).

So the question posed is : Does anybody know what tail number he was on, either out of Pakistan or on the trip from Ramstein to the US?

No names will be posted.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 02:48 pm


Tim Louden has submitted two new T-Tail-Tall-Tales

Hey, Hey! You, You! Get Offa' of My Cloud!!!


Saturday, September 12, 2009 05:34 pm

More Details on destruction of 66‑0253

Joshusa Potts sent in a detailed description of what went wrong when 66‑0253 burned up at Travis back in 1993. . You'll have to scroll towards the bottom of screen to read it.

What was left of it....

Saturday, September 12, 2009 05:15 pm

That C‑141 Just Gets Under Your Skin.

We try to stay away from too much skin on this site, but Tim Louden has gone above and beyond the call of duty with this one... his note:
I was in from 1974-1994. I was very proud to have been Crew Chief of C‑141 tail number........"141!" How proud? Take a look.

Thimsen R. Louden TSgt
USAF (Ret)

Saturday, September 12, 2009 04:58 pm

Nice Art ..

Chart Art The Tumwater, Washington, company sells (mostly Navy and Coast Guard) oriented artwork superimposed on nautical and aeronautical charts. They have at least one C‑141 piece. They all seem to cost $40-$200+, framed, depending on the size.

Saturday, August 8, 2009 05:03 pm

Sorry for the absence!

Hi everyone. I've finally gotten back into the swing of things. After my vacation in mid-June I just had so many things piled up I did not have time to spend on C141heaven. And when I got back to it...I found I could not upload files to the site by FTP. So it's been a bit of a hassle but all seems back on track.

The items below are presented in no particular order ... just a lot of things that have come my way via email and web browsing for the good old C- 141!.

Don't know if any of you saw the news on Military.com last week, but the AF finally retired the Cessna T-37! Almost every AF pilot for the last 30 years or so (something like 78,000 of them) flew it. Now it's up to one of you to start of Tweet Site (and I don't mean Twitter)

Saturday, August 8, 2009 05:08 pm

You Bought A Leading Edge What @#$^#^%!??

A few days ago I came across this set of photos.... looks like some lucky(?) guy in the LA area got a deal on some surplus that had been sitting in a warehouse (maybe at the old Norton or from March AFB?). It looks like his yard is full of all sorts of 'man-stuff', including a FORK LIFT to move it all around.

I'm guessing his wife probably told him (based on the date on the photos vs. the date the item was posted on eBay ) "That s**t's gotta go, NOW! Mom's movin' her trailer onto that spot next week!".

The "item" was priced at $1,500.00, so I'm guessing it didn't sell. Maybe you can locate it at the landfill (or perhaps up the poor guys ass). Women just don't get it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009 07:14 am

New C141 Book ...

John Burford, a long time visitor to C141Heaven, has published a book you might be interested in. There's lots of 'never before seen' photos of the C‑141 in it. "C‑141 Starlifter in Action - Aircraft Color Series No. 215"

It's available on Amazon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009 06:03 pm

Sapper Attack ... Udorn Royal Thai AFB --26 July 1968

Got this from David Ames quite a while ago...

Sapper Attack 26 July 1968 The first attack on a U.S. Air Force Base in Thailand took place Friday evening, July 26, 1968 at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. Security was routine except for precautionary support of a C‑141 medical transport standing by for possible evacuation of three prisoners of war who had been released by Hanoi. Security for the aircraft included placing a sentry team close-in and a quick reaction team nearby. At 10:25 pm, approximately 25 attackers from four locations opened fire with automatic weapons against the northwest corner of the base.

It appears that this attack was a diversion because at the same time several sappers attempted to reach the C‑141. The close-in guard killed one sapper under the tail of the aircraft and another sapper 20 yards away. A third intruder fired his AK-47 rifle into the area around the C‑141, which appears to have caused a fuel leak from one of the aircraft's engines. The sapper then threw an explosive charge under the aircraft and another under a mobile power unit. The first charge ignited fuel that was pouring from the damaged engine. The sapper then ran down the length of the taxiway toward two F-4D aircraft. These aircraft were undergoing maintenance and did not have any special security. The sapper threw an explosive charge into the back of a Security Police truck and another into the tailpipe of an F-4. The charge in the F-4 failed to detonate; the sapper turned and placed another. The second charge detonated; the sapper then ran into the grass and escaped.

An HH-43 helicopter equipped for fire suppression and ground firefighting units were able to stop the C‑141 fire, but the HH-43 was damaged by small arms fire. Quick-reaction forces responded within 2 minutes of the original attack and engaged the remaining attackers with small arms fire. The attackers then retreated. The attack caused heavy damage to the C‑141, moderate damage to the F-4, and light damage to the HH-43. Light damage was done to four USAF vehicles, a power unit and a light unit.

TSgt, Paul Yonkie, flight engineer of the C‑141, was seriously wounded and died of his wounds at Clark AB in the Philippines 9 September 1968. Yonkie, from Ridgeway, Pennsylvania is remembered at Scott Air Force Base as "C" Street was renamed Yonkie Drive.

Capt. Lawrence L. McCracken wrote this account with interviews with the C‑141 crew. The article was presented to Udorn Research Group by member, Don A. Bailey, an Udorn veteran from Westminster, Colorado.

We Were Sitting Ducks To Red's Bullets

(Special) Oh, hell, Not in Thailand. This is an R & R place. Sgt. John T. Walsh thought as the red tracer bullet zipped over his head. Startled into action, the medical technician dropped his cigarette and ran to the nearby light cart. I yelled over my shoulder to the security guard I had been having a smoke with, Set your

M-16 on automatic! Sgt Walsh recalls.

There was only one light cart illuminating our C‑141. The lights, though, were shining on the forward crew door of the aircraft. We were sitting ducks on a pond---unless I could get those spotlights turned away from the plane.

Thus begins the first attack by Communist terrorists on Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand. The date is July 26, 1968. It is 10:30 p.m. Caught in the middle bathed by two mercury lightsis a Military Airlift Command C‑141 on a special aero medical evacuation mission. The flight and medical crews, with exception of Walsh, are inside the parked Starlifter trying to catch a few hours sleep.

The five medical crew members are assigned to the 56th Aeromedical Evac. Sq. Yokota AB, Japan Two of the flight nurses recall those first few moments which are permanently etched on their memories.

All the electrical wires in the fuselage were shorting out arcing from one to another. The noise woke me up, said Maj. Louise Stroup. Someone yelled something about fire, so I ran towards the forward crew door, the only one open.

Going down the steps I saw the outboard engine burning. At this time I didn't realize we were under fire. Continued the major from Las Vegas, Nevada. My first thought was to get away from the C‑141 before it blew up. I started running and then all these tracer bullets started racing by.

Maj. Monna L. Mumper, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania remembers, I was sleeping across the reclining seats, with the armrests removed, in the back of the plane. Someones shouting, Fire! woke me up. I grabbed my shoes and ran to the front of the plane.

The C‑141, with three pickup trucks, a light cart and an auxiliary power unit around it, was parked at the far end of Udorn's taxiway 4. The Communist terrorists were attacking from a 20- foot high ridge about 300 yards to the rear and left of the plane.

Walsh, of Hartsdale, New York, and a security police guard who Walsh only knows as Sergeant Johnson offered the first resistance to the enemy. I was able to turn the two spotlights off the plane and play them up on the hill. Walsh explained. I could see the enemy real well. They were clustered in groups. Some of them were picking up the wounded that Johnson had nailed. Then I rushed back to the light cart, Walsh continued. Johnson was still firing his M-16 but he had taken a grenade fragment in the leg. We started to retreat around the front of the plane.

By now the crew was running from the aircraft and looking for cover. The three pickup trucks were already in flames. The pilot and flight engineer were huddled behind the auxiliary power unit when it was hit. The pilots hands were badly injured and the engineer received back wounds. Despite their injuries, these two made it to the grass at the far side of the taxiway.

As I was running toward the grass one of the jet engines caught fire again. The engineer stood up to either look or run. I yelled, Get down! but it was too late. He took one in the stomach. Walsh recalls grimly. When I got to the pilot his hands were bleeding badly. I tied one of my shoelaces around one wrist and wrapped his t-shirt around the other forming makeshift tourniquets.

I had an empty feeling out there. I felt so useless. I had two wounded men around me and didn't have anything to defend us with. We had to just watch those people out there running around and wait to get shot at. Maj. Shroup also ended up in the grass alongside the taxiway. As I ran across the concrete some security police in the grass yelled. Get down!

One of them shouted, Hold your fire! I guess Maj. Mumper and I were in their crossfire. But I was frightened of the plane blowing up. Maj. Stroup continued. I looked over my shoulder and didn't think I was far enough away from the burning plane. So I kept on running. But when they yelled the second time, I thought Id better obey. I ran off into the grass and dropped to the ground.

I was glad they were shooting tracers because you could see the bullets flying over your head you almost had to stay down. I laid right down on the taxiway. By this time, security vehicles and fire trucks were all over the place. I was more afraid of being run over than shot.

I heard some shuffling feet, she said. Someone was approaching me, but I was facing in the opposite direction. I didn't realize it was a Communist terrorist until he had gone past. He was so close I could have reached out and touched him but I didn't. I didn't move a bit. Tracers were still coming, just a matter of a few feet overhead. Skinny as I am, I thought I was awful big lying out there on that ramp. I said prayers I hadn't said in years.

It was more than 45 minutes before the two nurses were able to catch a jeep back to the dispensary. They found Walsh already there with the two wounded crew members. It was a long night for the weary medical crew. They departed the base for a downtown hotel at 5 a.m. Flares were still being dropped as security forces continued to root out the enemy. The wounded flight crew members were flown to Clark AB, in the Philippines, the afternoon following the attack. The flight engineer died several weeks later from his wounds.

Prisoner Release

In a blatant propaganda scheme, Hanoi announced July 3, 1968 that three American prisoners of war would be released. The trio would be released to Stewart Meacham (Philadelphia), Peace Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee; Mrs. Anne Scheer of Berkeley, California, wife of Robert Scheer an editor of Ramparts Magazine; and Vernon Grizzard, an anti- draft organizer from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The three American pilots were identified as Major James F. Low of Sausalito, California, Major Fred Thompson of Taylors, South Carolina, Captain Joe V. Carpenter of Victorville, California.

An earlier release infuriated Hanoi when prisoners returned to the U.S. via military transport rather than a commercial plane. This release generated great confusion regarding transportation. Hanoi broadcast July 17 the men would be freed in time to catch the weekly International Control Commission flight from Hanoi to Vientiane, Laos the following day.

At a news conference the next day Hanoi announced that the Vietnam Committee For Solidarity With Progressive Americans gained possession of the prisoners from the Vietnam Peoples Army political department and released them to representatives of the American Peoples Anti-War Movement. A Vietnamese representative emphasized the release was a new manifestation of the lenient and humanitarian policy of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, at a moment when the U.S. Government is intensifying its criminal war of aggression against the Vietnamese people.

Grizzard then spoke representing Americans opposing the war in Vietnam recognizing the strength of Vietnamese people viewing the humanitarian acts while Washington continues the war. After being released the prisoners also addressed those assembled expressing gratitude to the Government of Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Vietnam Peoples Army, and the Vietnamese people. A witness to the conference doubted the pilots made their statements voluntarily.

Following the ceremony the pilots and activists departed for a destination unknown and did not arrive at Vientiane as expected. This led to assumptions the pilots might be flown to Europe for additional propaganda appearances at the Paris Conference or that they might be released through China or South Vietnam.

Stewart Meacham of the Anti-War Committee sent a message to the American Friends Church Organization that their return would be delayed a week but did not elaborate. Meanwhile the State Department indicated they had not received any official information about the release of the pilots. The North Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia made a statement July 23 that the pilots had been freed and turned over to the American Pacifist Organization, offering no additional details.

The pilots, nor organizational members, were on the July 26 ICC flight to Vientiane but sightings had been made at the Metropolis Hotel in Hanoi. The State Department in Vientiane expressed disappointment over the delay. The NV Ambassador to Laos was on the plane and stated the men would be with their families soon.

Sappers Identified

Communist Suppression Operations Command sources identified the armed intruders who raided the Royal Thai Air Force Base at Udorn as a special Communist terrorist commando unit. One Thai security guard and two terrorists were killed. Four Americans were injured, one of which later died from injuries.

One U.S. aircraft was severely damaged and another slightly. Two AK-47 automatic rifles, several grenades and plastic explosive charges were captured. CSOC sources said the commando unit was not comprised of local terrorists. One of the dead men according to his identity card was Amnuay Chittavorn, 43 with a Bangsue address, Udorn police said. The other terrorist died of wounds in the hospital and it is suspected that he was a Vietnamese.

The commando unit infiltrated through the northern perimeter of the base by knifing to death the Thai security guard. CSOC sources said it is possible local Communists might have helped the commando unit. American military sources said the terrorists set up automatic weapons in at least two positions and opened fire on a USAF C‑141 jet transport and an RK4D reconnaissance fighter. The four Americans wounded were in the transport plane.

The C‑141 was heavily damaged with at least 49 holes in the plane and the left inboard engine was burned out. American forces opened fire and a 20-minute gun battle ensued. American planes took off to drop flares, lighting the area.

The attackers finally withdrew across flat paddy fields which surround a large part of the base. American sources said the terrorists apparently were trying to destroy U.S. aircraft with explosives. At least one explosion near a fighter was reported.

There are between 5,000 and 6,000 Americans at the base. U.S. transports, reconnaissance planes, air defense jets, rescue aircraft and RTAF jets are stationed there. The base is headquarters for the joint command of the U.S. 7th and 13th Air Force.

The body of the Thai security guard was found in a klong yesterday morning. One American said he first thought the shots were fireworks. "Then I heard what was unmistakably automatic fire," he said. "By the time I got our there it looked as though just about everybody on the base was over there."

U.S. sources said that the terrorists also hit a power plant on the base, but no indication of the damage was given. American military sources said that the Communists carried their AK-47s in plastic bags and ten set up their firing positions at the end of the runway. The C‑141 was hit first. An American was wounded in the abdomen. Another American was badly burned fighting the fire in the big jet transport. The transport was set up for medical evacuation and two women Air Force personnel who were in the aircraft at that time were uninjured. The Communists tried to place explosive charges around several aircraft but were forced back before they reached the main jet parking area. Missions were flown Saturday as usual, the sources said.

During 1968 there were more aircraft damaged and destroyed at USAF MOBs in Vietnam and Thailand than any single year 1964 to 1973. During 1968 there were 121 attacks on air bases in Vietnam and Thailand. Damage caused by these attacks increased each slightly each year from 1965 to 1967 but the number tripled in 1968 to well over 500 aircraft damaged or destroyed. On Sundays there were 30% more attacks on American bases than other days. Standoff attacks were quite small with almost 300 attacks in which fewer than 10 rounds were fired. At the other end of the spectrum, only five attacks fired over 100 rounds. The most common number of rounds fired was only three, the choice in 58 attacks. If attacks on Thailand would have succeeded in destroying Wild Weasels, gunships, B- 52s or tankers they could have disrupted operations against North Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail, although even the losses could have been replaced by the huge USAF aircraft inventory. Nearly all attacks were carried out on foot by small sniper units armed with a variety of explosive devices.

By December 1967, 505 USAF aircraft were stationed in Thailand (21) Officially, U.S. security responsibilities were limited to close-in protection of their own resources on the Royal Thai Air Force bases. The Royal Thai Air Force, Army and various police organizations were responsible for detecting and preventing both standoff attacks and attempts to penetrate the base perimeters. It became clear, however, that Thai forces were not up to the task, and USAF Security Police ultimately became responsible for the planning, command, and execution of defense operations. USAF intelligence personnel viewed North Vietnamese infantry or Thai Communist insurgents armed with mortars, recoilless rifles, and rockets as the primary threats to air bases in Thailand. Accordingly, the enemy was to be denied unhindered operational access to all areas within a 10,000 meter radius of each base.

The most significant area to be denied was the 5,000 to 10,000 meter belt, where the enemy could employ 81, 82, 120 mm mortars, and 122 and 140-mm rockets. That was the area from which they could hit each base with a resultant high level of damage and, due to the long range, be almost undetectable. Observation post in the higher threat areas, flareships and gunships on alert, free-fire zones around the bases, and forces readily available for prompt and decisive deployments to conduct ambushes and offensive ground action against enemy training areas and hide-outs were envisioned.

Bangkok (AP) July 29, 1968: Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn of Thailand said Monday the attack two days ago on Udorn Air Base was a Communist attempt to kill three American pilots who were to have been released by Hanoi that night.

A Thai security guard and two attackers were killed in the raids. Four Americans were wounded. Thanom, speaking at his weekly press conference said the main target of the attackers was a U.S. Air Force C‑141 Starlifter parked on the end of the runway.

The Starlifter fitted out as a medical evacuation aircraft, was waiting the arrival of the three released pilots from Vientiane where they had been scheduled to land at 10:15 p.m. after a flight from Hanoi. The attack on Udorn, about 35 miles from Vientiane, began at 10:30 p.m.

The pilots, Maj. Fred N. Thompson, Maj. James F. Low and Capt. Joe V. Carpenter did not arrive in Vientiane as scheduled. If they had arrived and decided to fly to Udorn, they might have been aboard the C‑141 when the Communists attacked with automatic weapons and grenades. Presumably the pilots are still in North Vietnam.

Although they have never publicly said so, the North Vietnamese are believed to have been angered when the first three pilots released in February were flown directly to Udorn from Vientiane.

The North Vietnamese reportedly wanted the publicity that would have resulted had the airmen flown home by commercial airliner.

In his hour‑long conference Monday, Thanom said one of the two attackers killed at Udorn Friday had been identified as a Vietnamese, age 27. The other was a Thai age 43, who was carrying a forged identity card.

Thanom said that as a result of the attack on Udorn, he had ordered all bases in Thailand on full alert as a precaution against further raids by Communists. A preparedness plan drawn up three months ago for the defense of the airbases and other strategic installations would be put into effect. Thai police would institute strict security checks in a seven‑mile radius of the base.

Post Attack Revelations

Udorn had been a target of Communist expansion of a long time and the buildup at the airbase intensified matters considerably. In‑country insurgents generated the most concern for Thai and American officials. Communist Terrorists in Thailand were called CTs.

Cumulative data on CT strength since December 1965 indicated numbers of hard core indigenous recruits were: Northeast 1,500; North 300; and South 700; total 2,500.

Sympathizers: Northeast 7,000; North 3,500; and South 2,500; total 13,000. The grand total of all was 15,500.

CTs suffered the following losses: Deaths 758; Arrests 2,632; and 2,337 surrendered. The total 5,727.

Complicating matters further, agreements between Thailand and the U.S. gave responsibility for all defense except internal security, to the Royal Thai Government. No foreign force could bear arms on Thai soil. The USAF was responsible for only the internal security of primary USAF resources.

During the USAF buildup at Udorn in 1966, it was apparent that defensive strategies needed to be reviewed continuously. The Thai military was ill‑equipped, untrained and did not aggressively pursue their responsibility.

Air Base Defenses

Udorn had defensive plans in place but were untested coordination hardly adequate. Plans were designed to protect U.S. resources and the biggest threat came from rockets, mortars and rifles and sapper attacks. The enemy was to be denied operational access to all areas within a 10,000‑meter radius of each base, most significantly 5,000 to 10,000‑meter belt where enemy could employ 81‑82 and 120‑mm mortars, and 122 and 140‑mm rockets. That was the area from which they could hit each base and cause a high level of damage.

A layered defense was utilized on USAF bases in Vietnam and Thailand against both standoff and penetrating threats. The first layer was the immediate vicinity around the base. At these locations police and intelligence sources provided early warning.

The base perimeter fence, observations towers and bunkers was the second layer and would hopefully detect sappers. Obstacles were also used, barbed wire, trip flares and mine fields.

The third layer was composed of roving security alert teams, sentries and patrol dogs to detect penetrations of the perimeter. In Vietnam these personnel were supplemented by mobile 12‑man quick reaction teams, mounted in either M‑113 armored personnel carriers or M‑706 armored cars, jeeps trucks and assorted vehicles were used when armored vehicles were not available. High value sites were protected with defensive positions, patrols and sentries. One sentry was assigned for every eight aircraft in daylight hours and one for every four at night. B‑52 and KC‑135 aircraft received double coverage.

Friday, May 22, 2009 10:01 am


A month or so ago I posted a note about the upcoming debut of a new movie ... Fighting For Life. Scroll down to the entry for 3/30/2009 on this page, or click here

Due to the screwy arrangements at many PBS stations it will be shown on less than the full compliment of public stations around the country. And not here in Tucson either. Probably too controversial for them.

Friday, May 22, 2009 09:53 am

Four New T‑Tail Tall Tales

Dave Kutulis, a former C‑141 maintenance guy, sent in several nice stories about his experiences with the C141 and the places he went, and people he met. The Brake Swivel
Australia, Part 1
Australia, Part 2
Olympic Express 1969

Sunday, May 17, 2009 08:06 am

C‑141 in A Commercial ....

It you are a C‑141 Heaven visitor who works in a politically correct office you may want to view this material at home instead (or at least with the door closed at work). But those of you surfing at work should just get back to work. If you work for the feds in any capacity, taxpayers are not paying you to be here.

Quite some time ago I got a link to what looked like a crazy commercial involving our beloved C‑141....

I don't know about you, but I never had any 'cargo' like that. Believe it or not, this was a commercial for a washing machine.

Later, I got another link ... to the 'making of' video.... (which as of Jan 3, 2015 is dead. If you manage to find a valid link it let me know.)

The text at the end says Fleggaard Lige over Grnsen which means Fleggaard Just over the edge. Grnse also has the meaning border, and Fleggaard is a German company selling lots of stuff cheap (or so they say) in Denmark. Hence just over the border. Link to the Fleggaard website

Friday, April 24, 2009 10:36 am

640610 Gear Up Landing....

Heather Rittenhouse sent in the following newspaper clipping....

From the caption we can see that there was another photo of the aircraft on the ramp...but it was missing from the copy she found. She thinks the incident may have happened between 1968 and 1971 ... her GRANDFATHER was flying the aircraft.

Anyone with any info about this mishap please email or contact me . If you are near Dover you might try making a trip to the public affairs office and seeing if there are any base newspaper archives going back that far.

Friday, April 10, 2009 11:11 am

Searching for Someone

Does anyone have contact information for COL Tom O'Dell, former commander of the 97th AS? (McChord AFB, circa late '80's/early '90s). Some old Pilot Training buddies are trying to contact everyone from the class of 68H at Moody for a reunion. Anyone who might be able to help should contact Dave Finch .

Saturday, April 4, 2009 03:53 pm

C‑141/C‑5 Procedure Trainers...

Back in December Ed Wigfield sent me some pics and newspaper articles about some C‑141 and C‑5 cockpit procedures trainers he was involved in constructing out of 'surplus' materials. I promptly scanned all the material and made a web page about them ... but forgot to post the link for all of you to see.

Click Here for the photos.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 11:41 am


I got the following note from Kyle Disney, who's based at Altus. As more details and pics of their plans materialize I will update the blog.

Hi All C‑141'ers

I'm Kyle Disney, SMSgt, USAF, current C‑17 Loadmaster and former C‑141B Loadmaster (5K hours on it.)

Here's the story: here at Altus AFB OK, we had a C‑141 on display at the flightline . Col Alvin, Wing Commander, has moved it to the parade grounds, (I will send some of the moving pictures) and it's quite a sight to see! There will also be a KC‑135 parked there.

Here's the meat: The Boom operator association has a memorial of boomers who have past away that will be moved to in front of the 135. I have been asked by my group commander if the Professional Loadmaster Association (PLA) would like to place a memorial in front of the C‑141.

My association and I would love to put up a memorial, but, unlike the boomers, I would like to have all C‑141 aircrew members who have lost their lives on the aircraft. With the help of your site, AF historian, and a dedicated SSgt Chris Worthy I think we have all of the names.

Now for the begging: My branch of the PLA is small so we can not afford the whole amount of the memorial, so, may I use your site to get the word out to solicit funds for this project ? I am waiting on price quotes from our local granite sellers. I should have a good quote by next week.

Thanks for your time and any help!

Kyle S. Disney, SMSgt, USAF
58 AS/Squadron Superintendent

3/30/2009 6:19:05 PM

New Documentary

My Google news link alert popped this one up today.....
Film shot in war zone brings true stories of army medics and wounded soldiers to the screen in real‑life M*A*S*H

Available on DVD Memorial Day, May 25

"a film that qualifies as essential viewing when partisan rhetoric and administration spin too often obscure the war's human cost...Sanders never flinches in showing the blood, viscera and immense suffering that too often remains on the cutting‑room floor in the journalistic media."
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

The American Film Foundation announces the U.S. television premiere and DVD release of the documentary film, Fighting for Life, on Memorial Day, May 25, 2009. The film will begin airing on PBS affiliates nationwide in May, check local listings. A DIY (Do it Yourself) release, the Fighting for Life DVD will be available for purchase on the filmmakers website: www.fightingforlifethemovie.com .

Fighting for Life by Academy Award‑winning director Terry Sanders (Return with Honor, Maya Lin: A em Clear Vision) is a powerful and viscerally affecting documentary portrait of American military medicine. Filmed on the front lines in Iraq and at U.S. military medical facilities at home and abroad, Fighting for Life is the story of doctors, nurses and medics fighting to save the lives of soldiers and marines wounded and maimed in battle. In this critically‑acclaimed film, Sanders expertly braids three stories together as he documents military doctors, nurses and medics working with skill, compassion and dedication amidst the vortex of the Iraq War; wounded soldiers and marines who face life‑altering injuries with courage, dignity and determination to survive and to heal; and, the students of the Uniformed Services University (the "West Point" of military medicine) on their journey toward becoming career military physicians.

The film also follows the personal story of 21 year‑old Army Specialist Crystal Davis, on her odyssey from Iraq to Germany to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC, as she fights to recover from the loss of her leg.

Director Terry Sanders states, "We made a film not only about military medicine and the unsung healer‑heroes of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but about the courage and spirit it takes to recover from serious injury. We were privileged to be trusted to share and film the deep emotions of the military doctors and nurses and to meet many of the wounded, including Iraqi wounded, to get to know their stories and their feelings, as they coped, both physically and emotionally with their situations."

Fighting for Life was released theatrically last year to critical acclaim from some of the most respected publications and film writers in the country. Matt Zoller Seitz of the New York Times writes of the film, "Shot in battlefield hospitals in Iraq and rehab centers in the United States, 'Fighting for Life' takes an unflinching look at the physical sacrifices of soldiers and marines, and the fortitude of the doctors and nurses who treat them."

John Anderson of Variety writes, "The only people who seem immune to the politics of the Iraq War are also at its epicenter: the doctors and nurses who mend and tend to the wounded, and who provide the heart and soul of Terry Sanders' "Fighting for Life."... What's onscreen is among the most disturbing footage to come out of the Iraq cinema experience: Sanders and his crew probe relentlessly with their cameras, never recoiling from the most horrendous, bone‑revealing injury, or from the long road of pain and disability ahead for most of the very young people on stretchers, or from the older but un‑jaded medical teams around them."

The film was shot over a two year period, with a small crew (cameramen Erik Daarstad and Buddy Squires, soundman Bruce Nolte and co‑producer Jennifer Glos) led by director, Terry Sanders. Fighting for Life was filmed with HD cameras in a combat hospital in the center of Iraq, on giant C‑141 and C‑17 planes outfitted as flying intensive care units, and in military hospitals in Germany and the United States.

Fighting for Life is presented to PBS stations via Oregon Public Broadcasting and NETA. Produced and directed by two‑time Academy Award‑Winning filmmaker Terry Sanders, the film had its nationwide theatrical debut in 2008 through distributor, Truly Indie. For more information, please visit www.fightingforlifethemovie.com

Monday, March 30, 2009 06:09 pm

C‑141 BBQ ... Really!

Rich Lloyd just sent me this link : Smokin' Starlifters

Just like in real‑life, it looks like the wings are about to fall off. It even has a 'remove before flight' streamer.

I wonder if anyone knows where this thing is today?

Sunday, March 29, 2009 04:39 pm

New Pictures

Got a little packet of photos from Joe Meyer of New Braunfels, Texas, this week. At first I was not sure what had survived the post office machines.

The Apology.

The Contents

The last C‑141 INSTRUCTOR FLIGHT ENGINEERS. Joe is on the right.

A Travis 710th crew after a trip around the Pacific rim.

Uzbekistan .. a 30‑day TDY for med evac duty, approx 1977.
The Russian IL‑76's in the background are all scrap,
their version of the Boneyard in Tucson.
The crew is a combined Bully Beef and 702 AS crew.
LtCol Kim Mortenson (2nd from left) met his future wife
there and moved her to the states...married happily ever after.

Captain's Gibbs and Digman, 710th AS, Travis AFB, 1996.
The crew carried the teddy bear around the world and returned
it to a first grade class in Indiana, its backpack full of disposable
cameras and trinkets....

Special luggage treat for (then) LTC Brian Spencer's fini-flight, 710th AS, 1996.
A few more pics of him follow.

Nice Cockpit shot.

TSGT Joe Meyer, Smsgt Lous Pacheco, and TSGT Page Van Atta put 9404 to bed
at the DM Boneyard in 1998.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 09:13 am

POW Release:LAOS

Jim North sent the following pics and notes of a POW release mission he flew on March 28th, 1973. They flew from Clark to Hanoi to pick up 10 POWs released by the Pathet Lao. The crew was from the 14th MAS at Norton.
The crew and their North Vietnamese "go‑between" on the ramp at Hanoi.

The crew orders ... signed by the released POWS.

A newspaper article discussing the release

Patient Movement Data Sheet

Monday, March 23, 2009 05:44 pm

The Way Back Machine

David Kutulis, Sr. CMSGT(RET) sent in a few pics of the good old days when the C‑141s were silver. The pictures follow his note:


My brother, knowing that I had once worked on C‑141s, hooked me up with C141Heaven the other day. I have spent the last few nights going thru the site and am amazed at what you have done.

I was assigned to the 63rd MAW in May of 1967 when there were only six aircraft assigned. I spent the first four months working the Phase Dock but having crewed B‑47s and EC‑135Ps (CICPAC Airborne Command Post) I found that I really missed the flight line. After about four months I moved to the flight line and waited my turn for a newly arrived aircraft.

One day the Line Chief showed me a list of the tail numbers that would be the next batch of planes to arrive. I had my choice of 70005, 70007, 70009 or 70011.

Seven‑Eleven sounded good so I chose it. When it arrived in, October of 67 , it had 6.5 hours on it. It was, I'm told, the first one on the west coast with the auto landing system and was not authorized at the time to be used in the system.

The next month and a half it spent its time on training flights to Palmdale (Plant 42) and Edwards AFB. It flew twice a day almost every day. The MAC commander at the time had a flight in it.

The last week of November the aircraft scheduler told me they now could put the aircraft into the system and asked if I wanted a day off. I never saw the bird during December. When it returned to Norton it was at night and the ACC turned it.

I read on one of your posts about Pachinko balls, 70011 had its share as well as dog food. It went to Kelly to pick up a load and when it came through Norton I climbed in the plane to open the right rear troop door to refuel it and ran into nine pallets of dogs bound for the war zone. They were not happy campers. Months later we were still finding dog food in the floor area.

I crewed 70011 into 1969 when I was selected to be the Crew Chief on the aircraft that was to participate in the first MAC Airlift Competition.

After that, I was shuttled off to be a Quality Control Inspector. After I transferred from Norton I never saw 70011 again and often wondered what happened to it .... now I know. I guess it saw its share of history with its classified mission to the Falkland Islands and having the call sign Air Force One. I have been to Australia, New Zealand, Argentine, Europe and the Mid East in the 141 both as part of the crew and as a passenger and I always enjoyed my time in it.

Every few months when I drive by March Field I look over at the C‑141 in the museum and reminisce, once I stopped to check it out and found some outfit was holding a birthday party in it and access was restricted. I ignored the sign and toured the plane, standing in the cockpit I was amazed at how small it seemed to be after so many years.

Loved to bug the FEs with the joke about the monkey and parrot, the monkey flipping the switch, and the parrot saying check complete.

Here are a few pictures you may want to use. Three of them are of the personnel who made up the 63rd Air Lift Competition Team and one of myself and the crew chief of 005.

I'm not sure if it's 005 or 011 we are standing by since I took care of 005 for two weeks while the other guy was still in FTD School.

I have another picture I think you would like. If you remember the AF Safety Office put out a monthly magazine and in it, there was a section concerning: maintenance. Guys could write in questions about maintenance policy practices and they were answered by a blond gal named Toots. Somewhere I have a picture of her standing on the tail of 0011. If I find it I'll send it also if you need 8x10's of the ones I sent I'll get some made.

That's me on the right!

David Kutulis, Sr.
CMSGT (RET) Lancaster CA

Monday, March 23, 2009 05:38 pm


Got these nice pics of "The Golden Bear" from Adrian Vargo .. a C‑17 guy from Dover who recently visited the static display at Travis.

Adrian @ Work/Play

Monday, March 2, 2009 05:15 pm

Smoke and Flames ‑ The Crash of 67‑0008

Leon Larson sent in some pics of the immediate aftermath of the crash of 67‑0008 at Sondrestrom, Greenland in late August, 1976. click here, (and scroll towards the bottom of the page...) .

Sunday, March 1, 2009 05:11 pm

First Hand Account of the crash of 66‑0150

Some US Army Rangers were on the ground near the location of the crash of 66‑0150 in February 1989. To read a very detailed first hand account of the story, click here, (and scroll towards the bottom of the page...) . (Note:You may need to press F5 to refresh your browser display.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009 04:08 pm

"Pilot to Alligator"

Got this not from Emily Blalock from Albany, Georgia:

In 1967 during the 7 day war in Israel I needed to take my young son to Germany to the hospital and since Egypt wouldn't allow our planes in their airspace the medivac plane (I believe it was a C‑54) couldn't get to Kagnew Station in what was then Ethiopia to pick us up.

A C‑141 from Charleston, SC flew into to Asmara and we were then taken to Adana, Turkey, and on to Weisbaden, Germany. I was pregnant with my second child and the crew was so good to me and my son. We sat in the cockpit where they let Fred wear a head-set.

Just over Addis Ababa he asked me, "Mama, when is he going to say 'Pilot to Alligator' like they do on TV?"

Everyone just roared with laughter. He was referring to the only TV program that we got in Asmara: "12:00 O'Clock High" and the reference to the alligator was 'navigator'.

Emily Blalock

For those of you (like me) who never heard of Kagnew Station (a US military listening post) you can learn more at this link and also at Wikipedia .

Monday, January 26, 2009 05:19 pm

Hudson River ... US Airways .... Terrorists Found!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009 04:42 pm

Do you remember PACHINKO's?

I got this note from John Englar, whose father used to bring PACHINKO machines back to McChord from Japan:

Here's one of my dad's USAF stories.

We were stationed at McChord. I remember my dad coming home from one of his many overseas flights with a Pachinko machine.

This was 1969 -1971, I just don't recall the exact year as kid. If anyone remembers the 60s-70s, they were all the rage.

You could pick them up cheap in Japan. Dad took 'orders' from other base personnel and would bring back several of these machines at a time. He also purchased bags of extra balls for each machine. Each bag had 500 Pachinko balls.

They loaded them all in the Starlifter for the return flight and somewhere over the pacific one of these bags fell, broke open and scattered 500 Pachinko balls all over the cargo hold. He said that they never did find them all!

Piles of Pachinko Balls

Over the years dad mentioned that there was a 141 flying around somewhere with Pachinko balls rolling around cargo hold and we all can't help but chuckle about it.

So if there is ground maintenance personnel, or maybe the guys at Lockheed that stretched this particular bird (he doesn't remember the tail number), that found ball bearing like steel balls with Japanese writing stamped on them, now you know what they are and how and when they got there!

Here's a picture of my machine that still keeps all the kids entertained. It's a bit worn from all the moves, some of the balls are pitted and not as shiny, but it still works.

I wonder if anyone else still has there machine from that flight

Jeff Englar

Click here for More on Pachinko

I don't know if the guys from Travis and Norton were as in to Pachinko machines as the guys at McChord, but you are 100% right about the McChord people ... they were nuts about the damn things.

Depending on condition and your ability to haggle, the machines went for $10 to $25 dollars. I brought back several for friends in the mid-'70s.

My parents lived in San Diego when I was stationed at McChord. One day we had a series of special missions flying a bunch of folks from Fort Lewis to Navy North Island. I made two round-trips from McChord to San Diego that day. On the first one we had a very fast turn- around planned. After the troops and cargo were off-loaded I found a guy driving around somewhat aimlessly in a truck on the flight-line. I flagged him over and handed him a Pachinko machine and told him to go in to base ops and shout out my dad's name. He was supposed to be waiting there for it. I know it made it safely to his hands as I saw it at their house years later when visiting for the holidays.

There were Pachinko parlors in Japan ... with hundreds of machines ... not unlike a Vegas casino. I've never figured out the attraction .. but like the slots ... Pachinkos are noisy and mindless. It is probably a good break from whatever doldrums you suffer through at work.

Another big "goody wagon" (AKA: The C‑141) item was those big green Kamado Pots (also referred to frequently and incorrectly as Hibachi pots).

More than a few ended up in pieces on the flight-line or in the back of a C‑141 ... and if you did get them home unbroken and fired them up they pretty much became very brittle and nearly impossible to move successfully. Today, there are American-made versions selling for about $700 .... nice glazed ceramic ones that don't crack with use. As I recall, we paid about $25-30 (the $ was em against the Yen back then!) for the clay ones, and once you brought one home for your patio...all the next door neighbors would say "I was thinking .... since you're going over there anyway ....". You know the rest of that line of thinking.

Saturday, January 24, 2009 04:38 pm

No More Shirts ...

Late last year I posted a note about some C‑141 shirts that one of C141Heaven's visitors had started to sell on eBay and directly via mail. I bought one and they were very nicely done. He got good reviews from other folks that bought them, but he's had some trouble getting folks to pay for custom embroidered ones and has decided to stop selling them because of the hassles.

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