2019 Spring Friends Journal Sampler

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Spring 2019 The Magazine of the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. • afmuseum.com

Featured Articles Jolly Green and the Mistys at Fingers Lake Shot Down 35 XB-70 Delivery Flight 48


Vol. 42 No. 2
























Late on the evening of June 5, 1944, over 13,000 men of the 82nd and 101st U.S. Army Airborne Divisions climbed aboard waiting United States Army Air Force C-47 transports and CG-4 gliders to drop behind enemy lines as the first act of the combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France. On June 6th, 75 years later, we will gather to honor those who fought on D-Day and those who died so that we can live free. Over the years, as I have talked with many courageous men who participated in D-Day, I have been moved by the distance in their eyes; hollowed by their experiences and friendships made and often lost. And yet we must remember, for soon they will all be gone and it will be our responsibility to tell their stories. To that end, I am pleased to announce that we are bringing a 3,500 sq-ft exhibit to the Museum commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Opening in mid-May, this immersive, interactive exhibit will feature augmented reality technology, which will enable visitors to truly experience what it was like to live in occupied France, the D-Day mission brief, boarding a C-47, the flight across the channel, the jump into combat, a battle for a key bridge, and the medical support following the battle. And this is the tip of the iceberg. If the exhibit is as successful as expected, we will explore the possibility of rolling out this kind of technology throughout the entire Museum. Over the years, the events of D-Day have been well documented and the men and their stories memorialized. Now, thanks to your continuing support, this exhibit will make those stories come alive, inspiring the rising generation to understand and honor the greatest generation for their service and sacrifice.

Mike Imhoff Air Force Museum Foundation Executive Director



THE AIR FORCE MUSEUM FOUNDATION, INC. BOARD OF TRUSTEES Col Susan E. Richardson, USAF (Ret) - Chairman Dr. Pamela A. Drew - President Lt Gen C.D. Moore II, USAF (Ret) - Vice President CMSAF Gerald R. Murray, USAF (Ret) - Secretary Mr. Robert J. Suttman II, CFA - Treasurer Mr. John G. Brauneis Dr. Thomas J. Burns, PhD Brig Gen Paul R. Cooper, USAF (Ret) Mr. Timothy O. Cornell, CIMA Mr. Roger D. Duke Ms. Frances A. Duntz Ms. Anita Emoff Mr. David C. Evans Col Frederick D. Gregory Sr., USAF (Ret) Mr. Benjamin T. Guthrie Maj Gen E. Ann Harrell, USAF (Ret) Mr. James L. Jennings Mr. Ki Ho Kang Dr. Thomas J. Lasley II Gen Gary L. North, USAF (Ret) Mr. Edgar M. Purvis Jr. Gen Charles T. Robertson Jr., USAF (Ret) Maj Gen Frederick F. Roggero, USAF (Ret) Mr. Philip L. Soucy Mr. Harry W. (Wes) Stowers Jr.

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS Col Mark N. Brown, USAF (Ret) Mr. James F. Dicke II Mr. Charles J. Faruki Col William S. Harrell, USAF (Ret) Mr. Jon G. Hazelton Mr. Charles F. Kettering III Mr. Patrick L. McGohan Lt Gen Richard V. Reynolds, USAF (Ret) Mr. R. Daniel Sadlier Col James B. Schepley, USAF (Ret) Mr. Scott J. Seymour

Contents F E AT U R E S T O R I E S




Jolly Green and the Mistys at Fingers Lake

A Tour of the Eighth Air Force Control Tower

“We took a hit in the rear of the aircraft and every light on the instrument panel lit up.”

“By all accounts, it is a faithful recreation… a wonderful tribute” 20

B-52 Crash at McCoy “It just hovered there for a second, then rolled pointing one of its enormous wings directly to the ground.” 32

C-47s to the Rescue “Our mission was to fly at low level…to pick up downed SAC crews in enemy territory.” 46

D-Day Glider “Once he pulled the handle to release the tow rope…he would have to find a place to land.” 48

XB-70 Delivery Flight “There was one overall thought … let us get the XB-70 to Wright-Patterson”


Shot Down “Left unguarded and lagging behind the formation, the Susan Ruth was singled out”

On the Cover: HH-3 helicopter. Photo National Museum of the USAF

D E PA R T M E N T S 4




Editor’s Notes

Classic Aircraft of the NMUSAF

From the Chief Development Officer







mong the aircraft and artifacts on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force™ are many that were used against the United States in previous wars. Many came to the Museum after being tested by the Air Force. For example, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 came to the Museum after taking part in the highly classified Project Constant Peg. It was flown by the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron to learn its strengths and weaknesses, and as an opponent in realistic combat training for Air Force, Navy and Marine pilots against then state-ofthe-art Soviet technology. However, just because an aircraft or artifact has been transferred to the Museum doesn’t mean the Air Force is done with it. According to an Air Force release, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Sensors Directorate recently teamed up with the Museum on a project with implications for current and future war fighting operations. The Sensors Directorate took radar reflectivity measurements of some of the Museum’s anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) guns using a portable radar unit. Among them was a Soviet-built ZPU-4 anti-aircraft gun used by the Iraqis in 1991 and captured during Operation Desert Storm. “What you ideally want to do is collect real-world data and then try to come up with techniques to detect these reflectivity signatures in the real-world,” said David Sobota, with the Sensors Effects and Analysis Branch at AFRL’s Sensors Directorate. “Using real antiaircraft guns from the Air Force museum will help us come up with more reliable detection techniques more quickly.” The AFRL team plans to use the data to build mock ups with the same radar signature as real AAA guns that Air Force aircrews might encounter, and to develop ways to more quickly identify and react to AAA emplacements. “We are pleased that these artifacts can be utilized for this research project,” said Roberta Carothers, Museum Collection Management Division chief. “The Museum strives to support all operational requests similar to AFRL’s data request to help the warfighter reduce AAA ground threats.” The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force isn’t just a place where people can learn about the past — it is an asset where lessons can be learned from the past in support of current and future Air Force operations.

Alan Armitage aarmitage@afmuseum.com | 937.656.9622




Michael Imhoff - Executive Director Melinda Lawrence - Chief, Museum Store Operations Mary Bruggeman - Chief, Attractions Operations Christopher Adkins-Lamb - Chief Development Officer Chuck Edmonson - Marketing Director Gary Beisner - Facilities & Food Service Coordinator Membership Office: 1-877-258-3910 (toll free) or 937-656-9615


David Tillotson III - Director Krista Strider - Deputy Director/Senior Curator

Friends Journal

Editor - Alan Armitage Creative Manager - Cheryl Prichard Edito rial Assistants - Joe King, Art Powell, Robert Pinizzotto Friends Journal Office: 937-656-9622

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the Friends Journal articles and Feedback letters are solely those of the authors in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., the United States Air Force or any other entity or agency of the U.S. Government.

The Friends Journal is published quarterly by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., a Section 501(c)(3) private, non-profit organization dedicated to the expansion and improvement of the National Museum of the U.S.Air ForceTM and to the preservation of the history of the United States Air Force. The Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. is not part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no government status. Printed in the USA. USPS Standard A rate postage paid at Dayton, OH. Subscription to the Friends Journal is included in the annual membership of the Friends of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

A Tour of the Eighth Air Force Control Tower AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE™ By



s you drive into the grounds of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, you will notice two buildings in the airpark area on your left. One of them is a replica of an Eighth Air Force (AF) control tower, the type of control tower that would have been at every major Eighth AF base in England during World War II. The other building is a Nissen hut, a type of temporary building also found at Eighth and Ninth AF bases, as well as British Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in the wartime United Kingdom. Our two Nissen huts came from the RAF base at Debden which was the home of the Eagle Squadrons (Americans flying with the RAF before the United States got into the war) which later became the 4th Fighter Group of the Eighth AF. This article will focus on the control tower and how a real Eighth AF control tower functioned in World War II. The Museum’s tower was built in 1995 by the Eighth

AF Memorial Museum Foundation, a part of the Eighth AF Historical Society. By all accounts, it is a faithful recreation of the standard control towers found at Eighth AF, Ninth AF, and RAF bases. During World War II, on any given day the skies over Great Britain were filled with aircraft and obviously there was a need for a system to control this activity. The RAF introduced a flying control system in 1940. And when the United States joined the war, the U.S. Army Air Forces was smart enough to adopt the British system. The standard complement of personnel at an Eighth AF control tower was three officers and about 50 enlisted personnel. The enlisted personnel were highly trained specialists and included air traffic controllers, radio operators, weathermen, rescue personnel, alert crews, and administrative staff.




Thermodynamic diagrams

As you enter the control tower, you’ll notice that the first floor is primarily dedicated to weather forecasting. Weather was an important factor in the United Kingdom. The weather could change quickly and it was important that aircrews were aware of what they might encounter. The weather recorder’s room contains many of the recording instruments such as wind speed and direction gauges, a sensitive aneroid barometer, a 24-hour clock, and two Teletype machines — a Model 15 page printer and a Model 19 transmitter. The Model 15 received a daily weather report that gave forecasts for approximately 700 bases in the United Kingdom (the Eighth AF had about 100 of those bases, all in England) and the Model 19 sent up hourly reports of weather data for the local base. The next room on the first floor is probably where transient pilots would have been briefed on the weather. A prominent feature of this room is the clipboards which would have contained the daily weather reports for all bases received via teletype. These reports would have been very helpful to pilots flying from one base to another in different parts of the United Kingdom. Pilots assigned to bomber and fighter bases would have received


their weather briefings en masse prior to a mission. This room also has two thermodynamic diagrams (weather charts), one of which is from August 5, 1944. If you look through the window at the ground outside this room, you will see a large concrete slab. At a wartime base, this would be roughly 40 feet by 40 feet and would contain symbols of basic aerodrome information. The Museum’s has two symbols indicating it is a military field and the landing direction. Temporary information such as “Standard Beam Approach,” “Look at the Wind Tee,” and “Parachutes dropping in the area” could have been posted on a cross-tee on a corner of the slab. This feature at air bases was meant to cut down radio traffic that might be intercepted by the enemy. Another room on the first floor is configured as an office and is where the volunteer manning the tower is located. In this room is a key educational feature of the tower: an electronic map that shows all the Eighth AF bases in England as of June 6, 1944. All the Eighth AF bases are




The weather recorder room.

A caravan mobile control trailer stationed with the 381st Bomb Group at Ridgewell, Essex, England.

B-24 Liberators, and bases with Eighth AF photo reconnaissance Supermarine Spitfires. Another interesting feature of this room is that 63 bricks from 8th AF control towers are incorporated into one wall. They are all identified and are set in the wall to represent their geographical relationship to each other. Your enjoyment of the tower will be enhanced by the many period posters and news articles on the walls and the 1940s-era music playing in the background. In one of the breakrooms you can even see some wall panels that were removed from Eighth AF control towers with World War II graffiti still on them.


This electronic map shows all the Eighth AF bases in England as of June 6, 1944.

identified by name while Ninth AF bases and RAF bases are shown as dots, but not identified by name. There are buttons that can be pressed to light up bases according to the aircraft stationed there; Lockheed P-38 Lightnings, Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, North American P-51 Mustangs, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, Consolidated

On the second floor you’ll learn more about the air traffic control aspect of the tower. The first room you’ll come to highlights the Caravan, which was essentially a mobile control tower. It was a small, towable trailer filled with basic radio equipment and various visual communication aids such as an Aldis lamp for sending Morse code signals and assorted flares to help in emergency landings. It could be positioned at the end of a runway and could take over air traffic control duties if it was too foggy for personnel in the tower to see the end of the runway. The caravan was manned by two NCOs (non-commissioned officers; sergeants).

This room also has a scale-model Eighth AF base layout complete with B-17s, B-24s, P-51s and even a visiting RAF Avro Lancaster bomber. A novel feature is a B-24 formation aircraft returning to base. Formation aircraft were often war-weary bombers that were painted in highly visible schemes so other aircraft could form on them before a bombing mission. When the squadron or group commander took the lead of the formation, these aircraft would return to base.




Clipboards on this table contained daily weather reports for all the bases.

On this floor there is a more elaborate breakroom that has a dart board, checkerboard, a cot, and numerous posters from World War II. These breakrooms were necessary considering the long shifts during which tower personnel were involved in high stress operations. The main control room is the heart of the air traffic control mission of the tower. We are fortunate to have so many pieces of equipment that would have been in a typical control tower. In this room the ground-to-air radios and dedicated telephone lines to crash crews, airsea rescue units, British anti-aircraft and searchlight units, British Royal Observer Corps, and Fighter Command


Control tower officer’s desk.

Air Defense Headquarters are all in their proper places. Along the wall are an Aldis lamp and signal rockets that would have been used to visually signal aircrews. There is also an outline of the airfield lighting system as well as a map of the British Isles and western Europe. All in all, the Eighth AF control tower at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is a wonderful tribute to the over 30,000 officers and enlisted personnel who manned these towers in England in World War II. John B. King served 20 years in the Air Force as a supply officer, retiring as a major in 1988. He has had a life-long interest in aviation history and was the assistant editor of the Friends Journal from 2000 to 2010 and the editor from 2010 to 2012. Now retired, he volunteers at the Museum in the Fourth Building and the Early Years/World War II Galleries two days a week.


A scale-model Eighth AF base layout.



Where History comes Alive – on Stage and on the Big Screen!

Coming this summer!

Dramatic, moving and deeply human, ARMSTRONG offers the definitive life story of Neil Armstrong — from his childhood in rural Ohio, to his first steps on the moon, and beyond!

Tickets and more information available at 937.656.4629 or visit afmuseum.com/livinghistory.

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