2021 Winter Friends Journal Sampler

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Hercules in the Desert

Desert Storm Reminiscences

Air Force Cross in Desert Storm




The magazine of the Air Force Museum Foundation




Winter 2021, Vol. 44 No. 1

mike’s musings



Dr. Pamela A. Drew

As some of you may know, my 85-year-old father has Alzheimer’s disease. I find that each day with him is precious, trying to hold on to the present while pushing back the hands of time to give him one more, lucid day. Last week while discussing the past, which he is still able to describe in detail, he said, “You know Mike, this COVID thing is a mess. And as today is yesterday’s tomorrow, the tomorrows are going to happen based on what we do now.” Had to think about that one. To date, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all, and it’s not done. In 2020, the Foundation focused on staying aligned with Director Tillotson and the mission of the National Museum of the U. S. Air Force™, protecting and lowering the risk for our employees, volunteers, and visitors, keeping our team members employed, and ensuring we were positioned to weather this storm and hit the ground running in 2021. And I could not be more excited for 2021 and beyond. The new Women in the Air Force exhibit, Department of the Air Force Humanitarian exhibit, the Atlas Rocket restoration, along with continued emphasis on immersive exhibits to enhance your visit to the Museum are just a few of the exciting projects in 2021. And, along with our new Events business, where you are able to hold a ceremony, meeting, or dinner at the Museum, it will just keep getting better. So for today, I pray you and your families are safe and healthy and that we will continue to answer today’s call. For when tomorrow comes, our joyous celebrations will be a result of our mutual commitment to our mission, our airmen and their stories, and to each other. V/r,

Mike Imhoff Air Force Museum Foundation Chief Executive Officer



Lt Gen C.D. Moore II, USAF (Ret) SECRETARY

CMSAF Gerald R. Murray, USAF (Ret) TREASURER

Brig Gen Paul R. Cooper, USAF (Ret) Col James F. Blackman, USAF (Ret) Mr. John G. Brauneis Mr. Roger D. Duke Ms. Anita Emoff Col Frederick D. Gregory Sr., USAF (Ret) Mr. Benjamin T. Guthrie Mr. James L. Jennings Mr. Scott L. Jones Mr. Ki Ho Kang Dr. Thomas J. Lasley II Mr. Scott E. Lundy Gen Lester L. Lyles, USAF (Ret) Maj Gen Edward (Ted) P. Maxwell, USAF (Ret) Maj Gen Brian C. Newby, USAF (Ret) Gen Gary L. North, USAF (Ret) Mr. Edgar M. Purvis Jr. Maj Gen Frederick F. Roggero, USAF (Ret) Mr. Philip L. Soucy CMSgt Darla J. Torres, USAF (Ret) Dr. Andrea Townsend Mr. Randy Tymofichuk


Col Mark N. Brown, USAF (Ret) Mr. James F. Dicke II Ms. Frances A. Duntz Mr. Charles J. Faruki Maj Gen E. Ann Harrell, USAF (Ret) 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) Col Susan E. Richardson, USAF (Ret) Gen Charles T. (Tony) Robertson, USAF (Ret) Mr. R. Daniel Sadlier Col James B. Schepley, USAF (Ret) Mr. Scott J. Seymour Mr. Harry W. (Wes) Stowers Jr. Mr. Robert J. Suttman II, CFA

what’s inside Swanson






About this Issue



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McDonnell Douglas F-4G Wild Weasel RESTORATION REPORT

Gallery Updates

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UPCOMING EVENTS AND EXHIBITS AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE USAF “Women in the Air Force,” “SPACE: A Journey to Our Future” and more

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Medal of Honor recipient: TSgt John A. Chapman

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Reunions Around the Country

On the Cover: An A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft flies over a target area during Operation Desert Storm. It was designed specially for the close-air-support mission and has the ability to combine large military loads, long loiter and wide combat radius, which proved to be vital assets to the United States and its allies during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Noble Anvil. Photo: Air Force/ Serna


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“We would complete an engine running offload in less than five minutes and return for another load.”

“My heart rate increased as I briefly thought what it would be like to be shot down by friendly forces.”

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SHIELD AND STORM “We were on the ramp and there was a Scud alert. We all bolted to the fox holes on the side of the ramp.”

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“Two A-10s at 18,000 feet trying to tiptoe through Iraq very quietly…”

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AND LOATHED “The B-17 seemed like a Piper Cub compared to the B-24.”

“I’m not sure that I can adequately put into words what I witnessed during those long, solitary, nighttime flights.”

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“We were alerted that a sick Airman was being evacuated from a nearby island in the Gulf, was in shock and in need of urgent surgery.”



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.


editor’s notes


Michael Imhoff


Christopher Adkins-Lamb



Gary Beisner


Mary Bruggeman

This issue features stories commemorating the 30th anniversary of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, popularly known as the Gulf War. After Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the United Nations Security Council condemned the invasion and demanded that Iraq withdraw, ultimately passing a resolution giving Iraq until January 15, 1991 to comply. In the meantime, President George H. W. Bush sent American troops to Saudi Arabia to prevent an Iraqi invasion. In addition to their active duty brethren, members of the Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Reserve (AFRES) played key roles in Operation Desert Shield. On January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Storm began with a massive bombing campaign, followed by ground operations a month later. Once again, the citizen soldiers of the ANG and AFR did yeoman’s work helping their active duty brothers and sisters prosecute the war. In this issue you will also read the Medal of Honor citation for TSgt John Chapman, a combat controller who was killed in Afghanistan in 2002. Chapman was originally awarded the Air Force Cross. However, after further investigation that award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Chapman was the first airman to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the end of the conflict in Southeast Asia, 30 years prior to his actions on Takur Ghar.


Chuck Edmonson


William Horner


Melinda Lawrence


Sarah Shatzkin


Crystal Van Hoose


David Tillotson III



Cheryl Prichard


John King, Art Powell, Robert Pinizzotto

If your Friends Journal is damaged during delivery, you have a question about delivery, or you have a change of address or other information, please contact the FRIENDS OFFICE:

Alan Armitage aarmitage@afmuseum.com

P.S. As I mentioned in my notes in the last issue, I am currently working from home and do not have access to my work phone or voicemail. If you wish to communicate with me, please send an email to aarmitage@afmuseum.com. If you called and left a voice message over the summer, or have called and found my voicemail full, please contact me via email. Thank you, and be safe.


937.656.9607 friends@afmuseum.com 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.

friends feedback





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I was assigned to the 9th Military Airlift Squadron (MAS) at Dover Air Force Base (AFB), Delaware, in early March 1973. I had just returned from a one-year tour of duty as a forward air controller in Vietnam with the 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron. While with the 9th MAS, I served as a copilot, aircraft commander, instructor pilot and finally as a simulator instructor, flight examiner pilot, and finally as chief of standardization. This event occurred in March 1981. We were an augmented crew fl ying to Europe, and were on crew rest at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. When we reported to the command post to get our briefi ng for our return flight to Dover, we were informed that we were to expect a full cargo load, 75 passengers in the rear compartment and a distinguished visitor — retired U.S. Navy ADM John McCain Jr. and his wife. We were informed that the Admiral was quite ill and wanted to return stateside. The admiral and his wife were seated in the aft relief crew area on the flight deck. It was private and the best place for them to be seated for the eight and one-half-hour flight back to Dover. Unfortunately, about four hours into our flight, the admiral died. We had a Dover flight surgeon on our crew but there was nothing that could have been done for the admiral. We placed his body on a stretcher on the floor next to his wife and covered him with a sheet and blankets from the bunk room. We went through our notification procedures with 21st Air Force and were diverted to land at Andrews AFB where our airplane was to be met by then Navy CAPT John McCain III — the admiral’s son. Once we landed and blocked in at Andrews, Captain McCain boarded the airplane to greet his mother. Passenger service personnel offloaded the admiral’s body and helped Mrs. McCain off the airplane. Then, Captain McCain thanked all of the crew on behalf of his family, and we departed for the short flight back to Dover. I was one of the two copilots on this mission. If memory serves me correctly, the aircraft commander was Captain Earl Justice. I do not remember the other crew members. Our squadron commander at the time was a Col Dick Leal. I served at Dover until June 1981 when I left for a staff tour at Headquarters, Air Force Reserve.

The stamp in this issue is a 32-cent stamp showing the Bell X-1 piercing a graphic representation of the sound barrier and the header “First Supersonic Flight 1947.” The stamp was issued in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of thenCapt Charles “Chuck” Yeager’s flight on October 14, 1947 during which he became the first human to officially break the sound barrier. We use it this issue to mark the passing of Brigadier General Yeager on December 7, 2020.

DON’T MISS OUT ON OUR EMAILS — SIGN UP TODAY AT: AFMUSEUM.COM/KEEPINTOUCH Email continues to be a fast and economical way for us to keep in touch with you. And we don’t want you to miss any of the good stuff — like our Throwback Thursdays! Every other week we dig into the Friends Journal archives and pull out an exciting story like this one from the Spring 2012 issue: John Cloe, The York Crew Saga, the story of Doolittle Raider Crew #8 that ended up landing in Russia!

TALK TO US Send your comments to P.O. Box 1903, WPAFB, OH 45433 or email aarmitage@afmuseum.com. For comments or questions directed at the Foundation that don’t pertain to the magazine, please visit the ‘Contact Us’ page at afmuseum.com. FRIENDS JOURNAL ❙

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Hercules in the Desert BY BRIG GEN PAUL R. COOPER, USAF (RET)

A C-130E Hercules transport aircraft from the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, Little Rock Air Force Base, AR, does an assault landing on a desert runway during Operation Desert Shield.


USAF photo

Operation Desert Storm was the first major war of the Total Force era, using all volunteers rather than relying on the draft. On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army invaded and occupied Kuwait. I was the commander of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules-equipped 914th Tactical Airlift Group (Air Force Reserve) at Niagara Falls, New York. I heard about the invasion on the radio on one of our C-130s as I was en route to Honduras for a swap out of our civil engineer squadron which was completing its annual tour by building a school house. The copilot and I talked about the past conflicts in the Middle East with Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran, but at least we had never gotten involved combat-wise. Little did I know that I would be living in the desert in a few months. On August 7, President Bush made the decision to deploy forces for a defensive build up in Saudi Arabia known as Operation Desert Shield. Almost 60 percent of Air Force C-130s are in the Guard and Reserve. Headquarters asked for Reserve and Guard volunteers for 30 days to form Provisional Tactical Airlift Squadrons. The first Air Force Reserve unit quickly deployed as thirty-day volunteers to Sharjah International Airport (IAP) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They occupied a small section at the end of the runway where there was a UAE military presence. The 600-person contingent built the tent city quickly. In September they were replaced by another group of 30-day volunteers. I was to be the commander of the third group of 30-day volunteers that would arrive in the beginning of October. We would take our eight C-130E model aircraft of Vietnam-era vintage and be joined by a similar group from the reserve unit at Detroit. The weekend before we were scheduled to leave I was told that things had changed. We would not be thirty-day volunteers, but rather would be mobilized for up to 180 days in the FRIENDS JOURNAL â?™

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first reserve airlift mobilization since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although we were trained and ready to deploy we had thought that we would be home before Thanksgiving. The mobilization phase went smoothly as we were well prepared. Many of the spouses were totally unfamiliar with the military. I had representatives from the family support squadron and the Red Cross brief all the families in the base theater before we left. I could not tell the families where we were going because the destination was classified, but I told them to look at their spouse's credit card charges as it would give a location. One of our volunteer members lived and worked in Toronto, Canada. I told him that the U.S. government could not protect his job until he returned and I would excuse him from the deployment. He said that he was part of the team. The deployment is what the team had trained for and he would go. Our family support center assisted his family while he was gone. Our Catholic chaplain was tasked in the mobilization order and I argued with headquarters that he was not in a mobility position and had never been trained. I lost the argument. The chaplain got four vaccinations and mobility gear. I made sure that he was on the aircraft with our chemical warfare instructor. He was trained in chemical warfare procedures aboard the airplane while en route to the desert. Our eight aircraft left over a twoday period with a refueling stop in Newfoundland, an overnight in England, and another refueling stop in Sicily. The transition from the previous volunteer unit occurred quickly and soon we were established in the routine of Desert Shield. As the commander responsible for operations, I would meet daily with the maintenance team and the aircrews. Of the 16 C-130s available, we were usually tasked ☛ 7

collection connection some tricky holes. The once a week phone call to my wife was the highlight of my week.

OPERATION DESERT STORM PIN Operation Desert Storm lapel pin in U.S. national colors. It includes imagery recognizing air, sea, and ground forces in the conflict. Donated by Lt Col Richard P. Dwyer, USAF (Ret).

YELLOW RIBBON PIN Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield lapel pin. During the Gulf War, the yellow ribbon was adopted as a popular national symbol to show support for American soldiers at home and overseas. https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Collections/Donate-an-Item/

for eight to 12 daily missions. I would always attend the morning aircrew briefings and get the latest update on weather and intelligence. There were two types of scheduled missions: Star missions transported people, and Camel missions, for the most part, hauled cargo. We moved ammunition, tents, fuel, and other supplies from prepositioned stocks at Thumrait, Masirah, and Seeb, Oman, to establish logistical bases for arriving air and ground forces. Most missions would last about 8-12 hours with four to fi ve stops and we would be back to Sharjah by nightfall. Our aircrews would fly together all the time. As a fully qualified C-130 aircraft commander, I would usually fly a couple of times a week when a pilot would get sick or take a day off. Our aircraft maintenance team did a superb job in keeping the equipment operating in the harsh desert environment. Because of the abrasive effects of the sand, water would be sprayed and flushed through the propeller blades and engines to prevent corrosion. The wheel well struts were wiped down after every flight to keep sand and other grit from working into hydraulic seals. Cockpits were 8

NMUSAF photos

cleaned daily to prevent sand and dust from sifting into the electronics compar tments. We never had to cancel a mission during the deployment. Our tents had electricity and air conditioning with real beds rather than cots. Bathroom trailers were located throughout the tent city although the local Arab host said that we took too many showers and used too much water. Food was good and the aircrews had box lunches to take with them on their missions. Our security police provided tight security and no one could go off base without permission. To keep people busy during their off time we had a TV tent, a movie tent, and a weight lifting tent. A library was established with all the books sent from the states and we could never keep up with the “Any Serviceman” mail. [Editor’s Note: in addition to personal mail from family and friends, deployed ser vicemembers received mail from unrelated civilians addressed to “Any Serviceman.”] Basketball, volleyball, and aerobics classes were also available. Since it was an Air Force base we even built a small, miniature golf course with

During Desert Shield, we had a bus that would take people downtown where they could shop for several hours. Since most of the resort hotels had very few visitors, we worked it out with one of them that for the purchase of their buffet lunch our members could swim in the pool all afternoon. As the months passed in our unplanned mobilization, several unit members came to me with hardship stories. Some had families with many small children. Others had their own business that was now failing because they were gone. As their commander I would work each of these issues in concert with our home base family support center and the Red Cross. The case that surprised me the most was when our young Catholic chaplain from the Buffalo Archdiocese staff wanted to go home. Father John had no family at home and a guaranteed job. I explained how important he was to our mission here and wrote a personal letter to the bishop. A few weeks later Father John came to me all aglow with a response from the bishop that they were all behind him and that his role was to 'support the flock in the desert'. During the holidays we decorated our tents with lights. Caroling par ties would wander through tent city. I helped serve fantastic Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to the troops. As the new year began we could see the surge of additional forces arriving. Morale hit its lowest in early January. What had been a 30day volunteer tour that changed to a 90-day and then to a 180-day tour looked like it would never end. The politicians on TV said that we should not fight but rather we should let the sanctions work for several months or years. We were told that we were here for the duration and consequently thought that we

might never get home. When the war began, morale sky rocketed as we knew that the end was in sight. On January 14, I got a radio call from the comm center that I had an “Eyes Only” (to be read only by the addressee) message to read. The message said that some classified operation I had never heard of was supposed to begin at two or three in the morning. An hour later I got another call from the comm center that they had another “Eyes Only” message. It read ”please destroy previous message.” I did not know if the previous message had been sent out by mistake or if it was so secret that they did not want anyone to see it. Later, in the middle of that night I got a phone call from my wife in New York. She said turn on the TV to CNN as the war had begun. My wife knew about the war before I did. Operation Deser t Storm kept us very busy fl ying tactical airlift missions. Our fi rst missions were to move the XVIII Airborne Corps from King Fahd to Rafha in northern Saudi Arabia near the Iraq border in suppor t of the “Hail Mar y” maneuver (the flanking maneuver to the west of the dug-in Iraqi troops on the Kuwait border). Aircraft would take off every ten minutes and fly at low level to the front in radio silence. From the cockpit window we could see the army revetments and the Bedouin camps. When we landed, engines would not be shut down as we would complete an engine running offload in less than five minutes and return for another load. With the advent of Iraqi Scud attacks, whenever we landed we identified the nearest fox hole and always had our chemical warfare masks with us. Once I was in-bound to Dhahran when the Scud alert sounded. We held and kept our eyes peeled, FRIENDS JOURNAL ❙

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but saw nothing. When the All Clear was given we safely landed. [Editor’s Note: Scuds (based on the NATO reporting name for the first version) are tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union, or modified versions built in other countries, like Iraq, based on the Soviet design. They are capable of carrying conventional, nuclear, and biological or chemical warheads.] We knew from intelligence that our base at Sharjah was outside Scud range. However, many of our unit members thought that they would feel more secure if we could build some bunkers. I asked CENTCOM for sandbags to fill, but they would not give us any as they said that we were out of Scud range. A few days later, on a stop at Riyadh, I asked the Air Force supply sergeant if we could get sandbags. He asked about how many did I need. I replied “5,000 sandbags.” He said that “I can’t give you 5,000, but I can give you a pallet of 10,000.” They were quickly loaded on the aircraft. We soon had sandbag parties at Sharjah and built some great bunkers. One of the most difficult emotional times for me personally occurred in early February. My wife, Katherine, was a lieutenant colonel nurse in the Air Force Reserve. She was mobilized and tasked to deploy. I could not be there to see her off, as she put our dogs into a kennel and closed up the house by herself. She returned home before I did to an empty home. I wish that I could have supported her like she had supported me. When the 100-hour ground war began, we kept very busy. One of our aircrews made the first tactical resupply airdrop of the war, delivering pallets of food and water to marines dug in along the Kuwait border. Another crew flew the first C-130 into liberated Kuwait IAP, delivering communications

equipment. Yet another C-130 crew flew the first tactical aeromedical evacuation mission of the ground campaign for a number of wounded marines. The missions that I enjoyed the most were aeromedical evacuations. We would carry the wounded from the front to a Saudi base in the rear where they would be transferred to C-141 aircraft to be flown to Germany and the states. On my flight into Kuwait City, I could still see the oil fi res burning and the destruction that had occurred when Iraq invaded. When the war ended, we waited for our time to go home. Everyone that we went with came safely home. We flew single ship across the Atlantic to Westover AFB in Massachusetts. The next day we flew as an eightship formation to land at Niagara Falls where our families were waiting. From October 4, 1990 to April 11, 1991, the unit was recalled to active duty and deployed to the United Arab Emirates in support of Oper ations Deser t Shield and Desert Storm. Shortly after returning to Niagara Falls, in September 1992, the 914th Tactical Airlift Group received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

Brig Gen Paul R. Cooper retired in 2002. He completed almost 35 years of military service with the United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserve. He is a command pilot with over 12,000 flying hours in jet aircraft. He has been a wing commander twice, a group commander, a regional support group commander, a squadron commander, and the installation commander at two Air Force Reserve bases and the NATO base in Bosnia. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Air Force Museum Foundation. 9