For most of his 24 years of service in the Air Force Sgt. Norman Page kept C-130 “Hercules,’ four-engine transport planes flying as a senior aviation mechanic and flight engineer or crew chief. After graduating from aviation mechanics training his first assignment, a Strategic Air Command mechanic at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa in the early 1950s. Before retiring from the service in 1975, Page had traveled the world in the Air Force while fixing airplanes and crewing in them.
Archive for the ‘Cold War’ Category
Don Schilke joined the Navy Reserves while still in high school in Oak Park, Ill. in 1947. After graduation he found himself in Composite Squadron 21 at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego training for a job as an anti-submarine warfare crewman aboard a Grumman “Avenger” torpedo bomber. Read the rest of this entry »
Andy Hawkinson is the last of a dying breed. He is one of the last of an estimated 400,000 American soldiers who took part in atomic bomb testing during World War II and throughout the Cold War up to 1992. Read the rest of this entry »
Bob Hemingway of Lake Suzy, near Port Charlotte, Fla. was a junior in high school in New Haven, Conn. when he dropped out of school and joined the Marine Corps. He ended up in the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division stationed at Camp Lajeune, N.C. Read the rest of this entry »
Ken Heitel was a “Cold War Warrior.” He flew an A-4E “Skyhawk,” jet fighter off the USS Independence, a Forrestal Class carrier, as a Marine Corps aviator serving in the Mediterranean during the early 1970s. Read the rest of this entry »
Norm Meissner attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. in the 1960s.
The “Cuban Missile Crisis” was erupting about the time he left the academy. The U. S. was on the verge of going to war with Russia over missiles the Soviets snuck into the island nation that were aimed our way. Read the rest of this entry »
Maj. Robert Thompson was a citizen soldier and a “week-end warrior” — a member of the 141st Tactical Fighter Squadron of the New Jersey Air National Guard based at McGuire Air Force Base in central New Jersey. Read the rest of this entry »
A Canadian resident with an American father who met his mother while living in the Montreal area, Bob Werner of Bay Indies Mobile Home Park was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force in 1946. He ended up in Sheppard Field, near Wichita Falls, Texas for basic which was the beginning of a series of educational experiences for the 20-year-old. Read the rest of this entry »
John Flower of Oak Forrest subdivision Englewood, Fla. said facetiously, “I was a corporal in the U.S. Army’s ‘Fighting 69th, PX Detachment’ on Adak, in the Aleutian Islands in 1946″. He ran a bowling alley for the troops on the godforsaken atoll. Read the rest of this entry »
George Burger of Rotonda, near Port Charlotte, Fla., was a radar operator aboard a four-engine Navy Super Constellation patrol plane flying out of Argentia Naval Air Station, Newfoundland in the mid 1950s during the “Cold War” searching for Soviet missiles and submarines as a member of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 13. Read the rest of this entry »
Donald Gatrell of Port Charlotte, Fla. was a crew chief on a B-47 “Stratojet” six- engine nuclear bomber during the early 1960s. One mission stands in his mind after more than half a century.
When James Johnson joined the 82nd Airborne Division, an elite fighting force, in the fall of 1955 as a 20-year-old soldier he took part in one of the largest ground maneuvers the Army ever staged in the United States.
Maj. Gen. James Andrews of Punta Gorda, Fla. graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1970. He spent most of his 30-plus years in the service flying Strategic Air Command tankers, commanding air wings and serving in various capacities from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense to Air Mobility Commander and Inspector General. Read the rest of this entry »
Long before he joined the 82nd Airborne Division as a peacetime warrior in the mid-1950s, Lou Drendel of Venice was fascinated with things military. It began when he was a kid and his father built balsa wood airplane models for him. Read the rest of this entry »
Ken Armstrong was a command sergeant major in the British Royal Marines when he retired from Her Majesty’s service after 22 years. He joined the “Bootnecks”–Marines– in Glasgow, Scotland shortly after graduating from high school in 1947.
Fred Holzweiss of Englewood, Fla. was a first lieutenant in the 1st Engineering Battalion attached to the 1st Marine Division in Korea in 1953.
Jim McKinney is a Navy man. So was his father and so is his son.
Jim was a career naval officer who served during the Cold War as a commodore of a squadron of hydrofoil boats in Key West equipped with Harpoon, ship-to-ship guided missiles. His father, Adm. Eugene McKinney, was skipper of two World War II submarines: the USS Salmon and the USS Skate. He received three Navy Crosses and a Silver Star for Valor for the combat missions he made. Brad, Jim’s oldest son, is the commander of the Explosive Ordinance Department at the Navy’s facility at Panama Beach.
Former 1st Sgt. Ken Drew was a “Cold War” warrior. He spent most of his 23 years in the Army as a Spanish-speaking, military intelligence expert who served 14 of those years fighting South and Central American dictators and drug lords. Toward the end of his service he did a hitch in Iraq during the height of “The Surge,” interrogating high profile Iraqi detainees. Read the rest of this entry »
Bruce Owens of Burnt Store Marina was a lieutenant j.g. serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) that plucked Astronaut Wally Schirra from the Pacific on Oct. 3, 1962 during America’s fifth manned space flight.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Doug Gilchrist was waiting at the airport terminal in Tokyo in 1967 for a flight that would take him to the war in Vietnam when a chance encounter with a Japanese couple changed his life.
Lt. Col. Doug Gilchrist was flying a four-engine C-130 Hercules cargo plane, used as a command ship, from a base in Thailand over North Vietnam when he came as close to “buying the farm” as he did during any of his 102 combat missions over enemy territory during the Vietnam War.
Joe Rex joined the U.S. Navy at 17 in February 1945 near the end of World War II. In 1970, twenty-five years later, he retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer.
Although he was in the service during the Second World War, he served aboard the destroyer, USS Mole –DD-693—at the start of the Korean War and served as a Mobile Electronic Technician near then end of his quarter century in the Navy, Rex’s finest hour may have been during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Harvey Rapp’s job was to keep the biggest bomber this nation ever built in the air. The B-36 was an eight-engine Goliath that could fly non-stop from anywhere in the United States to Europe drop its bombs and return without refueling.
Lt. Col. John Dyer had no idea the planeload of .50-caliber machine-gun ammunition he flew to Tonsonnhute Airport in Saigon was part of a CIA plot to topple the Ngo Dinh Diem government in South Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry »
Chester M. “Whitey” Mack was skipper of the Lapon. It may have been the sharpest submarine in the U.S. Navy when he was at the helm. Read the rest of this entry »
Capt. William Ecker who flew a secret low-level photo-reconnaissance mission over Cuba in 1962 to capture Soviet nuclear missiles on film during the Cuban Missile Crisis died last Thursday (Nov. 5, 2009) at his home in Punta Gorda, FL. He was 85.
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