Living History Flying Day, Saturday Sept 2nd
Planes of Fame Air Museum, Chino CA
Planes of Fame is one helluva group of folks, and the birds are history, in and of themselves! It’s in Chino, CA, and well worth the trip!
Planes of Fame Air Museum
14998 Cal Aero Drive
Chino, CA 91710-9085
Featured airplane for Saturday, 2 Sept! The Spad!!!
Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.): During the Vietnam War Jim flew the Skyraider out of NKP Thailand from Apr 69 – Apr 70 as a 1st Lt in the 602nd Fighter Squadron. He flew 212 Combat missions, over 700 combat hours; Flight Lead, FCF pilot, Instructor Pilot, and Sandy 1. Jim led or was a major participant in several historic SARs; Most people recovered: “Knife 61/62.” (54 out of 60 survivors recovered); Boxer 22: largest single rescue effort in Air Force history (2 1/2 days); Participated in 14 Rescue Efforts; was a major participant in 8; Led SARs 5 times as Sandy 1 (Sandy Low Lead.); (Led two multi-day SARs twice, on successive days) (Boxer 22 and Wolf 06.); Sandy Lead for the rescue of Nail 10; Silver Star; 6 Distinguished Flying Crosses; 13 Air Medals (1 “single-mission” air medal.); Shot up twice in Mu Gia Pass on SAR missions. One was “just a bunch of holes” and the other was a 37mm hit to the engine, followed eventually by a dead-stick landing back at NKP. Jim had a 20-Year Air Force career, selected early for Lt. Col., commanded an F-16 Fighter Squadron (the 429th TFS at Nellis), attended Army War College after that followed by a tour at the Pentagon. Jim became one of the first retired military pilots hired by Delta Air Lines. Line Check Airman and Lead Line Check Airman at Delta, as well as LAX R&I Chairman; retired from Delta on 9/1/2004.
Cdr. U.S.N. (Ret.) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from St. Josephs University. After working for two years in the Defense Industry on the Atomic Powered Bomber at Patuxent River, Maryland he got the urge to fly and Jim Lovell convinced him to become a Navy carrier pilot. Chuck’s first tour was flying S-2E aircraft from the USS Yorktown. He received his MS in Aeronautical Engineering at Monterey, and since they were looking for cannon fodder in Vietnam he transitioned to jets, ultimately flying the A-4F with VA-22 on the USS Bon Homme Richard in the Tonkin Gulf. A shore duty tour with VA-127 was shortened 18 months by a quick reaction (10 day notice) deployment with VA-212 as Executive Officer where he was awarded three DFCs in one week while flying strikes in the A-4F against North Vietnam from the USS Hancock. He ended up with 200 combat missions with his very last mission being a large scale attack against the very heavily defended Than Hoa Bridge which had extracted a heavy toll on aviators.
Retiring in 1980 with over 4500 flight hours (2100 in the trusty A-4) and 757 carrier landings (192 at night), Chuck then spent 24 years in the Defense Industry. He worked mainly on advanced programs including missiles, mission planning and satellite imagery at General Dynamics and BAE Systems and finally retired in 2004.
He joined the DFC Society in 2001 and since then has been deeply involved with various aspects of the organization including President of the San Diego Lindbergh Chapter as well as being on the National Board of Directors for seven years. He has also helped spearhead the Oral History Program, is heavily involved with the DFC Book and Documentary and has been National President of the DFC Society for the past five years. His vision is to expand/improve the Society and to educate the public about the organization and its great members.
Cdr. Sweeney’s presentation will include a short video describing the history of the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), which is the highest aviation medal and the fourth highest combat medal awarded by the United States. He will also discuss the Distinguished Flying Cross Society followed by a description of a book published by the DFC Society “On Heroic Wings: Stories of the Distinguished Flying Cross” which is available in the Planes of Fame gift shop and will be available for sale/signing after the presentation. President Bush (41) wrote the Foreword and Jim Lovell did the Introduction; both are members of the DFC Society. Thirty-two major accounts and over 180 vignettes are included with the stories predominately told in the first-person words of the recipient based on their oral history interview.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Luis Fuentes (U.S. Army Ret.),
joined the Army in 1968 shortly after graduating High School. He expressed interest in flying helicopters to the recruiter, and was allowed into the program after passing a battery of tests and a pretty rough interview process. After basic infantry training, Fuentes attended primary helicopter school and went on to the Army Aviation School at Fort Rucker Alabama. Flight School was a very intense and rigorous nine month experience. The drop out rate was almost 50%. After completion of his training, his entire flight school class was shipped out to South Viet Nam, where he was assigned to the 187th Assault Helicopter Company, (Crusaders), flying out of a base camp in Tay Ninh province. Fuentes’ primary mission was to provide Airlift and gunship support to elements of the 25th Infantry Division, MACV, Special Forces, Long Range Patrols and other units operating in his area. In a short period of time Fuentes accumulated more flight hours than his entire time in flight school. The flying was especially intense during combat assaults. This was what he did many times a day with a flight of at least 9 assault helicopters, (Slicks). Artillery, air to ground rockets and heavy machine gun fire would accompany approaches into landing zones. With the help of some of the finest aviators that Fuentes had the privilege of serving with, he became an Aircraft Commander just before his 20th birthday. Fuentes was wounded during a mortar attack on his base camp, but he was able to complete his tour after a short stay in a hospital. Upon his return to the states, he was assigned to the Army Aviation School at Fort Rucker as a UH-1 tactics instructor. Among Fuentes’ honors and awards are the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 42 oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Medal, the Viet Nam Service Medal, and the Viet Nam Campaign Medal.
Howard Butcher is a Lt. Colonel, US Air Force -retired, with 2500 flying hours in B-52Fs & Gs as a Radar Navigator (Bombardier) and Navigator and in F-4C, Ds & E model Phantoms as a Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) in US and Europe. Howard flew 66 Vietnam B-52 combat missions including Operation Linebacker II – the Presidentially ordered air strikes on Hanoi and Haiphong in December 1972. He served on the Hqtrs Tactical Air Command Staff at Langley AFB, Virginia as well as on the Joint/ Combined Staff in Seoul, Korea as Chief of the Commander’s Briefing Team in 1985-86. Howard was a Squadron Commander and Deputy Base Commander at Osan Air Base, Korea. He retired in October 1993. In private industry since 1994, Howard established his own company, EAST ASIA ASSOCIATES, Inc. providing project management engineering services for Procter & Gamble Manufacturing in Asia, primarily in Korea, Japan and Thailand from 1994 to 2002. Additionally, Howard was a Project Manager for PAE – A Lockheed Martin Company, in Honduras for Joint Task Force – Bravo for 3 years and at PAE Hqtrs in Los Angeles until 2010. Returning to P&G in 2011, his latest assignments have been in Utah (2011 & 2013) and in North Carolina (2012). Howard and his wife, Astrid, reside in Redlands, California.
Ronnie Guyer is a Veteran of the 1st Major Battles of the Vietnam War in 1965-1966, one of which was depicted in the true Vietnam War Motion Picture titled ‘We Were Soldiers’ Starring Mel Gibson as Ronnie’s Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Hal G. Moore. Ronnie was one of Moore’s Radioman/Driver/Orderlies in Vietnam. Moore Commanded the renowned 1st Battalion, U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment (Custer’s) of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and is now considered the Best Infantry Battalion Commander of the 20th Century. Ronnie was awarded a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Purple Heart and Presidential Unit Citation for his Service in Vietnam. Ronnie’s Vietnam War Rank was Specialist 4th Class. Various duty functions Ihe performed there, besides serving as a Radioman/Driver/Orderly to his Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Hal G. Moore, were Battalion S-1 Personnel Clerk (Ia Drang Valley Battle’s advanced Firebase Falcon), Battalion S-2/3 Operations Clerk, Battalion Combat Photographer, and Battalion Chaplain’s Assistant. Some of Ronnie’s Vietnam War Photos will soon appear in PBS Director Ken Burns’ upcoming 10-Part PBS-TV Documentary Series titled ‘The Vietnam War’ that starts this coming Sunday, September 17th, 2017. Ronnie is now Retired from 33 Years Service to Matson Lines Steamship Company that ships Container Freight and Autos to Hawaii from our Mainland West Coast, including Autos of Military Families whose Military Members went off to fight new wars or to repeat tours in Vietnam. Ronnie personally supported those families over the years in a loving “Aloha Spirit” manner that earned him the Company’s Official Title of ‘Mr. Matson.’ The first and only such Honor ever awarded in the Company’s nearly 200 year History. Ronnie is also now retired from the California State Legislature, having represented Members of the California State Assembly in this Century for 8 years, including the 1st Vietnamese-American State Legislator in United States History. Ronnie is now closely tied to the Little Saigon Community’s focus in returning Freedom to a now Communist enslaved Vietnam. He recently served on the City of Irvine, California’s ‘Great Park ad hoc Committee for Veterans Affordable Housing,’ bringing much needed future housing relief programs for Veterans and their families. Ronnie often speaks his ‘Living History’ Story to Students in School, Preserving Freedom for future Generations, as a War Veteran member of the Freedom Committee of Orange County. He is also active in Freedom events as ‘Aloha Ronnie’ online and in Talk Radio/Television, Books and Freedom Demonstrations throughout Southern California.
Kevin Thompson (POF Moderator and Aviation Historian) moderates and joins in the presentation.
h/t Rick Hamilton