October 1993. Formation with the Collings' Foundation's B-17G Nine-O-Nine.
(Above) Here I am with the original "Man O' War".
Myself and the original "Chico the Gunfighter". Man, I wish I would have kept this one. Oh well, Col. Pewitt,
the pilot, has it, so it's in a good home. Chico is temporarily hanging in the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama.
Friend and fellow 4th FG buff, the late George Pfromm, at Debden's North Gate in 1985 during a visit
to our version of "Mecca". Debden was the WWII home of the famous 4th Fighter Group. (Pfromm)
CAG 20 (CVWR-20) CAPT Craig F. Weideman, based at NAS Atlanta, brought a F/A-18A Hornet over to Birmingham
to give a talk to the local chapter of the Association of Naval Aviation. We museum guys were invited to look the bird over,
and here I am climbing in . . . oh, man it fit like a glove! (Mike Callahan)
Through the good graces of CAPT Weideman, I was privileged to visit the home of that F-18 Hornet in the
previous photo. VFA-203, the BLUE DOLPHINS, are made up of experienced Naval Aviators. They're so good that they have an additional
role as Fleet Adversary pilots and instructors (notice the paint job of the F-18 I'm climbing into). While at NAS Atlanta,
CDR Kevin "Lady" Dye, my patient and cheerful escort, offered me some time in their Hornet simulator, which features a fully
operational Hornet cockpit complete with very realistic scenery. I got about .7 hours of flying around and working the radar
and systems. Then CDR Dye set me up for 3 passes at "the boat" starting about ten miles away from the ship in perfect weather.
I proved the axiom that the Hornet is one of the easiest Fleet birds to bring aboard. My first pass was a little high, so
I raised the nose and went around for another "look" (attempt). Second pass was near perfect, and I bagged a trap! On the
third try, CDR Dye set me up again about ten miles out, and following the HUD cues I made what I thought was a perfect approach,
but just as I was about to cross the ramp, flying habits took over and I "flared" a teeny bit and squeaked off a little power
- MISTAKE! I crashed and died, or so I was told. The flashing red screen was a clue . . . Oh well, I recovered to tell about
it. Oh, did I forget to mention that the first two passes were with autothrottles engaged? Sure made it a lot easier! Here
I am just about to reluctantly climb out after the session. (CDR Kevin Dye, USN)
CDR Kevin "Lady" Dye, F/A-18 Hornet fighter pilot and my simulator instructor.
In October 1995, through my good friend, aircraft carrier historian and author Chuck Self, I was invited
to go to California and fly out on a Marine helo to meet CVN-72 Abraham Lincoln as she came back from WESTPAC 95.
Here I (left) and Chuck stand by the ramp of the Lincoln as she slows down still some miles out from the Golden
Gate bridge. The ship had been on cruise for 6 months, and the sailors were anxious to see their waiting families at
Here I look over Pier 3 at NAS Alameda. The families waiting for their loved ones can be seen on the pier
in the distance. Since we were in no hurry, we stayed on the ship for quite a while. That's CVN-70 Carl Vinson, aka
"The Gold Eagle", tied up on the other (north) side of Pier 3. Vinson starred in the movie "Behind Enemy
Lines". Unfortunately, Lincoln and Vinson were forced to move their homeport to Bremerton, WA when
Alameda was closed since our visit in 1995. No more would departing and returning carriers sound their foghorns while passing
under the Golden Gate. It ain't right, I tell ya! (Self)
This is me checking out the 'Blue Jets', which were at Alameda for Fleet Week '95. (Self)
Maj. Ben Hancock, USMC. Right Wing for the Blues (1995). Using his Alameda Public Affairs contacts, Chuck
was there when the Blues flew in to Alameda. (Self)
History repeats itself. As part of the Fleet Week 95 celebrations, a B-25 Mitchell was hoisted aboard CVS-12
USS HORNET while she was docked on the north side of Pier 2 at Alameda. What's interesting is that this is the same dock and
pier that CV-8 USS HORNET was tied up at when she took aboard the 16 B-25s which made up the Doolittle Raiders in April 1942.
At the time (Oct 1995), it was not entirely certain that this ship (CVS-12) was going to be saved as a floating museum. Fortunately,
through the hard work of many people, HORNET was saved, and floats quietly as a museum on the south side of Pier 3 as this
is written. (Self)
For many years at SAC bases, there was a program called ACE (Accelerated Copilot Enrichment). This was a
great way for copilots of bombers and tankers to keep up their flying, navigation, and decision-making skills. They flew T-37s
mainly, and copilots would usually team up in twos and "go somewhere", usually on weekends. Barksdale's program phased out
it's T-37s in late 1994 (here one of the instructors prepares to fly out the last T-37 at B-Dale). Everybody was excited because
the Tweets were replaced with T-38s!! The '38s didn't last long, though, because it wasn't long before the ACE program disappeared
entirely except for the B-2, SR-71 (if they came back), and F-117 squadrons.
Here I am playing "what if" left waist gunner in Barksdale's 8th Air Force Museum B-17G-95-DL, 44-83884
(second to the last G-model Douglas built). This shot was taken in the fall of 1980, right before I left for USAF Basic
Training for the Air Force Reserve at Barksdale. (Buck Rigg)
I grew up watching the USAF Thunderbirds from F-4s all the way through F-16As and Cs,
and they'll always be my first love when I think of demonstration teams, but the USN Blue Angels take second
place to nobody, as this tight diamond shot aptly shows. I took this picture at NAS New Orleans in 1994.
Later, as we were leaving the show site, the Blues took off for their next venue and the diamond cleared my
truck by about 75 feet - unbelievable sight and noise!
1994 or thereabouts. My since-replaced (then new) truck does it's best
F-15C imitation in front of some Eglin birds.
In 1984, Chuck Self (left), and I met Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, USAF (Ret) at Barksdale decked out in our "Pinks & Greens".
He was surprised to step off his airplane and see a B-17 with two 8th AF officers waiting for him! (Barksdale Observer)
I got to meet Walter M. "Matt" Jefferies a while back. Matt was the art director for the original
STAR TREK television series, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, and other motion pictures and television shows. Matt was "the" guy
who designed everything you saw on the Star Trek series, including the starship ENTERPRISE . . . the "Jefferies Tube" on the
show is named for him.
Speaking of meeting people, I had the honor and privilege of meeting Don Gentile's sister Edith at the September
2002 (60th Anniversary of the group becoming part of the USAAF) dedication of the 4th Fighter Group Memorial monument at the
USAF Museum. Here, at the banquet, I had the chance to show Edith the pictures from my trip to Debden. I am proud
to say that one of my One-Man Air Force prints, featuring her late brother, hangs on her wall. While in
the area, my good friend Mark Copeland and I paid our respects at Don's grave in Columbus. (Copeland)
The beginning of an education . . . shortly after I joined the volunteer staff of the 8th AF Museum at Barksdale
in 1980, Director Buck Rigg put me to work polishing YANKEE DOODLE II, our B-17G. Looking at all that metal over
the years has served me well in my aviation art - no WWII airplane's skin is as smooth as models would lead you to believe.
The skin buckles and wrinkles, *especially* under load (flying). (Rigg)
(Above) In 1992, for the first time ever, the Russians brought to U. S. soil (Barksdale AFB, La.) two beautiful
Tu-95 Bear H bombers. In 1994, they came back. They spent about a week here each time, and they absolutely HATED to leave
- and to be honest, we really hated to see them go. They're just like us in many ways. The Barksdale and Bossier City/Shreveport
communities really rolled out the red carpet for the Bear and AN-124 (1992), and IL-76 (1994) crews both times. When they
got aboard to leave, it was funny to see the Bear pilots (and many Russian crewmembers) wearing the U.S. flight suits and
hats they had traded US crews. I think we all had a bag full of Russian stuff by the time they left. During their last visit,
in 1994, I crawled up into the rear gunner's compartment, where you can barely see my mug. Ohh, the S O U N D !! (Ron Edmonson)
In the early 1980s, after it's third mission into space, the Shuttle COLUMBIA stopped off at Barksdale AFB,
La. on the back of the NASA 747. We rolled out our 8th AF Museum B-17G for the occasion. The pilot of the NASA 747 was Dick
Scobee, later lost on the CHALLENGER mission of January 1986. (USAF)
Now, when was this photo taken? Actually, this was one of many press 'photo ops' we took part in using our
museum aircraft as a backdrop. Taken in late 1982 on the Barksdale AFB ramp. (USAF)
All decked out and ready for our cues, Chuck Self (right) and I flank actor John Fertitta (he's appeared
in Blaze with Paul Newman, Johnny Handsome and Mississippi Burning, among others) while filming
one of several documentaries we took part in over the years at Barksdale AFB. Photo taken in Spring 1985. (USAF)
Another independently produced documentary. Here, in 1987, I interview famous WW II and Korean War ace William
T. Whisner, a Louisiana native, about his more famous encounters. Bill died a couple of years later after having an allergic
reaction to a bee or wasp sting in Pineville, La. As "crew chief" of our P-51D Mustang in the background, I painted the RIDGE
RUNNER nose art and kill markings on the engine panels. (Rigg)
I served in the USAF Reserve from 1980 to 1988 at Barksdale AFB. I was an enlisted troop assigned
to the 47th TFS of the 917th TFG. Our squadron was the first USAFR unit to get A-10s. We were also the first Hogs
to sport nose art. SRA Bob Gumm, a 917th Weapons Loader, designed and painted this beautiful "Hog Art" on
about 5 aircraft only in the summer of 1982, and they stayed on until the powers that be made us take them off. Later, a "low-viz"
version popped up, and variations are on Hogs all over, now. But, we were the first. Here, then-Major John A. Bradley poses
in the cockpit of one such decorated bird for the camera of Capt. Ken Culbertson. (Culbertson)
Demonstrating the true "Global Reach" of the US Air Force, Barksdale's 2nd Bomb Wing flew two B-52 Stratofortresses
(BUFs) *non-stop* around the world (22,000 miles) and back to Barksdale, meeting a TOT in Saudi to the minute along the way.
We were out there for the departure and return a couple of days later. Here, ground crews prep one of the ATW birds a couple
of days before the mission in early August 1994.
BGEN George P. Cole, Jr. (center, no hat or glasses), 2BW commander, led the ATW mission in August 1994.
He retired from the Air Force soon afterwards.
Every once in a while, the Collings Foundation West's F-4D Phantom stops into Birmingham to get gas.
she is in August 2001 doing same. I'm in the front seat wondering how many paintings I'd have to sell to get one of
my own! (Sam Winefordner)
Early 1990s. The sun sets on a US Navy McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) T-45A Goshawk intermediate
and advanced trainer at Barksdale AFB, La.
August 1, 1994. 0700 hrs. Barksdale AFB, La. B-52H-160-BW 60-0059 of the 96th Bomb Squadron,
2nd Bomb Wing taxies out of her parking spot for a non-stop 22,000 mile "Around the World" trip. Accompanied
by her sister ship, 60-0008 (which departed Barksdale 2 minutes after 0059), the two bombers returned to Barksdale just
as dawn broke on August 3rd.
The BUF did it . . . again!
Just after completing the around the world mission of "Global Power - Global Reach", 0059 and 0008 sit on
the Barksdale ramp.
In front of Base Ops after the Around the World flight - notice the wet concrete; the result of the post
mission hose-down of the crews! Wet and tired, but happy.
B-52H-135-BW 60-0001 Memphis Belle IV. This Belle was the first H-model BUF
August 1994. A Russian (Commonwealth of Independent States) Bear-H bomber sits on the ramp at
Barksdale AFB. This was the second visit by da Bearz . . . and their support crews. 1992 was the first.
When they departed, they flew non-stop back to their base outside of Moscow - nearly 24 hours! Oh . . . the sound!!
The same Bear-H earlier that morning.
The Northrop B-2A Spirit "Spirit of Louisiana" was formally dedicated at Barksdale AFB.
The Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (formerly the North American Aerobatic Team) has been performing airshows for
over 17 years. The team consists of four pilots: Alan Henley, Steve Gustafson, Gene McNeely, and Mark Henley, all owners and
maintainers of their aircraft. Their performance schedule and more information can be obtained through their website, which
can be found on my LINK-O-RAMA page. Check them out! Through the expert guidance of Mark Henley sitting in the back seat,
I have flown his T-6G (#2 in this photo) a couple of times from the front. When landing, stay on the rudders, anticipating
every movement BEFORE IT HAPPENS, or the "Six" will swap ends on you 'just like that'! The Texan is short-coupled,
and wants to go down the runway tail first . . . don't let it! Aw, the Six is really a pussycat - she just
needs, and commands, your respect when landing. Closest I've come yet to my number one before-I-die dream: soloing
a P-51. I now know how those kids jumped into Thunderbolts and Mustangs - like they say, if you can fly the Six, you
can fly any of the WWII fighters. (Aeroshell Aerobatic Team/Mark Henley)
My Mission from Debden was the Boeing Spirit of Flight Award recipient
at the 2008 American Society of Aviation Artists juried exhibition. Tom Hagen, a manager with
Advanced Systems, Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft presented the award. Mike Lombardi, Boeing historian, selected the
The 421st Fighter Squadron currently resides at Hill AFB, Utah, as part of the 388th Fighter Wing (ACC).
In late 2001, the 421st commander, LTC Eric Best, asked me for a favor - since the F-4 in my painting Chico the Gunfighter
belonged to the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron in Vietnam, Col. Best asked if they could take one of my prints and blow it
up to wall size for one of their their squadron rooms - sort of a ". . . and here's what we did in Vietnam, gentlemen".
I was glad to supply the print, and this is the photo they sent back. (LTC Eric Best)