• Air Force Armament Museum

    Posted on April 20th, 2011 John Dorcey No comments

    A quick review of our Spring 2011 museum/history tour. We left Wisconsin on Friday, April 15. An RON in Paducah, Kentucky, set up our first history stop at the Shiloh National Military Park. After an early departure Saturday morning, we arrived at Shiloh about 3½ hours later. We toured the Interpretive Center, watched the 1950s era movie, Shiloh: Portrait of a Battle, and visited the bookstore. After a picnic lunch we toured the battlefield. We then continued south to Birmingham, Alabama, for our next overnight. After Ft. Rucker we drove to Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida on Monday. We toured the National Museum of Naval Aviation yesterday.

    Entry at AF Armament Museum

    Plans for today called for a drive east to Eglin Air Force Base and the Air Force Armament Museum. Today was our third day in Florida and the Armament Museum is our third military aviation museum of the trip. The Air Force Armament Museum is located adjacent to Eglin AFB, just west of the main gate.

    The idea for an armament museum was approved by Eglin command staff in early 1974. Much like the Army Aviation Museum, a lack of facilities slowed the development process. Two years later, in 1976, the museum opened its doors for the first time, in a former Enlisted Club facility. The Air Force Armament Museum Foundation was established that same year. The on-base facility was closed in 1981 and the museum was again without a facility until 1985. In mid-November 1985 the museum again opened its doors, this time in a new 28,000-square-foot facility. The museum was now home.

    Gun Vault

    There are 25 aircraft displayed outside and four more inside the museum. In addition to the aircraft there are hundreds of munitions. A gun vault houses not only airborne guns but hundreds of pistols, rifles, carbines, and other munitions. Missiles and bombs are also well represented. A video tells the story of Eglin AFB and its role in munitions development.

    B-52G with Hound Dog

    The outside display included a Boeing B-52G Stratofortress or “BUFF” with a North American AGM-28B Hound Dog missile alongside. I spent six years working on the B-52H/Hound Dog system at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. The missile is displayed on a storage/transportation trailer but without the pylon (adapter between the missile and the bomber’s wing).

    AC-47 "Spooky"

     

    Other unique aircraft displayed outside include: Douglas AC-47 Gunship “Spooky”; the first Lockheed AC-130 Gunship “Spectre”, AF Serial No. 53-3129; a Martin B-57 “Canberra” and a Boeing B-47 Stratojet. Outside aircraft are a little weathered and suffer from bird droppings but these are minor distractions.

    AC-130 "Spectre"

    Inside exhibits include tributes to USAF Congressional Medal of Honor recipients including Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame (WAHF) inductees John Jerstad and Lance Sijan. Another exhibit was a tribute to the Doolittle Raiders. The “Raiders” did training and their aircraft were modified at Eglin early in 1942 prior to their April 18, 1942 Tokyo Raid. WAHF inductee Richard Knobloch was the copilot on Aircraft 13 – “The Avenger “.

    F-105 with munitions

    We enjoyed our time at the Air Force Armament Museum. Some of the displays are in need of minor repair while others are beginning to show their age. These are minor discrepancies and should not deter anyone from visiting.

  • The Cold War

    Posted on February 15th, 2009 John Dorcey 2 comments

    While the war waged on in Viet Nam, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) continued fighting the cold war. Depending on base assignments, the troops may have been fighting a cold war on two fronts.

    I served in the USAF from January 1969 until April 1975. For all but seven months of that time, I was stationed at Grand Forks AFB, ND. Grand Forks is a cold and windy place all year round. It gets real cold during the winter.

    Coming from Wisconsin everyone thought I had thick blood and would be acclimated to North Dakota winters. I worked on the flight line (outside!) for five of the six winters I was there. You learn to cope with the cold but you never get used to it.

    The 319th Bombardment Wing (H) had the latest B-52 Stratofortresses, the H model. These aircraft were built during 1960 and 1961. The airplane went through numerous modifications while I worked on it and many more since. The BUFF continues to serve as a deterrent and will for the foreseeable future.

    Tech School class, Chanute AFB, 1969

    I worked on the Hound Dog missile (AGM-28B) as a missile mechanic and later as a missile systems analyst. Two of the missiles were slung on the underside of a B-52’s wing. The 319th Airborne Missile Maintenance Squadron (AMMS) was a small unit, with just under 100 men.

    Like most GIs, I have fond memories of my time in the service and stay in contact with some of the guys. One way we keep in touch is through an alumni organization. You can learn more about the Hound Dog, the AMMS, and some of my friends at http://www.ammsalumni.org/index.html
    John Dorcey, SSgt
    SAC, Peace is our Profession