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My wife and I spent two days at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio; it is my favorite place on earth. The first time I was there was in high school and they’ve made quite a few improvements in the last number of decades.
I’ve been to the museum perhaps a dozen times and completely missed the memorial gardens every trip. It’s a fascinating place just adjacent to the museum with memorials for various people and missions.
United - States - Air - Force - Years
What really struck me is how awesome the United States Air Force has been through the years. The technology in the museum is testament to that but it’s a bit overwhelming to realize the thousands of airman who’ve participated in missions too numerous to count that have been boiled down to a plaque on the ground.
I thought it would be interesting to revisit some history and the real people they represent through these plaques. The first one I chose is the 1975 Tân Sơn Nhứt C-5 accident.
Fall - Saigon - Nearing - President - Ford
With the fall of Saigon nearing, President Ford ordered the evacuation of 2,000 orphans from Vietnam in what was called Operation Baby Lift. The first flight was scheduled to depart April 4, 1975. President Ford planned to meet the flight when it landed in the United States.
A C-5A Galaxy was piloted by Captain Dennis “Bud” Traynor and Captain Tilford Harp. Shortly after takeoff, the rear doors of the gigantic airplane flew open due to maintenance issues with the hinges on the aircraft. The doors severely crippled the aircraft leaving only one aileron and the wing spoilers operating. Minutes later, the plane began a steep dive and Traynor pulled the nose of the plane up as it crashed into a rice paddy. The plane broke into four pieces much of which then caught fire.
Traynor - Harp
Remarkably, Traynor and Harp both survived...
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