April 5, 2013
We are continuing our fund raiser for the engine overhauls. A P & W R2800-CB3 has a lot of moving parts … 18 cylinders and all of them need a lot of TLC. The TWH Foundation of New Hampshire has made a challenge that it will match every dollar we raise. $5 becomes $10 for our engines. If you can help, please send a check or money order to the A-26 Legacy Foundation, Mr. Don Vogler, Chairman, 88 Fitch Road, Jaffrey, NH, 03452. Or … go to their website to use a credit card or PayPal. http://www.a-26legacy.org. All donations are tax deductible since they are a 501c3 organization. We have been receiving these contributions on a near weekly basis and we are getting close to being able to send our first engine off to the shop. Won't you please join others who care about this last mission to honor the Viet Nam vets? Do what Ang, Phil, Bob, Tim and Joe have done this past week and get these engines purring again so we can get her back in the air where she belongs.
Thanks for your consideration! And BTW, come out to see K getting her right armpit all spiffy and green tomorrow!!
:-) JR (Hoffman)
March 12, 2013
Thank you for participating in the VMware Foundation Matching Gift Program. Giving Back is a core value at VMware and we appreciate your charitable contribution to he community.
The VMware Foundation is focused on providing a platform for our employees to be active corporate citizens and make a difference in the communities in which we work and live and the wider world. We accomplish this goal primarily through global programs designed to amplify the personal commitments and contributions made to the organizations and causes closest to our people's hearts.
March 5, 2013
"Special K" Restoration Matching Gift Offer !!!
from: TWH Foundation
Hi Jim (Reynolds),
"Friday" was the best fifty cent tour I have had in a while! I am a true believer that "Special K" will fly ... and soon too! I would be very happy to help tour the A-26. That would be lots of fun.
I do have some something exciting to put on the table for the Foundation.
I would like to make a matching challenge specific to the R-2800 engines (Engine Restoration Campaign, if you will).
I would like to match every dollar donated over the next twelve months up to a maximum of $75K with a goal of raising the dollars required to overhaul both engines.
Hopefully this will inspire others to help get Special K in the air and flying with pride.
Thanks again Jim for meeting us last Friday.
Portsmouth, NH 03802
February 1, 2013
Hi Don ...
This is a photo of “The Reverend Joe Cool.” This is an A-26K on the west end of the ramp at NKP Thailand some time between July ‘68 – July ‘69. I was not a part of the Nimrods Squadron, but worked on the guns as part of the Gun Shop. I was a member of the 602 nd Spec. Ops. Sq.
I have several stories of the trials of the A-26 while I was there, both good and bad. They are all from memory, but fairly accurate. Example:
“We had a Major Yancey who flew the odd mission on the nights he was scheduled to fly (we flew an odd number of missions every night). Maj. Yancey had a tough time keeping co-pilots because he would take off , and the procedure was to turn off all light after take off and before reaching the Mekong River. He would always take the “suspected activities” areas missions. Once in the area of “suspect activity” he would turn ON all of his light and dare some idiot, on the ground, to shoot at him. When he saw the muzzle flash, he would turn off all lights and roll into the target.” Just one of many.
Keep up the good work. I saw a video that you sent to a friend of mine today. He and I are part of the Commemorative Air Force here in Mesa, AZ. I think this a great thing you are doing and would like to help if I can.
602 nd Spec. Ops. Sq..
February 1, 2013
Hey Don ... It’s good to know things are going well for the “Special K” restoration. It almost seems like yesterday when everyone got together in Tom’s conference room at Port City Air to try and kick things off. What a great feeling this must be for you. Thanks for keeping me in the loop
William J. Quinn
Chairman & Founder
Aviation Management Systems, Inc.
February 1, 2013
Received some very sad news this morning. My friend, Captain Paul "Hulk" Marschalk, passed away yesterday. As many of you know … he was very much an inspiration to me with the “Special K” restoration. I can’t thank everyone enough for helping to make him part of our restoration effort as well. He loved his time with Nimrods more than life itself … and … was genuinely responsible for filling the information void that existed for me with my Dad’s service in NKP. His passing is a huge loss to us all; but, his memory will survive forever with “Special K.”
The A-26 Legacy Foundation
(Son of fellow Nimrod Pilot, Charlie Vogler)
January 31, 2013
That is awesome!! Video worked fine and great to see the gear working again after all these years
Congratulations to all the volunteers.
Sent from my iPad
January 30, 2013
Don ... Just FYI, the team took a lunch break at a nearby cafeteria last Saturday. Usually we serve lunch at the hangar, but for something different, we elected to go warm up with some hot food and good camaraderie which also gives us time to discuss various aspects of the restoration and our plans for the future.
The guys finished blasting the paint off the wheel well and got primer on all of the gear parts. We are just waiting on some dry, warmer temps to paint both. The nose gear actuator was removed and we hope to get it overhauled this week. Will start blasting the nose wheel compartment probably next weekend and getting it ready to paint. Work continues on the sheet metal in front of the bomb bay area that had hidden crush damage from the gear collapse accidents in the past.
This short movie is of the gear retract and cycle test. (Don't know if you can post that, but you might want to send it to your list.)
We also enjoyed a visit from Rob Stuessy who brought many photos of 679 after the first landing accident in Georgia back in the 70's. He is the man who talked Denny Lynch into rebuilding her instead of scrapping. Rob spent nearly a year making her ferry-able so they could get her back to Montana. He sure answered a lot of questions as to why things were the way they were. He now works for United Airlines in Denver. His brother Brad also came with him on the visit. He also flew A-26 tankers for Lynch. Now he is about to retire from AA as a 777 Captain. He lives here locally so we are looking forward to his next visit.
Thanks for helping to keep this project moving!!
November 30, 2012
Dear Mr. Vogler,
For your information we are restoring an A-26 for museum display. It is owned by MARC on permanent loan to us. Lots of corrosion and damage needs correcting. We'll be using your web site for reference as we proceed with the restoration.
MAPS Air Museum, Akron/Canton Airport OH
October 21, 2012
My dad,Eldon (red) Hunter sure would have loved seeing the information on this site. At Hurlbert and England afb's I constantly loved the A-26 as much as my dad. It was fun to see and watch fly.
August 26, 2012
The project is really "coming together" at this point! I am impressed with the devotion that you have brought to the project, and seeing it through. I am over in Afghanistan until the end of September, but maybe sometime after that we can all get together and you can bring us up to speed?
March 2, 2012
Just a heads up... I flew as a photographer on several Nimrod missions over a 3 week period in June 1969. I was with the 600th Photo ComDoc section out of Tan Son Nhut and was sent to NKP to document the operations there. I have a few photographs, mostly of the aircraft. I remember Maj Yancy's "Ole Magnet Ass" and was aboard with LT Col Stout on his last mission. I remember distinctly when he rolled the aircraft in celebration as we were inbound to the airfield. I was 21 at the time and very impressionable. You guys were heroes then, and now... I've finished a 30 year career in army green and still serve as a DAC in the spec ops community. I would be happy to share what I have with the A26 community.
Jack Cheasty160th SOAR(A) Medical Section
July 27, 2011
Very sad news. We have lost another one of our own. Roy Zarucchi (Nimrod Navigator 1967-68) passed away on June 29th. He was a good friend and supporter of our Foundation, a courageous A-26 combat veteran, and a true American patriot. You may be familiar with his booklet of poems called "Gunner's Moon" dedicated to those who flew in Steel Tiger. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends. May he provide the lift beneath our wings when we make the flyby pass at this year's reunion Memorial service.
July 16, 2011
When this project got started, I never thought I would see this happen. My Dad would think this was cool to the max. Somehow I think he would want my next book to be about this project. Unfortunately, that one is already spoken for. Maybe the one after that. And I know he would like the dedication of the first one. Love and peace to all the Nims…wherever you are!
Michael W. Michelsen Jr."Legacy"
July 9, 2011
<Jim Reynolds> You and your team are going to greater lengths than I would ever have imagined in restoring 679. Have you reworked other vintage aircraft this extensively? You are going to have a terrific story to tell when this aircraft takes to the skies again. I can't tell you how much I admire you and the others for this incredible effort. Many thanks for sharing this story as it unfolds.
July 9, 2011
We had 6 volunteers and two paid staff working today on the A-26. Hit it a good lick again. Got the left stabilizer off. I don't think it has been off since 1965. The bolts were very tight and we had to soak them several times to get them to loosen. The carry thru structure shows some surface corrosion and some rusty bolts that will have to be addressed. The stabilizer itself was looking fairly good internally, but needs some patches that will have to be made externally. We removed the old deicing lines as we will not be putting the boots back on. Will get the right side done next week. It takes about 4 guys to lift it off because of the height involved. Worked on the nose wheel well and found a damaged area which will have to be patched. The nose gear itself was cleaned up and we are prepping the top section for the dye check per the AD. Have to disassemble the gear to see what is causing the seals to not hold pressure. May have to send the barrel out for re-chroming if it is pitted too much to smooth out. Unpacked the new glass for the canopies and left windshield. Still need a right side windshield. That's about where we left off today. We had a good time in 102 deg heat... no really, we did!!! Kept cold water coming and everybody worked really hard to get us on the road to getting her flying again. It was and will be worth it!!Jim Reynolds
July 4, 2011
Hi Don ...
Just wondering if you have any pictures of “Special K” with the nose gun bay doors open that you might be able to post ... The web site is outstanding. Keep up the great work.
Have a Happy 4th of July.
June 8, 2011
Hi Don: We met when you were out to see the airplane after we got it ferried from Montana. I have been working on cleaning up the cockpit and helping do the inspection now that we have it on the front burner again. I met Joe Jefferis, I think is his name from Trophy Club, last Saturday and he told me about instructing in 679 at England and then doing a tour at NKP. He sure knew a lot about flying the airplane even though he is now 78. I suppose that puts him among the oldest of the Nimrods?? Anyway, I will try to keep in touch with you and let you know how we are doing from time to time... Not sure what kind of updates you are getting, but feel free to email if you have questions.
I have been in contact with Roger Graham and Bob "Pappy Sears" about flying the airplane and how they managed missions. It is simply fascinating to hear how they did so much with so little technology as compared to today. I like relaying these stories to the guys working on the airplane as it seems to give them a real sense of pride to be helping restore it.
Thanks for helping to get this project moving again!!
May 2, 2011
April 28, 2011
There isn't a dry eye now. How wonderful!
April 25, 2011
There are a lot of the Nimrods, and Air Commando's for that matter, who have strong emotional bonds with the organization and each other. The A-26 and it's mission is a special memory to most of the crews. There aren't very many aircraft that have had the persona to cause such a strong attachment to both the aircraft and the crew members. I think most of us reflect weekly on incidents and interactions we had while while being a Nimrod and Air Commando. Both Tim and I absolutely love that aircraft, our emotions from the very first day of training have matched each others and continue today. There are many other "teams" within the Nimrods that also have become lifelong friends. We, and they, really are proud of each other and have that bond of adventure, sharing the inherent danger that went with the missions and of being right in the actual middle of the nitty gritty. I feel really fortunate to have lucked out to have the A-26 in my life and to have crewed with Tim and to be a part of the Nimrod gang and their common obvious bond.
I thank you for your tenacity,insight and capability in starting and finishing the Special K project and the Foundation. My donation isn't even a full load of fuel but I think I can add some more next year. Thanks for your efforts.
(Bruce Gustafson, Nimrod Navigator)
April 1, 2011
March 23, 2011
Subject: Funds for restoring A-26
To: All A-26 crewmembers and families
I am writing this letter to all previous A-26 crewmembers and families of crewmembers. You probably have received emails from Don Vogler with the A-26 Legacy Foundation regarding the restoration of A-26 tail number 679. Jim Terry with The Greatest Generation Aircraft in Ft. Worth, TX has possession of this plane and is in the process of restoring it. I wanted to send out this request for funds, not from someone who just loves old airplanes, but from someone who has flown this airplane. I was a NIMROD in 1969. My navigator, Bruce Gustafson, and I were in the last class to attend A-26 training at England AFB before the squadron moved to Hurlburt Field.
I’d like for all you previous A-26 crewmembers to do something for me. Check your log book and see if you flew tail number 679. I did and found out that 679 was the first A-26 that I flew when I arrived to train at England AFB. I’m sure there are others of you who have flown her also. So 679 has a special place in my heart.
We have talked at many reunions about how great it would be to have an A-26 fly in for our reunion. Well, this can happen. In fact, this is the closest we have been to actually getting one there. Not just an A-26, but one of our A-26s. 679 is still configured completely as we flew her. I have visited Ft. Worth and sat in 679 doing an interview with Jim Terry’s video personnel. Crazy Poteet and Paul Marshalk have done the same thing. Let me tell you what a sentimental feeling it was to actually sit in that plane after 40+ years. It brought back many memories of one of the highlights of my AF career. I know how each of you feel about your time in A-26s. Whether you were Farm Gate, Big Eagle, Nimrod or some other era, we love to share our war stories and love of A-26s at our reunions. It has been obvious to me at these reunions also when I have talked to the children and family members of A-26 crewmembers, how much they see how we felt about this plane and each other.
As I said, we are at the closest point ever in being able to have an A-26 at our reunion.
Imagine this for a moment. As the ACA Memorial Service is being held at the airpark on Hurlburt Field at the close of the Air Commando Reunion, you look up in the sky after hearing that familiar sound, and see one of our A-26s flying overhead showing her respect one more time for those A-26 crewmembers who have given their all.
The restoration process is getting near putting her in flying condition. She needs the props serviced, gear work, paint, and canopy replaced among other little things.
If you haven’t contributed to this project, please consider doing so at this time. If you have already donated, thank you, and please feel free to add to your donation. This could be the last push for funds to get this restoration completed. Once completed, Jim Terry and the Legacy Foundation plan on flying her to air shows around the United States to honor all those A-26 crewmembers who flew her in the 60s.
She needs our help. Let’s set a goal of getting the needed funds required to restore 679 so she can attend our A-26 reunion in October.
Here is the A-26 Legacy Foundation website to send your donation to or give by credit card. www.a-26legacy.org The Foundation will send you an IRS form for your taxes as both the Legacy Foundation and the Greatest Generation Aircraft are 501©(3) organizations.
Let’s spread the word. Thanks for your time.
Tim Black, A-26 Pilot, 1969
February 12, 2011
Thank you Don-----and a special thanks for your unrelenting effort on this project.
February 11, 2011
I am very happy that you continue to be involved in the #679 restoration project. Thanks for your update.
Col. Roger Graham, USAF (Retired)
February 10, 2011
Great news, glad to hear things are progressing smoothly. Question: Does 679 have the “old” engine cowling or the modified version with the air scope toward the rear of the cowling? This can affect engine performance. Also, the fuel flow indicators need to be checked. Because we had so many fuel flow flux problems at NKP I had the instrument techs do a “Commando” mod to eliminate the problem. There was no actual fuel flow problem – just an instrument problem.
Let me know if you need any “corporate” maintenance knowledge!
Jim Galluzzi (Nimrod)
Merritt Island, FL
January 13, 2011
December 22, 2010
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the 609th, and all their families.
John E. Bates
October 8, 2010
You have the last of her kind, I took photos of the prototype, first of her kind when I was 16, at On Mark. The photo sequence I am sending you can be published if you wish as long as I am given credit for them. My wife has made a composite video montage of my photos and published it under debful52 on You Tube and can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ongWkyeVIW0 and it contains some of the YB-26K return photos.
I have been working with Martin Simpson in the UK since last October, who has a site dedicated to the A-26 Invader, to make as accurate as possible the history of On Mark Engineering and their accomplishments. Martin's site can be found here: http://napoleon130.tripod.com/index.html for all your Invader fans. His site is a huge information base, and covers all aspects of the airplane, its development, history, and uses. It will prove to be a rewarding experience for anyone interested in this fabulous airplane. You will enjoy yourselves.
The brake system used on the B-26K was an anti-skid system. Combined with the Hamilton Standard 43E60 High-activity reversible pitch propellers and those high output R-2800's, that airplane could really haul down to a stop in a hurry. That day I photographed the return of the YB-26K Prototype, he touched down on the north end threshold of Runway 16R at Van Nuys, applied maximum braking and propeller reverse, and turned off on the third taxi-way and straight into On Mark. The On Mark hangar doors on the runway side ( east ) were closed down to about a foot open, while the other end ( west side ) doors were fully open. This gave the hangar a megaphone effect and the brief roar when he went into reverse was VERY loud. It sure got my attention. I rushed around the corner onto the north ramp to capture the photo sequence you have permission to incorporate on your site. Just the thought of that experience STILL give me goose bumps ! And that was 47 years ago ! ! Some of the angles from your video align perfectly with my photos, and the sound really took me back to that day in January, 1963.
Richard E. Fulwiler
Happy Valley ( Portland ), Oregon
August 10, 2010
Hello ... My name is Alan Kordzikowski; I’m 18 years old and am an avid military history buff. My grandfather flew the A26 during the Second World War. He flew an A26B with the six machine guns in the nose. I have pictures of him and his crew in front of the aircraft. Personally I’ve been around historic aircraft my whole life but have never seen an A26. I've come close with an A20 under restoration at the Geneseo Air museum, but never an A26. I live in the Hudson Valley in New York State. It's come to my attention that there was a gathering of B17's at Thunder of Michigan.
One of the saddest things is that no one knows of the A26 and what it did in World War 2, Korea and Vietnam. Kind of a forgotten aircraft. Through some research I've come across something like ten airworthy A26's. It would be great to get all of them together. Just have an air show for A26's. My grandfather remained in the Air Force after the war and served in Korea. Later he was stationed at Stewert Air Force Base in Newburg N.Y. I have pictures of A26's on the flight line from the mid- 50's. Although by that point he had nothing to do with the A26.
Might I suggest that if a gathering of A26's were to take place, Stewert Airport is a very nice location. It's an active commercial airport as well as home to the 105TH Airlift wing N.Y ANG and a Marine Reserve Air Wing. It has hotels on the grounds and is close to restaurants, gas stations and stores for any needs people might have. There have been air shows there before.
Please spread the word and see if something like this could happen. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. Please keep me in the loop if someone wants to go forth with this. I would much rather be involved than just sitting on the side watching.
Port Ewen, NY
July 8, 2010
I read about your efforts to preserve the last A-26 in the ACA newsletter. It’s a great effort that you are undertaking in preserving one of the great legacies of the Vietnam War. I had the honor and the privilege to be able to serve with the 56th Air Commando Wing later Special Ops from July 68 – July 69. I was assigned to the 56th Combat Support Group as a Structural Repairman for all the aircraft at NKP. After I got to NKP, I thought , what did I get myself into ... or ... should I say, what did the Air Force get me into. But, once I started to work on these vintage war birds, I fell in love with them. The smell of the oil, gas fumes, and the smoke that filled the air when the engines fired up was just great. I tried to stay with Special Ops when it was time to rotate back to the states; but, I had to go back to SAC when my tour was over. If I could have stayed with Special Ops I might have made a career of the Air force. Just an incredible effort on your part.
Robert S. Cebina
July 6, 2010
I was a Navigator on the A-26 in 1969. I earned my 100 mission patch before they closed us down (big mistake). I had the privilege of flying one back to Davis Monthan bone yard. I will never forget this airplane till the day I die. I felt it was the greatest airplane that a Navigator could fly. It was the highlight of my 21 year career in the Air Force. I really miss flying the 26.
Mike Hickly, Nimrod Navigator
June 17, 2010
Thanks for your informative website! I have heard a few stories from Paul Marschalk, a Nimrod who received the DFC and now I feel closer to him because I now have a better understanding of the aircraft he flew and the types of missions he was conducting.
June 16, 2010
I have been working on the radio compartment on Special K. Here are some pictures of the progress.
Franklin "Hawkeye" Poole
June 3, 2010
We worked with the NIMRODS when I was at Ubon on the C-130 flare mission in the spring of '66. They and the A-1s did a great job. They had good loiter time and the pilots were mostly Korea and WW II vets. The F-4s couldn't hit their butt with their hand but the A-26s usually hit what we sent them in on. Great airplanes! Old Pappy Gunn came up with a great idea when he packed an A-20 and then a B-25 nose full of guns. It worked so well that Douglas developed the Invader.
May 31, 2010
I had the privilege of working with the aircrews of the A-26,callsign "NIMROD" during my tour of South East Asia while assigned to the 729th Tactical Control Squadron's Det. 5. Our callsign was "INVERT" control. While assigned to Invert, my job was to monitor the flights of the Nimrods while they flew their missions from NKP Thailand to the Ho Chi Mihn Trail. These valiant aircrews were truly some of best of the best at their jobs as "truck killers" along the Trail. As one of the many forgotten warriors of the Viet Nam Conflict, I am proud to see that the A-26 "NIMROD" as I knew her get her just recognition as one of the true hero's of the conflict. I know, I will always remember my time as a controller at Invert, and my fond memories of the NIMROD's
May 26, 2010
May 25, 2010
In 1966 was a staff officer in Hqtrs of the Research and Development Command occasionally flying C-54 or C-47 aircraft. The USAF had matured and airpower was now applied almost exclusively by jet types. All of a sudden the USAF needed "prop jocks" for super secret operations in SE Asia and grabed me, along with a few others, and I involantarily became an instant air commando. As a USAF pilot I had flown B-17s with the 8th AF in WWII and many other recip aircrat since. The feasability of the truck killing concept in Laos was demonstrated during the last half of 1966. After a quick, short training period at England AFB, I joined the "NIMRODS". I occupied a Position in the Wing ooperations and flew missions as well. But the A/B26k, ah, what a plane!! Combat operations cost us 7 of them between July'66 and Dec 67.
Russell D. Barney Lt/Col USAF, Retired
May 22, 2010
What are the exact plans for painting this A26?? SEA Camo??
The AC-47 "Spooky, in Topeka went thru some research to get thier FS color chips- the correct ones...and they shot in the correct gloss black belly, and the correct flat tan, medium green, and dark green. Ten years since that repray the aircraft still looks correct...even with the fading!!
Brad Hayes, USMC
May 22, 2010
Hi Don ...
Tim Black & I visited for a half hour last evening. He shared his last couple of visits w/ you and his trip to be interviewed … I asked Tim if he had any trouble getting up the crew steps to the wing. He said the adrenalin kicked in so much he made it look easy.
Tim and I will both follow the progress closely.
(Bruce Gustafson, Nimrod Navigator)
May 20, 2010
The following is for those of you that may not be on the ACA email list.
Air Commando One has passed from our midst. Although expected, BG Aderholt’s passing marks the end of an epic career and much more than a footnote to the history of USAF special operations. His heroic contributions to the development of aerial special operations warfare doctrine, planning and execution over a career spanning WWII, Korea and Vietnam lead me to firmly believe the USAF Special Operations Command would not exist today without the huge push from Harry C. “Heinie” Aderholt. Many of us know the career sacrifices he made to ensure special operations its rightful place in military aviation. It cost him dearly in terms of becoming a 4-star general.
He loved his country, his USAF and his troops…as we loved him. May he rest in peace.
May 13, 2010
I grew up in Billings, my dad was a pilot and I had met Mr. Lynch while he owned the airplane. I remember walking around this airplane (and the other A-26's there) MANY times. I can't wait to see it finished!
The A-26 Legacy Foundation
May 12, 2011
With so many "restored" warbirds being an original dataplate on all-new metal, it's amazing to see a bird in actual original condition. Wow.
Instructional Designer at Lakeland Community College
member at EAA Chapter 118
May 11, 2010
Director of Creative Services Cox Radio of Birmingham
May 11, 2010
The A-26 was a well know WW II attack bomber. However, it's Spec Op role was less widely known. Let's get her flying so we can see her at AirVenture!
US Army Intelligence Corp
Our special aircraft is being restored just a few short miles from the home of my sister in law (served as an officer and flight nurse in Vietnam) She has already been to see the plane, met the guy who brought it in and taken pictures. We would definitely like to contribute to the restoration project or Foundation... From a proud member of the ground crew...
April 27, 2010
I had a fun trip to Fort Worth to see Special K. The guys at the museum were great. I met briefly with Scott Perdue who had loads of good things to say about the airplane. It looks in good shape to me.
Having sat outside for so long it is amazing how little corrosion there is. The glass isn't great but it seems there is replacements available at reasonable cost. Scott said the engines are workable and they are looking for new props. I climbed all over Special K but unfortunately I dropped my camera as I was getting to the cockpit so I only got a few pictures. I asked Scott and the mechanics loads of questions about systems and they were very positive about them. Fuel tanks, hydraulics, engines, electrics, all functioning. It should be quite the project. All it needs now is money.
John Kane, USMC Ret.
American Airlines Captain
North Hampton NH
April 16, 2010
Congratulations... I look forward to seeing you reach your final goal.
Charleston Aviation Partners
April 16, 2010
Capt. Monkey Hotel, 56th SOW TUOC Special Intel checking in to say "Sh&t Hot!" guys.
Captain Michael Hemp, USAF
Nakhon Phanom RTAFB
April 14, 2010
As a legacy of a Nimrod crewmember, and a military aircraft mechanic, I would be honored to donate some time when I return from my next deployment.
April 12, 2010
Awesome that you have created this page!!! My Dad, Jay Terry, had the honor of flying this plane in the Vietnam War and still has his plane (TA 666) on static display in Ft. Walton Beach Florida.
March 30, 2010
Jeff: I just read your father's letter to you, and I cannot express how much it means to me that you would give me permission to include the letter in the new book. I am at a loss for words concerning the letter except to say that your father told you everything that was important for him to say to his son, and he did it in such a way that he spoke for every father who never had a chance, or who could not find the right words, who wanted to convey that message back to his family in the USA.
God Bless, Roger Graham
March 29, 2010
I appreciate your sincere offer to take Dad’s letter and publish it. This is an incredible moment, to publish what Dad wrote to me, his one and only son. I thought this letter was destroyed; it has been missing for such a long time.
Now that I have rediscovered this letter and the fact that you are publishing letters like mine, I am honored to have your request for this letter in full and for it to be presented to the public. Honestly, this letter can still make me cry. It is a touching letter, full of hope, dreams and plans a Dad has for his family and especially his son.
This letter was written “Good Friday” evening, April 4, 1969. It is reproduced as written, with any and all grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors! It’s okay, it was how Dad wrote!
James “Jeff” Sizemore
4 ApriL 69
My Dearest Son, Jeff,
Hi Son, how are you? I’m fine today and I just got your real nice and thoughtful Easter Card. Thank you so very, very much for thinking of and loving me like you do! I also thank you for praying to our Good Lord for my safety and yes Jeff, when I come home we’ll have lots of fun, play golf, ride the bikes, play ball, dig fox-holes, cook steaks, go to the movies, eat pop corn, watch color TV, let you drive the VW like we use to do when we ran errands for Mommy, - Yes, we’ll do everything, just like we use too not long ago!
You know Jeff, it’s very difficult for a small boy like yourself to fully understand what war is all about. I’m sure it’s pretty confusing to you as to why all peoples can’t seem to live in peace with one another in the world. You see, Son, there are some men in the world who don’t want to see people have their freedom. That is the freedom to live as they want to live, go to their own church, believe in their own God, the right to vote for those they want in public office – like our country’s President and the state Governors – the right to go to the schools they want to go to – to work in the job of their choice – to marry the woman that they want and on and on. So Jeff for those people who cherish their freedom they sometimes have to fight those men who try to take freedom away from them! None of us, who are really sane, really like to fight and kill people – but in order for us to persevere our cherished Freedoms – we HAVE TO FIGHT!! This is what Daddy is doing – this is what I CHOSE TO DO! Daddy doesn’t want to be killed in a war, but Son, if the Good Lord would will it – that is if he decides it is my time to go to Heaven – then I have no choice! I do hope the War ends soon and that I can come home to all of my loved ones. But Son remember if God wants me then I’ll be in Paradise with Him!
Many, many men have given their precious lives for our Country, not only in this War, but many Wars in the time gone past. Jeff, it will be up to men like yourself, and your sons to come someday, to see that these men have not given their lives in vain! Keep your strong faith in God and have courage always. We live in the most wonderful Country in the World and don’t let anyone ever forget it!
Daddy flew his 35th Combat Mission last nite. It was a good mission for me – had good weather with a full moon. I could see the ground real good, but the enemy gunners on the ground could see me real good too! I and another “NIMROD” A-26 in my Squadron, attacked a Fuel Storage Area not too farm from here. We were able to blow it up with our bombs and I also destroyed a big fuel tanker truck. It sure lit up the sky real good when it exploded as my bombs hit it! My buddy also destroyed a big truck. We were real proud of each other. We did get shot at and a few rounds of fire came pretty close to my plane and my buddy’s too! We made bomb drops on the guns and we didn’t have nay more guns firing at us then! Daddy tries his best to be careful, but in some of the target areas there are quite a few guns and sometimes if it gets too rough we pull out and go to another less protected target. Not that we are “chicken” but it’s stupid to let yourself be shot down if you can prevent it!
It’s raining real hard outside now. Lots of “thunder bumpers” all around. Looks like the Monsoon’s are almost here! I am off tonite so I hope to catch-up my letter writing and sleep. I do hope you have your jungle fatigues by now and that they fit you good.
Always try to do your best now in everything you undertake to do! Daddy misses you too, and Son, I love you very very much!
Take care now Much LOVE ALWAYS
Great job with your project. I have always loved the 26 since I was assigned to the 603rd at England AFB, La. in 67-68. I was an aircraft electrician and loved to fly the jump seat behind the co-pilot to the range for bomb run practice. A lot of great memories and pictures from TDY's. I was disappointed when I could not get an assignment with the 609th, but ended up at Clark AB with C-130's. I am pretty sure that 679 was at England for a time.
President Air force Assoc.-Pennsylvania
March 16, 2010
The attached information regarding "Special K" is exhilarating, and I congratulate you on this outstanding accomplishment. It would not have happened without your persistence and personal effort. Your Father would be very, very proud of you.....as I am.
Warm Regards and Respect
(Nimrod Pilot 1968/69)
March 16, 2010
Guys, I want to be the first to congratulate Don (my college roommate), on seeing thru a dream owed to his father, a promise kept, a legacy that will be permanant.
Don has followed thru on the A26, it is now controlled by the non profits, note I said "2" non profits.
Again , I feel the most important aspect of this is Don not giving up, falling back on his vision and then following thru.
It is a tribute to him and his father!
Jim Irish, Lt. Col. (USAF Ret)
American Airlines 757 Captain
March 15, 2010
Hi Don ... I have been on the road with work for the past week and now just catching up on the emails! I followed the progress of the plane from it's prep prior to ferry all the way through it's arrival at Meacham... mostly because my friend Steve Swift was one of the pilots and mechanics... and lucky for me, he updates Facebook often.
I was glad to hear of your partnership with the Pacific Prowler Organization and think that this outcome is as positive as can be... the plane is saved, has the means for restoration, has dedicated crew and a touring organization familiar with the rigors of the road, and will be able to honor the veterans after so many years of sitting idle.
I am always glad to discuss ideas and thoughts about the future of the effort and would love to catch up sometime.
March 5, 2010
Hello Don and James <Sizemore>,
Hope you are both doing great and staying busy. These are some challenging days aren't they. Oh well, have to keep plugging away right? I received an email from a girl in Texas (which you will find below) about a project her class is working on re: Vietnam. She found a posting I made on a site a few years ago when I was in the process of looking for you <James> and your sister, Becky. Anyway, you are both in a better position to help her with her project than I am, but I didn't want to give her your emails so will simply give you hers.
Don, I want to tell you again how much it means to me that you helped me find Becky and James. I had looked for so many years, and as you know was simply overwhelmed with happiness when I finally found them. Becky and I email each other as often as possible and I had a blast meeting up with her a little over a year ago. Saw James and Becky and as Forest Gump said, "we were just like peas and carrots". It's weird that all the years between just melted away-We just picked up right where we left off. All thanks to your website.
<James> Last February I got a chance to visit the Wall in D.C. for the first time. I went with my eldest daughter-at night-which was pretty dramatic. People probably thought I was nuts-which I suppose I am, but I told your Dad about finding you finally, and how much fun we had together, how you are both doing, etc. I left a copy of the photo of your Dad - one from the website. I guess I needed to say goodbye and that's the best place I could think to do so. James, I loved your Dad. He treated me like I was special, and always was such a gentleman and fun. You know you have his smile and it was a terrific smile.
Thank you both so very, very much and take care okay?
Dear Ms. Martin,
Hi, my name is Masha Romanova and I'm a student at Westlake High School in Texas. My class is currently creating Vietnam War memorial media presentations and after some research online I found your remembrance of Major James Elmo Sizemore. I was wondering if you could give me any information about him and his life before and during the war- anything you may remember. I really wish to honor him properly by portraying what kind of person he was and the commitment he made for his country, so any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time, I hope you will visit our website (http://www4.eanesisd.net/~vietnam/) when my project is complete to view the memorials to Major Sizemore and many other soldiers who died in Vietnam.
I understand if you do not wish to respond.
March 4, 2010
Don, Blessings on your efforts with "Operation Final Flight". It is my prayer that the bravery and gallantry of the "Nimrods" live on for all in this marvelous endeavor.
My father was a Nimrod. His name was Daniel W. Koyn (USAF Lt. Col, Ret.). I do not know if you knew him. He flew 105 missions in the A-26 during '69-'70. In many ways, being a Nimrod was the fulfillment of his career... and his dreams. He knew he was part of something bigger than himself, and he swelled with pride every time he remembered the extraordinary men he served and flew with.
I wish he was still with us to see the fruit of your labors. My father passed away in 1998... still proud to be a Nimrod. He is and will always be my hero.
May you be blessed in your efforts with "Special K", and may it fly on to keep the memories alive for all who were served by the brave men who crewed and maintained her.
All my best to you,
Daniel M. Koyn, grateful son of a Nimrod.
March 3, 2010
Don, I told you; believe in destiny (and in your case, work like the devil to make it happen). My heart told me things would likely work out. That and your tenacity seem to confirm it.
Scott Lindley, Invader 44-35911
March 3, 2010
Don, I think I may have known your father. In 1969, a guy name Charlie Vogler was my roomate for a few weeks at Castle AFB CA where we were undergoing KC-135 training. Charlie had just finished a tour in A-26's at NKP. I had a previous tour (65-66) flying U-10's in the 5th ACS at Nha Trang, Vietnam (as an old fighter pilot, I think they thought I'd be more comfortable with only one engine). I had just left Wright Patterson and the Test Office in the F-111 System Program Office to attend the KC-135 aircraft commander's course. Unlike almost all the other KC-135 students who were bound for SAC tanker assignments, I was a Systems Command student and bound for Patrick AFB to fly the EC-135N ARIA (Droopsnoot) and other weirdly modified 135's on worldwide missions.
Charlie and I cooked some of our meals in our BOQ, which had a kitchen. I used to oven bake chicken breasts marinated in Italian dressing and that was one of Charlie's favorites. So I believe he may have tucked that recipe away.
I had entered the KC-135 course a few weeks ahead of Charlie, so I finished ahead of him. I only knew him for a few weeks and then I lost track of him. I assume he has now passed on.
I finally retired in '78 from the 4950 Test Wing at Wright Patt as a research pilot. Then I developed and taught Shuttle crew procedures at the Johnson Space Center, Houston. In '82 I joined FedEx as an aircraft structures engineer (I have an MS in AE plus an FAA A&P) working 727, DC-10, MD-11 and Airbus structural issues. I was very involved in aging aircraft and structural fatigue, and service life extension issues. I finally retired in '07 from FedEx as chief engineer. I still do some occasional consulting engineering. In fact I had to renew my DOD security clearance recently.
I wish you luck with the A-26 project.
Art Benjamin, Maj USAF (Ret)
Germantown, TN 38138
March 3, 2010
I just came across your web site, and I am astounded yet pleased. As a B-26 gunner with 50 missions over North Korea I'm always delighted when I see kind mention of the bird which I love.
We have one of the K models here at the museum.
When you guys get your bird running I do hope you'll come through Tucson.
Dennis - Tucson AZ
March 2, 2010
Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Tom.
Great video on the A-26. That was fun to see.
Catch up with you soon.
March 2, 2010
Tom was the driving force for our reunions from WAY BACK , organizing, communicating and just plain being a DOER!! HELL YES, HE'LL BE MISSED!! His family's loss is the Lord's gain.
March 2, 2010
Mimi + Leon Poteet wrote:
Tom [Wickstrom] died today about 6:30 PM in California after about 10 days in the hospital. Thought you would like to know. I have no further details at this time. Keep family in your thoughts and prayers.
February 25, 2010
We will be publishing an article in our May issue of Air & Space about the A-26/B-26 Invader's role in Vietnam and your efforts to restore the world's last flying Counter Invader.
Thank you for any leads or materials you may provide.
Roger Mola for photo editor Caroline Sheen
Air & Space/Smithsonian
August 17, 2009
Dear Don, I served in the 609th nimrods from the middle of 1968 to the middle of 1969 as a flightline mechanic at NKP. I do not know whether your father and I were there at the same time. I do know that he was a true patriot and brother in arms. I would like to keep up with your great project, help if I can, and if possible, find out about some of my old brothers. "After all these years, I am making an effort to find some of those I served with. It is an honor just to communicate with you and know that we have a common thread to the past. God bless you and your father and thank you.
November 17, 2008
If passion and commitment to a cause was paid off in cash, Don Vogler would easily be the wealthiest man around. As Chairman of the A-26 Legacy Foundation, Don has met challenges that could be seen as insurmountable to anyone else and has enthusiastically strategized solutions to those problems. His dedication to the often overlooked veterans of the 56th Special Operations Wing or "Nimrods" of the Vietnam War is not only commendable, but also extremely honorable as he has sought to go "above and beyond" to acquire, restore, and fly the last A-26 Counter Invader as an operating educational tool in their memory. Such an effort is far from easy, but Don has moved the organization forward despite the obstacles of time, talent, and capital. Under his leadership, the A-26 Legacy Foundation will surely grow and thrive for many years to come.
Principal / Owner, Ryan Keough Consulting
Good morning.. I was a young airman right out of tech school when assigned to the 850th FMS at England AFB. LA in January,1966. In that same year I deployed with Project Big Eagle to NKP with the A-26's. I was an engine mechanic and loved every minute I spent at NKP then. I returned in 1968 and 1969 and wanted to be assigned to the A-26 outfit but they needed my services with the A1E/H engine shop but my heart was always with the NIMRODS. During my last tour is SEA I was lucky to get an FCF flight in a 26 and that was an awsome experience. I'm getting ready to retire from the Air Force Reserve as an air reserve tech. after thirty some years and a C-130 engine tech. Nothing compares to the A-26. I'm sure I have had my hands on that set of engines on that A/C. Thanks for taking it under your wings and preserving one of the most awsome air frames around.
April 14, 2007
I am interested in supporting the B-26K project on my show and site: www.bombardiersLounge.com on KRML, Carmel, CA. I was a Capt. in Special Ops Intel at NKP 69-70, code "Monkey Hotel."
Michael K. Hemp The History Company
April 14, 2007
I am very pleased that you are undertaking this project as I believe these service men deserve hero status just as the Ravens should for all their sacrifice. We should never forget what these heroes did for us and for the world. Best wishes on your fund raising efforts and please keep me in the loop. These people were true heroes and our nation owes all of them our debt of gratitude.
Golden Valley, MN
April 10, 2007
Your article in the AF Times caught my eye as I was a young airman assigned to the 606th Air Commando Sqd as an armament technician loading the A-26 during these times circa 1968 - I have lots of slides and 8x10 USAF Black and White Photographs from that period including our nose art. I first saw your A-26 as I passed thru Billings Mont on my way to go hunting in Winnet Montana and the memories came back. I retired from the USAF as a Loadmaster with a lot of flying time. I could fill you in on a lot of particulars on this acft - still have the original flight manuals someplace and ordinance manuals.
Steve Gates, SMSgt (retired)
March 29, 2007
I saw the article about the A-26 in the Air Force Times, 2 April 07. So I pulled up the web site. What a site. Brings back some old memories. I was at Nakhon Phanom on the A-26 in 1965 and 66. I have some good slides of a couple of the planes that were shot up pretty bad. We lost one, I believe it was # 673 while I was there. It crashed on the end of the runway from about 200 feet alt.When I got there in 1965 we had six A-26s. Then we got more and was up to twelve I believe when I left. I would like to join the Legacy Foundation. Is that possible? Thank You very much for the great site.
Donald W. Grannan, Cmsgt. USAF Ret.
March 27, 2007
I enjoyed the recent article in AF times about the "K". I saw that plane from the window of my airliner landing at Billings many times!!!! Always curious about the camo job on it: but never got over there to see it. However, while making this trip in route to Greybull Wyoming for government source inspection on C-130s; I came across a pristine 26 owned by the old Hawkins & Powers firefighting firm which sold out recently. I believe the aircraft is still there and probably a plethora of parts. I have contact points if you are interested.
Bob Nolan, SMSgt (Ret)
March 10, 2007
Congratulations on your fantastic website! I flew 182 missions with the Nimrods as a navigator in 1967-68. The experience made a lasting impression on me. I am a retired Air Force colonel. I just finished writing a book called "The Nimrods" that brings that whole unbelievable experience back to life again. I also discuss lessons learned for the current Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the War on Terror. I applaud your efforts to purchase and restore Aircraft #679 to flying condition. I have included information concerning The A-26 Legacy Foundation in my book. One section of my book is devoted to "Nimrod Photographs." Based upon my year at NKP, I have several aircraft and group photos I have included in the book. If possible, I need the written permission of the appropriate person or persons to reprint copies of photos from your website in the book. I like all of the photos but especially like the group photo of the Nimrod pilots and navigators in black flying suits the 1969 photo (could you supply me with their names?), and all of the #679 photos. Hopefully, my book will help you raise money for your plans concerning Aircraft #679. I am in contact with publishers and plan to publish this book within the next 6 months. Please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience.
Col. Roger Graham, USAF (Retired)
February 20, 2007
I would like to be a member of your foundation .... if you have members that is. I live in South Florida, but, would like to give some type of help to your foundation. Do you have any static models of the A-26-A/B-26k in the Foundation? Let me know if you need one. Are you planning to take "Special K" to "Sun and Fun" this year if possible? Give me a heads up please on your future plans and any help I can contribute to your cause!!
February 19, 2007
Thank you again for thinking of me and my dad. This is the first I have heard of this (UN Memorial Wall in Korea) and know that my Dad will be very interested in reading about it as well ... so ... I have forwarded your e-mail on to him. I have to share a story with you . . . I laughed when I received your e-mail because the timing was so funny. I try to make a donation at least every three months to a worthwhile cause and was trying to decide on one to donate to in March or April when I thought of your Foundation. I don't usually discuss the donations I make with my husband (he doesn't care) but since he's been out of work for about a month (he works in construction), I decided to tell him about your Foundation and how it is the cause I want to make my next donation to. All this occurred just before receiving your e-mail. Needless to say, The A-26 Legacy Foundation is on the top of my list for my next donation! I hope all is well with you and that you are making great progress with "Special K!"
January 7, 2007
Where is the aircraft based? I have never worked on the A-26 but have always considered it to be one of the best light bombers that ever took to the air. They look pretty neat too. The last of them were being scrapped during my first year of a 20 year Air Force career. I consider myself very lucky to have spent a year in Thailand before we got kicked out. I worked on the AC-130s that performed the same interdiction mission the A-26 had performed. The VC hated them and actually had sapper attacks at Ubon. I worked on them there and at Korat after Ubon closed in July of 1975. Hope to see your invader one day before I go back to Thailand for good, I hope. Best of luck to you. I hope you can find a fuel sponsor, at 180 gph that would sure help!!
Bruce Walsh. USAF, Msgt retired
January 4, 2007
Hey guys great web site. I am absolutely in love with the A-26K. For Christmas, I got plans for a Radio Control version of the B model. I am going to change it to the K model and enlarge the plane to make it 1/5 scale. That makes it have a wingspan of 14 feet and weigh around 60 lbs. I plan on visiting as many of the real planes as I can during this year. Most of them are static displays so that makes it fairly easy. Are there any good times to come see your plane to photograph it for reference or to come up sometime when you fly it so that I can video it in action. I am fortunate to have flown a Convair 240 which is similar in some ways which is about as close as I will get to fly a big recip. I love the big radial engines.
Thanks for your time,
December 11, 2006
I was a crew chief on an A-26 at NKP. My first bird was shot down - 645, with Capt. Cruz and Capt. Potter flying it.
John D. Smith
A-26 Crew Chief (USAF retired)
October 13, 2006
My Squadron was parked off the main ramp from you guy's back over in the corner(23rd Tass"Nail")I look back on those times and wish that I was a little more nervy and gone over and talked to you guys. As far as being in a unique situation, guess I couldn't have found a much better one.. I was an OV-10 Crew Chief ( Mainly Nights) and stationed on a base with some of the most Special Aircraft in existence. Wow !I haven't seen anyone on the Net Print any pictures with the A-26's parked on the "New Ramp" that was put down shortly before they left the base in 1969 ?( I think it was?)The Ramp was made up of LARGE Aluminum Interlocking Panels ( Not PSP )?The reason I wanted to say Hello was with all the Missions You Guys Flew ( what a Squadron ) and the times I saw the RAM team there patching or Packaging You guys ( BAD Battle Damage ) I was on NKP, on the ramp the Morning You guys started up for your final Mission from NKP ...... As majestic as it was when the Group flew over in formation .... It was terribly sad..... In Retrospect, I knew you guys had a Big Job, But I didn't realize how Big......I just want to tell You Thanks for the Pictures of the A-26 Nimrod (wish there were more)
It is an Honor to Salute You.....
October 13, 2006
I wanted to send you a quick note letting you know that thanks to your help, my dad flew in an Invader … and … thought you might be interested in hearing how I presented the surprise to him! I created a booklet about the Invader for my father and presented it to him as a gift at his birthday party. I've never seen my father speechless before but he was that night! Right before my dad climbed into the "Spirit of Waco" for his flight to Midland, he gave me a hug and told me with tears in his eyes how much it meant to him. As my dad said, the trip was priceless. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all that you and the A-26 Legacy Foundation have done for me and my family! It's nice to know there are people willing to assist in making a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity happen!
April 23, 2006
I have always loved the B-26 but since I learned of the On Mark mods done in '64, I have been fanatical about the B-26K. I have made a number of models in 1/72 and 1/48 scale and have bought any book I could find about it. I wish some one would write one on what went on over in Laos. Glad to here of your org. Keep up the good work.
April 13, 2006
Hello, As a crew member on the warbird Invader "Spirit of NC", I keep a large display book that chronicles the history of the Squadron we represent (13th B/S) as well as our own bird's heritage. She was part of the first batch of 25 Invaders loaned to the French in late 1950 and she has flown over some of the same jungles that you folks flew over, just some 10 years prior. As part of our display book, I am happy to say our last page honors the 56th and the 609th with two photos from that era. We wanted to honor those who last publicly flew the Invader in combat. It is our pleasure to meet any Invaderman, whatever the era.
Scott Lindley, Invader 44-35911
March 29, 2006
My son, Tim, Col. USAF, flew the B-26. Awards included Silver Star and DFC for his activities over Nam and "the trail." He retired after 26 years of service and now flies for UPS. Needless to say how proud his family is of him and what he did. He sent us the data regarding the museum and "the latest." Thank each NIMROD for what they did for us in memory of those who didn't return.
God Bless each and all,
Powell Black, Capt. USNR (Ret.)
March 15, 2006
It is wonderful to hear about the A-26K restoration project. I grew up watching the older Invaders (C version) used as 'target tows' for gunnery practice for US Army in the 1950's, and still my all-time favorite. In fact my uncle was a gunner on A-26B in WWII. It would be very special if the A-26K could actually visit Air Venture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but I realize the operating costs are very high.
Keep up the great work!
Gerry Schmidt, Two Rivers, WI
February 13, 2006
I worked on these awesome aircraft at England AFB, Alexandria, La. in 1969. We were the 603rd SOS (Special Operations Squadron)and I was a Weapons Maintenance Specialist. We used to service the .50 cals from the flat bed of a 1 1/2 ton truck, carefully backed up to the nose. We would swab the barrels with what we called "goose grease" a whitish lubricating grease and even swab the internal parts of the 50's with the same corrosion preventative. I'll never forget the smell and the distinct sound of the engines firing up and then the A-26 Counter Invader would taxi off for a mission. The sound would vibrate in your chest...it felt like a proud achievement, even if it was the jet age. The dual joy sticks in some of the cockpits still had the main stem wrapped in bamboo cain...looking at them, in 1969 it took you back in time, to yet another earlier military mission. I'm proud to have served with the pilots and ground crews who kept this military wonder flying.
Thanks for keeping just one in the clouds above us,
December 22, 2005
Don, you have inded stirred up a hornets nest. I received a call last night, out of the blue from Dennie Lynch. It had been a number of years since we had last talked. He wanted to know if I knew about your effort, and if it was smoke or fact. I told him as far as I knew it was fact and that you had support from a number of others in our group, myself included, to bring this dream to fruition. After an hour of conversation, I came to the following conclusions. Denny wants to cooperate with us; he also believes that as the last flying K model it should remain as a flying bird, just as we do. Our full conversation was too lengthy to cover here ... I will give you a call to further discuss this ...
Tom Wickstrom, Nimrod Navigator
October 28, 2005
Tom <Wickstrom> ... I had a thought about IF 679. I wonder if the Nimrods (maybe even the Air Commando Association as a whole) would be intersted in purchasing IF 679 ... restoring it thru charitable donations/trust ... and ... turning her into a flying memorial? Sounds like 679 is pretty much a piece of junk right now ... but ...the cost of restoration isn't really that big a sum if presented this way (obviously would have to determine the esten of restoration required to make sure the project was feasable). I know that there are B-17s and B-25s making regular air show rounds ... selling rides to the public as charitable donations to maintain their costs of operation. Might work for us too. Still brainstorming.
Don Vogler, Legacy
(Son of fellow Nimrod, Maj. Charlie Vogler)
October 27, 2005
I wrote to Tom Wickstrom about Denny's "K" and his evaluation follows. Don't get your hopes up too much about this one.
Nolan Schmidt (Nimrod)
Denny's 26 is 679, it was the last one delivered. As to its status, I don't believe it has flown in 2 or 3 years so there is doubt that its annual is up to date. It has been for sale for some time, but priced so high no buyers. I thought of buying it at one time, but after looking into it realized there were a number of pitfalls. Number one is condition. Denny's idea of maintenance was, if the engines start (even if they have to be coaxed) it will fly. On the last flight I know of, he had it at an auction in AZ, no sale. On the return to Billings MT, landed in New Mexico for fuel and the right gear collapsed. Jacked it up, changed the prop and flew it fixed gear back to Billings. As far as I know that was the last time it flew. The last air show I flew with him, my primary duty on landings was holding a broomstick in position to keep the nose gear from collapsing. I also know it needs new fuel bladders for the wings as I was helping him try and obtain a set a friend of mine in England had. I know he never made the deal. No radios or Nav equipment other than a cheap civilian set up. I could have gotten it for $250K but figured it would take another $750K to bring it up to War Bird status. Too rich for my blood. Another problem it title. It was on loan to the SC forestry service as a fire bomber. Never used as such as they landed it gear up. They sold it to Denny for one dollar, BUT it was one of those deals that it was to returned to the AF when they were through with it. It was my feeling (and they have been known to do it) that the AF Museum could wait for it be put in pristine condition and then snatch it back. If you want me to I will see if I can find out its status. You might also contact Jim Galuzzie. I know he has been in contact with Denny since I have. He was also interested in buying it. I imagine this is more than you ever wanted to know about 679, but, it is the only one of our birds that might ever return to flight ... so ... I have tried to keep up with it over the years.
Any Time ... Any Place Tom <Wickstrom>
October 22, 2005
Hi Nolan <Schmidt> ...
Just wanted to drop a quick line to thank you (and the rest of the Nimrods) for your friendly hospitality at the reunion! It meant a lot to me to meet all of you. I will look forward to staying in touch and to seeing you all again at the next one. The chance to meet those of you who knew and flew with my Dad at NKP was all the more special. He didn't talk much about his tour over there ... so ... hearing the anecdotes at the dinner helped to fill a void that I have been trying to fill for a long time.
If you and your family are ever in the New England area ... please give me a shout! Joyce and I would welcome your visit and we'd be happy to put you up. I'd love to go flying with you too! I have attached a couple pictures of the Diamond Star that I fly. It's a lot smaller than an A-26 ... but ... it's a lot of fun just the same. Check out the glass cockpit. I guess the old phrase ... "Like Father like Son" ... runs true in all of our families! <laffin!>
Wishing you an your family all the best! Again ... Thanks for making my visit to Ft. Walton Beach so much fun. I have some thoughts that I am pondering about that last flying A-26 that Tom Wickstrom told me about ... would allow me an opportunity to give something back to all of you. Stay tuned!
(Son of fellow Nimrod Pilot, Charlie Vogler)