Author Topic: The Mefford Field Anachronisms  (Read 1088 times)

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Lemoore NAS Site 29-B Described, Phantom Arrives There Safely
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2022, 01:43:35 PM »
Naval Air Station Lemoore (“Lemoore NAS”, “Lemoore”, “NAS” hereon) commissioned in 1961 is the US Navy’s premiere & largest west Pacific coast operational fighter & training airbase chosen for its remoteness facilitating large-scale air operations with smallest “noise footprint” possible, close proximity to Navy seaport facilities facilitating logistical support, great flexibility how the airbase could be expanded & utilized latter crucial ensconcing “The Mefford Trio” under maximum security conditions.

Even before The President Of The United States declared an Incident-Specific National Emergency at 10:00 a.m. Washington DC time formally placing them under US Government custody for “highly detailed forensic examinations” (i.e. camouflaging US Military & “alphabets” half-educated guesses how two been “miraculously restored” to airworthy condition, third “time-traveled” from WWII to what ends), mid-level Pentagon intelligence staff very soon determined Lemoore NAS as the ideal location for ensconcing under US Government custody (i.e. hiding from public view) under maximum security conditions akin to Homey Airport, Nevada (Area 51) though lacking latter’s cultural provenance till all could be transported elsewhere. Tacitly recognizing was impossible to deny The Mefford Trio’s paranormal transformations & appearance given they’d been in public view albeit very shortly since after midnight November 13, 2022 California Time Pentagon “mid-levelers” meantime “Gipsy Rose Lee’d” (teased) senior level brass into believing they still could be hidden from public view provided nothing else was revealed about them.

At 1:00 a.m. California Time Pentagon Navy Intelligence & Airfield Operations senior level brass, Lemoore NAS Commander, Airfield Operations & Security Chiefs, via secure telecommunication link proclaimed the currently unused 640 x 700 foot square bare concrete patch far northeast corner of the NAS airfield operations area as Site 29-B it randomly pulled off list of military reservation code names by a deskbound OF-3 deep within The Pentagon’s bowels where the Trio were to be ensconced once moved off Mefford Field Airport grounds. Within the hour also the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed all information concerning their removals & relocations to Lemoore, forensic examinations, intelligence evaluations, theories & speculations regarding their sudden appearances & restorations classified Top Secret, placed under custodianship of a OF-5 Senior Pentagon Intelligence Officer with two OF-4 alternates directly subordinate to the Joint Chiefs or by The Whitehouse whenever the information needed to be reviewed by The President and/or his national security staff.

With “marching orders” direct from top-level Pentagon brass the Lemoore NAS Commander was authorized to requisition whatever materials, manpower, logistics planning & management necessary directly from any military service branch for quickly constructing & getting Site 29-B operational, moving The Mefford Trio there, all “issues” encountered whilst doing so directly addressed to respective Pentagon Chief Of Operations they directed to immediately resolve them. Whilst personnel & equipment was being readied elsewhere on the NAS for transport to Mefford Field Airport for disarming bombs aboard the Heinkel at 1:30 a.m. on-station Navy Seabees commenced work constructing a security fence enclosure completely around Site 29-B moving everything off it beforehand. Laboring at war emergency speed in heavy rain, Seabees, US Army Corps Of Engineers & US Air Force Engineers flown in later had the fencing up by 5:30 a.m., large “Restricted Area” signs affixed every 25 feet, portable guard shacks later replaced by more durable ones set at enclosure’s sole entrance near its most southwesterly corner, AR-armed SPs forthwith manning them well as patrolling the enclosure’s outer perimeter.

Whilst enclosure construction was underway Navy Seabees, Air Force Engineers, Army Corps Of Engineers et. al. staffs in conjunction with number of “alphabets” communicating though Pentagon-centered secure satellite telecommunications channels working off existing airfield facilities layouts & arrangements jointly planned & designed Site 29-B’s facilities in two hours flat, manpower, materials, equipment some highly classified collected & flown in from several military installations throughout the USA with unprecedented efficiency & speed. First erected were three 150 x 250 x 24 foot prefabricated site-assembled double-entry aircraft hangars flown in by Air Force C-5M Super Galaxies from Travis AFB set 150 feet back from northwest perimeter fence each spaced 100 feet apart, officially designated “A”, “B”, “C” (patrolling male SPs called them “Autumn”, “Bailey”, “Carter” after female porn stars, female SPs “Alex”, “Bambino”, “Charles” after male ones) all in place by 9:45 a.m. Meantime, Air Force C-17A Globemaster III’s were flying in prefabricated site-assembled windowless auxiliary structures flanking the hangars in between & ends of Hangars A & C exclusively for military & “alphabet” ioperatives some already on station whilst construction was underway, all in place by 10:00 a.m. Hangar A stood ready to receive the AMVETS Phantom in transit from The Ranch now scheduled for arrival at 11:00 a.m.

Hovering yards ahead of the Skycrane a US Navy SH-60 Seahawk ("Seahawk" hereon) Pilot Helicopter had two Navy meteorologists monitoring Doppler Radar computer screens, Intelligence Lieutenant & four Petty Officers onboard monitoring wireless closed circuit camera feeds sweeping ground below, underneath the Skycrane looking down on Phantom, second Seahawk yards aft filled with airfield maintenance personnel & equipment ready to secure her if “hit sod” (landed) in an emergency yards aft of Skycrane, third Seahawk yards off port perpendicular to Skycrane filled with armed SP, Firefighting & Personnel Extraction Trained EMT & equipment in event any helicopter crashed whilst in transit. On way to Mefford Field Airport Pilot & Trailing Seahawks encountered heavy rain & wind cells, senior meteorologist radioing in “the bad news” to The Ranch’s Naval Commanding Officer (CO) he forthwith pointedly asking him whether conditions were bad enough to scrub the Phantom move meteorologist forthwith replying nyet as were briskly moving north off planned flight path to Lemoore. At 10:39 a.m. the Skycrane lead by Pilot Seahawk began pulling away northwesterly towards Lemoore, Federal Aviation Administration having closed general aviation airspace over & five miles out from Mefford Field Airport by 1:30 a.m. the aerial caravan could proceed to Lemoore far out as A & L Dairy on Prosperity Avenue west of Road 48, Airspace Restriction Alert issued at 9:30 a.m. banning all air traffic except military 10 mile swath below 2,000 feet between both airports in effect till further notice.

Flying 75 knots at 750 feet northeast towards Lemoore all went well till sudden strong wind gusts struck over Guernsey (Kansas & 10th Avenues) several miles south of Hanford, Phantom violently pitching up & down longitudinally for some seconds stressing the suspension cables, Skycrane pilot forthwith dropping altitude, softly landing her on fallow farmland west of dairy farm off South 11th & Kent Avenues, trailing Seahawk quickly moving port & landing 100 feet parallel to it. The Skycrane holding station above the Phantom fought off the gusts some minutes till passed, highly experienced flying cargo in bad weather conditions the pilot knew the gusts weren't strong enough to break the lifting gear collars forthwith radioing the landed Seahawk cables & collars looked OK. Slowly lifting the Phantom up ten feet pausing for those onboard the Seahawk to inspect for abnormalities none were found Seahawk's pilot forthwith signaling the Skyhook's to proceed she slowly pulling up then forward quickly regaining altitude inline behind the Pilot Seahawk aft grounded one forthwith lifting off & returning in formation behind the Skycrane. Encountering no further flight incidents the Skycrane now flying alone slowly approached Site 29-B, hovering in unstable air dozen disposable hazmat jumpsuited & gloved-clad Navy airfield personnel with “mule” (airfield tractor) & tow gear stood ready to help lower & tow away the Phantom, setting her down at precisely 11:10 a.m. forthwith she was hooked for tow whilst Skycrane suspension cables surrounding here were unhooked, all off she'd pulled vertical rotating southeasterly hightailing it off to The Ranch. The Phantom now firmly in "Government Custody" forthwith was "hauled naked" (nobody else around her) into Hangar A, "mule" & tow team very quickly leaving the hangar arguably out of fear, doors closed & locked shut by SPs in ten minutes flat.

...To Be Continued...

« Last Edit: Today at 10:38:26 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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B-17 Crews To Lemoore NAS, Preston's Pride On Mefford Field Airport Tarmac
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2022, 11:58:25 AM »
Preston’s Pride Boeing B-17G serial 44-85738 Vega Aircraft Burbank Construction No. 8647-VE was delivered to United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) late during WWII not seeing any combat service. Manufactured at Vega Aircraft in Burbank, California c. April-May, 1945 she was flown to the USAAF Louisville Kentucky Aircraft Modification Center taken on charge May 18, 1945. Put in active storage in 1946 she was modified as a DB-17G drone controller assigned to the 509th Composite Bomb Group for use during Operations Crossroads Pacific atomic bomb tests operating in this role till retired from active service, donated to AMVETS Post 56, flown to Mefford Field Airport Tulare by USAF Operations Chief Major General Maurice Preston August 5, 1958. Rolled of the Burbank, California Vega Aircraft factory assembly line too late for WWII service midnight November 13, 2022  she was “miraculously restored” fully equipped for combat duty, strong suggestion of whoever, whomever, whatever deliberately wanted her to see combat, why not before the May 9, 1945 German surrender?!

The leading questions amongst endless others why restore Preston’s Pride & F-4C Phantom II to airworthy condition, why also deposit a bomb-laden shot-up WWII Deutsches Luftwaffe Heinkel 177 A-5 with dead crewman plus a wounded third yards away? Why these anachronisms at Mefford Field and no others anywhere else on Earth?! None could be answered - for now -what only mattered to the US Government was getting The Mefford Trio to Lemoore Naval Station before day’s end the 13th, out of sight, under armed guard and out of the public’s mind ASAP! By 11:15 a.m. The Phantom was under armed guard at Lemoore, Heinkel 177 on Mefford Field Airport tarmac at 5:04 p.m., in between Preston’s Pride would be flown out to Lemoore perhaps on its last ever flight its fate well as of the others yet to be determined.

As mentioned earlier, minutes after 9:00 a.m. California Time November 13, 2022 team of Navy SPs led by a Naval intelligence Officer dispatched from Naval Base San Diego to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport San Diego approached crews adjacent to their historic B-17s whilst on airport tarmac, then-there impressed all into Navy service two C-20Gs (military Gulfstream IVs, "Gulfstream" heron) on way for transporting them to Lemoore . As the Navy team approached them everyone adjacent to the B-17s whipped out their iPhones & Androids video recording the spectacle, Airshow Chief & Airfield Operations Staff watching also doing nothing till the B-17 pilots could contact them. Gaining permission from the Naval Intelligence Officer to contact them “Rick” the most senior pilot got them on line with his Android; “Guys, the Navy needs us now, we’re OK, not in ANY trouble, Navy Officer will speak to you both soon. Airshow must go on, have fun, punching out now, bye!” Nine-thirty A.M. the 13th the Gulfstreams arrived at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport San Diego for transporting the crews to Lemoore, acknowledging they’d been Shanghaied resisting in presence of a Naval Officer flanked by SPs pointless they'd no choice but accept assurances from the Naval Intelligence Officer the US Government will reimburse all expenses associated with ground tending & security of their B-17s. flying them to their respective operating bases by other B-17 qualified crews if could be flown in by day’s end something he couldn’t guarantee.

Taxing up directly in front of the B-17s the Gulfstreams halted in line then powered down, port forward fuselage cabin door lowered a Navy Intelligence Officer from each deplaned making way to their Lieutenant Junior Grade (JG) counterpart “guarding” the crews; “Good job Delphin, you’re dismissed, see you next Tuesday (at San Diego Naval Air Station)!” senior officer said whilst assuming custody of the crews; “I’m Lieutenant Don Hansen Navy Intelligence, this is my team partner Lieutenant Feroze Sadeghi. By order of President Of The United States though the Joint Chiefs Of Staff all of you have been impressed into Navy service, please step on board!” forthwith signaling which jets they'd be flying in. Piling aboard in line pilots & copilots first all were assigned specific seating by an Intelligence Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1), asked to surrender their electronic communications devices (smartphones & cells), pickup & don sound-wired headsets, observe video screens on seatbacks before them, cabin door closed, engines revving up, Lieutenant Hansen seated port forward directly across from his PO1 controlling audiovisual equipment signaled him to commence the prerecorded informational briefing:

“This is a Top Secret briefing gentlemen, my counterpart is giving exact same one to aircrew in (the) other jet. All ‘obtainable’ information regarding your personal histories has been evaluated by the FBI well as Pentagon intelligence, all of you have passed security checks and have been granted security clearances as seen on your monitors, you’ll need to sign them (documents) at Lemoore Naval Air Station that’s where we’re going.”

“By now most if not all of you have heard & read news & social media reports & posts about ‘paranormal activity’ on Mefford Field Airport grounds this morning, we can confirm such activity had occurred and that the AMVETS Boeing B-17G has been ‘restored’ to airworthy condition, YOUR job is to fly her from Mefford Field Airport to Lemoore Naval Air Station later this morning or afternoon.”

“The B-17G has been inspected inside & out for atomic radiation, chemical, bacteriological & virological agents, none have been detected so far, you will be required to wear hazmat gear around and inside her at all times regardless. We cannot say no other biohazards are present, if any of you do not want to risk exposure to potential unknown biohazards you have time to decide before transport to Mefford Field.”

All intelligence as of 9:30 a.m. regarding Preston’s Pride; videos & still postings prior to her “miraculous restoration”, first videos & stills of her by California National Guard, Cal OES personnel, California Highway Patrolmen, Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputies, Tulare City Police Officers, obtainable Internet news & social media postings, for contextual setting was presented followed by trove of intelligence videos, stills, diagrams & written reports by US military intelligence personnel from all service branches & “alphabets”, including up-to-minute new intelligence via secured communications link whilst in transit to Lemoore, including Vega Factory documents pertaining to Preston’s Pride manufacture in 1945 some purportedly authorizing fitting of “government supplied equipment” for combat operations in mint condition period military haversacks hung inside the bomb bay.

At points thoughout the presentation flight crews were invited to comment on the intelligence particularly Preston’s Pride 1945-vintage cockpit & flight engineer station avionics whether they could fly her to Lemoore on them instead of being fitted with modern avionics; “Our intelligence folks want her ‘pristine’ for forensic analysis, you’ll have to fly her just with them; bad weather currently between Mefford (Field) & Lemoore, Navy Meteorologist will be on board (with portable wireless weather & navigation equipment) helping out." Senior Pilot "Rick" confidently replying; “Can do Lieutenant, who’d pass ‘barebacking’ a ‘factory virgin?!” jokingly replying a similar though more explicit conversation amongst aircrew occurring in other jet as well.

Whilst B-17 flight crews were in transit to Lemoore NAS preparations were well underway for towing Preston’s Pride onto Mefford Field Airport tarmac on same route as the F4-C Phantom II. Hooked for tow by Navy “mules” (aircraft tractors) same time as the Phantom, flanked by disposable hazmat jumpsuit & gloved donned Navy aircraft mechanics & intelligence personnel they flanked by Navy & Air Force Intelligence Cinematographers documenting the move all ringed by AR-armed SPs, at precisely 10:30 a.m. Preston’s Pride, rudder, tailplanes, ailerons gust locked for strong sudden winds, slowly was pulled off its much patched-up decades-old asphalt it been (mostly) sitting on since 1958 pausing at edge of Tex Drive for visual alignments & clearances checks. Slowly hauled across Tex Drive tail first, diagonally traversing prepared ground & airport tarmac east side of 1940 Mefford Field RAAI hangar in same light northeasterly winds as where the Heinkel 177 was "parked" north of it, 20 feet short of were 80 degree left turn onto a taxiway at 10:42 a.m. a very strong ground gust mysteriously not showing up on Navy meteorological Doppler Radar scans at The Ranch suddenly swept underneath her tailplanes lifting her rear fuselage foot up then down space of three seconds gust locks fortuitously keeping them in place, towbar attached to the tailwheel mounting most fortuitously still in place the Hostler (Tow Party Chief) signaled HALT! to the “muler” till the gust subsided. Holding station for some minutes the entire standing towing entourage struggled to keep their footing fortunately in dry air, the gust subsided, tailwheel & mounting checked for damage (none found), at 10:51 a.m. the Hostler signaled “GO” for resuming the tow.

Intently observing with binoculars The Ranch’s Naval Commander flanked by army of specialist & support personnel from near all US Armed Forces branches, number of recently flown in Pentagon VIPs as well, listened to radio chatter speaker broadcasts from tow crews & watchers checking tarmac conditions & landing gear wheel clearances, halting 25 feet out from the Medford Field Airport tarmac west side of Leonard Noel Drive at 11:01 a.m. another very strong ground gust mysteriously not showing up on Navy meteorological Doppler Radar scans also swept underneath Preston’s Pride causing her to bounce up & down on landing gear for several seconds, entire standing entourage dropping on knees observing “army” also, the gust subsided seconds later the Hostler signaled “GO” for continuing the tow without checking the landing gear fearing as later documented in an Aircraft Towing Incident Report another strong wind gust again lifting her up mere feet short where other airfield crewmen could help out with keeping her landing gear down. Forthwith towed over same 200 x 200 foot marked-off square parking zone the Heinkel 177 would be over hours later Preston’s Pride's Tow Hostler signaled HALT! precisely over its center wings parallel to the airport runway at 11:07 a.m., chocks thrown in place by Navy, Marine & Coast Guard airfield personnel she immediately was swarmed by other airfield crews tossing fabric insulated steel tie-down bands over her fuselage & wings, attaching them to tarmac tie-downs holding her down till wind conditions improved.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 06:07:03 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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Preston's Pride Swarmed Over...Meantime On Way To Lemoore NAS
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2022, 08:05:48 AM »
Mid-morning November 13, 2022 weather conditions were still bad at Mefford Field Airport, tight low pressure “Polar Express” front with strong cold windy rains perpendicularly skirting Northern & Central California since 2:00 a.m. California Time bands of intense windy rains “parked” between Coalinga, Huron, Lemoore, Armona, Hanford, Dinuba in Fresno, Kings & Tulare Counties not expecting to dissipate till noon. Despite bad weather airfield ground crews there had removed all fabric insulated steel tie-down bands over Preston’s Pride fuselage & wings well as all gust locks, army of disposable hazmat jumpsuit & gloved-donned aircraft systems specialists, number skilled in maintaining obsolete radial engine-powered pre-WWII technology US military aircraft also, from near every service branch descending under, over, inside her meticulously inspecting, video & still image recording every last square inch of her that could be under close supervision of aviation technology intelligence specialists. Completing the inspections shortly before 1:00 p.m. aircraft ground crews beforehand briefed on prepping Preston’s Pride for flight stood ready to work if need be under supervision of civilian B-17 air & ground crews (“crews” heron) once they’d been helicoptered in from Lemoore.

Cruising “high & dry” in loose formation over Southern then Central California the Gulfstreams filled with US Government “impressed” civilian B-17 air & ground crews raced towards Lemoore NAS hoping to land by 10:30 a.m. after a particularly intense band of windy rains “parked” over the airbase had dissipated, inflight Top Secret briefing of Preston’s Pride continuing meantime. At number points during it serious questions arose whether Preston’s Pride supposed factory mint Wright R-1820-97 turbocharged radials even worked Navy Intelligence Office giving the briefing cloyingly replying; “They’ve not been ‘run up’ yet, top ‘round engine folks’ (radial engine technology & maintenance specialists) there right now (at Mefford Field Airport) checking them out; you’ve got ‘last word’ flying her to Lemoore remember”, questions as well whether landing gear hydraulic systems work; “You’re flying her gear down to Lemoore with ‘emp-helo’ (emergency personnel-crewed helicopter) escort, locations have been identified to land her in case of an emergency.”

Lowering to “weather altitude” (18,000-foot Mean Seal Level Class E Federal Aviation Administration airspace) over Lost Hills west of Interstate 5 on California State Route 46 around 10:15 a.m. the Gulfstreams approached Lemoore NAS perpendicular to strong bands of windy rains sweeping between Strafford & Guernsey to the southeast where within the hour a civilian-contracted S-64E Skycrane ("Skycrane" hereon) airlifting the Mefford Field MacDonnell F4-C Phantom II to Lemoore encountered similar weather, sweeping west avoiding it a stable air gap opened up between it and a parallel band over Five Points, Lanare, Riverdale, Laton (latter at Fresno-Kings County Line northeast of where author’s father was born) allowing the jets to dogleg in from west then southeast to land on Runway 14-Left, the maneuver performed by both without incident the lead jet touching down at 10:27 a.m. its trailer two minutes later.

...To Be Continued...
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 10:11:37 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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While Inside Site 29-B Building 1 Con-3...
« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2022, 05:59:32 AM »
Taxing inline southeasterly in heavy rain & wind the Gulfstreams straightaway beelined it to the Site 29-B Security Gate, arriving couple minutes later two Navy LSSVs drivers behind wheels guarded outside by very wet parka-donned, AR-armed SPs the starboard Gulfstream cabin doors opened, parka-donned Navy Intelligence Lieutenant JGs deplaning first, parka-donned B-17 crews following in line, JGs directing them to board their assigned LSSVs. Crews & JGs now onboard, wet parka-donned SPs dismissed, the LSSVs were waved thru the Site 29-B Security Gate veering right toward six recently assembled very large windowless prefabricated buildings officially designated Site 29-B Buildings 1 to 6 setback 50 feet from & in line with northeast perimeter fence, single central large double-door entrance-exit in front guarded by a very wet parka-donned SP. Driving direct to Site 29-B's Command & Control Center Building 1 diagonal to Hangar C the crews led by their JGs filed in to the right entrance halting at the “entry tank” (security holding area) where each was asked to remove their sopping wet parkas, show their Military IDs issued whilst in transit to Lemoore on the Gulfstreams, biometrically scanned from all sides, “wanded” & patted down by SPs & Intelligence NCOs, afterwards told to follow their JGs, don't look around whilst being escorted to Conference Room 3 (“Con-3”) where they’d be further briefed.

Everyone now inside Con-3 the entrance door was locked from outside by an Intelligence NCO standing guard next to it, crews forthwith assigned seating in two rows fronting line of Cosco tables neatly laid out with documents on both sides by the JGs they afterwards sitting perpendicularly right of them. For several minutes nobody spoke, suddenly entering from a left open door everyone spontaneously standing up at attention, JGs saluting, the NAS Commander saying nothing made way center in front of the tables:

"Sorry for being late gentlemen, I am Captain John Dudley Masterson, Commander Naval Air Station Lemoore, the US Navy, the Armed Forces Of The United States, are pleased you are here. Your mission is to fly Preston’s Pride from Mefford Field Airport to here arriving hopefully no later than 4:00 p.m. today. I am the top-most ‘brass hat’ you will be working for, everything, anything needed to accomplish this mission you will be given total cooperation by all personnel at Mefford, Naval Intelligence Commander Rodger Ericson from The Pentagon will now brief you on your Security Clearances.”

he forthwith taking over the presentation whilst Captain Masterson was departing. Speaking earnestly Commander Ericson said issuing such clearances would normally be handled by a lower ranking officer but the civilian B-17 crews were an unusual exception:

“None of you are reserve military some here never having served at all. By law we must explain to all military personnel all potential risks of being subjected to known biohazards while conducting their lawful duties, we cannot say no other biohazards are present aboard Preston’s Pride all personnel working around and inside her have been apprised of potential exposure to unknown biohazards, all agreeing to sign Biohazard Risk Advisories ("biowaivers" hereon) acknowledging this. If any of you do not want to risk exposure to potential unknown biohazards you must decide now, you still be required to read & sign your clearances given you know all that’s needed to be known about Preston’s Pride and the fly-out mission, not doing so will put you in risk of being subjected to UCMJ (Uniform Code Of Military Justice) prosecution given all of you by Presidential Order have been impressed into military service.”

Quietly appreciating the gravity of being subjected to potential unknown biohazards the B-17 crews individually weighed them against the need for flying out Preston’s Pride not knowing why she and by extension the Phantom & Heinkel 177 were so damn important to the US Government, after some “pregnant” seconds “Rick” the most senior B-17 pilot asked Navy Intelligence Commander Ericson why Preston’s Pride was:

“We don’t know why, that’s not being flippant! We don’t if she’s even Preston’s Pride! You’d seen all intelligence we have on her, she’s ‘factory fresh’ (condition) logically impossible knowing she was already 13 years old when AMVETS got her in 1958! Either she was brought here (to Earth) whole ‘replacing’ The Real McCoy whole or she’d been ‘miraculously restored’ from inside out either way she’s airworthy and the US Government must understand why and how which is why she’d been officially deemed a ‘National Security Threat’ till we can.”

“This is the one case (situation) where you must ‘trust’ us, yes the US Government, to ‘do the right thing’ trying to figure out the why & how, that’s why this compound (Site 29-B) was set up, corny as this is ‘Uncle Sam Needs You Now’ that’s the unvarnished truth guys!”

Mulling the dead seriousness of Commander Ericson’s reply statement the crews again paused some seconds before saying anything, breaking the ice "Dannie" the junior B-17 pilot spoke first; “Why bring two B-17 crews here?” Commander Ericson replying nonchalantly:

“We weren’t sure how may (of you) would not sign the biowaivers if enough did we probably could assemble one crew, if both pilots didn’t we’d have to fly her out with a military crew risking crashing her in really bad weather like we’re having now. Flying her out with you guys safer but not cheaper, ‘safe’ always wins if they’re good alternatives (prepping & flying her with experienced ground & air crews)!”

Why not wait till weather cleared asked one of the ground crewmen; Commander Ericson again earnestly replying;

“Keeping her at Mefford (Field Airport) second longer than necessary not knowing all potential dangers puts everybody at risk, military and civilian, we must fly her here ASAP to know whether there are any!”

The crews once again pausing some seconds before saying anything “Rick”, a retired Air Force Major, then spoke up; “I’m in Commander, ‘military’ in me says sign, besides ya’ll out-rank me!” everyone in room spontaneously breaking out in laughter; “Knew you would Major!” Commander Ericson smiling back, “ice broken” the B-17 crews forthwith were escorted both sides of table by the JGs, invited to inspect & sign their respective security clearances & biowaivers witnessed & countersigned by the JGs they collecting them for deposit in Building 1's “Records Unit”. With all documents signed the senior JG announced that their assigned mission transporting them from San Diego to Lemoore NAS, enroute Preston’s Pride briefing, overseeing security clearance & biowaiver signings & collection was complete Commander Ericson forthwith granting them permission to depart.

Now alone with aircrews Commander Ericson thanked them for signing the documents, enduring indignities having been impressed into military service without notice nor explanations why; “SPs momentarily will be escorting all of you to the compound’s (Site 29-B’s) Sick Bay for medical examinations before being airlifted to Mefford (Field Airport); stopped raining since we’ve been here, sun’s breaking out, looking good all’ sudden, hope flying her (Preston’s Pride to Lemoore NAS) later today is possible!” forthwith signaling four SPs who’d entered from left to escort them there whilst departing Con-3 walking past them, senior Petty Officer 1st Class SP motioning to the crewmen to follow him; “This way gentlemen, we ask you to not look around while being escorted out of the building.” emphasizing again they're inside a Top Secret government facility, senior SP “navigating the labyrinth” crewmembers & other SPs following into the “exit tank” (security holding area), showing their Military IDs, biometrically scanned from all sides, “wanded” & patted down by SPs & Intelligence NCOs, in line walking outside onto Site 29-B’s "Playground" (concrete expanse dubbed by SPs) into wonderfully clear crisp sunny skies, cold front having quickly moved east meantime.

...To Be Continued...
« Last Edit: Today at 10:38:50 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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Piling into LSSVs the B-17 crews forthwith were driven to Site 29-B Building 3. Sick Bay Building 3 was unique in sporting extra-wide front doors designed for quickly admitting gurney patients directly into the Emergency Treatment Center left side of building, right side entrance for non-emergency patients, escorted by SPs in two groups all entered on right into the “inbound entry tank” (security holding area, “outbound tank” adjoining left), IDs checked, “wanded” & patted down, escorted into the “VIP” Dressing Room where there two Naval Corpsmen “took vitals” for recording on electronic medical databases opened for the crews. Asked by Corpsmen to remove all clothing & personnel effects, store on hangars & shelves in securable lockers, don medical gowns & slippers, forthwith doing so they then were escorted single-file into an adjacent Examination Room. Adjacent to line of examination booths stood two Marine Corpsmen side-by-side to Coast Guard Public Health Service Medical Doctor Lieutenant Bre LaTour, a highly credentialed practitioner of radiological & bioweapons contamination medicine she spoke first:

“You are here to be physically examined prior to exposure to potential biohazards for control purposes. Corpsmen will now perform them under my supervision, some exanimations will be uncomfortable but necessary, they are exhaustive so let’s proceed now!”

Proceeding systematically albeit slowly by 1:00 p.m. November 13, 2022 all were complete, with Corpsmen assistance each crewman was asked to review their inspection reports & sign them, escorted back into the VIP Dressing Room all then issued standard Navy fatigues to wear; “Don’t y’all have Marine fatigues for this ‘ol Sergeant?” quipped a ground crewman, checking the Site 29-B Wardrobe Inventory on his military smartphone the Marine Corpsman smiled; “Yes we have one your size, no Sergeant stripes though.” he’d replied; “That’ll do Corpsman, maybe I’ll be allowed to keep it as a souvenir later!” he’d smiled, all fatigues donned disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves were then slipped over them by the Corpsmen they looking for rips & tears, added security knowing the crews were being exposed to potential biohazards around & within Preston’s Pride.

Whilst hazmat jumpsuits were being slipped on the B-17 crews an Army CH-47 Chinook ("Chinook" hereon) personnel carrier landed yards from Building 3 for transporting the crewmen to The Ranch, escorted out of the VIP Dressing Room by SPs the crewmen forthwith were waved through the “outbound tank”, security checkpoint & Building B right entrance onto The Playground directing them to the Chinook's Rear Cargo Doorway where standing inside were two Army MP Sergeants additionally trained in helicopter loadmastering directing them to perimeter fuselage seating, two Marine Corpsmen with medical equipment next to them commanded by an Air Force Flight Surgeon Major sitting aft port. Despite perfect weather over Lemoore NAS poor weather conditions north of Mefford Field Airport persisted, helicoptering the Chinook to The Ranch delayed 20 minutes, weather conditions still not improving another 15 minute delay was called finally at 1:35 p.m. Navy meteorologists stationed at Lemoore NAS & The Ranch concurring the “GO” signal was given for helicoptering in the B-17 crews.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: Today at 10:39:20 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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Preston's Pride Readied For Flight
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2022, 11:54:38 AM »
Rear Cargo Doorway closed & secured, SPs moved off, the Army Chinook lifted off the Site 29-B Playground at 1:37 p.m. November 13, 2022 forthwith swinging right tailed by a Navy Seahawk taking off from The Playground seconds later carrying emergency rescue personnel & equipment in event the Chinook had to emergency land or crashed the formation heading southeast towards Stafford at 1,500 feet turning east 2 miles south & paralleling 18th & Niles Avenues, over north Corcoran, paralleling Avenue 176 then turning northeast at Pratt Street underneath a strong rain cell over California State Route 99 extending northeasterly over the Mefford Field Airport Runway 31 compass marker, lowering to 500 feet in hard rain she'd swooped down along line of airport buildings halting forward motion hovering & rotating right 90 degrees safely landing on airport tarmac adjacent to the central taxiway near center of the airport runway at 1:55 p.m. her Main Cargo Door directly facing Preston’s Pride.

Weather conditions now rapidly improving personnel activity on The Ranch quickened in readying Preston’s Pride for flight. Standing parallel to the Chinook’s Main Cargo Door stood line of Navy Intelligence Officers, Aircraft Maintenance, Ground Crew & Fire Control Chiefs flanking The Ranch’s Naval Commander all donning disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves ready to greet the B-17 crews, door dropped they’d got their first look at her; “She’s gorgeous!” declared senior B-17 pilot “Rick”; “Absolutely gorgeous!”, deboarding first followed by junior pilot “Dannie” they briskly approached & stood opposite of the Commander;

“Richard (‘Rick’) Warston, Daniel (‘Dannie’) Wicker, I’m Mefford Field Site Operations (Navy) Commander John Fredericks, glad to meet you both! Your ground crews are needed to check (out) Preston’s Pride’s (radial) engines now, our “round engine guys” got the cowlings off just minutes ago, couldn’t do that till rain passed.”

Rick & Dannie signaling to their crews together they’d walked with Commander Fredericks & entourage up to Preston’s Pride’s nose;

“Every square inch of her outside and in has been inspected for biohazards of every known kind, all her mechanical operating systems have been inspected, fuel & oil lines, electric cables, leads junction boxes, connection points, everything my ‘mechanics’ (aircraft systems specialists & ground crewmen) could get at. The Homelite APU (two-cycle Auxiliary Power Generator inside & adjacent to aft fuselage crew entry door) has been power tested “dry” (not electric circuit connected), thing’s absolutely factory-mint even had gas in the tank, our (Navy) chemists analyzed it (at onsite fully equipped “chemlab” trailer helicoptered in overnight), genuine WWII gas & oils. We’d not done “wet” (circuited) tests yet, need your ground crewmen to do them well as check onboard batteries before powering up her electrical systems.”

Splitting up into two teams the B-17 ground crewmen with Airforce & Navy Aircraft Maintenance & Ground Crew Chiefs forthwith beelined over to elevated platforms erected to inspect each of the four Wright R-1820-97 turbocharged radials commencing with portside Engine No.2. Up on the platform with Air Force radial engine specialists Rick’s Chief Ground Crewman Loren Rikes lovingly eyed the Cyclone; “I’d worked on dozens of modern factory-new & rebuilt Cyclone’s (Wright Aeronautical’s engine series brand name), never ever seen anything like this; look at those leads (electrical wiring & fluid tubing), absolute 'cherry', thing’s gonna fire & go like a Cyclone!” his ground crew comrades making similar glowing comments whilst eyeing Engines Nos. 1, 3, 4.

Working systematically the engine inspections proceeded quickly, Air Force engine crews methodically checking-off engine components & systems under supervision of the B-17 ground crewmen, all A-OK, nothing out of ordinary found, Air Force & B-17 Engine Crew Chief then signed-off on the check lists. Whilst engine inspections were ongoing a second group of B-17 air & ground crewmen, pilots & co-pilots, entered Preston’s Pride through its reopened bomb bay (doors closed whilst in transit from its decade’s long perch on teardrop-shaped land spit adjacent to Tex Drive to Mefford Field Airport tarmac) Senior Pilot Richard Warston leading he straight to the cockpit; “It’s unbelievable, totally unbelievable, look at those (cockpit) instruments Warren (his Copilot Warren Nutley), absolute mint ‘1945’ right down to the switch knobs, gawd what a sight!” whilst peering into the cockpit; “Get up here, take a good look Warren!” Moving aside for him to look he’d gasped; “Oh God, what are we in for? This is ‘Twilight Zone’ stuff, everything damn better work (within Preston’s Pride), ain’t no mood being pranked this way!”

Whilst Rick & Warren ogled over Preston’s Pride cockpit their airmen lined up to enter her via the bomb bay, led by Rick’s Flight Engineer George Carter Davies they’d climbed onto the aft fuselage floor walkway carefully avoiding the “Ma Deuce” hanging over it adjacent to the Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner & Radio Gunner’s Stations, peering inside he’d whistled; “Man-O-Man what a ‘museum’, damn vacuum tubes in these things (electronic instruments) better work or I’ll not fly her!” whilst Air Force aircraft systems & maintenance specialists standing underneath the bomb bay yelling not to touch or operate any controls; “They’ve been checked out but nothing’s been energized, don’t touch the machine guns either, they’re ‘live’ though tied down!” one entreated; “OK ‘Sam’, we’ll wait till she’s “ghost-busted (electrical systems energized) first” half-jokingly replying

Poking head in from starboard aft crew entry door an Air Force aircraft electrical systems specialist yelled at George for him to hurry down fuselage next to the Homelite APU; “We need to get her 'wet' (hooked up for electric power) sir!” Making way down to the specialist George marveled at pristine condition of the ball turret & associated equipment, Browning "Ma Deuces" with live 50 caliber ammo & K-14 electric gunsights, coming up to the specialist he’d asked whether the APU’s generator been “metered” (volt & amperage tested); “They have been sir, volts & amps check out with historical info on them", smiling approvingly George yelled to his Flight Engineer compadre Edward (“Ed”) Rollins for all forward to check ALL power & instrument switches were OFF before hooking up the APU power cables, some seconds passing Ed then hooked them up, asked everyone up forward to forthwith vacate the airplane whilst asking Navy Airfield Firemen armed with CO2 cans (extinguishers) to “take station” forward inside the bomb bay, listen & smell for burning wires & electric-powered equipment.

The Homelite APU was started by an electric solenoid switch from internal aircraft batteries or generator power from the No.2 engine, it also could be externally actuated, connected to a portable gas-powered generator George directed an Air Force ground crewman to fire it up, monitoring volt & amps George was satisfied yelling; “Clear Airplane!” forthwith flipping on APU’s external power solenoid switch it forthwith powering up. APU-generated electric power now running though Preston’s Pride George then yelled; “She’s ‘alive’!” to those standing back from Preston’s Pride fuselage, running near full minute no burning wires or electric-powered equipment George switched off the solenoid.

Her electrical systems working perfectly Preston’s Pride’s four Wright Aeronautical’s R-1820-97’s now could be fired up after avgas (aviation gasoline) was pump in her wing fuel tanks. Preston’s Pride “miraculously restored” lacked avgas in fuel tanks or lubricating oils for the engines, US WWII Motor Octane Number (MON) avgas no longer available Navy chemists had researched equivalent grades compatible with the 1945-era Cyclones, conferring with B-17 air & ground crews in the “chemlab” trailer following the engine & electrical systems inspections a suitable equivalent MON gasoline grade was selected among number of containerized fuels flown in from Lemoore NAS well as suitable oil lubricants. Knowing she was flying less than 30 minutes with just enough fuel to do so the B-17 ground crews quickly identified which fuel tanks to fill, Air Force ground crews forthwith carting fuel containers in front of her mainwings, “fuelers” filling the tanks whilst other ground crewmen filled the Cyclone’s oil tanks.

Since mid-morning Navy & Air Force aircraft ground crews, fire, personnel rescue & medical teams in conjunction with Army counterparts in Chinooks & UH-60 Blackhawks had been rehearsing emergency rescue & fire suppression scenarios in event she’d crash whilst on the airport’s runway well as up to two miles from it, based on them Navy & Air Force emergency vehicles & personnel were to be located midway of the airport runway able to quickly converge on the crashed airplane, Army helicopters two miles out from the runway ready to fly in wherever she’d crash if not become part of her air escort to Lemoore. In conjunction with any emergency operation well as keeping “prying eyes” away the FAA closed all airspace within an 8-mile corridor between Mefford Field Airport and Lemoore NAS up to 18,000 feet effective 3:00 p.m. “until further notice”.

By 3:00 p.m. Preston’s Pride was ready for engine power tests, with clear skies getting her quickly airborne wasn’t pressing, getting her off Mefford Field Airport was the Heinkel 177 had to be on airport tarmac before sundown. Prior to testing the Army Chinook helicoptering in the B-17 crews parked in front of her was relocated north of the Valley Air Crafts building where the Phantom was helicoptered out hours earlier, taxiway tarmac to landing strip now open for flying her out. Selecting which of two complete B-17 aircrews to fly her wasn’t a contingency, Navy assumed a composite crew be formed had too many crewmen refused to sign their biowaivers, stuck with two aircrews to choose from Commander Fredericks resolved the conundrum by lining them up across from each other, pulling out his “lucky charm” 1962 Eisenhower quarter given to him by his late dad, pointing to Junior Pilot Dannie Wicker to call when tossed; “Heads!” he’d exclaimed, landing Tails he’d grimaced; “I’ll host y’all (both B-17 crews) at STK Steakhouse in ‘Diego (San Diego) IF she (Preston’s Pride) makes it to Lemoore!” Commander Fredericks laughingly said.

Rick’s B-17 aircrew now selected to fly Preston’s Pride Commander Fredericks motioned to the Air Force Captain standing next to him in charge of all her airframe & operating systems inspections to sign documents deeming her airworthy Commander Fredericks forthwith countersigning them, she’d declared airworthy engine power tests could now commence. Because everything associated with The Mefford Trio was classified so were wireless telecommunications second US Navy personnel step foot on Mefford Field Airport grounds in this regard all Preston’s Pride aircrew were issued portable battery-powered secure channel radio communications gear. Whilst her electrical systems were being power tested Rick & aircrew standing on airport tarmac were presented the gear by Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3) Naval Signals Support Systems Specialists for inspection, fitting, operation training & audio testing; “Cute little buggers they’d be!” joked Forward Observer Garth Mastroni stationed at her Navigator’s Station whilst donning his, all gear test fisted they were removed, handed back to the PO3s they later handing them though bomb bay for aircrew to don after boarding the ship.

Wearing flexible lightweight hazmat gloves suitable for operating flight controls Rick climbed in first though the bomb bay standing next to cockpit door a PO3 handing him his communication gear he forthwith donning & sound testing it, handed a sterilized seat cushion to sit on placing it over his left cockpit ”office seat”, sitting down, strapping on 1945 mint condition seat belts Warren forthwith following suit on the right cockpit "office seat" Garth wearing flexible lightweight hazmat gloves as well climbing into her nose crew compartment up to the Navigator’s Station. Meanwhile aft of bomb bay George on the tarmac clutching briefcase full of Flight Engineer’s Checklists & Operating Manuals translated & modern-formatted from Vega Factory documents pertaining to her 1945 manufacture in haversacks hung inside her bomb bay along with a Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Meteorologist toting a laptop computer accessing military satellite weather information via secure telecommunication link next to him both donning flexible lightweight hazmat gloves well as “wired for sound” were assisted by other PO3s climbing up & onto the aft fuselage walkway each respectively entering their "roomy" starboard Top Turret Gunner/Flight Engineer's & Radio Gunner’s Stations, Depositing his gear the Navy meteorologist quickly returned to the bomb bay retrieving two sterilized seat cushions from a PO3 handing one to George they forthwith laying cushions down on seats, sitting down & strapping in.

Whilst other crewmen were boarding Preston’s Pride Rick & Warren now strapped in were passed Preflight & Emergency Procedures Checklists on flip-cards also translated & modern-formatted from Vega Factory documents pertaining to her 1945 manufacture were passed through port & starboard cockpit transom windows by laddered ground crew; all aircrew seated & strapped-in Rick “got on the com” (aircraft communications channel “comlink”), roll-called aircrew each responding with respective aircraft stations whilst Rick & Warren signaled ground crews to pull back all engine inspection platforms & ladders Rick seconds later signaling Warren to fire-up the Homelite APU on internal battery power. Gauges & lights flickering to life all aircrew took in the moment; “Gawd, what a sight in here!” George exclaimed whilst watching those on the Flight Engineer’s Consoles, back on comlink Rick ordered aircrews to commence preflight checks on APU power before Engine No.2 was fired up.

With time running short getting Preston’s Pride airborne by 4:00 p.m. last minute decision was made by Richard & Warren to streamline engine testing, instead of individual engine starts, runups & shutdowns whilst checking for fuel & oil leaks all four Cyclones cowlings removed would be started in normal order starting with Engine No.2 portside with first of two engine-powered electric generators (No.3 starboard the other), Air Force ‘round engine folks’ (radial engine technology & maintenance specialists) simultaneously checking all for leaks. Aircraft electric power circuits activated, no shorts or burning, nothing unusual observed by ground crews stationed around her, two Navy & Air Force Airfield Fighting Crews fireproof suited & gloved with tank trollies of fire retardants holding broadcast cones “ready for action” forward of port & starboard engine, fuel & oil pumps were energized normally pressurizing engines, magnetos checked, fuel mixtures set etc., hydraulic Hamilton Standard 23E50 three-blade propellers checked for full spectrum pitch turning movement on each engine reset for engine idling, Preston’s Pride at last was ready for engine startups.

History making moment imminent everyone on Mefford Field Airport grounds who could, including number of Pentagon VIPs, assembled yards behind Preston’s Pride for watching the engine runups subsequent low power runway rolls, braking tests & takeoff now scheduled for 4:20 p.m., all magnetos one both pilots shouted “CLEAR AIRPLANE!” outside port & starboard cockpit transom windows Rick forthwith signaling Warren to “Toggle 2”. The engine starter groaning prop didn’t move at all; “Hit her again!” Rick ordered whilst working fuel mixture & power levers, groaning some more the prop suddenly jerked then slowly began rotating clockwise (counter-clockwise from front) picking up speed then coughing white smoke out of the turbocharger exhaust, working the fuel mixture settings some more Rick ordered Warren to “hit her again” this time rotating briskly, firing right up like a crying newborn baby full of life & vigor, assembled airfield crowds wildly cheering her on clapping & whooping it up, including Pentagon VIPs whilst gaining power.

With engine-generated electric power cursing though Preston’s Pride electrical wiring & circuits the APU was switched off, gauges & lights working she was entirely under her own power for first time since August 5 , 1958, conducting two power-up runs Air Force “round engine guys” looked for fuel & oil leaks, none found outer Engine No.1 was toggled-on struggling then screaming like No.2 whilst fire-up, same scenario Engines No.3 & 4 no leaks from them either. After ten minutes all engines were running, following series of power & down test conducted Rick signaled ground crews she was being powered down for crews to affix the cowlings; “She’s ‘ready for combat’ Commander!” Rick excitedly exclaimed to Commander Fredericks over the airfield operations commlink; “Fantastic Rick, get her airborne ASAP, time’s short, y’all will miss the STK Steakhouse ‘free lunch’!” chuckling back.

Powering down then shutting off all engines the Air Force “round engine guys” repositioned the elevated engine inspection platforms & ladders, affixed cowlings whilst Navy & Air Force emergency vehicles & personnel took their respective positions midway of airport runway meantime, all cowls on & secured, platforms pulled away, Airfield Fighting Crews with tank trollies of fire retardants & broadcast cones again “ready for action”, Rick signaled Warren to fire-up Engine No.2, warm as baby's bottom she’d fired-up forthwith & turned all the others likewise over course of 5 minutes. Preston’s Pride assigned Call Code “Item 2” (1 & 3 were the Phantom & Heinkel 177) Rick contacted Medford Field Airport Field Operations Center code named “Dictum” in a nearby Navy trailer with an elevated observation station; “Item 2 Dictum, engine tests complete, permission to commence (field) tests” Airfield Controller forthwith replying; “Dictum Item 2, permission granted, wind 7 m.p.h. southwest, 29.95 Baro (inches Barometric)” Preston’s Pride’s altitude, airspeed & barometric pressure gauges 1945-vintage US measurements instead of SI, Rick & Warren forthwith signaling ground crews to pull chocks to commence ground roll onto the central airfield taxiway. Hamilton Standard props set for taxing, main landing gear wheel brakes still on, Rich ran up engines again third-power testing their strength they OK he’d signaled “ready to roll” to the Air Force Captain in charge of all airframe & operating systems inspections he saluting back.

Performing vigorous aileron, tailplane & rudder movement tests, main wing flaps lowered & raised four full cycles, bomb bay doors closed, Rick was now fully satisfied Preston’s Pride indeed could roll under her own power, applying one-quarter power on all engines whilst releasing main landing gear brakes her brakes squeaked they fully disengaging some seconds later. Now moving under her own power first time since 1958 over the airport central taxiway Rick executed a 90 degree wheel brake & rudder left turn onto taxiway parallel to landing strip powering up some more whilst conducting brake tests, rolling along encountering no issues traversing the taxiway she’d made her way up to the Runway Compass Marker 13 “Turntable” (square-shaped aircraft turnaround tarmac) adjacent to it where there she’d executed a full 360 degree “station” (fixed location) turn with brakes & engines testing how well they’d handled working together, moving over and turning 90 degrees right onto the runway Rick halted over six runway end markers to commence runway partial power runups & brake tests.

Mefford Field Airport’s runway is 3,901 feet in length well within the 1,700 foot absolute minimum distance for a minimally-loaded B-17G to take off, concerned about its overall condition for flying Preston’s Pride off it Navy & Air Force engineers conducted extensive inspections of it well as taxiways & “turntables”, all checking out they were cleared for operational use. Persuasively convincing Commander Fredericks just one down & back runway test run circuit was necessary before flying her off instead of the planned three Rick & Donnie believed she’d been restored to fly after completing just one circuit; “If God were an airplane He’d be off on first (runway) run, Preston’s Pride ain’t God but damn close after three (one round trip test & take off runs)!” Rick had told him earlier in the day. After adjusting Hamilton Standard prop pitch settings for takeoff, final aileron, tailplane & rudder movement tests, mainwing flaps raised Rick signaled Dictum: “Item 2 Rolling 1”, brakes on all engines revved up half-power they were released she rolling several hundred yards wings & tailplanes flexing normally, power reduced continuing on to the Runway 31 Compass Marker Turntable.

Slowing down to 15 m.p.h. 800 feet from runway’s end Rick executed another 90 degree wheel brake & rudder to the right onto the Turntable forthwith executing another full 360 degree station turn returning back & halting over six runway end markers. The aircrew after conducing more aircraft systems checks signaled Rick to commence the second runway partial power test; “Dictum Item 2 Rolling 2” he’d signaled, brakes on, engine revved to three-fourths power they were released she again rolling several hundred yards wings & tailplanes again flexing normally, power reduced continuing on to the Runway 13 Turntable Rick executed another 360 degree turn; “Dictum Item 2 Tests Completed Awaiting Instructions.” Parked on station, engines running, Rick was anxious to get Preston’s Pride airborne, knowing from Commander Fredericks "everything had to be in place (at Site 29-B)” before she could be flown over a hold was called, no problem given 90 minutes flight time worth of avgas in her tanks but still disconcerting to the aircrew; “Dictum Item 2 Hold” Rick forthwith & half sarcastically responding; “Roger That!”

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: Today at 01:41:57 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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Since early morning California Time November 13, 2022 waves of “alphabet” operations personnel & cargos, agency regional VIPs have been helicoptered and flown into The Ranch, Washington DC VIPs hadn’t appeared yet but one military jet full of US National Air & Air Force Museum (NASM) curators knowledgeable of Heinkel 177 airframe technology was winging its way Lemoore NAS to evaluate whether she could be safely moved onto Mefford Field Airport tarmac. Immediately after The President Of The United States signed the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order teams of Navy SPs, Army & Air Force Police were dispatched to “arrest” the curators, seize all personal possessions on them, bring all directly to The Pentagon. Quickgly security cleared & briefed by Pentagon intelligence personnel their “...24 hour Top Secret Mission solely to evaluate & determine whether a specific aircraft could be safely transported over a relatively short distance within Mefford Field Airport grounds” all information regarding it to be presented onsite there. Helicoptered directly from The Pentagon to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, highly unusual for civilians, the curators forthwith were whisked aboard a Navy Gulfstream headed for Lemoore NAS and Site 29-B.

Arriving by 1:45 p.m. California Time the curators were escorted over The Playground into Site 29-B Sick Bay Building 3 by AR-armed SPs there undergoing physicals exams prior to exposure to potential biohazards for control purposes though less rigorous than those “endured” by the Preston’s Pride B-17 crews less than two hours earlier.  Issued & donning Navy fatigues, Navy Corpsmen slipping disposable hazmat jumpsuits over them, the curators then were escorted out of Sick Bay onto The Playground by AR-armed SPs to an awaiting Navy Seahawk a stern-looking Navy Intelligence Lieutenant & two pistol-armed SPs inside, all aboard & seated, helicopter cabin doors closed & locked the Lieutenant then spoke; “Please be reminded this is a Top Secret mission, after arriving you will hear noises coming from Mefford Field Airport proper, activity there is also Top Secret, please do not ask anybody about it!” he’d warned whilst engines were revving up.

Lifting off at 2:55 pm the Seahawk flew directly to the “Navy Tent” set up for storing bomb dolly fabrication material adjacent to the Heinkel, landing 15 minutes later over portable helicopter landing matting adjacent to tent the engines powered down, curators alighted & escorted by SP next to it. Earlier that morning all paraphernalia associated with criminal forensic investigations of the deceased Heinkel airmen, SC2500 “MAX” bombs & fuzes, “bomb bunkers”, original “Navy Tent”, adjacent  portable helicopter landing mats & field equipment set up after 2:00 a.m., was painstakingly removed well as canvas shielding aft of the Heinkel preparation for moving it to the Mefford Field Airport tarmac, canvas shielding fronting Text Drive shielding her from view & portable guard shacks remaining in place. Gazing upon the Heinkel perpendicularly parked yards away all the curators gasped in disbelief one exclaiming; “’Jurassic Park’ just for us!” nobody on Earth having seen a complete one since the late 1940s, popping out of the tent another stern-looking disposable hazmat jumpsuit & gloved donned Naval Intelligence Lieutenant leered at the entourage;

“Y’all here to inspect the airplane, determine if can be hauled over to Mefford Field (Airport) in one piece today, come inside!”

he’d said in Texan Twang. Inside two disposable hazmat jumpsuit & gloved donned Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1s) Intelligence Specialists stood adjacent to three Cosco tables with chairs in u-formation with large “all in one” battery-powered computer monitors, keyboards & mice topside each with secured communications link to The Ranch’s communications center via directional microwave link, speaking deliberately the Lieutenant gave brief introductions to who he & PO1s were, emphasized time was of essence the getting the Heinkel on Mefford Field Airport tarmac ASAP curators job was to examine intelligence information presented about her, jointly determine whether she could be safely moved intact there despite being less than 800 feet from it;

 “This isn’t a normal towing job, she’s an Arado Flugzeugwerke-built long-fuselage Heinkel 177 A-5, has extensive shrapnel damage on critical weight-bearing airframe sections around wing root joints, landing gear units & starboard engine, our (Navy) airframe people believe it can be safely moved intact y’all need to review their inspection results now.”

Working diligently the curators systematically examined video & photo stills of the Heinkel's airframe, diagrams, data tables, other pertinent information facilitating their evaluations. Two locations underneath wing root adjacent to burned out starboard engine had extensive shrapnel damage, torn wing & fuselage skinning exposing extensively damaged airframe sections, curators focusing on them particularly; “We knew they’d be problematic, y’all know period German metals, fabrication technology, airframe design is your ‘bivouac’, tell us if they’re strong enough for (making) the move!” Wanting to inspect the damage close-up the curation team leader asked if could be done; “The airplane’s ‘classified’, since y’all got security clearances got no objection!”

Whilst curators were reviewing the intelligence LSSVs towed in from The Ranch two 16-foot enclosed trailers full of equipment & material thought necessary for repairing the airplane before & whilst conducting the move by a Navy “mule” (airport tractor) with towing gear parked adjacent to its tail, LSSVs towing in hydraulic scissor lifts for conducting topside fuselage repairs parked either side of aircraft’s nose, other LSSVs hauling in aircraft airframe maintenance specialists & helpers from The Ranch all “ready to roll” second the Naval Intelligence Lieutenant gave them the GO signal.

Transported in a LSSV up to the Heinkel’s nose flanking both sides & down her fuselage were scissors lifts & elevated platforms entire nose crew compartment covered by tarpaulin stenciled “Classified, No Access”, bomb bays doors locked shut “Classified, No Access” stenciled over them as well. Inspecting under-fuselage areas around the wing roots, shrapnel induced airframe damage starboard side first, curators knowledgeable of period German metals & fabrication technology immediately pointed out airframe points too damaged for load bearing whilst being transported; “They’ll break minutes into (the) run, steel rod reenforcing here, here, here, steel plate over them for stability, (am) really surprised Navy Airframe Specialists & Pentagon historians didn’t catch them!” Navy Intelligence Lieutenant jokingly replying; “That’s why we’d hauled your asses outta bed (this morning) to tell us that!” Not wasting time “blame gaming” one curator stayed on assisting Navy aircraft airframe specialists selecting materials steel rods, plates, supervising metal cutting, welding, reenforcing work whilst other curators working with other airframe specialists systematically identified & “patched” (repaired) damaged airframe sections over fuselage & mainwings on scissor lifts & platforms significant starboard wing main spar breaks either side of burn-damaged engine requiring much patching.

By 4:40 p.m. all necessary patches to the Heinkel’s airframe were completed, Navy Intelligence Lieutenant signaling the Mefford Field Site Operations (Navy) Commander John Fredericks that towing could commence. Within minutes burn-resistant plywood planks laid over tarmac underneath the Heinkel catching weld debris "for security reasons" were removed, towbar hooks on Heinkel’s tailwheel leg tow rings, all wheel chocks removed, Navy airframe mechanics & curators “wired for sound” in place at strategic tow watch locations, senior PO1 supervising the move waiting to signal the “mule driver” to commence moving her, meantime engine rune-up noise from Preston’s Pride could he heard from Mefford Field Airport, before she could move Preston’s Pride first had to been flown out of Mefford Field Airport.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 07:35:46 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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Preston's Pride Takes Off - Finally!
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2022, 07:32:28 AM »
Minutes after The President Of The United States signed the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order at 10:00 a.m. Washington DC Time the Assistant To The President For National Security Affairs (APNSA) was directed by him to fly out to Lemoore NAS Site 29-B, “appreciate the situation” there, fly back & personally brief him about it. Not to make it too obvious to adversaries of the US Government where he was going his trek to Lemoore entailed making two “detours” first Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego then Moffett Federal Airfield Santa Clara County, California helicoptering from there to Site 29-B arrival anticipated 5:00 p.m. California Time. Concerned the APNSA was transiting incommunicado radio silent & transponders off NAS Lemoore Commander Captain John Dudley Masterson urgently needed to know exactly when he’d be in transit to Site 29-B so as not to interrupt Preston’s Pride’s flyout from Mefford Field Airport to Lemoore given he’d be helicoptering in on a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk ("Jayhawk" hereon) incommunicado till 15 miles out of Lemoore airspace when transponders were turned on & radio silence broken for airfield approach & landing. At 4:39 p.m. Preston’s Pride stood ready on the Mefford Field Airport Runway 13 Turntable her Pilot Richard Warston minutes earlier receiving a HOLD call from the Airfield Controller he knowing personally from Commander Fredericks “everything had to be in place (at Site 29-B)” before she could take off, at 4:42 pm. Commander Fredericks received the secured channel code word “Tickler” direct from Captain Masterson at Lemoore for her to take off, Masterson after “bitching" at APNSA’s transportation coordination staff was told the APNSA now was scheduled to arrive at Site 29-B at 5:45 p.m. ample time for Preston’s Pride to arrive there well as be rolled into Hanger 3.

At 4:43 p.m., eight minutes before onset of sundown, Pilot Rick having no bit left to chomp on got the words direct from Commander Fredericks; “Item 2 Winds 10 (m.p.h. Southeast), Clear (for takeoff)” he forthwith replying; “Roger Eisenhower” jokingly referencing winning the coin toss flying her to Lemoore. Powering up, brakes on, aircrew making final aircraft systems checks, Navy meteorologist conducting final weather checks along planned flight route, Rick powering down executed a 90 degree right turn over Runway 13’s six end markers, straightening out & immediately signaling Copilot Warren Nutley to apply full power to the Cyclones whilst signaling; “Rolling!” to Commander Fredericks. Smoothly, spritely, purposefully she’d gained speed whizzing past Navy & Air Force emergency vehicles & personnel mid-strip bracketing either side to wild cheers & claps from everybody who could line the airfield’s central tarmac well as emergency personnel stationed mid-strip, aft fuselage rising she gained more speed gracefully lifting off following a 2,253 foot run into the setting sun off to Lemoore NAS…and an uncertain fate.

In the Twilight Zone Of Flight NO Peace Or Warbird Is Ever Never Airworthy

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: Today at 01:38:28 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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Mission Complete, Heinkel 177 Now On Mefford Field Airport Tarmac
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2022, 09:25:03 AM »
As mentioned earlier, by 4:40 p.m. February 13, 2022 all necessary “patches” (repairs) had been made to the now US Government officially identified Deutsches Luftwaffe Heinkel 177 A-5 parked north of the 1940 Rankin Aeronautical Academy hangar, three minutes later Preston’s Pride nosily lifted into the sky, everyone on grounds surrounding & adjacent to the Heinkel swiveling heads watching her climb into the sunset much to consternation of the Navy Intelligence Officers present; “Ain’t no point ‘hiding it’ (Preston’s Pride) now ‘Roger’!” quipped the Texan Twanged Naval Officer to his rank compadre; “Guess so Aaron, still ‘Top Secret’ getting this thing (Heinkei) over to the airport (Mefford Field Airport) though!”

Wheeling her off the parking site slow & cautiously, tow watchers flanked by Navy & Air Force Intelligence cinematographers documenting the move all ringed by AR-armed SPs checked for debris falling, unusual noises emanating from Heinkel strong groans from reenforced underneath starboard airframe sections confirming curator’s concerns they’d break whist being moved, stopped some minutes in darkening skies for visual inspection with high intensity portable spot lamps curators & Navy airframe specialists waved OK to proceed, no breaks seen on steel plating covers or weld points. Moving off tarmac adjacent to the Rankin hangar “mule” (airfield tractor), Heinkel & tow watchers all carrying spot lamps slowly made 80 degree left turn onto a narrow taxiway tarmac widened & reenforced accommodating the Heinkel’s wide double wheel landing gear units, turning 40 degrees right onto another similarly widened & reenforced tarmac proceeding northeasterly to the Mefford Field Airport’s main aircraft parking tarmac crop dusters & other aircraft moved off it earlier in day.

Intently observing with binoculars The Ranch’s Naval Commander John Fredericks flanked by army of specialist & support personnel from near all US Armed Forces branches, number of Pentagon VIPs as well, listened to radio chatter speaker broadcasts from tow crews & watchers working in the dark checking tarmac conditions & landing gear wheel clearances, halting 25 feet out from the Medford Field Airport main tarmac west of Leonard Noel Drive the “army” moved off site for the Heinkel to make a 45 degree right turn onto it over widened tarmac areas couple minutes later executing it forthwith then proceeding straight over the same marked-off square parking zone Preston's Pride was parked scant hour earlier halting precisely at its center, chocks thrown in place by Navy, Marine & Coast Guard airfield personnel, Heinkel’s undersides forthwith cursorily checked for possible debris dropping all activity documented by the cinematographers meantime.

The "Heinkel Move" was over four minutes later than 5:00 p.m. scheduled, minutes later all the "movers" were personally thanked by Commander Fredericks well as Pentagon VIPs present, “mission completed” the NASM curators were whisked aboard a waiting Seahawk, helicoptered back to Lemoore for post-mission biohazard exposure examinations & debriefings. The Heinkel was now on on Mefford Airport Field tarmac soon it will join Phantom & Preston’s Pride "undercover" on Site 29-B.

…To Be Continued…
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The Flight Of Preston’s Pride Straight Into Entombment!
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2022, 10:23:13 AM »
Preston’s Pride’s Flight Plan entailed flying over farmland far away possible from populated areas near same course though in reverse Army & Navy Chinook & Seahawk helicopters took earlier in the day transporting the B-17 crews from Lemoore NAS to Mefford Field Airport:

From Mefford Runway 31 quickly turning south then again quickly turning due west over the California State Route 99 & Avenue 184 interchange where paradoxically she plainly could be seen by severely jammed-up 99 road traffic detouring over to South I Street, due west paralleling Avenue 184 & Newton Avenue, over north Corcoran, paralleling Newton Avenue due west over open farmland at 20 1/2 Avenue turning northwest towards & west of Stafford parallel course out from & past Lemoore NAS Runway 32 L, full u-turning to land on Runway 14 Left.

Keeping “prying eyes” away whist in transit the FAA at request of the Navy closed all airspace within an 8-mile corridor between Mefford Field Airport & Lemoore NAS up to 18,000 feet effective 3:00 p.m. till further notice. As mentioned earlier, Navy & Air Force aircraft ground crews, fire, personnel rescue & medical teams in conjunction with Army counterparts in Chinooks & Blackhawks had been rehearsing emergency rescue & fire suppression scenarios in event Preston’s Pride crashed, Army helicopters two miles out from Mefford Field ready to fly in wherever she’d crash if not become part of her escort to Lemoore, now successfully airborne an Army Chinook & Blackhawk holding station 800 feet north of Tipton with emergency rescue & fire suppression crews quickly pulled aft of her, three Seahawks two abeam with Navy Intelligence, Cinematographers & Telecommunications personnel monitoring secure channel communications whilst in transit & armed SPs in event of crash, Pilot Seahawk forward & 200 feet above her fitted with high-powered digital surveillance cameras looking for “suspicious” aircraft, UAVs, ground vehicles & persons attempting to “film” her well as Electronics Countermeasures Specialists operating Top Secret telecommunications detection & jamming gear to disrupt electronic surveillance of her whilst in transit to Lemoore. Quickly gaining altitude after takeoff Preston’s Pride like the Phantom hours earlier “flew dirty” (all landing gear down), no need to retract them considering flight time was under 15 minutes at 100 knots at 1,200 feet maximum altitude lightly loaded that plus no time to conduct “jacked tests” (wings suspended on hydraulic jacks, landing gear retracted & lowered) whist at Mefford Field. Although functioning well as tested no navigation or landing lights were to be on whilst in flight fearing they’d “attract attention”, helicopter pilots also were instructed to keep theirs off the entire formation “flying dark” till on Lemoore runway approach when then turned on for landing.

Proceeding on course per flight plan to Lemoore, Navy helicopter escort joined Preston's Pride after she'd reached 1,000 foot flight altitude near Road 80 formation forthwith adjusting flying speed to 100 knots, The Navy Meteorologist signaling “weather all clear” on intercom, Preston's Pride & crew basked in high grandeur whilst being “filmed” by Navy Cinematographers flying in the world’s only factory-new, fully combat-ready B-17 Forward Observer Garth Mastroni especially, shortly after takeoff moving from the Navigator’s Station to Bombardier’s behind an absolute factory mint Norden Mk. XV Bombsight, fully operational he’d pondered whether that same whatever that “miraculously restored” her would likewise transport her back to 1945 on a bombing run over Germany, him included! Onset of twilight pilot Rick Warston 1,000 feet aft of Pilot Seahawk now north of Cocoran signaled Garth on intercom to check landmarks for upcoming 20 1/2 Avenue northwest turn towards Lemoore few minutes later Flight Engineer George Carter Davies broke in; “Pilot, Low manifold (air intake pressure engine) No.4 (starboard outermost Cyclone), checking turbo (turbocharger pressure)...”, forthwith glancing out the Flight Engineer’s Cabin Window Garth observed wisps of white smoke exhaust twinkling in the twilight; “...Pilot, white smoke…now trailing off. all gone now, manifold & turbo holding steady.” relieved Rick signaled back; “Flight (Engineer), ‘Gremlins From The Kremlin’ at work, watch gauges making right turn (towards Lemoore) now!”

Approaching 20 1/2 Avenue the Pilot Seahawk executed a sweeping right turn northwest to Lemoore, Preston’s Pride & helicopter escort forthwith following suit, all inline & parallel course to Lemoore Runway 32 Left three miles out the Pilot Seahawk though secure audio link singled the Lemoore Airfield Controller for runway clearance; “Trampas 5 (code name for all Navy helicopters involved with 'Mefford Trio' operations, '5' = fifth one assigned) Item 2 cleared all (land on any NAS runway.)" listening in Rick switched on navigation & landing lights, signaled all crew to strap in & prepare for landing. Dropping altitude, lowering airspeed whilst approaching Runway 32 Left cockpit crew & Garth could see runway lights on well as Site 29-B’s helicopter lit landing markers, gliding past the runway 2,000 feet out at 80 knots Rick continued flying her another three miles northwest alone over open farmland whilst her Seahawk & Chinook escort peeled off to land on Site-29, executing a tight u-turn Rick lined her up mainwing flaps lowered to land on Runway 14 Left, descending for final approach at 60 knots manifold pressure on No.4 dropped again; “Pilot, No.4 manifold down (no air pressure), feather (neutral propeller position) and stop (engine)!" Warren forthwith feathering prop & shutting down engine.

Landing any airplane in the dark without all engines running is risky, landing one for all intents a unpredictable paranormal aberration with one out flat-out insane, having no choice, trusting to fate, Rick glided her in passing the Runway Compass Marker at 60 feet making a perfect three-point landing at 5:03 p.m. 1,400 feet down runway trailed by two airfield firefighting trucks screaming in hot pursuit. Rick throttling back whilst resetting propeller pitch settings for taxing downfield an LSSV with large lighted FOLLOW ME sign on top suddenly popped out right from strip’s second taxiway access signaling him to follow it to Site 29-B. Taxing another 1,000-plus feet the LSSV made half right turn onto a taxiway Rick following course Warren meantime lowering her bomb bay doors thence rolling several more yards making another half right turn onto another taxiway parallel to Site 29-B. Taxing yet more yards she'd rolled up in front of two fluorescent safety vest-donned Navy airfield crewmen holding lighted signaling batons they signaling Rick to HALT he forthwith braking & powering down to engine idle. Fearing an engine fire several airfield firemen armed with CO2 cans sprinted up either side of her cockpit hand signaling Rick & Warren whether there was one they signaling back nyet the pooped-out from running firemen standing adjacent to No.4 engine in case she’d caught fire to put it out nonetheless.

At 4:48 p.m. a Chinook stationed parallel north of the Valley Air Crafts building where the Phantom had been lifted out at 10:35 a.m. received Daniel Wicker’s flight crew well as all the B-17 ground crews for transport to Site 29-B, lifting off at 4:50 she’d beelined straight to Site 29-B landing on The Playground just as Preston’s Pride was landing thousands of feet away, scrambling out of the Skyhawk with a Naval Intelligence Officer & two side-armed SPs (no AR’s interestingly) Dannie Wicker & B-17 crewmen escorted by them quickly made way around a “mule team” (airfield crew with tow tractor) to Sick Bay Building 3 for post mission biohazard exposure examinations & debriefings. Earlier on November 13, 2022 whilst the Site 29-B enclosure fence was under construction a segmented electrically-operated gate was erected across the south aircraft taxiway entrance into Site 29-B (east one direct to runway taxiway fenced off), operated by SPs from the Guard Shack it quickly was opened as Preston’s Pride held station just outside, signaled by another pair of “batoners” next to the gate Rick powered her up again executing a 90 degree wheel brake & rudder turn to the right slowly moving past the shack onto the Site 29-B Playground led on by yet more batoners.

Inside The Playground a sizeable crowd of US Military & Federal “alphabet” intelligence agency VIPs, military officers of many grades & specialties, including Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson standing either side a Navy Admiral Second-Half & Air Force Brigadier General intelligence Assistant Chiefs flown in from The Pentagon, Army Corps Of Engineers Coronel & his lieutenant an Air Force Engineers Major in charge of all military engineering & construction work associated with The Mefford Trio standing in line yards off from Buildings 2 to 5 “guarded” by large number of AR-armed SPs. All donning disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves they'd watched intently whilst teams of Navy & Air Force Intelligence cinematographers documented Preston’s Pride pending captivity, other B-17 air & ground crews lead by Daniel Wicker & Copilot Jessie Haugh-Lowery helicoptered in just minutes earlier now standing next to Sick Bay Building 3 adjacent to medical orderlies ready to greet Rick & crew.

Maneuvering northeasterly though The Playground using engines & brakes near Hangar 3 Rick was signaled to straighten Preston’s Pride in line with Hangar 3 where she was to be ensconced by the batoners, turning slowly before his crewmates standing next to Sick Bay Building 3 purposely for them to get best possible left three-quarter front view of her whilst under power the batoners signaled HALT, Rich forthwith applying brakes, running engines up whilst fuel pumps were powered off shutting engines down, chocks forthwith thrown in place by very same Navy, Marine & Coast Guard airfield personnel who’d hours earlier secured her on Mefford Field Airport tarmac, Warren cutting off electric power to engines at precisely 5:15 p.m. Their mission complete Rick forthwith got back on intercom for last time ordered all, including the Navy Meteorologist, to leave seat cushions in place, hazmat specialists taking them out later, be absolute sure to take everything they’d brought on board her, hand them to “Navy folks” inside the bomb bay whilst deplaning.

The Meteorologist departed first followed by Flight Engineer George Carter Davies then Forward Observer Garth Mastroni they immediately escorted to Sick Bay Building 3 by two side-armed SPs, an Honor Guard by personal order of Captain Masterson as show of respect, ordered to stand in line in front of the VIPs they standing in line left of the Sick Bay Emergency Treatment Center door. Deplaning next Copilot Warren Nutley, a retired Air Force helicopter pilot, waited inside the bomb bay till Pilot Richard Warston deplaned, though not having served in the military Rick was afforded “privileges of rank” as Preston’s Pride Commander having been impressed into military service earlier that morning whilst in San Diego, together they'd "crawled" out of the bomb bay forthwith standing at attention underneath the starboard cockpit. Now flanked by two side-armed SPs as Honor Guard forthwith escorting them directly in front of Captain Masterson, Admiral, General, Coronel & Major flanking both sides, approaching "in military order” Wicker & Nutley halted in front of the party snapping to attention Richard Wicker then spoke:

“Sirs, I present to you Preston’s Pride. It is an honor for me and my fellow (B-17) crews to have bought her here for inspection by the United States Government.”

Greatly appreciative of successfully completing the mission in doing so Captain Masterson replied;

“On behalf of The Government Of The United States thank you gentleman for having brought her here intact, you all are dismissed!”

Saluting the VIPs Wicker & Nutley then were escorted by the SPs into the Emergency Treatment Room followed by the B-17 crews for post-mission biohazard exposure examinations & debriefings. For arguably good “National Security Reasons” Navy Cinematographers beforehand were personally ordered by Captain Masterson to stop “filming” second Preston’s Pride’s engines were shut off. No record other than in the memory of all those on The Playground witnessing the ceremony was allowed, the civilian B-17 crews though impressed into military service still retained full US Constitutional Rights Of Privacy extraordinary to the UCMJ per the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order throughout their military service extremely short as it would be something Naval Intelligence Commander Rodger Ericson "failed" to disclose to them earlier in the day for whatever reason. Immediately following the ceremony the “mule team” was placed in position aft of Preston’s Pride tail wheel, tow bar hooked in place on its strut, wheel chocks pulled off, swung around 180 degrees, towed up to Hangar 3 & halted for hangar doors to open, in pitch black darkness methodically motored in (no peaking please!), centered within hangar with flashlights, towbar removed, “mule team” departing, hangar doors forthwith closed & locked.

Now “entombed” Preston’s Pride & Phantom - the now & forever former Mefford Trio - immediately became of objects of intense scrutiny by the US Government long as they physically existed neither “seeing light of day” by the general public until the mysteries of their “miraculous restorations” could be understood if ever. The Heinkel 177 yet to be transported from Mefford Field Airport to Site 29-B held even greater mysteries, more later about them!

…To Be Continued…

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APNSA Arrives, B-17 Crews & NASM Curators Depart Site 29-B
« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2022, 03:00:45 AM »
At 5:31 p.m. November 13, 2022 the Seahawk transporting the NASM curators in from Mefford Field Airport landed adjacent to Lemoore NAS Site 29-B Sick Bay Building 3, landing in the dark on the deserted Playground adjacent to it all VIPs witnessing Preston’s Pride’s arrival minutes earlier had been spirited off to Command & Control Center Building 1 all other personnel quickly moving off it as well. The size of a small hospital compartmentalized to handle differing biohazard exposure patients the B-17 crews assembled on The Playground scant minutes earlier already had been escorted into the Emergency Treatment Room, a deliberate misnomer as were several secured away from each other, the NASM curators forthwith led into one some distance from the crews neither knowing of each other’s presence.

Helicoptered in incommunicado from Moffat Field in a Coast Guard Jayhawk the Assistant To The President For National Security Affairs (APNSA) with two deputies landed adjacent to Building 1 at 5:47 p.m. they forthwith entering it to receive briefings regarding The Mefford Trio. As part of the Top Secret briefings the APNSA was told that the NASM curators & civilian aircraft crews were “consultants” in accomplishing specific compartmentalized tasks associated with “inspecting” The Mefford Trio, true technically though by necessity they knowing whole lot more about two of them than let on to the APNSA, curiously passing on asking to see their personal information he’d asked to see Phantom & Preston’s Pride instead rightly believing The President Of The United States wanted info on them rather than “consultants” associated with “inspecting” them.

Meanwhile in Sick Bay, the B-17 crews endured extensive post-mission biohazard exposure examinations by Lieutenant Bre LaTour’s medical teams, tired, irritable and hungry they’d pined for “getting on the road” back to San Diego ASAP. At 6:30 p.m. the two Gulfstreams that transported them from there to Site 29-B were rolled up & parked on the taxiway next to the Guard Shack, discharged from Sick Bay at 6:40 wearing their “civvies” though donning hooded disposable hazmat jumpsuits the crews escorted by an side-armed SP Honor Guard by order of Captain Masterson forthwith were piled into LSSVs. Driven in the dark across The Playground up to the Site 29-B past the Guard Shack up to the Gulfsteams standing outside them were medical orderlies, Lieutenants Don Hansen & Feroze Sadeghi, same Intelligence Petty Officers 1st Class (PO1s) who’d co-briefed them on way to Site 29-B that morning, lined up & assisted by orderlies with removing their jumpsuits the PO1s then escorted them aboard to assigned seating.  All now aboard & cabin doors closed, engines revving, up Lieutenant Sadeghi in the trailing Gulfstream stood up & spoke to Dannie Wicker’s air & ground crews:

“Gentlemen, thank you all for successfully completing your mission, I know you weren’t ‘selected’ to fly Preston’s Pride but nevertheless you’d participated in inspecting & preparing for the flight to Lemoore and for that the U.S. Government is most appreciative. I ask that all of you don headsets and observe video screens on seatbacks before you for mission debriefing, it should not last more than 20 minutes following it Petty Officer Palmer will serve you (boxed) dinners.”

Bemused that their debriefing was just going to be 20 minutes Dannie quizzingly asked; “How long’s Richard’s (and crews) debriefing? He’s hungry just as we are!” whilst crewmates chuckled; “Theirs’s tad longer, all of you will have enough time to enjoy their meals! Captain Masterson personally ordered everybody (crews) be served the same food, it’s the best Lemoore NAS has to offer!”, anxious to ask Dannie’s ground crew chief Mark Simmons inquired whether there were seconds; “Absolutely sir not only that but deserts also!” all crewmen spontaneously yelping with approval. Gulfstreams now taxing in line parallel to Runway 14-Left the debriefing commenced, Rick’s jet leading spritely she’d turned onto the runway forthwith taking off at precisely 7:00 p.m. Dannie’s two minutes later both now heading direct to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport San Diego.

Meanwhile inside one of the Sick Bay Emergency Treatment Room’s Biodecom 1 units (Biohazard Decontamination 1st Stage of four “4” highest Richard Warston’s crew & Navy meteorologist ensconced in a “3” after flying Preston’s Pride), the NASM curators had completed their biohazard exposure examinations & debriefings, wearing their “civvies” though donning hooded disposable hazmat jumpsuits they were held for release till after the B-17 crews departed Site 29-B. Discharged at 7:03 p.m. they’d departed Sick Bay escorted by side-armed SP Honor Guard also by order of Captain Masterson piling into LSSVs, driven in the dark across The Playground, past the Guard Shack up to same Gulfsteam that brought them from Washington DC to Site 29-B that pulled up minutes after the B-17 crew’s departed in theirs. Standing outside it a Naval Intelligence Lieutenant & PO1 (not same ones on flight from “DC” with them) & medical orderlies (not same ones who’d been with the B-17 crews) assisted them with removing their jumpsuits, escorted aboard by the PO1 to assigned seating.  All now aboard & cabin doors closed, engines revving, up the Lieutenant spoke to the curators:

“Gentlemen, thank you all for successfully completing your mission, the US Government is most appreciative. I ask that all of you don headsets and observe video screens on seatbacks before you for mission debriefing, it should not last more than 15 minutes following it Petty Officer Dirkson will serve you dinner (same menu as for the B-17 crews by order of Captain Masterson).”

The Gulfstream now taxing in line parallel to Runway 14-Left the debriefing commenced, minutes later she’d turned onto the runway taking off at 7:21 p.m. heading direct to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

…To Be Continued…
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With its signing by The President Of The United States the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order effective 9:00 a.m. California Time November 13, 2022 the US Government though the Army Corps Of Engineers was authorized to seize the quarter-circle 1940 Rankin Aeronautical Academy hangar tarmacked property adjacent to Tex Drive where the Heinkel 177 had sat, teardrop-shaped land spit adjacent to Tex Drive & California State Route 99 on-ramp where the Phantom & Preston’s Pride had sat as “Military Reservations”. Owned in large part by Tulare County, land adjacent to the 99 on-ramp by State Of California, the US Government later would purchase the parcels outright from these governments the historic Rankin hangar, all traces of The Mefford Twins AMVET memorials demolished & removed, Tulare County & AMVETS Post 56 monetarily compensated for the US Government’s “seizure & destruction of culturally significant monuments & artifacts” under federal law of the 1940 hangar, monuments & artifacts associated with The Mefford Twins museum grounds.

After the SC2500 “MAX” bombs & fuzes in proximity of the 1940 hangar were helicoptered out parka-clad Army Corps Of Engineers personnel in intermittent windy rain commenced work erecting an 8-foot fence topped with razor wire encircling & sealing off the entire quarter-circle tarmacked property, by 2:00 p.m. fencing was up on north & east sides to taxiway where the Heinkel 177 was to be towed off, adjacent to Tex Drive down to where Phantom & Preston’s Pride – The Mefford Twins –  would be towed off, canvas shielding surrounding them & portable guard shacks stayed in place – for now. As mentioned earlier, before Phantom & Preston’s Pride were towed away Army engineers had removed the AMVETS-installed fencing surrounding them by 3:00 p.m. the entire teardrop-shaped land spit they’d sat on for decades completely encircled with an 8-foot fence topped with razor wire. All this lavish fencing courtesy of US Federal Taxpayers was to discourage religious, paranormal & extraterrestrial abduction cultists, pranksters & sightseers et. al. from accessing the sites, it didn’t work, strangely no signage identifying the seized lands as US Military Reservations was affixed to fencing presumably not to intimidate “the general public” even though near everyone who’d drive past them on “99” mere hours later knew they were “special places of curiosity”, more about that later!

The ”demilitarization” of Mefford Field Airport, an active General Aviation airport, was far more involved and expensive, important to regional agriculture hosting crop dusting aircraft & agricultural commercial aviation enterprises knowing this US Armed Forces personnel there took painstaking effort moving them off the central airport tarmac, relocating them elsewhere on airport grounds, returning them to their rightful places, US Government reasonably compensating their owners for damages incurred during their relocations later. Also extraordinarily was restoring all physical areas on Mefford Field Airport “occupied” by US Armed Forces personnel back to their pre-occupation condition as mandated by “technical amendments” to The Presidential Executive Order, in this regard meticulous video & digital photographic surveys were conducted of all airport grounds before “government material” was placed on them added value as turned out in conjunction with forensic investigations of The Mefford Trio.

Even as the Phantom was being helicoptered to Lemoore NAS everything associated with her military custodianship at Mefford Field Airport was being collected, packed-up,“heloed” to Site 29-B likewise with Preston’s Pride by time she’d flown out of Mefford Field late afternoon the 13th most material & personnel associated wither had already been flown out, airway between Mefford Field & Site 29-B veritable “Coruscant Skyway” of helos shuttling for hours in between flying out everything, including 9 large portable trailers lifted out by the civilian Skycrane & Army Chinooks they like everything else deposited on the Site 29-B Playground. All that remained was material, equipment & personnel needed to disassemble the Heinkel 177, helicopter her to Lemoore by Midnight September 14th, enough fencing for Army engineers to finish enclosing the quarter-circle “Rankin Reservation” as the 1940 Rankin Aeronautical Academy hangar tarmacked property adjacent to Tex Drive was unofficially called. WIth the Heinkel on airport tarmac at 5:04 Army Corpsmen forthwith set to work erecting the remaining fencing sealing off the reservation whilst other corpsmen removed remaining canvas shielding adjacent to where the Heinkel had sat, teardrop-shaped land spit adjacent to Tex Drive & California State Route 99 on-ramp where Phantom & Preston’s Pride had sat for decades well as all portable guard shacks SPs manning them forthwith helicoptered back to Site 29-B.

As mentioned earlier, NASM curators knowledgeable of Heinkel 177 airframe technology had been flown in from Washington DC to Lemoore earlier in the day, helicoptered in from Site 29-B they’d arrived at the “Navy Tent” adjacent to the Heinkel at 3:10 p.m. forthwith asked to examine intelligence concerning her, advise & assist with “patching” airframe damage, assist with towing her to Mefford Field Airport tarmac US Armed Forces personnel there responsible for disassembling her for helicopter transport to Site 29-B. As part of their mission the curators were asked to provide technical guidance how best to safely disassemble her, Navy & Air Force airframe mechanics on station having no experience whatsoever “playing with” (working on) WWII-era German warbirds, gladly obliging they’d hoped someday to restore her as a NASM museum piece, sadly she and The Mefford Twins were formally declared “National Security Threats” per the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order and as such kept under lock & key duration of their existences by the US Government. Basted on the curator’s recommendations at 4:35 p.m. The Ranch's Commander John Fredericks ordered designs for & fabrication of purpose-built wheeled dollies to lay & lash down parts of the Heinkel for nighttime airlifting to Site 29-B to be completed no later than 7:00 p.m. but suddenly the order was withdrawn...

…To Be Continued…
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The Heinkel 177 was an abject failure, WWII Germany’s only long-range heavy bomber it suffered from ever-changing  Reichsluftfahrtministerium (German Air Ministry) operational requirements throughout its career, including shallow dive bombing which it was never designed for, Heinkel’s Achilles’ Heel the twin Daimler-Benz 610s engines (coupled 12-cylander inline Daimggler-Benz 605s) driving large 4-blade propellers via common gearboxes, lacking firewall protection they’d frequently caught fire garnering the unflattering nickname fliegendes Benzinfeuerzeug (flying petrol lighter) not unsurprisingly the Mefford Field Heinkel starboard engine had also caught fire. Also problematic were main landing gear failures, large ungainly raked forward twin units under each wing they were prone to partial or total collapse partially due to hydraulic failure whilst landing or taxing heavy bombs ala twin SC4200 “MAXs” onboard the Mefford Field Heinkel 177 A-5. Defensively armed with one 7.92 mm MG 81 machine gun in nose, one 20 mm MG 151 cannon in forward belly gondola & one in tail, two 13 mm MG 131 machine guns in a remotely operated forward dorsal turret & another in rear belly gondola & one in manned aft dorsal turret the “Mefford A-5” curiously only had the 20 mm tail cannon suggesting she’d been engaged in a high altitude heavy load “special ops” night bombing mission her entire undersides & lower-mid fuselage, Balkenkreuzes & all unit markings included, hastily painted RLM 22 Schwartz over standard RLM 70/71/65 bomber livery.

Extraordinary to the November 13, 2022 afternoon Navy Intelligence Briefing given to NASM curators when asked provide technical guidance how best to safely disassemble the Mefford Field Heinkel deep within the bowels of The Pentagon spirited debates raged between senior-level Armed Forces intelligence Officers & their “alphabet” counterparts over the wisdom of disassembling the Heinkel. In doing so the “spooks” justifiably argued compromised whatever secrets it harbored, not tampering with her anyway more than absolutely necessary save removing the dead Luftwaffe airman’s body & SG2500 “MAX” bombs, their arguments winning out The Pentagon through the Joint Chiefs Of Staff subsequently forwarded another technical amendment to the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order to the President Of The United States he signing it at 7:45 p.m. Washington DC, 4:45 p.m. California amendment verbiage within the minute signaled over secure communications channel direct from The Whitehouse National Security Office to the APNSA in transit to Site 29-B, Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson, ordering that the Heinkel remain intact, authorization granted to “…employ whatever materials, manpower & means to bring ‘Item 3’ (Heinkel 177’s code word) to Lemoore NAS (i.e. Site 29-B) soon as possible.”

Astutely anticipating alternative airlifting methods needed to be considered airlifting the Heinkel intact to Site 29-B in lieu of disassembling her that plus having “inside Pentagon contacts” keeping him apprised of the aforementioned spirited debates well as the forthcoming technical amendment signed by The President, Captain Masterson independent of Naval Commander Mefford Field Recovery Operations Commander John Fredrecks at 1:45  p.m. personally contacted the civilian contractor of Erickson S-64F Skycranes – the only heavy lift “helos” available – asked him to assign a military security-cleared flight crew & another Skycrane to airlift the Heinkel, dispatch them direct to Lemoore NAS, work directly with on-site Navy & Air Force aircraft airframe specialists, jacks (helicopter lifting gear fitters), materials fabrication tradesmen, etc., etc., come up with a suitable method & means to airlift the Heinkel in one piece to Site 29-B. Landing 2:45 p.m. on large retangular tarmac near center of the NAS though some distance from Site 29-B the Skycrane crews forthwith were LSSV’d under AR-armed SP guard to a sealed-off & guarded materials fabrication facility code named Angel's Hammock by Captain Masterson where waiting inside was a sizeable crew of airframe specialists, jacks, materials fabrication tradesmen et. al., plethora of Navy & Airforce Intelligence Officers awaited them, escorted by the Intelligence Officers to a tent set up with large computer monitors inside to view via secure communications link the 3:10 p.m. NASM Curator briefing by Navy Intelligence Officers & NCO specialists to examine intelligence information presented about the Heinkel. At exact same time Commander Fredrick with his crew of airframe specialists, jacks, materials fabrication tradesmen et. al. inside the “ST” (“Secured Trailer” for secure telecommunications briefings & presentations) on the Mefford Field Airport tarmac watched the briefing, “Lemoore“ & “Mefford” personnel totally unaware of each other “for compartmentalization purposes”, Commander Fredericks & his personnel needing to know the “wherefores & hows” as they’d be soon “muling” the Heinkel onto airport tarmac. Immediately following it all personnel attending the “Lemoore” briefing went to work brainstorming methods of securing the Heinkel for air transport, very soon it was apparent to all the simplest one was also the best; a much elaborated version of the Phantom’s lifting gear: eight steel cables wrapped semicircular underneath & parallel to its fuselage & mainwings outer adjacent to mainwing landing gear oleo pivots at critical weight bearing points with twelve double & single sets of padded “slings”  & "anti-flex" cables thus:

  • 1st parallel set wrapped with flexible heavy aluminum padding semicircular underneath & parallel to fuselage aft nose crew compartment structural bulkhead,
  • 2nd set same as 1st forward of bomb bay underneath a structural bulkhead,
  • 3rd set same as 1st aft of bomb bay underneath a structural bulkhead,
  • 4th set same as 1st bulkhead in front of rudder tailplane structural bulkhead,
  • 5th & 6th parallel sets with clamped on reenforcing steel plates wrapped with flexible heavy aluminum padding underneath entire port & starboard fuselage mainwing roots upwards over wing leading & trailing edges,
  • 7th  & 8th parallel sets similar to 5th & 6th underneath mainwing inner ribs either side of engines adjacent to outer landing gear doors,
  • 9th & 10th parallel sets similar to 5th & 6th underneath mainwing outer ribs either side of engines,
  • One each “anti-flex” cables attached to rings welded on port & starboard main spar over inner aileron wing ribs preventing outer mainwings from flexing downwards due to helicopter rotor wash whilst in flight.

In addition, the fire damaged starboard engine mounts would be further reenforced with steel bars & plating holding it in whist in flight & tarped over, propellers manually set neutral pitch & tied down, ailerons, tailplane & rudder gust locked and most importantly the twin landing units under each wing though appearing structurally sound lashed together with steel cables, oak timbers wedged in between oleos keeping them in place whilst in flight, keep them together whilst landing on the Site 29-B Playground.

Absolutely crucial to “slinging” the Heinkel 177 for airlifting was accurately determining her weight relative to the Skycrane’s lifting capacity, according to Pentagon historical archives empty weight of the A-5 variant was 37,078 pounds, maximum takeoff weight of the recently up-engined & airframe strengthened Erickson S-64F Skycrane assigned to lifting the Heinkel 65,700, estimated weight of “sling” cables & five specially fabricated metal trusswork hangars temporarily attached to & branching off the Skycrane's spine for hanging the cables 6,125 all-up weight 64,663, 1,037 pounds below the Skycrane’s max takeoff weight. Unconcerned about the all-up weight estimate Skycrane's Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Winston jointly told their fellow “sling team” design & engineering members no problemo they on occasion lifting maximum takeoff weight loads at night though at low altitude flying under 60 knots no more than 30 miles in good weather conditions, considering the “Mefford A-5” apparently was lighten hundreds if not thousands of pounds for “special ops” missions all team members felt confident “slinging” her to Site 29-B was possible provided good weather prevailed till 2:00 a.m. November 14th when another Polar Express was due to blow in over Northern & Central California.

As with airlifting the Phantom & Preston’s Pride there were intense discussions amongst Pentagon bioweapons specialists assessing risks of mass exposure to potentially deadly unknown biological agents to Tulare & Kings County residents whilst airlifting them & Heinkel 177 to Lemoore uncovered in this regard a technical amendment” part of the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order was issued directly from The Whitehouse to the US Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) directing the agency “to cooperate with and provide expertise on the ‘matter’ well as any and all potential public health risks associated with moving ‘items (official code name of The Mefford Trio collectively) of threat to national security’  (The Mefford Trio) with appropriate US Armed Forces personnel.“ In the case of the Phantom the technical amendment came too late, The Pentagon ordering NAS Captain Masterson to airlift her out ASAP, in Preston’s Pride’s she was subjected to exhaustively rigorous “inside & out” biohazard inspections by Mefford Field Airport military bioweapons & medical personnel in cooperation with CDC counterparts over secured communications links, finding none known to current bioscience at 1:45 p.m. Commander Fredericks signed plethora of biohazards inspections reports & certificate deeming her “suitable for manned flight” provided she’d only be flown over unpopulated areas in transit to Lemoore. In the Heinkel’s case she'd only be subjected to external biohazard inspections any within her fuselage especially her forward crew compartment out of the question for now, finding none at 4:35 p.m. Commander Fredericks signed plethora of biohazards inspections reports & certificate deeming her “suitable for unmanned airlifting” provided she’d only be flown over unpopulated areas in transit to Lemoore.

As mentioned earlier, at 4:35 p.m. The Ranch’s Commander Fredericks ordered designs for & fabrication of purpose-built wheeled dollies to lay & lash down parts of the Heinkel for nighttime airlifting to Site 29-B at 4:43 p.m. Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson signaled him to halt all work, stand ready for briefing on “slinging” the Heinkel to Site 29-B instead. By 4:43 p.m. all that remained of the “military occupation” of Mefford Field Airport grounds were three large trailers:

  • Medford Field Airport Field Operations Center (i.e. Command & Communications section rest of trailer space repurposed for SP grounds security operations, stationing & dispatching airfield personnel on assigned tasks the "ST" mentioned above heloed out earlier),
  • Sick Bay - Biohazard Station - Wash & Dressing Rooms,
  • Materials Fabrication & Storage, including hydraulic jacks, associated equipment & tools for disassembling the Heinkel,

several smaller trailers & dollies housing/carrying diesel-powered electric generators, relays & cables, airfield equipment, tools, etc., water, fuel, oil & lubricants, etc. consumables, half-dozen tow-equipped LSSVs stationed to relocate crop dusters & other aircraft moved off the airfield, everything heloed out by a fleet of Navy Skyhawks, Army Chinooks & Blackhawks, including the Skycrane it shutting heavy cargos back & forth between Lemoore & Mefford Field Airport grounds near non-stop since 2:30 a.m., standing ready to helo it all to Station 29-B minute the Heinkel had been heloed out to there by her beefed-up stablemate. At 4:50  p.m. Commander Fredericks “got on-line” via secured communications link with Captain Masterson now inside the Site 29-B Building 1 Communications Center awaiting Preston’s Pride arrival to brief him on change of plans regarding the Heinkel’s airlifting;

“Johnnie, Item 3 must be airlifted intact, sorry not telling y’all earlier, things really harry here. I’ve made arrangements heloing her out (to Site 29-B) at 19:00 (hours, 7:00 p.m.), ‘Jacks’ (helicopter lifting gear fitters trained for rigging the Heinkel for airlifting) being flown there, expect them by 18:30 (6:30), have your ‘framers & fabricators’ (airframe & materials fabrication specialists & tradesmen et. al.) work off transmitted info for ‘prepping’ Item 2 for airlift.”

Not especially thrilled over having to scrap previous plans to disassemble & airlift out the Heinkel but relived that he was no longer under a time crunch to do so Commander Fredericks quietly replied:

“Yes sir, will do, anything else sir?”

Captain Masterson forthwith replying;

“Yes Johnnie, minute ‘Item 3’ is ‘off the deck’ (left Mefford Field) pack up & go home, y’all need a rest, see you 06:30 (hours) tomorrow!”

…To Be Continued…
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