Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Zoomie Sibs UNITE!

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Hanoi Taxi

The Dayton Air Show was this past weekend, so I got to see my little bro at work, showing off his plane.

Bill is a Crew Chief for the Air Force's big cargo planes. The C-141 is one of them. I'm so proud of my little brother. He's following his heart and his dream of becoming a Flight Engineer someday. For now... he's in the Reserves, currently deployed full time at his home base in Dayton.

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This is my brother's plane- the Hanoi Taxi. It was built in 1966, and this particular plane was the first one to take POW's home from Vietnam. When you tour the plane, pictures of Freedom Flights, POW camps (including the Hanoi Hilton), POW's, and Welcome Home ceremonies line the walls. There are rubbings from The Wall for each MIA from Ohio, regardless of branch of service. The pictures and the rubbings were haunting, but most haunting of all was the story of the signature board below.
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The board, as you can see, is behind plexiglass, and says "Hanoi Taxi" on it. There are 109 signatures; 108 of which are former Vietnam POW's. The last one is from the widow of a POW who was touring the plane at an air show two years ago. While you are in line to get to the cockpit, they show you a slideshow (in addition to the pictures on the walls) with current and historical photos. During the slideshow, she recognized someone. HER HUSBAND. After researching the plane's manifests, the crew discovered that THIS plan was the one used for his actual Freedom Flight. How cool is that?!?!?! So... her signature is the 109th, on behalf of her deceased husband.

We saw other aircraft too, both in the air and on the ground, including some trainers, a Canadian helo, the new Raptor...and THE THUNDERBIRDS! The weather wasn't very kind (windy... threatened rain all day), so the fly-bys were limited and fairly "basic". They did some 4-man formations, some individual high speed flyovers, and a beautiful 6-man formation. Even with the cloudy skies, they were still a gorgeous sight!


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