Off We Go!

National Aviation Day is held each year on August 19th. The day is to celebrate the development and history of aviation. This day was created on the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday because of his significant contributions to aviation.

Most people go to air shows, museums, and other aviation events to take in the history and past of the aviation industry. In some schools and classrooms kids are taught about Orville and Wilbur Wright and their first successful controlled flight on December 17, 1903 of an airplane for 12 seconds in the air. They called it their flying machine which later became the first controlled fixed wing aircraft. National Aviation Day is not a federal national holiday but rather an observance to celebrate the history of aviation. 

In 1939 then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a proclamation that the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday be National Aviation Day. Orville Wright was born in 1871 and was alive when President Roosevelt signed the day into law. A few years later aviation became a critical part of a world at war. While you can never win a conflict without boots on the ground (11B INFANTRY). Many more casualties would result if not for the combat planes fighting off enemy planes in the air protecting the INFANTRY, as well as cargo planes delivering food, supplies, and other desperately need goods to bases for the INFANTRY in the field.

I spent many days on USAF flight lines in my early military career loading armaments on B-52s and F-105 Thunder Chiefs (THUDS) but I was most impressed by a cargo airplane. In 1991 I was in Long Beach California attending my Mother’s funeral and the high rise hotel we were staying at had a balcony facing the airport. Little did I know this odd looking cargo plane I saw taking off was on its first inaugural maiden flight till the next day.

The C-17 cargo airplane is a large military transport aircraft. It was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) through the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17 carries the name of two previous piston-engine military cargo aircraft, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 still commonly performs strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop duties. Two things I found unique about the aircraft was the automated pallet moving system that allowed the loadmaster to maneuver heavy loaded pallets with hand operated controls.

The other advancement was the replacement of so much copper cable in the controlling systems and communications with much lighter fiber optic cable, greatly reducing the weight of the aircraft.

Our annual Officer Installation Banquet will be Friday September 2nd at 6:00pm with the Legion and Auxiliary. The Legion will provide the meat dish. The Auxiliary & spouses’ will provide the side dishes and desserts. Our Installation Officials will be Lucky Ladwig (Past Department Sgt-at-Arms for Legion) and Myrna Ladwig (Past Auxiliary Department President of Skiatook. Legion).  We will also recognize our most current 142 Post member Neil Conrad, our new Chaplin! As a correction from last week Neil had the Army MOS 11B which is INFANTRY (notice a trend in this week’s article?).

Our regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM. There will be a Thursday night brief meeting tonight (1 September) for members to discuss business but the usual dinner will be reserved for the Installation banquet the next evening. The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for this last Monday of August is still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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