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Thursday, June 02, 2005

C-124 Globemaster Memories

Greetings to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

As I walk through the underground tunnel linking the Scott Building and the Sheridan Building here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C., I observe a framed color official United States Air Force photograph of a Douglas C-124 "Globemaster" flying over the Statue of Liberty in the harbor of New York City.

I love looking at that photograph, for it brings back a fond memory.

I can't remember the exact year, but I'm guessing it was the Winter of 1972, and I was a soldier, just back from Viet Nam, and trying to get to North Carolina to visit my folks.

I went to McChord Air Force Base, which is adjacent to Fort Lewis and Tacoma, Washington, to try and get a "military hop" going East.

One of the benefits of being in the military service is free transportation on military aircraft, if space is available, and the crew's mission will allow it.

As luck would have it, I caught a C-124 "Globemaster", carrying two U.S. Army UH-1 "Iroquois" helicopters, bound for Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

NOTE: Just about everybody calls the UH-1 helicopter a "Huey", because it was manufactured by Hughs Aircraft, but its correct official nickname was "Iroquois".

At the time, I knew this was something VERY special, for the C-124 "Globemaster" was an old airplane and would not be flying much longer.

It was cold and noisy, but I covered up with some blankets and slept most of the way.

We stopped at Gray Army Airfield, which is at Fort Hood, Texas, where the two helicopters were unloaded.

A few years later, I would be stationed at Fort Hood.

The flight of the old C-124 "Globemaster" resumed, ending at Kelly Air Force Base.

There, I caught a C-141 "Starlifter" which was headed for McGuire Air Force Base, which is adjacent to Fort Dix, New Jersey.

From there, I rode a Greyhound bus to North Carolina.

I remember touring a C-124 "Globemaster" on Armed Forces Day (I don't remember where - - - Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, maybe?) and looking out the window onto the wing, which seemed to stretch for miles.

You entered the aircraft up a ramp, through gaping double doors in the nose of the plane.

It was so huge, you had to wonder how the plane ever flew?

So, every time I see a C-124 "Globemaster", either in a photograph, on a television show, or a movie, or parked on display at a museum, I experience fond nostalgia for that old airplane, even though I only got to ride in it just once.

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

" - - - the blood is strong, the heart is Highland, and we in dreams behold the Hebrides."

2 comments:

Anthony W. Pahl said...

G'day John

I have bookmarked your blog and website, and will visit as frequently as possible. I love your story about the Globemaster and look forward to reading your future pieces. May I have your permission to "grab" any of the peices that are war/veteran realted and add them to your IWVPA index?

Peace and Blessing be with you, my friend,
Tony

John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS said...

Tony,

Yes, you can use anything I write.

Thank you so much for your help.

Did the RAAF have any C-124 Globemasters in their inventory?

Did you ever fly on one?

What kinds of Oz military aircraft hauled passengers and cargo?

What kind did Oz paratroopers jump from?

Growing up as an "Army brat" , I watched our American paratroopers mostly jump from Fairchild C-119 "Flying Boxcars", and by the time I was grown, those planes were phased out, and they used mostly C-130 Hercules aircraft for EVERY thing!

In Viet Nam, I flew a BUNCH of times on C-130 planes.

I had one flight on a C-7 "Caribou".

Back in the States, I mostly flew on C-141 "Starlifter" jet transports.

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee