Alex Ranftle – A B-17 Bombardier’s Story during WWII

Second Lieutenant Alex Ranftle’s journey to the hostile skies over Europe wasn’t a quick trip. Surprisingly, it took Alex two and a half years from the time he enlisted before he flew his first combat mission on D-Day-June 6, 1944 in the nose of a B-17G Flying Fortress. Three days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, an 18-year-old Alex Ranftle and two friends, tried to enlist in the Army Air Corps, but were told to return after Christmas. Ranftle, who had a deep desire to fly, did return … [Read more...]

Red Flag 12-3 – A Different Perspective

Once again, US Air Force units from around the country and coalition forces from around the world gathered at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in Red Flag 12-3. Participants of Red Flag 12-3 included various fighter, bomber, tanker, electronic support units, from various branches of service, and coalition aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. During three days in mid-March 2012, Nellis AFB Public Affairs hosted 40 media members from around … [Read more...]

The Story of a USMC Huey Pilot – Major Paul “Goose” Gosden

Paul, like many aviators, dreamed of flying since he was a young boy. Airshows, trips to the local airport, and being part of the “Topgun” generation added to his desire to fly. Many people have this dream, but very few have the drive and determination to actually make their dreams a reality. Major Paul “Goose” Gosden is just one of those individuals who made his dream happen. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Paul grew up with his Mom, Dad, two brothers, and sister. Paul’s dad was a … [Read more...]

Flying with “Gulf 31” at Red Flag 11-2

On January 28, 2011, I was invited to fly with the 147th Air Refueling Squadron in support of Red Flag 11-2.  Our mission was to refuel five F-16 aggressors that were participating in the exercise. We would be flying a KC-135R from the 134th Air Refueling Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard.  The crew flying this KC-135R would be from the 147th Air Refueling Squadron (of the 171st Air Refueling Wing) from Pennsylvania Air National Guard.  At the controls were Pilot Major Janet Lynn Van … [Read more...]

Lt. Col. William R. Duncan – 1st Landing Signal Officer in the USMC

I was fortunate to have the following article published in the May 2011 issue of the Marine Corps Aviation Association'Journal. for more information on the MCAA, go to their website at www.flymcaa.org.  I first met Lt. Colonel William R. Duncan at the dedication of “Lady Ace 09” in April 2010. He was one of several commanding officers, both past and present, of HMM-165 that attended the event. It was at this dedication I learned that Lt. Col. Duncan had not only been the second commanding … [Read more...]

Tragedy at Reno 2011

I was fortunate enough to have the following article published in the November/December 2011 issue (#39) of Warbird Digest (www.warbirddigest.com).  The National Championship Air Races 2011 was supposed to be a very exciting year for air racing but ended in tragedy. The stage was set for an incredible air race in what I call the “year of the woulds.” Would Steven Hinton, the current world champion join a handful of legendary race pilots who have won three championships in a row? Would this be … [Read more...]

Reno 2010 – A “First Timer’s” Perspective

Reno 2011 (September 14-18) is less than a year away and I am ready for my second Reno National Championship Air Race and Air Show experience!  Reno 2010 was my first time covering an air race.  My experiences at Reno this year were nothing short of incredible.  As a first timer attending the Reno Air Races, I thought I would share a few of my experiences. I was fortunate enough to attend Reno 2010 as media with the Photorecon team.  Having media access allowed me to basically be on the … [Read more...]

MV-22 Osprey Reaches Historical Milestone

On February 18, 2011, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar hosted a ceremony with all Osprey squadrons located at the base to mark a milestone in the history of the MV-22 – 100,000 hours of mishap free flight. The MV-22 Osprey is currently replacing the 50+ year old CH-46 Sea Knight (aka "Frog"). The Osprey is as revolutionary as the helicopter was in the 1940’s.  With its tilt rotor design it is able to fly like a fixed wing aircraft, yet land like a helicopter. The Osprey is currently coming … [Read more...]

UH-1Y Retirement – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

I was fortunate to have the following article published in the Marine Corp Aviation Association Journal in May 2011. More information on the MCAA can be found at www.flymcaa.org.  On March 18, 2011, a ceremonial event was held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to celebrate the final flight of the Marine Corps’ workhorse for the last 40 years – The UH-1N Huey. The UH-1N entered service with the USMC in 1971 as a replacement for the  UH-1E, which the Marine Corps had been … [Read more...]

2012 Cable Airshow – Birddog Style

On January 7, 2012 at 6:00 am, I made my way to the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California. There, I was to be a passenger in the museum’s Cessna L-19 Birddog that was scheduled to be on static display the Cable Airshow in Upland, California. To say I was excited to fly in the Birddog, let alone to an airshow, and with my good friend at the controls for his first airshow, would be an understatement. The Aircraft  The L-19 was designed for the U.S. Army as a light observation … [Read more...]