51st Avionics Maintenance Squadron Photo Album, Osan Air Base, Korea: privately printed, 1974.
Say hello to the Sentimental Airman, SSgt Gerard T. Morris! Here he is way back in 1974 when he was stationed at Osan Air Base, Korea with the 51st AMS Squadron. While there, he kept the navigation systems of the F4 Phantom, the O-2 Skymaster, and the OV-10 Bronco operational and the aircraft flying. Working the night shift, the Sentimental Airman learned the real reason why they call Korea "the land of the morning calm." Because the Korean nights are bitterly cold and windy!
When I arrived at Osan Air Base in 1974, the airmen in my shop were still talking about what happened during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. North Korea figured the United States would be too busy assisting Israel to fight wars on two fronts, so they started moving their troops and tanks to the DMZ. The U. S. Air Force armed its F-4 fighter aircraft with some "very heavy weapons." It placed the planes on the end of the runway with the engines running. The U.S. Army positioned missile launchers in plain sight throughout the base. All the missiles pointed toward the North. All non-essential personnel were evacuated to Hill 180. They spent a few scary days and nights there, waiting for the ground to shake and the sky to light up. Back home, the American public was unaware of how close the United States had come to war with North Korea.
From 2002 to 2004 the Sentimental Airman helped to create my First Sentimental Airman Collection. I sold this collection en bloc in 2006 to keep me afloat financially while waiting for my disability retirement from the U. S. Postal Service to be approved (bad heart). And in the last few years, the Sentimental Airman has helped create my second Sentimental Airman Collection. My emphasis in my first Sentimental Airman Collection was more on the provenance or prior ownership of the books rather than on their contents. But my second Sentimental Airman Collection is all about airmen and the history of aviation. I have not, however, ignored a book's notable provenance.
Vehicles of the Air: A Popular Exposition of Modern Aeronautics With Working Drawings by Victor Lougheed, Chicago: Reilly and Britton Co. 1909.
The Air Man: His Conquests in Peace and War by Francis A. Collins, New York: Century Co. 1917.
This book was first published in July, 1917. Its author, Francis A. Collins (1873-1957), was a prolific writer producing 38 books from mountain climbing to multiple editions of The Boys' Book of Model Aeroplanes. The Air Man provides an in-depth look at the aviator both in peacetime and wartime settings.
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015.
Two excellent books about the Wright Brothers. Whitford is the more knowledgeable author about the Wright Brothers. McCullough is the better writer.
Fighting the Flying Circus by Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker, New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1919.
I have two copies of this book, one of which is signed by Eddie Rickenbacker. The binding, however, is in poor condition, and I planned on swapping bindings. The signed copy was from the library of Derek Mason. He was an RAF bomber pilot during WWII, flew for British Airways and Singapore Airlines after the war, and then worked at the United Nations.
I had to put my plans to swap bindings on hold, however, when I discovered that the second copy was formerly owned by another aviation enthusiast, Henry R. Palmer Jr. Palmer was the author of at least three aviation books:
This was Air Travel: A Pictorial History of Aeronauts and Aeroplanes From the Beginning to Now by Henry R. Palmer Jr., Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1960.
The Seaplanes (Famous Aircraft Series) by Henry R. Palmer Jr., Dallas: Morgan Aviation Books, 1965.
Remarkable Flying Machines : A Pictorial Account of Certain Extraordinary Aircraft That Have Been Built and Flown Since 1783 by Henry R. Palmer Jr., Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1972.
So instead of swapping bindings, I kept Palmer's copy of Fighting the Flying Circus intact and added it to my Second Sentimental Airman Collection.
I had acquired Palmer's copy of Rickenbacker's book from Gus McLeavy of Aardbooks2 in New Hampshire. And Gus sent me a 1965 Doubleday edition of Fighting the Flying Circus as well. Thanks Gus!
This next book gives an insight into the human side of Eddie Rickenbacker.
From Father to Son: The Letters of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker to his Son William, From Boyhood to Manhood by William Rickenbacker, New York: Walker and Company, 1970.
I wrote about the next book in my January 2019 post, A Book That Flew Undetected Under the RADAR.
Vistas Iberoamericanas or, Latin American Sights by William F. Rickenbacker, New York: Privately Printed, 1949.
It is about Eddie Rickenbacker's tour of South America to drum up business for Eastern Airlines. Eddie Rickenbacker signed the Introductory page. And William Rickenbacker inscribed this copy of the book to Leslie P. Arnold.
Who was Leslie P. Arnold? He was one the airmen who completed the first world flight in 1924.
The First World Flight: Being the Personal Narratives of Lowell Smith, Leslie Arnold, Erik Nelson, Henry Ogden, Leigh Wade, and John Harding by Lowell Thomas, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1925.
We by Charles A. Lindbergh, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1927.
Lindbergh's life story, his transatlantic flight, and his views on the future of aviation.
Lindbergh The Lone Eagle: His Life and Achievements by George Buchanan Fife, New York: A. L. Burt, 1928 (reprint).
Bring Me a Unicorn: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1922-1928, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1972 (book club edition).
Anne Morrow Lindbergh learned to fly and accompanied her husband on numerous trips.
The Three Musketeers: Their Conquest of the Atlantic From East to West by Captain Hermann Koehl, Major James C. Fitzmaurice, and Baron Guenther Von Huenefeld, New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1928.
The three aviators' accounts of the First East to West Transoceanic Flight.
The next book is No. 7 in the St. James Library Series. The author traces the chain of aerial progress from Leonardo da Vinci's plan for a flapping-wing machine to advancements in aeronautics in the late 1920s.
Flying: An Epitome and a Forecast by Claude Grahame-White, London: Chatto Windus, 1930.
This book was from the library of Derek Mason as well. Michael Slicker, proprietor of Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg, purchased Mason's Aviation Collection. And, so far, I have bought at least five of Mason's books from Mike.
This copy of the book has a provenance history that was fun researching. The book was presented to J. W. D. Margetson as the Upper Forum Prize at Kingwell Court for Christmas 1940. J. W. D. Margetson was one of its students at Kingwell Court Preparatory School, a British boarding school for boys located near Bradford-on-Avon. J. W. D. Margetson later had a successful career in the Diplomatic Service, most notably as the British Ambassador to the Hague. In 1984 however, Margetson was Vice President of the Trusteeship Council at the United Nations. While at the United Nations, I believe Margetson made Derek Mason's acquaintance––if he did not know him already. And when Margetson learned that Mason was an aviation enthusiast, I believe he gave Mason the copy of Flying that he won as the Upper Forum Prize in boarding school way back in 1940.
Transport Aviation by Archibald Black, New York: Simmons-Boardman, 1926.
I would be remiss if I didn't have at least one book on transport aviation in My Second Sentimental Airman Collection. I worked on numerous military transport aircraft throughout my twenty-three-year career in the Air Force: C-5 Galaxy, C-47 Skytrain, C-54 Skymaster, C-118 Liftmaster, C-119 Flying Boxcar, C-124 Globe Master, C-130 Hercules, C-131 Samaritan, C-141 Starlifter, DC-9 (Air Evacs), KC-10 Extender (tanker), and the KC-135 Stratotanker.
Little America: Aerial Exploration in the Antarctic; the Flight to the South Pole by Richard Evelyn Byrd, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1930.
Admiral Byrd's expedition to the South Pole. On a personal note, I regret that I once passed up an opportunity to go to the South Pole. While I was stationed at Hickam AB, Hawaii from 1977 to 1982, I went to ChristChurch, New Zealand several times to repair C-141 cargo aircraft. On one occasion, the aircraft that brought me to Christchurch was continuing on its mission to the South Pole. And I was invited to fly along to the South Pole and then back to Christchurch, roughly eight hours each way. I would have received a certificate stating that I visited the South Pole on such and such a date. But I decided not to take the trip :-(
Oceans, Poles and Airmen: The First Flights Over Wide Waters and Desolate Ice by Richard Montague, New York: Random House, 1971.
I acquired my first copy of this book from Gus McLeavy of Aardbooks2. Along with the book was a T. L. S. from the author to a friend he had known for fifty years. I acquired a second copy of the book when a bought a batch of nine Aviation books on a Facebook Ephemera page.
The World in the Air: The Story of Flying in Pictures by Francis Trevelyn Miller, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1930.
I have Vol Two only and it covers from 1861 to 1930. It has at least one picture on almost every page. I'll have to get the first volume as well.
Here are three more books from the library of the aviation collector Derek Mason. His collection was rich in books about the RAF and British air operations in general.
A Royal Air Force 75 by J. M. Bruce, London: Published by the Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum, 1968.
The War in the Air: The Royal Air Force in World War II by Gavin Lyall, New York: William Morrow, 1969.
Fleet Air Arm: Prepared for the Admiralty by the Ministry of Information, London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1943.
Derek Mason signed and dated his bookplate in this book "October 1943."
Derek Mason, RAF Bomber Pilot 1922-2012
I found an obituary of Derek Mason online. The picture above is from a tribute movie in the obituary that is well worth viewing.
Airwar: An Illustrated History of Air Power in the Second World War by Edward Jablonski, Garden City: Doubleday 1972, two vols. (book club edition).
Eagle Day: The Battle of Britain by Richard Collier, New York: E. P. Dutton 1980, new edition (1966).
Air Commando Fighters of World War II by Edward Young, North Branch, Mn: Specialty Press, 2000.
An anecdote about how I got this book: I traded a copy of The Legend of the Book by Gilbert Harry Doane for an inscribed copy of this book. Doane's book contained a unique inscription on the front flyleaf: "Stolen from Frank M. Morris...." I traded it to Morris's grandson who was the author of the aviation books.
Fighters Defending the Reich by Bryan Philpott, Northhamptonshire: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1988, 2nd ed.
Target Germany: The Army Air Force's Official Story of the VIII Bomber Command's First Year Over Europe by Army Air Force, New York; Simon and Schuster, 1943.
The Mustang Story by Ken Delve, London: Arms & Armour (Cassell imprint) 1999.
Military Machines; Combat Vehicles for Land, Sea & Air, New York: Parragon Books, 2015.
The Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft: Over 650 Entries From 1914 to the Present Day by Robert Jackson, London: Parragon Books, 2006.
A Few Planes for China: the Birth of the Flying Tigers by Eugenie Buchan, Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2017.
The Tuskeegee Airmen Story by Lynn M. Homan, Gretna: Pelican Publishing, 2002.
The Complete Book of Top Gun: America's Flying Aces by Andy Lightbody, New York: Beekman Publishing, 1990.
U. S. Air Force: A Complete History by Dik Daso, New York: Universe Publications, 2006.
Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the U. S. Air Force 1947-1997 by Walter J. Boyne, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.
The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: the Advisory Years to 1965 by Robert Frank Butrell and Martin Blumenson, Washington D. C. : Office of Air Force History, 1981.
10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War by Philip Caputo, New York: Atheneum Books, 2005.
I was never stationed in Vietnam but went TDY (temporary duty) to Camranh Bay several times from Clark Air Base, Philippines for 45 days at a time, first with C-118 aircraft (used as Air Evacs for wounded Korean soldiers) and then with C-130 cargo and troop transport aircraft.
The Fall of Saigon: Scenes From the Sudden End of a Long War by David Butler, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.
Black Eagle: General Daniel 'Chappie' James Jr. by James R. McGovern, [Tuscaloosa]: University of Alabama Press, 1987 (Third Printing).
Proud To Be: My Life, The Air Force, The Controversy by Kelly Flynn, New York: Random House, 1997.
The story of the first woman to pilot a B-52. Her love affair with flying and the other love affair that caused her to resign her commission.
Mission to Mach 2: A Fighter Pilot's Memoir of Supersonic Flight by Robert Earl Haney with Lee Courtnage, Jefferson: McFarland, 2011.
Red Raider Diary by Merrill Thomas Dewan, Pittsburgh: Rose Dog Books, 2009.
A memoir of a B-26 navigator in the Southwest Pacific theatre during WWII.
Airman's Odyssey: A Trilogy Comprising Wind, Sand and Stars; Night Flight; and Flight to Arras by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1942.
Born to Fly: The Untold Story of a Downed American Reconnaissance Plane by Shane Osborn with Malcolm McConnell, New York: Broadway Books, 2001.
The story of an EP-3A Navy pilot whose crew was captured by the Chinese after a mid-air collision with a Chinese fighter in 2001. On a personal note, I was on vacation in Hawaii in April 2001 when Osborn's crew was released. I was on the tarmac at Hickam Air Base, Hawaii along with hundreds of others and greeted the crew when they arrived back on American soil.
Wing of Man: The Legend of Captain Dick Merrill by Jack L. King, Glendale: Aviation Book Company, 1981.
Inscribed by the author and by Dick Merrill.
Lyrical Aviators: Traveling America's Airways in a Small Plane by Sandra McClinton, Yorktown: Whistling Swan Press, 2000.
Ladybirds: The Untold Story of Women Pilots in America by Henry M. Holden and Captain Lori Griffith, Freedom, N.J.: Black Hawk Publication Company, 1991.
The Fabulous Flying Mrs Miller: A True Story of Murder, Adventure, Danger, romance, and Derring-Do by Carol Baxter, Melbourne, Aust: Scribe, 2019.
Here's my review of this book.
Whistled Like a Bird: the Untold Story of Dorothy Putnam, George Putnam and Amelia Earhart by Sally Putnam Chapman with Stephanie Mansfield, New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1997.
Dangerous Deeds or the Flight in the Dirigible by Captain Frank Cobb, Akron: Saalfield Publishing, 1927.
The Time of My Corporate Life by Joseph M. Barr, Belleair: privately printed, 1978.
Joseph M. Barr's autobiography of his life working for United Aircraft Corporation from 1932 to 1969. There is a Russian aerospace company by the same name that is totally unrelated to the American company. Chance Voight, Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky were parts of the company Barr worked for.
Legend and Legacy: The Story of Boeing and its People by Robert J. Serling, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.
A history of the first 75 years of Boeing. In his prologue, the author invokes images of Boeing of mighty jetliners, of great bombers defending the nation, and "of an American corporation whose name has become synonymous with technical excellence and integrity." I'm afraid that the same can't be said for Boeing's recent history. Its fiasco with the MCAS anti-stalling system on the 737 Max is more than a software problem. And reports of shoddy production and work oversight on its 787 Dreamliner have made the news recently. And why is Boeing is forging ahead with its plans to cut 900 of its 3000 inspector positions? Because Boeing no longer lives by the words "technical excellence" and "integrity."
The C-5A Scandal: An Inside Story of the Military-Industrial Complex by Berkeley Rice, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971.
An exposé of over one billion dollars in cost overruns after Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to build the C-5A aircraft.
A History of Eastern Aircraft Division General Motors Corporation, Linden N.J. Eastern Aircraft Division, 1944.
An interesting history of a WWII effort on the civilian side: how several General Motors plants went from making automobiles to making Avenger Torpedo bombers and Wildcat fighters. Inserted in the book was a pamphlet commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Linden plant in 1962. In its 25 years the Linden plant built 2,497,361 cars and 6,800 Wildcat fighter aircraft.
Aviation Metalsmith Handbook by Aviation Metalsmith School, Norman, Ok: Naval Air Technical Training Center, 1944
In the Air Force we called metalsmiths "sheetmetal workers."
Air Facts Reader by Leighton Collins, New York: Air Facts Press, 1974.
Articles from Air Facts magazine 1939-1941.
Great Mysteries of Aviation by Alexander McKee, New York: Stein and Day, 1982.
Pilot Bails Out by Don Blanding, New York: Dodd Mead, 1943.
Don Blanding served in both World Wars. He wrote this book of poems while stationed in Hawaii during WWII.
A book of poems
In valiant flight
The Hong Kong Airbase Murders by Van Wyck Mason, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1937.
LaGuardia Field: The World's Greatest Airport and the Planes That Use It, New York: Airport Publishing Company, 1940.
No copies of this pamphlet are listed on WorldCat.
Plane Cookin' by the Officers' Wives Club, Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma, Ardmore: Webb's Office Supply, c1955.
Ardmore AFB was a bomber base during and after WWII. It closed in 1959.
Here is a copy of the Scott Field newspaper the Broadcaster dated Wednesday Nov 21, 1945 above. The headline announced that a P-59 jet fighter would perform aerial maneuvers during the Open House the following Sunday. Near the top of the page was an announcement that President Truman nominated Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to become the Army Chief of Staff.
Below is an information brochure about the radio school at Scott Air Force Base in 1951 when the Air Training Command was still located at Scott.
I include these two publications about Scott AFB purely for sentimental reasons: three of my four children were born at Scott AFB. I was stationed at Scott Air Force Base from 1970 when I returned from the Philippines to 1974 when I received orders to deploy to Korea. When I was stationed there, the headquarters of the Military Airlift Command was located at Scott. Our primary mission was to provide support for the DC-9 Air Evacs that transported patients around the United States.
I will close with a clipping from 1976 from another military newspaper, the Airtides from McGuire AFB, New Jersey. At first glance, one might think I am receiving an award from the General. Wrong! I am presenting the General with an award for his support of the Wing Enlisted Advisory Council of which I was the President.