by Senior Airman Jensen Stidham
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/6/2015 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The last of the RF-101 Voodoo pilots held their final large reunion in Sumter S.C., April 27-30.
The RF-101 Voodoo was a single-seat, photo-reconnaissance aircraft
assigned to several tactical reconnaissance and training wing's at Shaw
for 43 years.
Approximately 50 war-fought veterans gathered to reminisce times being
shot down over enemy territory flying combat missions during the Korean
War, Vietnam War, and Cuban Missile Crisis.
"It has really been a great week," said retired Lt. Col. Henry Scherer.
"A bunch of old guys getting together trying to tell the best war
Throughout the week, the pilots visited the base and received the opportunity to view the F-16 Viper Demo Team perform.
"That aircraft sure does fly a lot faster than we could," said retired
Maj. Gen. George Edwards Jr, who established the official world speed
record in the RF-101. "It was a great experience to watch him fly so
close to us. He put on a great show."
Not only did the reunion watch the demo team, they took to the sky in a much smaller way out of the Sumter Airport.
"I took the day off to fly some of the Voodoo pilots around in my
personal airplane," said Lt. Col. Joseph Rodriguez, 20th Mission Support
Group deputy commander . "We got the opportunity to do a low-approach
over the runway at Shaw which was a great experience."
The old pilots climbed into the aircraft just as if they hadn't missed a flying day since their Voodoo days.
"The flight was a great time," said Edwards. "We flew over Sumter and it sure has grown over the years."
As the aircraft landed, the weathered reconnaissance pilots talked about the nostalgic week they had.
"As the years go by, less and less pilots show up for the reunions,"
said retired Lt. Col. Joe Kuhlmann. "Either disability or death causes
lower numbers of people and that's just life. We've had a lot of great
years but I'm sure a few of us will still meet up."