Military News

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Last of the Voodoo's reunite

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 story."

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."

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