Military News

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Scott assists WWII era aircraft for flight

by Airman 1st Class Kiana Brothers
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

12/9/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill -- Scott AFB personnel recently assisted in getting a World War II era aircraft ready to fly the skies again after arriving here from Hawaii via a C-5 Galaxy.

The 1945 TBM Avenger, Torpedo Bomber, which has seen action during the war to include dropping bombs over Okinawa, came to the base Nov. 22 for some small repairs before heading home near Peoria, Illinois.

Owner and pilot of the Avenger, Brad Deckert, said he'd been traveling and performing fly-overs at air shows all year with the aircraft, most recently in Hawaii, and said he came to Scott because it's closest to his home base of operations. He also needed assistance in getting the wings back on the aircraft since they were removed to fit inside the C-5 Galaxy.

With the help of a dedicated five-person team and two days of work, Deckert flew a test flight and headed home Nov. 25 just in time for Thanksgiving. He is also getting ready for one last flight of the season--a Dec. 7 flyover to commemorate the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron team, along with Master Sgt. Anthony Veschusio, vehicle operations superintendent, and Master Sgt. Tracy Curtis, small air terminal section chief, supported the unloading of the aircraft and crates from the C-5 Galaxy. The 375th Operations Support Squadron provided Deckert with accommodations, necessary supplies, and maintenance capabilities.

Along with unloading the aircraft, providing forklift drivers and lending equipment when needed, 375th OSS personnel also assisted with removing crates and trash from Hangar 1 when the mission was finished.

In addition, Tech. Sgt. Bo Wilcox, 932nd Maintenance Squadron, adjusted the C-40 parking plan in Hangar 1 for the Avenger. This gave the contractors a place to work indoors.

Master Sgt. Bryan Greene, 375th OSS airfield manager, said, "The Airfield Management team was here 24/7, coordinating fuel, nitrogen and parking. The air traffic team helped them provide a fly-over Tuesday morning for a test flight. This was a team effort and all these agencies helped make this mission a success."

Deckert bought the Avenger seven years ago from the Fargo Air Museum in North Dakota and said this plane was parked on the deck of an aircraft carrier in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered. He said he and the crew were "very appreciative" of the support from the base.

"The most rewarding part about owning this plane is the interaction with the veterans," he said.

After the Dec. 7 flight, the aircraft will rest for the winter so Deckert can continue to do some restoration and repair work on it. He also said he hopes to come back out to the Scott air show again in the near future. Scott AFB base is planning to host an airshow for its Centennial Anniversary in 2017, and more details will be provided as they become available.

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