Daily Archives: September 2, 2023

2 September 1977

The first 10 female officers to graduate from the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training Program, Class 77-08, with a Northrop T-38A-50-NO Talon, 63-8111, 2 September 1977. (U.S. Air Force)
2nd Lieutenant Mary Livingston, U.S. Air Force
2nd Lieutenant Mary Livingston, U.S. Air Force

2 September 1978: The ten women in this photograph, members of Pilot Undergradute Training Class 77-08 at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, along with their 36 male classmates, received their Silver Wings on 2 September 1977.

They are Captains Connie Engel, Kathy La Sauce, Mary Donahue, Susan Rogers and Christine Schott; First Lieutenants Sandra Scott and Victoria Crawford; Second Lieutenants Mary Livingston, Carol Scherer and Kathleen Rambo.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 17.59.55© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

2 September 1958, 1313–1314 UTC

Gun Camera image from Senior Lieutenant Kucheryaev’s MiG 17. (PVO Strany)

During the Cold War, the United States routinely flew reconnaissance missions around and over Soviet Bloc territory, including over the Soviet Union itself. There have been unconfirmed reports that as many as 40 U.S. aircraft were shot down, and more than 200 airmen killed. Several hundred more may have been captured and held as prisoners.

2 September 1958: A U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-130A-II Dreamboat, 56-0528 (MSN 182-3136) of the 7406th Support Squadron, based at Rhein-Main Air Base, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany, was on a clandestine reconnaissance mission near the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) border with Armenia (a Soviet Block nation). The C-130 had departed from the U.S. air base at Incirlik, Turkey. In addition to the 6-man flight crew, the aircraft carried 11 radio operators and technicians from the 6911th Radio Group, Mobile.

Two 11th Air Army Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 17s (NATO code name: “Fresco”), part of the Tbilisi Air Defense District, were dispatched from Leninakan (now known as Gyumri) to intercept and destroy the C-130. The radar interecept was controlled from Leninakan by Captain Romanyuta.

When the two fighters, piloted by Senior Lieutenant Kucheryaev (201) and Senior Lieutenant Ivanov (218), were delayed for 7 minutes by a dust storm, two more MiG 17s, piloted by Senior Lieutenant Lopatokov (582) and Lieutenat Gavrilov (583), were launched from Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. (U.S.  radar tracking reports indicate that 201 and 218 were airborne at 1152Z.) The weather was reported as good, with 2/10ths to 3/10ths (scattered) cloud cover.

The fighters closed on the C-130 and reported that it was flying at an altitude of 9,000–10,000 meters (29,528–32,808 feet). At 1213Z the fighters reported the C-130 at 10,000 meters (32,808 feet). Lieutenants Lopatokov and Gavrilov each made firing passes, with Gavrilov reporting that he fired three bursts. Next, Lieutenants Kucheryaev and Ivanov attacked. Lieutenant Kucheryaev reported that the C-130 started burning after his third burst. Lopatokov and Gavrilov attacked again.

Gun camera image of the shootdown of U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-130A-II, 56 0528, 2 September 1958. (ПВО страны [protivovozdushnaya oborona strany, or PVO Strany])
The C-130 caught fire and its tail was observed to fall of. None of the fighter pilots observed any parachutes from the transport. 56-0528 crashed near N. 40°23′, E. 43° 55′. All 17 crewmen aboard were killed.

All four MiG 17s returned to the fighter base at Leninakan.

reported location of C-130 shoot down. (Google Maps)

The Soviet radio communications during the intercept were heard by U.S. communications intelligence personnel.

News reports of the interecept appeared in Советская Авиа (Sovetskaya Aviatsiya) 19–29 September 1958.

(Arlington National Cemetery)

The remains of six of the air crew were returned to the United States.

“A replica of 56-0528, a C-130A-II “Sun Valley” reconnaissance aircraft shot down over Armenia on 2 September 1958, on display at the National Cryptologic Museum, Fort Meade, Maryland (real identity – C-130A-45-LM, c/n 3160, s/n 57-0453).”

56-0528 was a Lockheed C-130A-8-LM Hercules which had been converted to a C-130A-II Dreamboat electronic surveillance configuration by the Texas Engineering & Manufacturing Company (TEMCO) under Project SUN VALLEY. It was flown by two pilots with a navigator and radar navigator, a flight engineer and scanner. There were ten radio operators and a radio repair technician.

The cargo compartment had been converted to three radio compartments. The two forward compartments each had voice intercept positions for four operators, while the third had only two. A galley and radio repair station were at the rear. There was an airline-style toilet. The aft cargo doors were permanently closed and sealed. Radio antennas were installed in fiberglass pods resembling fuel tanks, mounted between the inboard and outboard engines. In the aircraft’s nose was the AN/APN-59 navigation, search, and weather radar. The aircraft was equipped with four alternators to supply electrical power for the equipment.

The Lockheed C-130A Hercules is a four-engine high-wing transport. It was normally operated by a crew of four. The C-130A was 97.8 feet (29.81 meters) long with a wingspan of 132.6 feet (40.42 meters), and height of 38.1 feet (11.61 meters). The total wing area was 1,745.5 square feet (162.16 square meters). The transport’s empty weight was 59,164 pounds (26,836 kilograms) and takeoff weight, 122,245 pounds (55,449 kilograms).

The C 130 has a rear loading ramp for vehicles, and there is a large cargo door on the left side of the fuselage, forward of the wing, The transport’s cargo compartment volume is 3,708 cubic feet (105.0 cubic meters). It could carry 35,000 pounds (15,876 kilograms) of cargo.

The C-130A was equipped with four Allison T56-A-1A turboshaft engines, driving three-bladed propellers. The engines produced 3,094 shaft horsepower at 13,820 r.p.m. (continuous), and 3,460 horsepower, Military Power (30-minute limit) or Takeoff ( 5-minute limit).

The C-130A had a cruise speed of 286 knots (329 miles per hour/530 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 326 knots (375 miles per hour/604 kilometers per hour) at 24,200 feet (7,376 meters). Its range with a 35,000 pound (15,876 kilograms) payload was 1,835 nautical miles (2,112 statute miles/3,398 kilometers). The initial rate of climb at Sea Level was 4,320 feet per minute (21.95 meters per second). The combat ceiling was 38,700 feet (11,796 meters).

In addition to its basic role as a transport, the C-130 has also been used as an aerial tanker, a command-and-control aircraft, weather reconnaissance, search and rescue, and tactical gunship. It has even been used as a bomber, carrying huge “Daisy Cutters” to clear large areas of jungle for use as helicopter landing zones, or, more recently, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast “mother of all bombs.” The aircraft has been so versatile that it has served in every type of mission. Over 40 variants have been built by Lockheed, including civilian transports. It is in service worldwide.

The prototype YC-130 first flew 23 August 1954. The first production C-130A made ts first flight 7 April 1955. The latest version is the Lockheed C-130J Hercules. After 69 years, the C-130 is still in production, longer than any other aircraft type.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 17 is an improved version of the MiG-15 fighter. It is a single-place, single-engine, swept-wing, high-subsonic interceptor.

The MiG 17’s wing is thinner, stiffer, and more highly swept than the wing of the MiG 15. There are three stall fences on the upper surface of each wing. The wings are mounted at mid-fuselage with -3° anhedral. The leading edges of the inboard sections ares swept aft to 45° while the outboard sections are swept 42°.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17

The MiG 17 is 11.364 meters (37 feet, 3.4 inches) long, with a wingspan of 9.600 meters (31 feet, 5.95 inches), and height of 3.800 meters (12 feet, 5.6 inches). It has an empty weight o f3,939 kilograms (8,684 pounds). The normal takeoff weight is 5,340 kilograms (11,773 pounds), and the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 6,069 kilograms (13,380 pounds).

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 three-view illustration with dimensions

The MiG 17 is powered by a Klimov VK-1F centrifugal-flow turbojet. The basic VK-1 was developed from the Rolls-Royce Nene. The British engines were reverse-engineered by Vladimir Yakovlevich Klimov and manufactured at Factory No. 45 in Moscow as the Klimov VK-1. The VK-1 had a single-stage centrifugal-flow compressor, 9 combustion chambers and a single-stage axial-flow turbine. It produced a maximum 26.48 kilonewtons of thrust (5,952 pounds of thrust). The VK-1 was 2.600 meters (8 feet, 6.4 inches) long, 1.300 meters (4 feet, 3.2 inches) in diameter, and weighed 872 kilograms (1,922 pounds).

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 17

The maximum speed of the MiG 17 is 1,145 kilometers per hour (711 miles per hour). The interceptor has a practical range 1,240 kilometers (770 miles) and practical ceiling of 16,600 meters (54,462 feet). For high altitude missions, pilots wore a Zvezda VSS-04 pressure suit.

The MiG 17 was originally armed with two Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 23 mm autocannons with 80 rounds per gun, and a single, NR-37 37 mm autocannon, with 40 rounds of ammunition. Later, it could be armed with two NR30 30 mm autocannons with 70 rounds per gun. This gun used 30x155mm high explosive or armor piercing ammunition. It has a rate of fire of 900 rounds per minute.

More than 10,000 MiG 17 fighters were built in the Soviet Union, Poland and China. The type remains in service with North Korea.

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes

2 September 1956

Three Boeing B-47E Stratojet strategic bombers assigned to the 306th Bombardment Wing. The airplane closest to the camera is Boeing-Wichita-built B-47E-95-BW 52-0545. The lead aircraft is Lockheed-Marietta-built B-47E-25-LM 52-0250. These aircraft are similar to the B-47s flown in the 1955 General Electric Trophy Race. (U.S. Air Force)

2 September 1956: As it had been the previous year, the 1956 General Electric Trophy Race was flown by three Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bombers. The 1955 race course was from March Air Force Base, California, to Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania. The 1956 course was changed so that the competitors would be facing headwinds rather than tailwinds. The race began at Kindley Air Force Base, St. David’s Island, Bermuda, and ended at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

An estimated 100,000 spectators were present to see the finish of the race. The winning B-47, flown by Major Joseph Schreiber, 33d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Wing (Medium), based at March Field, arrived overhead at 11:38 a.m. Its official time for the course was 3 hours, 8 minutes, 43.6 seconds, with an average speed of 601.187 miles per hour (967.517 kilometers per hour).

Major Schreiber had flown a Great Circle Course. He flew at 12,000 to 20,000 feet (3,658–6,096 meters), searching for the most favorable winds. During the flight, the B-47 encountered headwinds of up to 45 miles per hour (20 meters per second).

Great Circle Course from Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda, to Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, 1,895 statute miles (3,050 kilometers). (Great Circle Mapper)

The crew of Schreiber’s B-47 included Captain Denis O. Wilson, co-pilot; Major Christian J. Luecke, navigator; and Technical Sergeant James Richardson, crew chief.

The second place aircraft, a B-47E assigned to the 301st Bombardment Wing (Medium), 22d Bombardment Wing (Medium), 2nd Air Force, at Barksdale AFB, trailed Major Schreiber’s aircraft by 21 seconds. It was flown by Lieutenant Colonel John C. Lewis; Captain John D. Roche; Lieutenant Colonel Oscar R. Black; and Staff Sergeant Thomas J. Tharo. Colonel Lewis had to slow down when a row of rivets on a left wing engine nacelle popped and a piece of skin was torn off. Its time at the finish line was 3 hours, 9 minutes, 49 seconds, for an average speed of 600.058 miles per hour (965.700 kilometers per hour).

The third-place B-47, assigned to the 310th Bombardment Wing (Medium) at Smoky Hill AFB, Salina, Kansas, was flown by Captain C. L. Porter, Captain R. W. Cain, Captain Sam Allison; and crew chief Frank B. Johnston. Its finishing time was 3 hours, 11 minutes, 38 seconds, with an average speed of 593.602 miles per hour (955.310 kilometers per hour).

All three B-47s encountered significant turbulence when descending toward Will Rogers Field.

Boeing B-47E Stratojet 51-2394, similar to bombers in the 1956 General Electric trophy Race. Photographed 7 April 1956. This airplane was assigned to the 22d Bombardment Wing Medium). (U.S. Air Force)

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes

2 September 1953

Colonel J. Stanley Holtoner with his FAI record-setting F-86D Sabre, 51-6168. (FAI)

2 September 1953: Colonel J. Stanley Holtoner, U.S. Air Force, flew a production North American Aviation F-86D-35-NA Sabre, serial number 51-6168, to a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Speed Record over a 100 kilometer course at Vandalia, Ohio, averaging 1,110.75 kilometers per hour (690.188 miles per hour).¹ Colonel Holtoner was the commanding officer of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. He was awarded the Thompson Trophy.

On the previous day, Captain Harold E. Collins flew another F-86D Sabre, 51-6145, setting an FAI World Speed Record over a 15 kilometer straight course of 1,139.219 kilometers per hour (707.878 miles per hour).²

North American Aviation F-86D-35-NA Sabre 51-6168, FAI World Speed Record holder. (FAI)

The The North American Aviation, Inc. F-86D Sabre was an all-weather interceptor developed from North American Aviation F-86 fighter. It was the first single-seat interceptor, and it used a very sophisticated—for its time—electronic fire control system. It was equipped with search radar and armed with twenty-four unguided 2.75-inch (69.85 millimeter) Mk 4 Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR) rockets carried in a retractable tray in its belly.

The aircraft was so complex that the pilot training course was the longest of any aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory, including the Boeing B-47 Stratojet.

North American Aviation F-86D-1-NA Sabre 50-463, the eighth production aircraft. (North American Aviation, Inc.)

The F-86D was larger than the F-86A, E and F fighters, with a longer and wider fuselage. It was also considerably heavier. The day fighter’s sliding canopy was replaced with a hinged “clamshell” canopy. A large, streamlined radome was above the reshaped engine intake.

The F-86D Sabre was 40 feet, 3¼ inches (12.275 meters) long with a wingspan of 37 feet, 1½ inches (11.316 meters), and overal height of 15 feet, 0 inches (4.572 meters). The interceptor had an empty weight of 13,518 pounds (6,131.7 kilograms), and maximum takeoff weight of 19,975 pounds (9,060.5 kilograms). It retained the leading edge slats of the F-86A, F-86E and early F-86F fighters. The horizontal stabilizer and elevators were replaced by a single, all-moving stabilator. All flight controls were hydraulically boosted. A “clamshell” canopy replaced the sliding unit of earlier models.

The F-86D was powered by a General Electric J47-GE-17 engine. This was a single-shaft, axial-flow turbojet with afterburner. The engine had a 12-stage compressor, 8 combustion chambers, and single-stage turbine. The J47-GE-17 was equipped with an electronic fuel control system which substantially reduced the pilot’s workload. It had a normal (continuous) power rating of 4,990 pounds of thrust (22.20 kilonewtons); military power, 5,425 pounds (24.13 kilonewtons) (30 minute limit), and maximum 7,500 pounds of thrust (33.36 kilonewtons) with afterburner (15 minute limit). (All power ratings at 7,950 r.p.m.) It was 18 feet, 10.0 inches (5.740 meters) long, 3 feet, 3.75 inches (1.010 meters) in diameter, and weighed 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms).

North American Aviation, Inc., F-86-50-NA Sabre 52-10143 banks toward the camera.

The maximum speed of the F-86D was 601 knots (692 miles per hour/1,113 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level, 532 knots (612 miles per hour/985 kilometers per hour) at 40,000 feet (12,192 meters), and 504 knots (580 miles per hour/933 kilometers per hour)at 47,800 feet (14,569 meters).

The F-86D had an area intercept range of 241 nautical miles (277 statute miles/446 kilometers) and a service ceiling of 49,750 feet (15,164 meters). The maximum ferry range with external tanks was 668 nautical miles (769 statute miles/1,237 kilometers). Its initial rate of climb was 12,150 feet per minute (61.7 meters per second) from Sea Level at 16,068 pounds (7,288 kilograms). From a standing start, the F-86D could reach its service ceiling in 22.2 minutes.

The F-86D was armed with twenty-four 2.75-inch (69.85 millimeter) unguided Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR) with explosive warheads. They were carried in a retractable tray, and could be fired in salvos of 6, 12, or 24 rockets. The FFAR was a solid-fuel rocket. The 7.55 pound (3.43 kilogram) warhead was proximity-fused, or could be set for contact detonation, or to explode when the rocket engine burned out.

North American Aviation F-86D-60-NA Sabre 53-4061 firing a salvo of FFARs.

The F-86D’s radar could detect a target at 30 miles (48 kilometers). The fire control system calculated a lead-collision-curve and provided guidance to the pilot through his radar scope. Once the interceptor was within 20 seconds of its target, the pilot selected the number of rockets to fire and pulled the trigger, which armed the system. At a range of 500 yards (457 meters), the fire control system launched the rockets.

Between December 1949 and September 1954, 2,505 F-86D Sabres (sometimes called the “Sabre Dog”) were built by North American Aviation. There were many variants (“block numbers”) and by 1955, almost all the D-models had been returned to maintenance depots or the manufacturer for standardization. 981 of these aircraft were modified to a new F-86L standard. The last F-86D was removed from U.S. Air Force service in 1961.

After its service with the United States Air Force, F-86D 51-6168 was transferred to the Greek Air Force. In 2009, it was photographed, stripped and sitting on its belly, at Agrinion Airport (AGQ), Greece.

North American Aviation, Inc., F-86-50-NA Sabre 52-10143, right roll over Malibu CA

¹ FAI Record File Number 10428

² FAI Record File Number 8868

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

2 September 1953

Captain Russell M. Dobyns, United States Air Force, with his YH-21 Workhorse. (FAI)
Captain Russell M. Dobyns, United States Air Force, with his YH-21 Work-Horse. (FAI)

2 September 1953: At the Dayton Air Show, Captain Russell Martin Dobyns, United States Air Force, flew a Piasecki YH-21-PH Work-Horse tandem rotor helicopter to an altitude of 6,739 meters (22,110 feet), setting an Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Altitude Without Payload for reciprocating-engine helicopters.¹ This record still stands.

Two days later, Captain Dobyns flew his H-21 over a 3-kilometer course. Making four passes, two in each direction, he averaged 236.19 kilometers per hour (146.76 miles per hour). This established a second FAI world record.²

Piasecki YH-21-PH Workhorse, 50-1235, FAI World Altitude Record holder. (FAI)
Piasecki YH-21-PH Workhorse, 50-1235, FAI World Altitude Record holder. (FAI)

The Piasecki YH-21 Work-Horse made its first flight at Morton Grove, Pennsylvania, just over four months earlier, on 11 April 1952. It was a single-engine, tandem rotor transport helicopter. The Piasecki Helicopter Corporation built 18 pre-production YH-21-PH helicopters, followed by three production variants, the H-21A, H-21B and H-21C. Major Dobyns’ record-setting YH-21 was the fourth pre-production aircraft.

In 1962, the helicopter was redesignated CH-21. In U.S. Army service, the H-21 was named Shawnee, in accordance with the Army’s tradition of naming its aircraft after Native American tribes.

The H-21A could be flown by a single pilot, although it was normally operated by two pilots, with a flight mechanic (crew chief), and could carry a maximum of 16 persons, including crew members.

With rotors turning, the ship’s overall length was 86 feet, 5 inches (26.340 meters) (86 feet, 4 inches for the H-21B). The helicopter was 52 feet, 2 inches (15.900 meters) long with its blades folded, and it was 16 feet, 0 inches (4.877 meters) high.

Each three-bladed rotor had a diameter of 44 feet, 0 inches (13.411 meters). The angle in the fuselage was intended to provide adequate vertical clearance between the intermeshing fore and aft rotor assemblies. (Later tandem rotor helicopters use raised pylons.) The rotor blades were constructed of wood around a steel spar and covered with 3-ply mahogany plywood. The airfoil is symmetrical. Each blade is 19 feet, 6.50 inches (5.956 meters) long and 1 foot, 6.00 inches (0.457 meters) wide. There is 5° 37′ of negative twist from the blade root to tip. The individual rotor blades weigh 178 pounds (80.74 kilograms).

The forward rotor turned counter-clockwise, as seen from above. (The advancing blade is on the helicopter’s right side.) The rear rotor turns the opposite direction. Normal operating speed for the main rotors was 235 to 260 r.p.m. (233–350 r.p.m. in autorotation, with a transient droop to 210 r.p.m.). At 250 r.p.m., the blades’ tip speed is 594 feet per second (181 meters per second). The counter-rotating rotors cancelled out engine torque, eliminating any need for a tail rotor.

The H-21A had an empty weight was 7,966 pounds (3,613 kilograms), with a gross weight of 11,500 pounds (5,216 kilograms) and maximum overload weight of 13,500 pounds (6,123 kilograms). It could carry a maximum external load of 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms).

ARVN troops wait while a U.S. Army CH-21C Shawnee lands. (LIFE Magazine)
ARVN troops wait while a U.S. Army CH-21C Shawnee lands. (Larry Burrows/LIFE Magazine)

The H-21 was powered by a single air-cooled, supercharged, 1,823.13-cubic-inch-displacement (29.876 liter) Wright Aeronautical Division Cyclone 863C9WD1 (R-1820-103) nine-cylinder radial, mounted inside the fuselage at midship, and drove the front and rear rotors in opposite directions through drive shafts and gear boxes.

The Wright R-1820-103 engine was rated at 1,275 horsepower at 2,500 r.p.m., and 1,425 horsepower at 2,700 r.p.m., for takeoff. (Installed in the H-21A, the engine was restricted to a 30-minute limit above 2,500 r.p.m.) This direct-drive engine had a compression ratio of 6.80:1 and required 100/130 aviation gasoline. The engine was 4 feet, 0.50 inches (1.232 meters) long, 4 feet, 6.95 inches (1.396 meters) in diameter, and weighed 1,350 pounds (612 kilograms). Wright built 971 R-1820-103s from November 1950 through 1957.

The H-21A had a maximum speed of 100 knots (115 miles per hour/185 kilometers per hour) and could hover sideways at up to 40 knots (46 miles per hour/74 kilometers per hour). The helicopter could land and take off from sloped surfaces up to 20°.

Under standard atmospheric conditions, at a gross weight of 11,500 pounds, the H-21A could hover in ground effect (HIGE) at approximately 9,500 feet (2,896 meters), and out of ground effect (HOGE) at about 6,750 feet (2,057 meters).

The H-21A had an internal fuel capacity of 300 U.S. gallons (1,136 liters), giving a maximum range under cruise conditions of 481 nautical miles (554 statute miles/891 kilometers) at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Its service ceiling was 19,200 feet (5,852 meters).

The U.S. Air Force immediately ordered 32 H-21A helicopters for Search and Rescue operations. The Workhorse was well suited to cold weather operations and it was widely used in Alaska, Canada, and the Antarctic. Another 163 H-21B models were ordered as a troop transport. The U.S. Army ordered a similar H-21C variant.

In 1955, Piasecki became Vertol and eventually Boeing Vertol. The company would continue to produce tandem rotor helicopters such as the H-46 Sea Knight and the CH-47 Chinook, which is still in production.

Russell M. Dobyns, 1942. (Volunteer)

Russell Martin Dobyns was born in Norton, Virginia, 2 July 1921. He was the son of Bridie Witten Dobyns, a grocery salesman, and Zollie Russell Martin Dobyns. He attended Norton High School in Norton, Virginia, graduating in 1940. He then entered the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, as a member of the Class of 1944. Dobyns was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha (ΠΚΑ).

Russell Dobyns enlisted as an aviation cadet in the Air Corps, United States Army, on 16 June 1942. He had brown hair, blue eyes, was 5 feet, 6 inches (1.68 meters) tall, and weighed 150 pounds (68 kilograms). Trained as a pilot, he was discharged 29 August 1943, and then commissioned as a second lieutenant, 30 August 1943.

During World War II, Lieutenant Dobyns flew 32 combat missions over Europe as a pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber.

Returning to the United States, Dobyns married his wife, Ada, in 1945. They would have a son, Russell Martin Dobyns, Jr., born 25 November 1946.

Following the war, Dobyns remained in the military until being released from active duty 30 March 1950. Less than three months later, he was recalled to active duty because of teh Korean War. Major Dobyns retired from the Air Force 5 February 1964.

Entering civilian life, Dobyns was employed as an aeronautical engineer by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation at Marietta, Georgia.

Major Dobyns’ son, Russell, a Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps, was killed in action in the Quang Tri Province of Vietnam, 10 May 1969.

Russell Martin Dobyns, Sr., died in Fulton County, Georgia, 17 August 2007. His remains were interred at the Arlington Memorial Park, Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Piasecki H-21B Workhorse -03433 at Elmendorf Air Foce Base, Alaska, circa 1960. (U.S. Air Force)
Piasecki H-21B Workhorse 53-4334 at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, circa 1963. This helicopter was later registered N6796 by the FAA. (U.S. Air Force)

¹ FAI Record File Number 2185

² FAI Record File Number 13102

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes