Chronological Reminders Of The Past
Ardmore Air Force Base
Southern Oklahoma Area
(Dates in many instances for both base periods are dates of publication of the Daily Ardmoreite, Bombs-Away or Carrier Wings and may not reflect actual date of the event.)
1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959
email to gsimmons The base was reacquired, February 1, 1952, by lease from the City of Ardmore for $1 per year until 1977. The total acreage in the lease was 2,498 acres. Sixty-four buildings of WWII vintage were still on the base, however, the majority of WWII construction had been removed. Two active runways, 7225' x 150' and 5,200' x 150', remained from the former Army Air Field's four runways.
The first contract on Ardmore Air Force Base was let, June 10, 1952. Work started, June 24, 1952, with general rehabilitation of the former WWII hospital area.
A2/c Jack Aeschliman, first editor of "Carrier Wings," edits his last issue prior to discharge from the AF. He and wife Ana and four-month old son, David Hoyt, will move to Cordle, Georgia where he will work with the newspaper. He published the first issue of "Carrier Wings," January 21, 1952. November 12, 1952 Fast Forward Note: The first edition of "Carrier Wings" printed at Ardmore was Volume 2, Number 23, Wednesday, August 19, 1953.
Announcement made to 516th Troop Carrier Wing, Memphis, Tennessee that they would move to Ardmore Air Force Base sometime within the first seven months of 1953. Lt. Colonel Joseph L. Stotler was assigned senior liaison officer and acting commander of the soon to be activated Ardmore Air Force Base. The new base would be entirely heated with natural gas and not coal as was the WWII base. December 9, 1952
Government officials in 1952 had plans for AAFB to be one of 40 BOMARC missile squadron sites. The sites were to house 120 Nike missiles. The Ardmore site was tentatively schedule to be operative by January 1963. Fast Forward Note: This did not happen for various reasons. One being that the base had closed by that date and world conditions and weapons had also changed.
Colonel Willis W. Mitchell, CO, 516th TCW, Memphis, will retire from AF January 16, 1953. Colonel Mitchell, a reserve officer in the USAF, was recalled to active duty in 1951. He was previously a captain with American Airlines and will return to his former position. Colonel George L. Holcomb will assume command of the 516th January 20, 1953. Note: These future plans for the 516th TCW were announced by Major General Robert W. Douglass, Commanding General, 18th AF, at the Memphis American Legion, Post 1, Victory Day Committee dinner at the William Len Hotel, Memphis. Colonel Holcomb was in attendance. November 25, 1952 Fast Forward Note: The 516 TCW, a reserve unit activated April 16, 1951, was deactivated January 16, 1953. The 463rd TCW was activated at Memphis Municipal Airport, January 16, 1953, by the 18th Air Force. Major General Robert W. Douglas, Jr., Commanding General of the 18th AF and Brigadier General A. C. Strickland, Chief of Staff, 18th AF, were present for the ceremony. The majority of personnel of the 516th were transferred to the 463rd TCW.
Colonel Holcomb visits Ardmore and inspects the base. At this time, 75-percent of the rehabilitation of WWII remaining buildings had been completed. These included the hospital area, two hangers, warehouses and aircraft refueling system. Note: Perrin Field, Sherman, Texas was using the field in transition training for B-26 pilots. A ground crew of 25, plus two crash rescue units, a UHF radio control unit and ambulance were stationed there. December 23, 1952
"Carrier Wings," the base weekly, published articles about Ardmore and the surrounding area to acquaint airmen and their families with the community prior to their moving here.
The final pilot class in propeller driven aircraft graduated from AF flying school at Craig AFB, Alabama, December 19, 1952. All future USAF fighter pilots were trained in jet planes only.
Colonel Holcomb announced that the move to Ardmore Air Force Base had been postponed indefinitely and the move might not be made for a year to year and half. Plans were being reevaluated to improve the Memphis facility. April 14, 1953
Re-enlistment bonus for extending service time was: Cash, $360 for 6-year enlistment, $250 for 5-years, $160 for 4-years. Included was a 30-day re-enlistment leave. April 28, 1953
Headline for "Carrier Wings," Tuesday, June 9, 1953, declares move of 463rd to Ardmore during first quarter of Fiscal Year, 1954 (July and after, 1953). Sixty personnel from Memphis are already stationed at Ardmore. June 9, 1953
All officers and Airmen First Class through grade of Master Sergeant will have household goods shipped at Government expense to Ardmore. Rank, however, has its privilege. Airman First Class can ship 3000 lbs. free, A1/c with seven years service or over, 4500 lbs. Colonel and Lt. Colonel 9000 lbs., Major and W-4 9000 lbs., Captain and W-3 8500 lbs., First Lieutenant and W-2 7500 lbs., Second Lieutenant and W-1 7000 lbs. June 23, 1953
Wing Judge Advocate reminds base personnel to be sure they can legally remove mortgaged property from Tennessee to Oklahoma. It is imperative that personnel impacted by these conditions get written permission from their creditors to remove such items from the State of Tennessee. June 23, 1953
Personnel and equipment of 463rd Troop Carrier Wing arriving daily at Ardmore Air Force Base from Memphis, Tennessee. Approximately 250 personnel already at base with more to arrive soon. Fifteen trucks arrived Sunday, July 12, 1953 with 40 trucks leaving Memphis July 15th for Ardmore. The tractors that pulled the loaded semi-trailers are flown back to Memphis in Fairchild C-119s to bring more loaded trailers to Ardmore. July 13, 1953
Service Club Director, Betty Jo Drewry and Captain F. N. Satterlee, Public Information Officer, visited Ardmore to arrange for their work here. Drewry plans on moving to Ardmore August 1, 1953. Satterlee will be in charge of all public information and related activities when the 463rd begins operation (he was officially assigned to the base August 15, 1953). July 13, 1953 Fast Forward Note: Miss Drewry, a Memphis, Tennessee native, transferred to a duty station in Europe in early 1954. She had previously served in Korea, and at Clark AFB, and Camp John Hay in the Philippines. Satterlee remained at Ardmore until the base closed.
Twenty-two Naval ROTC students from Oklahoma University perish in midnight crash of Navy Packet (C-82) aircraft at Milton, Florida. The crash claimed 41 lives; 16 were native Oklahomans, all enrolled in the ROTC program. July 18, 1953
Ardmore Police Chief, Hubert Bartlett, reported that the reactivation of AAFB had resulted in an increase of prostitutes, many coming from other localities. July 21, 1953
The need for repair of the Washita River bridge east of the base was emphasized in "Daily Ardmoreite" editorial. The bridge had been badly damaged by fire. The absence of a usable bridge requires that base personnel and civilian employees living east, southeast and northeast of the base must travel many miles to enter the base from the west entrance. July 22, 1953
James W. Smith, Gene Autry, was awarded the contract as clerk in charge of AAFB postal installation. July 23, 1953
Korean truce signed ending 37 months of death and conflict, 499 Oklahomans killed, 1,326 wounded and 210 MIA. July 24, 1953
Sgt/1C Harold R. Cross, Jr., 24, Michigan, was the last soldier to die in the Korean conflict. He died on the way to a field hospital 80 minutes after being wounded in a tremendous artillery and mortar barrage four hours before the cease fire. He was a member of K Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regimental Combat Team. Fast Forward Note: Later information reported on www.militaryphotos.net states that a Marine wounded the day before Smith was last to die. This exert follows: “On the war's last day, July 27, 1953, 30 Americans died in Korea--25 from combat action and five accidentally. The men hailed from a variety of Army units. The 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 40th and 45th divisions, as well as the 5th and 187th regiments all lost men in the last 24 hours. Both the 3rd and 45th divisions suffered at least seven killed. Each one of their regiments counted casualties. Marine Pfc. Harold B. Smith of B Co., 1st Bn., 7th Marines, 1st Marine Div., took his last breath aboard the hospital ship Haven, then anchored in Inchon Harbor, at 9:05 AM on July 28. The day before--just 16 minutes prior to the cease-fire taking effect at 10 PM.--Smith had tripped a land mine coming in from patrol on the western front somewhere between the main line of resistance and Outpost Berlin, he stepped on the deadly device, which sent shrapnel to his head and chest. ‘I was preparing to fire a white star cluster to signal the armistice when his body was brought in,’ recalled Oma Day. He was transported by helicopter through the C Company aid station. The Oregon, Ill., native was 21 years old. Smith had just arrived in Korea that May, after a yearlong tour of duty in the Philippines. Smith's wounding on July 26 and subsequent death the next day at 9:44 PM, made him the last hostile American fatality of the Korean War. (Previously, it was believed to be Harold Cross.)” Since Cross was the last to die from wounds received on July 27, 1953, the last day, both men will be recognized for their supreme sacrifice on this website.
Mayor Clifford Johnson, Lex James and Raymond Colvert visit 463rd TCW at Memphis, Tennessee. July 28, 1953
"Available, 15 duplexes in Brantley Addition, two bedroom, garage, $82 month." "Carrier Wings," July 28, 1953
Base Housing Officer, Lt. John J. Samoske, put out plea for a listing of all available housing in the area. July 29, 1953
The 774th Troop Carrier Squadron will attain operational status in early August. Married members with families will leave Memphis by private autos Friday, arriving Ardmore Sunday. Unmarried officers and men will fly the "green- nosed" C-119s to Ardmore. The squadron CO is Major Albert C. Hegenberger. The squadron is composed of 43 officers and 172 airmen. July 30, 1953
Shep Fields and his Rippling Rhythm Orchestra, Memphis, played for "Farewell Memphis" dance August 1, 1953.
Base officially activated August 1, 1953 by Headquarters, Washington, DC. Lt. Colonel Joseph L. Stotler, acting base commander, announced an all day open house would be held on the base October 6, 1953. Most of the unfinished activation projects should be completed by that date. August 4, 1953
Bus transportation was arranged from AAFB to unusable Washita River bridge on east side of base. Purpose was to pickup servicemen and civilians living in Sulphur who parked on the east side of the bridge and walked across to board the bus. This saved personnel from having to drive an additional 17 miles through Davis, Oklahoma on US77 to enter the west gate of the base. August 16, 1953
Ardmore Day Nursery, Inc., 321 C Street, NW, made their school schedule available to AF wives. Fee for the service was $6.00 per week. Mrs. Errett Dunlap, Jr., President, extended the invitation by letter published in "Carrier Wings." August 19, 1953
Two of the last three contracts at AAFB were awarded to Peter Kiewit and Sons, Oklahoma City, for strengthening of taxiways and construction of parking apron, $1,154,867. Construction of Motor Vehicle Shop awarded to Burton-Miller Construction Company, Ardmore, $95,113. The remaining contract to be awarded was for construction of Base Operations and Control Tower. Date of advertisement was set for August 24, 1953. The Oklahoma Natural Gas Company line to the base had been completed. August 23, 1953
Statistics indicate 1952 was worst year for polio attacks, 57,628 new cases. August 24, 1953
Merl Lindsay and Oklahoma Night Riders play at Club Willow. August 26, 1953
Bus service from AAFB to and from Ardmore was provided for those attending church services there. Three trips to Ardmore were available beginning at 0800, 1000, 1130 and returning. They departed from the motor pool and Post Exchange. August 26, 1953
AAFB vehicle tags were issued by the Air Police Operations Center, Building 4-109. The cost was twenty-five cents. Old Memphis tags were to be turned in. August 26, 1953
The move of 463rd to Ardmore mostly complete. Colonel George L. Holcomb, Wing Commander arrives September 1 and becomes base commander replacing Lt. Colonel Joseph L. Stotler, liaison officer and acting base commander. Stotler was made commander of the Air Base Group. The wing operates approximately 50 C-119 aircraft plus several smaller staff aircraft. Holcomb, his wife and 4-year old son live on the base. September 4, 1953
Chaplain (Major) H. L. Bailey (Presbyterian), reported for duty September 3, 1953. He served two years in WWII and was recalled for Korean duty in 1950. September 13, 1953
Beatrice Ayer Patton, 67, widow of General George S. Patton, was killed when thrown from horse. She was riding with 30 friends in a drag hunt on the estate of her brother in Hamilton, Massachusetts. A drag hunt is following the scent with dogs of something previously dragged along the ground. Her daughter, Beatrice, died unexpectedly a year ago. She leaves a son, Captain George S. Patton, III and daughter, Ruth Ellen Totten, Carlile, Pennsylvania. September 30, 1953
The base paper "Carrier Wings" (a weekly), was first published January 21, 1952 at Memphis, Tennessee by the 516th Troop Carrier Wing. It was a five-column, four-page tabloid distributed on Thursdays. It was printed in Ardmore by Sprekelmeyer Printing. October 4, 1953
Colonel George Gifford Norman, of Headquarters, AAFB, was among 98 AF officers and civilians completing a concentrated training program designed to assist in improving the quality and reducing the cost of national defense through the modern management methods of competitive private enterprise. The three week program was held at George Washington University as part of a program started in 1951 and included leaders from labor, commerce and industry, government, education and the armed services. The 98 students ranged in rank from Lt. Colonel through Brigadier General. Discussions related to problems of AF commands to broader questions relating to the nation’s natural resources, manpower supply and world affairs. Considered also was the effect of national defense measures on the civilian economy. October 4, 1953
Lt. Roland F. Thomas is the only Negro pilot assigned to the 463rd TCW at Ardmore. He has been in the US Air Force for 2.5-years, flying C-119s as a duty pilot with the 773rd Troop Carrier Squadron for 9-months. He is a native of Duluth, Minnesota. October 4, 1953.
Lt. Colonel Roland R. Jehl, Wing Operations Officer, and wife have two sons, Roland, six, and Laurence, four. Mrs. Jehl was a WAC driver for General Eisenhower during WWII. October 4, 1953
First open house and combined dedication service for AAFB was held October 6, 1953. The attendance for the occasion was estimated to be 13,000 civilians and 2,000 military.
Sixteen year veteran, Howard W. Wesner, assigned resident engineer at AAFB. He was formerly stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. October 21, 1953
The first major accident at the base involved an explosion of a mobile kitchen unit with an unknown gas leak. A1/c King Solomon, 20, Montgomery, Alabama was severely burned in the accident. October 9, 1953
Colonel Alonzo S. Penniston replaced Lt. Colonel Joseph L. Stotler as Air Base Group commanding officer. Stotler became executive officer of the 463rd Air Base Group. Penniston was previously stationed at Mitchel AFB, New York. October 28, 1953
Flight Nurse (1/Lt.) Doris Rataj (RAW-TAY), Detroit, is the second flight nurse reporting for duty at AAFB. She has more than 200 hours flight time in C-54s and C-124s flying out of Japan and Korea participating in 125 air evacuation missions of the wounded. Earlier she flew with the MATs Pacific Division at Hickham Field, Hawaii. She is recipient of the Air Medal for duty in Korea. October 28, 1953 Fast Forward Note: Captain Doris Rataj, 28, died in a one-vehicle accident two miles west of AAFB, July 20, 1954. On her way to Ardmore, Captain Rataj was westbound and alone in her 1954 Oldsmobile when it exited Highway 77c to the right, then crossed the highway to the left into a 30-foot ravine at approximately 10:10 PM. She was to leave for Detroit the next day, July 21, and would have received her discharge from the AF five days later, July 26, 1954. She joined the AF in September 1949.
Bids let for construction of guard house and parachute building at AAFB. Bids to be opened November 13, 1953.
Construction to begin on Ardmore's new Osteopathic Hospital, November 17, 1953.
Oklahoma University football coach, Bud Wilkinson, scheduled to speak at the Ardmore Tiger Football Banquet, December 8, 1953.
First aircraft crash at the base occurred Saturday, November 28, 1953. The AT-11(C-45), twin engine monoplane bound for Ft. Sill, Oklahoma was piloted by Captain Francis N. Satterlee, Public Information Officer for the base. Satterlee was seriously injured receiving a broken leg, cuts and contusions. The three passengers received minor injuries. The aircraft crashed approximately 75 yards off the runway after going out of control following liftoff. It was Satterlee's first crash. He was a veteran pilot of the USAF, RCAF and the combat zone of Korea.
Coffee price in Ardmore cafes jumps from nickel to dime per cup. November 29, 1953
The Skymasters dance band, a mentalist, and a vocalist will present "Blues In The Night" variety show, January 7-8, 1954 in the Civic Auditorium to raise money to combat polio.
Base Fire Chief, Nimrod Borchardt, reports total cost in dollars and cents due to fires on the base was $557.82 during 1954. The losses were from three fires, two in automotive equipment ($527.82) and one mattress fire ($30.32). Base Fire Marshal, Captain Peary A. Schelter, personally congratulated the fire department personnel for a splendid fire prevention program. (Report for Fiscal Year 54) January 1, 1954.
AFL Carpenters union back to work after delaying construction of Southern Oklahoma Memorial Hospital from November 23 to December 7, 1953. Non-union carpenters were to take up construction. January 10, 1954
Brantley Construction, Ardmore, to build 60-70 FHA homes costing less than $10,000 each. January 17, 1954.
The Flight Simulator School for Fairchild C-119 "Flying Boxcars" opened January 18, 1954. The flight simulator was located in a building north of Wing Headquarters.
The NCO Club (the first one) was opened again after remodeling. January 28, 1954
Burton-Miller Construction Company, Ardmore, was low bidder ($16,136.73) on base chapel. The 77' x 112' building will seat 300 persons. January 29, 1954
Dr. Walter Hardy, longtime Ardmore physician of 52 years, dies at age 72. February 7, 1954
Colonel James G. Silliman was assigned commander of 773rd Troop Carrier Squadron in January 1954. He accompanied the squadron to France in November 1954, returning to AAFB in May 1955 to become Wing Operations Officer for the 463rd TCW.
J. F. Johns, manager, Dornick Hills Golf Course, invited all officers and airmen to use the golf course and Country Club. February 25, 1954
Thirty C-119s from the 463rd TCW participate in the three-day Mackall Training Mission with the 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. February 26, 1954
Colonel George L. Holcomb and other officers participated in a ground breaking ceremony of proposed 77 unit trailer village to be located west of the two north hangers. Fast Forward Note: The trailer park became known as Pecan Acre. A children's playground with slides and swings was located in the pecan grove on the west end of the trailer park. The lots were 28' x 55'. There was a utility house for laundry, a lavatory and shower facilities. Cost for the project was $48,000. March 7, 1954
An Ardmore Air Force Base Officer’s Wives’ Club was organized in 1954 and was active until late 1958 when personnel began leaving for assignment at Sewart AFB, Tennessee. Eligible for active membership were wives of all commissioned and warrant officers who resided with their husbands in the area. All wives and female officers on the base were automatically active members unless they notified the Corresponding Secretary that they did not wish to participate. Widows and wives of regular and retired reserve officers and female reserve officers in the area were eligible for Associate Membership if they made application to participate. They did not have voting privileges or hold office. Dues for active and associate members were two dollars each month. Female officers paying dues to the base Officers’ Open Mess were not required to pay dues. Guests of members were welcome except for business meetings.
The club met on the base on the first, second, and third Thursdays of each month. The first meeting was a luncheon and program meeting, the second was for welcoming and cards, and the third was a joint social and business meeting. The third meeting in August and February was for the purpose of electing officers and conducting special business if necessary. Term of office was six months. Offices held were Honorary President (Base Commander’s wife) President, First and Second Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. The officers made up the Executive Board that was the governing body of the Club The object of the Club was to “develop women’s activities and promote welfare projects at Ardmore Air Force Base, disseminate information of interest and value to its members, and to foster and preserve the ideals of good fellowship.” The Club also worked closely and participated on occasion on worthy projects with women civic clubs of Ardmore. A Non-Commissioned Officer’s Wives’ club was also active on the base. It had a similar governing officer structure, with bylaws, dues and purpose. On occasion, the clubs worked together on common projects beneficial to the base and community.
US Choice round steak (.65/lb), ham (.59/lb), Del Monte sugar peas, six #303 cans (.89), Joe Taylor's Food Store. March 8, 1954
The Skymasters, AAFB band, to play for St. Patrick's Day dance at Officer's Club. March 12, 1954
463rd units to participate in TACAIR 54-7 in N. Carolina and S. Carolina during April-May, 1954. March 14, 1954
Angle parking to return to west side of street in the unit blocks of N. Washington and S. Washington. March 14, 1954
Six AAFB airmen perish in C-119 crash near Annapolis, Maryland along with 12 additional military personnel. The other military people included five airforce men, five sailors, a soldier and a marine. This was the first crash with fatalities from the 463rd TCW since it arrived at Ardmore in 1953 and the first from the 774th Squadron in three years of operation. March 19, 1954
Construction of the 84' all steel control tower is near completion. Base Operations and the weather station will be housed in the building. The base hospital is almost finished, the trailer park is underway, and chapel construction is progressing; taxiway, runway repair and parking apron construction 70 percent completed. March 21, 1954
Peter Kiewit Construction Company (asphaltic concrete) received contract for runway and parking aprons. Largest contract to date of $1,000,000-plus. March 21, 1954
Hospital mess hall opens to accommodate 250 people for three meals a day. March 21, 1954
Workers on new Southern Oklahoma Memorial Hospital have been on carpenter's union strike again delaying construction on the 1.5 million dollar project. March 24, 1954
General John K. Cannon, Commanding General, Tactical Air Command, visits AAFB. He retired after 30 years service March 31, 1954. His successor was General O. P. Weyland. April 1, 1954.
The first baby delivered at the Base Hospital was born to S/Sgt. and Mrs. Daniel C. Moye, Medical Supply, at 12:14 AM, Friday, April 2, 1954. Lt. Giles A. Sexton delivered the 7 pound, 2-3/4 ounce boy with assistance from Lt. Barbara Longwell and Mrs. Elmer Burkhardt.
Lufkin Construction Company, Lufkin, Texas, was low bidder ($52,615) to construct 15,000 barrels aviation gasoline storage facility. Government estimate was $64,916.70. April 4, 1954
A 240' steel, one-lane, 12.5' wide, Bailey bridge with wooden floor was constructed across the Washita River on the east side of the base. Much of the former bridge built in 1908 was destroyed by fire in 1950 leaving only the piers and a portion of the floor. A construction detachment platoon (41 men) under command of Lt. Jack C. Brown, Company B, 1901st Engineer Aviation Battalion from Wolters AFB, Texas was assisted by District 1 Carter County employees and 463rd crane and operator from AAFB. Sgt./1c Bogus Padgett was platoon sergeant. April 8, 1954
Ardmore Fliers baseball team will play the Ardmore Cardinals at Cardinal Park, April 18, 1954. Jim Hosch is manager. Fast Forward Note: The Ardmore Cardinals defeated the AFB Fliers, 12-1. Colonel George L. Holcomb, CO, was flown to the game in a helicopter. Waco Turner, Ardmore oilman, attempted to strike out Colonel Holcomb but had difficulty finding the plate. Jack Summers pitched for the Fliers. Ed Schlneider and Bob Orlet pitched for the Cardinals. Airmen in uniform had free admission to all baseball games.
S/Sgt. C. H. Ryan, his wife and recently born twins were to be honored guests at the official opening of the Washita River bridge. S/Sgt. Ryan, who lives in Sulphur, Oklahoma, will save many hours of commuting due to the new bridge which allows a shorter route to the base. April 14, 1954
First huge hangar to be built at AAFB. The hangar will be 66' high, 250' wide and 370' long. Including sheds, the total floor area will be 95,000 square feet. T. C. Bateson, Dallas, Texas was low bidder at $1,961,501.80. Estimated completion time to be 390 calendar days. April 16, 1954
Several C-124s land at AAFB and will operate out of Ardmore as part of TACAIR operation in the southeastern US next week. Ten C-119s from AAFB will leave for Charleston, South Carolina next week to take part in the exercise. April 20, 1954
The Base Library, located near the west entrance in Building 4-110 which also contains the Post Office, was recently remodeled. Approximately 6,200 books and ten newspapers from ten leading US cities are available for servicemen.
H. D. Youngman Contractor, Inc, Baxter Springs, Kansas, awarded turf contract at low bid of $13,730. April 23, 1954
Top golfers tee off at 3rd Ardmore Open golf tournament; Julius Boros finishes first, Jerry Barber second, with Bo Winiger and Jimmy Clark tied for third. May 6-10, 1954
The 774rd TCS had the first C-119 with over 715 hours, five minutes flying time on both engines. The plane (#999) went into service August 1952. The 774th TCS had previously maintained an engine without change for 700 hours, 25 minutes (#995). Lt. William (Bill) Hatfield, 773rd TCS, and his crew is shown with #999 in Evreux, France while they were TDY there for six months in late 1954 and 1955. May 6, 1954
The new boat channel, just east of Lake Murray lodge, was opened. It saves about three miles travel from one arm of the lake to the other. May 9, 1954
The spire of the First Baptist Church, Ardmore, struck by lightening during severe rainstorm. May 10, 1954
General O. P. Weyland, CG of Tactical Air Command visits AAFB. May 14, 1954
TACAIR 54-7 was the largest post-war AF-Army joint maneuver of the 18th AF. They flew 1,131 C-119 sorties totaling 2,043 hours in the air; dropped into postage-stamp drop zones, 7,049 men and 826 tons of equipment by parachute; 2,530 men and 2,885 tons of equipment were air landed. This required 3,500 TO and landings by the Fairchild C-119s without incident. Ardmore had 32 C-119s participating in the exercise. William A. "Mac" McGalliard, "Daily Ardmoreite' reporter, covered TACAIR 54-7 for local readers. May 14, 1954
Colonel Joseph L. Stotler will retire June 1, 1954. A reservist, he was called to active duty March 4, 1951. He acted as liaison officer and acting commander during construction and reactivation of the base during the first-half of 1953. He became Air Base Group CO when the base was officially opened September 1, 1953. May 26, 1954
Haskell Lemon Construction Company, Ponca City, Oklahoma, receives contract ($21,1873) for walkways and parking areas on AAFB; government estimate $23,053. May 28, 1954
Elephant Walk, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Dana Andrews, and Peter Finch, was playing at Skyview Drive-In Theatre, admission was 45-cents. June 4, 1954.
On their 6th transitional training take-off, quick thinking, training and teamwork by Captain John Parrish, instructor pilot of the 773rd and pilot William J. Vieroski, Jr., paid-off when they experienced severe vibration of the nose wheel of the C-119 as they left the runway. Captain Parrish, who had 1200 hours in a C-119, immediately cut power to get the nose wheel back on the runway, reversed power to the props and applied the brakes. A tube failure had caused loss of the tire from the wheel. Minor damage was done to the door of the landing gear housing. June 11, 1954
A/1c Howard E. Hallenbeck, radio operator, was pulled from a C-119 by the slip stream while pulling in parachute static lines following a drop. He was uninjured in spite of a rough landing. He did not lose his hat; his glasses, which were in his shirt pocket beneath the parachute harness, were not broken. June 21, 1954
J. Raymond Gabbard resigns as Ardmore High School band director. July 1, 1954
New control tower to be operational soon. It will house the base operations office and the weather station. July 6, 1954
A family style picnic, sponsored by the Officer's Wives' Club, will be held in Lake Murray Park, Saturday, July 10, 1954. All officers and their families are invited to the event that begins at 11:00 AM with a softball game between teams coached by Colonel Norman and Colonel Penniston. Final details and a schedule of events will appear in the next issue of Carrier Wings.
AAFB golf course is under construction but funds for 10,000 feet of pipe for course irrigation are not available. The Ardmore Chamber of Commerce has initiated a fund raising and donation drive to provide funds for the pipe. Government funds will be available for maintaining the course after it is completed. Joe Taylor, Marvin Yeager and Gus Hendrix, members of the C of C Trade Development Division, are active in the project. July 11, 1954
Air base chapel is nearing completion. July 11, 1954.
Lt. Donald R. Remaklus received Soldiers Medal for heroism. Major General Chester E. McCarty, Commander, 18th AF presented the medal. July 13, 1954
Colonel Cecil H. Childre is named CO replacing Colonel George L. Holcomb. Holcomb was reassigned to Headquarters, Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, Virginia. He had been commander of the 463rd since January 1953 when the Wing was in Memphis, Tennessee. August 20, 1954
Three AAFB crews to participate in precision para-dropping at Sewart AFB, Tennessee, August 24, 25, 26. August 24, 1954
E. B. Bush Construction Company, Oklahoma City, was low bidder ($76,242) for base theatre. Government estimate was $79,690. The one-floor theatre contains 4,500 sq. feet. He also won bids ($2,225) for additional work on the motor vehicle shop, control tower and operations. August 29, 1954.
Burton-Miller Construction awarded contract ($130,293.35) for post exchange and cafeteria (176' x 71'). This was the 10th contract awarded to Burton-Miller totaling $1,317,600. Completion time estimated at 140 days. September 1, 1954.
The 16th Troop Carrier Squadron, including 130 officers and airmen representing 46 families, is expected to arrive in Ardmore, mid-November 1954. The unit will undergo a permanent change of station to AAFB from Sewart AFB, Tennessee. October 17, 1954
The Air Medal and Purple Heart were presented, posthumously, to the daughter of Lt. Alford C. Palmer by General Childre. Lt. Alford's F-84 was shot down in Korea, September 5, 1952. October 31, 1954
Air Base construction to exceed $10 millions by end of 1954. Thirty-two construction projects have been completed since reactivation was started in June 1952. Fifteen airmen's dormitories have been completed at a cost exceeding $2 millions. Resurfacing and construction of parking aprons and runways cost over $1 million. Projects underway include two squadron operations buildings, post exchange building, chapel, warehouses, guardhouse, air field lighting, gasoline storage, maintenance hangar, additional sidewalks and parking areas, warehouse sprinkler systems, runway marking, interior painting of dormitories, additional water well and water treating facilities, and a theatre building. Approved for construction in 1955, the NCO club, organizational maintenance shops building, gymnasium, and approximately 10,000 square yards of additional parking areas for vehicles.
The base chapel is about 55 percent complete with completion expected by September 11, 1954. E. B. Bush Construction Co. expects to complete the guardhouse by late September as well as two new warehouses. The 41st contract issued to Circle Construction Co, Oklahoma City, is for construction of two new squadron operations buildings at a cost of $125,000. Work will begin July 17, 1954.
The new post exchange building will be located across the street south of the present NCO club. It is expected to cost above $100,000. The 350-seat, air conditioned theatre will be located one block north of the Wing Headquarters building.
Project engineer, Howard H. Wesner, and his staff of 12 people supervise and inspect the projects. Colonel Stanley G. Reiff, district engineer for the Tulsa District of Corps of Engineers, is in charge of all project bidding and approval. July 22, 1954
The 773rd Troop Carrier Squadron, under command of Lt. Colonel James G. Silliman, departed AAFB November 14, 1954 for temporary duty at Evreux AB, France. They are the second squadron from the base to serve in France with the USAFE. Evreux is 60 miles NW of Paris in the Province of Normandy.
"Fun Festival" to be held at the Gene Autry School to raise money to buy equipment for the school lunch-room and playground. The program starts at 6:20 PM with spaghetti supper and a free stage show. Cake walks, doll walks and carnival features are also planned. Supper cost is 50-cents for adults and 35-cents for children. Mrs. George G. Norman (Inez) is the festival chairman. Mrs. Cecil Mayse is the PTA president.
The 16th Troop Carrier Squadron (Assault) arrived in Ardmore from Sewart AFB, Tennessee, saluting the city with a fly-over of eight YC-122s. The squadron is commanded by Major Lewis P. Lindsay. November 14, 1954 Note: The 16th had the only nine YC-122C aircraft of this type in the world. Two earlier models were produced by Chase, one YC-122A (1948), and one YC122B (1949). Ardmore apparently had the other nine YC-122Cs, serial numbers 49-2879/2887.
The Base Commissary opened Tuesday, December 14, 1954, in Building S-408 directly across from the Post Office. The store manager is M/Sergeant John J. Porshe. Hours are 0900 to 1500 Monday through Thursday, and from 1000 to 1830 on Friday, closed Saturday.
Major General Chester E. McCarty, CO, 18th Air Force, visited AAFB as his first official duty since assuming command of the 18th Air Force. He succeeded General Robert W. Douglas. He was impressed with the base, Ardmore Commissioners and Chamber of Commerce officials whom he met. He toured Ardmore, Lake Murray and the surrounding area and departed Sunday morning. December 16, 1954
Six C-119s from the 772nd and 774th TCS participated in the three-day airlift of U. S. Army's Puerto Rico based 65th Regimental Combat team in the climax of the island defense maneuver "Operation Shockwave." December 16, 1954
The first wedding in the new chapel was performed January 1, 1955, 4:00 PM, between A/3c, Owen Charles Reiley and Teresa June James, by Chaplain (Major) Howard L. Bailey. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Swan held a reception for them following the event. A/1c Swan and A/3c Reiley are both Chaplain Assistants. S/Sgt. George Dempster, Senior Chaplains Assistant, provided the organ music.
Keeping the C-119s in the air for 900 hours in December was a new record for the 774th Troop Carrier Squadron. The previous record of 740 hours was held by the 773rd TCS who were on temporary duty in Europe. Commander for the 774th was Lt. Colonel Roland R. Jehl. The 772nd TCS, commanded by Major Arthur Schaff, had a total of 880 hours flight time. January 12, 1955
M/Sgt. John Porche, commissary manager (1954-55) of the class 2 commissary store (AF Reg. 145-1), stated the store would add additional items during 1955. The store is non-profit, non-competative and the stock is determined by cash sales, store type, location, storage facilities and AF Regulation 145-1111. Milk, bread, cookies, candy, fruit, cigarettes, ice cream, etc. are examples of goods available. Top grade beef in small amounts, quarters or halves can be purchased at Air Force cost. The store was open 30-hours a week, 1200 to 1800 hours. January 13, 1955
General O. P. Weyland, Commander, of the Tactical Air Command, Langley Field, Virginia, visited for the first time with base officers January 26, 1955. Arriving shortly before noon, he was greeted by AAFB officials including Colonel George G. Norman, Executive Officer, Colonel W. T. Merrill, Maintenance and Supply Group Commander, Major W. J. Ballard, Executive Officer of the Air Base Group, Medical Officer Captain E. E. Reynolds and Airdrome Officer Captain Phillip C. Gromley. Weyland and his party departed the base at 3PM.
The Montana Play Boys, AAFB, were part of the Ardmore Air Force Base, March of Dimes Variety Show at the Ardmore Civic Auditorium. The band included airmen Barney Copeland, bass violin, Blackie Blackburn, guitar, and Steve McMurtrey, steel guitar. Airman George Damster, organist-pianist with the Skymasters dance band and organist for the Chapel, also performed. January 27, 1955
The MARS (Military Affiliate Radio Service) radio station was located on the NE area of the base, Bldg. 808. Operators at the station sent MARS-O-GRAMS, a telegram sent by radio, to selected Amateur Radio Operators (HAMs) throughout the US. The HAM passed the message from the soldier to relatives or others in his area by telephone at no-charge. The station began operation June 1953 with a power output of 500 watts covering an average distance of 1000 to 1500 miles. Call sign for official transmission was AF4FDQ; K4FDQ is used for amateur or personal messages. The station maintained direct high frequency contact with 18th AF at Donaldson AFB, South Carolina and Langley AFB, Virginia. Approximately 150 messages pass through the MARS switchboard monthly. Christmas messages were limited to 35 words or less. January 27, 1955
A C-119 from the 773rd Squadron on temporary duty in France made an emergency landing in Sondica, Spain when an engine failed while under instrument flight conditions. The other engine quit a short time later but was restarted and ran intermittently. The crew jettisoned 15 unarmed smoke bombs to lighten the load after restarting the left engine. One bomb fell into the garden of the Duke of Mandas who lives in San Sebastian. Another C-119 accompanying the flight radioed the emergency to Sondica Airport who had an aircraft on the active runway. The way was cleared and the C-119 landed safely with one engine still giving problems. The crew included 1st Lt. Robert Hurley, pilot; 1st Lt. James R. Slicker, co-pilot, A/2c Howard E Hallenbeck, radio operator; and A/2c Donald F Burton, crew chief. They were on a routine cargo mission from France to Madrid, Spain. February 6, 1955
Lt. Colonel and Mrs. C. M. Kincheloe and daughter Karen transferred recently to AAFB from Japan. He is Director of Material and will complete 27 years in the AF March 12, 1955. February 6, 1955 Fast Forward Note: Lt. Colonel Charles M. Kincheloe, 91, (USAF retired), retiring April 30, 1959 while Deputy Commander AAFB, took his final flight January 22, 2001. Colonel Kincheloe enlisted in the Army Air Corps March 12, 1928. Interment was at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. He resided in Ardmore after retirement.
Charlie Jones and Pete Michael opened Auto Repair Service at 512 12th Avenue, NW. Their sign read "Fly Boys Welcome-Open to 9PM-All work strictly guaranteed." February 6, 1955
Malenkov quits as Red Premier; Khrushchev becomes No. 1 Red. February 8, 1955
An Internet account of a former Troop Carrier airman, relates that C-119J aircraft of the 746th Troop Carrier Squadron, 456th Troop Carrier Wing, were practicing for the Corona "snatch" project at a civilian airport in Delaware in 1955. The crews were not aware of what the "snatch" technique would be used for and it was being done before the US had satellites in space. It is reported that several Ardmore Air Force Base aircraft also participated in perfecting the "snatch" maneuver.
Tex Beneke and Band appeared at Valentine Sweetheart Ball, Sunday, February 13th at the Officer's Club. Marylou Martin was soloist with Beneke. He performed at the Ardmore Army Air Field during WWII with his Naval Air Station Band from Norman, Oklahoma.
Four C-119 "Flying Boxcars" from the 463rd TCW, Ardmore, were assigned to transport troops and equipment to the Teapot Atomic Test in Nevada. Other 18th AF units also participated. February 16, 1955
AAFB Control Tower officially opened at 1:02 PM Tuesday when the team of A/1c Charles E. Aherns and A/1c San Juan C. Romero made the first transmission from the facility. Lt. Robert D. Bradshaw, Detachment Commander of 1984-5th AACS and Tower Chief S/Sgt. Arthur Kenne were busy with telephone installer Harvey F. Moore completing last minute details. February 22, 1955
Captain Phillip C. Gromley, 32, flight commander of the 16th TCS (Assault), 463rd TCW, became the first pilot in the USAF to complete 1,000 hours in Chase YC-122 assault aircraft. The combat glider of WWII was the prototype for the YC-122. The aircraft is essentially a powered glider used in front line battle situations where inadequate airstrips prevent operation of larger aircraft. February 25, 1955 Note: The YC-122 was the forerunner of the Fairchild C-123B.
First baby to be born by Caesarean Section at AAFB Hospital, February 25, 1955 (5:05 PM), belonged to Mrs. Lena Axtman, wife of S/Sgt. Richard F. Axtman, Maintenance Section, 774th TCS. The baby weighed six lbs., two and one half oz. Major Marchese, Base Surgeon, and Asst. Doctor Ethel Walker, Ardmore, Obstetrical consultant for the base hospital, performed the 1 hour, 45-minute operation.
Bids let for construction of the 11,000 sq. ft. recreational gymnasium. Cost estimated to be $100,000 plus and less than $500,000. February 25, 1955
Thirteen AAFB airmen escaped death or serious injuries in a short-field landing crash, March 3, 1955. The aircraft, C-119G (51-7995), 774th Squadron, landed short of the runway at Hagerstown Municipal Airport, Maryland, bounced and the right landing gear collapsed when it retouched the runway. The aircraft skidded down and off the runway to within 40 feet of six new C-119s. It caught fire approximately five minutes after the crash and was totally destroyed. The crew and passengers were not injured and left the aircraft immediately after the crash. The plane was bringing three crews to receive new aircraft from the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation, Hagerstown. The pilot was Captain Richard John (Lucky) Bouldin; co-pilot was 1st Lt. Ted W. (Also Lucky) Caudle. Fast Forward Note: Fairchild company pilots rushed to the crash scene and taxied the new C-119s to another area.
The Ardmore Fliers basketball team captured 2nd place in AF Great Plains Cage Tournament for second time in a row. The winning team was from Warren AFB, Cheyenne, Wyoming. March 23, 1955
The most modern Auto Hobby Shop in TAC was opened March 23, 1955 at AAFB.
Ardmore native, Eddie Rue McClanahan, graduate of Ardmore High School and a junior at Tulsa University, was featured in a story in the Tulsa World newspaper. At this time, Ms McClanahan had no idea she would become a well known TV and stage personality (nor did we). March 27, 1955
The official 463rd organizational flag with official wing emblem was presented to Brig. General Cecil H. Childre. The wing emblem was designed by M/Sgt. Palmer D. Byran, NCO in charge of the Troop Carrier Group Communications section. Byran's design won the "Wing Emblem Contest" sponsored by the 463rd TCW. The original flag with the first shield cost $400 and was hand embroidered by Helen Miller with a firm in Wichita Falls, Texas. The emblem required 180 hours to complete. March 31, 1955
Fairchild C-119s were undergoing tests on new type cargo doors at Fairchild Aircraft Corp., Hagerstown, Maryland. The bottom section of the new door could be retracted into the upper section while in flight to provide an opening for paratroop operations or release of resupply bundles. It could also be raised to provide an unobstructed opening the height and width of the fuselage for air-dropping heavy equipment and supplies. April 1, 1955
16th Troop Carrier Squadron learns YC-122s will be replaced by Fairchild Aircraft Corp. C-123B (Assault) transports. April 6, 1955
Sir Winston Churchill, 81, resigned as Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was succeeded by Sir Anthony Eden, 57. April 6, 1955
Officers and airmen from the 16th Troop Carrier Squadron returned from a 10-day C-123B familarization course at Hagerstown, Maryland. April 7, 1955
The new base theatre opened April 15, 1955.
First polio vaccine received by Carter County to be administered to 1,800 First and Second graders. Other grades received the shots later. April 18, 1955
Seventy-six-year-old Albert Einstein died at Princeton Hospital, Princeton, New Jersey, of inflamation of the gall bladder. April 18, 1955
Early-day Hardy Hospital (Sanitarium) was purchased by Albert Riesen, member of family who owned the "Daily Ardmoreite" newspaper. No information as to the long-term future use of the facility was given. April 20, 1955.
"Daily Ardmoreite" newsman, Jim Kyle, Bill Morgan, "Oklahoma City Times" and Grant Foster, WKY-TV, Oklahoma City, fly to Pope AFB, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina to join a squadron of the 464th TCW who flew to France to relieve the AAFB's 773rd Squadron. The 773rd was deployed to France in November 1954. April 24, 1955 Fast Forward Note: Bill Morgan died of cancer a few years later. Jim Kyle, with the "Daily Oklahoman" at the time, wrote his obituary. Jim Kyle gives his account of the trip with the 464th in "This I Remember...".
AAFB airmen participated in maneuvers at Pope AFB, North Carolina. April 25, 1955
Lt. Colonel Horace N. Cooper, staff chaplain, HQ, 18th AF, visited AAFB recently. He flelt at home as he was chaplain at Ardmore Army Air Field from June 1944 to September 1945. Colonel Cooper once played clarinet and saxophone in the famous Glenn Miller band. April 28, 1955
Four AAFB C-119s took part in Operation "Jungle Jim," combined AF-Army training exercise at Ft. Sherman, Panama Canal Zone. They transported all personnel, cargo and supplies used in the exercise from the US. April 28, 1955
Ardmore Chamber of Commerce hints that a huge manufacturing plant hiring as many as 10,000 to 15,000 might be in Ardmore’s near future. The plant would require a site of 2,000 acres. There was no indication of who it might be or what would be manufactured. Location of the plant at Ardmore depended strongly on availability of housing and schools and the willingness of the community to provide the requirements needed for possible rapid growth in population. May 1, 1955 Fast Forward Note: It never happened!
Aircrew and Maintenance personnel of 772nd and 774th TCS began Aircrew and Maintenance Courses, May 2, 1955, under instruction by personnel of the C-119-2 Mobile Training Detachment of the 3499th Mobile Training Wing. The 773rd TCS will begin the course as they return from TDY in Evereux, France. Captain Olin R. Icard is Officer-In-Charge of the C-119-2 Mobile Detachment Unit. The purpose of the schooling is to familiarize crews and mechanics with maintenance and construction of the C-119.
A group of colored citizens from Ardmore and Fort Worth, Texas toured Ardmore AFB, Sunday, May 1, 1955. The citizens were attending a Masonic meeting at Warren Methodist Church, Ardmore. 2nd Lt. Roland Noel, Chaplin (Major) Howard Bailey and 2nd Lt. Stanley Womack guided the group.
Colonel Alonzo S. Penniston, CO of the 463rd Air Base Group, gave his last public speech at the Kiwanis International Club, May 3, 1955. He is being released from service to take a civilian position with the Department of Defense, Washington, DC.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Ardmore, built in 1898 and the first school to serve Ardmore citizens, is to be razed and replaced by a modern brick school and convent. May 8, 1955
Payroll at AAFB as estimated by Colonel George G. Norman, Executive Officer acting as Commanding Officer, is 10-millions a year, including civilians and military. The present payroll is about $600,000/month. Value of the base property and aircraft totals about 34-millions. Base population is 2,000 and represents more than 1,000 families. May 8, 1955
Errett Dunlap, Chamber of Commerce director, J. Dewey Clemens and Raymond Colvert, Jr., C of C members, flew to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida with 463rd military personnel to view an aerial firepower demonstration. May 13, 1955
Miss Ina Demory, bride-elect of A/2c Richard Feiler, was honored with pre-nuptial shower. May 13, 1955
If approved by Congress, Ardmore Air Force Base was scheduled to receive $6,800,000 for new construction and development-$5,400,000 of which would be used to build 400 on-base housing units. May 17, 1955
The Corral Restaurant, Highway 77 North, was opened May 18, 1955 by Mr. and Mrs. Milton Scott. The Derrick Room and comfortable Lounge were available to those who appreciate the finest.
Pilots and engineers from the 16th TCS completed 25-hours transitional flying time in C-123Bs at the Air Force Test Center, Edwards AFB, California. The C-123B was versatile, durable, easy to work on and superior to the YC-122C. May 15, 1955
Members of the 773rd Troop Carrier Squadron returned May 19, 1955 at 2:12 PM from six months temporary duty at Evreux AFB, France. Twelve C-119s led by Lt. Colonel James G. Silliman, CO, in his "The Roaming Oklahoman" flew over the field, landing at short intervals in the midst of sporadic rain driven by a strong Oklahoma wind. The homecomers included 110 officers and airmen. After embracing family members, they were entertained at the NCO and Officer Clubs. The remainder of the group arrived Saturday, May 21 in C-124s. Fast Forward Note: Among those serving at Evreux was Lt. William "Bill" Hatfield who later became one of the "Four Horsemen" of the C-130A "Hercules" aerial demonstration team.
Armed Forces Day, May 21, 1955 (Saturday) featured military equipment displays, a main-street parade by Army, Navy, Ardmore Air Force Base airmen and veteran organizations. Aircraft flyovers added to making a memorable day.
Mina Lavers, civilian employee, Headquarters, 463rd Air Base Group, weds Captain Joe J. Zentz in AAFB Chapel. Ms. Lavers was an Ardmore native. May 20, 1955
Haircut prices in Ardmore raised from .75 to $1 as result of vote in which 98 percent of barbers voted for the increase. Reason given---need more income to cover increased operating (overhead) cost. May 19, 1955 Fast Forward Note: Bare head price in Ardmore for old-time barber "common-man" style is $10 (2012). A hair-stylist will charge more!. No price reduction for baldness!
Memorial Hospital's Sunday open house May 29, draws 5,000 visitors to tour the 1.5 million dollar modern facility. It opened May 30, 1955, the first patient being Mrs. Marvin Waller, Route 2, Wilson, Oklahoma, a maternity case. The Waller's six pound daughter, Berneta Ann, was born at 6:10 AM. The second patient, Mrs. Kenneth Vaughn gave birth to a girl May 31, at 2:40 AM. Expecting a boy, name not readily available for his sister. Note:Charles B. Goddard, Ardmore, gave $1,400,000 to the new hospital. Goddard's bequest was stock in Humble Oil and Refining Co. and Standard Oil of New Jersey. Income from the stock was to be used for maintenance and repair. Goddard had told two trustee members of the fund raising project before it began, that he would make an "important" contribution if the project was successfull. Nothing was in writing but they knew "he was a man of his word".
All Hardy Hospital patients transferred to the new Memorial Hospital. Hardy Hospital doors closed forever. May 30, 1955
Louis (Little New York) Campagna, 57, the late Al Capone's sidekick, died of heart attack May 30, 1955 off the coast of Miami, Florida, while battling to land a large fish.
Colonel Marion W. Hubble, former commander of the 63rd Air Base Group at Donaldson, AFB, South Carolina, assumed command of 463rd Air Base Group replacing Colonel Alonzo Penniston. June 6, 1955
The new 309th Troop Carrier Group to be formed in July will consist of 600 officers and enlisted personnel. It will replace the 16th Troop Carrier Squadron that fly Chase YC-122s The YC-122s will be "mothballed" and replaced by the new Fairchild C-123B. Colonel William C. Bentley, Richmond, Virginia, is the CO. June 8, 1955
Early morning fire does $50,000 damage to Martin Drug Store at Caddo and Main Street (124 East Main). Fire attributed to overheated electric motor. June 14, 1955
The 775th Troop Carrier Squadron will soon be assigned to Ardmore. The 313th Troop Carrier Group, formerly at Sewart Air Force Base, Tennessee, was deactivated June 8, 1955. Other squadrons from the group were assigned to the 314th TCW at Sewart AFB and Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. June 16, 1955
Colonel George G. Norman, AAFB Executive Officer, told local builders, realtors and landlords that Ardmore had been placed in a Class D available housing catagory by the military. This is the lowest possible rateing. He stated the base is expecting another 800-900 personnel in the next few months making matters much worse. Another 215 would possible follow those in a few months. Colonel Norman did a "show and tell" with pictures of a converted chicken house that housed three families and rented for $135 a month. One man was heard to say "I'm renting mine too cheap!" Norman had pictures of several other "homes" that base personnel rented. June 17, 1955
The 309th TCG operational facilities were housed in nine 40' x 80' tents, three each for the 376th, 377th and 378th squadrons. The 16th Troop Carrier Squadron will be deactivated in July 1955 and absorbed by the newly activated 309th Troop Carrier Group. Colonel William C. Bentley will command the 309th. The 309th was comprised of approximately 600 officers and airmen. June 23, 1955
The Ted Weems' orchestra played for a dance at the Officer's Club, Sunday, June 26, 1955. Bonnie Ann Shaw, vocalist, whistler and dancer, and the Ted Weems Trio, Ray Sullivan, Hal Skeen and Philbert accompanied the Weems' Band.
Ardmore officials discuss de-segregation in Ardmore schools. June 26, 1955
Strategic Air Command, starring James Stewart and June Allison, was showing at the Tivoli Theatre. June 26, 1955
Twenty 463rd TCW C-119s and 111 airmen participated in exercise "Maximum Effort" and flew 115 tons of AF cargo from Kelly AFB, Texas to Alamada Naval Station, California. June 30, 1955
Exchange National Bank, Ardmore, opened a branch bank at AAFB. V. E. Gibson was the manager. Patricia Conway and Peggy Cowan assisted Gibson as tellers. The first customer was T/Sgt. Werner G. Mattson. June 29, 1955
The nine-hole, 3017 ft. AAFB golf course officially opened at 3:00 PM July 1, 1955. Two Ardmore golf course professionals, Dick Phillips of Dornick Hills, and Filmore Vaughn of Sunset, played M/Sgt. Robert Hensley, AAFB course manager and S/Sgt. Robert Gillihand, assistant manager. The course was built with 20,000 man-hours of volunteer labor by AF personnel, costing only $3,700. With paid labor, the cost was estimated to have been $40,000. Sixty-two civic minded Ardmoreites contributed 10,000 ft. of irrigation pipe for watering the course. The Noble Foundation and their agronomist and plant breeder, Dr. Roy A. Chessmore, provided the grass and cultural information. Twenty-five sets of free clubs for playing were available on a "first-come" basis. Green fees were 35 cents per player.
The Officer’s Wives’ Club Committees included: Executive, Program, Welcoming, Bridge, Golf, Nursery, Hospitality, Publicity, Thrift Shop, Hostess, Special and Nominating (Executive serves as Nominating). The Club met the first Thursday of each month at 1:15 PM. Their fiscal year ended the first Thursday of November. The meeting included a luncheon and business meeting at the Officer’s Club. A program followed by Bridge and Canasta card playing was held on the third Thursday of each month at 3:15 PM. Golf was played on Thursdays at the Sunset Golf Course. Tee time was 8:15 AM.
Colonel B. M. Tarver, AAFB representative, discussed the critical housing shortage with city commissioners and local realtors. July 3, 1955
First USAF crew to fly the C-123B picked from 16th Troop Carrier Squadron pilots. Captain Nelson L. Neal, pilot, 1st Lt. Donald E. Newell, copilot, and S/Sgt. David T. Evans, crew chief, traveled to Hagerstown, Maryland to fly the first C-123B to be delivered to the Air Force to Ardmore. July 6, 1955.
A group of Oklahoma Indians in native costume greeted the crew of the new C-123B when it landed at AAFB at 5:10 PM. They christened the aircraft, did Indian tribal dances and presented a pictograph (pictures for words) depicting the Indian name, "Hulwe Jonejeah," they assigned to the transport. The Indian name translates as "one who carries through the air." Ardmore Indian artist, Fred Beavers, designed and painted the pictograph.
State and military dignitaries present included Governor Raymond Gary, Senator Robert S. Kerr, Representative Mike Monroney, General O. P. Weyland, Commander of Tactical Air Command, Major General Chester E. Carty, Commander of 18th AF, and W. L. Landers, VP, General Manager of Fairchild Aircraft Company. Brigadier General Cecil H. Childre introduced the dignitaries and led the ceremony. The 16th Troop Carrier Squadron was deactivated at 6:00 PM and the 309th Troop Carrier Group was activated with approximately 600 officers and airmen from the deactivated 16th TCS. The aircraft was toured by the attendees following the ceremony. July 8, 1955
The Ground Control Approach (GCA) unit utilized only 11 personnel who handled 839 approaches in June 1955. Commander of the unit was WOJG C. Wajdowicz. The unit is part of Detachment 5, 1984th AACS Squadron. July 1, 1955
AAFB newspaper editor, A/1c Jerry Long received his discharge from the AF July 16, 1955. He became the second editor of "Carrier Wings," November 1952, at Sewart AFB. Fast Forward Note: The last issue of "Carrier Wings" was printed February 2, 1959, seven years and one month since its birth, Monday, January 21, 1952, as a mimeographed publication at Memphis, Tennessee. Editors included A/2C Jack Aeschliman, A1/C Jerry Long, 2nd Lt. Robert Waldrop, 1st Lt. Hans Anderson, Jr., A/1C Ray Dykes, A/2C Dale Tietjens, and A/2C Claude Sutherland.
The Air Base "Rodeo' is an annual contest to test the driving skill of persons in competition in driving five classes of vehicles: automobile, sedan five passenger, 1-1/2 ton truck, 29-passenger bus, five-ton truck, semi-trailer and semi-trailer type F-6 fuel serving 5,000 gallon capacity. Winners were A/2C Thomas E. Maxwell, sedan; A/2C Wallace A. Berlin, 1-1/2 ton truck; S/Sgt. Albert C. Enochs, bus; A/1C Tennyson D. Wilson, 5-ton truck; and A/1C Leonard Fairchild, fuel servicing fuel semi-trailer. July 22, 1955
One of three AF bases flying Fairchild C-119s, Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma, Pope AFB, North Carolina, and Sewart AFB, Tennessee, rumored to be first to receive the latest troop carrier transport, the Lockheed C-130 "Hercules," that is to replace C-119s. The wraps were taken off the new aircraft and it was demonstrated for the first time to military officials and newsmen at Dobbins AFB, Georgia. July 21, 1955
The new water softener plant began operation at AAFB, July 26, 1955. The Cosmo Construction Company built the plant for a cost of $140,000. The plant will be flushed in several days to remove the discolored material resulting from construction and initial use.
Firemen from Ardmore, Madill, Davis and Sulphur received instruction at AAFB from a 4454th USAF Hospital representative on how to work an aircraft accident in their area. AAFB Fire chief, Nimrod Brochartd, presented base ground safety engineer, Ralph Hawkins, who discussed how to remove pilots from ejection seats safely as well as other crew members from downed aircraft. AFB fire trucks and equipment were demonstrated on how to apply foam and proper cutting into downed airframes. July 28, 1955.
John F. Easley, "Daily Ardmoreite" owner and publisher, awarded title of "Mr. Ardmore" at Ardmore's 68th birthday celebration for his contribution to the building of Ardmore and Southern Oklahoma. July 29th, 1955.
New base theatre opened at 6:30 PM, August 4, 1955, with the first movie shown being "Soldier of Fortune" with Clark Gable and Susan Hayward. The ultra-modern theatre had a panoramic screen, air conditioning, and 345 comfortable "swing up" seats. The former theatre in the north hanger seated 329. The interior color was light brown lower and tan upper. There were two sets of curtains on stage, the outer set was blue-green, manually operated; the inner set was yellow-orange, electrically operated, located near the screen. A modern dressing room was behind the stage. An automatic fire-fighting sprinkler system was located above the stage and behind it. Modern restrooms were just off the main lobby. A concession stand was added later. Fast Forward Note: The old theatre which had been used for storage in later years, burned in 2004. It had become an "eye-sore" detracting from the landscape of more modern structures.
Five-hundred 403rd Troop Carrier Wing Reservists from Portland, Oregon arrived at AAFB, August 7, for a two week encampment. Seventy-seven tents were set up southeast of the base parachute building. An additional 17 tents were pitched in the area west of the fire station. Six tents near the flight apron were used as maintenance tents. The airmen ate in the old base Post Exchange. Temperatures were 100-107F during their stay. A memorable occasion!!!
A 26-foot recreational boat, the "African Queen," was launched at Lake Murray for use by military personnel, dependents and guests. The boat was originally built as a one-time assault craft. It was procured from the Army Corps of Engineers at Charleston, South Carolina where it was in salvage. It was scraped, caulked, painted and a rebuilt 150-hp Chrysler Royal Marine engine was installed. It would do 15-knots but cruising speed was limited to 5-10 knots. It carried 12 passengers plus the operator. Stored at the boat docks, it was available noon to one-hour before sunset, Saturday and Sunday. A qualified operator was supplied. August 11, 1955
The vote to be taken August 16, 1955 to determine if Ardmore citizens approve of granting land occupied by the base to the government, listed these property descriptions: Sections 5,6,7,8,9,16,17,18,19,20, Township 3 South, Range 3 East, parts of Section 13, Township 3 South, Range 2 East, totaling 2,496.92 acres. The vote was 1,634 to 28 in favor of deeding the land to the government.
The Base Exchange officially opened August 15, 1955 (10 AM). Free gifts were given to the first 200 customers. Captain Robert J. Fredericks was the Base Exchange officer who cut the special three tiered cake.
A C-119 aircraft from the 773rd TCS makes "mercy flight" with medical supplies to Westover AFB, Massachusetts. The C-119 flew to Burbank, California and picked up 8,000 pounds of medical supplies to be used in the flood devastated NE portion of the US. Crew included pilot, 1Lt. James Slicker, co-pilot, Captain Donald P. Roberts, navigator, 2Lt. Joe H. Garrett, engineer, A/2C Leslie D. Shipman, radio operator, A/2C Marshall R. Wilmot. Mission director was Captain James W. James, commander of C-119 flight simulator. August 24, 1955
The last YC-122C assault transport was flown to Tucson, Arizona, August 30, 1955, for "mothballing" storage. They were built in 1947 by Chase Aircraft Company initially as all-metal gliders. Later two B-17 engines were mounted, along with other modifications, allowing it to land and takeoff in rough terrain in short distances. The Air Force ordered 10 YC-122s after testing at Eglin AFB, Florida. The first was delivered to the 16th TCG in January 1951. During 4.5 years of use, they gave outstanding performance with only one major aircraft accident without fatalities. The remaining nine were flyable until storage. The C-123B with many of the YC-122s abilities replaced the YC-122. The crew for the last flight of the YC-122 was Captain Gromley, pilot; Lt. Blalock, co-pilot; Captain Kern, navigator and S/Sgt. Nelson, engineer.
Knob Hill, the East Main dance hall, barbecue house and ??? was locked up by order of District Judge John C. Caldwell. Roscoe Wilson, proprietor, and owners J. B. Ponder and A. A. Davis made a plea for reversal of the court order. They had no beer license; fifteen pints of whiskey and a quantity of beer were found in the ice-box. September 4, 1955
The flying "Galleon" as it was called, the first C-123B received July 12 by the 309th TCG, has completed 500 hours of "shakedown" flying time. Colonel William C. Bently, CO, initiated the day and night operation of the aircraft to equal a year of normal use in a short time to find "bugs" that might be present in the new aircraft. No major problems were found and pilots, crew and mechanics gained valuable experience from the test. September 4, 1955.
The Curtis Wright Dehmel, C-119 Flight Simulator, "AF18105" call letters, left Ardmore after 20-months of use by pilots at Ardmore. It trained 572 pilots "flying" a total of 6542 hours. It is being shipped to the factory for modification to the C-119G model. It was out of commission only 3-hours during the 20-months. September 15, 1955
The Base Clothing Sales store moved from the old quarters behind the photo lab to Building 203, the old Base Exchange building at the corner of 5th Avenue and B Street, across the street from the Service Club and the Group Headquarters building. September 15, 1955
State fisheries personnel put 1,200 to 1,500 California striped bass in Lake Murray. September 24, 1955
President Dwight D."Ike" Eisenhower has heart attack and is placed in oxygen tent. September 25, 1955.
James Dean, 24, popular young actor, killed in auto accident in Paso Robles, California. October 2, 1955
Ardmore AFB canceled "open-house" to be held October 6, 1955 due to a number of cases of infectious mononucleosis or glandular fever. The disease caused flu-like symptoms and was spread by respiratory means. At least that is what the general public was told as the reason for the "open-house" cancellation. The base had a problem with an unrecognizable respiratory infection that was affecting many base personnel. Many of the hospital staff were infected by patients. The Deputy Surgeon of the 18th Air Force assumed temporary command of the hospital and medical personnel from federal, state and local offices joined to identify and contain the outbreak. The base was closed to all air traffic October 1 to prevent spread to other 18th AF bases. It was opened to "official business" October 4, then opened completely October 8 when the "virus" declined and patients recovered. Fast Forward Note: Ardmore Air Force base will be remembered by the medical profession due to this sickness being identified in 1957 as "Ardmore syndrome".
The "Airman of the Month" was selected by a base committee comprised of military and Ardmore citizens. The airmen considered would have had similar responsibilities as others being evaluated for the monthly honor. This recognition was initiated at Ardmore in March 1955. The airman, if married, and his family was given a "Key to the City." They were presented with the use of a new automobile, meals and free lodging at local hotels, lodges or motels plus recognition for his unit on the base. He is recognized by the base publication and local newspapers. Single individuals could select a buddy to share in the lavish weekend. The recognition was part of the activities promoted by Base-Community Activitys, Inc. to provide good base-community relationships. The Ardmore organization started its community-based program in October 1955.
T/Sgt. Doc M. Weaver, Jr., Supply Squadron, 463rd TCW, awarded Soldier's Medal for rescuing the driver of an overturned semi-trailer truck engulfed in flames near Luxora, Arkansas, August 4, 1954. October 12, 1955
New AF policy required that all military personnel of all grades and rank render hand salutes when outdoors on or off base except the airmen would not salute each other. Saluting was not required at public gatherings such as sporting events and meetings or elsewhere where saluting would be inappropriate or impractical. The custom of saluting was discontinued soon after the end of WWII by the Army and Air Force. The rule applied to all military branches. October 21, 1954
Gas war in Oklahoma City brings price down to 19.4 cents for regular and 21.9 cents for premium. October 23, 1955
A Fairchild C-123B brought 50 WAFs from Lackland AFB to visit Ardmore AFB over the weekend. The two day trip was highlighted with an annual Halloween dance at the Service Club for the 350 airmen and WAFs. This was the first group of WAFs to ever fly in a C-123B. The girls attended church services Sunday morning and took a trip to Lake Murray for a tour and lunch with their escorts. October 23, 1955 Fast Forward Note: WAFs did not serve at Ardmore AFB although WAFs were assigned with the 516th Troop Carrier Wing in Memphis. Approximately 100 WACs served at Ardmore Army Air Field during 1944-45.
Sam Blackburn, managing editor of the Daily Ardmoreite resigns after 28 years of service on the editorial staff. He wrote thousands of the popular daily "Wicked Flea" articles. November 1, 1955
Surgeons state that within a year, they may be able to give humans new coronary arteries. The process has been performed successfully with dogs. November 1, 1955 Fast Forward Note: Coronary bypass surgery is routinely done on thousands of individuals each year. Thanks to the advancement in medical technology, the skill of surgeons and the grace of God, this webpage author was the successful recipient of four bypasses May 18, 2002 and left internal carotid artery surgery, January 6, 2006.
Major Richard D. Martin assumed command of the 4454th Hospital from 1st Lieutenant Myron L. McCumber. November 3, 1955.
Colonel Frederick Funston, 52, died of heart attack in Greenville, South Carolina. He had been CO of the 463rd TCW Maintenance and Supply Group at Ardmore. November 4, 1955
The Ardmore Optimist Club donated a slide, miracle whirl, and swings for the playground at the base trailer park (Pecan Acre). The equipment cost approximately $600. November 10, 1955
To promote a positive relationship between Ardmore and the Air Force Base, Art Spencer served as Air Base-Community coordinator. Special recognition, gifts, and other privileges were given to the Airman of the Month selected monthly by base officials. November 16, 1955
Bids let on three masonry squadron buildings (143' x 129'), two organizational maintenance shops (128' x 60'), parking areas and drives, and exterior utility lines. Expected cost $300,000 to $500,000. November 20, 1955
End of racial segregation on trains, buses and public restrooms ordered in the Commerce Commission Act. November 25, 1955.
Southwestern Bell raises pay phone charges from a nickel to a dime per call. It will apply to 150 pay phones in Ardmore. November 26, 1955
Twenty-five C-119s from the 772nd, 773rd, and 774th TCW and six C-123s from the 309th TCG participated in Exercise Sagebrush, an Army-AF joint exercise involving 110,000 troops and 30,000 airmen. The maneuver was the largest undertaken since WWII and was carried out in Louisiana and other southeastern states. It involved all phases of a combat situation including transportation of mock-wounded to hospitals. December 4, 1955
Chuck roast, 29 cents/lb; sirloin steak, 49 cents/lb; round steak, 49 cents/lb; bacon, 49 cents/lb; Folgers coffee, 92 cents/lb, Joe's Super Market. December 8, 1955
Base personnel contribute $5,050.02 to Ardmore Community Chest. December 14, 1955
Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys at Club Willow, Ardmore, December 16. Wills has sold 20,000,000 western swing records.
The huge, $2,050,000 Aircraft Maintenance Hanger under construction since May 1954, is scheduled for completion in March 1956. The large sliding doors on each side of the hanger cost $250,000. The concrete floor is 14-inches thick and contains 36,000 cubic yards of concrete. The roof and structure of the building is supported by 168 bell-bottomed concrete piers, 24 to 38 inches in diameter, set in the earth 45 to 70 feet.
Aircraft wash racks and parking aprons were under construction adjacent to the south apron of the airfield. Lacy Construction Co., Dallas, Texas was doing the construction at a bid of $487,142.
The $200,000 gym (164 by 70 feet) was in the final construction phase. Six, 16-seat fold down rows of chairs were along one side of the building which was estimated to accommodate 500 with additional seating. Burton-Miller Construction Co., Ardmore, was the contractor.
The $152,000 Non-Commissioned Officers Club (110 by 52 feet) located west of the new gym is expected to be completed in March 1956. Construction was begun in July 1955.
Excavation had started on the $122,000 swimming pool (63 by 82 feet) and bath house to be located just east of the gym. It will have four 1-meter diving boards and a filter house. The pool will be available for officers, enlisted men and their dependents. It will have a capacity of 190 persons and requires 200,000 gallons of water. Construction initiated in December 1955, with an expected opening date July 1956. January 1, 1956
A transient Marine Douglas Attack bomber has nose-up crash after a tire blow-out on landing. Lt. John C. Wiren, 25, pilot, was not injured. The aircraft was accompanying three other planes on a routine cross-country flight to AAFB from the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Edenton, North Carolina. January 15, 1956
Two C-119s from the 773rd and 774th TCS left February 8, 1956 for Long Beach, California to pick up two snow plows for delivery to Clovis AFB, New Mexico. The Clovis area received 12-plus inches of snow.
Two airmen, A/1C Carroll Hendershott, Ripley, Virginia and A/2C Leslie D. Shipman, Rock Springs, Texas, from the 773rd TCS, were guests of Fanny Hedges on her 320 acre farm near Ardmore for the weekend of January 14-15, 1956. Their presence there was part of the Ardmore-Air Base Activities Committee where airmen receive training in farming procedures and livestock production. A/1C Hendershott took an agricultural course at Ravenwood High School, graduating in 1951. He worked in a Pennsylvania steel mill a short time before enlisting in 1952. He finished basic at Sampson AFB, New York and trained at Chanute AFB, Illinois as a welder. He was assigned to the 463rd at Memphis. He presently works in the maintenance section as a sheet metal specialist. Airman Shipman worked as foreman of the White Mountain Ranch near Rock Springs for a year before enlisting in May 1952. Basic was at Lackland AFB, Texas, with specialty training as a mechanic at Sheppard AFB, Texas. Fast Forward Note: Hendershott married and remained in Ardmore following his military service. He later bought his father-in-law's sheet metal business where he had worked for several years. He recently turned the highly successful business to his son, Randy, who had worked there since a young man. Carroll tells his story of escaping certain death by not being on an ill-fated C-119 that crashed near Annapolis, Maryland in 1954 killing all aboard. The account is given in This I Remember...."
V. G. Thompson, consulting engineer for the government, Oklahoma City, met with the Ardmore City Commission to discuss possible construction of 750 houses on or near the AAFB if proposals made in Washington, DC materialize. The Air Force had previously approved a proposal for 500 units and in May 1955, the House Armed Service Committee had designated $6,800,000 for possible construction of 490 units. He asked if Ardmore could supply a maximum of 650,000 gallons of water per day under emergency situations to the homes. The average need in a normal situation would be approximately 250-300,000 gallons per day. If not, the base would have to obtain additional water from ground or nearby river sources. He stated that if the proposal is approved by Congress, it would be 1 1/2 to 2-years before the project was completed. Approximately 2,500 airmen were stationed at the base at that time. February 16, 1956
The Ardmore Air Force Base Aero Club purchased a 65-HP, 1946 Luscomb two-seater that cruised at approximately 95-miles per hour. The aircraft was tied down at Hamp Caron's Airport (Ardmore Municipal Airport near Springer). The 25-plus members paid $2.50 for each flying hour they used the plane. The Honorary President for the club was Brigadier General Cecil H. Childre. Captain Phillip Gormley was VP; Lt. Robert Le Blanc, Treasurer; M/Sgt. Carroll Martin, Secretary; A/1c Donate Dirroco, Director of Flying; M/Sgt. Erin P. Knox, Director of Operations; Lt. William F. Mauch, Jr., Director of Maintenance and M/Sgt. Billy G. Betts. February 17, 1956
Martin L. King, Jr., 27, Negro pastor in Montgomery, Alabama was arrested for boycotting. February 26, 1956
Air Base property, including C-123 aircraft, damaged by high winds during thunderstorm. February 26, 1956
Two members of the eight member 18th Air Force, South Pole Survey Team for "Operation Deep Freeze," returned to Ardmore AFB February 28, 1956. The advanced party team left the US November 20, 1955, flew to New Zealand and traveled the remaining distance to Antarctica by icebreaker USNS "Greenville Victory." With the polar survey crew from Ardmore were Captain Henry L. Partridge, senior navigator, 774th TCS, and Captain James H. Cummings, maintenance officer, 773rd TCS. Captain Partridge had made over 60 crossings of the North Pole. Captain Cummings was experienced in extreme Arctica weather's impact on aircraft, fuel storage and maintenance. The crew helped determine whether a scientific polar station could be established and supplied with necessities by air cargo transport as part of the International Geophysical Year activities. The 18th AF would participate in dropping 485 tons of equipment, supplies, fuel, buildings and instruments to establish the Antarctica Polar Station in October 1956. Both officers were veterans of the spring 1954 "Dewline Airlift" when troop carrier aircraft made over 700 landings on the ice north of the Arctic Circle. They had delivered prefabricated buildings, construction equipment, and supplies to establish distant early warning radar sites.
Fast Forward Note: There is presently an International debate as to whether the world is in a stage of global warming (change). Some agree, many disagree. Climate has always undergone change. The mosquito due to its short lifetime thinks the world is always temperate. Noah had never experienced a downpour but followed instructions and built a big waterproof building that floated; he probably figured it would never quit raining. Based on the following happenings, Ardmore Air Force Base personnel and Ardmore’s Chamber of Commerce may be the root cause of the global warming controversy. The Ardmore Chamber of Commerce had a promotion campaign during the mid-50s proclaiming the advantage of Ardmore being on “The Sunny Side of the Arbuckles ”. They made available for distribution, small plastic bottles (about the size of a small pharmacy pill container) containing descriptive information about Ardmore and Southern Oklahoma. The label described the content as captured sunshine with instructions for proper usage. A "caution” against prolonged exposure to the sunshine appeared on the label. If the cap remains off for extended periods, it could cause sunstrokes and breach of friendships among friends who became jealous of the users mid-winter suntan. Some speculated that a possible “big thaw” in the polar area could happen if the sunshine bottle inadvertently became uncapped. Four bottles of “Ardmore Sunshine” were mailed to Captain Henry Partridge, 774th Squadron, in care of the American Embassy in New Zealand. Captain Partridge reported that on January 13, 1956, a bottle of Ardmore Sunshine was dropped on the “South Pole of Inaccessibility” during a flight to the polar area.
Several C-123s from the 309th TCG (Assault, Fixed Wing) flew 65 sorties transporting 192 tons of troops, jeeps, trucks and other equipment in participation with Army units from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Testing the capabilities of the C-123s, they operated off a sand and gravel 3,500 ft. airstrip called "Falcon." They left Ardmore March 4 and returned March 10, 1956. They conducted their own maintenance on the aircraft.
High ranking officers from the 18th Air Force Tactical Air Command met for a Commander's Conference at Lake Murray Lodge March 27-30, 1956. Prior to arriving in Ardmore, they visited the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Marietta, Georgia where the C-130A "Hercules" was being assembled. They also visited the Ardmore Air Force Base along with Maj. General Chester E. McCarty, CO of the 18th Air Force.
Captain Vernon D. Wade, a pilot formerly stationed at AAFB with the 16th TCS, died with his crew April 8, 1956 near Mt. Fuji, Japan. He had transferred from Ardmore in April 1955.
One of America's top vocalists, Merle Travis, composer of "Sixteen Tons" and many other favorites, appeared with the Everett E. Colborn World Championship Rodeo in Ardmore, April 11-14, 1956.
Grace Kelley weds Prince Rainier III in simple ceremony in Monte Carlo. April 16, 1956
A 54-ton YC-130A propjet transport (#53-3397) piloted by Major M. A. Ballantine crossed the US in five hours, 45-minutes from Edwards AFB, California to Dobbins AFB, Georgia (1,960 miles). The plane was one of two Lockheed Aircraft Corp. prototype versions being tested by the AF. The plane was on a normal flight and was not attempting to set a record. The plane will start replacing C-119s in late 1956. April 16, 1956
Plans to begin construction of 750 housings units on 210 acres of land south and west of Gene Autry School were made public. April 27, 1956. The House Armed Services Committee's real estate sales committee gave approval April 26, 1956 to purchase the land. Work on the project could begin in September. The land and houses will be owned and operated by the government. Bonds have been approved by the school district to allow for facility expansion to handle the estimated increase of 500 students.
Sixteen C-119s and crews from the 772nd, 773rd, and 774th TCSs were shown on the TV program "Wide, Wide, World" as they participated in a Troop Carrier-Airborne Infantry exercise at Ft. Benning, Georgia, May 12-13, 1956.
Nine B-25s from Vance AFB, Enid, Oklahoma flew over Ardmore during Armed Forces Day celebration, May 19, 1956.
The 309th TCG was deployed to Dreux, France, May 15, 1956. This was the first time ever for an overseas transfer of a fully equipped and trained assault group. The unit was comprised of 140 officers and 440 airmen. The group of 52 C-123Bs left in four segments, the first 12 C-123Bs departed May 15, the other aircraft left in groups of 12 and 14, May 17, 19 and 21. One C-123B left for France in February for intensive field tests for a total of 53 aircraft. They "island hopped" to France from NY by way of Labrador, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland. The move was classified as a permanent change of station for a period of three years. Airmen with less than one year of service remaining were transferred to other units and did not go overseas. Tour of duty without families was 18 months; with families, the tour was 36 months. Dependents remained in Ardmore or elsewhere until housing could be established at Dreux which is 79 miles from Paris. The AF had authorized and sanctioned 400 trailer houses located near Dreux. The 309th was initially assigned to the 60th TCW, 322nd Air Division (Combat Cargo) Air Logistics Service, USAFE, for logistic support and operational control. The 309th TCG introduced the C-123B to the European theater. Two "Daily Ardmoreite" reporters, Joanne Stewart and City Editor Ed Carter, and KWTV newsmen Bruce Palmer and William A. Horton, Oklahoma City, accompanied the group to give daily news accounts. Flight time for the first group was 33 hours, 55 minutes over an eight day period. Approximately 15 hours were on instruments; ground distance was 5,039 miles with average ground speed of 148 mph. The 309th had flown 14,000 hours since activation without loss of plane or engine. Colonel William C. Bently was CO of the 309th. He entered the service in 1929.
The 775th Troop Carrier Squadron, activated at Sewart AFB, Tennessee, June 1955, transferred to Ardmore November 1955, will use S-503 (bottom half-Transient Barracks). The Aerial Port building, S-223, will be used for Maintenance. Building T-1220 will be used for Operations. Most of the men in the 775th TCS were transferred from the 772nd, 773rd, and 774th TCS and are experienced in their positions. They will begin flying duties in June 1956. May 25, 1956
Lake Texoma Lodge to be dedicated May 26-27, 1956.
World's worst airline disaster claims 74 lives including 20 Americans. The Venezuelan airliner crashed off the coast of New Jersey. June 20, 1956 Fast Forward Note: The record was broken June 31, 1956 when a TWA Super Constellation and United Airline DC7 collided over the Grand Canyon killing 128 people.
Ardmore officials discuss de-segregation in Ardmore schools. June 26, 1956
Hamburger Inn moves across street (west side) to new location south of Post Office on North Washington Street. Same great, hunger producing aroma, mouth-watering product, served with a generous side-order of gracious hospitality. First National Bank depository occupies the old location. Ernest Brown's new building had been under construction since January. July 2, 1956 Fast Forward Note: Ernest O. Brown, the man who captured the taste buds of thousands with his fried onion burgers, departed this life, January 13, 2003. In October 2002, the remaining five members of a ten member B-17 crew who trained at Ardmore in late 1944, returned for perhaps their last reunion as a crew. They, and their wives, had been meeting on five year intervals at various places in the US since the early 50s. One year they visited their place of station in England. But never where it all began---Ardmore. When I was privileged to be with them, the former co-pilot, Storrs Clough, said, "I remember a hamburger place where my wife and I use to eat---I still remember the smell and taste of those fried onion burgers." "If it still exists, we have got to go there!" I told them "It's still here but across the street in another building. Mr. Brown was no longer owner but his specialty was still being enjoyed as it was in the 40s." The Hamburger Inn was added to their "must visit" list while in Ardmore.
In July 1956, a six-acre picnic area was opened for airmen and families. The attractive area, shaded by pecan and oak trees, had lavatory facilities, water fountains, tables, a cement dance floor and a service and storage building. Also located in the area are 10 brick barbecue pits, three large serving tables and adequate lighting. Future additions are to include a softball field, playground for children, badminton court and parking area. The picnic area is located approximately 100-yards south of the parachute loft at the southeast corner of the base.
Luke's Music Store, 212 West Main, celebrated its 61st birthday since establishment in 1891. July 5, 1956
The 456th Troop Carrier Wing, recently transferred from Japan, was inactivated and the 419th Troop Carrier Group activated at AAFB in official ceremonies July 7, 1956. The 419th became the third C-123 group to be organized by the Tactical Air Command, Headquarters, Langley, Virginia. Col. Frank W. Hansley was named Commanding Officer of the Group under Brig. Gen. Cecil H. Childre, commander of the 463rd TCW. A large number, but not all personnel, from the 456th (140 officers and 452 airmen) were integrated into the new 419th. The Group will fly the C-123B aircraft. July 8, 1956
Lt. Porter Thompson, Wing, Hq. Squadron, and Lt. David Cotton, 772nd Troop Carrier Squadron, make it to AF Model Airplane finals which will be held at Ellington AFB, Texas. July 13, 1956 Fast Forward Note: Lt. Thompson placed first in control line combat phase. Lt. Cotton was first in jet speed phase by flying 149.96mph. A hundred persons competed, representing 11 conferences from air force bases around the world.
President Eisenhower vetoes $2,136,000 military construction bill tying up over 19 million dollars of improvements at six Oklahoma military bases including $330,000 at AAFB. The bill may be altered and approved later. July 17, 1956
Carter Seminary office structure destroyed by fire. July 18, 1956
Former AAFB pilot, Lt. John Joseph Tracy, killed in jet crash near Craig AFB, Alabama, July 16, 1956. He was Movement Control Center Officer while stationed at AAFB.
Plans for construction of 750 houses near Gene Autry are being drawn by Hudgens, Thompson and Hall, OKC. The plans will be submitted to AAFB and 18th AF officials for approval. Total cost for development will exceed ten million dollars. The plans include 180 two bedroom duplex and 270 three bedroom duplex for airmen; forty-two, two bedroom duplex and 168 three bedroom duplex units for officers. Other units include 84 single bedroom units, five single four bedroom units and one large single four bedroom unit. Totals include 450 units for airmen, 300 for officers. Following final approval by the Tactical Air Command, the purchasing and contracting section at AAFB will prepare notices to bid. The Gene Autry school system is expected to gain 500 students and have approved bonds for expansion of their facilities. July 29, 1956
All servicemen are to come under Social Security January 11, 1957. The bill also ends as of December 31, 1956, the free $10,000 life insurance. Discharged veterans will no longer be eligible to purchase the low cost government insurance unless disabled. August 2, 1956
A/1C Carroll B. Hendershott, 773rd Squadron, and Patricia Hutson to be married August 11, 1956 in First Baptist Church, Ardmore.
Citizens approve $2,150,000 bond issue to provide for additional water and sewer needs ($1,250,000 water and $900,000 sewer). Largest voter turnout in history by more than two to one margin. Eight water wells will be drilled to provide adequate water for present and future growth. August 12, 1956
Ponder's Super Dog #2, Highway 77 North, Ardmore, offered new automatic speaker service at the popular drive-in. August 19, 1956 Fast Forward Note: The Super Dog #2 is no longer around but Ponder's Restaurant, operated by the original Super Dog owners and a popular place to eat, is located at Highway 142 and I-35 (Exit 33).Fast Forward Note Again: Ponder's is no longer in business; Francis and Joe Ben Ponder are both deceased.
Twenty-seven C-119s and 300 AAFB personnel participated in the Air Force-Army "Exercise Pine Cone" near Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. They transported and dropped personnel and supplies returning to AAFB August 25, 1956. Colonel Benjamin M. Turner, AAFB, had operational control over 27 C-119s, ten C-124s from the 63rd TCW, Donaldson AFB, SC and five C-123s from the 314th TCW, Sewart AFB, Tennessee. The group operated out of Congaree AFB, SC and represented a combined AF-Army group of approximately 1,400 men.
Colonel David C. Shillings, 37, one of America's most decorated fliers, died in a car crash August 14, 1956 in Mildenhall, England. One of the top WWII aces, he downed 23 German planes and was credited for 10 on-ground victories. He struck a bridge three miles from the base and was killed instantly. He was Inspector General of the Strategic Air Command's 7th Air Division.
In special ceremonies at AAFB, Colonel George G. Norman, 463rd executive officer became commander of the 419th TCG Assault replacing Colonel Woodrow T. Merrill who became full-time commander of Maintenance and Supply Group. He came to Ardmore in 1953. Colonel Marion W. Hubble became 463rd TCW executive officer. Colonel Frank W. Hansley became Air Base Group commander replacing Colonel Hubble who came to Ardmore in June 1955. He completed 27 years of service August 22, 1956.
The $145,000 new NCO club was officially opened at AAFB. Brig. General Childre addressed the 200 attendees and cut the traditional opening ribbon. August 28, 1956
A/2c Hollis Davidson, AAFB, sang the National Anthem at the opening of the National Air Show (October 1-3), Will Rogers Field, OKC. He represented the USAFE in the 1955 edition of the AF Variety Show "Tops in Blue" while assigned to the 317th TCW, Neubiberg AB, Munich, Germany. He was a personnel specialist with the 419th TCG. He attended Grambling College, LA for two years majoring in music. Jane Mansfield and Greta Thyssen appeared as the Navy-Marine hostesses. Colonel James Stewart, USAFR, Douglas Edwards (Ada, Oklahoma native) and Robert Cummings (former AF pilot) each moderated a day of the program. Eighteen AAFB C-119s made a fly-over and also made re-supply drops on each day of the show. A C-123B "Provider" and C-119 "Flying Boxcar" were on static display.
The USAF WAC band under direction of Captain Maybelle J. Nissly performed at the Carter County Free Fair. Captain Nissly was the first woman officer to win a warrant officers appointment and was the leader of the first Women's Army Band organized at Ft. Des Moines, Iowa in 1942. She re-entered civilian life in 1946. She accepted a direct Captain's commission in 1951 during the Korean conflict to organize and direct the USAF WAC band. September 6, 1956
Sarah Cannon registered at Hotel Ardmore at 3:20 PM, September 20, 1956. Everything was normal and no one in the lobby paid any attention until the desk clerk remarked "Well, Minnie Pearl!" Mrs. Cannon was appearing at the Carter County Free Fair along with Justin Tubbs, guitar picking son of Ernest Tubbs. "String Bean," banjo picking comedian, also performed with them. Mrs. Cannon was married to the owner of a Nashville charter aircraft service. At this time, Minnie Pearl had performed for 16 years on Saturday nights at the Grand Ole Opera in Nashville. Minnie Pearl lived in Centerville, Tennessee, three miles from Grinder Switch. They had no children. September 21, 1956 Fast Forward Note: Sarah Ophelia Cannon, 83, died from stroke complications, March 4, 1996. She had breast cancer earlier in life and became a spokesperson advocating breast examinations.
Fifteen aircraft from Florida arrived at AAFB to escape the wrath of Hurricane Flossie. An "old girl friend" was recognized by Captain Jacob R. McClenny, maintenance officer of Maintenance and Supply Headquarters. It was a B-17 (4301) he had operated out of Newfoundland when he was assigned to Air Rescue Service. He flew over 700 hours in the aircraft over the North Atlantic on patrols or rescue missions. The five B-17s were probably the largest assembly of Flying Fortresses at AAFB since WWII. Seven C-124s and three other military aircraft from Florida stayed until the danger had passed. September 25, 1956
The Ardmore Air Base Activities organization was the second organization in the US to employ a full-time paid coordinator to serve as liaison between the air base and local community. To commemorate the first anniversary, a dinner meeting was held October 6, 1956 at Lake Murray Lodge. Brigadier General John D. Stephensen, Director of Plans for TAC, Langley AFB, Virginia was guest speaker of the first annual event. The retail merchants committee of Ardmore C of C declared Saturday, October 6 as "Welcome Air Force Day."
Burton-Miller Construction Co, Ardmore, was low bidder on construction of organizational and maintenance shops. The bid was $198,685 for two concrete and masonry buildings (112' x 48'), utilities and two concrete parking areas with curbs and gutters. October 14, 1956
Wives of higher echelon officers on the base were members of one or more social clubs in Ardmore, some exclusive to wives of base personnel. This "Carrier Wings" photo of the several "chairmen" of the "Silver Tea" Officer's Wives' Club is self-explanatory. Enlisted men's spouses also had an "Enlisted Men's Wives' Club" also involved with various activities in Ardmore and the base. October 17, 1956
Captain W. B. White, Flying Safety officer at AAFB joined 160 other FS officers at Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Mississippi for a 5-day Worldwide Conference of USAF Safety officers. He served on a committee to help decide on standardization of instrument panels. October 22, 1956
Twenty-one-year-old rock and roll artist, Elvis (The Pelvis) Presley, said he grossed over a million dollars in 1956. He said "the money didn't mean anything to him; it's this business I love." October 29, 1956
Eisenhower sweeps to victory as President; Richard Nixon was his VP running mate. November 7, 1956
"Tulsa Daily World" breaks story that AAFB will be first base to receive the C-130 "Hercules" aircraft. Delivery was expected to be in December. The aircraft was recently displayed at the National Air Show in Oklahoma City. November 8, 1956
Major General Chester E. McCarty, CO, 18th AF, visits AAFB. He reviewed an honor squadron and presented Brigadier General Childre, Colorado, with a safety award. McCarty had just returned from checking aircraft operations at the "Deep Freeze" expedition at the South Pole. He arrived at AAFB from an 18-hour non-stop flight from Hawaii in his C-124 Globemaster "State of Oregon." He had flown the aircraft over the South Pole October 26, 1956 where 10,000 pounds of fuel were dropped at the site of the polar station "Deep Freeze." He had spent 43 hours in the air on his polar flight from New Zealand. November 9, 1956
Two AAFB crews from the 772nd Squadron took part in the Computed Air Release Point (CARP) Rodeo at Pope AFB, North Carolina. November 11, 1956
Colonel Charles M. Kincheloe, AAFB, was guest speaker at the YMCA young married couples' hamburger supper. He related his two-year active duty experiences while stationed in Egypt and the Middle-East prior to arriving at Ardmore. November 11, 1956
Chester H. Lauck, radio and movie personality, "Lum" of Lum and Abner fame, entertained the Desk and Derrick Club at Lake Murray Lodge. November 11, 1956
"Should An Attack Come, Should TV Try To Cover It?" This was the title of the first CBS new Sunday evening program "Air Answer." Now we know the answer! That attack came September 11, 2001. The first show in 1956 presented a theoretical all-out aerial attack on the United States by the then cold-war threat, Russia. An earlier "Playhouse 90" program had also used a similar attack theme. This potential threat had also caused Edward R. Murrow to use a similar subject for one of his "See It Now" series. November 11, 1956
The December 2, 1956 newspaper read "Gay Inaugural Slated For Ike" and no one had a second thought. The newspaper article was referring to the $1,000,000 inaugural celebration planned for President Eisenhower. The word that once meant "merry or having high spirits" sadly has taken on a new meaning.
Major Joseph Pryga assumed command of 463rd Communications Squadron December 3, 1956. Captain Gilbert Young was the former communications officer.
More than 275 officers and enlisted men received training on the C-130 under direction of Harold Williams and five Allison engine experts representing Lockheed Aircraft Corporation and Allison Division of General Motors. They arrived in November with mockups, scale models and individual parts used in training. An actual "hand-built" C-130 was flown in for demonstration. Lockheed and Allison kept service representatives in Ardmore to serve as liaison personnel between the AF and the manufacturer. December 5, 1956
Ardmore Air Force Base was considered a "potential" target in Oklahoma for enemy attack due to its proximity to Oklahoma City and Dallas-Ft. Worth. Because of this, approximately 200 civil defense worker volunteers, engineers, firemen, industrial representatives and others from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas attended the Federal Civil Defense Administrative Rescue Institute in Denton, Texas to discuss reactions to an attack. December 6, 1956
A special train will travel from Ardmore to the base for the C-130A Open House. It was to depart Ardmore at 12:30 PM. The ceremony was held in the afternoon to not interfere with church services. The gates were open to civilians at 12:30 PM. The C-130s were to arrive at 2:00 PM. Slow and fast flyovers, maximum power takeoffs and other unusual maneuvers not normally done by heavy aircraft were to be demonstrated. A special matinee feature was to be shown at the Base Theater at 4:30 PM. A C-130A will be open for civilian and military viewing in the new, large hanger. The program will conclude at 5:00 PM.
Five thousand people attended the open house December 9, 1956 at AAFB to celebrate the arrival of the first C-130A Hercules, the "City of Ardmore," delivered to the USAF. Formal presentation of the aircraft was made by Robert E. Goss, CEO of Lockheed Aircraft Corp. to General O. P. Weyland, CO of TAC, representing the USAF. Five C-130s with crews from the Lockheed plant at Marietta, Georgia flew here for the presentation. One aircraft demonstrated the planes versatility by dropping 18 A-22 containers across the field from the grandstand. A F-6 fuel truck, Nike Ajax missile, and T-56 engine test stand were aboard one aircraft to demonstrate the capacity of the transport. The Air Force Thunderbirds flying North American F-100 Super Sabres were only represented by two aircraft. The other four had been 'shut in' by bad weather. Prior to the ceremonies, the crack AF Drum and Bugle Corps put on a 25-minute show. Five COs of the five TCWs of the 18th AF were in attendance. Fast Forward Note: The formal presentation of 55-023 to the Air Force was December 9, 1956. The date shown on the data plate of 55-023 is December 7, 1956, the day it no longer belonged to Lockheed. The "City of Ardmore" was retired, October 9, 1989, after nearly 30-years of dependable service. It is on static display at Linear Park, Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas. It does not have the original assigned name, "City of Ardmore", on the fuselage but that information is on the plaque near the aircraft. Fast Forward Again: The first factory delivered Lockheed C-130H "Hercules" was received by the Oklahoma Air National Guard, Oklahoma City.
The Officer’s Wives’ Club provided an annual Christmas program at the Veteran’s Center at Ardmore.
First baby born in 1957 at AAFB hospital was to Corporal and Mrs. Nelson Velez, US Marine Corp. Mrs. Nelson, a former Marine, was released from duty, June 1956. Corporal Velez was on overseas duty with the 3rd Marine Division in the Far-East. The daughter, Kim, was the 741st baby born at the AAFB hospital. January 3, 1957
A Trailer Guest House Service was inaugurated to provide four trailers for new airmen and families to have as quarters till they can find housing elsewhere. The trailers were completely furnished with linen, cooking utensils, and dishes. They were located east of the Pecan Acres Trailer Park on the base. The Officer's Wives' Club furnished the cooking utensils, dishes and drapes. January 4, 1957
Twelve C-119s from AAFB assisted in airlifting personnel and equipment of the 322nd Fighter Group from Foster AFB, Texas to Wendover Tactical Gunnery and Bombing range in Utah. The 322nd was there 30-days for combat practice. The airlift brought the personnel and equipment back to Foster AFB. The 314th TCW, Sewart AFB, Tennessee and the 646th TCW from Pope AFB, North Carolina also assisted. The Ardmore crews flew 214 missions. January 6, 1957
The 463rd TCW participated in a 30-day simulated airborne and assault exercise at Pope AFB, North Carolina beginning January 6, 1957. Aircraft from AAFB, Sewart AFB, and Pope AFB participated in the "Jump Light" operation testing the 101st Airborne Division of which the 187th Airborne Infantry from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky was a component. The planes dropped paratroops, equipment and vehicles in the Ft. Bragg area and deployed the troops back to Ft. Bragg for possible use elsewhere in the mock operation.
1st Lieutenant E. E. Hannemann served as a Chaplin at AAFB during this time period.
The lives of all concerned were changed forever when the six-year-old son or S/Sgt. and Mrs. Larry M. Simpson was hit by an automobile driven by A1/C Floyd L. Simpson. The boy had crossed the country road to the mailbox and was coming back across. He was dead on arrival at the base hospital. Unknown if charges were filed against A1/C Simpson. Both were assigned to AAFB but were not related. The Simpsons lived four miles north of Ardmore. January 10, 1957.
Humphrey Bogart, 56, popular movie-star, died of esophagus cancer. Humphrey was known to be a "heavy" or "chain" cigarette smoker. January 14, 1957
”The last C-119 leaves the 773rd Squadron, Friday, Jan. 11, 1957 and the 773rd becomes the first Squadron in the Air Force to be equipped solely with C-130 aircraft. The last C-119, No. 8148, was transferred to Birmingham, AL for a final check and modifications to be assigned to an AF Reserve Squadron where it will be used for training purposes. The 8148, last to leave, was the first new G model C-119 assigned to the 773rd upon their return from France in early 1955. Since that time the plane has participated in maneuvers in Panama and Alaska and has flown logistical missions to Canada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico and wherever it was needed in the United States.” Fast Forward Note: 8148 was converted into an AC-119K, Stinger, hunter-killer gunship and saw extensive service in Vietnam. (Carrier Wings, January 18, 1957) The C-130A "Hercules" began to replace the C-119s, December 9, 1956.
The last C-119s were transferred from Ardmore Troop Carrier Squadrons to other units on these approximate dates: 773rd (51-8148, January 11, 1957), 772nd (51-001, May 31, 1957), 774th (51-8004, July 1957). Each Squadron eventually received 16 C-130s. The 48th C-130 was delivered in July 1957.
The second C-130A "Hercules" arrived Saturday, January 12, 1957, at 1:25 PM from the Marietta, Georgia plant. The crew members from the 773rd Squadron included Captain Alonzo H. Huff, pilot; Captain Robert E. Hurley, co-pilot and Tech Sgt. John W. McDonough, engineer.
Airman/2/Class, Irwin Oscherwitz, a MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System) Operator at AAFB, assisted a B-47 from Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, flying at 39,000 feet, to a safe landing at Wright-Patterson. The B-47 was lost due to the malfunction of their UHF and VHF radio equipment and contacted AAFB MARS unit on the MARS frequency of 7305-Kilocycles. He contacted Wright-Patterson on another MARS frequency and asked them to contact the lost aircraft on the MARS frequency. Getting back to the lost aircraft, he advised the B-47 that Wright-Patterson would be on the MARS frequency to guide them to a safe landing in Ohio. The airman is an amateur radio operator (HAM) licensed as K5HOG. January 25, 1957 Fast Forward Note: Airman Oscherwitz, 775th TCS, was promoted and selected as Airman of the Month for March 1957. While serving as MARS operator, he was TDY from the 775th TCS. Oscherwitz, formerly of Cincinnati, Ohio, married Isabel Ann Greenberg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Max Greenberg of Ardmore. More Fast Forward: It was observed in 2005, that K5HOG is now a repeater identifier for the University of Arkansas, Fayettville, a natural call-sign for the "Razorbacks". An unsuccessful attempt was made to contact Oscherwitz, thought to be in Ft. Worth, Texas, to get an update on the years since 1957.
The Ardmore AAF Flying club recently purchased a two-place Aeronca Chief, 65-HP aircraft to go with the two-place, 65-HP Luscombe Silvair purchased when the club was organized. Both aircraft are kept at the Ardmore Municipal airport south of Springer, OK. No member is a flight instructor but Mr. Marshall of the airport will give flying lessons. The initiation fee is $15, flying instruction $4/hour plus $3.50/hour for the airplane and $3.50/month club dues. M/Sgt. Erin Knox was re-elected as club president. January 25, 1957
Military Court Martials were held frequently and reported monthly in the base paper. An example of punishment which was not light follows for four airmen tried during January 1957. An A2/C with the Aerial Port Squadron who struck his commanding officer received a Dishonorable Discharge, forfeited all pay and allowances and was confined to hard labor for two years. An A3/C with the 463rd Installation Squadron was charged with desertion, AWOL, received a Bad Coduct Discharge, forfeiture of $58/month for 12 months plus hard labor for 12 months. Two airman with the 774th TCS, an A/B and A3/C with the Transportation Squadron were assigned sentences for AWOL, including hard labor and forfeiture of $65/month and $35/month respectively plus 6-months hard labor. These would be typical of some of the sentences. The good, bad and the ugly!
The 419th Troop Carrier Group selected a group emblem designed by 1st Lt. Paul J. Courluris, pilot, 309th Troop Carrier Squadron. The design was selected from several entrants submitted by those entering the design contest. Lt. Courluris received a Defense Bond as the award for the winning design. The emblem design will be submitted through channels to USAFHQ for approval. February 1, 1957
Gasoline price at Ardmore and area stations was 30.9-cents for regular and 33.9-cents for ethyl. February 5, 1957
Lt. Colonel Luther O'Hern, Deputy CO of the 463rd TCW, promoted to Colonel. February 14, 1957. O'Hern joined the Army Air Corps in 1940 and has been at AAFB since September 1956. The O'Hern's have two daughters, Cindy, 13, and Billie Ann, 9.
On February 18, 1957, AAFB became first in the USAF to receive the instruction of a C-130 Aircrew Indoctrination Team, headed by Major Samuel Brown, C-130 project officer from the Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida. Major Brown was the first AF pilot to check out in the C-130. Other team members included Lockheed and Allison GE engine representatives and other AF personnel specialized in the Supply and Air Material Division of the Air Force. February 15, 1957
"Old Buck" world's greatest show horse died of old age at 34-years. Buck was owned and trained by Ardmoreite, Hardy Murphy. Buck and Hardy appeared in every major rodeo and exposition in the 1930 and 40s and were the feature attraction at the Madison Square Garden Exposition for ten consecutive years. "Buck" had several songs composed about him; the best known was "Gold Mine In The Sky" by Charles and Nick Kinney. It was made famous by Gene Autry who was a personal friend of Hardy and "Buck." The cover on the sheet music was a picture of "Buck" and Hardy Murphy. Song writer Frank Luther was inspired by "Buck" to pen "A Cowboy's Best Friend." "Buck" was retired at his final appearance at the Southwestern Livestock Show, Fort Worth, Texas in 1953. "Buck" was buried with appropriate honors and recognition in front of steam locomotive 1108 near the Coliseum. Engine 1108 rushed doctors and nurses to Ardmore from Gainesville, Texas following the 1915 railroad tank-car explosion that destroyed buildings and killed people near that area of Ardmore. March 4, 1957 Fast Forward Note: A bronze bust of Mr. Murphy, sculptured by one of his daughters, Lena Beth, is displayed in the entrance of the Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore. The building was named in honor of Mr. Murphy's contribution to the southern Oklahoma area, October 10, 1961. He was too ill to attend the dedication ceremony and died a short-time later. Fast Forward Note: Sadly, death claimed Lena Beth, October 15, 2003, following a long illness.
Goodbye base housing project! US Federal Attorney Paul Brewer said Tuesday, March 5, 1957 that the government was no longer interested in the proposed 750-unit base housing project and the land would be deeded back to its original owners if that was acceptable to each party (3). Heirs to the Felix King Estate refused the offer and were paid $3,650. H. M. and Ethel Baxter accepted the offer. The third owner of San Francisco was represented by his Tulsa attorney and responded later. Colonel John D. Bristow, District Engineer, Tulsa, said his office had been informed to "drop the project." The directive came from the USAF in the Pentagon Building. There had been protests to the project from realtors and several citizens. March 6, 1957
General Chester E. McCarty, CO of 18th AF, and 20 staff members attend special briefing at AAFB on the progress made by the 463rd TCW on the conversion to the C-130 aircraft as replacement for the C-119. March 6, 1957
Senator Robert S. Kerr met with Ardmore Chamber of Commerce members and citizens Saturday night to say that protests had caused a halt to the 750-unit housing project near Gene Autry. He urged that a committee of citizens go to Washington, DC and find out what was necessary to reverse the decision by AF officials. He stated that base permanency had not been granted and under the present housing conditions, it would not be. He related that the AF would be cutting the number of Wings in the near future and housing would certainly be a factor on who would be cut. March 10, 1957
Headquarters, USAF, assigns reduce manpower authorizations at AAFB to reduce civilian employees by 73 persons by July 1, 1957.
City realtors sign resolution saying they "do not oppose base housing." March 12, 1957
Rear Admiral Richard Byrd died from a heart attack as he slept. He had been head of the Navy's huge "Operation Deep Freeze" in Antarctica. March 13, 1957
General Cecil H. Childre will assume duties as Director of Operations and Training at Headquarters, Tactical Air Command. He was to report for duty no later than August 1, 1957. He assumed command of the 463rd in August of 1954. March 14, 1957
Southern Oklahoma Housing Group was formed to contact AF officials in Washington, DC to show support for the recently cancelled 750-unit base housing project. March 15, 1957
Ardmore City Commissioners passed a resolution urging the US Government to receive all the titles associated with the land on which AAFB is located including the several "inconsequential clouds" on some of the titles. Removing the "clouds" through Court action would be costly and a long, drawn-out process. It was hoped the resolution would show "good faith" and perhaps cause reconsideration of the housing project and base permanency. Fast Forward Note: The Government had been stern on getting clear title to the land without encumbrances and the city had been slow in getting this done. March 18, 1957
The 419th TCG had its first extended overwater training flight since activation in the summer of 1956. The 123B aircraft flew from AAFB to Puerto Rico without incident. Colonel George G. Norman was the aircraft commander. March 21, 1957
The 419th Troop Carrier Group, second assault group to be formed at Ardmore AFB, completes the first overwater training flight in C-123Bs. They flew from Ardmore to Puerto Rico, via Tampa, Florida, March 12, 1957, and returned.
Over 500 Ardmore citizens signed petition in favor of base housing. The petition goal was 2,000; 1,500 signatures were received.. March 22, 1957
Church services at AAFB, April 8-11, included a general Protestant preaching mission with Dr. Thomas C. Parish of the Central Christian Church of Memphis, Tennessee. Personnel were released from duty to attend services of their time choices of 8 AM to 4 PM. March 24, 1957
The Ardmore delegation that tried to save the housing project traveled to Washington, District of Columbia, to meet with AF officials General Donald A. Quarles and General James H. Douglas, Secretary of the AF. They were told the "shelving of the housing project doesn't necessarily mean the base would close in 1959." "It would be fully utilized until June of 1959 but Air Force planning had not gone beyond that date." Due to unknowns beyond June 1959, the housing project was out. He said that no local protests had fostered the decision. The Secretary said he was concerned about the future of ten bases including Ardmore. The delegation presented their petition signed by 1,500 citizens favoring the housing project. March 31, 1957
The "Mad Hatters" luncheon at the base Officer's Club was attended by 130 wives that had designed and constructed their own hats. April 7, 1957
Gene Autry flew to the City Airport near Springer in his private aircraft landing at 2 PM, April 9th. He was presented on arrival with a life-time membership in the Oklahoma Amvets who considered Autry their Number One Cowboy for WWII veterans. Autry performed at the April 10-13, 1957 Everett Colborn Rodeo in Ardmore. Foy Willing and the Riders Of The Purple Sage appeared with him. Champion and Champion, Jr. were also in the parade and rodeo. His last previous performance in Ardmore was in 1949 when he participated in the opening and dedication of the Coliseum. Some referred to the building as the Gene Autry Coliseum although it was never officially named after him. The official name for the building was Fair Park Arena until its change to Hardy Murphy Coliseum.
Each driver in the AAFB Transportation Squadron was presented with a Safe Driving Award by Colonel Woodrow T. Merrill, CO of Maintenance and Supply. The drivers represented 28 years and 140,000 miles of accident-free driving. April 18, 1957
The second base barbershop (two-chairs) opened at a Base Exchange concession in Bldg. 315 (Parachute Shop). Shop hours were 8 AM-5 PM (Monday-Friday) and 8 AM-12-noon Saturday. April 26, 1957
An AAFB C-130 was the first aircraft of that designation to leave the continental limits of the US. The 774th Squadron, 463rd TCW aircraft arrived at Howard AFB in the Canal Zone with an average speed for the 1,691 mile flight from Brookley AFB, Mobile, Alabama of 357mph at 25,000 feet. Captain Hubert Chaney who flew the first C-130 to Ardmore, December 9, 1956, was instructor pilot with the crew. Major Seymour Clark was pilot; 1st Lt. Daniel R. Parker was navigator. Major Henry L. Partridge was instructor navigator. T/Sgt. A. L. Marchman, flight engineer, was also on the initial delivery flight to Ardmore. Six other AF personnel were aboard the aircraft. The flight was in connection with the Caribbean Command's Operation "Exercise CARI-EX." The C-130 was on display while at Howard AFB for South American military and civilian dignitaries to view. April 28, 1957
Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin, died May 2, 1957 of acute hepatitis liver inflamation. In the early 50s, McCarthy was such an avid foe of communism that some called him a "witch-hunter."
Ardmoreite Eddie Rue McClanahan was in the cast of the off-Broadway New York stage production "Country Girl." May 5, 1957
The 4454th USAF Hospital Tactical Infirmary held field exercises in spite of rain and muddy field conditions. The field exercise was conducted in 11 tents which housed and handled all medical and dental problems during the exercise. Captain Stanley Gottied was commander of the 25 airmen and five officers in the unit. A similar field exercise was scheduled every two or three months. May 5, 1957
First C-130 is delivered to Sewart AFB, Nashville, Tennessee. May 19, 1957
A crew from the 772nd squadron flew to Paris, France in a C-130 to participate in the International Aeronautical Exposition at Le Bourget Airport from May 24-June 2, 1957. Seventy-five tourists per minute toured the C-130 (036) in a three hour period.
Chamber of Commerce officials discussed a possible study to determine if AAFB was adequate for future AF need. Congressman Carl Albert, 3rd District, sent a copy of a letter from Joe W. Kelley, director of legislative liaison for the AF, which suggested the base might be inadequate to accommodate new and higher performance aircraft. The letter presented "between the lines" indications that the base future beyond 1959 was uncertain. May 23, 1957
Brigadier General Cecil H. Childre was bid farewell and Colonel James L. Daniel, his replacement, was welcomed as new base commander at Lake Murray Lodge. Colonel Daniel was given an Indian head-dress and named "Chief Lum-He, Lus Te, Mic-Co" meaning Black Eagle. General Chester M. McCarty and 200 well-wishers attended the evening banquet. May 23, 1957.
The 419 TCG participated in the Indian River, Washington exercises. The group helped airlift 2,000 men during 90 sorties flown by C-123s. May 24, 1957
Seventeen new C-130 turboprop-jet aircraft from the 463rd TCW did the first large mass flight of the new aircraft over Sewart AFB, Tennessee. They participated in an aerial and cargo carrying demonstration. May 27, 1957
The base library officially opened Monday, May 27, 1957. Miss Elizabeth Ervin was base librarian. The Base Service Club begins cash bingo. Cards sell for 25-cents each. Winners will have the choice of merchandise prizes. The initial jackpot will be $15 cash in 46 numbers or less. Each week $5 will be added until the jackpot reaches $50. May 27, 1957
MARS director, Woodrow Wilson, director of all MARS activities within a 12-State area of the 14th AF, visited AAFB May 25-26, 1957. He supervises 1,250 individual MARS stations operated by civilian and military MARS members. May 27, 1957
The last C-119 (001) in the 772nd Troop Carrier Squadron was retired from active duty with 1,792 accident free hours. It is being received by the Air Reserve Unit at Grenier AFB, New York. The original crew members included Captain G. D. Trusty, who originally delivered the C-119, and Sgt. D. B. Brotherton, another original crew member. May 31, 1957
Aircraft from AAFB participated in an Aviation Writer's Association demonstration of the aircraft at McConnel AFB, Kansas. They airlifted 130 AWA members from St. Louis to McConnel and back. Lt. Colonel Arthur C. Madely was mission commander. June 2, 1957
Nikita S. Krushchev predicts that ultimate world victory by communism is assured by Russia's competition with US and others economically and ideologically. He appeared on CBS's "Face The Nation." June 2, 1957
Central Airline provides direct aerial service from Ardmore Air Force Base to Oklahoma City. June 3, 1957
Lake Texoma overflows following heavy rains in the southern Oklahoma area. Water is expected to crest at 644-feet and is presenting problems for areas downstream along the Red River. June 5, 1957 Fast Forward Note: Southern Oklahoma only received 18-inches of precipitation during 1956. Longtime average rainfall at that time was approximately 36-inches. Rainfall during 1957 was approximately 57-inches, ending several years of limited precipation and drought conditions.
Colvert Dairy Products plant in Ardmore begins operation following completion of its new processing facility. Colvert Dairy, a long-time southern Oklahoma milk processor, has the largest processing plant in Oklahoma. June 7, 1957
Utah Governor George D. Clyde visited his son Lt. Gerald D. Clyde of 463rd Installations Squadron. Accompanying the Governor was Major General Maxwell Rich, Utah Adjutant-General and National Guard Commander. They arrived in a Utah National Guard C-47. June 29, 1957
The 419th Troop Carrier Group celebrated its one year anniversary at AAFB July 7th, 1957. The group flew the 123B Provider and was made up of three squadrons, 339th (Colonel Preston Wooley); 340th (Lt. Colonel Richard O'Hara); 341st (Lt. Colonel John Dean). The group had 117 officers and 363 airmen. Colonel George G. Norman was the CO.
Ardmore Air Force Base received its 47th C-130A of its total assignment of 48. Colonel James Daniel, Jr., attended ceremonies at the Lockheed Plant, Marietta, Georgia. During the ceremonies, 12 C-130s from Ardmore flew over the giant factory. The 48th and final aircraft is to be delivered in three weeks. Mr. Carl Kotchian, V-President and general manager of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation presented the 47th aircraft to Colonel Daniels who returned to Ardmore in the new aircraft. June 14, 1957
Civilian positions at Ardmore AFB were reduced by 73% by July 1, 1957 pursuant to a directive from the Department of Defense, March 15, 1957.
An emergency landing was made at AAFB when a piece of a T-33 jet engine disintegrated sending metal pieces into the aircraft. The trainer aircraft was piloted by Lts. Wayne Dozier and William Carter. The aircraft was stationed at Turner AFB, Georgia. July 12, 1957
The 419th and the 463rd Troop Carrier Groups changed aircraft parking areas for the C-123s and C-130s. The C-130s moved from the blacktop parking area to the south cement parking area where the C-123s have been parked. The JP-4 fuel used in the C-130 turbo-prop engines destroys the blacktop material. July 12, 1957
Stock market prices July 18, 1957: General Electric 71 1/8, General Motors 41 1/2, American Airline 20 1/2, Boeing Air 41, Sears-Roebuck 28 1/8.
The C-130s received Jet Assisted Take-Off (JATO) boosters to liftoff in less than 150-yards. Normal takeoffs without JATO, 800-1000-feet, with JATO, 400-500-feet. Traveling at 50-knots when fired, 70-knots when leaving the runway, the aircraft reaches 100-knots when finishing its 450-feet climb. The additional JATOs were equal to an additional engine. The bottles burn for 12 to 14-seconds. July 19, 1957
The 772nd TCS set a record for changing an Allison T-56 engine on a C-130A aircraft in one hour, five minutes and 46-seconds. The average time for a change is from four to six hours. The change was made under the direction of S/Sgt. James Frcek. July 27, 1958
The last C-119F (51-8004) of the 774th TCS was transferred to the Florida Air Reserve. From September 1956 to July 1957, nine went to the 464th Troop Carrier Wing, Pope AFB, North Carolina. Thirty-six went to Air Force Reserve Flying Centers, Continental Air Command. Twenty-one went to Hayes Aircraft Co., Birmingham, Alabama for inspection and repair prior to assignment to CONAC or 9th Air Force. August 2, 1957
Lt. Colonel Robert C. Lewis visited AAFB. He was director of training at Ardmore Army Air Field from April 1944 to September 1945. While stationed at the Pentagon, he visited Ardmore in 1951 to check the air base prior to its activation. August 7, 1957
J. Elbert King, C of C president, Roland Descans, C of C secretary, and Ken Milburn, Ardmore businessman visit Washington, DC to visit with Congressmen and AF officials to try to ascertain the future of AAFB. Problems discussed were the length of runways and their weight bearing capacity (the new Douglas C-133A Troop Carrier aircraft requires 130,000 pound capacity). Also discussed were possible re-channeling of Washita River and improving the landing glide angle to 1' in 50' by cutting down a hill. Both would require massive and expensive dirt moving. August 8, 1957
J. C. Dunn, 31, manager of the Ardmore Cardinals baseball team, was shot two times by a Negro porter in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He is expected to recover from the shots in the back left shoulder and right thigh. No reason for the shooting was given. August 9, 1957
The Air Force and Lockheed announce a "B" version of the C-130A. It has more powerful engines with four-bladed props, flies faster with greater payloads, is quieter with less vibration, has a greater range with additional fuel tanks, a stronger landing gear, a hot meal gallery, refrigerator and gracious flight deck. August 19, 1957
Two more Anthrax cases in cattle were found in Labette County and Cherokee County, Kansas. An embargo on shipping cattle from this area was enforced. August 11, 1957
USAF plans to streamline its organizational setup. AAFB will be one of six bases impacted by the new plan of organization. The 463rd TCW (Medium) will be known as the 838th Air Division (Troop Carrier). Eighteen combat wings will be formed into Air Divisions. In most instances, squadrons will increase from three to four per Wing. AAFB will be under command of the 9th Air Force instead of the 18th Air Force. Major General Robert M. Lee, CO of Tactical Air Carrier, 9th AF, visited AAFB to familiarize himself to the base. In September 1957, AAFB was transferred to the 838th Air Division, 9th Air Force, where it remained till closing.
Brigadier General Cecil H. Childre, Directorate of Operations and Training, TAC, Langley AFB, Virginia was awarded third Oak Leaf Cluster "for exceptionally meritorious service in a position of great responsibility while serving as commanding officer of 463rd Troop Carrier Wing (Medium) from September 1, 1954 to May 1, 1957." August 20, 1957
An announcement was made in Washington, DC that AAFB was one of seven US facilities which the AF plans to deactivate "sometime next summer." Colonel James Daniel, Jr., CO, said he had not been notified of the directive. Approximately 3,000 officers and men were on the base. The 2-million dollar hanger had recently been completed as part of the estimated 15-million spent on the base since 1953. August 29, 1957
Malcolm A. MacIntyre, Under Secretary of the Air Force, told OK congressmen that budget reductions and administrative directives have so reduced the maintenance and operation funds that the AF plans deactivation soon of one of the two wings (463rd TCW and 419th TCG) at Ardmore. The remaining wing would soon be transferred to Sewart AFB, Tennessee in July 1958. August 30, 1957
During transfer ceremonies of AAFB to the 9th AF, Chief Warrant Officer Conrad R. Carr was honored and retired after 20-years of duty. General Robert M. Lee, CO of Tactical Air Carrier, 9th AF, said "It was regrettable any good military installation must close." September 1, 1957
Ford Motor Company unveils the Edsel. September 1, 1957
National Guard called to block Little Rock, Arkansas race fight brought about by school integration of nine students into the 2,000-pupil high school. September 3, 1957
AAFB will remain open until January 1, 1959 according to James H. Douglas, Secretary of the Air Force. "By that time, a new fiscal year budget will be in effect and hopefully more funds will be available." September 18, 1957.
Russia gains world attention by launching "Sputnik," the first satellite. October 4, 1957
RAAF officer Squadron Leader Warwick Addison is the first Royal Australian Air Force pilot to fly the C-130 turbo-jet. Addison has been at Ardmore AFB since October 14, 1957. The RAAF has ordered 12 C-130s.
The 419th Troop Carrier Group will be inactivated December 8, 1957. The 526 personnel will be transferred to other units at AAFB or other 9th AF units. Two-thirds of the Group will remain at Ardmore.
Congressman Carl Albert, OK, said the airbase would continue until January 1959 but the 419th TCG would be deactivated in December 1958. The information was made available after Albert visited with Joe W. Kelley, Air Force representative. October 23, 1957
"Sputnik II" orbits earth with a dog "Liaka" inside after launch November 3, 1957.
More than 5,000 living war veterans from Carter County were honored on Veteran's Day, November 11, 1957, at the Municipal Auditorium in Ardmore.
Brigadier General Horace H. F. Gregory, CO, AF Office of Scientific Research said manned space flight in space ships is a definite possibility but "is still a long way off." November 13, 1957
Colonel Woodrow Merrill presented John Everett, base civilian personnel director, with the USAF Certificate of Achievement for the department's outstanding Civilian Suggestion Awards Program. The award was one of three presented by the Air Force. Of 89 suggestions made, 26 were adopted saving an estimated $23,979. December 5, 1957
Headquarters, TAC, announces that the 838th Air Division, 419 TCG, and the 339th, 340th, and 341st Troop Carrier Squadrons will be inactivated, December 11, 1957. Colonel James L. Daniel will become CO of the 463rd TCW. Lt. Colonel O'Hern will serve as Director of Operations. Lt. Colonel George Norman becomes Deputy Commander of the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing. December 6, 1957
Nine Royal Australian Air Force officers visited AAFB to study C-130 operation in preparation to receiving their first C-130 scheduled to be delivered in October 1958. They had also visited Sewart AFB, Tennessee, Air Force officials in Washington, District of Columbia, and Lockheed Aircraft Corp. executives in Marietta, Georgia. They arrived in the US December 9, 1957. January 9, 1958
Colonel George Owen, AAFB, and wife of Springer, Oklahoma watched Sputnik II as it orbited over Springer and Ardmore around 7 PM, Saturday night. January 25, 1958
Colonel Marion W. Hubble, former wing executive officer and CO of the Air Base Group at AAFB, retired recently. He was assigned to AAFB from May 1955 through December 1957. He was instrumental in establishing the on-base recreation program. He also helped establish "Ardmore Air Base Activities, Inc." the joint military-civilian public relations organization that served as a model throughout the AF. He began his retirement years in Greenville, South Carolina. January 24, 1958
Roy Capanella, 36, star catcher for the Dodgers, breaks neck in auto accident near Glen Cove, New York, ending his baseball career. January 28, 1958
AAFB C-130 sets new non-stop, non-refueling flight record for turbine-powered aircraft flying above 25,000 feet. The plane flew from Tachikawa Air Base, Japan to Bonham Naval Air Station, Hawaiian Islands (3,800miles) in ten hours and 44 minutes. The aircraft averaged 354-mph ground speed. Colonel George Norman, deputy CO of the 463rd TCW was mission commander and Captain Gene Jones, 772nd TCS was aircraft commander. This was the first flight over the Western Pacific into the Orient for the C-130 prop-jet. The entire flight from Japan to AAFB was made in flight time of 24-hours and two minutes. February 7, 1958
Scientist think we will send a rocket to the moon in 20-years and a manned spacecraft into orbit in five-years. February 23, 1958
Eight C-130s departed AAFB March 1, 1958 for six months temporary duty at Ashiya Air Base, Japan. Lt. Colonel Edwin Hibner was detachment CO for the group from the 772nd TCS. While there, they flew intra-support missions for the 315th Air Division.
Navy's Vanguard rocket put second US satellite into orbit after two failures. The Army launched Explorer I with the Jupiter-C missile, January 31, 1958. March 9, 1958
Local C-130 from the 774th TCS drew the crowd's attention at Albrook AFB, Canal Zone, demonstrating short field landings and take-offs. Captain Donald O. Eubanks was commander. A second C-130 from AAFB, commanded by Major Robert Masterson, Jr., was there flying support equipment for the AF "Thunderbird" precision flying team. March 18, 1958
Four-cent postage stamp soon to become a reality. March 20, 1958
Colonel Frank W. Hansley replaced Colonel Woodrow T. Merrill as CO of the Airbase Group. Colonel Merrill came to Ardmore with the 463rd in September of 1953 from Memphis, Tennessee. March 23, 1958
Elvis Presley, 22, reported for Army service in Memphis, Tennessee. March 24, 1958
Temco Aircraft Corporation, Dallas, Texas announced plans to extend its operation to Ardmore Air Force Base when the airforce leaves. March 26, 1958
A C-130 aircraft from the 772nd TCS was in the movie "The Hunters" being filmed in cooperation with the AF at Luke AFB, North Carolina and West Palm Beach AFB, Tampa, Florida. The aircraft served as a camera plane. Robert Mitchum was the star in the picture. March 31, 1958
Fred L. Badalaminti was chosen as Airman of the Month, March 1958.
Congressman Carl Albert, 3rd District, Oklahoma, asked that AAFB be turned back to Ardmore quickly, if and when the base closes. Temco Aircraft Corporation has already requested a lease should the base close. Secretary of the Air Force, James Douglas, told Albert that if the base closes, they will start removing equipment in October 1958 and have the troops out within two to three months. April 1, 1958
Cub Scouts (1,200) from the North District of Circle 10 Council, and Western Star District, Dallas, Texas, visited AAFB Saturday, April 12, 1958. They came by special Santa Fe train, the largest ever assembled from the Dallas area. Two cubs had measles and one had chicken pox and had to remain on the train.
AAFB firemen praised for their help in fighting the recent Ben Franklin Refinery fire at Ardmore. Ardmore Fire Chief, Jim Ozment and Assistant Chief Maxie Gordon, met with AAFB Fire Chief Nimrod (Bogie) Borchartd to express their appreciation and to review AAFB fire fighting equipment. April 22, 1958
The 774th Squadron gives the 773rd Squadron a “blue hen” mascot, April 22, 1958. Captain Aiken and Captain Moore of the 774th arranged the presentation. The mascot” "gag gift” was a real, live chicken.
Three C-130s from AAFB made a 6,800 mile flight to Misawa AB, Japan. This was the first time turbo-prop transports had flown the Northern Great Circle Route to the Orient. This route was some 2,000 miles shorter than the Central Pacific Route. The flight took 16 hours-45 minutes. Commercial airlines average approximately 18 hours on the flight above 24,000 feet. April 13, 1958
Smiley Burnette, Gene Autry's sidekick, appeared with e, RCA Rodeo at the Ardmore Fair Park Coliseum, April 23-26, 1958.
Early morning $200,000 fire (6:10 AM) destroys Tivoli Theater, Saturday, April 26, 1958 and damages Eden's Restaurant, Tivoli Barber Shop and L. O. Hammons Clothiers. AAFB firemen assisted Ardmore firemen in controlling the fire.
Twenty-one C-130s from 772nd, 773rd and 774th TCS dropped over 8,000, 101st Airborne Division troops and flew 27 sorties during maneuvers at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. In addition, they airlifted troops and equipment from Bakalar, Indiana to Ft. Campbell, Wednesday, 23 of April.
Soviets launched their 3rd and largest Sputnik (1 1/2 tons). The United States had three satellites orbiting in space, the largest weighed 30.8 pounds. The two earlier Russian sputniks had reentered the atmosphere and burned up. May 15, 1958
The 2,000 visitors to AAFB on Armed Forces Day were not aware that the base and Donaldson AFB, South Carolina had been put on alert in the event Americans had to be evacuated from Lebanon. May 17, 1958
Air Force officials in Washington, DC announced that AAFB will be deactivated by January 1, 1959 and possibly sooner. The announcement came after a meeting with Oklahoma congressmen, Ardmore Chamber of Commerce representatives, Undersecretary of the Air Force, Malcolm MacIntyre and other Air Force and Civil Aeronautics officials. Ardmore participants were J. Dewey Clemens, T. Fred Collins, Ken Milburn and K. P. Midaugh. General Services, who would have first choice for other uses for the base, indicated that they had no interest in the base. May 27, 1958
Major General Robert M. Lee, commander of 9th AF, made his final visit to AAFB, June 16, 1958. General Lee was leaving the AF to become chief of staff for the UN command in Korea in mid-July. He was also promoted to Lieutenant General with the job change. Major General D. W. Hutchinson replaced Lee.
Federal employees at the base received a 10% pay increase. This affected 120 graded employees. June 22, 1958
Base officials met with Ardmoreites and C of C officials to discuss their tax investment in the base. Approximately 2,200 men were assigned to the base but several were on temporary duty elsewhere. There were 40 aircraft on the base with eight assigned overseas to Japan. The aircraft had a value of $4-million. June 23, 1958
Ardmore Air Base Activities, Inc. closed its office, June 30, 1958. Art Spencer, local coordinator, announced he had accepted the position of recreation director at Bergstrom AFB, Austin, Texas and will begin July 1, 1958.
AAFB had a Pro-Am golf tournament, July 4, 1958, giving a prize to the winning pro and three amateurs. A bathing beauty contest was also held at the base swimming pool at 3 PM.
Approximately 6,000 people jammed downtown Ardmore July 5 for Bonus Day activities. A new automobile was given away.
Five Thousand US Marines land in Lebanon to "maintain international peace and security." President Eisenhower ordered the troops there at the request of Lebanese President Camille Chamoun. July 14, 1958
Captain Alonzo H. Huff, AAFB senior pilot, was the first USAF pilot to exceed 1,000 hours flying time in a C-130A Hercules. Captain Huff was an instructor pilot with the 773rd TCS with 4,700 hours of flight experience. Brigadier General Hoyt Prindle (Retired), military relations director for Lockheed, presented the gold-plated plaque. July 29, 1958
At his retirement ceremony, July 31, 1958, Colonel James L. Daniel, Jr. was honored by 2,000 troops representing ten AAFB squadrons as he received the second Oak Leaf Cluster of the Legion of Merit medal. He was commended for "leading the 463rd TCW through 21,000 hours of flight time without a major accident." He also pioneered C-130 aircraft routes from the US to South America, Europe and the Far-East. He established the "first and model for other flight training programs for C-130 aircraft." Major General D. W. Hutchinson presented the medal as 30 C-130s flew over the field.
Six AAFB airmen were among the first to get the new rank of E-8 (Senior M/Sergeant). They were M/Sgt. Raymond Rodgers (773rd TCS); James A. Glenister (773rd TCS); Royce C. McMinn (772nd TCS); Donald R. Scott (recently transferred); Dennis Lowery (Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron) and Harry Gill (1st Aerial Port Squadron). The new grades were phased in over a five-year period with expectations of having 14,000 Senior M/Sgts. (E-8) and 7,000 Chief M/Sgts. (E-9). September 1, 1958
Third District Congressman (OK), Carl Albert announced that he had been informed that AAFB would be deactivated beginning October 1, 1958. All air crews and maintenance personnel would go to Sewart AFB, Nashville, Tennessee (formerly Smyrna AFB). A small housekeeping crew would probably remain until April 1, 1959. The Air Staff gave the following reasons for base closure: 1. Creation of new weapons will allow reduction of current Wings 2. Economic studies indicate substantial savings in manpower and installations operation. 3. Consolidation of units to improve Air Force "Readiness" programs, (24 installations closed or released during fiscal 1958). 4. Reduction of Troop Carrier (Medium and Assault) forces from six to four Wings with a corresponding requirement to reduce Troop Carrier bases. 5. Peacetime mission of Troop Carrier and Assault units was to support Army airborne training. Sewart AFB is located nearer Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the Army's two largest airborne centers.
Eleven civilian dignitaries from Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee visited AAFB to present a series of meetings with AF personnel soon to be transferred to Sewart AFB. Colonel Edwin Bane, Air Base Group commander at Sewart was with the group. September 25, 1958
Colonel George G. Norman, AAFB, commander of 463rd TCW, announced the first movement to Sewart AFB, Tennessee will begin November 15, 1958. First to depart will be 240 officers and airmen of the 772nd TCS commanded by Major Ray C. Shoemaker and a portion of the personnel from Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance (CAM) plus some from Wing Headquarters. On December 15, 1958, personnel from the 773rd TCS, commanded by Lt. Colonel John E. McClure, plus others from CAM will depart for Sewart AFB. Personnel from the 774th TCS, commanded by Major Lawrence E. Spears, the remainder of CAM personnel, and Headquarters' personnel will depart January 15, 1959. Each departure will involve between 220 to 250 military people. Additional reduction of personnel will be through discharge, overseas assignment and reassignment of the Air Base Group personnel to other duties elsewhere in the AF. By January 31, 1959, between 800 and 900 personnel will still be at AAFB with the Air Base Group commanded by Colonel Frank W. Hansley. These personnel will phase out until a small custodial force of one officer and 25 civilians will be all that remain on duty. The 220 Civil Service employees plus hourly-wage workers will be reduced in January; the rest will go in March 1959. These include those working at the Base Exchange, officers club, NCO club and central accounting.
Senior M/Sgt. James A. Glenister was chosen as top airmen of the Tactical Air Command for 1958. Glenister was assistant line chief for the 773rd TCS. He was picked from 40,000 other airmen. A 16-year veteran of two wars and 130 combat missions, he served as a B-24 Liberator engineer-gunner with the 93rd Heavy Bomber Group in Africa and England in WWII. August 31, 1958
The Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC conducted an investigation as to the validity of the move of the 463rd TCW to Sewart based on economic soundness. Phillip W. Kelleher represented the ASC and met with Congressman Carl Albert who had promised the Ardmore delegation while in DC that the study would be made. Kelleher said he was favorably impressed with AAFB. He said "the base was too good not to be utilized in some capacity by the government." The main argument by the AF was that Sewart would be nearer airborne troops in Kentucky and North Carolina. October 9, 1958
Air Force grounded all C-123s after crash in Idaho that killed 19 people. A possible problem with the fuel system was to be investigated. October 9, 1958
Firechief Brochartd came to Ardmore AFB July 1953 and transferred to Clinton-Sherman AFB, Oklahoma in October 1958. He began his work with the AF in 1951 at Hensley Field, Grand Prairie, Texas. It was at Hensley Field, 1941, that he first became a fireman as part of the Aviation Engineers Fire Fighters. October 10, 1958
Wearing of the winter uniform will be mandatory beginning November 1, 1958. October 24, 1958
Six C-130 crews from the 774th TCS participated in the “White Cloud” 101st Airborne operation, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Aircraft commanders were Captains James F. Akin, Jr; Herbert E. Chaney; William H. Hatfield; Donald O. Eubanks; Omer C. Nelson and Wesley T. Stuart. November 1, 1958
Early activity toward base closing was reflected by transfer of 463rd TCW's 772nd Troop Carrier Squadron to Sewart AFB, Tennessee, November 15, 1958.
Colonel and Mrs. George G. Norman are proud parents of Anita Lynne, 9-pound, 3-ounce daughter born Saturday, November 15, 1958. Anita Lynne is their fourth child. Other children are: Susan, 11-years, George Bryan (Rusty), nine, and Christopher, seven. Mother and daughter are doing fine. November 21, 1958
The Officer’s Wives’ Club gave away club property including silver service, silver trays, candelabras, typewriters, lace tablecloth, china, hammered aluminum, cards and dressing room stools. Twenty-nine club members were winners in the October luncheon free drawing. The forthcoming move of the 463rd to Sewart AFB from Ardmore was the reason for giving away the items. November 1958, “Operation Tailwind”, Officer’s Wives’ Club Publication
“Operation Tailwind” was the Officer’s Wives Club monthly publication. It was a 10-page (five double-sided sheets) newsprint publication that changed in size and format during its several years of publication. It covered events of the club and members for the past month and promoted upcoming activities. Several activities raised money for the base nursery, children’s playground and other needs related to personnel and families. Wives responsible for publication of “Operation Tailwind” in November 1958 included: Editor, Bette Nelson; Assistant Editor, Reba Miller; Circulation Manager, Lorraine Rice; Reporters, Wing-Ethel Burke, Air Base Group-Ann Southern, Medical-Nancy Hanford, 772nd Squadron-Carol Neilson, 773rd Squadron-Ann Stuart and 774th Squadron-Ann Sanders.
Mr. and Mrs. Waco Turner were hosts to a two day 9th AF Commander's Conference at their lodge near Burneyville, Oklahoma, November 20-22, 1958. Several commanders of TCWs including Brigadier General Cecil H. Childre, former CO of 463rd TCW, then director of operations and training, TAC, were in attendance. Major General David W. Hutchinson, CO, 9th AF, TAC, was also there. Colonel George G. Norman, AAFB, was the AF host to the group.
Ardmore city officials, AF personnel, Temco Aircraft Corporation representatives from Ft. Worth, Texas, along with General Service Administration and Civil Aeronautics Administration persons from Washington, DC met to discuss deactivation procedures for AAFB. The base was not yet declared surplus but was being processed as such. Purpose of meeting was to see if any other governmental agencies might have an interest in using the base. The government said they would work to make the base available to Temco or others as soon as possible. December 5, 1958
The 774th TCS moved to Sewart AFB, December 15, 1958. Major L. E. Spears, commander, and the men departed during the coldest spell of the season, ten degrees F., with snow cover of 1 3/4 inches. Last to transfer to Sewart, January 15, 1959, was the 773rd TCS.
Possibly the largest headlines ever used by The Daily Ardmoreite declared on December 24, 1958, "Merry Christmas, Southern Oklahoma; Temco Aircraft Is Coming To Ardmore." Temco had just been awarded a $6,000,000 government contract and immediately announced their plans to move one of their plants to AAFB as soon as space was available. The contract was to modify KC-97 tanker planes. The work was to be performed between January-July, 1959.
Temco says payroll at Ardmore would be approximately $500,000 monthly to 1,300 to 1,400 employees and work would begin as soon as Ardmore has the base. Colonel Norman said "as far as he is concerned, the company could begin work before the AF is completely vacated from the base. This would be a Washington decision however." January 4, 1959
Colonel George G. Norman made announcement that the AF would release AAFB facilities to the City of Ardmore "as they are requested." Norman also announced that he would be going to Sewart AFB January 12, 1958. Colonel Frank W. Hensley, present base commander, would be in charge of all base operations. January 7, 1959 Fast Forward Note: Colonel George G. Norman, who held several key positions at Ardmore Air Force Base during his 5-plus years at Ardmore, died, November 1, 1971, following a gallant struggle with lung cancer and emphysema. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Thank you, Colonel Norman, for the footsteps you left in Ardmore's military history.
Temco requested all facilities except housing area, swimming pool and the golf course. Actual transfer would begin in a week when Tulsa District US Army Engineers officially arrive at the base. The City of Ardmore reserved a large hanger for possible use as a Municipal Airport building. January 11, 1959
US Corps of Engineers, Washington DC and USAF authorized Tulsa District US Corps of Engineers to provide immediate licensing of AAFB to the City of Ardmore. The license was actually an interim permit to allow the base to be jointly occupied by the AF and Temco. January 20, 1959.
Temco contract signed and Temco will begin moving into the ten recently released buildings. Other base facilities would become available during February and March. The present AF lease would terminate April 7, 1959 at which time the remainder of the base would be available. Temco was to pay $1,000 per month for the lease. January 25, 1959
Temco officials delay moving plant to Ardmore AFB as other aircraft manufacturers charge that the government was subsidizing Temco in the establishment of the plant at Ardmore. No prediction as to how long the plant would be delayed. February 12, 1959
Release of AAFB to City of Ardmore was not possible by April 1, 1959 as promised due to "governmental red tape." All military personnel except a "holding company" of 50 men have left the base. Lt. Colonel Joseph D.Hamilton, Commander, Detachment 839th Installation Squadron, was in charge of the airmen who remained to secure the facility. April 3, 1959
Carter County Sheriff held several sheriff auctions to dispose of 120 houses in the Brantley addition in northwest Ardmore. They had been foreclosed on by the Federal National Mortgage Association. Most of the houses had been vacated by Air Force base personnel when the base closed. The average price received for the last 30 sold was $4,750. July 14, 1959
Ardmore city government officials signed a resolution to accept $93,500 from the Air Force for damaged runways and taxiways during the term of the lease of the base. The claim was filed several months earlier. This action cleared the way for GSA to return the base to the city since all liability claims against the base had been disposed of. GSA was the clearing house for all federal agencies. The check was received July 17, 1959 from the US Corps of Engineers' representative James G. Dwen.
Temco officials were contacted to see if they were still coming to Ardmore. They could not say for sure if they were or not, depending on government contracts. They assured that they would not "stand in the way" if other prospects are interested. They were still paying their $1,000 monthly lease payment. July 16, 1959
The $93,500 received from the AF was combined with $9,400 from the Oklahoma Right-of-Way Department into the City Airport fund for repairs of the airport near Springer, Oklahoma, approximately seven miles north of Ardmore. It had recently been declared unsafe by the Federal Aeronautics Administration. July 16, 1959
Final negotiations with the GSA for release of the base was to determine if GSA would retain and sell certain buildings or let Ardmore dispose of them. The base chapel was deleted from the list of buildings wanted by Ardmore since it was owned by the Religious Division of the Air Force and could only be disposed of by the chief chaplain of the AF. The city wanted to keep two of the fire trucks. There would be no "recapture clause" in the final release. Annual maintenance cost of the base to Ardmore was estimated to be $50,000. July 28, 1959
Third District Congressman, Carl Albert, notifies city officials that AAFB has been officially signed over to the City of Ardmore, culminating two years of negotiations with the federal government and AF. City officials say four firms were showing interest in the base. Temco Aircraft Corporation has not made a commitment to move to the base but is continuing the $1,000 per month lease on the base. A Lieutenant and 15 civilians are still on the base as a housekeeping contingent. September 3, 1959
Russians land 860-pound lunar rocket on the moon. The rocket landed at 12:02 AM, September 14, 1959, Hungarian time, creating a dust cloud on landing.
L. D. Southerland, US Corps of Engineers, Tulsa, Oklahoma, officially met with Mayor George P. Selvidge at 2:35 PM, September 16, 1959 to inform of the release of the $35,000,000 base to Ardmore. Six security guards were hired by the city and Ardmore firemen will be on duty at the base. Two fire trucks were declared surplus by the government and given to the City of Ardmore. Central Airlines will continue their daily flight schedules to the base to pick up passengers.
Temco Aircraft Corporation notified city officials that it was cancelling the lease agreement to occupy the 15 buildings at the base October 1, 1959. The lease had been in effect for eight months at $1,000 per month. September 22, 1959
The Base Chapel is for sale. It was the only building the government kept when the transfer to the City of Ardmore was made. The 96 x 56-feet concrete block and frame structure will be sold with these restrictions: "The building is to be specifically used as either a shrine, a memorial to WWII, or as a denominational house of worship." It is to be moved off the base unless an agreement with the City is made to leave it on the base. September 24, 1959 Fast Forward Note: The Chapel was purchased by the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Gene Autry. Worship services were held in the building for approximatly two and one-half-years. By this time, several maintenance problems had occurred requiring more expenditures to correct than available funds. A building site became available near the Gene Autry School (now the Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum) on the west side of Gene Autry. The members voted to dismantle the former Chapel and use the material to construct an attractive, new church building at the new location.
The actual deed to AAFB was delivered to City Manager Robert C. Cavins' office at 2:00 PM, October 26, 1959 by GSA representative William C. Storey, deputy regional counsel, Dallas, Texas. It included 1.4 acres, cancellation of the lease for 2,500 acres of land and approximately $8,000,000 worth of new buildings.
At least three aircraft, and possibly four, that were introduced for the first time to the USAF at Ardmore Air Force Base have been retired to static displays. The USAF first C-130A "Hercules," (55-023), "City of Ardmore," was presented to the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing, December 9, 1956. It was saved from destruction through the effort of an Ardmoreite who learned of its intended demise. It is now on display at Linear Park, Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas. Aircraft C-123B (54-0612) delivered to the 309th Troop Carrier Group, AAFB, December 20, 1955, was also one of the first C-123Bs received by the USAF. It was assigned and flown later by ten different units including TAC, Air Force Reserves, and USAFE at Dreux, France for two years. It was converted to a C-123K in 1967 and removed from USAF inventory in 1981. It is presently displayed at March AFB Museum, California. Another C-123 (54-0610) originally at Ardmore is on static display at Hill AFB, Ogden, Utah. We believe that several of the 53 C-123Bs first assigned to AAFB may still be in civilian or military use in the US or foreign countries. They would probably have 54-xxxx and 55-xxxx serial numbers. At least three of the rare YC122s (N122R, N122S-49-2884 and un-numbered) became agricultural spray planes and were destroyed. One airframe (S/N 49-2883) of the nine handbuilt units (S/N 49-2879 to 49-2887) flown by the 16th TCS at Ardmore was redesigned as an experimental VTOL aircraft (X-18A-UH). Note: There may be other aircraft that were inventory at Ardmore including, (YC-122s all destroyed including VTOL), C-123Bs, C-119s, C-130As or C-124s still in service as civilian or military units or as static displays. If you know of such, please contact gsimmons so this can be noted.
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