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Grand Forks AFB helps move a piece of history

      Photo By Senior Airman SerMae Lampkin /usaf 

This C-45 Expeditor awaits its move from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., to its new home in the air park at McChord AFB, Wash.


Story by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kapinos
319th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Maintenance, logistics and operations came together to help move a piece of aviation history from its location in Fargo, N.D., to here Nov. 2 in anticipation of its flight to its final place of honor at McChord Air Force Base, Wash.

The historic piece, known as a C-45 Expeditor, was used at McChord to move personnel and cargo around the country from 1952 to 1959.

"This is a plane that I have been looking forward to getting for a long time," said Ray Jordan, 62nd Air Wing museum curator. "I have been at the top of the waiting list for one of these and when one came available, I jumped at the opportunity to add it to our collection."

After contacting Wright-Patterson AFB to get permission to receive the aircraft, the problem became how to get it from where it resided in Fargo to its new home in Washington. That is where the Warriors of the North came in.

"This was really a team effort," said Senior Master Sgt. Mike Phillips, 319th Maintenance Squadron. "There were crew chiefs from the maintenance squadron along with transportation specialists from the logistics readiness squadron. We all had a hand in getting the plane here and ready for shipment, as well as operation support to get it ready for shipment on the C-17."

Moving the plane was no easy feat. The plane's wings had to be removed from the aircraft and then placed on a trailer for the move. Landing gear and tires that still held air even after 20 years of non-use were retracted, giving the cargo the clearance it needed to make the journey.

"We only had a few hours time to make the trip," said Sergeant Phillips. "Highway rules for something this large gave us a window in which we had to have it off the road and at its destination."

Once the plane is downloaded from the trailer that transported it to Grand Forks AFB, the plane will be crated and shipped on a C-17 Globemaster III from the 446th Airlift Wing, a Reserve wing stationed at McChord AFB.

"Moving this piece of equipment will be a part of a training mission," said Mr. Jordan. "It's a win-win situation, they get the training they need and I get the plane back to its original home base."

The plane will be a part of McChord's air park and will stand proudly next to other examples of historic aviation such as C-141 Starlifters and C-124 Globemaster IIs.

"This airplane could fly again with a large overhaul," said Mr. Jordan. "But I feel this is a more fitting tribute to such a fine aircraft as the C-45. It will spend its days overlooking the runway and being host to thousands of visitors each year."

"I can't think of a more fitting retirement for an aircraft," added Mr. Jordan.  

319 LRS personnel involved: 
Vehicle Operations 
Staff Sgt. Chris Lelm 
Tech. Sgt. Charles Massie
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Salonga 
Master Sgt. Roger Dawson

Vehicle maintenance 
Tech Sgt. Todd McLendon
Airman 1st Class Robert Sommerfeldt 

1Lt. Tyson Daw 
Master Sgt. Rhonda Veon
Mr. Joe Travis 
Staff Sgt. Willie Cooper 
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Clouatre 
Senior Airman Chris Miley 
Senior Airman Nick Pompey
Airman 1st Class Matthew Hawk
Airman 1st Class Matt Smith
Airman 1st Class Cliff Cooke
Airman Sarah Turner

Air Terminal Operations
Tech. Sgt. Melita Roseboom
Senior Airman Matthew Diaz

319 MXS personnel involved
Project lead 
Senior Master Sgt. Michael Phillips 

Crew Chiefs 
Tech. Sgt. Jarrod Williams
Tech. Sgt. Shawn Wright
Senior Airman Rick Summy
Senior Airman Chris Daniels

Metal Shop
Tech. Sgt. Gary Duffield
Staff Sgt. Robert Posey 

319 SFS personnel: 
Master Sgt. William Petty 
Master Sgt. Todd Tureskis
Mr. Sam Kennedy

Website provided and maintained by:
The McChord Air Museum Foundation
P.O. Box 4205
McChord AFB, WA. 98438-0205
e-mail - mamfound@mcchordairmuseum.org