How could I ever forget the first time I set foot in Wendover after the long ride from Salt Lake City past the Bonneville Slat Flats. I said to myself "where the hell am I?" It got better later. We got a two week leave before we came back for our special mission training. Who could ever forget the trip to Cuba and other destinations.
If you ever felt like gambling, we had the casino at the Stateline Hotel right outside the camp. However, there were always enough poker games at the Officer's Club to satisfy your desires.
How can I forget the problem our crew encountered on a training flight to the West Coast. As we were flying over San Francisco Bay at about 30,000 feet, the cover to the lower turret blew out due to explosive decompression. Because of where I was standing, at the time, a piece of flying equipment hit me on the side of my head knocking me unconscious, also due to the lack of oxygen. Jack Bontekoe, George Cohen, and Don Cole, after a long struggle, placed an oxygen mask on my face and revived me.
Our Airplane Commander, Charles McKnight, and Jack Bontekoe had a very difficult time keeping the airplane on a steady course. We finally landed at a field in San Francisco area, where I received medical attention for the cuts I had on my scalp. The next day, we returned to Wendover after the cover was replaced. All's well that ends well.
Most important of all, the friendships that were made at Wendover that have endured through the years.
Jack's story above taken from the book "The 509th Remembered"Back to Vets Page