Bob and Meri Noble grandly celebrated Vietnam Day Saturday, September 23, 2017, at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in Everett, Washington. Bob was a featured speaker at the event and provided a well-attended audience with the history of Air America. Meri and her son Christopher manned a booth stacked with Air America memorabilia from tee shirts, Polo shirts, jackets, hats, challenge coins and other trinkets. Sales were brisk, and the Association made hundreds of dollars in revenue. It was a beautiful day, and most of the buyers wanted information about Air America. There was a helicopter fly in with a Huey and a Hughes 500 causing a flurry of activity trying to hold everything down, but the familiar sound of a helicopter in flight and the sixties music on loud speakers brought back old memories.
As a coincidence, Bob found out the Hughes 500P “Quiet Helicopter” used for the Vinh telephone tap in 1972 ended up in the sheriff's department in Snohomish County just a short distance away from Paine Field. Chief pilot William Quistorf attended the event and invited interested guests to the Sherriff department's hangar where a professional photographer took photographs. The 1972 helicopter has been altered and refigured with today's technology. The muffler is removed, and the struts extended making it difficult for old guys to get in the cockpit, but we managed. The instrument panel is antiquated, but the airframe looks brand new. The Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) that used to be in the lower front is moved to the right side of the aircraft and controlled by a tactical officer in the right seat. It's much smaller and directed wherever the tactical of officer wants and not dependent on the helicopter's direction of flight. Where the old FLIR often picked up clouds from inversions rendering the screen in the cockpit opaque and unusable, the new FLIR can see thru clouds and rain with no problem. There is a downlink antenna that immediately forwards information seen by the tactical officer to people on the ground. The pilot is free to maintain visual reference and avoid obstacles for greater safety. A high output LED light sits in the front for even better visibility. Bill will make the aircraft available for viewing at the 2018 reunion. Old aircraft used in Southeast Asia and now used for tactical situations is appealing to most aviation enthusiasts, and we sincerely thank Bill and the Snohomish Sherriff's department for allowing us to see the aircraft.
AIR AMERICA STORE NOW ON-LINE
Our Air America Store is now on-line (see link on the top right corner of our Web Pages).
We started with a bang and six orders for Merchandise were sold, which included hats, shirts, coins, license plate holders, pins and
decals. The store began operating on Sunday, August 13, and orders were mailed on Monday.
We were thrilled! Many thanks to Steve Maxner for working day and night to set this up.
Bob and Meri Noble
Fulfillment Center Volunteers
Paul Oelkrug, CA retires from University of Texas at Dallas, McDermott Library
Paul Oelkrug served the Special Collections and Archives Division at the Eugene McDermott Library since 2002 as a processing archivist. In 2005 he was named Senior Curator of the Department. In 2004 he received his certification through the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA). Paul is also a member of the Society of Southwest Archivist (SSA) and Society of American Archivist (SAA) and the Texas Library Association (TLA).
A native of New Jersey, Paul moved to Texas later in life. He earned a degree in History and Master of Arts degree in Public History with an Archival Administration Certificate at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).
Paul was named Coordinator of the Special Collections Department at McDermott Library in 2007 replacing Dr. Erik Carlson. Paul and his staff organized and guided the CIA symposium about Air America in April 2009. He also participated in the televised 9/11 panels of pilots and air traffic controllers who provided first-hand accounts of September 11, 2001.
In 2011, he was a co-recipient of the Ethel Ward McLemore Award for Library Excellence.
Over this distinguished career, Paul Oelkrug has been a good friend to the CAT and Air America Associations. His knowledgeable, supportive and professional ability was well received and appreciated by all association members and other historical researchers.
CAT & Air America are pleased to see Patrizia Nava, CA as the Curator of Aviation Archives, which includes the Civil Air Transport and Air America Archives. Since Paul’s retirement in late 2016, the organizational structure of the department was reorganized and Ms. Nava now directly reports to the Dean of Libraries, Dr. Ellen Safley. Ms. Nava has accompanied Paul to the last several of our reunions, and thus is now deemed our friend and Honorary Associate Member.
After giving these many years of service to the State of Texas, UT Dallas, Eugene McDermott Library, History of Aviation Collections, CAT and Air America, Paul Oelkrug stays close to his friends and associates from his home in Carrollton, TX. He is a personal friend, and I hope we will see him again at a future reunion.
Submitted by Mike Kandt on 8/12/2017
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AIR AMERICA ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
You can now listen to and read transcripts of Air America Oral History Interviews online here: Air America Oral History Project. In addition to information about online transcripts and ongoing interviews, you can also find out how you can participate in this project. Air America employees and their family members are all welcome to participate. All interviews are preserved as part of the Air America Association Collection at the Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University and are made available to researchers around the world through the Virtual Vietnam Archive. We hope you will participate in this project to preserve the history of Air America so our nation learns about your service and sacrifice through the voices of those who were there. If you are interested in participating, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.