Dedicated to Preserving the Memory and Legacy of the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949
Until the early 21st Century the Berlin Airlift meant little more than a historical event spanning 1948 and 1949, when I was about eleven years of age. The significance of this was brought to my attention during an Air Force reunion at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. One of the last remaining aircraft that participated, C-54E, tail number 44-9144, aka Spirit of Freedom flew from New Jersey to partake in our celebration.
Many significant things occurred during that celebration, but the one event that remains most prominent for me was when one engine developed a problem – two jugs (cylinders) blew out. Reciprocal engines were fading into the background, had been for a decade., complicating any chance of repair without calling someone from the mainland. However, two aging aircraft maintaineers, reciprocal mechanics, were among the reunion attendees.
These mechanics had served at Ramey during the ’50s and ’60s during the pesence of the 50th Bomb Wing – B-36 bombers (six reciprocal engines and four jets).
The US Coast Guard, who now occupies the Ramey AFB hangars, scared up the necessary of parts and tools for the engine repairs. And the Spririt of Freedom was only a day late in beginning its journey back to New Jersey.
Below are two photos that reflect the significance of the Berlin Air Lift.
One of the most positive stories I’ve ever heard, or seen, is in the following video – Tom Brokaw with Gail Halvorsen, the Candy Bomber:
Many of the details featured in this blog were gleaned from from the website: <Spirit of Freedom, the plane>
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