at the stately
Ronald L. David, President, Silver Wings Over Washington Fraternity. Ron is a writer, story-teller and professional voice-over talent (AFTRA-SAG) whose specialities include aviation history and documentaries. He has recorded special series for National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, The Military Channel, the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps, the FAA, the National Air Space Museum, et al. Ron is an air show director and producer, show narrator, and air show pilot who has performed in scores of aerial events in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Ron is particularly proud of the Great Planes series narrations. "Great Planes was a subset of "Wings" episodes each of which focused on one particular aircraft type. The original "Great Planes" series was initially produced in Australia, and distributed by the Discovery Channel. In 1991 (notably following the first Gulf War), episodes were re-edited to include interviews with pilots of the profiled aircraft types before and following commercial breaks, and the narration was re-dubbed with American narrators Ron David and Tom Hair. Wings was an hour-long televised aviation history documentary series which aired on the Discovery Channel family of networks."
|Wingwalker waves to the crowd Pilot: Ron David|
The aerial stunt displayed on the photo, is one of the most challenging. The wing walker maintains a clean form by trusting her hips forward while applying steady pressure with her feet and legs against the main strut located on the top wing. During this maneuver, the whole frame of the body must be lined up with the top wing strut. During this stunt it is essential to be constantly aware of the elements of nature, i.e. turbulence, otherwise...oops! And sometimes, when the air is smooth, the daredevil on top of the wing enjoys reaching down with one hand to pat her pilot on his head.
It was a great privilege for Ron to be chosen as one of the 10 leading air show narrators in America to participate at the largest US international Transportation Exposition ever sponsored by the US government, TRANSPO '72.
Ron's passion as an aviator, wing-walking pilot and story teller combined with his knowledge of aviation history, lead to be invited as the only "Yankee" announcer at the annual Biggin Hill International Air Fair, at the former WW II RAF Fighter Station, also known as Biggin on the Bump. He participated along with his British colleague as the "Air Display Commentator" at Biggin Hill for 10 wonderful years.
The SCRAMBLE BELL
Ron with the original scramble bell which rang at the famous RAF Biggin Hill Fighter base during the Battle of Britain throughout the year to warn pilots of incoming German raids. 1939-1945As an historical writer, Ron contributed to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, by writing many descriptions and articles for the Hall of Flight Technology. He produced special documentaries for NASM including writing and researching projects about aviation. He narrated scores of special projects for the Naval SurfaceWeapon Center (Dahlgren, VA). For the past 7 years he is enjoying narrating and announcing at the Smithsonian's NASM Udvar-Hazy annual "Become a Pilot Day" event outside the Boeing Aviation Hangar. The son of an Army Intelligence officer, who was an expert on the Middle East, Ron accumulated a multitude of American, European, and Middle Eastern academic experiences during his formative years. As part of an international peace-keeping force, Ron served as a Field Service Officer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in Yemen during the 1960s. He was assigned to the U.N. Observation Mission along the Red Sea during the Egyptian attempt to overthrow the Kingdom of Yemen. He served as a F.S.O. at The Government House (UN HQ) in Jerusalem. As a journalist and broadcaster, Ron covered the White House from President Lyndon B. Johnson to President George W. Bush. His favorite was President Ronald Reagan who was a remarkable communicator and also a member of AFTRA-SAG. Ron was presented the highest honor, the coveted Charles Jehlinger Award by Dame Helen Hayes upon his graduation from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NYU. He pursued research work in English Literature, including the history of american and european aviation. Ron, an award-winning narrator, is currently working on diverse audiobook projects; his most recent recorded audiobook is "Dawn Over Kitty Hawk" the novel of the Wright Brothers, written by acclaimed author and historian Walter Boyne.
Charles M.Chuck Clopton, Executive Director, Operation Vets Haven. "Mr. Clopton is a graduate of the University of Southern California and of the Southwestern University School of Law. He is also an Associate Member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, an honor awarded in recognition of his recruiting activities for the Naval Academy. Mr. Clopton served in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps from 1978 to 1997 in a variety of billets, both at sea and ashore. He was Command Judge Advocate in USS AMERICA (CV 66) from 1980 to 1982, during which time the carrier made its historic transit of the Suez Canal as part of an Indian Ocean deployment. After a tour as Deputy to the Force Judge Advocate, Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet, he was the first Judge Advocate assigned as Legal Advisor to the Admiral commanding a Carrier Battle Group, making two extended Indian Ocean deployments in that capacity. Other assignments included service as the Operational Law Advisor to Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from 1993-1995, providing counsel on the ramifications of highly sensitive world-wide operations. His final Navy assignment was as the senior uniformed legal advisor at Naval Air Systems Command, the Navy’s aviation acquisition command. After having served in that capacity for approximately six months, he was asked by the Commander, Naval Air Systems Command to assume additional duties as the Command Inspector General. In that capacity he investigated matters of procurement, efficiency, safety, ethics, personnel and management practices, allegations of sexual abuse, racial and gender prejudice and whistleblower retaliation. After retiring from the Navy in the rank of Commander, he spent nearly nine years as General Counsel to Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc., Washington, D.C.’s largest independent government relations firm, where he was responsible for ethics, advice on conflicts of interest, travel, gifts and post-employment issues, and contracting. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the State of Florida, and is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia."
About Operation Vets Haven: OVH was born from the awareness that Post Traumatic Stress, (PTSD), and Traumatic Brain Injury, (TBI), come in all shapes and forms. Someone with a broken arm is treated and healed much like any other person with the same injury. On the other hand, those affected by PTSD or TBI require individual attention and advocacy to get the help they need and deserve. OVH is not a replacement for services being offered to veterans through various government or military providers, but rather a complement to these services, focusing on getting help to veterans more quickly in a more personalized way. As the Executive Director of Operation Vets Haven, Clopton and his leadership team have achieved great strides to advocate "A better future for those who have served".
Richard C. Kirkland Born in 1923, Richard was raised in a rural community in California’s Tehachapi Mountains during the Great Depression. At the outbreak of WWII he joined the Army Air Corps and served in the famous “Flying Knights” Fighter Squadron with Major Dick Bong, America’s all time ace of aces. Lieutenant Kirkland flew 103 combat missions in P-38 and P-47 fighters dogfighting Japanese Zeros, attacking enemy installations, ships, and flying escort for bombers. After WWII, Lt. Kirkland was assigned to a top secret project of testing atomic bombs in the Marshall Islands. When the project was declassified, he wrote “The Ultimate Game,” the story of his fascinating experiences with atomic bombs.
Col. Randy Brandt, USAF (Ret.): "1st. Lt. Brandt was combat qualified in Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-52’s just two weeks following his 21st birthday and two months before President Kennedy demanded Nikita Kruschev remove Soviet ICBMs from Cuba. When Randy graduated he was ordered to report to the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base (Ubon) after a short course in jungle survival. He was further assigned to the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) known as the “Night Owls.” It was a prestige assignment. As Jerry Scutts, author of Wolf-Pack: Hunting MIGs Over Viet Nam,says: “... the Owls were the only squadron in SE Asia solely dedicated to night missions, flown by the most highly qualified and experienced crews on one of the most demanding assignments of all. It took skill, a cool head and not insubstantial courage to fly a high-speed jet fighter over jungle terrain at night, ready when the call came to plunge into a black void to deliver ordnance on a pin-point target. The jungles over which the Owls flew were totally dark, there were no lights on the exterior of their aircraft and almost all of the pilot’s instruments were covered by masking tape. They refueled in near total darkness and often attacked targets level at 550 knots at 100 to 300 AGL while dodging two and three thousand foot sandstone “karsts” that seldom showed up on the map mode of their radar. Enemy targets were almost always heavily defended with concentrations of sophisticated air defense weaponry – losses were extremely high. After flying 177 sorties, Randy was selected to lead a flight of four F-4D’s against a high-value target defended by 13 camouflaged AAA sites on the Ho Chi Minh trail. The four aircraft, with call signs “Dipper 01" through “Dipper 04,” dropped off a tanker at 1150 and took up seven mile spacing with radar lockups. Randy in Dipper 01 led the lay down of the CBU-2’s. He pickled 10 times in 1 second intervals and started to pull up. After approximately two seconds violent trans G forces threw the crew around the cockpit, and, when Randy moved the stick in a circle, there was absolutely no control response. The aircraft was tumbling longitudinally but was right side up when the rear canopy blew off and Charlie (GIB pilot) was ejected. Those who studied the situation later agreed the aircraft was inverted when Randy was ejected 0.73 seconds later.
Dipper 01 was hit at 300 feet AGL and Charlie’s ejection rocket blew him up to Martin– Baker’s design apogee of 475 feet, so he had man-seat separation at 775 feet AGL. Nevertheless, when his chute opened, he managed to get out his survival radio and call the three trailing aircraft so they would abort the mission. Randy remembers seeing the blue flame of his seat rocket about 0020 and the next thing he remembers was looking at his watch. It was 0125. So there are 65 minutes of his life about which he has no recollection. An Air Force Pilot never loses consciousness, so he called it “combat shock.” He couldn’t grasp anything with his right hand and what he initially thought was a severe charlie horse turned out to be a deep wound in his right thigh. Despite the triple canopy of trees above him, there was a little light from a quarter moon, and Randy’s vision had adapted to the night. He expected to see his Martin–Baker seat and chute, but they were nowhere in sight. The harness was very loose and there was no trace of the risers. At first, it was eerily quiet. None of the crews who bailed out over Laos turned up as POW’s in North Viet Nam; they were either rescued or killed. Randy had to withstand the pain and get away from where his seat and chute should have been, so he released the coke fittings and crawled about a hundred meters or so along the jungle floor. Then, about 0300, he heard a search party but he hid under a log and the enemy abandoned the search after an hour or so. Randy was ready for the extraction by a huge CH-53, affectionately known as a “Super Jolly Green Giant.” Randy popped green smoke and, despite his pain, waved off the PJ. The penetrator was let down for him at 0710. It was fairly light by then, and no one involved with the rescue saw any sign of his seat or chute.” (Excerpt from the Wings of Gold, Fall 2009)
"On April 6, 1969, I was Dipper One, leading a mission of four F-4Ds against 13 anti-aircraft sites on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. At 300 feet above ground level and 550 knots [about 630 mph], I started dispersing [cluster bomb units]. As I pulled up, a Golden BB took off one of my stabilators. The aircraft started to tumble. My backseater and I had a brief conversation like “We gotta get out of here.” The last thing I remember is seeing the blue flame from my ejection rocket taking me out of the cockpit. Unfortunately, the aircraft was inverted when I ejected. There are 65 minutes of my life I can’t recall."
Stephen Craven. Chairman of the Board of Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic and founding member of Angel Flight America, now known as Air Charity Network. Since joining Angel Flight in 1995, Steve Craven of Leesburg (Va.) has flown over 200 missions. Currently, he serves as the Washington, D.C. representative for Mercy Medical Airlift in Virginia Beach, which runs Angel Flight and other related programs. As the Washington representative, Steve wears out a lot of shoe leather and tire thread doing fundraising at Combined Federal Campaign events. The former owner of Craven Tire and Auto, an eight-outlet dealership based in Fairfax, Steve won the distinguished Tire Business 2005 Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award for using his love of flying to help those in need. Steve is also active in his church where he serves as an elder and plays the guitar in the praise band. In addition, he is a member of the advisory council of Joe Gibb's Youth for Tomorrow Foundation. Steve has been a volunteer pilot with 3100 flight hours and has been flying patients in his Piper, PA 32-301. Steve is truly a dedicated and responsive individual and is an excellent ambassador of Angel Flight's mission. Angel Flight's mission is "To ensure that no patient in need is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation for lack of a means of long-distance medical air transportation." You won't want to miss Steve's address about one of the most heart-rending episodes.