At 13:30 local time on April 23, 1965, the C-141A with the serial number 638088 and nicknamed “The Golden Bear” touched down at Travis Air Force Base with General Howell M. Estes, Commander in Chief of the Military Air Transport Service at the controls. This was the outfit to which I was assigned for 13 years, stateside and overseas.
The entire base and many local dignitaries celebrated the event. A new era in airlift at Travis was underway.
Several minor design and maintenance problems were identified and solved during its first three years at Travis. It was certified that the C-141A met all mission requirements.
I was asked to fly on the flight of the California “Golden Bear’s” first round trip to Japan by my commander, Maj. General George B. Dany.
I was with the Western Transport Air Force (WESTAF) when we took over command from Strategic Air Command (SAG) July 1, 1958 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.