Historical Snacks: Tidbits of Aviation and Space History...
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As you might imagine I had a particularly intense gut reaction when I ran across this combat loss report. -- C. W. Austin, editor.
AUSTIN, CARL BENJAMIN
Name: Carl Benjamin Austin
Rank/Branch: United States Navy/O5/Pilot
Date of Birth: 13 September 1923
Home City of Record: Woodburn OR
Date of Loss: 02 December 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 175658 North 1063100 East
Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body not recovered
Other Personnel in Incident:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File.
No further information available at this time.
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Date: December 17, 1903. Telegram from Orville Wright to his father after first successful powered airplane flight.
(Note that the telegraph operator misspelled Orville.)
Kitty Hawk, NC, Dec 17
Bishop M Wright
7 Hawthorne St
Success four flights thursday morning all against twenty one mile wind started‘from Level with engine power alone average speed through air thirty one rniles longest 57 seconds inform Press home Christmas Orvelle Wright 525P
Karl Spencer, a marine sergeant, writes to his mother from France, June 1918:
I saw a wonderfully thrilling sight several days ago--an air battle. For several hours a Hun plane had been flying low, up and down our lines, observing our activities and: probably signalling his artillery our range. He was loafing over our position, when out from the clouds above darts a frog plane straight for the Hun, when within range the frog opened up with his machine gun and the next minute the German plane was nothing but a ball of fire.... Three: Boche planes were down that day in this one sector. Some of the Men went out this morning to salvage the dead Germans. They returned with watches, razors, iron crosses, pictures, knives, German money, gats, and all sorts of souvenirs. I don’t like salvaging, for the odor of a dead German is stifling. Nix on that stuff. The only souvenir I care to bring back to the U..S. A. is yours truly….
Both of the above excerpted from Letters of the Century: America 1900-1999 (Dial Press), edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler