A PERSONAL ACCOUNT BY:
COL. CHARLES S. ALLEN
Almost every aircrew that flew the corridor had memorable
events to relate.
Personal experiences are worth recounting. After the blockade was
officially over, we continued to fly a reduced
schedule into Berlin to show our resolve to keep the corridors
On departure out of Berlin, the corridor took us right over a major
E. Berlin/Russian maneuver area just short of
reaching the border. Often at night you could see artillery fire
and flares during exercises.
One night, in late September , long after the blockade had ended,
I made a flight into Berlin on
what could have easily been my last flight ever. The flight was
The night was clear, moonless and very dark. My Intel had indicated
the possibility of Russian exercises. It was
about midnight when I made a routine take off and climb out to
my assigned departure altitude.
With almost unlimited visibility, I would see an occasional artillery
flash. Just short of
reaching the border, there was a violent thump just under the pilot's
followed by a wind rushing noise like perhaps the nose gear door
had blown off. By looking through the
floor access door, the flight engineer confirmed that the right
door panel appeared to be open and twisted.
The remainder of the flight was uneventful and when actuated, the
down and locked. The touchdown and landing was uneventful. After
parking the bird, our investigation disclosed that an
object had indeed struck the a/c in the nose area about two feet
forward of the nose gear door. The object left a long, deeply indented
gouge in the skin
and had ripped open the right nose gear door. There was also paint
residue in the damaged area.
Intel figured that we had been hit by some type of a small "spent"
surface fired rocket from
the exercise area. As far as I know, we were the only "Big Willie"
to receive a rocket hit.
Charles S. Allen, Col.