THE SMELL OF C-54 ENGINES,
RAIN AND SNOW
I served on the Berlin Airlift from December 1948 to September 1949
in Fassberg, Germany. I flew 267 flights from Berlin to Tegal
Airbase in the French section. I was an Aircraft command and
Instruction pilot. Our C-54's carried 10 tons of coal per flight
and our shifts were 12 hours long. 0600 to 1800 and 1800 to 0600.
This made for long days and nights. The weather was very rough December
through March. Amazingly, I only had 3 missed approaches due to
weather. And the weather was in my favor on Christmas Eve 1948
when a snowstorm closed down Tegal Airforce base and allowed me to
spend Christmas in Berlin.
It is my opinion that we blazed the trail in all weather be it
night or day. My memory will always retain the sounds and sights
rain, snow, C-54 engines, red hot exhaust stacks and the labor
and strain of lifting heavy loads into the air.
For those of us who participated and still survive, we
our heads high and be extremely proud that we were a part of
humantiarian undertaking the world has ever known.