Volume 04, Issue 10
|Letters to the Editor|
Thanks, Boeing: Part 1
I work for Financial Partners, Boeing's Southern California credit union, and also recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq as a sergeant in the United States Army Reserve. As a Financial Partners employee, I recently had the privilege of visiting the Boeing C-17 factory in Long Beach, Calif., for a two-day membership event. I was more than a little excited at the opportunity to see where the C-17s are built.
While deployed in Iraq last year, I had several experiences riding in a C-17. My first experience was on my initial trip to Iraq. I was definitely nervous about that first trip, but the plane was so amazing inside and out that I almost forgot I was heading into a war zone. As a soldier, I found the positioning of the seats and the leg room unbeatable, even in comparison with commercial airlines. All of the soldiers on the plane took advantage of the outlets available to plug in their laptops to write a letter home or watch a DVD movie.
My next experience was for R&R (rest and relaxation), a trip from an army logistic base in Iraq to a nearby military base. I asked the flight crew if I could sit in the cockpit for a while. Not only did they comply, but they let me stay there for the landing as well. What a once-in-a-lifetime experience of viewing the Middle East from the cockpit windows of a C-17!
I'd been back to work only a few weeks, when I found out we would be visiting the place where Boeing builds the C-17. The Boeing employees were extremely friendly and genuinely helpful in answering my questions about the C-17, as I hope I was in answering their financial questions. It was quite an experience to see a C-17 halfway complete and to see the effort and manpower that goes into making each one.
It is advanced military equipment like this that gives soldiers the confidence we need to do our job. Thank you for making a soldier's experience memorable and comfortable and above all giving us your best. We sincerely appreciate it.
—Melia R. De Witt, Downey, Calif.
Thanks, Boeing: Part 2
I have a special place in my heart for The Boeing Company. I flew 31 missions in a B-17 during World War II. My missions were in the 8th Air Force, Station Kimbolton, England. There were many times during my tour that our plane, "Powerful Katrinka" took battle damage. On one of these missions we took a large-caliber hit on the left horizontal stabilizer. We also took dozens of small-caliber hits on the left wing. If it weren't for the self-sealing fuel tanks, I am sure I wouldn't be here today. The large-caliber hit on the tail was immediately in front of the elevator. The entrance hole there was about the size of a half-dollar. The exit hole was the size of a football.
Much to my surprise, the ground-crew chief wasn't concerned with the large hole. He had seen too many of these and much worse, too. And so had I. The small holes in the wing were another matter. He had one of his crew get on the wing and count the holes. He, in turn, counted the holes on the underside. About half the rounds didn't make it through. This meant, of course, that there was a lot of damage to the fuel tanks. He had to pull the plane off line to replace these tanks because the alien material could clog a fuel line.
One thing I am sure of: Anyone that flew a B-17 in combat was thankful to Boeing for building such a strong bomber. I know that I truly feel that had I flown in a lesser bomber I wouldn't be here, at 83 years old, writing this letter. So, thanks again, and may you be successful in all your future endeavors. You deserve it.
—Boyce Nelson, Alexandria, Va.
A caption on Page 16 of the December 2005/January 2006 issue misidentified
the organization that Sue Learned is with. She's with the Network Management
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