Retire..... As with many of us Retired Navy types, she then went to work! After an 8 year hiatus sitting in the desert, then being pulled out and reconditioned, in 1993 she became an Alaskan. She is now currently owned by Pete Haggland of Fairbanks, and works for her hydrocarbons hauling supplies, fuel and equipment to Pete's mine in the Interior of Alaska. And she is not alone at Fairbanks. More retired Navy aircraft work and live there, including 3 Navy C-118's who also haul fuel and freight, a Navy T-28B, a Navy GB-1Beech Staggerwing, and now, a T-6D in the colors of VMT-2. There are also rumors that WC7 has been spending some of her long winter nights sharing a hanger with another Navy T-28B, but this has yet to be confirmed. Navy Wings of Gold are well represented in the Interior of Alaska! As "all work and no play" is not good, Wheel Chair Seven has been known to attend as many air shows that can be fit into her and Pete's schedule. Maybe some day you'll see her at one.
Of all the people involved in the incident, directly and indirectly, some have been located.....
Sen. Scott died in 1993.
Cdr, Joe Massy died in 1994. Widow and son living in MS.
Cdr. Jack Ramsey retired and living in the K.C. area.
Lt. C.L. Priddy retired and living in the K.C. area.
Lt. Tex Houston retired and living in the K.C. area.
Lcdr. Fumico Nakura, whereabouts unknown. (Up dated 02/2005)
Lt. Charles Eckharts (who normally flew WC7 ), whereabouts unknown.
Capt. Trum - Only recently (02/2005) learned that he was aboard the aircraft as Sen. Scott's attaché.
AD1 Sam Bass, WC7 Plane Capt., whereabouts unknown. Recently (11/2000) I was told that his real first name might be 'Ben', and that he was nicknamed 'Sam' after an old South West bandit. More recently (02/2005) I learned that when the Admiral transferred, he transferred with him.
AD3 Jerry Hempen recently contacted me (02/2005) and he was the Plane Capt. aboard the aircraft during the landing on the riverbed. Strangely enough, he now lives in Missouri, although not in K.C. That puts 4 players in this adventure living in central U.S. with in a few hours travel of each other, and none knew the others were close by.
At Oshkosh '98, Lt. C.L. Priddy, who retired as a Navy Capt., got to fly WC7 again. After Pete did the run up on the end of the runway at OSH and then lined up on the center line, he told Priddy "It's your take off.... " It took a moment for Priddy to understand what had been said but then he settled down for the task at hand and then he made the take off he didn't get to make 38 years prior..... When last seen, he was grinning from ear to ear.
Unfortunately, none of the other people involved with her history were able to make it to OSH, but the search continues for those not located yet.
On Dec. 17th, 2004 the people of Mima-Town and MCAS Iwakuni rededicated the memorial placed there in 1961 to commemorate the courtesy and assistance given by the local people, and the friendship developed between them and MCAS Iwakuni. Pete Haggland and Capt. Priddy both wanted to attend but the shortness in learning about the rededication did not allow them to attend. More information on this has been added. Some of it in the words and language of the people of Mima-Town.
MARTY HALL, U.S.N. RET. E-mail Marty Hall