History on Canvas Wings

Volunteers at Whiteman AFB, Mo., are working to restore one of the first aircraft assigned to the base: a World War II-era Waco CG-4A troop-carrying glider. According to Whiteman officials, the Missouri installation was established in 1942 as Sedalia Glider Base. One year later, the 442nd Troop Carrier Group—now Air Force Reserve Command’s 442nd Fighter Wing—stood up to train transport and glider pilots for airborne operations in Europe, they said. Walter Mills, a volunteer and former paratrooper involved in the restoration, said members of the wing, an A-10 unit, have provided some parts for the glider, while the volunteers have fabricated others themselves. Additional components have come from outside donations, he said. More than 14,000 CG-4As were built during World War II, but only a handful remains today, according to the Whiteman officials. When the restoration is complete, the finished glider will go on display on base. (Whiteman report by SrA. Wesley Wright)