A group comprising 15 Medal of Honor recipients and 120 former POWs have partnered with The Collings Foundation to return an F-105 to airworthy status, making it part of the foundation’s Vietnam Memorial Flight, according to an April 27 release. Retired Col. Leo Thorsness, both an MOH recipient and former Vietnam War POW, said, “It is one thing to see ‘my’ aircraft mounted on a pole or gathering dust in a museum, quite another to see it roar down the runway and take to the sky.” The group has to obtain Congressional authorization, and, per the release, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) has taken the matter up with the House Armed Services Committee. Former AFA Chairman of the Board Gene Smith, a POW and F-105 pilot, said, “Getting an F-105 back into the skies means a great deal to me—we gave a lot to this country.” (For Thorsness background, read Full Day and Valor: Wild, Wild Weasel from Air Force Magazine archives.) (Also see The Collings Foundation Web site)
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.