Flight 83 Last Flights - In Memoriam
Colonel (Retired) Budd H Butcher passed away January 21, 2019 at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas. Budd enlisted as an aviation cadet in 1943, flew 142 combat missions in Korea in the F-80C and F-84E in 1950-51. He retired in 1973 after a tour as Commander, Air Forces, lceland.
He then began a second career as a corporate and air taxi pilot. He retired from flying in 1992, accruing 15,000 hours in 35 different aircraft.
Jack Wolf passed away on January 13 from ALS. He was born in Andover and graduated from the University of Wichita with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and later earned a Master’s Degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
A Vietnam veteran, he was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. On one mission, he was able to successfully crash land his heavily damaged C-123 and enable his crew’s subsequent rescue by Army helicopters. After his retirement, he worked as a Safety Manager at Boeing for 18 years.
Our friend Colonel (Ret) Tom Briggs, Thomas W. 75, Air Force Fighter Pilot and retired Flight Instructor for Flight Safety at Hawker Beechcraft, died August 2, 2018.
Brad passed away June 13, 2018. He was born in Blue Mound, Kansas, attended Kansas University (BA in Political Science and later JD in Law), and taught Political Science at KU for a year. He served in the Army Air Corps as a B-17 pilot in the 401st Bomb Group during World War II. On his 33rd mission, he was shot down over Brandenburg, Germany. He was imprisoned by the Nazis; liberated by the Russians, and returned to England to marry his fiancee, Audrey. During the Korean conflict, he was recalled into the Air Force, and severely burned in a plane crash in England, when his plane was struck by another while he was waiting to take off. Despite his burns and limited eyesight, he practiced law for fifty-five years and enjoyed the challenge of trying cases before a jury.
Aenchbacher, Arthur E. “Gene” Colonel, USAF (Ret), Gene passed away Friday, February 24, 2017. Gene was born September 2, 1920, in Atlanta, GA. While attending Georgia Tech in 1940, he joined the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet. He received his pilot’s wings in December 1941. In June 1942, he was part of the initial cadre of B-17 bombers to deploy to England and Africa. One of his most memorable experiences of WW II was flying General Eisenhower to Gibraltar under difficult circumstances for which Ike wrote him a congratulatory letter that Gene treasured and gave to the Eisenhower Presidential Library in 2014. After returning to the US, he was stationed at Pratt Army Air Field as part of the first unit to train future B-29 crews. While at Pratt, he met and married the former Lida Elizabeth (Betty) Fincham on December 29, 1945. After completing his degree at UNC, Gene continued his military career. He had many distinguished assignments including working for General Curtis LeMay at SAC HQ, being assigned to the NATO HQ in Oslo, Norway, briefing President Kennedy on nuclear war plans while working with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commanding a C-130 Wing during the Vietnam War and his final assignment as the Director of Airlift at TAC HQ. Retiring in 1970, his distinguished Air Force career spanned three wars. Memorials may be made to the Pratt B-29 Museum, Inc., PO Box 29, Pratt, KS 67124 or Doc’s Friends, Inc., PO Box 771089, Wichita, KS 67277.
Colonel Wilbur H (Bill) Weedin passed away October 15, 2015. Born in 1921 in rural Aurora, Nebraska, he lived and worked on the family farm until he graduated from Aurora High School in 1940. He soon entered military service and graduated from flight school in 1942 as one of an elite group known as Flying Sergeants. As an Army Air Corp pilot he served in the Southwest Pacific in WWII. In 1945, he was released from active duty but was recalled when the Korean conflict began in 1952, followed by a 2 year assignment in Iceland, then stateside. His later assignments included B-47 flight instructor duty at McConnell AFB, Wichita, KS. three years in Spain in radar maintenance, as well as Vandenberg AFB, California and Vietnam. He retired in 1970 with the rank of Colonel. Following retirement, he worked at Boeing Aircraft Co. for 10 years as a Technical Writer. His awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Service Award with 5 Oak Leaf clusters, 2 Presidential Unit Citations, and the WWII Victory Medal.
Sisson, Frank Elliott II, 87, Retired United States Air Force Major, passed away Thursday, February 12, 2015. A decorated pilot, he flew B-25’s, B-29’s, and C-130’s in troop support and combat missions. After retiring from the military, he worked in and created businesses supporting the private aviation industry. He wrote several books, one on whaling ships and the maritime civil war, “A Ransomed Yankee”; another on the U.S. Constitution, “Wake Up, America!”; and his autobiography, “A Determined Yankee.” An avid golfer, he had five lifetime holes in one. He was an even more avid family man, with a marriage of 63 years, four children and eleven grandchildren. Memorial Service will be at 2 PM, Saturday February 21, 2015, at University Congregational Church. Preceded in death by his parents, Elliott Hawes and Lila Smith Sisson. Survived by his wife, Anne; children, Frank Elliott (Ellen) Sisson, III of New Canaan, CT, Benjamin Hawes (Barbara) Sisson of Omaha, NE, Lucy Sisson Wilhelm of Farmington, CT, and William Matteson (Kathleen) Sisson of Avon, CT. Donations in his honor can be made to either The Junior ROTC Scholarship Fund c/o MOAA, 201 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314 or The Long Gray Line Fund c/o Assn of Graduates at West Point Military Academy, 698 Mills Rd., West Point, NY 10996.
Mel Air Capital Flight 83 member Mel Horstman flew west on Thursday August 21, 2014. He was 89 years old.
Mel retired from the United States Air Force in 1968 as a Lieutenant Colonel after a distinguished and decorated career as a pilot. He served in the Korean War where he flew the RB-26 invader on night reconnaissance missions. He later flew the B-47 Stratojet. His B-47 assignments included Schilling and Forbes.
He was instrumental in the restoration of the B-47 Stratojet on display at the entrance of McConnell first when it was moved to the base from a display at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport and later when it was placed in its current location in June of 2000. Mel represented the B-47 Association at that Rededication Ceremony.