by Sarah Swan
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
7/15/2013 - DAYTON, Ohio -- The volunteers assisting in the Restoration Division at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force are keeping busy this summer.
Three volunteers - Garry Guthrie, Ed Keinle and Lou Thole - can be found on the flight deck of the C-82 Packet, which was primarily used for cargo and troop transport in the late 1940s. The C-82 was displayed in the outdoor Air Park after its arrival at the museum in 1988 but was moved to the Restoration Hangar for maintenance since weather and birds had taken a toll on the aircraft over the years.
"The Plexiglass in the top windows had cracked," Guthrie explained. "We found quite a mess in there."
In addition to the cockpit restoration, over the past two years, staff and volunteers have begun repainting the aircraft markings, as well as recovering, repainting and reinstalling the fabric on the flight controls. Volunteers also will replace the fabric on the seats.
Once restoration is complete, the aircraft will return to the Air Park until the museum's fourth building is completed. At that time, plans call for the C-82 to go on display in the Global Reach Gallery.
Just a hangar away from the C-82 restoration, Larry Youngblood and Larry Byar are working on a different sort of project -- the M151 Jeep, trailer and generator. This vehicle was modified into a Forward Air Control (FAC) Jeep, which communicated with FAC aircraft to aid troops on the ground during the Southeast Asia War.
Youngblood retired from teaching welding at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center a few years ago and became interested in volunteering at the museum after participating in a restoration tour. Nearly three years later, he is excited to be using his talents on the Jeep project.
"I've talked to a lot of people who used these types of Jeeps in Vietnam," Youngblood said, adding that their advice, along with historical pictures, has helped him with the restoration.
The Jeep is nearing completion. Youngblood, Byar and others already have installed radio equipment, fabricated items such as a radio box, brackets, switches and other items, and tracked down missing parts. However, the trailer still requires some of its metal to be replaced, the frame to be sandblasted, and all of it to be painted.
Eventually, the finished project will be displayed in the Southeast Asia War Gallery, which has been undergoing renovations since 2010.
"I've spent so much time on this," Youngblood said. "I'll be very anxious to see how this looks."