Operation Babylift topic of May 23 lecture at museum
By Sarah Swan, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
/ Published September 21, 2006
DAYTON, Ohio -- Three crewmembers who were on board a C-5 that crash-landed in 1975 will recount their experience during a lecture at 7:30 p.m. on May 23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Col. Regina Aune, the medical crew director at the time of the crash, Col. (Ret.) Bud Traynor, the aircraft commander, and CMSgt. (Ret.) Ray Snedegar, the senior loadmaster, will present "Reflections on Operation Babylift" as part of the museum's "Wings & Things" Guest Lecture Series.
The three were assisting with Operation Babylift, an airlift to bring more than 2,000 Vietnamese orphans to the United States. On April 4, 1975, their C-5 -- the first aircraft evacuating those orphans from Saigon, South Vietnam -- crash-landed shortly after takeoff. Flight and medical crews were able to save 176 of the 314 passengers on board.
Col. Aune was commissioned in October 1972 and entered active duty in January 1973. Her first assignment was to Malcolm Grove USAF Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. She later served with the 10th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, the 2nd Aeromedical Staging Flight, and the David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. In 1977 she began full-time work on her master's degree, which she received from the University of California, San Francisco, before separating from the active force and joining the 9109th Air Reserve Squadron in 1980. During her time in the Reserves, Col. Aune earned her Ph.D. from the University of Utah. She returned to active duty in 1986, and today she is chair of the International Expeditionary Education and Training Department at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks City-Base, Texas.
Col. Traynor retired from the Air Force in 1975 after a varied and distinguished career. He served as deputy commander of the Air Force Combat Operations Staff in the Pentagon; taught combined air warfare at the Air Force War College and was the director for combat employment at the Center for Aerospace Doctrine Research and Education; ran WINTEX, the multi-national NATO exercise program at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium; worked current operations at U.S. European Command in Germany; did pilot retention studies at Headquarters Military Airlift Command; and was aide to the commander of the 22nd Air Force. Col. Traynor is a command pilot with Vietnam combat airlift experience in the C-133, C-7 and C-5 aircraft. He is currently the administrator/database manager for the Airlift/Tanker Association, for which he manages memberships, convention registrations, the Web site, a tuition grant program and other A/TA activities with his wife.
Chief Snedegar retired from the Air Force in January 1990 after more than 31 years of active duty. His last assignment was in the Air Transportability and Test Loading Agency in Aeronautical Systems Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He served as a radio intercept operator, base ops dispatcher and an aircraft loadmaster for his last 27 years in the military. His career assignments included tours in MAC, TAC, SAC, PACAF, AFSC and USAF Security Service, and he was a chief loadmaster with more than 7,000 flying hours in C/AC-47, C-119, C-130, C-141A/B and C-5A/B/C aircraft. Some highlights of his career were his selection as the loadmaster superintendent for the recovery, load analysis and subsequent air transport of the MIG-25 out of northern Japan after the defection by Russian Lt. Victor Belenko in 1976; development of the C-5 Space Cargo Modification aircraft; and sole responsibility for the analysis and technical preparation of the Space Cargo Transportation System trailer used to transport the Hubble Space Telescope to the launch area at Kennedy Space Center. Chief Snedegar is currently the director of Training and Regulatory Compliance for ABX Air Inc., an all-cargo airline headquartered in Wilmington, Ohio.
The lecture will take place in Carney Auditorium, and museum doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information or special seating arrangements, contact the museum's Special Events Division at (937) 255-8046, ext. 312. Filming or videotaping the lecture is prohibited.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Pike, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.
NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, contact the National Museum of the United States Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-4704, ext. 333.