Air Transport Command vets honored

 

Above, World War II veterans, from left, Jack Kinyon, George Schofield, and Edmond Sipowicz sit with 436th Air Lift Wing Commander Col. Michael W. Grismer during a ceremony Saturday dedicating a new Air Transport Command display at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base. At right, the audience awaits the unveiling of the Air Transport Command display. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Above, World War II veterans, from left, Jack Kinyon, George Schofield, and Edmond Sipowicz sit with 436th Air Lift Wing Commander Col. Michael W. Grismer during a ceremony Saturday dedicating a new Air Transport Command display at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base. At right, the audience awaits the unveiling of the Air Transport Command display. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

DOVER — Three World War II veterans were cast as heroes during a ceremony at the Air Mobility Command Museum on Saturday morning.

The veterans were special guests as an Air Transport Command display was unveiled.

Each was part of aerial efforts to transport personnel, equipment and supplies throughout the Pacific and European theaters of operation.

The ceremony was perfectly timed for retired ATC Tech Sergeant Edmond Sipowicz, who celebrated his 98th birthday as well.

“It’s a great honor for me to be here,” said the former radio operator who manned the North Atlantic Wing, delivering and transporting critical needs to Scotland, England, India, Brazil, Portugal and Africa.

“I don’t often get involved with these things, but I’m so happy that people recognize what we did when we had to.”

Flying through “few navigational aids” and “questionable forecasting” former navigator Jack Kinyon said the ATC “through it all delivered thousands of tons of supplies and equipment, thousands of troops and battle casualties.”

The ATC was the early solution to using transport aircraft to win the war, and set the stage for the current 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base and other posts across the world.

“We’re the smallest Air Force ever but the most capable,” 436th Air Lift Wing Commander Col. Michael W. Grismer said. “We did this on the backs of giants (of the ATC).

“The Air Mobility Command has been able to learn from what they’ve done and taken it to the next level.”

Retired Lt. Colonel George Schofield, a Camden resident, navigated Atlantic routes including Bermuda, the Azores, Marrakesh, India, Casablanca and Greenland. He flew South Pacific routes as well, guiding B-24 and C-47 aircraft.

“I had a good job,” he said on Saturday. “I loved it.”

Saturday’s ceremony came just in advance of the 75th anniversary of forming the Ferrying Command on May 29, 1941, which was re-named the Air Transport Command as the United States entered World War II.

Mr. Kinyon donated his uniform and jacket for an eye-catching part of the display, which illustrated the ATC’s history through photos and chronicled them with a written history for visitors to see.

Mr. Schofield described the exhibit as “amazing” and said “every time I come out here (to the AMC Museum) there’s something new.”

The AMC Museum at 1301 Heritage Road in Dover is regularly open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission and parking are free, and photographs are welcome. For more information, call (302) 677-5938.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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