September 19, 2012
|Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Laessig USAF (Ret.) joins our membership meeting on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, at 7 PM (19:00 for aviators) to share his stories of flying AC-119 gunships with an Air Force Special Operations Squadron during the Vietnam War. He will also talk about the AC-119 Association’s efforts to obtain and restore the only known remaining AC-119 that flew combat missions in Southeast Asia. The AC-119 replaced the AC-47 often referred to as “Puff the Magic Dragon” as well as the newer AC-130 gunships that were slowed in production/conversion due to the critical need for C-130s to fulfill resupply and troop transport missions.||
A young 1st Lieutenant Laessig on preflight
Wayne hails from Magnolia, New Jersey. He received his degree in English from Glassboro College in 1970, so the Air Force made him a pilot, earning his pilot wings in 1971. He later got a Masters in Communication (people-stuff, not electronics) so the Air Force made him a Manufacturing & Quality Assurance Manager for a while, before they realized his college degrees were better suited to piloting C-5s for more than 5,000 hours. After retiring from the Air Force, he’s been hunting, fishing, doing organizational assessment consulting (Baldrige if that rings a bell), and working to get the AC-119 in the Vietnam histories.
He currently lives in Vacaville, California with Lynette, his wife of 38 years (38 years married, not 38 years old), and Lynette’s Mom, who is 92. Their son, Robin and daughter-in-law Cathy live a few miles away, and a weekly family night keeps them all close. Wayne is the current “Board Member at Large” of the AC-119 Association which is holding its 13th reunion on September 26th through 29th in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
The “working part” of the AC-119
Boxcar in flight
Location:Mesa Beverage Company, Inc.
3200 N. Laughlin Road. Santa Rosa, CA
Directions: From Santa Rosa, take Highway 101 North and exit at Airport Blvd. Turn left on Laughlin Road toward the museum. The Mesa building is located on the left side of the street just past the museum and Nob Hill south gate.
|October 17||Shelby Valentine, Retired Pan Am Flight Attendant and Co-Author of Pan Am Unbuckled. Shelby will be talking about her flying days with Pam Am from 1969 through 1991. Autographed books sales.|
|November 21||Don Fraser, Captain, USMC, F-8 pilot and Author of Security Blankets, How Peanuts Touched Our Lives. Don will be sharing his experiences flying the Crusader- the Marine Corps and Navy’s preeminent fighter in the late ‘50s and ‘60s. This is the same model that was once known as the Plane in the Park in San Francisco and now here at the Pacific Coast Air Museum.||December 19||No speaker. Enjoy the Membership Christmas gathering.|