Sunday, September 22, 2013

In Remembrance of Yukla 27

I hope you don't mind me reposting this in remembrance of those lost on Yukla 27 on Sept. 22, 1995.

It was 14 years ago today, September 22nd, that an AWACS plane carrying U.S. and Canadian military personnel crashed after takeoff from Elmendorf Air Force Base, killing all 24 people aboard.

Their aircraft call sign was Yukla 27. Yukla is a Tanaina Indian name for "Eagle". On 22 September 1995, Yukla 27 began rolling down runway 05 at 0746 Alaska Standard Time. The E-3B did not fly far after take off, remaining airborne only 42 seconds. Losing most port (left) wing thrust, Yukla 27 banked into an inescapable crisis, reaching an altitude of no more than 270 feet, and disappeared into the timbered hills 3,500 feet Northeast of the runway at precisely 0747:12. Having wrestled the E-3 to the edge of the laws of physics well below stall speed, pilot Capt Glenn "Skip" Rogers' last transmission was "We're goin' in, we're going down."

Each chose to answer the highest calling of citizenship by risking his personal safety in defense of his country. There is no more selfless act. All who die in the line of duty do so that others might live in peace and prosperity. It is a profound sacrifice and a priceless gift. The tragic accident which claimed Yukla 27 transformed its 24 man crew into the stuff of legend. They were 24 of the best. The day of their loss will be forever marked into history and my memory.

The investigation into the accident revealed that geese, being sucked into the jet's engines, caused the crash.

I knew most of the crew of Yukla 27. I was the crew chief of the aircraft it replaced after I retired. Funny thing is that I knew most of the crew from the time spent deployed to Panama, not our time in Alaska. Aircraft Commander, Capt. Skip Rodgers was a real professional. TSgt Bart L. Holmes was the flight engineer, and one of the best. These two I worked with the most, the rest I saw in the halls at work, at squadron picnics, etc. They were the best of the best and won't be forgotten.



"High Flight"

by

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of--wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence, Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew,
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

2 comments:

robin andrea said...

A lovely tribute, Dave. Thanks for posting it.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A lovely tribute post and poem. That is so sad.