It's September 22, 1995, 7:47AM. I had just retired 9 months ago from the USAF, the 3rd Wing or specifically the 962 AACS or as we called it AWACS. I was opening an auto parts store that I managed back then, when I got a call from a friend. She asked if I had been listening to the news. I told her I hadn't, that I was getting the store ready for opening. She then told me that AWACS had crashed. I couldn't believe it. I walked out of the store and looked towards base and could see the cloud of bellowing smoke. My heart just sunk and I cried.
It was just a year ago that I was the crew chief on 002 and I had put in my paperwork to retire. It was being replaced by the end of the year by 354 so she could go into depot. Now it's gone, along with 24 brave crew members. I can still see that cloud of smoke like it was yesterday.
Yes Yukla 27, I remember.
Here's a nice memorial video from You Tube https://youtu.be/dxTRYTXAwPs