Ho'okele Staff | May 26, 2012
* On May 25, 1953, George Welch, North American test pilot, flew the prototype YF-100 Super Sabre for the first time, taking off and landing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. He broke Mach 1 during the flight. The F-100 was an unsolicited, company-funded North American project to improve on the F-86 Sabre, and this maiden flight was seven months ahead of schedule. Welch shot down four Japanese aircraft over Oahu on Dec. 7,1941 and had a total of 16 kills flying in the Pacific theater during World War II. * On May 21 and 22, 1960 the Hawaiian tsunami hit. Tremendous earthquakes in Chile produced tsunami waves that pounded the east coast of the island of Hawaii. Ignoring warnings, many Hilo-area residents had stayed in their homes near the bay, where up to 61 people died and hundreds were left homeless.
By the end of May, the 1502nd Air Transport Wing from the former Hickam Air Force Base airlifted more than 12 tons of emergency equipment and supplies to Hilo. The wing’s 50th Air Transport Squadron flew C-124 Globemaster II airplanes for the relief operation, delivering a generator, refrigerator, vans, clothing, and food.
On May 23, the Air Force began one of its largest humanitarian airlifts to relieve the earthquake victims in Chile. Within a month, cargo aircraft had delivered more than 1,000 tons of equipment and supplies from bases in the United States, some 4,500 miles away from the stricken region. The airlift was called Operation AMIGOS. * On May 21, 1976, Super Typhoon Pamela hit Guam with 150 mph winds and 27 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, flooding the island and tearing apart most buildings. Despite preparations, the typhoon killed at least five people, injured 500 and deprived thousands of their homes. Andersen Air Force Base suffered the same level of destruction.
Communication with the outside world was lost for 14 hours, and the runways were flooded and buried under debris. Through June 9, MAC supervised the airlift of 2,652 tons of cargo to Guam in seven C-141s, six C-5s, and one C-130. * On May 27, 1996, the USAF gave the name “The Spirit of Hawaii” to the nation’s newest B-2 stealth bomber at a ceremony held at the former Hickam Air Force Base.