Ex-airmen recall  their days at Otis

COLD WARRIORS: Floyd I. Shank of Plymouth recently returned from Day-ton, Ohio, where he and co-chairman Jim Collins of North Dartmouth oversaw a reunion of former members of the 551st Airborne Early Warning & Control Wing, which flew patrol missions out of Otis Air Force Base from 1954 to 1969. More than 300 former "flyboys" and their guests trekked to Dayton for the three-day event, which included a chance to board and view the Air Force Museum's "Triple Nickel," a fully re-stored EC-121D Warning Star, the same type of air-craft that the 551st flew on its active air defense mis­sions off the East Coast. There was also a plaque dedication at the Air Force Museum, honoring the men and women of the 551st who made the ulti­mate sacrifice. This ceremony included a flyover by an E-3 AWACS aircraft from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The E-3 is the plane that assumed the mission of the EC-121D, when that aircraft was retired in the early 1970s. Shank is now completing details for a "wreath drop" Nov. 15 off Nantucket. Three wreaths will be dropped from a C-45 carrying former 551st members, honoring the 50 crewmen who were lost when their EC-121Ds ditched in the Atlantic in three separate accidents from 1965 to 1967. Only four airmen survived.