Top Cover for America


At some time during the winter of 1972, Charlie Heifner and I removed the F-4 airplane from the "Flying Top Cover for America" welcome sign located at the entrance to Elmendorf Air Force Base. As we were replacing it with a C-130D, the Vice-Commander of the Wing, along with his wife, came upon us while they were snow skiing. Neither of them noticed the switch, so after they departed, we took several pictures of the sign.

The next day the F-4 was sent to Sondrestrom on the "rotator." Three weeks later Colonel David Stockman, the Wing Commander, was made aware of the missing F-4 and proceeded to call me on the "carpet." Naturally I professed ignorance but made arrangements to have the F-4 returned with the next Sondrestrom rotation.

F-4 replica and "friends" on wall of crew quarters at Sondrestrom AB, Greenland. Photo is courtesy of Gary Andrejak, Firebird pilot.

For three weeks we felt the C-130D did an elegant job of providing "Top Cover for America."

John Hedges
Former Firebird Commander
19 Jun 1997


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