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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Fort Worth Aviation Museum recognized for work on Vietnam Era warplane

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation annually presents awards to both Marines and civilian community members, recognizing exemplary work in advancing and preserving Marine Corps history.

This year, the 2017 Gen. Roy S. Geiger award for the best aviation article of 2016 will be presented to the Fort Worth Aviation Museum, owned and operated by Fort Worth’s OV-10 Bronco Association Inc.

The award, presented at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on April 29, 2017, in Quantico, Virginia, recognizes a collaborative work on the North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco reconnaissance aircraft – the museum’s namesake aircraft – and its role in the Vietnam War.

The plane was built between 1965 and 1986 as a light attack and observation aircraft designed and built by North American Aviation, and while primarily out of service now, saw action in the Middle East against ISIS targets last year.

The article being recognized was written by 16 former Marine, Air Force and Navy OV-10 Bronco pilots and aircrew members for the National Defense University’s Violent Skies Symposium in 2015, the local museum said in a news release. An updated electronic version was published in 2016, and that was submitted to the Marine Historic Foundation’s annual awards competition.

The article is widely considered the definitive work on the observation aircraft and its role in the war in Southeast Asia by the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, Jim Hodgson, executive director of the museum, said in a news release.

The research and article tells the story of the aircraft and people who designed, built and flew it and is filled with illustrations and stories in its multiple roles of observation, forward air control, command and control. The aircraft first flew on July 16, 1965, and the initial production flight took place in August 1967.

“We are very honored to receive this noteworthy recognition,” Hodgson said.

Ashby Shoop, project leader, and Charles Burin, association historian, will attend the recognition ceremony.

CNN reported in March 2016 that two of the Vietnam era planes were used in the fight against ISIS in the Middle East to test whether light turbo-prop aircraft are more effective in conducting counterinsurgency operations.

Spokesman Capt. Bryant Davis of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, told CNN that the planes flew 120 combat missions against ISIS targets. The experiment was to determine whether slower planes like the Bronco could better support ground troops battling insurgents than more technologically advanced and expensive counterparts such as the F-15 Eagle and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, CNN said,

The Fort Worth Aviation Museum is home to the largest collection of touchable warbirds in Texas and has 26 aircraft in its “Petting Zoo,” spanning from 1943 to the present.

Paul Harral
Paul is a lifelong journalist with experience in wire service, newspaper, magazine, local and network television and digital media. He was vice president and editor of the editorial page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and editor of Fort Worth, Texas magazine before joining the Business Press. What he likes best is writing about people in detail and introducing them to others in the community. Specific areas of passion are homelessness, human trafficking, health care and aerospace.

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