A Slow Trip Across the Pacific

by Harry Heist

This story is from a firsthand account. It is not copyrighted unless noted but we request anyone using this for other than personal use to credit the author and the museum.
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Flew this route; Travis to Tachi in Sept of 1960 on an air America DC-7 with 122 other souls and baggage aboard. Max altitude was 9000′ . My seat (3 wide on each side) was port side over the wing. Between Hono and Travis it began flowing black oil–common on DC-7s and the flight engineer kept lying across our laps to look at the spotlighted engine. Short of Hawaii #3 was feathered. Six hours at the terminal and we were packed back aboard. Same thing occurred before reaching Wake where we sailors in the uniform of the day in Frisco were in dress blues and sweltering. More hours sitting in a grass hut on the Tarmac and we were off again. In the time on the ground I saw my first 707 in Paj Am livery make a quick fuel stop. As an 18 year old kid it was the adventure of my lifetime and a story I’ve told many times.

Glad I saw this—-I was stationed on Wake Island 5/68 to 4/69 with USAF.
Was a Sgt. in Security Police.
Caught hops on 124s back to Hawaii, and R & R to Okinawa & Tachikawa—-
I seem to remember it as big, loud & shaky,,,but it always got me there.

Thank you so much for sharing this story. I may have been one of the passengers on one or more legs of the flights from Travis Air Force Base to Hickam, Wake and on to Tachikowa. My father was stationed at Tachi and we moved in October 1958. I remember a gentleman while I was in line to get a meal at Wake telling me “Life is uncertain, pick dessert first.” At the ripe old age of 5, I hadn’t heard that before, and it has become a sort of a mantra for me. My older sister who was traveling with us was 16 at the time. We hit some turbulence as she was returning to her seat, and she wound up flat on her face. I’m sure she was mortified since there were so many young airmen on the flight with us.