Operation Nickel Grass

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.

9 Comments

  • Chuck Wilkinson

    According to internet searches I found 2 units awarded the USAF Outstanding Unit Awards. The 313th Military Air Lift Squadron in June 1974 and the 1605th Air Base Wing in January 1974 for Operation Nickel Grass.

  • SSGT Chuck Wilkinson

    I was a security police desk Sgt during Operation Nickel Grass when the first planes landed. It was 12-hour shifts for the entire operation. My wife and I spent three years at Lajes. I often wondered why the thousands of men and women who took part in this operation never got real credit for what they did. I thought a ribbon or medal should have been issued.

  • Donnie Cooper

    You think you were ignored during operation nickel grass. I was part of a 4 man USMC communication team providing support during the operation.

    Our team pulled 24 hours support for about 2 weeks at Lajes AFB.

    I heard that there was a medal issued to US forces later on (armed forces expeditionary medal).

    I recently checked with the USMC awards dept and they don’t have info on our involvement.

    Oh well

  • John Dieltz

    I was a C-5A Navigator newly assigned to the 9th MAS at Dover AFB when Operation Nickel Grass kicked off. Having just completed my training and initial check-out, my first operational mission was going to LOD in Tel Aviv. The navigation computer locked up just past the Straights of Gibraltar but the radar was still working. Used the radar to complete the zig-zag route through the Mediterranean to Tel Aviv. It was night time on the return leg to Lajes so we could use the stars to navigate to a successful return to the field and some much-needed crew rest after a 28 hour day.

  • Harold Bolin

    I was a crew chief at Dover during operation Nickel Grass. I flew to the Azores and on to Tel Aviv twice without a break. No crew rest for the us flying crew chiefs until we got back to Dover. We had to stay on the aircraft at Lojes and Tel Aviv to perform the necessary inspections and maintenance. We also did not receive any of those great meals or momento’s that the rest of the crews got from the folks at Tel Aviv. Also never received any award, citation, or even a letter of appreciation for our efforts.

  • I was a C5A loadmaster that participated in Operation Nickel Grass. 60th MAW, 75th MAS, Travis AFB. I made 3 trips from the East Coast to Azores and Lod Airport in Tel Aviv. The Four, F4 IAF fighter escort and the meals were great, but I and our crew never received any award, citation, or even a letter of appreciation for our efforts. Not from the Israeli Government. Not from the USAF. Not even from the US government. On our last trip we delivered 3 tanks picked up in Georgia. While there we picked up a mobile Russian SAM launcher. We then flew a clandestine mission into the UK spent the night and then flew it to Wright-Patterson so they could examine infrared sight they were using to shoot down our B52s in Nam. Why is there no award for this? You’re welcome….

    • Peter Anderson

      In 1973 I served in IDF during the war. The betrayal of Greece Spain and especially Germany is so hard to swallow. I would like to tell you personally that most of the Israelis even were not informed about all this, and about your heroic efforts. Thank you. And god bless. Without you israel would’ve not survived.

  • LAWRENCE C GOULD

    I was stationed with the 436th AMSq. at Dover AFB during Operation Nickel Grass Oct. 1973. The base was on tight security and some C-5s were roped off for extra security with a guard ready to shoot. We entered the aircraft for maintenance and noticed trucks painted U.N. white in the cargo bay. We saw lots of cargo painted white. So many were part of the airlift. We had support airmen at the Azores and had it went longer i would of rotated there for TDY. After it was all over each unit on base got a briefing and a job well done from our base commander.

  • Charles Tupper

    I was a crew chief on the SAC response to Nickel Grass. Our KC-135As were at Lajes a day or two before MAC started showing up. We had about 10 tankers there and we were yo-yoing the F4s and A4s coming across the pond providing them fuel so they could get in closer to Ben Guiron.

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