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Military

By USAF Capt. Cathleen Snow

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Deployed Airmen Memorialize Air Mobility Legend Through Mural
(April 30, 2010)

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SOUTHWEST ASIA (4/27/2010 - AFNS) -- Retired Master Sgt. Roy Hooe died April 18, 1973, but in a way he came back to life some 37 years later to the day in the form of art.

Airmen deployed to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing put the finishing touches on a mural April 18 highlighting Sergeant Hooe's legacy, in Roy's Flight Kitchen, a dining facility named after Sergeant Hooe run by the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron.
Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol works on a mural honoring Master Sgt. Roy Hooe April 18, 2010 inside Roy's Flight Kitchen at an air base in Southwest Asia. Sergeant Sturkol is the superintendent of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs deployed from the Headquarters Air Mobility Command Public Affairs at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol works on a mural honoring Master Sgt. Roy Hooe April 18, 2010 inside Roy's Flight Kitchen at an air base in Southwest Asia. Sergeant Sturkol is the superintendent of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs deployed from the Headquarters Air Mobility Command Public Affairs at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
Sergeant Hooe, a 2001 inductee to the Airlift/Tanker Association Hall of Fame, is most widely known for his work as an "airborne mechanic" on the famed "Question Mark" flight, according to Air Mobility Command history. Sergeant's Hooe's famed flight was for 151 hours beginning on Jan. 1, 1929.

Then Staff Sgt. Hooe was responsible for keeping the "Question Mark" aloft during a record-setting endurance flight that at one point required him to go outside the aircraft on a catwalk to make engine repairs, his biography states.

In addition to serving as airborne mechanic, Sergeant Hooe operated the pump that transferred fuel from the cabin tanks to the wings. Along with the rest of the "Question Mark" crew that included Maj. Carl Spaatz, Capt. Ira Eaker, 1st Lt. Harry Halverson and 2nd Lt. Elwood Quesada, Sergeant Hooe received the Distinguished Service Cross for his participation in the flight.

"The idea to do the mural was brought up by the rotation of Airmen before us; we just made it happen," said Tech. Sgt. Johnette Chun, the NCO in charge of the flight kitchen. "I wanted all of us to be able to work on a project together but wasn't sure what. Since this is a first time deployment for some of my crew, I wanted them to be able to leave something behind for others after us to enjoy. When this idea came up I knew that this was it."

After crafting a rough draft of a design, Sergeant Chun and other Airmen from the dining facility staff enlisted the help of Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol, the superintendent of 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs office. Sergeant Sturkol, has an associate's degree in commercial art and regularly donates paintings to AMC and other Air Force units.

"Two of my deployed roommates work at Roy's (Diner) and one day they asked me about aiding in the design of their mural," Sergeant Sturkol said. "We took a concept, improved on it and today it's a lasting memory of an air mobility hero. Now people can relate the facility's name with an image. I was happy to make him come to life."

Senior Airman Levar Kinard, a services journeyman with the 380th EFSS who also works at Roy's Flight Kitchen, also helped with the mural.

"I believe because of our ability to work well together and our structure which allows for group opinion allowed this mural to come forth as it stands today," Airman Kinard said. "I don't think most even knew who the man was before, or what he looked like before we created the mural, Airman Kinard said. "I believe now people can put a name to a face and a point in time, and understand what he meant and what he did for the Air Force during his era.

"I had a lot of fun on this mural," he said. "I didn't think I would enjoy it at first until some friends and my roommate (Sergeant Sturkol) came to participate and join in on the creation of a work of art. I think by doing it by hand it means more to me and it makes this mural stand out as something special that all can appreciate for years to come."

"I'm not much of an artist so I admit I was a little worried in the beginning but with help from friends, we made it happen and had fun in the process," Sergeant Chun said. "I am honored to have been able to participate in this project."

During his aviation career, Sergeant Hooe also served as a crew chief for other aviation pioneers including Ameila Earhart, his biography states. He retired from the Air Force after 30 years of service in April 1950.

Sergeant Sturkol said now every time he goes to Roy's Flight Kitchen it'll be nice to see the history of Sergeant Hooe being represented through the mural.

"The fact that he was enlisted, alone, is a perfect reason to honor him, but also because his career represents so much about the people who frequently stop at the flight kitchen, Sergeant Sturkol said. He was an aircraft maintainer and had a hand in the success of the very first air refueling mission.

"In the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, with the KC-10 Extenders and their air refueling support for today's war effort as well as hundreds of maintainers who keep planes flying in the wing every day, it shows Sergeant Hooe had a direct affect on today's Air Force," Sergeant Sturkol said. "My part in this mural was as a member of a team of Airmen who are so proud to remember an enlisted Airman who is a treasured part of our Air Force heritage."
By USAF Capt. Cathleen Snow
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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