Any excuse to go hunting

Note the Enfield M1917 in 30.06

Note the Enfield M1917 in 30.06– still a great hunting rifle today.

From Fort Wainwright’s PAO:

On June 16, 1941, Lieutenant Milton Ashkins and his crew chief Sargent R.A. Roberts took off from Ladd Army Air Field (outside of Fairbanks) in an obsolete Douglas O-38 observation plane with the intention of checking in on an old prospector friend.

Ashkins directed the plane southwest of Fairbanks and once he reached the prospector’s camp, he flew a low, slow pass-over. Seeing their friend and satisfied that all was well, Ashkins advanced the throttle and the engine responded with a cough and then quit. Unable to restart the engine, Ashkins crash landed the plane into the soft tops of some nearby fir trees and both men survived unscathed.

Once on the ground again, Ashkins radioed their location back to Fairbanks and within a few hours a Douglas B-18 Bolo bomber flew over to drop emergency supplies including a rifle, a rubber raft, ammunition, and rations. The two men then made their way overland, accompanied by their prospector friend, to a rendezvous point 20 miles outside of Fairbanks. Ashkins recalled the trip back to Ladd as taking, “10 wonderful days” that were filled with fishing and hunting, “and just plain loafing with our prospector friend.”

Ashkins, who at the time was chief of the Fighter Test Section at Ladd Field, went on to command the 54th Fighter Squadron, Adak Island, Aleutians, and served in Alaska through 1943, finishing the war as deputy group and group commander, Headquarters 1st Fighter, 15th Air Force, Italy.

He retired from the Air Force in 1965 as a Brigadier Gen as deputy commander, Mobile Air Materiel Area, Brookley Air Force, Ala. He died in 2008.

The crashed O-38 was deemed a total loss at the time and, as the Army was busy ridding themselves of the type anyway, no efforts were made to retrieve the wreckage.

The wreckage was eventually rediscovered nearly thirty years later during an aerial survey of the area, and the plane’s type was soon identified. The staff of the Air Force Museum recognized it as the last surviving example of the type, and quickly assembled a team to examine the aircraft for possible retrieval and restoration.

Upon arriving at the crash site they found the aircraft surprisingly well preserved, with only the two seats and the tailwheel curiously missing. The team was even able to light their campfires using the aircraft’s remaining fuel.

Plans were soon made to remove the aircraft by a CH-47 Chinook from Fort Greeley on 10 June 1968, and it was transported back to Dayton, Ohio. Meanwhile, the missing seats were found in the shack of a local frontiersman where they were being used as chairs. The missing tailwheel was taken because he thought he might build a wheelbarrow someday.

The restoration by the museum’s staff took several years, and many structural pieces of the wings had to be reverse engineered from original plans and damaged parts. The finished aircraft with its original engine was completed and placed on display in 1974.

It is currently displayed hanging in the museum’s Interwar Years Gallery.

Ashkin's O-38, as restored after 27 years in the Alaskan bush

Ashkin’s O-38, as restored after 27 years in the Alaskan bush

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as GUNS.com, Univesity of Guns, Outdoor Hub, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the US federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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