| Fernando DeLeon|
I was at Altus AFB from 1981-1984 as a jet engine mechanic and later at Job control for the C-5 and C-141 aircraft with 443 FMS, and 443 ABG I think. I was airman of the quarter in 1983 and was aircraft engine run certified for both aircraft. I remember it like if it were yesterday. I saw most of the tornado but I had already seen what they could do so I took myself to cover. I was in the barracks beside the NCO club, my window overlooked the pool. I felt the pressure come over the area after taking cover in the rest room in the second floor. I went to my open window and saw the tornado,I remember seeing all the water gone from the NCO pool and that's why the tornado looked white. I saw the mobile home that was in the parking lot by the base chapel up in the air about 200 feet vertical and then dropped it and proceeded to the C-5 line taking the barracks out on the way by the C-5 line. I was already dressed for work so I walked to work and saw all the show hall in pieces and every car in the parking lot piled up together like hot wheels. I drove a tractor though the 141 and c-5 line and saw all the damage described by Dick Sarget.
01/16/2016 @ 19:42 [ref: 55833]
| Walter Filipiak|
I was a Security Policeman working the day of the tornado. I was working in Central Security Control which was in the tower right next to the air traffic control tower. I remember evacuating the tower and seeking shelter in the Law Enforcement desk which was right next to the BX. I'll never forget that day
11/07/2015 @ 12:56 [ref: 55810]
| Michael Morin|
Ha, I was with Chuck during the Tornado,he took a picture with the funnel cloud right behind me.
I was stationed there from 78-82
04/10/2015 @ 07:54 [ref: 55761]
| William Glenn|
I was at Altus 1981 to 1984. 340CAMS SAC. Yes we were. An hi James Moore. Yes you did a check of a great job on that mural. l have old pics of that. I saw the tornado . Strange things happen at Altus AFB. Haha an the largest spider I ever saw. Lots of memories of Altus. An other bases.
04/06/2015 @ 22:28 [ref: 55760]
| William Glenn|
I was at Altus 1981 to 1984. 340CAMS SAC. Yes we were. An hi James Moore. Yes you did a check of a great job on that mural. l have old pics of.
04/06/2015 @ 22:27 [ref: 55759]
| Chuck Weltzin|
Fort Worth, Texas
I was stationed in Altus from 1978 - 1982 and was there on the day the tornado hit. I worked the C-5 line and assigned to aircraft 454. Pretty much everything Dick Sarget stated is exactly as I remember it. After we put power on the aircraft I actually went up and reset and pulled the fire T-handles as Dick continued to pour water on the fuel leaking from #3 engine. Never knew until now who that was. What a day, first tornado I ever saw. Unfortunately being stationed in tornado alley it was not the last. We had to bust our butts for the next 60+ days getting back to a regular flying schedule. Would love to hear from some of the guys and gals that were there.
09/09/2010 @ 06:54 [ref: 10764]
| Dick Sarget|
Mount Clemens, Michigan
Wow, that brings back a LOT of memories. I was stationed at Altus from '80-'84. I started out crewing on a C-141A then B (was the stretch program) then cross trained into C-5 MADARS DFE located in the DCM complex at the south end of the ramp. I worked swing shift and had just raced back to the complex with everyone's dinner,trying to beat the storm. We were standing outside when the heavy hail storm hit. We ran back inside, and came back out when it finished to inspect my now banged up Jeep, dented the hell out of it, broke out alot of people windows. We were standing there looking towards the main gate and I exclaimed to everyone "look, that cloud is coming down to the ground" as it came down as a wedge and wasn't funnel shaped. We watched as it hit the power substation outside of the main gate, beautiful light show, but we took off running for the building. Power was out, but our backup generator kicked in. It seemed too quiet so I ran down the hallway and out the door just in time to see it peel off the roof of the vet clinic and I watched it as it come across the 443 OMS baracks and chow hall, then gas station. It started battering the ISO docks and I screamed down the hall at everyone that "it's hitting 285" while watching a chained down C-141B do a 180 degree spin on the ramp. Then it blew apart the wooden barracks in front of the C-5 line. I'm not sure if it was C-5 454 that did the wing stand as it was picked up and stood on it's wing tip 3 times, the 3rd time at about a 75 degree stand. We were all yelling that it was gonna go over. It didn't, but it took the last C-5 in the line and spun it 90 degrees slicing open the radome and visor of the C-5 next to it. We then watched it as it went out the back side of the base, heading towards my house. First thing I did was to run in and grab the keys to the Colonel's DCM station wagon, as I got into the vehicle, there was another funnel cloud directly overhead and no one else wanted to go with me, so I headed to the C-5 line to see if anyone was hurt. Fuel was pouring out of the #1 engine on the wing-stand plane so I ran up and pulled the T handles to shut off fuel flow. It didn't stop. I was standing out in front of it when the first fire truck came up and I told them that I T handled it but it wouldn't stop. The bottom of the #1 engine was smashed in, and smashed off the fuel drain mast. He asked me if I knew how to handle a fire hose and I said I could learn real fast. So there I am for the next half hour with a fire hose standing in front hosing down the fuel until they could get it to stop. That half hour, standing there, looking at all the damage around me, it was surrealistic. I can still remember all the denuded trees all wrapped with yellow insulation and venetian blind slats every where. After they relieved me of watering down the fuel spill, I took off for home to see if my house was still there as I lived 6 east 8 1/2 north from the base. It was hard getting home as I went the northern route, but the tornado had gone down 3 east heading due north. What few trees were in that area, were all torn down and all over the roadway and I had to do a bit of off roading to get home. All done the road ( 3 east) all the houses on the west side of the road still stood, except a friend's garage was totally gone, he was just in it he said and ran, but all the houses on the east side of the road were gone. My house survived but lost a few windows from hail damage. WHEW!
05/28/2010 @ 08:56 [ref: 9369]
| Larry Gorman|
I was in OMS as a C-5 crew chief in 82, what a mess, 12 hour shifts replacing top panels from all the hail damage. people thought the base gas station awning was a great place to store there car to protect from hail, but not from it collapsing on them. walking in that morning after to hanger 285 and seeing the roof missing was pretty interesting. My aircract 7000454 was picked up and moved about 30 ft like a toy. I have alot of great pictures of all the base and surrounding area damage.
05/11/2010 @ 06:20 [ref: 9353]
| Tony Wessel|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I was there in spring '07 and the C-141 wasn't on display yet. The B-47 in town is 52-0413 and is/was rumored to be the one Jimmy Stewart flew in the movie "Strategic Air Command". I have some pics on my Facebook along with some air-to-air pics of A-10s and F-117s from inside a KC-135. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2234560&id=17126934&l=9511a56e17 If the link doesn't work, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook users feel free to "add" me to see all my pics.
07/16/2009 @ 16:27 [ref: 8825]
| Stephen Boone|
I was at Altus AFB from 78 to 82 with the 340th CAMS, SAC as a KC-135A crew chief. I was pulling alert when the tornado hit. The SP's made us go down into the basement (2 floors underground) when it started across the base. We were amazed that the tornado did all that damage on the base then just jumped over the pad. It would have been very bad if it had hit our tankers on alert as there were 6 planes on the pad and each one had 187,000 lbs (29,218 gals) of fuel onboard.
05/25/2009 @ 23:05 [ref: 8796]