AFA Chapter Sponsors Korean War Vet Flight in Korean Warbird

March 26, 2024   |   By Ken Philippart

AFA’s Tennessee Valley Chapter #335 sponsored a flight in a Korean War-era L-17B for a Korean War veteran on March 8, 2024 at Pryor Field in Tanner, Ala. Duane Hoffman, a 90-year-old Navy veteran who served in the Korean War and a former private pilot, piloted the historic aircraft through a commemorative flight program organized by the AFA Tennessee Valley Chapter, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), and the North Alabama Veterans and Fraternal Organization Coalition (NAVFOC).

The flight was given by CAF’s Rocket City Wing in their assigned aircraft, a 1946 former U.S. Air Force L-17B named “Kunsan Cadillac” that flew liaison missions during the Korean War.

Members of AFA’s Chapter #335 and NAVFOC worked with “Legacy 4 Korean War Vets” to identify veterans interested in taking a flight in the L-17. Chapter 335 agreed to donate the funds to cover flights for the first two veterans wanting to fly.

Hoffman’s was the first of these flights. Hoffman served in the Navy from 1951 to 1955 as a petty officer third class aerial photographer on the aircraft carrier USS Midway. Chapter 335 member and AFA Alabama State President Ken Philippart presented Hoffman with an L-17B T-shirt and patch to wear during his flight.

After a pre-flight safety briefing, Hoffman climbed into the right seat of the L-17B for his flight. Once in the air, he took the controls and flew the aircraft for about 15 minutes until it was time to land.

The flight was an appropriate way for AFA to honor the service of veterans and heroes of the Korean War. The flight for the second Korean War veteran sponsored by AFA Chapter #335 is being scheduled.