TROY — Col. Frank Alfter, USAF (Ret.) will give a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at WACO Air Museum entitled “The Anatomy of a Shoot Down.”
The lecture will cover the 8th Air Force Schweinfurt mission that took place on 13 April 1944. Col. Alfter will describe the experiences of the 384th Bomb Group, the 545th Bomb Squadron and in particular, the fate of the crew of Big Stupe V. The losses during the April 13 mission were horrific and it relates to the Luftwaffe’s fighter tactics in shooting down six out of seven B-17 bombers of the 545th squadron in less than 3 minutes. This was the worst single mission for the 384th Bomb Group for the entire war.
Colonel Alfter was born to the sounds of B-17s and P-51s at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois in 1948 and graduated from General H.H. Arnold High School in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1966. Col Alfter began his military career under the delayed enlistment program in August 1969. After aircraft weapons technical school at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado he was assigned to OV-10s with the 549th Tactical Air Support Training Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida as a weapons mechanic. Follow-on enlisted assignments included two tours at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in 1972 and 1974, as a weapons load crew chief on F-105Gs, and between tours at Korat, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., in 1973, as a weapons loader on B-52Gs, and finally Langley Air Force Base in Virginia in 1975 as a weapons systems instructor on the brand new F-15.
In 1978, Col Alfter earned his bachelor of science degree in Geography through the Bootstrap Program at Illinois State University and was commissioned through the Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base. As an aircraft maintenance and munitions officer he directed maintenance on F-15s, F-111Es, F-16s, A-10s, F-4Gs, C-9s, C-130Es, B-52s, KC-135s, and B-1s. He served as a maintenance and nuclear surety inspector and later in NATO as the Senior US Logistician at Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AIRCENT). He commanded two maintenance squadrons and one maintenance group and retired as the Deputy Director for Airborne Accessories at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center with more than 33 years active duty. His last “duty” was as program integrator in the F-22 Systems Program Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He has now volunteered at the NMUSAF since early 2007.
All aviation lectures are free and open to the public; donations to WACO Air Museum are accepted. Lectures are held in the Willis Wing of the WACO Air Museum, 1865 S. County Road 25-A, Troy. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. Programs are scheduled to last one hour with questions to follow. For questions, call 335-9226 or visit www.wacoairmuseum.org.