Lt Col Melvin G. “Mel” Swanson passed away Sunday, March 12, 2017. Mel was a Firefly in early 1970 before being assigned to command 56th SOW Operating Location Alpha Alpha (OLAA) at Danang AB, RVN. Known to many as the “Spad Dad”, Mel led the small unit in highly classified missions supporting Special Forces reconnaissance teams as well as USAF Search and Rescue missions in the late summer of 1970.
Over the last 4 years, Mel had become like a family member to the Tennessee Museum of Aviation. Our staff and volunteers will certainly miss his stories, his smile and his laughter. We salute you Sir.
The Museum will open to the general public at 10:00am. Soon after opening, and weather permitting, our Douglas A-1H Skyraider will perform a brief flight demonstration to begin the day. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the “Heroes” who bravely served during the Vietnam War. Join us in the Exhibit Gallery at 1:30pm, where we will begin an informal panel discussion leading to a Q&A session centered around Mel Swanson and Operating Location Alpha Alpha in general.
**The OLAA reunion group will hold a private ceremony honoring their Commander. The museum will close at 5:00pm on April 22.**
Lt Col Mel Swanson standing next to his A-1 Skyraider “Sweet Betty Lou”
Lt Col Mel Swanson – second from the left