Dave Wellman oral history interview



Dave Wellman oral history interview


Born-digital video recording of an oral history with David C. "Dave" Wellman and interviewer Bruce Florsheim, recorded as part of The Museum of Flight Oral History Program, May 18, 2018.


Vietnam War veteran David C. “Dave” Wellman is interviewed about his military service and engineering career. He discusses his experiences as a bomber pilot with the United States Air Force and describes his combat tours in Vietnam flying the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. He then discusses his post-military career with the Boeing Company and his work on various armament integration programs, such as the SRAM (short-range attack missile) and ALCM (air-launched cruise missile). The interview concludes with an overview of Wellman’s docent work at The Museum of Flight.

Table Of Contents

Introduction and personal background -- Experiences with the Boeing B-47 Stratojet -- Experiences with the B-52 Stratofortress -- Vietnam bombing raids -- Bombing targets -- Unit and crew names -- Second combat tour and encounters with celebrities -- Thoughts on Operation Linebacker II -- Post-military life and career at Boeing -- Flight in a 1942 Boeing-Stearman aircraft -- Involvement at The Museum of Flight





1 recording (27 min., 33 sec.) : digital



Bibliographic Citation

The Museum of Flight Oral History Collection/The Museum of Flight





Biographical Text

David C. “Dave” Wellman is an aviation engineer and Vietnam War veteran who served with the U.S. Air Force as a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress pilot. He was born in Lafayette, Indiana to Ferdinand and Katherine Wellman. His father was an engineer, and his mother was a schoolteacher and homemaker.

Wellman attended Purdue University (Indiana), where he studied electrical engineering. He also participated in the school’s ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program and graduated with a Reserve commission in 1959. After completing his flight training, he was assigned to fly the Boeing B-47 Stratojet. He transitioned to the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress in 1964 and was deployed to Anderson Air Force Base (Guam). He served two combat tours in Southeast Asia, flying bombing missions against Vietnam.

Leaving military service in 1967, Wellman next embarked on an engineering career with the Boeing Company. His projects included integrating SRAM (short-range attack missiles) into the B-52, developing missile maintenance programs, developing a navigator training program for the B-52 and General Dynamics FB-111, and integrating ALCM (air-launched cruise missiles) into the B-52 and Rockwell B-1 Lancer. He retired from the company after 27 years and afterwards managed several test laboratories.

In the mid-1990s, Wellman joined The Museum of Flight Docent Corps. He is still an active volunteer as of 2018.

Biographical information derived from interview and additional information provided by interviewee.