KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The Hurricane Hunter Association (HHA) is awarding two Swan 38 Memorial Scholarships for the 2022 fall semester, and the deadline to apply is Aug. 1.
The first place winner will receive $2,000 and second place will receive $1,000 for their undergraduate or graduate education.
“Each year, the association, a private group of former and current Hurricane Hunters, offers the scholarships to eligible 403rd Wing members, past and present, as well as their dependents, for the pursuit of higher education,” said Capt. Sarah Olsen, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron aerial reconnaissance weather officer and chair of the HHA scholarship committee.
Today, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron is the only Department of Defense unit that annually flies weather reconnaissance missions into severe tropical weather from June 1 to Nov. 30, to gather data for the National Hurricane Center to improve their forecasts and storm warnings. However, in the past it was a mission that was flown by several units in the Air Force and Navy.
“The scholarship honors the commitment and ultimate sacrifice made by the Swan 38 crew while serving our country,” said Olsen. “It also stands as a reminder of the importance of our mission and allows us to give back to members of the 403rd Wing and their families.”
The Swan 38 crew, assigned to the Air Force’s 54th WRS flying out of Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, was lost during a reconnaissance mission into Typhoon Bess over the South China Sea on Oct. 12, 1974. The crew was flying an Air Force WC-130H, tail number 65-0965 with the call sign Swan 38 and preparing for their second pass through the typhoon when radio communication was lost. No emergency communications were received, and after four days of searching, debris was found but there were no survivors.
This was the last reconnaissance flight and the only C-130 lost in a tropical cyclone, according to the NOAA Hurricane Research Division. The Swan 38 crew members were: Capt. Edward R. Bushnell, 1st Lt. Gary W. Crass, 1st Lt. Michael P. O'Brien, 1st Lt. Timothy J. Hoffman, Tech. Sgt. Kenneth G. Suhr, and Sgt. Detlef W. Ringler.
“In honor of those lost Airmen, scholarship recipients are chosen based on their academic achievement, strong moral character, leadership traits, and dedication to serve others,” said Olsen.
Applicants must have been accepted for undergraduate or graduate enrollment at a regionally accredited two-or-four-year U.S. college or university, be in or have graduated in the top third of their high school class, and maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or higher for the previous five semesters. Individuals must also complete the application, submit a 500-word essay explaining their career goals, and provide two letters of recommendations and the most recent copy of official college or high school transcripts. Additional details about the requirements can be found at: http://www.hurricanehunters.org/swan38.htm
All scholarship application packages are due by email to the Hurricane Hunter Association account firstname.lastname@example.org by Aug. 1.
For additional information, to include the application and associated checklist, contact Olsen at email@example.com.