Known as one of the coolest and most intriguing warbirds in history, the OV-10 Bronco was originally introduced in the 1960s for close air support in Vietnam. But because of their versatility, these warbirds went on to tackle just about every mission an airplane could have for the USAF, the Marines, the Navy, SEALS and a number of other foreign countries. In fact, many of the Broncos went on fight in Desert Storm, combat cocaine in South America, and punish ISIS targets in the Middle East before reaching their eventual retirement.
Those aircraft are now in the skilled hands of the restoration team at Chino Airport. Known as some of the best of the best in the warbird business, the Chino team is home to one of the world’s last remaining experts in hand formed aluminum sheet metal, fabricating Plexiglas canopies, and rebuilding engines long out of service.
“We would like nothing better than to see any of those Vietnam vets get in the air again. There is a legion of people out here pulling for them. So we’re thrilled to hear they’ll be reuniting with each other, but also with their old aircraft in the weeks ahead,” says Jim Hodgson, Executive Director of the Fort Worth Aviation Museum.
Harry Gintzer, a former Vietnam vet and OV-10 pilot with the Navy’s famed Black Ponies is just one of many fans of the Bronco return to flight program, and one aircraft in particular – White Lightning. “I actually christened that name while serving in Vietnam,” says Gintzer. “The Broncos were white at that time, and my wife was from South Carolina, a place well known for lightning. So it seemed like the perfect name and it stuck. I put in 162 missions in that aircraft and am thrilled that Mike Manclark and his team will be bringing it back to life.”