Author- Shirley Woodhouse Murdock
The Longest Flight-
Yuma’s Quest For The Future:
Sixty Years Later
A Story Of American Exceptionalism-
A city in trouble, a city with a plan
In January 1949, four Yuma businessmen drove north to Parker for a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce there. They were searching for ideas because Yuma was in trouble.
With the end of World War II, the Army had moved to close the city’s air base in spite of the open desert for training areas and the perpetually clear flying weather. The Yuma economy was sagging. The city’s business leaders needed a solution before it was too late.
During the tour of Parker, the chitchat took a new turn. Instead of attracting new business, the city should do what it could to hold on to what it had.
Ray Smucker, manager of Yuma’s only radio station, offered an unexpected suggestion. “You know,” others remember him saying, “there is a lot of publicity in an endurance flight.”
At the time, the record was 30 days. During the Parker trip, a team in Fullerton, Calif., had made news with plans to break that record.
The men kept talking. On the drive back to Yuma, the idea took shape. They could put together a team, map out a plan, break the record. Keeping the plane in the air for that long would prove just how good Yuma’s flying conditions really were.
Within days, the Yuma Jaycees took over the planning. The project soon had a flight crew: former Navy pilot Bob Woodhouse and another pilot, Woody Jongeward.
“They were so confident,” said Shirley Woodhouse Murdock, Bob’s sister and co-author of the book “The Longest Flight,” an account of the quest. “They knew they could do it.”
Next, they needed a plane, and the Jaycees found one they could borrow from AA Amusement Co. in Yuma.
The Aeronca Sedan AC-15 could seat four people. Three of the seats would be ripped out to make room for supplies, leaving one for the pilot. The off-duty man would sleep in a corner.
The little plane, tail number N1156H, would be renamed the “City of Yuma.”
The Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi Story-
MARINE HELD AGAINST HIS WILL BY THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT-
While Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was living on a base and eating MREs in Afghanistan and earning a battlefield promotion, his paychecks from Uncle Sam were piling up in the bank.
He dreamed of returning to Weston, Fla., when his second tour of duty ended and buying a new truck, maybe getting a place of his own. At 26, and with a modest nest egg waiting, he had a future back home.
Now Tahmooressi languishes in a Mexican prison, plagued by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. And the $65,000 he saved in the service of his nation is gone, according to his mother.
“He has already lost all of his life savings.”
- Jill Tahmooressi, mother of Marine imprisoned in Mexico