The Warning Star Rescue Project

The US Navy EC-121 “Warning Star” captured in 2015.

The US Navy EC-121 “Warning Star” captured in 2015.
The US Navy EC-121 “Warning Star” captured in 2015 at the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum.

By Austin Hancock

Belleville, MI – The Yankee Air Force/Museum, known for operating a gorgeous outfit of WWII “heavy iron,” is seeking to add to their ever unique collection of aircraft. Along with the B-17, B-25, and C-47 flying, the YAF has an arsenal of static display planes which is equally impressive. The ground-based birds include a PB4Y-2 “Privateer,” and a B-52D “Stratofortress.” The Yankee crew now aspires to add a US Navy EC-121 “Warning Star” to the static-fleet. Based on the Lockheed “Constellation” (USAAF C-69), the EC-121 was used as an early-warning and control radar surveillance aircraft. Vital during the Cold War, the “Distant Early Warning Line” served as a radar area that was monitored for activity from Soviet missiles. The EC-121 that Yankee wishes to acquire served an integral role in giving the US “peace of mind” during those trying times.

US Navy EC-121 “Warning Star”_2 copy_WM
US Navy EC-121 “Warning Star” captured in the Summer of 2015. The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum closed closed on December 30, 2015.

The US Navy asked the Yankee Air Force to help “save” the EC, and they gladly accepted the challenge. The plane is currently being disassembled at it’s location in Rantoul, Illinois. Assistance is needed, however, to continue the effort beyond this point. “Unfortunately, that’s (recovery) only half the job,” states the YAF website. “Help us restore this iconic craft with a contribution toward the expert work that lies ahead. The Warning Star – your Warning Star – is completely unique with its preserved spyware and instruments, a historic forerunner to the Sentry AWACS to come.” The Yankee team plans to restore the EC-121 to static condition, as to best represent the “Star” as she looked during her days of Cold-War fighting. From here, the aircraft will continue to serve a vital role, this time in education.

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“This EC-121 “Warning Star” will get the setting it deserves – as one of the centerpiece aircraft at the new Yankee Air Museum. Set inside the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant, the new space will be a stunning exhibit showplace for the aircraft collection.” The Yankee Air Force is actively seeking support for the continuation of the “Warning Star” Rescue Project. For more information, or to make a contribution, visit the project website at



  1. Could anyone tell me when they will be having another Rosie record breaking get together. I heard in the spring of 2017. I did this the last time we broke the record and I’m working on getting many of my friends, face book friends and a few others to join me to help break the record again. Thank you Pamela Pietrowski

  2. Please keep me on your mailing list. I belong to a small CAF squadron in Virginia. old Dominion Squadron. We have 50 members, 7 or 8 do the heavy lifting on our L3 and Fairchild JK-2.
    We squeak out the hanger rent each month, but we continue on.
    Keep up the great work.

  3. I flew in that ‘bird’ as ACICO a large number of times in the early sixties home-based @ Pax River, MD and always deployed to NAS Argentia Nfld. and later NAS Keflavik, Iceland. She was a VW-13 plane, and we did not “look for missiles w/her equipment” . . . only for soviet block aircraft (bombers) –as the sea-ward extension of the DEW line across Canada (there were ‘counterparts’ flying over on the Pacific side (note the number “15” which was a side number over there out of Barbers Point HA and Guam, etc). The Air Force ones flew out of Otis AFB and McCllan ?, CA –and they have one restored @ Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, CO. I as others, have two or three thousand hours flying in the Willy Victors.

  4. I flew many missions in the WV EC121M as an EW Operator and also served as a post mission analyst.

    Recently, in 2015 I had the distinct pleasure of re-publishing a book, in the US, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Naval Station in Rota, Spain. The former home of VQ-2. Anyone interested in this 260 page book covering the history of the base and how the US military presence impacted the small quaint town of Rota can contact me: Ed Smith or call me at 702-672-7819. ps The book contains over 200 pictures and is completely bilingual in Spanish and English.

  5. I was in VW-11 from 1959-1962 flying as a radar operator from Argentia, Newfoundland in WV-2’s. I ended up with 1,500 hours over the North Atlantic. This was a fine aircraft, they always got us home. I am glad to see this Grey Goast is going to be preserved.

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