Above is Edward V. Kaston, a man who, like many before him, has spent his career providing safe, airworthy aircraft for the military, commercial and manufacturing sectors. His contributions to the craft & profession of the skilled Aircraft Maintenance Technician spans more than 50 years! Thus in 2004 earned him to receive the FAA's Charles E. Taylor Master Mechanic Award. The Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association wishes to thank Mr. Kaston for his unselfish love of a profession that demands a great responsibility and setting the standard by which today's AMTs strive for.
Ed Kaston began his career back in 1944 when he was enrolled at the Stinson School of Aviation located on Long Island, NY. In 1947 he then earned his private pilots license. In 1972 he earned his I. A. Certification. In 1945 he became a U. S. AACS Radio Operator and U. S. AACS Flight Crew Chief on the C-47 in the 59th AACS, Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska. In 1958 he was recognized as an "Honorary Pilot" by the Chinese Nationalist Air Force.
From 1943 through today he has worked on many different types of aircraft with several different companies. The aircraft & companies Ed has been connected with are American Airlines as an Overhaul & Line Mechanic on the DC-3, DC-4, DC-6. Lockheed Aircraft Service, NY Lead Mechanic on the DC-6; Western Airlines - Korean Airlift - DC-4 Maintenance Representative & Station Manager, Tokyo, Wake Island, Honolulu, Travis A.F.B.; North American Aviation Inc. Technical Representative F86-F, F-11A, C,D, USAF MAAG Formosa, USAF Wethersfield AFB, England, Royal Danish Air Force, Denmark, ANG Tucson, Arizona; North American Aviation Inc./Rockwell Corp. Project Engineer, Apollo & Space Shuttle Programs; Peninsula Aviation Inc. Co-owner, Flight School, Cessna Aircraft Dealer and Maintenance; Northrop Electronics Division, Program Manager Omega Navigation Systems and Structures & Turbine Engine Monitoring Systems on KC-135, A-10 and F-14 Aircraft. Link Flight Simulation Inc. Resident Engineer at Northrop B-2 Bomber Program at Pico Rivera, California; Kaston Air, Aircraft Maintenance, Single & Multi-engine Aircraft.
Ed Kaston has also been the Secretary and President for the N.A.A. Technical Representatives Association. One example of Ed's many contributions to aviation can best be said in his own words.
"I was an N.A.A. Tech Rep in Taiwan with the Chinese Nationalist Air Force for five years (1955-1960) on the F-86F Aircraft. The highlight of this assignment came in 1958 during the Kinmen/Matsu Island crisis when the Chinese Communists were preparing to invade Taiwan.
Since the Communist MIG aircraft were superior to the F-86F, there were grave concern as to whether the Communist threat could be repulsed. In July of 1958 the U.S. Government in great secrecy decided to provide the Nationalist with the GAR-8 Sidewinder missile. However, the challenge was to modify the F-86F to carry the Sidewinder.
I was responsible for the integration/modification of the F-86F to carry the missile. There ensued a month of eighty hour work weeks, working in secrecy to accomplish this retrofit, which culminated in modifying 30 F-86F aircraft. Team support was provided by the U.S. Navy and the C.A.F.
On the fateful day of Sept. 24, 1958 the Nationalist F-86F aircraft engaged the Communist MIG's over the Taiwan Straits and shot down a total of 6 MIGs with Sidewinder missiles. During the ensuing weeks, the F-86F aircraft flew over the Straits with immunity, the MIGs stayed grounded and the crisis was over. The three days after the engagement, the Chinese Communist propaganda broadcast that the Hsinchu AFB MAAG Advisory Team Members: Col. R. Riggs, Maj. C. Smith and T.R.E. E.V. Kaston were considered enemies of Communist China and would pay for their actions. needles to say, (luckily), their threat was never carried out.
As a footnote, I and my wife Rosemarie visited Communist China in 1987 on vacation and it was apparent that the Communist had, thankfully, forgotten about the threat. During November 2002, I was invited with my son Craig, to the 50th Anniversary of the Sidewinder Missile at the China Lake Facility. I met with U.S.A.F./Navy and a C.A.F. Pilot - major Mike Chien who were Sidewinder Combat "Shooters". It was a memorable occasion meeting with Major Chien 44 years after the Kinmen/Matsu Crisis. Major Chien was surprised to see that I had saved the scarf and flier's wings that had been given for my service 44 years ago."