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Gary R Eitel

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Gary Eitel, a pilot, aviation consultant and aircraft broker, found out about the program and contacted the Forest Service in 1991 to try to obtain C-130s for his clients, who had not been in on the initial deal. He was told by the agency that there were no more aircraft available, and that only three planes had been involved. Suspecting that he was not being told the truth, Eitel began his own investigation, obtaining documentation on the program through the Freedom of Information Act. Eitel took on the role of whistleblower, and reported his findings in testimony before several congressional subcommittee hearings.


International Air Response was previously named T & G Aviation. The company started aerial firefighting operations using 2 leased Douglas DC-7B's. These 'borate bombers' were leased from Arizona-based Airtankers Inc. in 1975. N51701 and N4887C were contracted by the US Forest Service and became based at Wenatchee,WA. T & G stood for the names of the 2 founders: Sergio Tomassoni and William 'Woody' Grantham. Initially, the company was formed at Buckeye,AZ. A few years after T&G's formation, a 50 percent share in Airtankers Inc. was bought and in 1979 followed a complete takeover. During 1978 T&G had moved to Chandler Memorial Airport, on the Gila River indian Reservation. For a long time the Douglas DC-7 was its main type of aircraft and it is great to see N4887C still present here in obvious splendid condition. Bob Wofforth, former Air America pilot, was chief pilot in the early days and also flew N4887C. Around the early-1980s T&G received a permit to operate adhoc cargo contracts, which included the fish-hauling contracts in Alaska. The above details were learned from a 1981 copy of Propliner magazine (Vol.11), article written by Stephen Piercey.

Aad van der Voet added: "T&G was formed in 1973, and operated out of Chandler-Memorial Airport. In 1997 they were reorganised as International Air Response Inc. and moved to Coolidge,AZ a short time later. No connection to Gene Packard's former Air Response at Mesa's Falcon Field."

Jack Chisum was a vice president of T&G AVIATION (later renamed International Air Response -webmaster) of Chandler, Arizona. He is believed by an investigator to have been set up and turned in to authorities by Evergreen Aviation and Southern Air Transport for "muscling in on the [Middle East] C-130 action." "..Chisum, who was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking down an Arizona highway. Gary Eitel has never been satisfied with the results of the accident investigation, and believes that Chisum may have been targeted, hit and silenced.

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