Leonardo DRS Product Helped to Free Willy


July 24, 2017 -- This is a whale of a tale about participation by Leonardo DRS Land Systems in St. Louis for the second year in the Scott Air Force Base, Ill., summer reading program for children.

Kurt Peterson, director of business development, and Angie Boyd, manager of trade shows and events, presented a story written by Peterson’s wife, Deiadra, to about 150 children. The story told how the Leonardo DRS Tunner 60K Aircraft Cargo Loader/Transporter was used in 1998 to load Keiko the whale onto a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft that transported him to Iceland. Keiko was the star of the 1993 film, “Free Willy”.

Iceland had agreed to accept the 20-year-old whale from an Oregon aquarium and place him in a supervised netted enclosure in water six miles off the nation’s south coast. Keiko's saga had begun two years earlier, when schoolchildren inspired by the "Free Willy" movies helped raise money to bring the ailing whale from a cramped Mexico City amusement park to a spacious tank at the aquarium. The intent was to set him free if he proved he could survive in the harsh North Atlantic.

The children not only learned the story of how the company helped Willy but also received a copy of the illustrated account along with a miniature Keiko toy.