FROM THE PAST
Guest Book Entries for 2002
please feel free to make an entry in:
Additionally, if you feel you qualify to join the Blackbird Association see the link at the bottom of this page or Click Here and go directly to that link.
There are Nineteen
total web pages that comprise the
"SR-71 Alma Mater and Recollections of the Past"
The original web page (the one you are on now) had grown to over 3 Megs in size. To expedite your Browser loading, I have divided the "Guest book" Entries into Chronological year groups by dates the e-mail was received..
If you have been associated with the SR-71 and would like to have your experiences or recollections listed on these Web Pages please fill out the form on the
SR-71 Alma-Mater and Recollections Navigator
Select a Year above and it will take you to all E-mail's received for that year
|Yes, I want to make an entry in the Guest Book|
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Copyright © 1996 Leland R. Haynes Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the Latest Additions to The SR-71 Blackbirds Web Site:
Updated November 25, 2002
1. "Tail Art of the Blackbirds": Updated New tail art- 63 total tail art images. The "Ichi Ban" story by Don Person, Crew Chief is here. URL:./tail001.html
2. "USAF SR-71 Kadena Operations": Updated with new images and data. Chuck Dodgins image files of Colonel Minter, Commander launching his Blackbird in August of 1969. URL: ./kadena2.html
3. "The Altitude Chamber": Kevin Svetcos, PSD Instructor has contributed this comprehensive article about the Altitude Chamber (hypobaric) and the dangers of Hypoxia to aviators. Terry Pappas, SR-71 pilot relates how he became hypoxic on a training flight at Beale in 1986. URL: ./Alt_Chamber.htm
4. "Tail Art of the Blackbirds": Updated New tail art. Michael O'Reilly (PSD) sent in three images of U-2 handiwork on the SR-71 tail. You will laugh at these new additions. URL: ./tail001.html
6. "40th Anniversary-Blackbirds Laurels Event": An article by Connie Pardew, Aerotech Magazine on the Roadrunners 40th Anniversary. The event included Laurel Awards that went to 25 distinguished individuals-Each a legend in their own time. URL: ./blackbird_laurels.htm
7. "Sled Driver: The Limited Edition": Check out Brian Shul's new book. Order and reserve your copy One of 3500 limited editions. URL: ./sled_driver.htm
8. Added the Obituary and Biographical Information of Lou Schalk to the page you are now on.
9. Added the Obituary of Jean Conrad Seagroves on 01 September 2002 to the page you are now on. J.C. "Conny" Seagroves ( RSO) crewed with Col. (Ret) Pete Collins crew number #04.
11. In-Flight loss of M-21 with the D21 Drone: New page (10/27/2002) with images taken from film shot by Keith Beswick who was flying along side the M-21 and recorded the collision of the D21 into the M21 Blackbird at Mach 3. Includes 16 photos of the collision with data. Movie is available in item 13 below. URL: ./M21_Crash.htm
12. "SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends": A new book by Richard Graham, Col. (USAF), Ret. A collection of stories by crewmembers from the CIA days through the Cold War and into the Blackbird's retirement. Fascinating reading. Go here for cover shots, my review and ordering information. URL: ./Graham001.htm
13. "M21/D21 in-flight accident Movie": You can download this MPEG movie to your computer. The file size is 16.7 MB (16,648KB) and depending on the speed of your modem connection, may be a lengthy download. Here is the URL for the M21/D21 Accident Movie: ./MD21_accident.mpg
Boeing's "Bird of Prey"
The previously classified "Bird of Prey, was unveiled during a ceremony Oct. 18 at The Boeing Company's plant in St. Louis. The Bird of Prey is a single-seat aircraft. It is 47 feet long, with a 23-foot wingspan, weighs nearly 7,400 pounds, and is powered by a Pratt and Whitney JT15D-5C turbofan engine. The aircraft reached an operational speed of 260 knots at a maximum operating altitude of 20,000 feet. Boeing fully funded the $67 million project, which ran from 1992 through 1999. The Bird of Prey made 38 test flights, beginning in 1996. Developed by Boeing's Phantom Works, the Bird of Prey was among the first aircraft to feature large, single-piece composite structures, low-cost disposable tooling, and 3-D virtual reality design and assembly processes.
(Just thought you would like to know)
Photo Courtesy Boeing
Full Story is at this URL: http://www.af.mil/news/Oct2002/102102403.shtml
Webmaster, SR-71 Blackbirds is looking for photos of SR-71 Aircraft tail number #966:
Also Tail Art painted in Okinawa of the following:
Dice on #973; Macon Bacon on #980; Tom Cat's Kitten; the Pink Panther and the Pratt & Whitney Logo painted on the tail.
If you have a photo of any of these Blackbirds, please contact me at: email@example.com
"Tail Art of the Blackbirds" is available at this URL: ./tail001.html
Editor's Note: In Today's press report (01/31/2002), Defense Secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld said the war in Afghanistan has shown the effectiveness of some new military technologies that past administrations failed to develop in sufficient numbers. He cited the example of unmanned aircraft such as the Predator, which provides live TV images of the battlefield but is in short supply. He also mentioned a shortage of manned reconnaissance and surveillance planes, command and control aircraft like the Air Force's AWACS plane, chemical and biological defense equipment and certain types of special operations forces.
2001 Blackbird Reunion Slide Show CD-ROM Now Available
If you are a member of the Blackbird Association you may order the complete collection of the 2001 Reunion "PowerPoint presentation" (160 images) for a fee of $10.00. Profits go to maintain the Blackbird Association. Contact Richard Graham at: HABU5@verizon.net
Webmaster, TD Barnes is forming a great series of web pages on the Roadrunners. The original Roadrunners were the men and women associated with the A-12 and YF-12 Oxcart program at Groom Lake (Area 51), Nevada. Roadrunners Internationale is an association of those men and women plus those having an interest in keeping alive the memories of that phase of the Cold War and of those who risked and gave their lives to keep our nation safe. Check out this new series of Blackbird history and events at this URL:
Blackbird Reunion 2003
Fourteenth Biennial Blackbird Reunion will be held at the Nugget Hotel in Reno, Nevada, June 6 - 8, 2003
Those who want to pay their voluntary dues, just send a check to:
Blackbird Association, P.O. Box 40, Beale AFB, CA 95903
2002 Guest Book Entries
Mon, 23 Dec 2002 20:51 LeRoy McDaniel Writes:
I was stationed at Beale AFB from January till October of 1967. I worked in the AR&R shop. As I look back the days of working on the SR-71 were the high point in my 4 years in the Air Force.
Please note my new E-mail address.
I would like to hear from you if you were stationed at Beale at that time.
Mon, 23 Dec 2002 12:21
SSgt. Ron Schweikert Writes: I served with the 9th OMS at Beale AFB. from 1975-1980. I made 7 TDY trips
to Kadena (2 months each) and 2 to Mildenhall. Being an aviation enthusiast, the chance to work on the Blackbird was incredible. Naturally after
a few years of getting soaked in JP-7 and busting knuckles under access panels and getting bruises removing chines, the novelty wore off <grin>. Nevertheless,
I never tired of launches -- they were truly a lot of fun. It was also a kick to run the Buick start carts on engine start [insert here Tim Allen's
famous 'ar ar' grunts from Home Improvement!] -- much better than the compressed air used later. I also enjoyed
(along with others) of freaking out the guards at Kadena when we'd dump gallons of LN2 out onto the tarmac after pressure checks etc.
I established some of the closest friendships at Beale and have maintained contact
with some. For others, I'd be quite interested in re-establishing contact.
SSgt. Ron Schweikert
Sat, 14 Dec 2002 20:56 MSgt. Richard J. Blanchard (DOC) Writes:
I would like to contact Col. Keith Branham.
I was the NCOIC of the 9SRW, INN Branch from Sept 73 to July 76.
You have a great web page.. Thanks
MSgt. Richard J. Blanchard (DOC)
Tue, 10 Dec 2002 21:33 Samantha Million Writes: My SR-71 experience is from the eyes and ears of the 15 year old I was on the island of Okinawa. That is where I first heard about, heard and saw the magnificent SR-71. I recall that when we heard the "Habu" coming, my sister and I would run outside, stand in the front yard, and wait to watch that beauty cross the sky....we could feel it in our chests as it passed overhead. I also remember spotting the SR-71 pilots on base, in their orange suits and hearing that they lost about ten pounds per flight due to the incredible G-Forces obtained while in the air. I got close to the "Habu" at the yearly air show at Kadena Air Force Base, I still have the picture "I had too take"....and it's a good one. I was also able to attend the retirement ceremony given the SR-71 at Macon, Georgia.........I remember being very surprised and saddened by the idea that this wonder was retired. The SR-71 is a part of the memories I have from my teen-age years, when I hear "Okinawa"..."The Habu" comes to mind quickly. Those memories are of wonderment, beauty and pride.
Mon, 9 Dec 2002 13:50
MSgt (Ret) Mike Waldorff Writes: My First Air Force assignment - to Beale in Jan 1973 to the 9AMS Nav Shop, run by
MSgt Doc Adams. Outstanding crowd of seemingly hand picked maintainers in that room that included the Comm shop and MRS. Began upgrade to "5" level and also learned to drive 29
Pax bus. First trip to Det 1 in October(?) for 60 days. Stayed in Bldg 103, saw folks working hard, playing cards hard, and driving BX taxi hard; when did they sleep? Managed one more trip to the Rock before a short PCS to U-Tapao. Lucky enough to return to Beale, and managed to get back into the 9th. Somehow, with TDY extensions getting approved as if by magic, spent all but 6 weeks of 1976 TDY to the Rock!
Also made a TDY to Osan and learned a few lessons in Low-Mach Recon from the Black Cats. Spent another 4+ years at Beale before BOP'ing to Mather AFB. While there got the Habu Bug and signed up for Det 1 (now PCS). After a slight diversion at 376 Nav shop, made the move to the Det. After the Kadena tour I rolled back into Beale to finish up, retiring in 1996. Nothing could ever be more incredible than working on the world's fastest aircraft, especially knowing the 'real-world' nature of daily operations. Habu's and Black Cats are the best of the best! Although, in retrospect, I'd do some things differently, I'm sure glad I made it to Beale and the world of the SR-71!
MSgt (Ret) Mike Waldorff
Sat, 7 Dec 2002 02:25 Don Lyon, MSgt (Ret) Writes: Tried to contact Carmon D. Allen, no luck with his E-mail, can any one help? Would also like to hear from Greg Blas, Jim Orr, or any of the folks that I worked with from 69-73. Anyone know what became of Ralph Tucker? I would like to tell him I finally found out that 981 was faster than 956!!!
Don Lyon, MSgt (Ret)
Fri, 6 Dec 2002 08:02 MSgt (Ret) Clinton E. Harris Writes: I was first assigned to Beale AFB in July 1976 as a jet engine technician. My whole outfit was transferred there from Tucson Arizona, because I was also working on the U2 aircraft. I worked at Tucson, from November 1973-July 1976. I was also the NCOIC of the J58 test cell and a black hat QC inspector while at Beale AFB. I departed the Beale AFB area in 1980, for an oversea assignment. My duties with the blackbirds was awesome and very rewarding duty, that I'll never forget.
MSgt (Ret) Clinton E. Harris
Thu, 5 Dec 2002 00:18:50 Donald F Lyon Writes:
Assigned 9th OMS, 1969-1973. Ended up as Crew Chief on 981. Worked for Patrick, Pogo, Allen ,also worked with Blas, Haynes, Long. Made a few trips to the OL, ended up working for Dave Fruehauf as a civilian for a while. Still doing the "airplane thing" as a maintenance controller.
Donald F Lyon
Tue, 3 Dec 2002 19:04 Sgt Richard S. Howard Writes: I was assigned to Beale in 1986. I was assigned to the 9th FMS engine shop performing field level maintenance on the SR and U-2 engines. Later I transferred to the flight line working both of these aircraft. I had the privilege of transferring one of the SR-71's to March AFB for retirement. I left the Air Force in 1990, but I will never forget the experiences I had with the SR-71. I now maintain privately owned vintage war jets from all over the world. Many of these aircraft fly air shows today. I would very much like to see one of the SR's brought back to life. Maybe someone else would like to see this too.
Sgt Richard S. Howard
Sat, 30 Nov 2002 18:23 MSgt Robert E. Huff Writes: I was assigned to the 4200th Operational Evaluation and Training Squadron around 1964 or 1965. We had no Sr's yet, just three YF-12A's. Had a great bunch of people working on the project from SAC, ADC and AFSC. We all worked well together from the different commands alongside Lockheed. I was in the Fuel Systems Repair Shop and came to the project as a A1C. If you liked steady work, a Fuel Systems Repairman was the place to be! We would pull the wing panels off after a "hot" flight and completely strip the sealant and after everything was spotless, we would reseal the tanks. After another "hot" flight, back to square one! We were just like the movie "Karate Kid" (wax on, wax off), sealant on, sealant off. Still I wouldn't trade my experience on that beautiful "Blackbird" for nothing. You leaked fuel alot Habu, but nothing man has put in the sky is as graceful and down right nasty lookin' as you were!!
MSgt Robert E. Huff
Wed, 27 Nov 2002 15:05 T/Sgt James B. Cordes Writes:
I went to Edwards AFB October 1964 on the A-12 and YF12A. Worked in Egress Systems. Went to Beale AFB in February 1967 to Aircraft Repair in Egress until 1968. Crossed to Aircraft Repair & Egress until September 1971, when I retired. I still miss the SR/71.
T/Sgt (Ret) James B. Cordes
Wed, 27 Nov 2002 10:26 A1C Michael D. Tetley Writes: Although I only worked on the "Sled" from June'82-Sept'84, I consider that short period of time the most memorable and rewarding experiences of my Air Force career. I worked instrumentation systems at the 9th AMS. I have many fond experiences of the SR, such as safety wiring an inlet "hot box" wearing rain bibs, a rain coat, and a pair of goggles and still getting soaked to the bone with fuel. I developed a serious disliking for wiring repair using fiberglass string and"805" as well as 4people to lift a "dead" canopy to cann a part from a pickled A/C. I had the embarrassment of an SP noticing my line badge stated I had green hair and brown eyes as I attempted to enter a phase hangar (that went over really well). When I left the 9SRW, an SP was posted at every A/C due to alleged sabotage. Apparently 2 boat-tails fell off of 2 U-2R's and a cannon plug was cut off an SR. I left for the 10MAS in Germany and never heard what the outcome was. The experiences, complex systems, and the professionalism of the people I was mentored by at the 9SRW shaped my remaining 18+ years in the Air Force as well as made any aircraft I worked on thereafter appear as complicated as the most basic Cessna in comparison. Who could forget the sight of an SR on takeoff roll just as the sun was rising with the Beauts as we called them in the background. I went to the Air Force museum in Georgia in '99 and saw both an SR and a U-2 I had the privilege to work on-it was a sad day.
A1C Michael D. Tetley
Email: None Listed
Sun, 24 Nov 2002 19:11 SSgt Steve Gandee Writes: I was in the 9th Engine Shop from December of 1975 to November 1977. I was involved with a large number of different USAF aircraft and a very wide variety of Boeing, MD, regional jets, turboprops, and even old recips like the ConvairLiner, and I can say that I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to see the Blackbird from such a close vantage point. It is still an amazing machine and I think it still is the best looking aircraft I have ever seen although I must say that to me the 747 runs a close second. But there will never be anything like those majestic take offs out of Kadena again.
SSgt Steve Gandee
Sun, 24 Nov 2002 13:39 Tom Walton, MSgt, (Ret) Writes: Stationed with 9AEMS January 1972-June 1978. Assigned to Aircraft Communications Shop but worked with Navigation and MRS sections also. Was also on the speed-run team to England in 74. I'm the one pictured to the left of the sign in front of Col. Halloran. Spent a lot of time on TDY's to Oki, and other places. After which I was assigned to Quality Control. I remember you Leland. Met several old friends at an autograph signing for a fund raising for the SR-71 exhibit a few years ago, including Major General Halloran. Would be interested in hearing from some of you, especially old friends.
Tom Walton, MSgt, (Ret)
Sat, 23 Nov 2002 15:00 MSgt Allen R. Scott Writes: Was in Photo Processing in the Air Force for over 20 years. Processed 100's of missions from the Blackbird. I was at the 6594th Test Sq. and AFSPPF at Westover AFB in Mass. Also was in the 7499th,601st and the 497th in Germany and also was in the 460th in Vietnam. At each of these places I was either in charge of Processing or in charge of the lab. I broke my one and only SR-71 coffee cup and would like to know if you can assist me in locating a replacement.
MSgt Allen R. Scott
Fri, 22 Nov 2002 15:55 Chris Alan Stratford Writes: I was the ECS guy at Burbank from may 1987 until the program was cancelled. I remember working on a plane in phase dock to install a new cooling line to the video view- site. I was left in the dock by myself to try to figure something out. When I was done I thought that I would just cut across the apron to the FSR's trailer. The airman with the rifle reminded me that I was supposed to go through the normal door.
How Very thoughtful of him.
Chris Alan Stratford
Thu, 21 Nov 2002 11:42 MSgt Jose D. Leng, USAF (Ret) Writes: Like a good wine....the pages of this website keeps getting better and better. Who was going to say that we made history happen before our own very eyes. SR-71 friends came in and go throughout the years, such as Tom Allison, Robby Robillard, Norm Minske, Frank Toomer, Russell Feeley, Ron Ohsahl, Al Hall, Charles "Bo" Baker, Linda Utemai, Bob Hourahan, Larry Hanson, Sheryl Young, C.J. Collier, Jim McDonald, Duke Roland, Joseph Speer, Dave Crowden, Dan Feller and many more names that I don't remember right now. This are the names of my SR-71 MPC experience during 1980 - 1985. Thanks for the memories, Habu.
MSgt Jose D. Leng, USAF (Ret)
Mon, 18 Nov 2002 07:58 SSgt (Ret) John F. Rodewolt Writes: Was in Comm 3 (ARC-50), in 43rd AMS at Little Rock, Arkansas in 1969, moved the shop to McCoy, Florida in 1970. We supported many Habu missions from McCoy 'till 1973, when I, again, moved the shop to Mildenhall, England.I will never forget the Kc-135Q, the crews and the others in Comm 3, the Magnavox tech-reps: Bill Allen and Loren Friedle, fellow airmen: SSgt John Rowe, SSgt Jim Barlow, SSgt Bob Youman and my FTD instructor back at Little Rock, TSgt Arlo Guthrie. Only saw 1 Habu up close at Bomb-Comp at McCoy in 1971. BUT sure did take part in many up-loads and pre-flights of the Comm 3 system on the 306th ARS KC-135Q's. I was retired medically in 1973, 3 months after moving the Comm 3 shop to Mildenhall, UK.
SSgt (Ret) John F. Rodewolt
Fri, 15 Nov 2002 19:38 MSgt. Keith O. Evans Ret. Writes:
Joined the Blackbird's in 1974. Was crew chief for #956 for the 1000th sortie.
Also C/C for 958, 975, 976, and 979.
It would be great to try to find some of the old gang.
MSgt. Keith O. Evans Ret.
Tue, 12 Nov 2002 10:13 Bill Auburn, SMSgt, Ret. Writes: I guess I am one of the early birds involved with the Blackbird. I was on the task force that did the training for the Beale AFB CA. personnel. I arrived on site at Edwards AFB CA. in February 1965. Retired August 1966.I was on site when we broke the Russians speed and Altitude records. Col Robert Stephens was the pilot and Lt/Col Andres was the RO. It was one of the most interesting assignment I had in my 24 years of duty. A great group of people, sharp and very much on the ball. I am now 84 years young, so I would imagine most of them could have left us by now. I was there when they rolled a hot bird into the hanger and closed the doors and the heat set off the sprinkler system. Thank you for this opportunity to share a couple of my experiences. You have a wonderful site, keep up the fine work. The best to you.
Bill Auburn SMSgt, Ret.
Sun, 10 Nov 2002 15:13 TSgt (Ret) Rick Brown Writes:
Does anyone remember the aircraft crash in Feb 74? I Believe it was a B52 or KC135.
This was my last weekend on active duty and never did hear what happened. The accident must have happened just after dusk.
Sun, 10 Nov 2002 13:23
SSgt Edward D. Herald Writes: I was stationed at Yakota AB, Japan in 1968
and got orders to Beale AFB Ca. I wondered where the Hell is Beale AFB. Two months later
I found out. I would be in the 9th SRW. It was the home of the SR-71. I also found out that
I would be on a freeze list for 5 yrs. I decided to buy a house here since that was the longest
I had been stationed in one place. I stayed with the Habu for 10 yrs until retirement in Dec.78.
I made many trips to Kadena AFB. It almost became a second home to me as I was there so much. I worked in the INS shop
and for the most part they were a great bunch of people. The INS system was a great navigation system.
I enjoyed the work and the plane. Buck Adams was one of the great
SR Pilots in the wing. One of the best I ever knew in 20 yrs of working on planes. He is probably one of the few people that has a real good idea of how fast the plane could fly. It was a real rip off to the taxpayers that the plane was retired.
I think the government should have kept at least 4 planes in operation and sold the rest to friendly allies.
I am sure that several countries would have been interested in purchasing them and we could have supplied
parts and support for them and made a lot of money to keep flying ours. Even
though there are rumors of faster and higher flying machines, none have ever came to operations since... that could do the job the
SSgt Edward D. Herald
Tue, 5 Nov 2002 12:17 SSgt Ret. Manuel Audain Writes:
I was stationed at Beale AFB from Sep 90 through OCT 94 and worked at the PSD Support Division. I primarily worked with the U2 Pilots and was fortunate to meet some SR-71 guys while I was there. I retired that year but it was definitely the best assignment of my military career.
SSgt Ret. Manuel Audain
Fri, 1 Nov 2002 12:54 SSgt Michael W. Curtis Writes:
I was assigned to the 9th from March of 1969 to March of 1973. An experience I will never forget and a pleasure to have worked on such a machine.
SSgt Michael W. Curtis
Thu, 31 Oct 2002 17:06
Senior Flight Test Engineer, Don Kershisnik (DK) LAC ADP Writes:
Senior Engineer on A12 s/n 121; aircraft 06924 from first flight through 1970. I was involved in early testing of the YF12A and SR71. The most interesting aircraft of all times.
Don Kershisnik, Senior Flight Test Engineer, (DK) LAC ADP
Wed, 30 Oct 2002 23:12 Airman First Class Darrin Burton Writes: Col. Shelton (former SR-71 pilot and Det. 1, 9th Strat Recon Wing Commander) allowed a young Airman to go on a refuel. As I lay down in the BOOM operators position, I dreamed of one day being at the controls of an aircraft so beautiful...so powerful. The Blackbird appeared out of nowhere.. fast, looking thirsty; out of breath...she can't breath normal until she gets back to MACH 3. It swayed in the clear blue sky...chomping at the bit. Impatient...eager to power back up to supersonic. The BOOM released, spitting fuel. The blackbird pitched right then leveled off. The last thing I saw were two shining helmets...as the engines kicked in to afterburner...pushing the craft deep into my memories. I am still chasing that dream. Thanks for believing in me sir. HABU FOR LIFE!!!! ICHI BAN.....
Airman First Class Darrin Burton
Mon, 28 Oct 2002 15:38 TSgt Anthony Arnold Writes: I was stationed at Beale from 1986-88 in the FMS hydro shop. My first meeting with the great bird was as an airman straight out of tech school. At five in the morning while asleep, the dorms started shaking! I asked my roommate what it was and he said it was an SR and I would get used to it. I will always remember the sound of the "Buick start carts" winding up and the low whine as the J-58's started. At work, guys on my shift told me to walk into the shelter and tell them what was wrong with the aircraft. Not knowing about the liberal leak limits of the aircraft, I went ballistic seeing all the fluids and fuel leaking from the aircraft. I ran back to the truck to see everyone laughing their heads off. That began a long enchantment with the aircraft that has continued to this day. I worked KC-135's then and continue to do so to this day. One of my proudest moments was when we at Fairchild AFB were selected to refuel the SR when it returned to service. Funny how things come full circle! It is and always shall be my favorite airframe along with the KC-135.
TSgt Anthony Arnold
Mon, 28 Oct 2002 10:13 Earl N. Mayfield, Jr., Maj, USAF (Ret) Writes: Served as 9RTS photo-intel officer at Beale from 71-74 and 77-81. Over those years, was TDY to the MPC in Okinawa for a total of about 18 months. Was in Oki when typhoon resulted in loss of one Blackbird. My boss and I were only photo-types with enough clearance to do the crash-site photos, so he did the shots with his own camera, and I processed the film in my quarters bathroom sink with all the lights out and security police guarding the door.
Earl N. Mayfield, Jr., Maj, USAF(Ret)
Sun, 27 Oct 2002 14:17 SMSgt Bob Turpin, (Ret.) Writes:
Great web page. While stationed in Okinawa, we supported the Sr71 maintenance crews. We were a C-130 crew and ferried the maintenance folks, as required.
SMSgt Bob Turpin, (Ret.)
Thu, 17 Oct 2002 19:10 Joe Farren, MSgt, Ret. Writes: Excellent web site!. I was stationed at Beale AFB from 1978 to 1980,and worked with a bunch of fine folks at the aircraft fuel systems repair shop, 9th Strategic Recon Wing. I served 20 years in the Air Force, and recently retired at Eglin AFB Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. Beale Air Force base was with out doubt the most enjoyable and rewarding time in my career. Walter Matheny's fuel shop was classic to say it mildly. We worked very hard, and had a lot of gut busting laughs along the way. I can still hear SMSgt Matheny yelling "ARTHUR!! what in the hell are you doing sending so and so out on a job during our card playing time!!" Arthur was Arthur Cleveland who drove a huge Lincoln, and at times would have me wash his car for him and in return would let me and Mr. Charboneau sneak out early to go to watch the Oakland Athletics play ball. Some of the fine folks I remember are: Tim Arnette, Marcy Maggard, Ray Dilliard, Tom Tower, Grant Fresonke, Pat Hartly, Becky Brown, Cindy Hammond/Charboneau, Don White [SR-71 GENIUS], Frank Newalu, Gary Buzzini, Mike Troiano, Ken Mcaleer [U2-GENIUS], Robert Reed, Etc. There are many others to list that I know will come to mind after I post this. I am sad that the SR-71 is no longer in service, but I still get to see one all the time on display in front of the Air Armament Museum here at Eglin Air Force base. Again, a great site and thanks to those who has taken the time to provide this great service to all of us old maintainers and enthusiast of the greatest Air Force in the world..
Joe Farren, MSgt, Ret.
Sat, 12 Oct 2002 12:19
TSgt. (Al ANG Ret) C. R. (Rick) Brown Writes: My time at Beale/Kadena was spent during the years 73/74. I worked in the radio shop(328x0). I always thought it was funny that the final test of the UHF radio was that we put the radio in a freezer overnight to make sure that it would operate at altitude. I remember the "condemned" barracks we stayed in at Kadena and the late night meals at their chow hall the nights we flew late. How about the demonstrations outside the gates to protest the base being there. My memory is fading and I can not seem to remember any of the names of the people I worked with, but
Randy Moses and Billy Rohm seem to come to mind. Will keep up with the web site, its been interesting reading the other entries.
Wed, 2 Oct 2002 23:45 Sgt Lawrence Sipe Writes: I was an Electro Optical Sensor Systems Tech from 1988 to 1992 working on the OBC and TEOC cameras, assigned to the 9th AMS, 9th SRW, BAFB CA. I was on the TDY crew that had the sad honor of stripping the bird that now resides in the museum at March AFB, Ca. The day we landed in Riverside, Ca., we stopped traffic on the freeway as we recovered the A/C. Thinking of my days, I would curse having to work on the leaky bastard. I wish I would have appreciated the honor a bit more. My departure gift from Beale was a framed American flag with a certificate of authenticity signed by the pilot and RSO of the last operational mission; SR-71 tail #976 that carried these flags onboard. It hangs proudly on my wall to this day.
Sgt Lawrence Sipe
Tue, 1 Oct 2002 12:19
Craig Freeland, TSgt Writes: I just located your web-site for our "Black Bird".
I'll wager we know each other-perhaps slightly-but I worked in the "spike shop" as a team leader 8/68 to 2/70. I'm trying to recall the shop
chief's name now. I'll probably remember at 2:30 a.m. I left the Air show in Feb.
70 to take over the family insurance business. I'm still at it, in Houston, TX but now with a regional broker, Wm Rigg Co. I'd sure like
to contact some of my old friends in the 9th as well as the 3rd (F-100's) at Bien Hoa in 67/68. I gave the Air Show 8 years of good
times and some reserve time as well. Started with Col. Grabeski's old group 354th TFW Myrtle Beach, SC. I love the film "The Best Years Of Our
Lives" which I relate to my years in uniform. I try to relate this to my wife but she just can't get her arms around it. Can't really expect her
to unless she wore the "Blues". One of my friends in our office took a
lot of time and effort to build a model SR-71 # 956) for me which occupies a special spot on my credenza next to the 9th recon ball cap. During an air show, some years ago at Offutt, there was one of our birds
on display. I took my youngest son. Obviously the SR was surrounded by a rope and air police. I walked up to an old NCO ( like me) guard and said to him, " see that aircraft?" he, of course replied, "yes sir". "well" I said, "it has my finger prints all over it." He looked over the top of his sunshades and said, " Oh yeah, you're one of the older guys..." I thought my son would never stop laughing. Best regards.
PS: we have a great air show at Ellington Field each year in the Fall.
Craig Freeland (TSgt)
Marketing Manager-Houston Office
Wm. Rigg Company
2603 Augusta Dr., Suite 1250
Houston, Texas 77057-5639
Fri, 27 Sep 2002 00:46 SSgt Ralph Chambers Writes: Hello fellow Habu lovers. I was stationed at Beale with the Blackbirds from Jan 1971 until 1975, then I was stationed at Kadena working on the Blackbirds with the 9th Hq Squadron until 1976. When I first came to Beale, I was in the 9th FMS working in the AGE shop on those wonderful AG330 start carts. I went TDY to Kadena 3 or 4 times with the 9th FMS. I cross trained and came back to Beale in the 9th AMS as an aircraft maintenance scheduler. So, I may be the only person who was assigned to three different outfits in the 9th Strat Wing. I was with the 9th when the SR broke the speed records from New York to London, the US cross country record, the closed circuit records and several others as I recall. I call recall many a good time playing poker with OMS, AMS, FMS in our TDY quarters. That and everyone getting in trouble with the Kadena base brass for all the black spray painted blackbirds that seem to get painted on just about every thing on the base and in the town. I think someone (no names) even put one on the base commanders staff car as I recall. Anyway, we all seemed to have a great time and the Blackbird was the pride of all who worked on her. I wish to say hello to all the men and women who worked on that great aircraft in a time of war and peace. I would also like to hear from a TSgt Mackensey and his wife Gloria who had two toe-headed boys. He and I spent many a day riding motorcycles. He was in the 9th FMS Environmental Systems. I would love to hear from others from that time, maybe we can to a little typhoon hanger sandbagging some times. My best to all and thanks for reading my few words.
SSgt Ralph Chambers
Mon, 23 Sep 2002 11:18 Lt Col C J McNeer (RSO Crew E 19 With Col George Bull) Writes:
Major William E. Parrish passed away 9-20-02. Bill was one of the original staff in the Recon Nav section for the SR and a very good friend of mine and my family. Graveside Services with full military honors at Barrancas National Cemetary the week of 9-23-02 .
Lt Col C J McNeer
Wed, 18 Sep 2002 10:08 Thomas J. Greenwood Writes:
I am the father of Lt. Col. James F. Greenwood USAF Ret. I just want to say how proud I am of his 28 years in the USAF. He started as an electronics tech and advanced to RSO in the SR-71. A great accomplishment to a man who never lost sight of his goals.
Thomas J. Greenwood
Tue, 17 Sep 2002 15:08 A1C Jose Galvan Writes: WOW! I feel like I am in a time machine reading the entries from my friends in this forum! Gary Posey and I came to the SR-71 program from a 55Th SRW unit (The 55 SRW was using RB47 and ERB47's at the time in 1964.) So it was kind of a technological shock when we were sent to the SR71 program! However, I must say that the time we spent at Beale and all the places we were sent with the program were the most interesting times of my life. MSgt Kesterson (our shop boss) is still in my mind as one of the finest persons and a credit to the USAF. (...although I remember once when I was having trouble adjusting a photo interpretation station he asked me to stop asking him for advice and, "...don't come back until your enlistment is up!"). I ended my military career in Arizona with the 107th Tactical Control Squadron as a TSgt. Best wishes to all my old friends.
Jose (Joe) Galvan
Mon, 16 Sep 2002 16:01 SMSgt Richard C King Writes:
Love your web page. Just a note to up-date my e-mail address.
SMSgt Richard C King
New Email Address:
Fri, 13 Sep 2002 23:07 E4 Scott F. Stout Writes: TDY to England. Treated very well by all.
Recall that we did raise a bit of a ruckus. Little pictures of the Habu turned up all over.
Recall RSO putting a "For Sale" sign in the window after a difficult flight out of Kadena.
Wonderful memories, great people. Have not been able to express to anyone else what a privilege and an honor it was to be a member of this unit. 9th AMS SLR shop.
Does anyone remember the Greek?
E4 Scott F. Stout
Fri, 13 Sep 2002 07:33 Frank Murray Writes:
Never flew the SR, but did fly the A-12 some.
Nice book coming guys. Thanks for helping to keep the memories alive...
Frank Murray, CIA (Retired)
Sat, 7 Sep 2002 13:00
Carolyn Louise Jackson Writes: My experience is only with one of the engineers. Mr. Ray McHenry,
whom I came to know in 1985. He had moved to Ventura, CA after retiring. He was a very dear and modest
man. He never reveled that he had worked in the Skunk Works until the SR-71 was retired to the
Smithsonian. The plane flew over Ventura on it's way to the Smithsonian. Marion; Mrs. McHenry asked me if
I had heard the plane pass over? I responded that I certainly had. At that time she told me, Ray had been one of the engineers. This modest, reclusive, unassuming man, had done such great work and never mentioned
it. My son, in high school was to do a report on a famous person. I said
"You shall do your report on Mr. McHenry, for were it not a top secret project he had worked on, he would be
famous. Mrs. McHenry was glad to lend the book signed by a pilot and a model mounted on a piece of titanium from one of the prototypes that had
crashed (pilot ejecting). Needless to say, my son, whom had been held as an infant in
Ray's arms when I visited there, received an A plus for his report. Some of the children from the middle school came to the car to tell me how much they enjoyed the report.. One boy
remembered going to the cemetery to visit Mr. McHenry's grave. Thank you for this
opportunity to share my memories of a great and kind man.
Carolyn Louise Jackson
Thu, 5 Sep 2002 21:15 MSgt Craig S "Skydawg" Gorowsky Writes: SR-71 Crew Chief, 1984 to 1986 Beale AFB, CA and 1986 to 1990 at Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan. I miss afterburners in the morning and the smell of JP-7! I most enjoyed working in "paradise" in Okinawa with a great bunch of people you could call family. I was glad to be rated for engine runs just prior to the aircraft leaving in 1990. I remember many trim runs at night that would shake you right down to the bone. If you were brave you could stand under the belly between the engines in max burner- awesome! Sometimes birds would get confused and dive down near the exhaust and disappear in an instant. I was assigned to non-powered age for a while when first assigned to 9 SRW, Det 1. We had to service the chemical ignition system with TEB (triethel borene). It was a hassle because you had to wear full fire suits and have a fire truck standing by! If you see engine start footage, it's the big green flame coming out the tailpipe. Okinawa was wonderful with 85 deg water temperature and windsurfing, sailing, and scuba diving. After leaving Okinawa I was stationed in England and back at Beale working U2-R /TR-1 aircraft. I am now assigned to 357FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, Az working A-10 Warthogs with orders to 25FS in Osan AB, Korea. I would enjoy hearing from any other HABU people from Beale or Okinawa!
MSgt Craig S "Skydawg" Gorowsky
Thu, 5 Sep 2002 12:01 SMSgt William E. Auburn Writes:
I was on the Task Force at Edwards AFB from Feb.1965 until I retired Aug, 1st 1966. Great experience, wonderful aircraft and great people. I was with the task force at Edward's AFB on May 1st 1965 when we set the world speed record, and altitude record. I was a SMSgt in charge of Maintenance Control. Col Stephens was the CO of the Task Force. I appreciate you putting out this Info.
SMSgt William E. Auburn
Wed, 4 Sep 2002 10:24 Col. Robert M. Locke, USAF, (Ret) Writes:
I was one of the original Air Force RSOs. Greatest tour in a 26 year career. Will be moving to Paradise Valley Estates (near Travis, AFB) in late October, will try to contact some of the HABUs so we can swap lies.
Col. Robert M. Locke, USAF, (Ret.)
Sun, 1 Sep 2002 10:24 Lt Col (Ret) Mort Jarvis Writes: Col (Ret) Conrad (Conny) Seagroves passed away on August 25th. Conny was with the original cadre of SR-71 flight crews. He was an RSO crewed with Col. (Ret) Pete Collins crew number #04. Memorial services were held on Thursday, August 29th with burial in Florida National cemetery. The family request that any donations/memorials be made to U.S. Naval Academy foundation, Class of 1954, in memory of J. C. Seagroves, 291 Wood Road, Beach Hall, Annapolis, MD 21402-5001. Email messages to the family can be sent to Conny's daughter, Jenny (Seagroves) Dunn, firstname.lastname@example.org
I knew Conny real well and kept in contact with him through the years. My original crew number was #06 and flew with MGen (Ret) Pat Halloran and later with Col (Ret) Buddy Brown.
Lt Col (Ret) Mort Jarvis
Sun, 1 Sep 2002 03:00 Jenny (Seagroves) Dunn Writes: Below is my Dad's
obituary. I will treasure what
everyone stood to say at Dadís service. It
was overwhelming in every good way and the military honors were incredible (One
of my Dad's grandsons attended in his Marine uniform). The unity of Military comrades is a soothing ointment for
broken hearts. You, the protectors of our country are the essence of strength
Jenny (Seagroves) Dunn
3902 Arlington St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901 email@example.com
Jean "Conrad" Seagroves
Colonel Jean Conrad (Conny) Seagroves, USAF (Ret.), 70, passed away on 25 August, 2002
Colonel Seagroves was born on September 8, 1931 in Macon, GA. He attended St. George High School in Evanston, IL and St. Maryís College in Minnesota before entering the Naval Academy in 1950. After graduation he earned Air Force navigator wings and flew for eleven years in Strategic Air Command, receiving two spot promotions. He first flew as a navigator-bombardier on B-47s and B-52s. In 1966 he became one of the first operational flight testers and Reconnaissance System Operators (RSOís) on the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft, flying at Mach 3 + and at altitudes over 85,000 feet at Edwards and Beale AFB's in California.
While attending Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell AFB, AL he received an MBA from George Washington University. During the Vietnam War he was a forward air controller and then a Planner at Headquarter 7th Air Force in Saigon. His younger brother, 1/Lt Michael Seagroves, an Air Force pilot flying psy-ops missions in Vietnam, was shot down in 1969. Declared Missing in Action, his remains were recovered and returned in 1974.
Lt. Col Seagroves went to Washington for a special assignment and then worked at Hqs. USAF in Research and Development. After promotion to Colonel, he took command of the 1st Mobile Communications Group at Clark Air Base, Philippines, and then served as Deputy for Plans and Programs at Hqs.13th Air Force, also at Clark. He next commanded a NATO base in the Netherlands. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and Meritorious Service Medal.
After retiring in 1982, he and his wife, Carol, settled in Albuquerque, NM where he worked in sales for Motorola. In 1994 they moved to Brandon, FL to be near their grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife, Carol; his sons, Kenneth Seagroves, Kevin Seagroves; his daughters, Julie Pietila, Jeanelle Harrison, Jennifer Dunn; his stepchildren, Scott Schekman, Ronald Schekman, Lori Schekman; 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, his first wife, Honey and his brother Rev. Dr. Richard Seagraves.
Colonel Seagroves was buried with full military honors at Florida National Cemetery. Four of his í54 classmates, all Air Force retired, attended the services. Memorial donations may be made to the Naval Academy Foundation, Class of 1954 Fund, 291 Wood Ave., Annapolis, MD 21402.
Dunn Writes: My whole life I heard my Dad speak volumes without saying a word.
My Dad was a whistler. He had all different whistles that expressed his
emotions. I don't know how to make the same sounds, but everyone who knew Dad,
knows how they sound. It is a style of whistling that is from the older
generation. My generation would probably call it "old school"
There was the commanding whistle of warning that we heard as kids that could stop you in your tracks. This was the type of whistle that could stop a kid from darting into traffic. If we thought that we could stomp away from dad
while muttering under our breath, being a snotty kid and you heard that whistle of authority call you back, you knew that you had pushed things a little too far. If we needed to be rounded up in the evening, there was the two finger whistle that you could hear a few blocks away that we knew was our Dad (other families had their own sound) There was the exasperated whistle of trying to keep things in check. There was the whistle of exclamation. I know that even sometimes his whistle could be annoying (I looked at Carol and smiled. It's an inside joke)
One of the favorites that us kids always have a bit of fun with had been the whistle that he did to relax if he was feeling stressed while navigating his car. Jeff can impersonate this one perfectly (I sang it: who who whooo). My Dad could hold his hand out of the car window and get the wind to blow just right on his class ring and even make it whistle.
But what I heard the
most often was when my Dad was feeling content or upbeat. He would whistle the
most beautiful vibrato melodies. I always heard these when we held hands and
walked. This is what I really miss already and makes me cry, holding hands with
Dad and hearing him whistle. Those times will always be my most treasured
memories. That is where I always connected with the special comfort that only
can come from a loving father. Sometimes I hear that same beautiful style of
whistling. It's usually about 2 rows over in a grocery store. I know that if
were to go look, it would be coming from an older gentleman with silver hair
like my Dad's.
My heart is breaking with love for my Dad. But I want to mention some things that I am grateful for:
As much as I want my dad to still be here, I am grateful that he was able to pass on before the Alzheimer's ravaged him and stripped him of his dignity. And even though Dad's dying seemed to happen too quickly, I am grateful that we did know that it was a possibility and had some time to accept that it may happen.
I am grateful that when Dad was in the hospital, I had the chance to dote on him a bit the same way that I did when I was younger, brush his hair, massage his back and hold his hand. (Only when I was little and would brush his
hair as he snoozed, I would do little things like put a flower on his head)
Dad knew that I really loved him. I am grateful that my regrets are small and manageable. I was going see him again this weekend and had to change plans at the last minute to come next weekend. But I can deal with that kind of regret, because I know that my Dad knew that I really loved him and I know that he really loved me.
I know that Carol regrets that she wasn't in the room with Dad when he died. But I'm grateful that they had spent a nice day together and were able to say good bye to each other. I know that Dad wouldn't have wanted Carol to
see the medics working on him, because it would have been too scary and tragic.
I am grateful for how everyone has worked together putting the arrangements together and for the further bonding that has taken place. I know that would mean a lot to my Dad. Everyone had an area that they took care of and
worked together as a team. Thank You.
Editors Note: There is a photo of Pete Collins, SR-71 pilot on the left and J.C. (Conny) Seagroves, (RSO) on the right at this URL: ./PL002.jpg
To Carol, family, and friends of Col. J.C. (Conny) Seagroves, USAF (Ret.)
From: Col. Mike Nassr, USAF, Class of 1954: Conny and I became fast friends after entering the Naval Academy in 1950. We did many things together during those four years, including
double-dating and writing sports for our midshipman magazine. In our final year I ran for class office and Conny was my campaign manager. We
fell four votes short, but we had a lot of fun in the process. We both chose the Air Force after graduation and both made the Air Force
our careers. In the early years we were together in Texas for flying school and in Alabama for Squadron Officer's School. I recall his
naming his first-born Seagroves after another classmate of ours, 1/Lt Kenneth J. Ball, USMC, who had been killed in a parachuting accident.
In following years we kept in touch even when we were continents apart. This included when he was in Vietnam and his brother was killed there,
when he was Commander of an Air Force Mobile Communications unit in the Philippines, and when he was a NATO base commander in the Netherlands.
At 5'4" tall Conny was the shortest man in our class. In what is now a well known story, Conny failed the physical when he reported to the
Academy because he was too short. A friendly and compassionate medic told him to come back for re-measurement early the next morning, but to
stay on his mattress and be carried there. The rest -- as they say -- is now history.
Although no-one in our class was shorter than Conny, no-one in our class flew higher or faster than he did. As a flight test officer and
navigator-bombardier on the supersonic SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, he flew at over
three times the speed of sound and at altitudes over 85,000 feet. His successful Air Force career is a matter of record and it is a
reflection of his abilities and his love for his country. But the most enduring memory of Conny is as a kind and caring man - as a father, as a
grandfather, and as a friend. His warm and beaming smile was always there and lit up rooms.
Conny flew higher and faster than any of his classmates while on this earth and he is now in a much higher place. We ask you to save some
choice places near you for your family and friends who honor you today, Conny -- so we can join you when we hopefully reach our heavenly
Col. Mike Nassr, USAF, Class of 1954
Fri, 16 Aug 2002 19:38 Dick Roussell Writes: I was asked to inform as many as possible about a sad happening. Lou Schalk died yesterday afternoon, 10 minutes after 4 PM Eastern Standard Time. He had been suffering from Leukemia and then contracted Pneumonia and that took him down. He wanted to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery and Roger Andersen (President of Roadrunners Internationale), along with others have been trying to get him in through the political folks, but it seems that he will be buried at West Point where he finished his college days. I thought everyone would like to know.
Fri, 16 Aug 2002 20:17 Ron Girouard Writes: Hi to one and all. I don't know how many of you have already heard, but Lou Schalk passed away today. He had been in very bad shape recently and most knew it was just a matter of time. The Blackbird community truly lost a giant today as Lou was the only one who could say he was the very first person to ever fly a Blackbird.
Email: Ron Girouard: RRG207@aol.com
Sat, 17 Aug 2002 09:52 Doug Nelson Director, AFFTC Museum
Writes: Lou Schalk, A-12 first flight pilot, Flight Test Hall of Fame Eagle, Blackbird Laurels Honoree,
and Lancaster Walk of Honor Inductee, lost his battle with cancer yesterday. He passed away at
4:10 pm EST. Please excuse the duplication if you've already received this sad news from others.
LOUIS W. "LOU" SCHALK
Born: May 29, 1926 / Deceased: August 16, 2002
A-12 Blackbird Chief Test Pilot: Louis Wellington "Lou" Schalk, Jr.
Lost his battle with leukemia, compounded by pneumonia.
April 26, 1964, Lou Schalk was the FIRST BLACKBIRD CHIEF TEST PILOT, working with C. L. Kelly Johnson's famous Lockheed "Skunk Works" to test fly out of Groom Lake (Area 51) in the Nevada desert. See details below.
Biographical information and details below, including seven (7) fellow friends/test pilots/associates who are willing to make comments to the media about Lou Schalk and his contributions to aviation history and the Nation.
Birth: May 29, 1926 Location: Alden, Iowa
Death: August 16, 2002 Location: Hospice of Northern Virginia, Arlington, VA
Services: Funeral Mass at All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church,
2300 Cathedral Avenue N. W., Washington, DC 20008 Phone
202-232-4244. Monday, Aug 26, 2002 11 am.
Graveside Services: West Point, NY Wed. Aug 28, 2002 1010 a.m.
In lieu of flowers: Donations In Lou Schalk's name to the National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, P. O. Box 23197, Washington, DC 20026.
Wife: Louise Cochran Schalk, Fairfax, VA (202-728-0002) and E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Daughter: Nancie Schalk Johnson, Alexandria, VA (husband Joel Johnson) Home phone 703-683-3280 (daughter Monique & son Joel A. Johnson) E-mail Nancie.email@example.com, phone is 202 728-3645 Joel's E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, office number (202) 371-8420
Son: Thomas "Tom" Schalk, Dallas, TX, (wife Debra) Home phone 972-307-3220 E-mail email@example.com (one son Alex)
Son: Louis "Lee" Wellington Schalk III, Potomac, MD Lee's E-mail Lee_Schalk@CNT.com, home phone 301-294-9697 (2 sons Carson & Mason)
Sister: Dr. Barbara Schalk Thomas, from Iowa City, Iowa
Brother: Dr. Thomas Schalk, from Kalamazoo, MI
7 fellow pilots/engineers/friends. Will speak to media if asked:
Bob Gilliland, FIRST SR-71 Blackbird Test pilot phone 818-767-0373 E-mail N/A
Jim Eastham, FIRST YF-12A Blackbird Test pilot phone 310-541-1995 E-mail N/A
Sherm Mullin, Ret. President, Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Company phone 818-247-8169 E-mail SNM1@mindspring.com
Tom Morgenfeld, Lockheed Martin Chief Test pilot phone 661-572-3777 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Pete Knight, Ret'd USAF Test pilot, CA State Senator Phone 661-274-0983 E-mail: email@example.com
Tom Alison, Chief, Collections Division, National Air & Space Museum Phone 301-238-3479 E-mail Tom.Alison@nasm.si.edu
Francis Gary Powers, Jr., Founder of Cold War Museum phone 703-273-2381 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduated U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1948 and Commissioned in the U.S. Air Force.
Graduated from Pilot Training and received his wings at Nellis AFB, NV.
Assigned to the 86th Fighter Bomber Wing in Germany.
Returned to Craig AFB, AL where he graduated from Flight Instructors School.
Assigned as Flight Instructor at Laredo AFB, TX
Graduated 1st in his class at the USAF Experimental Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, CA in 1954 and assigned to Fighter Operations. His superiors included Pete Everest and Chuck Yeager. For 3 years he tested a variety of high performance aircraft including the F-100, F-101 and F-104.
In June of 1957 Schalk joined Lockheed Aircraft as an Engineering Test Pilot. In 1959 he was selected as Kelly Johnson's Chief Test Pilot for Lockheed's highly classified Advanced Development Program known as the "Skunk Works." He designed the cockpit and interfaced with system engineers on the refinements of the revolutionary high speed, high altitude A-12, YF-12A and SR-71 "Blackbirds."
On April 26, 1962 Lou Schalk made aviation history when he became the first to fly the A-12 Blackbird. He continued with many additional A-12 flights at Groom Lake, Nevada, under the watchful eye of the CIA run USAF
supported program. He made the first four flights exceeding mach 3.0 with a top speed 2,287 mph above 90,000 feet.
Louis Schalk flew over 70 different aircraft and has over 5,000 hours of flight time.
In 1964 Lou received the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) "Iven
C. Kincheloe Award." He became an SETP Associate Fellow in 1967.
In 1999 Lou was an honoree of the Lancaster, CA "Aerospace Walk of Honor." This prestigious award recognizes the outstanding contributions of experimental test pilots to the aerospace industry. Other outstanding
honorees include Gen. "Jimmy" Doolittle, Col. "Pete" Knight, Brig. Gen. "Chuck" Yeager and Astronaut Neil Armstrong.
On April 2002 Louis Schalk was inducted into the Blackbird Laurels Fraternity, an elite society founded by the Flight Test Historical Foundation, Edwards AFB, CA.
As an Air Force pilot Lou was trained to fire cannons and drop bombs. In reality he became a Cold War Warrior through his heroic exploits as a pioneering test pilot. He willingly faced the dangerous task of experimental
flying that put him in harms way every time he climbed into the cockpit of the Blackbird. His aeronautical accomplishments tested the confines of space as he set new speed and altitude records. He rewrote aviation history and paved the way for a renewed national reconnaissance effort after the capture of Francis Gary Powers when his U-2 was shot down over Russia on May 1, 1960.
In the extremely hazardous world of test pilots, Lou's Schalk's achievements reflected directly on the success of the A-12 and SR-71 operational missions that followed. His efforts help perfect the photo and electronic intelligence collected by the Blackbirds.
If you asked former CIA pilot Frank Murray how important Lou's early testing of the Blackbird was, he would tell you about a White House directed mission he flew out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa in 1968. The A-12 performed flawlessly and Frank's mission provided President Johnson and staff with photos of the USS Pueblo, a U.S. Navy vessel under attack off the coast of North Korea. This is but one example of the importance of timely intelligence provided Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson that impacted our Nation as well as the world political scene.
On April 27, 2002 over 1400 visitors attended the Blackbird Airpark 40th Anniversary celebration of Lou's First Flight. As always, in his own quiet way, he was there autographing posters and talking to aviation enthusiasts.
None of us knew he was suffering from leukemia.
For more information about Roadrunner Louis Schalk and the Blackbird Program, click on the hyperlink below:
Roger W. Andersen
President, Roadrunners Internationale, 1425 Castle Crest Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89117 Phone:(702) 648-4515 E-mail: email@example.com
Carol L. Osborne, Aviation Historian, 2464 El Camino Real, #99, Santa Clara, CA 95051 408-244-6114 E-mail: AV8pioneer@aol.com
Editors Note: Additional information on Lou Schalk is available at this URL: http://www.cityoflancasterca.org/Admin/schalk.htm
(Article courtesy Roadrunners Internationale; photo courtesy Lockheed Martin Corporation)
LA Times Article on Lou Schalk
Tech Writer for Aerotech News and Review
Lou Schalk, A-12 first flight pilot, Flight Test Historical Foundation Eagle, Blackbird Laurels Honoree, and Lancaster Walk of Honor Inductee, succumbed to complications with leukemia, August 16. Born Louis Wellington "Lou" Schalk Jr., in Alden, Iowa on May 29, 1926, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1948. He graduated first in his class at the USAF Experimental Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, CA in 1954 and was assigned to Fighter Operations. Schalk conducted a variety of high performance aircraft tests on the F-86H, F-100C, F-101A, F102A and F-104A, and worked on evaluation flights on the RAF Hunter and Javelin aircraft.
Schalk joined Lockheed Aircraft Company as an Experimental Test Pilot in July 1957. In December, he made the first flight on the first two-seat Mach 2 aircraft, the F-104B. In 1959, he made the first flight on the F-104G prototype, the structurally redesigned tactical version of the Starfighter. He conducted performance, stability and systems tests on the F-104G and CF-104, and structural integrity tests on the modified Lockheed Electra.
On April 26, 1962 Schalk made aviation history when he became the first to fly the A-12 Blackbird. He continued with many additional A-12 flights at Groom Lake, Nevada, under the watchful eye of the CIA run USAF supported program. He made the first four flights exceeding Mach 3.0 with a top speed of 2,287 mph above 90,000 feet.
The A-12 was the first "Blackbird," and its existence would not be announced to the public for two more years. Built to supersede the U-2, the A-12 was the forerunner of the YF-12A and the SR-71. Schalk continued envelope expansion past Mach 3 and conducted stability and control, structural integrity and flutter tests on the Blackbird prototype vehicles.
In 1964, he "hung up his helmet" and joined North American Rockwell Autonetics Division in Washington,
Over the length of his career, Schalk flew over 70 different aircraft and has over 5,000 hours of flight time.
In 1964 Schalk received the Society of Experimental Test Pilots "Iven C. Kincheloe Award." He became an SETP Associate Fellow in 1967. In 1999 Schalk was an honoree of the Lancaster, CA "Aerospace Walk of Honor." This prestigious award recognizes the outstanding contributions of experimental test pilots to the aerospace industry. Other outstanding honorees include Gen. "Jimmy" Doolittle, Col. "Pete" Knight, Brig. Gen. "Chuck" Yeager and Astronaut Neil Armstrong.
In April 2002 Schalk was inducted into the Blackbird Laurels Fraternity, an elite society founded by the Flight Test Historical Foundation, Edwards AFB, CA. As an Air Force pilot Schalk was trained to fire cannons and drop bombs. In reality he became a Cold War warrior through his heroic exploits as a pioneering test pilot. He willingly faced the dangerous task of experimental flying that put him in harms way every time he climbed into the cockpit of the Blackbird. His aeronautical accomplishments tested the confines of space as he set new speed and altitude records. He rewrote aviation history and paved the way for a renewed national reconnaissance effort after the capture of Francis Gary Powers when his U-2 was shot down over Russia on May 1, 1960. In the extremely hazardous world of test pilots, Schalk's achievements reflected directly on the success of the A-12 and SR-71 operational missions that followed. His efforts help perfect the photo and electronic intelligence collected by the Blackbirds. Schalk is survived by his wife, Louise, who lives in Fairfax, Virginia, his daughter, Nancie Schalk Johnson, Alexandria, Virginia, sons, Thomas "Tom" Schalk, Dallas, TX,: Louis "Lee" Wellington Schalk III of Potomac, MD, sister, Dr. Barbara Schalk Thomas Iowa City, Iowa, and brother Dr. Thomas Schalk, of Kalamazoo, Mich.
A Funeral Mass is set to be held at All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church, 2300 Cathedral Avenue N. W., Washington, D.C. 20008 on Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 11 am. Graveside Services will be held at West Point, New York, Wed. Aug 28, 2002 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations In Lou Schalk's name to the National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, P. O. Box 23197, Washington, DC, 20026.
(Article courtesy LA Times and Leona Bull, Tech Writer for Aerotech News and Review Lancaster, CA)
Tue, 27 Aug 2002 15:17 TSgt Louis E. Gorney Ret. Writes:
I was at Beale from July 1965 to April 74 4200 OMS, 9 OMS. I was at a reunion in Reno 1976 or 1977 but lost contact with the HABU"S.
I would like to hear from anyone that was there when I was.
TSgt Louis E. Gorney Ret.
Fri, 23 Aug 2002 11:57 Lt. Col. C.J. McNeer Writes:
Black Bird Association, Charter Member #282
Editors Note: Major Charles J. McNeer qualified as an RSO on the SR-71 aircraft on 17 July 1967. Check ride was #178, sequence #048. He subsequently went on to fly the Blackbirds with Colonel George Bull as his pilot (Crew E19). On 20 July 1969, Major McNeer surpassed 300 hours flight time in the SR-71, flight check #136. Later he flew with Colonel John Kraus (Habu #192) for 3 years. Lt Colonel C.J. "Red" McNeer is one of the original Habu's.
Photo of Colonel Bull and Lt. Colonel McNeer is here at this URL: Bull_McNeer.jpg
Fri, 23 Aug 2002 09:11
Al Siefkas, MSgt (Ret.) Writes: I arrived at Beale in November of 1977. Was assigned to J-58 Engine shop from 1977-83 and was the NCOIC of the Jet shop in Kadena from 1986-1989. Have since retired and living in Oklahoma of all places. Itís great to see a few names that I even remember. :) It has been a while.
To all Habus , I wish you well.
Al Siefkas, MSgt (Ret.)
Mon, 19 Aug 2002 21:46 MSgt USAFR Craig L. Leonard Writes: I served under Col. Alison and Col. Lee M. Shelton from 1987-1990. Det 1 9th SRW was my best job and assignment ever. I was a young SSgt back then, I retired from the Air Force reserve July 2002 as a MSgt from the 446 AGS. It was the best years of my life. I still work at McChord AFB Washington as a civilian. Would love to here from any old Det 1 buddies!
Fri, 16 Aug 2002 19:38 Neal Pinkowski Sgt Writes: This is such a wonderful site that lets me relive so many fond memories from reading the guest book entries. Served as KC-135Q crew chief on 59-1520 and spent 71+72 at Kadena Okinawa. Still visit with Steve Burns, Skip Larrison and reminisce with Marvin Bohrer till this day. 30 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. Would not hesitate climbing that ladder one more time. If there is anyone out there who remembers me or anyone who would like relive some of the old days drop me a line.
Neal Pinkowski Sgt
Tue, 13 Aug 2002 10:48 Lt Col Joyce Cady Writes:
I was assigned to Beale AFB from Dec 1986 - the closing of the SR program in 1990 working in the
9th/SRW/IN organization, computer ground support. I've always enjoyed the SR program and am looking forward to touching base with any folks who were assigned to the program during that time frame. Just like to catch up with folks.
Lt Col Joyce Cady
Fri, 9 Aug 2002 18:34 Sgt Gerald Pergola Writes:
Kadena AB Okinawa 1970-1972 824th CSG Base Supply Demand Processing and NORS control After Hours Support. P1 ABLE-ABLE "RED BALL"
We were told the "HABU" wasn't REALLY there.......Must have been all that Orion Beer!
Sgt Gerald Pergola
Fri, 9 Aug 2002 15:41 TSgt William J Smith Writes:
Assigned to 9th Avionics Sq from 1975 to 1977, transferred to 9th Headquarters Sq 1977 to 1982, worked in Job Control.
TSgt William J Smith
Wed, 7 Aug 2002 19:03 Sgt. William G. Coccary Writes: I was at Beale AFB from 1967 to September 1970. I worked in 9th SRW, Field Maint., Environmental Systems (formally Mech. Acces.), with Bob Holland as shop chief most of the time. Temporally we had ol' Treat a SMS. Where's Frank Davacoto (Wide oval) & John Anzalone & Clark Zaft & "Trees" (I saw his remarks in 2000) Where are you Trees? What a time we had. How about Hankawitz or Walter Dennett or The Tall Texan Haygood? Let me hear from you if your still out there or you know anything about these people.
Sgt. William G. Coccary
Mon, 5 Aug 2002 16:24 TSgt. Julian G. Fullmore (Ret.) Writes: I found this site by accident, just looking at the net. Brings back some really great memories. I was assigned to the Instrument Shop (Clock and Dial) from August 1968 until November 1977. The shop Chief was SMSgt Bruce Bryant. Spent my fair share of tanker rides to the OL-8 and OL-RK. Remember the torque wrench tester in the Instrument/Auto-Pilot Shop? Had some really good times. We have one of the birds here at Robbins AFB, Ga. I recognize a lot of names on your Guest List. Truly, a wonderful find.
TSgt. Julian G. Fullmore (Ret.)
Thu, 1 Aug 2002 08:11 SSgt. Kristine D. Landrus Writes: I would just like to update my email address. I originally posted a message on 11 Jan '02. My maiden name was "Colefield" while I was stationed at Beale from 1979 to 1981 in the J58 Engine Shop / Test Cell.
I would enjoy hearing from anyone who was there during that time!
SSgt. Kristine D. Landrus
Mon, 29 Jul 2002 17:33
George Fredlund Writes: Back in the Eighties we had a contract to fly the Wall Street Journal from Orlando to Tallahassee and Pensacola. After a couple false starts with crew we were lucky enough to find
This fellow piloted our old DC-3 like he owned it, he made the papers get there no matter what and he was not beneath him to mentor to the guy's coming up.
Mon, 29 Jul 2002 12:34 TSgt Dieter McLaughlin Writes: Stationed at Beale AFB from September 1982 until November 1996. Initial assignment was with the 9th Field maintenance hydraulic shop. Maintaining the Sr-71, U-2, KC-135 and T-38 aircraft. After the consolidation of OMS and FMS I remained with the SR-71 and U-2 aircraft. Was assigned with the U-2 aircraft in 1991 at King Fahad Airbase,Taif Saudi Arabia. And in February 1995 to February 1996 was assigned with the U-2 aircraft as a Black Cat at Osan Korea. Went back to Beale and retired in November of 1996.
TSgt Dieter McLaughlin
Sat, 20 Jul 2002 14:38 Col Jon P Kraus USAF (Ret) Writes:
It has been awhile since my last visit. It is really a great site and the memories are out of this world. Thank you for letting me relive the good old days.
My best to all the Habu's and their families.
(Keep up the great work Site Master)
Col Jon P Kraus USAF (Ret)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email updated January 09, 2008
Wed, 17 Jul 2002 18:14 GS-9 Edward McCarthy Writes:
Stationed at Norton AFB, Ca, Det 42 1969-1980.
Went through R&D at Edwards AFB, area 51 and was at Beale at the time the hangers were being built.
GS-9 Edward McCarthy
Sat, 13 Jul 2002 10:09 Colonel Gid Terry, (Ret) Writes: I made some comments on this great bird, the super maintainers, and this web series back in December of 2000. My three years at Beale AFB (1975-1978) and later as Director of Recon Maintenance @ Hq SAC had to be some of the best of my 30 years in the Air Force.
Please note my new Email address.
Keep up the great work.
Colonel Gid Terry, (Ret)
Thu, 11 Jul 2002 20:01
A1C David A. Maxwell Writes: I was an original member of the Physiological Support
Division (PSD} at Beale AFB,Ca. It was my first permanent duty assignment. it was 1965 and I had turned 18 about 5
I was temporarily assigned to 856th Medical Group when I arrived at Beale because PSD physical structure was not finished, there were no SR-71's, there was no 4200 Strategic Aerospace Wing and the altitude chamber was not operational. I helped the contractors with hooking up chamber apparatus. I learned about the pilot's protective assemblies, ejection seats and such from the David Clark Co. tech reps. I tested the suits and helmets, did modifications and learned as much as I could. I enjoyed the steam bath and I endured the horrible color television. I never touched the beer. The cost was not worth it.
A1C David A. Maxwell
Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:01 William H. Ernst , Col USAF (Ret) Writes:
While working at 15th AF/Dor and SAC RECONCENTER I worked multiple rotations of aircraft to and from forward OL's as well coordinated reconnaissance sorties.
William H. Ernst , Col USAF (Ret)
Fri, 5 Jul 2002 13:00 Mark Calahan Writes:
I was born on Beale AFB. My father, TSgt Bradley R. Calahan worked on the SR-71 for a majority of his career. He was also stationed in Okinawa with the 'Habu Hunters'. He loved this plane and all it could do. To see this site is a beautiful thing for me as it brings back many memories for myself and my mother. Thank you.
Tue, 2 Jul 2002 06:34 SSgt Steve Gandee Writes:
I served with the 9th FMS from December 1975 to November 1977. I was glad to have the opportunity to witness the capabilities of this aircraft.
SSgt Steve Gandee
Sun, 30 Jun 2002 18:23
Sgt. David W. Walker Writes: As a PSD technician (1974-1976) for our SR-71 flight crews I am pleased to say that not only were my experiences with the finest of Pilots, RSOs & support women & men of the highest caliber, but all of it was most certainly a crowning experience in my life. Seldom is there a day when I do not reflect on the beautiful, graceful Blackbird & it's many stories ... and I never met the person associated with these marvelous machines who got tired of watching them fly. "Awesome" seems to be quite a trite word these days, but is way too light of a word when it comes to describing our Habu.
To my many associates of the Physiological Support Division that worked together in our common mission I will say that you are all remembered & thought of often ... Sarge, Dusty, Marty, Tim, the Sgt's Brown (both "Brown Brown" & "Honky Brown"!), PJ, Fred, "Tight" from Florida, the Airman who bought my Rambler (can't recall the name ... sorry), & everyone else whose name escapes me in this moment. It is a privilege & an honor to have worked together with you all. Well done!
Sgt. David W. Walker
Tue, 11 Jun 2002 10:36 Christine Kardong Writes: This is in answer to a question posted by David Klinzing, way back in 1997. I just happened upon the site while thinking about my father, Col. Abe Kardong. Mr. Klinzing asked if my father ever wrote a book about the B-58. No. unfortunately, Dad died in July, 1996, as Mr. Klinzig may have learned from one of you. It's damned unfortunate because he was a hell of a man and a great writer. Please know he always spoke so fondly of all the crews he worked with, but most especially about the Habus. Wow. The stories he would tell! I was just a girl back when my Dad flew, but was along his whole career with the Blackbird, as he went to Kadena, then back to Beale as Chief Maintenance Officer. I remember a lot of the "old-timers'" names and faces. I remember lots of squadron picnics, parties, hunting and fishing expeditions. I even babysat for a few of you, as I recall. You're a great group and my life is richer for knowing you and your families. Christy Kardong (now age 40!)
Sun, 9 Jun 2002 14:27 E3 Shawn L. Brewer Writes:
I was a Crew Chief on the SR-71 from 1985 to 1987. I took for granted, as I worked on it every day, what an awesome aircraft it really is. I miss the ear-piercing shriek of the Turbines and the feeling of my intestines trembling at full afterburner take off. I wish the Blackbird was still in commission and I was still able to be around it.
E3 Shawn L. Brewer
Fri, 7 Jun 2002 14:26:44 SMSgt (Ret) Aniceto "Al" Martinez Writes: I began my career in the Air Force with the SR-71 in 1974 after graduating from technical school at Keesler AFB, MS. I worked in the 9RTS/INV (ELINT) shop where we processed data from both the SR-71 and the U-2. I deployed to Det 4 (Mildenhall) during my stint at Beale. There for a while, we would rotate between Det 4 and Det 1 which made life very interesting to say the least. In 1980, I was reassigned to Keesler as an instructor and in 1985 was assigned once again to the SR-71 unit at Det 1 (Okinawa) and was there until operations were terminated in 1990. I had the pleasure of working with super ELINT folks like Joseph P. Lew, Claire Schwartz, Paul Vavra, "Bunky" Golden, Joanne Johnson (Thibodeau), and many others. In Okinawa, my OICs were Capt Norm Minske and Frank Toomer. Worked with some great photo exploitation personnel too like Bob Hourahan, Jimmy Carter, Marty Marvin, and many others I can't recall at the moment. Additionally, our tech reps like Charles Schumacher, Ron Badamo, George Adamo, and Ozzie Gasperetti made our jobs that much easier. I retired in 1999 after flying on the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft for three years as an acquisition operator. I can say that without a doubt, my assignments with the SR-71 were the best in my career. Thanks for a great site and hope to hear from some of you out there.
SMSgt (Ret) Aniceto "Al" Martinez
Tue, 4 Jun 2002 19:27
Capt. Lee (Britt) Blaser Writes: I served as a pilot with the 903rd AREFS from Aug '68 through May '71. They were great times, in the thick of the Vietnam war and a real sense of mission.
One of the great memories was when I arrived for my first Kadena tour. I was eager to hook up with Ben Bowles, who had come to our UPT graduation since my roommate, Jack Ferguson, had been his Nav in B-58s.
When I got to Kadena Ops, I found out that Ben had just photographed the nosecone of a SAM over North Vietnam. It's not like the SAM could get them, but it was a great shot anyway!
Capt. Lee (Britt) Blaser
Mon, 3 Jun 2002 08:13 SSgt Joe Alexander Writes: I came to the program on June 1974 from George AFB, Ca. I was on it for the next four years. I loved every minute of the time I was on it. The TDY time was hard on my family so I chose to get out of the AF. I had two small kids which was needing their dad more each day. I never lost the thrill of working and being around the SR. I enjoy talking about the SR any time I can. I got into the reserves after being out for 8 years. That was in 1995 thru today. I'm working on the C141C and we have been active for Operation Enduring Freedom and I'm going to Germany every other month. I will be going back the 13 of June. I have 23 years in now. I hope to get MSGT this year. My SR days are some of my best working on airplanes. I went to Seattle this last week and went to the Museum of Flight and saw the YF12 and it made me home sick for the SR. Would love to hear from anyone that remembers me.
Wed, 29 May 2002 21:39 SMSgt Harry Fox (Ret) Writes:
Came from Schilling AFB to 4200OET in summer of 1964. Worked in Avionics and came to Beale in summer 0f 1968. Assigned to the MRS system. We had quite a time getting it up and running. I remember CMS Gus White in Maintenance Office. I retired on New Years day of 1971. Still working in electronics. The SR was the greatest machine ever to fly.
SMSgt Harry Fox (Ret)
Wed, 29 May 2002 10:58
SSgt Cynthia Reed Teal Writes: Good afternoon, I was an Air Traffic Controller at Pease AFB 1978-1982. My only experience with The SR-71 is having been on duty when one used our base and also to wath a U-2 land while working. I love the beauty of the aircraft and the professionals who fly them. Thank you. I am really searching for a KC-135 Pilot...Ray Brunelle and also Roger Clements. This is the first page I have been able to enter. So, thank you for your time. I am now a pilot myself (only small single engine and twins)...I am learning how to fly tail-draggers these days and getting my MBA. Once again thank you for your time and all my very best to your organization
SSgt Cynthia Reed Teal
Mon, 27 May 2002 18:35
Jerry J. McFarland Writes: I knew many of the first SR-71 pilots when they were still flying U-2s. I helped man the radio at Davis-Monthan when
George Bull landed his U-2 at Kingsley Field Oregon after a flame out at altitude. I later met George at the Boerfink Bunker when he was visiting the bunker. I believe he was stationed in Berlin at the time. For those who flew the U-2 I recently found a large patch for U-2 pilots to wear on the backs of their green flight jackets. I was given it by a Lockheed tech rep and I don't know if it was ever officially worn by squadron personnel. I had it remade in Korea and if there is anyone that knows more about it I would like to check it out. I would very much like to find out where as many of the original U-2/SR-71 pilots are now and which have passed on.
Jerry J. McFarland
Wed, 22 May 2002 22:04 Sgt Ted Siuta Writes: Twenty seven years ago this kid from New Jersey stepped off the bus at Beale air plane patch. I was an Elint analyst for the 9RTS/INODA. I just want to send a big hello to the following 9RTS folks: Col. Bob Wilda, Maj. Theodore Pruss, Capt. Winters, Dennis Paulson, Fred Dessen, Harry Stewart, Henry Poplewski, Frank Carter, Steve Juers, Mike Beardon, Al Martinez, Jim Infinger, Frank Adams, Greg Chocianowki, Mike Fierro, Charlie Schumacher, Tom Brown, Stu Peterson, Gary Fehlman and Frank Huddleston. These men truly served their country well. Thanks guys. I'll never forget you.
Sgt. Ted Siuta
Tue, 21 May 2002 10:44 SMSgt (Ret) Ed Grundler Writes: I visit your web site periodically and enjoy reliving the old memories. I made an entry in your guest book in 1998 but would like to update my e-mail address. I was in the ANS shop at Beale from 1971 to 1977 and, of course, at Kadena many times. I was also with the group that went to Griffiss to build a snowman. I retired from the Air Force in 1977 and retired from Lockheed in 2000. Keep up the good work. Your site is fantastic.
SMSgt (Ret) Ed Grundler
Sun, 19 May 2002 09:51 Bernie Kershner Writes:
Worked at area 51 (1960 to 1965) during the initial development of the YF-12/SR-71. My work mainly consisted of aligning the initial guidance system before and after each flight. Later, moved to Edwards Air Force base and continued the same duties.
Fri, 17 May 2002 11:28 Civilian David M. Gutierrez Writes:
I was a mechanic both at site doing PDM maintenance and a flight line mechanic at Mildenhall 85-90.
Civilian David M. Gutierrez
Tue, 14 May 2002 17:01 Thomas (Ted) Foster Writes:
Wind tunnel tester and model designer for early SR-71's.
I have many stories and recollections.
I would like to hear from any other old Lockheed people.
Thomas (Ted) Foster
Sun, 12 May 2002 19:29 SSgt Merle R. Hamblin Writes: I was stationed at Beale in the 9th OMS from November 1967 until June 1968. I worked as an assistant crew chief. It was an experience that I will never forget. At that time I think all of us were military people and no civilians were involved. I had heard that the program later on consisted of mostly civilians. I enjoyed my time in the Air Force and learned from the experience. It seems odd that the Blackbird has been retired although it was well worth the money that congress secured for the project. Thanks for letting me visit your site.
SSgt Merle R. Hamblin
Fri, 10 May 2002 10:40
Phil Morgan, Capt USAF (ret) Writes: I ran the Det 1 Electric shop from Jan 80 to Jun 83. What an incredible point in my
career. Worked with long-time Habus Mike Moore, Bill Spinks,
Thaddeus Arnold, even Murphy while at Beale.
Took a commission out of there and flew with AWACS for several more years before
retiring in '94.
Phil Morgan, Capt USAF (ret) former MSgt at 9SRW, Det 1
Thu, 9 May 2002 13:43 SSgt Austin J. Parrott Jr. Writes:
Ground crew member 1983-1992 at Beale and Kadena
SSgt Austin J Parrott Jr.
Wed, 8 May 2002 08:58
TSgt Salvador R. Lucio Writes: I worked as a
maintenance assistant Crew Chief on the SR-71's from 1967 to 1972 at the 9th OMS at Beale
AFB and at Kadena AB, Okinawa. I worked on just about every one of the SR-71's that we had, but my primary plane's that I worked on was 974, 972, 971, 964, 967, 981, 955, 956, 978, 979. I also help make a movie with Lockheed when they came over to Okinawa "The Black Birds are flying" it was my self and a few other Airman. I sure would like to get a copy of the video.
Wed, 24 Apr 2002 08:42 MSgt Robert F (Bob) Barden Writes:
Assigned to 9 RTS Oct 1970 to Feb 74.
I was the MPC Superintendent. Retired at March AFB in Jun 77.
MSgt Robert F (Bob) Barden
Thu, 18 Apr 2002 15:34
Lantie Wilson TSgt Writes:
I was at Beale from 1967 to 1972 in the 93 FMS, In- Flight Refueling Maintenance Tech.
Lantie Wilson TSgt
Wed, 17 Apr 2002 09:35 MSgt Jose Leng, USAF, Ret. Writes:
Any Hypo-Splashers Out there??? I keep reading year after year our Habu stories but I have not read any good OBC's, HRR's & TEOC's film processing stories. Like Bob Hope used to say, Leland " Thanks for the Memories...This website keeps me alive. Until then, Habus 4 Ever. Sayonara.
MSgt Jose Leng , USAF, Ret.
Sun, 14 Apr 2002 12:37
Jerry P. Evans, MSgt, Ret. Writes: You've done a great service to those of us whom have had the pleasure of maintaining the Sled. I am now retired (93) working for the FAA. I was at Beale AFB in the 9th FMS Aero
Repair Shop (A/R) from '77-'79. In '79, I rotated to Kadena, Det1 until '83, A/R Shop also. I noticed
under Det 1 Commanders that Col. Samay's first name is in error, which I'm sure was just a typo. His
correct name is RAPHAEL S. SAMAY, better known to us as Ray Samay. Also a tidbit of info: when
we took the sled to BIOT in 1980, Crowder and Emmons were
in fact the Crew, and Col. Raphael (Ray) Samay was the Commander that flew down on the tanker with all us
maintenance guys. He was one of the best Commanders I had the pleasure of working with in the 20 yrs I spent in the USAF. I have a
few pictures from that historic flight to Diego somewhere here. They are mainly pictures of a few of us
maintenance guys in the hooches, that were made of plywood walls, screen windows and tin roofs.
Again thanks ever so much for the website. I still hold the HABU dear to my heart.
Jerry P. Evans, MSgt, Ret.
Sat, 13 Apr 2002 09:13 TSgt Terry L. Horstead (Retired) Writes: I was a KC-135/RC-135 Crew chief assigned to the 376th OMS (TDY from Westover) and further assigned to the Recon Branch/ Q Tanker Flight as a Flight Line Expediter and for a while a Crew Chief on 59-14622 and flew a few missions south to U-Tapao in the summer of 1973. My assistant from Westover (Stephen Moes) served at Beale (456th OMS -Tanker Br.) prior to his assignment to Westover, was also assigned Q's during our Bullet Shot deployment in 1973.
TSgt Terry L. Horstead (Retired)
Mon, 8 Apr 2002 14:27
SSgt Fred Stein Writes: My first exposure to the Blackbird was summer of 1967 at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, where I worked on RF-4C's photo systems, as an A2C. I saw a Blackbird land, and taxi to a hangar, where it was repaired in 3-4 days. A C- 141 flew in a maintenance crew from Beale AFB to make the plane
"OR". When it took off, it made a 360 and at 200' or so off the deck, the pilot put the Blackbird on its tail, and ZOOM!!
It blasted out of sight within seconds!!! The whole flight line cheered!! After my tour at Tan Son Nhut and Phu Cat AFB Vietnam, I was assigned to the SLR maintenance squadron at the 9th SRW, Beale AFB Cal, from Dec 1969 to Dec 1970 I was very proud to have been a part of the Blackbirds' history. I am a member of the Blackbird Association.
I was TDY to Kadena AFB Okinawa, from July to Nov 1970.
SSgt Fred Stein
Mon, 8 Apr 2002 19:58 M/Sgt. Jack R. Simons Writes:
I was on the very first startup of the 9th SRW, when it was at Edwards AFB. Was there from 1964-1965.Went to Beale AFB, was there till retirement in 1968.
My job was to support the aircraft, by working in the machine shop. I was there when they set the worlds fastest speed record over a closed course.
M/Sgt. Jack R. Simons
Thu, 4 Apr 2002 06:59
LtCol. Edward C. Chellino (USAF Ret) Writes: From May 1970 to Jun 1973 I was assigned to the 9th SRW DOT as one of 3 Electronic Warfare Officers who trained the crews in the operation of EW systems, participated in the development and testing of EW systems and manned the EW line at OL-8 (Kadena). And from Jun 1973 till Jun of 1979 I was assigned to the Strategic Recon Center (SAC HQ), DORS (SR-71 Operations), where the SR missions were planned and executed.
The one thing that I will always remember about the Blackbird was the engine starts at OL-8. Standing next to those Start Carts with those twin Buick Wildcat engines roaring to 6000 RPM about rattled the fillings out of your teeth and definitely set the tone for the days activities. Whenever our Director at the Recon Center wanted us to do something that was out of the ordinary he said "make it like an SR engine start"!
LtCol. Edward C. Chellino (USAF Ret)
Tue, 2 Apr 2002 19:04 Thomas R.C. Smith Writes:
I was stationed at Beale AFB from 1973 to 1979. E-4 (43151C) Flight line mechanic.
It was a great 6 years that will be with me for the rest of my life.
Thomas R.C. Smith
Wed, 27 Mar 2002 11:02 E-7 Kenneth R. Gardy Writes: From 1970-1974 I was a Crew Chief on the KC-135Q, 456 OMS Beale AFB. Being assigned to the "Q" models you understood the meaning of TDY. I spent months in Kadena AFB Okinawa. During my 4 years with the SR-71/KC-135Q I was lucky to be in the KC-135Q during 75 in flight missions of the SR-71. To see that big black beauty come up from no where then dip to the next tanker, then the third tanker was something no one could ever believe. Especially when I told my friends that never joined the military. I am certain all SR-71 and KC-135Q mechanics remember those long, long trips on the KC-135Q aircraft from Beale, Hawaii then Kadena (our second home). We were cramped in the aircraft. In 1970, I was 18 years old and never really understood what we were doing. Now a proud retired USAF NCO I am very much aware. God Bless to all.
Just a quick note about your Web page. It is what the young children need to read. I am very impressed and appreciate your efforts. We gave so much of our time, energy and dedication to something that was so secret. I have included my comments to be added to your guest book. I have been in the aviation maintenance business for 34 years. The SR-71 refueling was my most proud moment. After Beale I went to Thailand, Guam Travis and Robins with the US Central Command. 1970-1990.
Kenneth R. Gardy
Mon, 25 Mar 2002 23:52 Sgt. Richard L Stone Writes:
Great Site: Brought back some great memories. I remember when I first received my orders to The 9th OMS. I can still remember the first time I saw the Blackbird. It was the most Beautiful thing I had ever seen. SMSgt Patrick was the NCO that first introduced me to the plane. I can still remember the feeling I had. It was a high that was hard to explain. From that point on it was love. I remember going to OL-RK on TDY tours The long cramped flights on the KC-135 there and back, but it was worth it all.
Sgt. Richard L Stone
Sun, 24 Mar 2002 06:19 Sgt. George G. Adams Jr. Writes: I was a member of the 456th Civil Engineering Squadron (Fire Protection Specialist) at Beale AFB from June 1966 till February 1970. I must say that the SR-71 prevented me, on many nights, from getting a full nights sleep. I remember getting called out of the sack for countless fuel spills that needed to be washed down and being called out to watch the TEB crews do their thing. The plane was a pain sometimes, but all in all it was an exciting time and an exciting aircraft to watch takeoff and land. I even had the opportunity to view a couple of crashes in my time at Beale.
Sgt. George G. Adams Jr.
Sat, 23 Mar 2002 18:07 Charley Sims Writes:
Just reviewed your website again.
What a wonderful effort. I was on the SR (and YF-12) at both
Edwards and Kadena and still maintain contact with a couple of the "old guys".
Take care and May God Bless.
Sat, 23 Mar 2002 11:46 William "Bill" Duffy writes:
I am looking for contact information for former SSgt Michael Irwin PSD. I had lunch with one of his coworkers @ the American Legion here in Holiday FL. His name is Byron Haas retired Habu. Trying to get them together. Looking for reunion information. I will be with David Horn next month and also with the Habu illustrator-- Ray Zacher.
William "Bill" Duffy
Fri, 22 Mar 2002 12:00 Linda
Norgren Writes: My dad, Robert D. "Don" Rietzke, was one of the original engineers on the
SR-71/YF-12 program. He worked directly for Kelly Johnson and was one of the
many members who worked out of Area 51. Anyway, I am searching for an individual that, about 35 to 40 years ago was a very good friend of myself
and my parents, and unfortunately, we have lost touch with this individual. My folks are very elderly now and would dearly like to find out what
happened to their friend. His name is Ernest "Jack"
Hanson, he was a Brig. General in the Air Force, and my dad thinks he was working for the CIA at
the time he was assigned to the Black Bird Program at Area 51 with my dad. He lived at El Mirage, CA during the time we knew him.
Do you have any idea as to where I might start my search for Jack? At this point we realize that he may no longer be alive, but we would at least like
to know that. Any help or search tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank You----
Sun, 17 Mar 2002 12:43 Major General Patrick Halloran Writes: HABU'S. . .As many of you know, one of our pioneer Blackbird pilots, B/Gen Ray Haupt, is being inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame in May. This is in recognition of his life long dedication to aviation in general, and his many contributions to national defense with his years of dedicated and unique service to the Air Force. Ray was the first of our organization to ever step into a Blackbird (YF-12) and as such, became the initial IP to help check out such persons as B/Gen Doug Nelson, and all the original SR pilots in our group. He was the original Crew 01. There is considerable expense to the Pima County Air & Space Museum, host to the Hall of Fame, in providing the permanent display that will be maintained in Ray's honor. They have always encouraged "friends of the family" of inductees to help support this recognition with cash contributions to alleviate some of the costs. With this in mind, I would encourage any of you who are so inclined, to send a modest donation to the museum to show our support for their unique recognition of one of our finest aviators.
Donations should be sent to: Pima Air & Space Museum/Development, 6000 E. Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ. 85706. Annotate your check "Ray Haupt Installation".
The museum will present Ray with a list of his friends who have contributed (not the amount!!) They would appreciate any donations to arrive ASAP so that they can finalize the list prior to the installation ceremony.
Update: The induction will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 04, 2002: Raymond L. (Ray) Haupt (1927- ) Test pilot. First instructor pilot in U-2 program, conducting secret work during Cold War. For more information go to the Pima Air and Space Museum web site at this URL: http://www.pimaair.org/
Sun, 17 Mar 2002 01:16:
Phillip Rockwell, Captain Writes: Saw the pics of the Blackbird at Diego Garcia. I was stationed at Beale
from 1/72-2/74 with the 9th SRW/IN. Col Mahl was the IN and I was a 702.
I enjoyed that assignment the most of my career. I worked with Ltc Ed
Payne (later saw him at Ellsworth in 86-90 where I was a missile officer,
another story). I also knew a lot of the folks in mission planning, the other associated shops, etc.
I noticed the photo credits of MSgt Don Smith. I think I knew him. Maybe
hung out with a Sgt Charlie Carson? Long time ago.
I was at Diego during the last month of Desert Storm in Feb/Mar '91. I was there running the MAC Command Post-running 141/C5 crews in and out
of Saudi. I never knew that the SR was there. Interesting. Bet the crews did not like it. I went TDY to Goldsboro in 73/74 for the
Arab/Israeli war and the pilots I worked with really partied hard. I also went to Kadena in June of 73 with Ltc Arno R. Mason, never forget
that man. He wanted to retire there and open up a bar and shack up with a local.
Enjoyed your pics and the memories. Sad when they retired that plane. Let me hear from you. I'm in the Atlanta area now. Finished up my career
in the reserves as a Capt.
Phillip Rockwell, Captain
Thu, 14 Mar 2002 07:57 SRA Tom Tedford Writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB from 1975-1977, I worked at the test cell for the J-58's. I can remember testing the engines for the July 1976 speed records and how much pride that I had knowing that we were part of history. I will always remember how much hard work and pride we all took in the work we did with this aircraft that is like no other. I remember our squad commander Major Lill and Wing Commander Col. Alee and how they cared about the people that were working for them. I just thought they should be remembered.
SRA Tom Tedford
Sat, 9 Mar 2002 21:43 TSgt. Calvin S. Spangler Writes:
This is to Jim Gray, from Link:
What's the name of the book I need to order?
TSgt. Calvin S. Spangler
Sat, 9 Mar 2002 18:19 Col. Bill Spacy, USAF (Ret) Writes: It's great to see the fantastic response to your site! I read back through the Alum pages and every time I bring it up, it brings back a flood of memories. My eight years in the 903rd Tankers and my four years in the 9th SRW were the highlights of my 30 year career.
Keep up the super job! Note the new e-mail address.
Col. Bill Spacy, USAF (Ret)
Sun, 3 Mar 2002 18:27 Sgt. James D. Linville Writes: I served in the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic on the SR-71 at Beale A.F.B. Calif. from 1966-1969. We were one of the first group to be assigned to the SR71. When we graduated from aircraft mechanic school at Shepard Air Force Base, Texas, half of our class was sent to Arizona to phase-out the U2, then they joined us at Beale A.F.B. approximately 6 months later. I was station with the 9th Field Maintenance Sq. in the Aero Repair Shop. SMSgt Veleze was our shop chief and MSgt Demaio was my shop supervisor. We were exempt from the Viet Nam War for approximately three years and frozen to Beale A.F.B. for six years because there wasn't very many aircraft mechanics who knew how to work on the SR-71 at the time. I enjoyed working on the SR-71 And will always treasure the memories of my experiences and I am still proud to have been a part of," History in the making."
Sgt. James D. Linville
Note: New Email address:
Sun, 3 Mar 2002 17:46
James R. Walborn Writes: I worked mainly on the A-12, YF-12 and MD-21 programs in the 1960's, and very little on the SR-71. My recollections of the program was how much they got done with very little money and few personnel. It was almost like magic the way the Skunk Works functioned.
I wonder if you have any contact for Frank Brink, whom I worked with at that time.
James R. Walborn
Wed, 27 Feb 2002 11:34 Bill Burgett Writes:
I have a entry already in the 2000 year book. Would like to update my e-mail address from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org
I worked on the program for 24 years on the NAS-14 and ECM. Great aircraft and great people.
Sun, 24 Feb 2002 22:16 SSgt Robert Buhrman Writes:
I worked in the 9th AEMS at Beale AFB for Five years:(1965-1970), (Aircraft radio).
I saw two Blackbirds crash. I received a Master Tech award.
I made a lot of friends there and wanted to say Hi.
Sun, 24 Feb 2002 12:20
MSgt Royce G. Colding Writes: Trying to find anybody who might have known a
TSgt Wesley Stiles, who retired in 1971 at Beale AFB. I was at the Retired Enlisted Association Chapter
#39 here in Aurora, CO and our new bartender named "Lynn" mentioned that her Dad retired at Beale in 1971 and would like to communicate with someone had might have know her Dad, who died last year. I believe he was
in FMS. Anybody who might be interested can email me and I will forward the message to her.
It's been a long time since I contacted you, but are still doing a fine job with the site.
Fri, 22 Feb 2002 12:28 MSgt Mike Swick Writes: I was stationed at the 9SRW from Oct of '79 to June of '81. As one of the primary logistics planners, I had the opportunity to plan and deploy with the SR on several occasions to England, Las Vegas and one time to Hill AFB. I can recall once when I went to visit LTC Bob Cunningham who was the Det commander at Kadena. He was so proud of his new Air Force automobile (a white top sedan) that he had the radio shop install a AM/FM/Cassette (against the regulations) player in it and they wired the antenna underneath the frame. I would like to try to locate Colonel Cunningham. The last time I saw him was at his home located in Lake Wildwood, California.
MSgt Mike Swick
20 Feb 2002
Daniel Cobb Writes: (Email forwarded by Webmaster,
www.Habu.Org). Editor's Note: Daniel is referring to the Habu.Org web
site. I just want to comment on what a neat site you have regarding the Blackbirds. They're simply amazing. My grandfather flew with the 9th SRW during the 70's. He just so happens to be the pilot in the photos you have of
#961, the ones "taken on a single flight in the early 70's". The interesting thing about this is that
#961 is now at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas. Well, as fate would have it, this is where my grandpa was born. It pretty much completes the circle!
Anyways, I have seen several of the crew pictures you have posted on the site, and I wonder if any of the people who have donated pictures to your site would possibly have my grandfather's crew shots. I have seen his name in Paul Crickmore's book, "The Secret Missions Exposed",
concerning a few missions over Vietnam. Also, I have sifted through many videotapes a friend of ours who worked at Beale had and I came across a old
Lockheed promotional video covering the operations out of Kadena. Well, lo and behold, about 6 minutes of footage they took was from one of my grandpa's missions. He was in a few scenes: briefing room, suit-up, strap-in,
pre-start checklists, debrief, etc). It was quite a surprise. Anyways, all that to ask, is there any way to get a better copy of that video, and possibly other "archived" footage of the bird's operations? I'm sure that there are people out there with such footage. My grandfather tells me there were cameras recording everything. I'd like to see some more of the neat missions grandpa flew out of Kadena & Beale. Thanks for your
My grandfather's name is Lt. Col. Darrel W. Cobb, and his First RSO was Maj. Myron Gant, and his Second was Capt. Reg Blackwell. Also, I think that Lockheed promo film was titled "The Magnificent Blackbirds Are Operational".
Tue, 19 Feb 2002 20:29 Larry R. Davis, SSgt Writes:
I was stationed at Beale AFB 68-69.
Worked with a bunch of great guys, both service wise and the Techs from Lockheed.
So sorry to see such a great aircraft retired, but I will remember watching it take off and land forever.
Larry R. Davis, SSgt
Tue, 19 Feb 2002 10:56 Michael C. Irwin, SSgt Writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB from 6/1970 to 8/1973. I was a PSD technician that was involved in maintaining the controllers and regulators used in the compression suits and helmets of the pilots. I was also involved in hooking the pilots up in the aircraft during pre-flight checks, as well as being available for pickup after landing. My TDY assignments were comprised of the same duties at Kadena AFB in Okinawa. I spent three separate tours of duty at Kadena. It would be nice if I could locate Al Mazon. The last time I came in contact with him was in 1985, when I returned to California on vacation and he was still living in the Beale area. Thank you for your consideration ! It was an honor to be involved in the beginnings of the SR-71 program. I am now an ordained minister and continue to look back fondly upon my experiences during those incredible years!!!!
Michael C. Irwin, SSgt
Email: None listed. Contact Webmaster SR-71 for Mike's address in New York.
Fri, 15 Feb 2002 14:28 Sgt John A. Maidl Writes: I worked on the SR-71 from 1969 to 1973. I worked in phase docks at Beale. Also did launch and recovery when on TDY to Okinawa. The SR-71 is a super plane. Now the only time I see one is when I visit the SAC museum at Offutt AFB. They have a SR-71 on a pedestal in flight mode. I had great satisfaction from being able to be part of a team that not only tore down and inspected the complete aircraft, but after it was back together we also were able to do a launch and recovery. I am glade I did get some nice pictures of the SR-71 from when we were Kadena. You have a great site here with all the great information. Keep up the good work.
SSgt John A. Maidl
Wed, 13 Feb 2002 09:22 A1C Warner, Mark, A. Writes: 9CES[9SRW]1985-Worked in the heating and air conditioning section of the Civil Engineering Squadron at Beale AFB, CA in '85. Did a lot of work at the flight line. My main memory was the lack of rain there. Although, watching the SR-71's take off and land was a thrill. There was a KC-135 that had crashed while I was there and I don't think the tanker guys get enough of the credit they deserve. Had a lot of friends while there. Thanks for looking' out for me Sgt. Horsely! Oh, I almost forgot all the guys in PRIME BEEF and RED HORSE, PAVE PAWS and our barracks neighbors the SP's. I was cross-trained there from EOD. Sure hope we kept all you pilots cool, you know how warm it could get sometimes.
Warner, Mark A., A1C
Mon, 11 Feb 2002 22:56 Frank Huddleston, Sgt Writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB from '74-78 first with the 9RTS as an ELINT Analyst then with the 9SRW/IN as an Intel Mission Planner. My recollections were those of being associated with such quality people that I learned many life lessons from them. I remember being a young airman, TDY at Kadena, not walking through tall grass behind the BAQ for fear of finding the terrestrial HABU; being issued my own person SR71 silhouette stencil, by the SR drivers and GI issue black spray paint, and told to go forth and spread the sign of the Habu (especially on Navy or Harrier property). I remember the RTS people, Major Pruss, Captain Winters, TSgt Dennis Paulson, Chockinowski, Ted Siuta, Ron Ward, Susan Ulm, Bill Gentsch, Col Crawford, Col Budzinski and all the 9SRW/9RTS Intel folks. Hi to all and drop a note if you like.
Frank Huddleston, Sgt
Mon, 11 Feb 2002 17:30 Tom Abernathy Writes (Forwarded by WWW.Habu.Org): Really enjoyed the article on the loss of aircraft # 978. I was an aircraft electrician, E 4, at Kadena (TDY from Beale) in the summer of '72. Wow, that's soon to be thirty years. I'm feeling older by the minute. As I recall, typhoon Rita was responsible for the wind conditions that day. As the story in maintenance went, the pilot hit the runway fast and heavy to off set the high winds. During the 'go around' supposedly the pilot was dumping fuel to improve his chances of getting the plane stopped, before the end of the runway. Seems like the RSO popped his canopy, but did not eject. One thing is for sure, she looked awful sad when she finally came to a stop. Had the main gear not encountered the concrete pad / barrier, she may have stayed up. Then the rains came. Someone covered the cockpit with a tarp, then she really looked rough. Don't recall who moved her, or how long it took for the aircraft to make it to the T-hanger. I'd say, by then the General (don't remember his name) and the accident investigation team had arrived. With the General on site, life around the hanger was a bit different. Before her burial, my TDY & assignment to the 9TH, ended. I now know where her final resting place is, thanks. Uncle Sam reassigned me to the EB-66 program and ended up at Korat for the remainder of the war. Thanks again for the web site and the article.
Editors Note: Tom is referring to WWW.Habu.Org's web site in the above message. A detailed report of the loss of #978 (Rapid Rabbit) is also available at this URL: ./loss_4.htm
Tom Abernathey, E-4
Sat, 9 Feb 2002 18:26
Larry Leffew Writes: I was an Air Traffic Controller at Indianapolis ARTCC. I remember having to work well ahead of the SR71 as it was traveling over 2000 MPH. One afternoon I was having difficulty giving a radar handoff to the Memphis Center controller as they could not see the target. I told the Memphis controller either he had to identify the target or it was going to be over Miami in a few minutes. Eventually he identified the target. What an aircraft! The controllers would group around the radar scopes to see the "fast" target. I was on duty when
Dutch 01 was flown to Washington DC for the last time....maybe.
Sat, 9 Feb 2002 13:52 SSgt James "MAX" Maxwell Writes:
I was stationed at Beale twice with the 9th SPS. I used to love watching the SR-71 fly over the confinement facility and when it went out on a mission it would shake the windows on the house! Any of my old buds can drop me a line.
SSgt James "MAX" Maxwell
Mon, 4 Feb 2002 06:18 Sgt Gregory F. Holder Writes:
Some of the best memories of my life are when I worked with SR's and the U2/TR-1.
I would love to here from old friends.
Sgt Gregory F. Holder
Wed, 30 Jan 2002 21:25 SSgt Larry Webster Writes: I am just letting every body know I have changed my e-mail address. I have already told about all that I can remember. I sure enjoy the web page. My heart will always be with the 9th OMS. It breaks my heart to hear about the passing of the people of 9th that I used to work for and with.
God bless you all.
Add an e-mail change. I do check the web page almost daily just home sick for the 9th OMS. May god bless you all. SSgt Webster "A" Flight '67 thru '70.
SSgt Larry Webster, "A" flight
Wed, 30 Jan 2002 00:04 MSgt Frank Curneil Writes: I was assigned to Beale AFB, from Oct 1980 till Sept 1988. I came from FB-111's at Pease AFB, New Hampshire (as did Colonel Pinsky). I was part of the 9th AMS Squadron and the Shop Chief of the KC-135 Flight Simulator (the two railroad cars across the street from the Base Service Station) and also the Branch Chief of the Aircrew Training Devices. It was great working and being associated with all the highly skilled and professional people. I retired about the time they deleted the Simulator career field and turned the maintenance of them over to civilian contractors. Beale was a great assignment and I was proud to be part of the program.
MSgt Frank Curneil
Sun, 27 Jan 2002 06:59 Sgt. W. Kirk Jonkheer Writes: I was stationed at Kadena AFB 70-72. My AFSC was 54450 Liquid Oxygen. Our LOX plant was just outside the gate to the flight line. Though I was not directly involved with the SR-71 program, I was wondering if during the time between Dec. 1970 and Aug. 1972 if any pilots ever had any problems or difficulties with the quality of breathing oxygen we produced. I sincerely hope not, we tested samples quite often. Proud to have been indirectly involved. Regards,
W. Kirk Jonkheer
Wed, 23 Jan 2002 15:21 Wayne Brown (OS1, USN) Writes: I was stationed at NAS Fallon, NV from 1981-83. As a part of the Targets/Range Division I worked with most of all the military aircraft you can name. Obviously the SR-71 Blackbird was a recon aircraft and did not participate in any NAS Fallon scheduled "bombing" exercises. However; and it was always a fun thing to see on the radar scope and flight data strip the flights of the SR-71 passing over the airspace. I believe if I remember correctly, Salt Lake City (Center) had the control of airspace in the area. Anyway, I would watch the "blips" on the radar screen and the flight data printout; which would obviously max out on the speed and altitude of the passing aircraft (SR-71 of course). If I remember properly the altitude data would max at 100K feet, and of course the printout for the Blackbird just registered 100+ or something to that effect. The mach readout was in excess of 3 I believe. Anyway, these were I guess the scheduled flights from Edwards to St. Louis and back again; sort of a big circle. This was accomplished in about 2 and a half hours. I guess I'm rambling on but it was always "neat" to watch this aircraft transit over the NAS Fallon airways and the airspace in which the radar range permitted. I always had a love for the sleek aircraft, and to what I know it still holds the record in a lot of aviation related areas. One other tidbit; a Vietnam buddy of mine use to guard them on the tarmac when he was stationed over in Thailand. Thanks for such a great site about this awesome aircraft, even though it did leak fuel all over the hanger bay because the tanks; or lack of, did not seal until the aircraft reached operating altitude.
Wayne Brown (OS1, USN)
Sun, 20 Jan 2002 21:25 Chris Byrd, TSgt, (Ret) Writes:
My time working on the SR-71 was the best time I ever had in the Air Force. I was fortunate to have met some excellent people.
I would love to hear from any former Det 1 people (86-89).
Chris Byrd, TSgt, ( Ret)
Sun, 20 Jan 2002 18:47 TSgt Eloy Sandoval Writes: 9th OMS Ground Crew and Crew Chief 1979-1982. Boom Operator KC135Q 349th AREFS 1982-1988. I used to be known as Sandy. I remember getting to suit up in a pressure suit at Kadena. I'd like to thank the PSD folks for the experience. I'm sorry I can't remember there names. I think it was Woody. They took some photos. If you remember suiting up a former boom and still have the photos please Email me the pictures. Thanks.
TSgt Eloy Sandova
Sun, 20 Jan 2002 20:25
Winfred C. (Ace) Tipton Writes: I found your site while searching for some clip art to put on my air force basic training page and was
amazed at how much info you have. I don't know what my contribution was to the project but I started to work in
the Skunk Works in 1963 at the beginning of the SR71 project. At that time there was no technology
available for working with titanium and we sort of pioneered that part of the industry. I am not sure of the date but
Kelly Johnson came there one Christmas and allowed us to view the first flight test film's of the SR71. He was really a
nice down to earth person. In 1969 I left the Skunk Works and moved into computer
programming at the main office building. I did not have any more connections with the
Skunk Works but I ultimately handled all the shop order writing systems for the C130, C5, and the Tristar programs until I left Lockheed in 1978 and continued my career with
the 3M company. In closing I hope you won't mind if I create a link from my web site to yours, and I want to commend
you for creating such a great and informative web site...Thanks...
Winfred C. (Ace) Tipton
Web Site: www.acetipton.net
Sat, 12 Jan 2002 16:44
Dr. Gus. Weiss Jr. Writes: I was on the National Security Council Staff, Nixon-Reagan, wrestling with Intel, Bldg. 213 projects, and technology monster headaches, of which the SR program most certainly wasn't one. Can't be specific on Ops, but I was the designated White House Staff hitter who arranged for Kelly to get the National Security Medal I also got the SR for the National Air and Space Museum and raised $300k for the "Looking at Earth Exhibit." (Seems I was keeping busy)
Then there was the use of the D21 release profile as model for separating the Shuttle from the 747, a Class One technology transfer for sure. All this noted, the best part was dealing with so many super people. Thanks.
Dr. Gus. Weiss Jr.
Fri, 11 Jan 2002 13:06: SSgt. Kristine D. Landrus Writes:
My last name was "Colefield" when I was stationed at Beale AFB in the J-58 shop from December 1979 to December 1981. I worked with
SrA Dan Curtin, SrA Lori Heidrick,
SSgt. Albert Seifkas, SrA Tracy Prevost,
Amn ? Deady, TSgt. Terry
Sullivan, MSgt. Leland Burke, SMSgt. Robert
Snyder, MSgt. Orion.
I would enjoy hearing from anyone who was there during that time. I worked in-shop and also at Test Cell where I experienced many a "teeth-rattling" A/B run and watching the mysterious-green glow of the TEB injection. Some great memories standing only inches from the loudest engine in the world. This was my first jet engine to work on, I then went on to F-111's, but the Blackbird was always my first love.
SSgt. Kristine D. Landrus
Thu, 10 Jan 2002 10:42 Francisco Carranco, E4 Writes:
I worked in photo shop 01/70 to 07/70...became an expert at speed handle.
I did not go to training since class was one year long and I was shorter than that.
Served in Vietnam at TSN and Phu Cat.
Francisco Carranco, E4
Wed, 9 Jan 2002
Lawrence Hart Writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB,
CA from Feb. 1969
to Feb. 1973. I worked in the Hydraulic Shop of the 9th FMS. I had many shop supervisors such as MSgt Dicky, MSgt Hopkins, MSgt Crane. There were many people I knew well that came up from Edwards AFB During the test years. SSgt Schlenker, SSgt Moseley. I have been TDY to Okinawa three times during this time. If there is anybody who was stationed there during this time I would be so glad to hear from you. My son was born at Beale Hospital 9-9-71.
E-mail me any time. Sincerely:
Mon, 7 Jan 2002 18:53 Major Richard McClaine
Writes: In the early 1960's I was a KC-135 navigator in the 903rd Air Refueling Squadron at Beale AFB. At the time, I was flying with
Jim Watkins - who later went on to fly the SR-71. Jim and I had been crewed together since transferring from Dow AFB, Maine in May of 1959. As a member of a Standardization crew we were often selected for "special" projects that came up from time to time. One such project was working with the YF-12 test pilots (the "Roadrunners")
in developing rendezvous and air refueling tactics for the KC-135 and the YF-12 (which went on to become the SR-71). I can recall many a week we'd tell our wives and families we were going to be TDY for a few days, but we couldn't tell them where we were going - although the Wing Command Post always had a number in case we had to be reached in an emergency. We'd depart Beale, and after a time of flying we'd shut off our transponder (IFF), sign off with ARTCC, and disappear into the desert for a few days of "fun and games" at Area 51. Initially, there were two tanker crews from Beale that were involved in this project - our crew and one other. Later on as things progressed, the entire 903rd AREFS the went on to become (as I recall) the first full squadron tasked with supporting the SR-71 with the aircraft being converted to the "Q" model making them capable of carrying the special jet fuel that was required by the "Blackbird". About that time I went TDY to U. of Omaha to get a "Bootstrap" degree. Upon my return I was again back on a tanker crew and working with the SR-71 as well as other types. Early in 1966 I departed Beale for a PCS to the Air Intelligence Training Center at Lowry AFB, Colorado. For about the next five years I was assigned staff intelligence duties in various TAC and PACAF organizations. Unfortunately, I never again had any contact with SR-71 operations other than occasionally reviewing some of the results of it's high altitude photographic exploits while in Southeast Asia.
During our visits to Area 51 one couldn't ask for better treatment; it was first class all the way and the test pilots were a joy to work with. I'm certainly happy I came across your web site, it brings back many fond memories. Your picture galleries are also outstanding. The pictures of Jim Watkins, and others I knew from the days at Beale, is what generated this note. Keep up the good work!
Richard McClaine, Major
Mon, 31 Dec 2001 01:02 Jeff Moore Writes:
My dad worked on an SR71 ground crew. His name is Gerald "Jerry"
He left the Air Force as a SSgt & spent time at Beale and in Okinawa.
I was just wondering if you or anyone remembers him.
If you have worked directly with the SR-71 or U-2, you may qualify to join the Blackbird Association. Pilots, Maintenance Support Personnel, Contractors and PSD support are examples.
Do you meet the following criteria established to join the Blackbird Association?
1.You must have been Directly Associated with the SR-71, U-2 Programs. Being stationed where the Blackbirds were operational does not qualify. We have received numerous requests to join the Association by personnel that do not qualify, for example CBPO, Supply, Etc. Certainly these personnel contributed indirectly to the programs but remember the qualifications states: "Directly Associated".
2.The Blackbird Association is Not a Locator Service! Questions directed in this area will be ignored. If you wish to try and locate a former member you may search this page you are on to see if the individual has left a message.
3.When you contact Jack Madison the first time:
You MUST include "Blackbird Association Membership" in the subject line
Your Name and Affiliation with the Blackbirds (SR-71 or U-2).
Your Complete Home Mailing Address. Please insure the address is correct in all aspects. Sending just your E-Mail address is not sufficient.
Email you Blackbird Association application to:
"Skunk" is the Copyright property of Lockheed Martin Corporation
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