2005 Blackbird Reunion
The 16th Blackbird Reunion was held in Reno, Nevada at the Nugget Hotel on June 9th - 12th,
The Friday night reception was well received, getting everyone together for
socializing with friends and members of the Blackbird Association. On Saturday morning the golf tournament
was held. On Saturday afternoon, Brig. Gen. Duane Deal, one of the 13 members of the Columbia Accident Investigation
Board, gave a briefing on the accident (standing room only) to our reunion attendees. Those who
attended applauded his presentation and accounting of the Columbia accident.
There was a maintenance personnel signing of the John Shaw print "Outrun the Thunder" at the
reunion that resulted in 106 maintainers signing the print. These prints will be
offered for sale by the Blackbird Association as a fund raiser. The print may be
ordered from the following web page: ./shaw_print.htm
On Saturday evening, the
invocation written by M/General Pat Halloran was delivered by Tony Bevacqua. The
superb banquet dinner was served and the PowerPoint presentation was shown to to the
300+ Blackbird Reunion attendees. M/Gen Patrick Halloran had written a speech to honor the
incredible lifetime achievements of M/Gen Douglas Nelson who passed away in
February 2005. General Halloran recently had surgery and could not attend the
Reunion, however his speech was delivered by M/Gen John Storrie. Certainly a
fitting tribute to M/Gen Douglas Nelson, 9th SRW Commander and the first man to
fly an SR-71 into Beale AFB. The Blackbird Association awarded the "Kelly
Johnson" trophy to Colonel (Ret) Richard Graham. His contribution to the
success of all previous Reunions and lifetime commitment to the Blackbird
Program is without peer and certainly deserving of this prestigious award. A
final tribute to Kelly Johnson was shown with the Lockheed movie "A Letter
to Kelly Johnson" narrated by Devin Hawker, photographer for "SR-71
Blackbird, The Movie". The guest speaker for the Banquet was Mr. Richard
Smith III, executive Vice President of Netjets. His presentation focused on the
current and future use of Corporate jets. Shown was two prototype jets capable
of .99 mach and how they fit into the future of Corporate utilization. He also
explained how Corporations are currently sharing jet use with other companies to
reduce expenses verses sole ownership in the jet. On Sunday, a continental breakfast
was served in the Hospitality Suite as members prepared to depart Reno. In all,
the 16th Blackbird Reunion was a tremendous success. Those that attended will
remember this event as a fitting tribute to the legacy and contributions
of not only the SR-71 and the U-2 but the people that make up the
You can order the 35 minute PowerPoint presentation that
was shown at the Reunion by going to this URL: All funds derived from your PowerPoint
orders go to support the "SR-71 Blackbirds" web site you
are now visiting. The presentation includes Blackbird Achievements and 14
minutes of the SR-71 in flight. URL: ./PayPal_Order.htm
You can order the John Shaw print "Outrun the
Thunder" signed by 106 maintainers at this URL: ./shaw_print.htm
All funds go to support
the "Blackbird Association" future Reunions.
2005 Reunion Banquet Photos
(If you have photos to add to this collection contact:
Leland Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Above Photos courtesy of Carol Osbourne; TD
Barnes; Connie Pardew; Leland Haynes)
Additional Photos below provided by Phyllis
Phyllis Rives (Hartlaub)
& David Rives signing the Shaw Maintenance print. We actually met on the
J-58 engine....we were both SR-71 jet engine mechanic at Beale...arriving Jan
1976. I was the first women jet engine mechanic on the flight line.
David Rives, Robert Snyder, Mike Gyorfi,
Phyllis Rives, Charles Stewart (Stew). All individuals were J-58 Engine
Connie Pardew, Freelance Aviation
than 300 Blackbird personnel descended upon northern Nevada June 9-12 for the 16th
Blackbird Reunion. Former, pilots,
RSO’s, maintainers, contractors and support personnel came together to
celebrate the mighty Blackbird’s heritage, renew friendships and reminisce.
Among attendees were several members of Roadrunner’s International - the cadre
of personnel that made their temporary home in the southern Nevada desert while
testing the U-2 and A-12 (the SR’s predecessor) in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
The seeds planted 50 years ago by
the Lockheed Skunk Works with the development of the U-2 “Dragon Lady fostered
unsurpassed technology and, milestones in reconnaissance programs.
The A-12, the first Mach 3+ aircraft clothed with titanium was test flown
in 1962. The “Archangel” went on the perform reconnaissance missions
including the first over flight of North Korea after the U.S.S Pueblo was seized
Roadrunner President, Roger Anderson
was in attendance along with Webmaster, TD Barnes, Lt. Col. Tony Bevacqua (U-2
and SR-71 pilot) Lockheed’s Bob
Murphy, General Ray Haupt (ret), A-12
Mission Pilot, Frank Murray, pilot
and Donn Brynes, Author of the book "Blackbird Rising" recapping
the early days at Area 51
reunion offered numerous activities for attendees including a golf tournament, a
talk by Duane Deale from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, shopping
opportunities for SR and U-2 memorabilia, a silent auction and a raffle.
The gala banquet Saturday night was
highlighted by an inspiring PowerPoint presentation by Blackbird Webmaster
Leland Haynes detailing the Blackbirds history. A moving tribute to M/General
Doug Nelson was authored by M/General Pat Halloran and read by M/General John
Storrie to the attendees.
Guest speaker Richard Smith III,
executive Vice President of NETJETS gave an informative and lively talk on the
operations of the multi-million dollar company.
The prestigious Kelly Johnson Trophy was awarded to Col. Richard Graham (Ret),
former Wing Commander of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at
Beale and M/C at almost every Blackbird Reunion.
Although the SR-71 is now retired,
the dedication of these men and women that were involved in the program stands
firm like the planes they designed flew and maintained. They are committed to
keep the Blackbird heritage alive.
How to Join the Blackbird Association:
If you have worked directly with the SR-71 or U-2, you may qualify to join the Blackbird Association. Pilots, Support personnel, Contractors and PSD support are examples.. Contact Jack Madison via e-mail at
You must 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 go to the following link:
"Alma-Mater and Recollections of the
Past" and perhaps you may find the individual.
3.When you contact Jack Madison the first time, he needs your Complete Home Mailing Address. Please insure the address is correct in all aspects. Sending just your E-Mail address is not sufficient.
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