srpatch.gifSR-71 ALMA MATERsrpatch.gif

ashield.gifRECOLLECTIONS FROM THE PASTashield.gif
Guest Book Entries for 2003

1. "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

2. "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

3. Added four movies to the "Video Archive": Added "Blackbird Tribute"; NASA SR-71B Refueling; Record Breakers Part One and Part Two. URL: ./srvid~1.htm

4. "SR-71 and YF12A Flight Manuals": A reprint of the Flight Manuals for these two aircraft is available here at this URL: ./Flt_Manual.htm

5. "Supplement to Buddy Brown's Book": David Allison, Webmaster at Habu.Org has formatted Buddy Brown's Book on every person that flew a Blackbird into a searchable database. Now you can go directly to this page and look up the date a crew member including NASA crews qualified. You can also dispel or verify a politicians claim to fame if he stated "I flew a Blackbird". My hat is off to David for this time consuming and extensive project. "Well Done" URL: ./Supp_BBook.htm

6. "SR-71 Screensaver": Now you can download a great Blackbird Screensaver that contains 116 images. There is a Free Trial and a Full version available. Go here for details or to download: ./Screensaver.htm

7. "SR-71 Construction": This new web page consists of 25 images embedded in a "flip book" applet of the construction of the Blackbirds at the Lockheed Burbank plant in the early 1960's. Check it out at this URL: ./sr_construction.htm

8. "Blackbird Art Print by John Shaw": The Blackbird Association has unveiled a superb print titled "Outrun the Thunder" by John Shaw. The print contains over 30 signatures of crewmembers. The print and order information is available at this URL: ./shaw_print.htm

9. "SR-71 Start Cart: AG-330": Photos and narration on the Buick Wildcat and the Chevrolet 454's used to start the Blackbirds J-58 engines.  URL: ./ag330_sr.htm

10. SR-71 Takeoff; Touch & Go; Landing:  Added a new MPEG movie to the Video Archives (Aug 29, 2003). 45MB file size (DSL or Broadband Only). Movie Length is 3 Min; 46 Sec. URL: ./TO_Touch_Go.mpg

11. The Last SR-71 Flight from Det 1, Kadena AB, Okinawa: Added a new MPEG movie to the Video Archives (Aug 29, 2003).  This is Part #6 of  8 total videos of the Last Flight from Okinawa in 1990. Although this video is not 100% edited, I wanted viewers to see this last launch as soon as possible. This video was shot and narrated by Russ Maheras,  ECM,  9th SRW. A complete series of  8 videos on this event will be forthcoming. This is the actual 5AM launch on 21 January 1990 of SR-71 #962. Contains crew boarding, engine start, taxi and takeoff. Volume on your computer needs to be reduced prior to viewing (Engine noise). The MPEG file is large at 108MB (DSL or Broadband Only). Movie length is 8 Min; 26 Sec. URL:  ./Last_Flight_Part_6.mpg

12. "U OUGHTA", The Biography of William M. (Bill) Gornik, CMSgt, USAF, (Ret). The result is a book 9 by 11 inches and 1 inch
thick with 257 pages including over 100 photos (B&W and color). The dust cover is very unique and includes 3 very complimentary endorsements (one by a retired USAF Lt/Gen and one by a former Boise State University President). As many of you are aware, Bill's contribution to the Blackbird program over the years is certainly one of dedication and professionalism. He was proud to be inducted into the Blackbird Laurels Society on behalf of all the enlisted men. Here is his life story with a table of contents and ordering information. URL:



Blackbird Symposiums and Special Upcoming Events can be accessed through WWW. Habu.Org

At this URL:


Thu, 21 Aug 2003 15:07 Don Stein Writes: I'm pleased to announce that Doug Nelson has been selected by the Board of Trustees of The Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame to be inducted into The Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 3, 2004. The induction will be held at 6:00 PM at The Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson Arizona. The Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame was established in 1985 by a proclamation of the Governor of Arizona. As an entity, the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame is operated by the Arizona Aerospace Foundation that manages both the Pima Air Museum and the Titan Missile Museum. The Hall of Fame is a permanent shrine to those citizens or residents of Arizona who have, over their lifetime, played a significant role in aviation and aerospace. Doug Nelson easily meets those high standards. He will join many other "Best of The Best" aviators, including Ray Haupt, who was inducted last year. Ray and Doug are the only exceptional aviators who have been selected for the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame who come from the Blackbird Community.  A special oil painting will be commissioned of General Nelson, which will be placed, along with some of his personal mementos and artifacts, in a permanent mahogany and glass case for millions of visitors to see over the years. The induction ceremony and dinner is scheduled from 1800 to 2200 on April 3, and will be held at the Pima Air and Space Museum, 7000 East Valencia Road, Tucson. The cost for the ceremony and dinner is $100 per person. For reservations/or contributions to Doug’s induction, please call Julee Dawson, Deputy Director-Communications at the museum at 520-618-4804. On April 2-3, 2004, the museum will host the eighth SR-71 Blackbird Symposium, “Keeping The Spirit Of The SR-71 Blackbird Alive,” to coincide with Doug’s induction. Please pass this along to anyone you feel would be interested. 

Congratulations General Nelson! 

Don Stein 

Editor's Note: General Nelson went to Beale Air Force Base, Calif., in September 1964, for duty as director of plans, 14th Strategic Aerospace Division, and was involved in activating, equipping and training the first Air Force organization equipped with SR-71 aircraft, the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base. He became vice commander, and then commander of the wing. In December 1966 he assumed command of the 14th Strategic Aerospace Division also at Beale Air Force Base. He returned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command as assistant deputy chief of staff for plans in August 1968. 

General Nelson's Career Biography is here at this URL:



Blackbird Stealth

The History Channel has been showing this movie periodically since it came out in November of 2002. It is now available from the A&E TV store in a DVD-R format. Go here to order:

Blackbird Stealth on DVD


January 14, 2003

I just received a copy of "Sled Driver, The Limited Edition" by Brian Shul.  If you have not previewed his web site be sure to visit it. This limited edition book of only 3,500 will not be around for long. It is truly a magnificent tribute to the SR-71 and is a treasure to own. If you planned to purchase the book at a later date, you may be left out in the cold. Here is Brian Shul's Web site:

Leland Haynes, Webmaster, SR-71 Blackbirds

To all who worked on
J58 Pratt & Whitney engines:


MARCH 25, 26, 27 2004


THURSDAY 25-------Arrive at Sportsmen's
FRIDAY 26-----------Poolside Tent Area
8:00am--2:00pm-- Mixer/breakfast/brunch- posting of photos,
anecdotes, memorabilia, etc. by guests 
5:00pm---------- Cocktails
7:00pm---------- Banquet honoring "Special Guest of Honor -Jim
Eastham" A12, YF12A, SR71 Test Pilot 
Guest Speaker and Entertainment to be announced 
SATURDAY 27-------Bus to Palmdale BLACKBIRD MUSEUM----See
#1 A12, YF12A, SR71, D21 Drone & U2 
Speakers ( to be announced )
SUNDAY 28----------On Your Own 

We need your preliminary ideas and number of attendees ASAP-by
Nov. 7 to make this happen-Please forward to all individuals who
worked on program, i.e. , Design, Performance, Project, Materials,
Shop, etc.

Everyone: Responses and suggestions to: Dennis Nordquist at 

Phone: 928-684-0644

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

Guest Book


"Airplanes are now built to carry a pilot and a dog in the cockpit," says Arlen
Rens, a Lockheed Martin test pilot. "The pilot's job is to feed the dog, and the
dog's job is to bite the pilot if he touches anything."

srpatch.gifSun, 28 Dec 2003 16:35 SSgt Lawrence B. Hart Writes: 

I worked in the Hydraulic Shop from 1969-1973. I worked with Randy Pean ( if anybody seen him tell him I said Hey). I also worked with John Lasky, Joe Crane, MSgt Dicky and Hopkins. Also worked with Ron Schlenker, Dick George, Tom Baily. I have been to the OL 4 times and enjoyed every minute of it. Well, they were great years and I will never forget them.

SSgt Lawrence B. Hart



srpatch.gifSat, 27 Dec 2003 10:42 MSgt Robert E Chatterley Writes: 

I am the original Crew Chief of SR-71 #963. 

I am looking for any of the old bunch of the gang from OMS.


MSgt Robert E Chatterley



srpatch.gifWed, 24 Dec 2003 08:57 S/Sgt. Briseno, Jesus Writes: 

Stationed at Beale AFB from Feb'67-Jul'70, assigned to the 9th RTS/Precision Processing Lab. Was assigned to the Wet Section of the lab processing film from the various SR-71 camera systems. TDY assignments to SAC SARPF and 67th RTS-Yokota. 

Had the opportunity to work with some outstanding personnel including Capt Gray! Would like to hear from any former unit personnel.

S/Sgt. Briseno, Jesus


srpatch.gifWed, 24 Dec 2003 05:51 TSGT (Ret. USAF) Ron Schlenker Writes: Would like to say that A/C #967 was dedicated on Dec.17th at Barksdale AFB, Bossier City La. 8th AF Museum. There were about 300 or so on hand for the event. She was the last one to fly for NASA and the last one for display at a museum. Sgt. Loe and myself were the only ones there that had started out with the program at Edwards. Gen Minter's widow was there and her daughter along with Gen Harris, 14th Air Division at the time the program started at Beale. Mrs. Minter said to tell all the HABU's out there how proud she was of all the men and women who kept this wonderful bird flying. Seeing the bird on display right at the North Gate is a site to behold. It brings back a lot of memories of the things this bird could do back in the 60's. If there are any of you X Habu's coming through this way make sure you stop in to see A/C 967 at the 8th AF museum. 

Ron Schlenker Habu!


srpatch.gif Mon, 22 Dec 2003 22:54 Sgt. Russell E. Nelson Writes: Enjoyed my time working on such an exciting airframe. My great uncle help design the inertial guidance system. My uncle was discharged from Fort Beale after world war two from the army. Remember watching one of the birds coming back hot in the rain at Kadena.  It was so hot all you could see was the rain vaporizing into a cloud. The hours spent at Kunson AB, South Korea on a recovery several weeks after a North Korean PT boat was sunk just off the base. At twelve the batteries around the base target practiced on a hill (it just blew up ). We were waiting to hear bugles and see troops pouring over the hills. Watched the tacticals on alert around the base until we were told of the practice. All day we watched the F-4's take off and showboat. Figured our guys would put on a real show when they did but all they did was a lazy takeoff and low level fly away. Just as we were sure they were gone they came back low level again and right over the base; hit AB and took off straight up all the way out of sight, quite impressive. Thanks again for the site. God bless all our service personnel.

 Sgt. Russell E. Nelson


srpatch.gifMon, 22 Dec 2003 13:00 Bob Irvine Writes: I was very fortunate to have been selected as an RSO for the initial crew force in the SR, and reported to Beale in September 1967. I was crewed with Bob Hanson on Crew 28. When one of the B models was lost on short final the check out program was delayed and we were the next crew to fly. Then SAC cut three crews, leaving us in limbo, but with the promise that we would be checked out as soon as possible, but perhaps several months away. As a result Bob resigned from the program and returned to F-4's and SEA. I hung around for a few months, but the check-out possibilities kept looking bleak, so I too resigned and went to the back seat of the F-4. I think of the program frequently and often wish I had stuck around. I am proud to have been associated with the program and still "brag-up" the airplane to anyone who will listen. 

Bob Irvine


srpatch.gifMon, 22 Dec 2003 11:56 Earl Blemmel Writes: 

M/Sgt Earl D. Blemmel, Crew Chief, SR-71 Aircraft, SR-71/F-12. Edwards Air Force Base, CA, from 22 April 1964 to retirement, Nov. 1967. 


M/Sgt Earl D. Blemmel


srpatch.gifSat, 20 Dec 2003 01:11 Sgt Stephen Ellis Writes: 

I served with Link simulator sr-71 68-69 no doubt the finest trainer I worked on. Left service instead of working with best. Tech reps from link I followed from Bunker Hill and B-58 not to mention some of airman from tech school. Involved with one of the equipment mods and spent lot of time with keypunch and programs. The crews were always serious and well trained. I had both a coffee cup and tie tack from 9th for many years somehow lost with divorce. Having worked with several Link trainers I was lucky enough to serve with the best.

Sgt Stephen Ellis


srpatch.gifThu, 18 Dec 2003 05:44 Sergeant Dwight N. Faul Writes: 

I worked in the Photo Lab 1973 USAF stationed at SAC OFFUT AFB, Omaha, Nebraska. Was privileged to serve for such a short time with wonderful people. Amazing pictures from the overflights and high quality work from very professional airmen. 

Sergeant Dwight N. Faul




srpatch.gif Sat, 13 Dec 2003 09:06 S/Sgt. John J. Tonry Writes: I was at Barksdale AFB, Shreveport, LA. I was downhearted to see a SR (#967 is off tail fin) on 5 trucks it is the last one to fly per the museum staff. The nose section was from the early 60's no humps, forward section from station # 715 to the nose minus the nose boom. The aft section was free from the wings and engine frame, outer wing was on the ground, Landing gear was also on the ground. Spikes were in place but no engines were in sight. It is supposed to have all instruments on board. I was not able to get closer than 45 ft. The museum gentleman stated that they were going to weld it back and then it would be flyable. It was such a sad sight to see that most famous airplane in that state. I did find out that the plane would be on out side display on a hard stand for all to see at the 8th Air Force Museum at the NORTH Gate to Barksdale AFB. I wish all the best to the 8th Air Force museum personnel for placing the wonderful plane on display. I will not be able to see the bird complete before returning on 18 Dec to Las Vegas, Nv.

S/Sgt. John J. Tonry

srpatch.gif Thu, 11 Dec 2003 11:02 Linda Sheffield Miller Writes: 

I grew up at Beale, was lots of fun. Would like to hear from my old friends. My e-mail is My Dad is Col. Richard "Butch" Sheffield. My Dad and Mom are fine and live in VA.

Linda Sheffield Miller





Tue, 9 Dec 2003 13:51 Nolte, David A Writes: Wag (Shannon W. (Wag) Sherrow) had a lot of friends on the SR program. He was in the 9th AMS Photo Shop went on a lot of TDY to all the OL's. Spent a hitch at Kadena in Photo / SLR shop. Would you please put this on the SR site. If your interested I have the following information on Wag's Funeral:


Viewing Thursday Night
Funeral Friday at 1300 Hrs:
Spurlin Funeral Home
1905 Stanford Road
Lancaster, Ky 40444
Ph: 859-792-6433

In Remembrance of

 Shannon W. (Wag) Sherrow

Udorn AB, Thailand-1967

Nolte, David A 

Email: Withheld

We thought a lot of Wag he will be missed. Always, 
Johnny & Penny Gratton


srpatch.gifSat, 6 Dec 2003 13:12 Sgt Dennis R Rice Sr. Writes: I was an instrument tech with the 9th FMS from November 1967 to August 1968. Fell in love with the SR-71 from the first time I saw her. Remember when we lost a bird and we spent the day in a rice patty looking for pages of the flight manual which came out of the book, which was attached to the pilots leg when he ejected from the aircraft. Have been successful in getting a copy of the Presidential Unit Citation issued to the 9th SRW for the period of 31 March to 31 December 1968. Copy is not the best, but it is a copy.

Sgt Dennis R Rice Sr.



srpatch.gifWed, 3 Dec 2003 13:35 MSgt Robert Huff Writes: Back in about 1964 when I was at Edwards AFB in the 4200 OE&T, I had a serious "ops check" on my adrenaline gland. One of the YF-12A's in our hangar had a fuel leak that we had traced to #4 tank. Being small and the lowest rank person in the shop I was sent in through the "boyhole" to fix the leak in the forward end of #4. The tank was properly purged, access cover removed and in I went, scrapers, solvent and sealant in hand to fix the leak. After removing the defective sealant at the forward end of the tank, I heard the definite sound of fuel coming down the refuel manifold and unmistaken sound of boost pumps! Then "someone" opened the refuel valve in #4 tank. The refuel valve was located in the aft end of the tank and I had to climb through a fountain to fuel to reach the "boyhole" and exit the tank. I was completely soaked from head to toe in my white coveralls. When I slid out that access cover I wasn't a happy camper and neither was anyone else in the hangar as fuel was all over the hangar floor. We hadn't received the SR's yet but even though the SR-71 and the YF-12A's worked us Fuel Cell guys to death, it will always be my favorites. What a beautiful air breathing beast!!

MSgt Robert Huff


srpatch.gifWed, 3 Dec 2003 18:33 Jack F. Carpenter Writes: I was associated with the LINK SR71 Flight Simulator from its onset and was the Program Manager at the end of the program. I was at Beale AFB for the installation of the equipment and later provided the proposals for additional updates as they were required. I wrote the in-flight refueling software and other navigation and communication programs. I still have the original coffee mug and tie tacks that we were given out at Beale. The Skunk Works did a magnificent job.

The SR71 program was the most classified program we had at Link and I will always treasure the experience of being associated with such a great aircraft.

Jack F. Carpenter


srpatch.gifSat, 29 Nov 2003 22:31  Craig Vrana, Civilian Writes: 

Recon System Support Contractor at Beale AFB, 1987 and RAF Mildenhall, 1987-88.


Craig Vrana, Civilian



srpatch.gifWed, 26 Nov 2003 12:23 Robert L. Jones, MSgt, USAF (Ret) Writes:

 All my years were with USAFSS. Had many opportunities to be associated with SR-71 operations regarding intelligence operations. Received an outstanding walk-around "reach out and touch" briefing from a Blackbird pilot last name Braden on Okinawa in 1972/73. Seen a bird on display in '87 at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. All the goodies taken out however. Absolutely nothing like it in all my travels. Thanks for the page. 

Robert L. Jones, MSgt, USAF ( Ret)


srpatch.gifWed, 26 Nov 2003 01:39 Bobby J. Cook, SMSgt (Ret) Writes: 

Provided support to this ole' Bird in my job as "Surveillance & Warning Supt" (USAFSS). A Bird of exquisite beauty that provided the Big Wheels with tons of data. 

We have a static display of one here in town at the Armament Museum. Great job!!

Bobby J. Cook, SMSgt (Ret)


srpatch.gif Tue, 25 Nov 2003 00:20 Lori L. Paul, Civ. Writes: During the early 90s the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) explored utilizing the SR-71 as an upper atmospheric research platform. I was JPL project coordinator for this effort. Projects were proposed that made use of proficiency flights for the SR-71 training aircraft flying out of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Facility at Edwards AFB in California. Proposals included collection of cometary dust particles high altitude, extended observations of a total solar eclipse; and chasing a Titan rocket launch with an SR-71 to analyze rocket plumes and their effect on atmospheric chemistry. The SR-71's high speed, altitude, and remote sensing capabilities, in addition to its heavy payload capacity, made the aircraft of special interest to several JPL scientists. The project ended when NASA (Code R, at the time) withdrew funding for proficiency flights (so-called "free" rides); however, the brief partnership between JPL and Dryden helped keep SR-71 Blackbirds flying during a time when total "retirement" was expected. It was my privilege to work for Dave Lux, the NASA SR-71 project manager at that time, along with such notable pilots as Buddy Brown and Rogers Smith. Standing on the wing of an SR-71 being serviced at Dryden (in order to apply an adhesive for collecting cometary particles and micrometeorites) was an exhilarating experience. Being present for launches was also an incredible thrill. I regret that JPL was never able to proceed with retrofitting a Blackbird as a sophisticated and useful flying research laboratory.

Lori L. Paul, Civ.


srpatch.gif Fri, 21 Nov 2003 09:45 Ed Edwards, MSgt, USAF (Retired) Writes: Provided Physical Security and Administrative Support to the SR-71's, as a Security Policeman; Base Publications-Forms Distribution Officer (PDO); Chief, Administration Communications and Postal Branch (Base Postal Officer); Acting First Sergeant (Mission Support Squadron), Base Assistant Administration Superintendent, Directorate of Administration (DA), Years: Oct 67-70 and 1981-1987. It was a honor to serve and support the SR-71 programs, at Beale Air Force, California (Home Station). SAC and Air Combat Command, 9th Wing and 9th Combat Support Group.

Ed Edwards, MSgt, USAF (Retired)
Received Two MSMs
1980 Air Force Enlisted Administrator of the Year

Email: None listed


srpatch.gif Sun, 16 Nov 2003 19:08 Willie Greene Jr, Retired Writes: 

Served in the 9th OMS and 9th Wing HQ. 

Received the Order of the Bat Cave. 1976 - 1979. 

Willie Greene Jr, Retired





srpatch.gifSun, 16 Nov 2003 12:33 MSgt. (Ret.) Bruce Blair Writes: Assigned to 9th SRW FMS Structural Repair Shop in 1979 until Oct. 1982. Then was assigned to the 17RW RAF Alconbury from 1982 till Oct 1985. I enjoyed working on the Blackbirds and will never forget the people I have met. It was the best time of my entire career. I do need help locating something. In 1983 at RAF Alconbury I built a 1/10 scale TR-1 aircraft for the wing building. This model was an all metal aircraft that took almost 1 year to complete. When I heard that the 17th RW went back to Beale, I wondered if the aircraft did also. If anyone out there could tell me about it I would be most grateful. I am currently building an SR-71 of the same scale.

MSgt. (Ret.) Bruce Blair


Tue, 11 Nov 2003 13:31 Maria Writes: Editors Note: I normally do not post emails to this page other than Blackbird related. BUT, here is Maria's feelings about our great Nation on this Veterans Day 2003. She is referring to Brian Shul's Patriotic Speech on this web site. Her email is unedited:

It is....hard to describe what goes thru the mind while reading those
words. many more, am an alien came to this country in search of the freedom that USA offers. in exchange, two of my children went into the USMC. one the oldest was there for almost three years then got a med discharge. he tried to fight it , he wanted to stay, wasn't possible. he was there from 96 to 99 he tried. my daughter went to basic at Parris Island. tried her hardest. she developed tendonitis in her anckles. she tried. I still believe that I owe this nation a debt of gratitud, it has given me what I could have never had in my own country, freedom and the right to be who and what I am. I am a mexican, living in USA. 
God Bless America!!
Maria Maloney 
Cincinnati Oh 

PS here is a graphic I created as an attachment. I hope you like it.


srpatch.gifTue, 11 Nov 2003 15:09 SSgt. Andrew T. Lobato Writes: As I read through the recollections the only name of enlisted personnel that I am absolutely sure I recognized was Eric Curtis. I did however recognize many of the names of the Crew Members that I was involved in dressing and undressing, I worked in PSD. I often wonder about the people I worked with in PSD.  I know many are no longer of this earth after all I was a mere child of 18 back then and many of the individuals I worked with were nearing retirement. I do look back with a sense of awe at the aircraft. With many great memories however foggy due to the consumption of massive amounts of alcohol at such a tender age. I was sad to learn that Col. Storrie is no longer around he was one of my favorite Crew Members what a character. Anyone involved with the project from PSD 68-71 that feels like contacting me will be welcome.
Thank You.
SSgt Andrew T. Lobato (Tim)


Editors Note: I think General Storrie is still amongst the living. If anyone can inform me as to otherwise, I will post it on this site.

srpatch.gifMon, 10 Nov 2003 14:43 SMSgt Jimmie Thompson Writes: 

I was in SAC at Beale AFB, California when the first SR-71 was received. Later I transferred to the SR-71 program and eventually worked as NCOIC of the Stability Augmentation System (Autopilot) for the SR-71. I am always interested in anything to do with the aircraft.

SMSgt Jimmie Thompson



srpatch.gifThu, 6 Nov 2003 12:46 CMSgt Peter Gleason Writes: Hi: I was stationed on Kadena late 1972 until July 1974. I work the KC-135Q, KC135A and the RC-135s. I been looking for a set of orders with my name on them going to Thailand on typhoon evac during that period. 

Charlie Snapp if you read this give me a call.

I watched the SR-71s fly almost every day. What a great airplane. 

CMSgt Peter Gleason



Wed, 5 Nov 2003 13:20 Richard Graham, Colonel, USAF (Ret) Writes: To All Habus: I received the following sad news from Ken Collins. Maj. Gen. (Ret) Mel Vojvodich died on 3 Nov after about a year of cancer treatment. He flew the first A-12 combat mission out of Okinawa in May 1967. I knew him since 1952 in Korea, 15th Tac Recon Sq. Graveside services will be held at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at 1315, Friday, 7 November.

Richard Graham, Colonel, USAF (Ret)

srpatch.gif Wed, 5 Nov 2003 21:43 Capt. C.E. Gino Fessler Writes: 

I served at Beale AFB CA. from March 1965 until retirement Oct. 1980. Before retiring I served as the 9th OMS Maintenance Supervisor. I keep in touch with a lot of retired SR-71 Troops by serving as their Tax preparer by going to Yuba City CA during each year's Tax Season. All in all I spent 15 Years in the SR-71 Program starting out as the 9th OMS Training NCO to 9 OMS Maintenance Supervisor.

Capt. C.E. Gino Fessler



srpatch.gif Wed, 5 Nov 2003 05:21 Scott Geary (Ret) Writes: 

I was a ground crew member at Beale on the SR-71 in 1979-1981. 

Then moved on to the fighter world F-4 and F-15's. 

Now working depot at Robins AFB F-15 section.

Scott Geary (Ret)



srpatch.gifWed, 29 Oct 2003 07:55 Staff Sgt. Loren Corbin Writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB from 1968-71, and worked on the SR-71 engine from 68-69. Then got transferred to the 456 FMS. I then had TDY to Kadena, Okinawa and worked on support group on SR-71. I worked with a great group. Sgts: Lederman, McComb, Robinson. Best buds were Tom Rash and John Hackett. Would love to hear from them. Worst time was when we had to clean old barracks that had been closed down in '69 after paint was thrown inside the 456 barracks and had to make them look as good as the new ones!! Remember going to Vicks drinking a few times. Sgt. Letterman's mustang came in handy.

Staff Sgt. Loren Corbin



srpatch.gif Wed, 22 Oct 2003 10:00 Steven Appel, SR-71 Crew Chief (61-7964) Writes: I retired from Active duty effective: 31 July 2003 with 20 years, 25 days TAFMS. I was working as an F-15 Debrief Section Chief and Computerized Fault Reporting System (CFRS) administrator which automates debriefing of F-15's. I was the top CFRS administrator/user in the USAF according to Boeing. I was the POC for CFRS within PACAF and Elmendorf AFB AK. Took awhile, but Boeing was in the need for a CFRS program manager for T-38 CFRS software install, which is a new requirement by the USAF. I was hired by Boeing and beat out 47 other applicants for the position. My SR-71 experience and commitment to excel enabled me to become the best of the best and subsequently hired by Boeing. Take care.

Steven Appel, SR-71 Crew Chief (61-7964)


srpatch.gifMon, 20 Oct 2003 23:04 Civilian Tech. Rep. Ray Troll Writes: 

Entered the SR-71 program March 1965. Went to Kadena first time in Feb.1971. Went To Beale A.F.B. Aug. 1973 as a Tech. Rep. APG And Avionics. 

Retired the end of January 1988.

Civilian Tech. Rep. Ray Troll



srpatch.gifTue, 14 Oct 2003 20:18:48 Sgt. Patrick Martin Writes: I was surprised not to be able to find anyone from my era when I stumbled upon this site today. I was actually just looking for a picture of the AG330 Start Cart to show my boss (I build flight simulators in Florida now).
I was at Beale from 1984-1989 in the AGE shop. I really had a lot of great times out there and I have to agree with everyone in that working with the SR-71 was an experience that few enjoyed and many envied. It's nice to see someone has created a forum for us "SAC Trained Killers" to reminisce and keep the memories alive.
Keep up the site and hope to see some familiar names in the future. I'll be checking. 

Sgt. Patrick Martin


srpatch.gifTue, 14 Oct 2003 13:51 SRA Robert Youker Writes: I was with PSD from Dec. '86 to Jan. '90. I had a great time and met alot of Great people. I worked with some of the best most professional people I have ever known. I have lost track with many of my friends over the years. I still keep in touch with a few like Big "E", Svetcos and Johnny P. . I remember John Adams, Chris B., Russ Jaynes, Todd "Wolfman" Wolfe, Al, Stevie, Lobo, Sharon, Scott, Jeff, Hawkins and all the others that were there from 86-90. What Terrific memories.

SRA Robert Youker



srpatch.gifTue, 7 Oct 2003 12:03 Lt Col (Ret) Tim Bennett Writes: 

KC-135Q PILOT from 1974 to 1978 at Beale AFB. Flew refueling missions from the UK to Thailand in support of the SR-71.

Lt Col (Ret) Tim Bennett 



srpatch.gifTue, 7 Oct 2003 11:52 CMSgt Steve Pennington, USAF, (Ret) Writes: 

I was with the unit when I returned from Danang. 1972-73. Was with Sandy Daunders, Floyd Jones, Tom Hawkins, and others. Was at the OL when the Vietnam War ended in '73 and watched the POWs return on the TV in the day room of 108. SLP

CMSgt Steve Pennington, USAF, (Ret)



srpatch.gifFri, 3 Oct 2003 13:03 Devin Parker, USAF MSgt, (Ret.) Writes: 

PSD Administrative Supt. from 86-88. Never got tired of watching that sucker rotate on take-off whether it was 3AM or 3PM!

Looking for someone who has contacts in Okinawa now who might be interested in corresponding. Am visiting son at Kadena (E-5, also assigned to PSD 91-93) in November 2003.

Thanks Much,

Devin Parker, USAF MSgt, (Ret.)


srpatch.gifWed, 1 Oct 2003 11:28 Leo R La France Writes: 

April 14 1958 Hired as assembler L/G 7 Pratt & Whitney United ,Florida.  April 14 1983 Retired as Foreman  I worked on the development of the J 58 D 20 In the assembly dept. & @ test area A & C. I was responsible for most areas of the engine for hot section inspection , turbine r&r, fuel control r&r A/B r&r. 
I was there for the Buick starter development.
I initiated the procedure of showing new employees the engines @ night in A/B to project the gravity of the program.

Leo R La France


srpatch.gifWed, 1 Oct 2003 07:31 MSgt Russell Bilby Writes:  My first assignment, straight out of tech. school, was to Det. 1, 9 SRW, Kadena AB Japan as an engine troop. I extended several times so my tour ended after 6 years (1982-1988). Even after 6 years of working the SR-71 I still got goose bumps whenever the Habu would taxi and take-off. As an engine troop, the Det. was about the best first assignment anyone could ask for because unlike most bases we worked everything an engine troop was expected to know. We worked the installed engines, spare engines, ran engines across test cell and maintained all the associated non-powered age as well.
Some of the people I remember working with are:,
TSgt Bob "Blue" Callow, SSgt Debbie Englke, SSgt Keith Harms, SSgt Harry Harrison, MSgt Mike McLean, SMSgt Bob Olsen, Sgt Bob Smith, TSgt Al Sefgis, Sgt Rickie Anthony, SSgt Tim Carr, Sgt Ed "Rosie" Rosario, Sgt Rose Cosby.

MSgt Russell Bilby


srpatch.gifColonel (Retired) Flanagan Writes: 

I was Chief of Maintenance at Det 2, 9th SRW 1976-1977. Was Maintenance Officer in 9th OMS and 9SRW Job Control 1977-1980.

Colonel (Retired) Flanagan




srpatch.gifTue, 30 Sep 2003 17:02 SMSgt Steven Hampton Writes: 

I enjoyed flying the KC-135Q and traveling the globe with the Habu and all of its support folks.

 I was at Beale from 16 SEP '76 until 08 JAN '80.

SMSgt Steven Hampton



srpatch.gifSat, 27 Sep 2003 16:24 MSgt Ronald J Paynter Writes: 

As NCOIC of the Physiological Support Division from 1973 to 1975, I would like to hear from any PT Tech/Pers Equip tech that was at Beale PSD during that time period.

MSgt Ronald J Paynter



srpatch.gifThu, 25 Sep 2003 09:37 Sgt. Steve Vinci Writes: 

Worked in PSD from 1971 through July 1974. Worked with some of the finest people I have ever met. Tim Zwiener, Bob Houck, Stretch Fields, Robby, Leonard Kania, Oscar Marquez and many others. 

I would enjoy someday seeing some of these fine people at one of the conventions.

Sgt. Steve Vinci



srpatch.gifTue, 23 Sep 2003 15:07 John J. Tonry, SSgt USAF (Ret) Writes: In 1968 I was TDY to OL-8 from Nov 68 to Mar 69 at the T-Hanger and living in Bks 109. Near Christmas time Chuck and Lee Weithoff and their cat asked if the 4 of us would like to have Christmas Dinner with them, which we quickly accepted. There was S/Sgt Joe Sheppard, T/Sgt Jimmy Huitt, S/Sgt Ray Collins and myself, S/Sgt John J. Tonry. We went to their apartment ( about the size of a large Metro Van).  Lee cooked a Turkey in her small stove; then biscuits and the rest of the trimmings. The dinner was one of the best I ever had while eating off our laps. After dinner Chuck ask if we would like to sight-see around Okinawa in their famous "Blue Max" a 1960 4 door Ford sedan, We all piled in and took off at Mach .001 and toured the island, We stopped at Suicide Cliff and saw where so many Okinawan's died needlessly. We had a great day thanks to Chuck and Lee. I have been in contact at Christmas time and they moved from Penn Valley,Ca to Albuquerque, NM. To be nearer to their families, I hope to call them this week as I pass through Albuquerque on my way to Louisiana. Chuck was the SAS/AP Honeywell Tech Rep at OL-8 for 18 years or so. Dear Lee she was an ex Marine. I dearly love their friendship. On a sad note, SSgt Joe Sheppard died shortly after we came back to the states while he was on a TDY to Hawaii in 1968. 

John J. Tonry, SSgt USAF (Ret)


srpatch.gifSat, 20 Sep 2003 20:13 Francis Mulhall Writes: 

Just wanted to say I hold 1 of 125 certificates of achievements. The award was aboard the 17972 when she crossed the nation to become enshrined at the Smithsonian. It was given to me By Colonel Tom Pugh. It is one of my most treasured pieces.

Sincerely Frank Mulhall



srpatch.gif Thu, 18 Sep 2003 07:41 Sgt. Robert P. Barabash Writes: Stationed Beale AFB. 1966/69, also OL8. 9th FMS Jet Engine Shop. Would like to hear from anyone there at same time period. I'm sure we all remember the very popular, and dreaded "RED X". These were some of the best years of my life, with a bunch of great guys. TO name a few, Sgt. Zisk (ZEAK), Sgt. Perriea (God-father to his daughter Kimberly-Ann) Sgt.Martin (Whitty), Sgt. Letterman (WILD BILL), Sgt. Goddard, Sgt. Danick (Bought his 57 Chevy pick-up-racked-up), Gardet, Roberts, Slick, Larry Martin, DeRosa, Haas, Robertson-(Drippy), Robinson (Stuff him in the inlet), Calahan, McComb (Won his hat in a card game), Chavarin, James, and many, many more. 

Sgt. Robert P. Barabash


srpatch.gifSat, 13 Sep 2003 11:34 (Senders Name and email address withheld by Editor). I received this email and have to pass it along to readers of these pages...unedited: 

Subject: arrura wide body SR-71

What do you know about the wide body version which has the standard SR-71 powerer plant
modified with 3 ram air gilled blast combustion chambers with roller turban generators around the exuast tube which generate electicity to seperat the hydrogen from the oxigen in the moisture from the atmosphere and burns on hydrogen and no other fuel soarse at 10,000 knots, as well as a spy plan this modle skipps out the atmosphere and launches satilites. The cockpit is about 8' x 10' deep and has toilet, refrigerator and a microwave and a coffey maker 3 man crew.?

Editor's response: I don't know anything about it. Send me a picture of it. 

Writer's Response: It looks very similar to the SR-71

Editor's Comment: Could this be a Kelly Johnson in the making?

srpatch.gif Sun, 14 Sep 2003 12:11 SSgt Matthew Kern Writes: I worked in the MPC and at 9RTS, in MDRDE/EMR. I remember one morning I woke up after yet another 20 hour shift at Kadena. Three other guys woke up in the same boat. We had a day off between shifts, and we were cooked from stress. We went to find Suntory Draft Beer- which we had heard rumor of but never seen. Twelve hours later we had run at least three bars out of the tiny kegs and had eaten more mysterious taco's at Charlies' than should be humanly possible.

Everything about my fellow Habu's was larger than life. I remember so many producing nearly superhuman effort on demand and on schedule. I doubt that it will ever be possible to explain to those around me today what every one of you did for the country. They would simply not believe it. I, however, will never forget it.

I will also never forget Mike Berry after being spread eagle in the mud when his badge flew down the flightline- and the SP's thought he looked suspicious. I suppose he did look suspicious, with that camera and all.

I encourage anyone who remembers me to call or email. 

SSgt Matthew Kern


srpatch.gifWed, 03 Sep 2003 21:35 John J. Tonry, SSgt USAF (Ret) Writes: I was in the program from Oct 1966 to Aug 1969. I was screwed in to the FB-111 program, which I hated. I was a recip eng mech at Columbus AFB working on C-47's having just returned from 4 years in Germany. I heard about a chance to cross train, so what the heck, I did and was transferred to Beale AFB in Northern Cal. I was assigned to the 9th SRW, Personnel at Columbus had no info on Beale so I went in the dark. I arrived at the Wheatland gate at night as a bird took off, I asked the airman at the gate what was that bird, he said what bird, I said "oops", I just stepped into the Black AF again. I was stationed at Lakenheath RAF Station in 1956 where the U-2s were flying out of there. I was one of 6 people who were being crossed trained. I was the only one who had aircraft experience. I worked in the SAS/AP shop in bld 1025. What a kick in the butt it was to work on the SR-71-A/B's. I saw 957 go down as many other did the only thing we ask was the crew OK. There was a T-38 in the landing pattern and he went up and over his back to see the crash site, and told the crew was sitting on one of the nacelles. USAF June 1955 to Dec 1975. 
My Blackbird Assn # is 272. 

John J. Tonry, SSgt USAF (Ret)


Many thanks for your wonderful website.

srpatch.gifFri, 29 Aug 2003 11:25 Bill Little (Capt) Writes: 

I just found the website and it is fantastic! Thanks to all who have contributed.

My fondest memories of being a Habu is the people, both maintenance and ops. I was the maintenance officer at Det 1 from 1976-78, so we had TDY technicians. During their many deployments I got to know and appreciate their ability, loyalism to the USAF and the SR-71, the hardships they endured with so many TDYs, and how, in spite of it all they lived up to being the very best, anywhere. 

Bill Little (Capt)



srpatch.gifFri, 11 Jul 2003 07:43 Dillard, Richard W OSCM(SW) (CNSP N7211)  Editor's Note:  I found this email humorous and worthy of sharing with the Blackbird Community.

Richard Writes: Excellent anecdotes below . . . 

In his book," Sled Driver," SR- 71 Blackbird pilot Brian Shul writes: "I'll always remember a certain radio exchange that occurred one day as Walt (my backseater) and I were screaming across Southern California 13 miles high. We were monitoring various radio transmissions from other aircraft as we entered Los Angeles airspace. Though they didn't really control us, they did monitor our movement across their scope. I heard a Cessna ask for a readout of its groundspeed. "90 knots" Center replied. Moments later, a Twin Beech required the same. "120 knots," Center answered. "We weren't the only ones proud of our groundspeed that day.. as almost instantly an F-18 smugly transmitted, "Ah, Center, Dusty 52 requests groundspeed readout." "There was a slight pause, then the response, 525 knots on the ground, Dusty". "Another silent pause. As I was thinking to myself how ripe a situation this was, I heard a familiar click of a radio transmission coming from my backseater. It was at that precise moment I realized Walt and I had become a real crew, for we were both thinking in unison. "Center, Aspen 20, you got a groundspeed readout for us? " There was a longer than normal pause...."Aspen, I show 1,742 knots" "No further inquiries were heard on that frequency"

In another famous SR-71 story, Los Angeles Center reported receiving a request for clearance to FL 600 (60,000ft). The incredulous controller, with some disdain in his voice, asked, "How do you plan to get up to 60,000
feet?" The pilot (obviously a sled driver), responded, " We don't plan to go up to it, we plan to go down to it."
He was cleared...

There's a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing, because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked". Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. "Ah", the fighter pilot remarked, " The dreaded Seven-Engine approach".

A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was your last known position?" Student: "When I was number one for takeoff".

Taxiing down the tarmac, the DC10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off. A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What, exactly, was the problem?" "The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine," explained the flight attendant. "It took us a while to find a new pilot."

"TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees.." "Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"  "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"

Dillard, Richard W

srpatch.gifFri, 18 Jul 2003 11:27 MSgt Menko D. Christoph (USAF, Ret.) Writes: Since I have not posted anything for a while, I thought I sound off and let everyone know I am still residing with my wife Sue in St. Peters, MO, and we are doing well. However, I do use different E-Mail addresses, for those of you who wish to communicate with me. I am using at home, and for travel or mobile access. Also, earlier in April I was able to visit with former fellow ANS technician Brian Swartz in Yuba City, and we visited Beale AFB together. I was surprised to see all the new construction going on at the base, including a brand spanking new control tower. The flight line looked pretty deserted, and I only saw three or four AFRC KC-135E/R Tankers on the North end of flight line and a couple of T-38C. Blackbird SR-71A 61-7963 is still on display below the old control tower, together with a D-21 drone sitting on a dolly. The old HABU still looks very impressive and appears to be in relatively "fair" condition. However, the tires have gone flat and the paint is somewhat faded. Unfortunately, the local bird population is also leaving their marks behind, and some of the visitors are removing (stealing) minor bits and pieces of hardware from the wheel well areas. Last but not least, I am sorry I was unable to attend the 15th Blackbird Reunion this year in Reno-Sparks, NV. But, I have every intention to make #16 in 2005.
Menko D. Christoph
9th AMS - ANS/Mobility/Analysis


srpatch.gif Sun, 13 Jul 2003 19:57 TSgt William Parker (Ret) Writes: Found this from someone on one of the Thailand Lists. I was with Det 1, 9SRW from Nov 1978 till May 1981. Was upstairs in the Supply main office and really enjoyed my 2 1/2 years with the program. I have plenty of found memories with the people that worked with the program. I saw some names I remembered but not the ones I was looking for. The Typhoons were some of the wild memories I have and the sports that the squadron was always involved with. We may have been a small out fit, but we had our share of sports players. Played with the Softball team and bowled also. I will be checking up on the site more often since I have found it.

TSgt William Parker (Ret)


srpatch.gifSun, 13 Jul 2003 22:20 Lew Williams, Lockheed (Retired) Writes: It is with regrets that I report that Paul Mellinger has lost his fight with cancer and passed away on June 25, 2003. As you know Paul was a person who was easy to be around and he loved the SR-71 program and all of the people that made it possible. As one who worked for him for close to twenty years I count my life rewarded for his influence in my life and I will truly miss him as I'm sure that many will also.
Lew Williams, Lockheed Ret.

Editors Addition: To me, he represented Lockheed and the SR-71's in a professional manner that showed his pride as being the "Head Skunk" at Beale AFB in California. He never shirked responsibility and was always there when the Air Force needed his professional expertise. In my book he was one of the "Greats" of the SR-71 program. I know I could have never formulated some of my web pages without his valuable assistance. His record keeping was meticulous and detailed. I know that I will do everything within my power to insure that others know how much of an influence he had on the day to day operations while the Blackbirds were flying. Rest in peace, Paul.

Leland Haynes, Webmaster, SR-71 Blackbirds

Paul and Margaret Mellinger, Lockheed ADP Skunk Works

Email Margaret Mellinger with your thoughts and condolences at this email address:

srpatch.gifThu, 3 Jul 2003 11:14 Gene Lock Writes: Sir, I am in search of a high altitude Recon photo that included the Sutter Buttes. It is 045-USAF-059R 17 Jul 68. Betting it was shot from a Beale bird, I am hoping you can tell me how one retrieves these unclassified images from USAF. (I'm a former B52 navigator--I can find Khe Sanh no problem, but not this photo). 

One SR 71 story: As you know, the SR 71s flew out of Kadena and other spots during the SEA times. As we pre-flighted the BUFF's in the early dark hours, we'd see (mostly hear) this black streak take off at Kadena. On our long daily flights between Guam and the war, I was often lead navigator in a wave of 6. Over the Philippines on the way back at 2AM local, we'd cut corners to get back "home" more quickly. The Philippines controllers would come on, asking for ID, as I would be pulling five BUFF's, about 40 miles off flight plan, but we'd stay silent. Some time, the controllers would pick on an SR-71, and repeatedly ask: Aircraft at (range and bearing), identify yourself. By the rapid change in range over a minute or so, it was obvious this wasn't a Flying Tiger headed for Ton Sanut. After about 5 minutes of this, a bass voice came over the radio: Lubang control, don't you worry, buddy. Ain't nooobody way up here but us." At 2 in the morning, it was funny, probably to no one but us.

If anyone has a source for the photo of Sutter Buttes taken from high altitude, I would appreciate an email response. Here is the USAF photo number: 045-USAF-059R 17 Jul 68

Gene Lock, Sacramento


srpatch.gifMon, 30 Jun 2003 11:28 Rick Keilholz (SSgt.) 100 OMS/ AMU Writes: I too was a crew chief on the HABU from 1976 to 1979 then again in 1984 when I left the AF. Looking at this site literally brought a lump to my throat. The aircraft I crewed is currently on display at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH. If memory serves, the cockpit windows are still covered so you cannot see inside. 

I would really like to here from some of the folks I worked with while stationed at Beale AFB, or TDY with to "THE ROCK"

Rick Keilholz, SSgt


srpatch.gifSat, 28 Jun 2003 22:30 Ed Bonza Writes: My name is Ed Bonza. I am the son of Louis F. Bonza. My Dad is still alive, mobile and lucid. He worked for Lockheed from 1940 until 1977 and was with the SR-71 from the approval date forward as one of the materials engineers, eventually retiring from the M-lab, Building 199 (maybe only meaningful if you are familiar with the Burbank plant layout). I believe he was the engineer responsible for the SR-71 cockpit windows, worked on the ever-difficult pitot tube connections, 900 degree F terminal blocks, etc. 
Wondered if there is anyone still doing historical documentation or interviews?

Thanks for all of your efforts on the web - It still is a magical subject for anyone that was associated with the program (1979 to 1993 ADP for me).

Ed Bonza


srpatch.gifFri, 27 Jun 2003 14:46 Linda F Doherty Writes: 

I was living in Okinawa, Japan in 1979-1981 and met a girl named Mary Winkler who was a DOD school teacher. We had many great times and have lost touch with her. I know she was dating a guy named Barry and he flew with Lee Shelton so If you can help me find any of these people it would gratefully appreciated. 

Thank you.

Linda Doherty


srpatch.gif Sat, 21 Jun 2003 20:53 CMSgt. William H. Reynolds Writes: I was assigned to the 4200th SRW in July 1965 and put in the 4200th OMS squadron. Shortly thereafter in October I was sent TDY to Edwards AFB. to learn about maintaining the SR-71 ( raise and lower wings, change tires, load drag chutes, preflight and postflight, service fuel, LN2, LOX, N2, TEB) and many other jobs that OMS had when we first got the aircraft. We worked on MSgt Gard's aircraft #953, TSgt Blemel's aircraft #955 and finally on MSgt Benjamin's aircraft #954. When I returned to Beale my job title was Flight Chief "A" Flight. In January 1966 we received our first SR-71 a "B" model, #957 which was assigned to my flight and TSgt Patrick was assigned as crew chief, with SSgt Willard Smith as his assistant. I remained "A" Flt. Chief till 1970 and I want to tell you I had the pleasure of working with some of the finest people in the USAF. Some examples are Earnest (POGO) Polejewski, Francis Tucci, Alvick Johnson, Don Carey, Leroy Hansen , I could go on and on. I ended up with 2 SR-71B's and 5 SR-71A's. I went TDY to Okinawa(OL-8) in 1968 and 1969, Then I was transferred PCS to Okinawa(OL-8) as the Maintenance Superintendent from 1970 to 1973. There are many real good tales I could tell about the happenings at (OL-8) but will save them for another time. Returned to Beale AFB and was assigned as NCOIC of Quality Control. Stayed there until March 1974 when I was assigned as advisor to the DCM: Colonel "Abe" Kardong. In Sept. 1974 I was selected as NCOIC of the maintenance and the maintenance troops for the speed run New York to London and putting the aircraft on static display at Farnborough Air Show, then getting the aircraft turned around for the speed run London to L.A. I was very fortunate that I had such outstanding people with me on the trip to England, I would especially like to thank my assistant SMSgt Polejewski and my crew chief TSgt Leland Haynes for an job well done. I stayed as advisor to the DCM until I retired on Aug. 31 1975.

CMSgt. William H. Reynolds


srpatch.gif Sat, 21 Jun 2003 20:56 Sgt. Richard Belton Writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB Jul '68 through Aug '70; 9th Supply Squadron. Previous bases were Goodfellow AFB, TX and Glasgow AFB, MT. Was OL-8 in '68 & '69. Room mates were Charles Talbert, Titus Jones, Pedro Alcazar, Virgil Adams. Capt. Harry Ornelas is as fine an officer and gentleman as I ever served with; likewise CMS Glenn Boyd and TSgt Ken Scott both now deceased. Others I recall are Tom Watkins, Dave Hollingsworth, Dale Nelson, Bobby Harris, Ray Wise, Leroy Weem, Maj. Mike, "Pop" Woods, Ed Powell, SSgt Bill Powell, Clarence "Doc" Jones, Mark Gordon, Rick Wagoner, Russ McCollem, Marvin Powell, Jim Adams, Roberto Abrego, SSgt Gravador, Donald Hall, and a host of others from OMS, AMS, FMS. Charlie Korte and Dale Nelson are two of my best friends and we have stayed in touch for 30+ years. If I haven't mentioned you, no offense intended; hope all who read this are well. 

I worked for DOD USAF for about 35 years at Tinker AFB, OK and McClellan AFB, CA prior to retiring and am now a teacher.

Best wishes to all,

Sgt. Richard Belton


srpatch.gif Sat, 21 Jun 2003 08:56 John C. Laskoski Writes: 

Did Security for the Blackbird from 1961 to 1968.



John C. Laskoski




srpatch.gifSun, 15 Jun 2003 23:22 Keith L. Timmons TSgt (Ret) Writes: I was assigned to the SR-71 Flight Test, 4200 OE&T at EAFB from May 1965 until July 1966. I then went to Beale AFB and was there for 5 years. I was at OL-8 in 1968,1969 and 1970. I also had several TDY recovery trips in that 5 years. We were at Kirkland AFB when A/C #977 went down at Beale and had to stay there while the fleet was grounded. We hadn't gone prepared for an extended stay, clothes, money, etc. In 1971 I went to Viet Nam and came back to Beale in '72 where I stayed until I retired in 1975. I had trips back to Okinawa in '73 & '74 plus going to Rome NY & Seymour Johnson AFB several times. Since retiring from the USAF in 1975, I helped build the space shuttle, Columbia; was a manufacturing engineer on the B-1B and the B-2. I worked on the ALCM flight test supporting the B-52 carrier A/C and for a few months made drones from F-86s. I have had a very interesting career but the highlight was the 9 years on the SR-71.

Keith L. Timmons TSgt (Ret)


srpatch.gifThu, 12 Jun 2003 15:53 CMSgt Mickie Cockrell (Ret) Writes: My association with the SR-71 is actually a family affair. It began in 1969 when my Dad, Mack followed-up an assignment to Viet Nam with one to Beale AFB and the 9th OMS. I was a freshman in high school at the time, and remember his excitement about being in such an elite unit. He spent all his time between the line and the supervision office. He made numerous trips to Kadena, and missed a lot of my baseball games as I remember. We were both big outdoorists, and spent a lot of time hunting and fishing, and that's where I came into contact with many of his work buddies. Frank Tucci, Bob Frazier, Art Enck, Roger Massey, Jesse Mabry, Dick Helms, Cecil MacCammond, and I can't remember his first name, but the last name was Green, were many of his favorite people. My Dad retired in July, 1973 and lived in Linda for a year or so before moving to the South East. I entered the AF in September of 73' and as luck would have it, received my first assignment to the 9th OMS! Man was I excited and so was my Dad! I started out on a recovery team, unfortunately can't remember a lot of names. Phil Sage, Larry Harris, Charlie Kerr, are a few of the ones I remember. I went to the phase dock after a couple of years and really loved it. In 1978 I was asked by Russ 
if I would consider coming into FTD as an APG instructor. I did and spent the next five years teaching system operation to maintenance and crew members. The entire 10 years I spent in the program was the best assignment of my 26 year career. If anyone remembers crossing paths at Beale, please 
contact me! 

CMSgt Mickie Cockrell (Ret)


srpatch.gif Fri, 6 Jun 2003 01:33 John A. Olp, MSgt (Ret) Writes: I was a member of the 9th FMS propulsion branch at Beale from 1975 to 1985. I was initially assigned to the J-57 engine shop but later transferred to the J-58 engine shop and then to the SR-71/U-2 engine conditioning section. I remember the memorable TDY's to Det 1, Okinawa, and the many SR-71 recovery missions and air show static displays. One of my most memorable recoveries was to Andrews AFB to repair an SR-71 left engine and wing that came apart during an air show demonstration (I still have a video of the incident taken during the air show). We took an outboard wing section from one of the aircraft hangared at Beale and a spare engine and loaded them on a C-5 aircraft. We stayed at a motel off base for about 11 days.  LtCol Budzinski was in charge of the repair effort and this was to be his last tdy before retiring.  LtCol Maury Rosenberg flew the plane back to Beale after the repairs. I left Beale in 1985 to fill a position at Det 5, Patrick AFB, Florida. I stayed there until they closed the detachment in 1991. From there I went to Osan AB, Korea for a year and then to Travis AFB, California where I retired in 1999. I now live in Vacaville, California and work in
Oakland for Rolls Royce Engine Services, overhauling turboprop engines for the navy's E-2C Hawkeyes. Would love to touch base with some of my co-workers from Beale or Patrick to dredge up old war stories over a couple
of cold ones.
John Olp, MSgt (Ret)


srpatch.gif Fri, 13 Jun 2003 22:14 Dan Gunter Writes: I first started work on the U-2 at D-M in Tucson, AZ. Then we consolidated in July 1976, that was my first taste of the SR. I worked in the egress shop which was located in between the SR and U-2 phase hangers.

Went on several TDY's with both aircraft. Okinawa, Mildenhall, Osan, U-Tapao and other locations. My memories of both aircraft and what they did are still vivid in my mind. Great bunch of guys and gals to work with. My time with the airplanes was from 1974 to 1982 with the U-2 and 1976 to 1982 with the SR.

I was part of an advanced team sent from U-Tapao in Feb. 1976 to Osan (OL-OA) to chase an atomic cloud. Man, was it cold. All we had on were jungle fatigues and that's about it. The base commander met our 135 on the apron and asked what we needed. Obviously, anything warm, within an hour we had all the cold weather gear we could handle, down to the bunny boots. Then we had to recover the airplane, which was not far behind us. At night, wind blowing, temperature close to zero. Mind you we just came from 80 degree weather. It was certainly a trip I will never forget. Of course, somewhat later OL-OA became Det.2 and I made a rotation there every year until 1981.

Dan Gunter


srpatch.gifFri, 6 Jun 2003 12:58 Gary Keller, MSgt (Retired) Writes: I was part of the 9th FMS fuel system repair shop from 1972 through 1975. Yes I was one of the fuel muckers. I will never forget the feeling I had walking into the hanger the day I reported to the shop and saw my first Blackbird. I worked on many different aircraft types both on active duty and through my Air Guard years but never on a plane that compared to the SR in character and uniqueness. Thanks to Jack Barry for getting me involved with the group, hope to make a convention sometime.

Gary Keller, MSgt (Retired)


srpatch.gifWed, 28 May 2003 07:35 Brig. Gen. Gerald E. McIlmoyle (Ret.) Writes: In August 1964 I was recruited by Lt. Col. Donald Crow, Branch Chief of the Future Systems Branch, Directorate of Plans, Headquarters Strategic Air Command (SAC) to assist in the writing of the Operational Concept for the employment of the SR-71. The code word for the program at the time was "Blue Feather" and access was controlled by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) which was under the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Alexander Flax. That plan when completed envisioned all available SR-71's being used for Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) in case of Strategic Nuclear Conflict using the Side Looking Radar (SLR) as the primary reconnaissance collection system. This system was selected because it was an all weather day/night system. This plan used the Strategic War Plan for reconnaissance target identification and route planning. The plan called for the launch and recovery of the SR-71's from the continental United States and typically used eight tankers per SR-71 reconnaissance sortie. The SR-71 Operational Concept was approved by the Commander of the Strategic Air Command in the fall of 1966 and briefed to Brig. Gen. Steakley of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Joint Reconnaissance Office (JRC). B/G Steakley questioned the ability of photo interpreters being able to decipher the product of the SLR. Although the Operational Concept was approved, it was never implemented.

Brig. Gen. Gerald E. McIlmoyle (Ret.) 


srpatch.gifWed, 21 May 2003 14:29 Lee Koukes ( Lockheed ) Writes: 

Still cannot tell all. Was in the Lockheed Works. U-2..YF12...or A12. Blackbirds production on the SR-71. At Lockheed from Years 1958-1970. Then went onto the L-1011 Tri-Star. Also on the F-104, P-2, P-S, F-94, etc..

I was at most different Areas when all the good stuff was going on.

Lee Koukes ( Lockheed )


srpatch.gif Sun, 18 May 2003 19:55 Sgt. Jimmie S. Brown Writes: I was assigned to the 9th SRW from June 1968 through January 1970. I was assigned to the INS shop. Had a TDY to OL8 from Oct. 1969 through Dec. 29, 1969. This assignment was one of the most exciting and satisfying things I did while in the U.S.A.F. I consider it as an honor and a privilege to have served in this unit that supported one of the most amazing and exciting airplanes in the U.S.A.F. inventory. It is a pity that it was taken out of service.

Sgt. Jimmie S. Brown



srpatch.gif Thu, 15 May 2003 15:26 Sgt. Charles D. Korte Writes: I had the pleasure of serving at Beale with the SR-71 from May 1966 to May 1969. Other than Basic Training and Tech School I spent my entire enlistment at Beale, or TDY with the SR-71. I served with many wonderful people, including CMSgt Glenn L. Boyd who passed away on 4/3/03. He retired at Beale and lived near the base. He was one of the finest people I have ever known. I served with a gentleman by the name of David F. Hollingsworth. I have been trying to locate him for years, but have had no luck. If anyone knows how to contact him, I would appreciate a reply, or you can have him contact me at Those years at Beale were some of the best of my life.

God bless all of you.

Sgt. Charles D. Korte


srpatch.gif08/27/02 03:26 Jack Keating, USNA Company 20 Writes: Editors Note: Forwarded by Connie Seagroves's daughter: Jenny Dunn. I believe I met Connie Seagroves once. On that occasion his super, "Acta non Verba" approach to our security problem, made me proud to be a classmate. At Beale AFB in 1966 my team had a lot of SR-71 related installation work to do in a very short time and in a very spooky way. Connie eliminated a big union worker squawk which could have resulted in a several month delay getting union electricians National Security Clearances. We had asked his Base boss to solve it. It was given to Connie for action. He and I met for a 5 minute brain drain after which he Roger'ed and left. Next morning a new concrete wall blocked off any access to my assigned space without the proper security badge. He did leave one floor level block missing so that the Union guys could stuff thru our cables. That kept the union happy. It was guys like Connie Seagroves in this country who made it possible to do an impossible 6 year project in 2 years and on budget. FFP. Thanks Connie. 

Jack Keating


srpatch.gif05/01/03 05:58 PM Sgt D. Richard Eunice, Sensei Writes: I arrived at Beale in January of 1966 with the rank of A3C and right out of photo school. I was assigned to the Base Photo Lab and the 9th RTS after it was reactivated. I got out in 1969 with the rank of Sgt. The SR took off over a fence at the end of the runway. I understand the runway has been moved since then. Some newspaper photographers stood on the other side of the fence one day and took photos of the SR as it took off. The AP's went to where they were and destroyed the film. That caused one big blowup and ended up with US Senators getting involved. If I was asked, the SR-71 did not exist. I was there when the first one came to Beale in January of 1966. That aircraft was so secret we could not even acknowledge it existed under penalty of going to prison. I remember taking a picture of the front cockpit one time. I was told to forget what I had seen and photographed. My own boss was not even allowed to see the photos and I was locked in the darkroom while I did the work. I had been given specific orders by a Major that he was the only one who would sign for the photos. When a Lt. came down to get them, I refused to give them to him and he chewed me from one end to the other but I stuck to my guns. The major came down and got them and nothing was ever said about it again. The most vivid memory I have of that bird was the long purple flame that came out the back when it took off one day right at dark. It was a beautiful sight and one I will never forget. My girlfriend has won many contest building models and is a master builder. She found a model of the SR and is building it for me. The one she is doing has the drone on it but the original ones at Beale did not have a drone on it. If any of the movie film of the original SR's stationed at Beale still exist, you will see my name on a board we used to signify who was on the movie camera that day. If anything happened to the SR while it was in sight and we had not captured it on film, our orders were to go ahead and remove our stripes. Thing is I did not have but one. 

D. Richard Eunice, Sgt


srpatch.gif04/28/03 3:04 PM Sgt Mike Minier Writes: What a site! Just stumbled on and the memories flooded back. I went to the 4200 OMS right out of Tech School in May '66 Stayed until June '69 Remember getting rid of my blue & white vinyl ball cap when we changed to the 9th OMS. Most of the memories a great but I still remember standing at the end of the runway, as a launch team member on 10 Oct. 1968 and watched #977 not make it off the ground !
I was on the first team to OL-8 helped unpack our gear and haul the wood to the local dump bet they built some fine houses with all that wood. Have gotten in touch with Don Person, Joe Satterwhite, and Paul Schwarz with the help of this , Thanks for the memories and again for the site.

Sgt Mike Minier


srpatch.gif04/26/03 7:08 PM SSgt Ed Francisco Writes: I was assigned to the 9th OMS at Beale AFB in May 0f 1967. I worked on the SR 71 as a Aircraft Technician in the Phase Dock Area. Left for Southeast Asia in May 1968 and returned to Beale in May of 1969. Did several TDY's to Okinawa for Habu duty in Phase. Helped with the over phone (Amateur Radio Link) Call sign KR6FB at the hanger and KR6NGO at the barracks. Norm Van Hess was also a ham operator there at the time, with his ham radio setup in the barracks.
Left the Air Force in 1970.

SSgt Ed Francisco



srpatch.gifSun, 6 Apr 2003 07:50 TD Barnes, Webmaster for the Roadrunners submitted the following information:

April 2, 2003
Billy Pryor
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF, Ret

Roadrunners Internationale regrets having to inform its members of the passing of Billy Pryor, age 83. 

Bill and Colleen had just celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary March 11th. Bill a salt of the earth NCO, good friend and all around top notch individual, will be remembered for his part in designating the Roadrunner identity for those participating in Project Oxcart at Groom Lake.

Memorial service for Billy was held at St. Elizabeth Church, Pflugerville, Texas, Saturday at 2;00 P.M. Internment will be in Milwaukee at a later date. 

A personalized paver in his name will be placed in the Blackbird Heritage Courtyard with other deceased Roadrunners at the Blackbird Airpark, located at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California. After his paver is engraved and installed in the courtyard, Colleen will be sent a paver certificate and locator card.

srpatch.gifSun, 6 Apr 2003 17:20 Sgt. Lawrence B. Hart Writes: 

Trying to locate Randy Pean, Tom Bailey, Dick George, Bob Ballard (HANK).



Sgt. Lawrence B. Hart



srpatch.gifMon, 31 Mar 2003 18:52 Tom S. Jones, MSgt, USAF, (Ret.) Writes: When stationed at Strategic Air Command (back then) Ellsworth AFB, near Rapid City, South Dakota, I was working on the instrument landing system, the localizer station, which sits several hundred yards directly from the end of the runway, and transmits, by radio, runway centerline guidance to approaching aircraft. I spent a lot of time there, and heard a lot of planes, B-52, C141, C5, RC135, KC135, etc landing over me, at an altitude of 100-150 feet.. in all cases, there were very noticeable wind vortices which could be easily heard coming from wingtips and what not, well after the plane passed overhead. Not so with the SR- 71, as it flew over me to land, there was almost absolute silence. Before and since then, the SR-71 has always been my absolute favorite aircraft. To this very day it looks razor sharp to my eyes..

Tom S. Jones, MSgt, USAF, (Ret.)


srpatch.gifFri, 28 Mar 2003 14:59 TSgt John Floe Writes: My first base was at Beale working at 9 OMS as a crew chief, from 1981-1987. I then PCS to Det 1 from 1987 - 1989, with a follow on back to Beale working the TR-1/U-2R from 1990 - 1995 as an instructor at Field Training Detachment 525. I then moved to Airman Leadership School at Beale and taught for six years. I am now working at the family support center as the readiness NCO, helping deployed families. I have been in the Air Force now for 22 years and have been in three wings, 9 SRW, 9th Wing, and 9 RW. I think our mission and the people that have served here at Beale is the best in the Air Force.

TSgt John Floe


srpatch.gif Sun, 23 Mar 2003 08:05 James R. Bremner, TSgt Writes: Jim Bremner ("Roundman" as Relja used to call me) Crew Chief/Job Control 1974-1980. I want to throw a name out there and see if anyone remembers it or is familiar with it. David L. Perier. I'm not sure of his involvement i.e. SR-71/YF-12/A-?? If anyone knows of this fellow you can e-mail me at: OR
Hello to everyone past and present SR/U2 and everything else! MIKE MOORE Electric Shop are you out there??

H A B U !!

James R. Bremner, TSgt


srpatch.gifFri, 14 Mar 2003 17:55 A1C James Tilghman Writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB from June 1966 to December 1967. My unit was the 456 Combat Defense Squadron (Changed to 456 Security Police Squadron).  Many are the nights and days I guarded the "Soul Plane" either at the hangers or the entry point at FTS. When in the alert area we could get a good look at the crew and would salute and they would return same. The biggest kick for me was one day I was guarding a B52 in the Alert area and this F4 kept doing a touch and go. As you know when the SR comes in it is more vertical and pretty quiet. This particular day the F4 does its touch and go and soon afterwards the SR is coming in....suddenly it hits the Afterburners and thunders horizontal over the runway and turns nose up!!  Man, that was some flying. Even though I was assigned to the 456 SAW we still thought of the 9th as being our own. Most of us volunteered for duty to SEA so I never saw the plane again. Master Sergeant Haynes.....thanks for the memories.

A1C James Tilghman


srpatch.gifThu, 6 Mar 2003 13:12 Sgt. Chris Blake Writes: I was working on the flight line in the 9th OMS from '79 to '82. I worked on #956 a lot. I have lost touch with most everybody but would love to hear from you if we worked together. I am in Swansea, MA perhaps we can hook up and tell stories. Anybody know the whereabouts of Bob Huppe? How about Skip Lessard or Mario Petrillo?

Fair Winds.

Sgt. Chris Blake



srpatch.gifTue, 4 Mar 2003 22:01 A1C Mark E Walton Writes: My first duty station out of tech school (Chanute AFB) was Beale, AFB. I was assigned to the 456th OMS working the BPO teams of the KC-135Q?s from 1973 to 1974. Some great memories and some of the best times of my life were at Beale and with the 456th OMS. My team lead was MSGT Garland Strickland (The General) on the BPO team. I then moved to the Phase team in the phase hanger down by the alert pad. I received orders to Yokota so I was moved to the Turn Around Team and worked this for 6 months until my PCS. Some of the people I worked with were: SMSgt Yates, Sgt Carl Thorton, Sgt Louie Martinez, A1C Bruce Goessel and A1C Craig Johnson. Would like to know the origin of the Beale Bandits because when I was at Beale, there was a big theft issue so we called ourselves the Beale Bandits. When I say theft issue, someone was taking the huge toolboxes out of the phase hanger. I was there when we consolidated the tool kits. I also remember a lot of gas disappearing from the AGE equipment as this was during the gas shortage. My TDY's included: two weeks in Hawaii in '73 with an average of 18 hours on the line, flying from Beale to Davis Montham to Griffiss, to Whitman, to McConnell to Thule to Griffiss with an 8 hour at McConnell and a 9 hour at Thule. We then spent three weeks at Griffiss during the Yom Kippur War of '73. I spent 2 months at Kadena, Okinawa. My memories of Kadena were of the distance between the barracks and the flight line, BC Street, Kobe Beef, and the snakes. I loved watching the SR-71 taking off especially at dusk. Then the fly-bys with the T-38's in formation. The flight line would get so hot that one day we cooked an egg on the wing of a KC. Yuba City and Marysville were some great times. Cursing Hwy 20 in my '73 blue Duster. The peach orchards, Camp Far West Reservoir, the rice fields, Grass Valley, the bridges over the river, the Wagon Wheel restaurant, the DQ and all the parties. In 2000, I lived in Reno and made a trip back to the old grounds. The mall on the way to the base is now a community center (remember a guy streaking that mall naked on a motorcycle), there are now parks under the bridges instead of sand bars (brothers truck got stuck), the Wagon Wheel is still there, the Foster Freeze is gone as are the apartments I lived in just down the street from the Foster Freeze. Both towns have grown quite a bit. 

Thanks for the great site. I have forgotten many people in my years but this site is a good start to rekindle friendships. There are also some other sites like where you can register for free.

A1C Mark E Walton


srpatch.gif Sun, 2 Mar 2003 17:02 Sgt. Phil Bryant Writes: What a great site! I was assigned to OMS support/servicing branch from Sept. 69-Apr73. I had three trips to OL/KA and OL/RK. Had a lot of good times and fond memories while stationed at Beale. For our 30th wedding anniversary in 1999 returned to Beale and Marysville, saw #962. In 2001 at Richmond, Va. was able to take two of my kids to see #968. I remember one time in Okinawa working the afternoon shift driving to the T-hanger from barracks 107. I was on the road next to the golf course. Along side of the road was a SSgt. hitchhiking, so I stop and offer him a ride as he was going to work himself. He worked the flight line fire department. We started talking and he knew from my hat and OL patch where I worked without me telling him. He starts telling me as a fireman they watch all the launches and landings, what a great aircraft the HABU is but one thing he did not know about the HABU, he said it has a pilot and co-pilot but what he wanted to know is what the guy in the back does? After the SR turns off the runway he tells me the guy in the back has two little doors open and hasn't figured out yet what this third person does! I just smile and tell him its classified information. Those two little doors the fireman was talking about are the drag chute doors.

Sgt. Phil Bryant


Sat, 1 Mar 2003 07:59 James F. Shively, A1C, Sgt. Writes: 

Assigned to 9th SRW/9th RTS from June 1972 to April 1974 as an electronic data analyst. I am trying to locate two people I was stationed with. Kent Benn III from Washington state and Marty Randolph.

James F. Shively, A1C, Sgt.


srpatch.gifThu, 20 Feb 2003 20:30 Sgt Gayle Johnson Writes: 

Processed film from the SR-71: At Yakota AB, Japan, 67th. RTS from 8/70 to 5/71 (unit shut down); At Hickam AB, Hawaii, 548th. RTG from 5/71 to 5/73. 

The missions were flown out of Kadena, and the film was then "forwarded" to us for processing, printing, and distribution. Of course, we never even saw the plane, but we felt (and still feel) proud just to be associated with it.

Sgt Gayle Johnson 


srpatch.gifMon, 17 Feb 2003 16:47 AIC Edward A. Egging Writes: I was assigned to the PSD at Beale from 1971 to 1975. Trained, worked and suited up the SR-71 crews. I can be seen suiting up Major Sullivan in the video about the speed run from New York to London. I have an information packet handed out the day of THE FLIGHT autographed by the crew members. I also have a Golden pin that was in the space suit worn by Major Widdifield. I was 19 years old when first assigned to Beale AFB and single. Many wonderful stories about life living on the CAMP and Kadena. I was always going TDY to Okinawa, turned 21 years old while there...and that's another story.....

AIC Edward A. Egging


srpatch.gif Sun, 16 Feb 2003 12:19 Gary Klein SSgt Writes: Love your site. I spend a lot of time just reading items here. I was stationed at Beale from '80 to '85 in the Nephographic (Photo) shop. I worked with some great people and had some really good card games going in Photo 2. I spent over a year at Det 2. I also went TDY to Egypt; opened Patrick AFB Det; spent time on Okinawa; spent my coldest winter ever at Eileson AFB. Thanks for the memories. 


Gary Izzy Klein


Email: gklein @

srpatch.gifTue, 11 Feb 2003 13:03 Captain Walter E. Gray Jr. Writes:

 I was a member of the 9th RTS at Beale AFB from 1967 thru 1970. The memories are too numerable and too old to recount accurately. Marysville-Yuba City...Lake Tahoe...San Francisco...Saigon...Tokyo....and just plain sitting at the end of the runway watching the 71 take-off.....Great memories.


Captain Walter E. Gray Jr. 


srpatch.gifSun, 9 Feb 2003 09:11  Leslie Stenehjem, A1C  Writes: 

Ninth Field Maintenance Squadron, Fuel Cell Shop. Beale AFB. 1980. 

How is Steve Elway

I did not vote for Clinton!


Leslie Stenehjem, A1C


srpatch.gifWed, 5 Feb 2003 14:09 Major (Ret) James Keck Writes: I was at Beale in the 903rd and 9th Air Refueling Squadrons between 2/72 through 5/79. I was that 1lt AC on a KC that had to have 10 solos with a crew to carry passengers and didn't have enough time in SAC to sign my own flight plan. I was allowed to go to Okinawa in June of '73 only if I had a field grade navigator. A year later General Storrie (then a Colonel) rode in the jump seat for that long takeoff out of Hickam. I think he put a permanent dent in the side of the pilot seat trying to pedal faster during the long take off and right turn to the ocean with the gear in transit. I believe this was his first deployment after his tour at AF Headquarters. The best flying I have ever done was supporting the SR-71. Two speed runs and many ops sorties later, I retired in 1990 in San Antonio, TX.  I've spent the last twelve and a half years designing and testing life support and medical equipment for the Air Force. During the time I've also done some large format Ink Jet Printer design. The Web site is super. I've been trying to locate Don Roundman &  Shull. He is a 903rd AC about 1973--1975.

Major (Ret) James Keck


srpatch.gifTue, 4 Feb 2003 20:00 Richard L Minton SSgt, Ret. Writes: I was stationed at Edwards & Beale from the first part of May 1965 till march 1970 when I was assigned to Vietnam. I retried on 31 Nov. 1973. I was assigned to the Electric shop, I still have all my patches. I went OL-8 3 or 4 times Being assigned to the 9th FMS was the best time of my life. Thanks for the help with the 7 level test. You know who you are.


 Richard L Minton SSgt, Ret.



srpatch.gifTue, 4 Feb 2003 16:37 SMSgt Merle L. Jones Writes: I was assigned to the 100th SRW at DMAFB, Tucson, Arizona from 1973 to July of 1976. This was the U-2R and U-2C Automatic Flight Control Systems Shop. In July of 1976, I transferred from DMAFB, Tucson, Arizona to Beale Air Force Base, Marysville, California combining the SR-71 and the U-2 programs. I was 
the Automatic Flight Control Systems and Instrument Systems Branch Chief assigned to the 9th AMS. I retired from Beale AFB in October of 1979. I returned to Tucson, Arizona and worked for Lear Jet Corporation for six years. 


 SMSgt Merle L. Jones


srpatch.gifSun, 2 Feb 2003 20:14 LTC Whitt Latham (Ret) Writes: I was assigned to the 9RTS in August 1965 as the Chief of the Photo Interpretation Division. I got there a few months before  (Major General) Doug Nelson landed the first SR71 at Beale. We were training the entire time to understand the capabilities of the sensor system and to be able to process those thousands of feet of film. I joined up with several of my friends from past assignments to include John Paulman, Bill Porter, Chuck Bailey and many more. I was selected to travel with the briefing team to Europe and Asia to educate on the capabilities of the entire system. Young David Dews and I taught the overseas commands about the sensors and products from each recce mission. I was transferred to the SAC RECON Center in 1969 as the sensor planner along with Marty Olsen and others. The RTS operated a mobile photographic processing and interpretation center SARPF at Saigon for several years. I was the Operations Officer there with John Paulman and Mel Tiemann as detachment commanders. I think that I hold the singular distinction of being the only photo interpreter shot in Viet Nam. I was dispatched to Kadena to give the confirmation that all known order of battle in North Vietnam was unchanged for the launch of the rescue mission at Son Tay POW Camp. The SR-71 was the vehicle capable of covering all the ingress and egress routes in a single mission. I was dispatched to Kadena at the time of the massive withdrawal from Vietnam by the US military to provide photo confirmation of the NVA positions as they moved south to Saigon. The SR-71 was the only recon platform that could fly over Vietnam with virtually zero probability of being brought down by enemy fire. This assignment was the highlight of my Air Force career. 

LTC Whitt Latham (Ret)


srpatch.gif Sun, 2 Feb 2003 06:50 Major (Ret) Joe Thompson Writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB right after Technical School to the 9th FMS Fuel shop in February 1970. The two experiences that always sticks out in my mind are:

1) The first is being asked to assist the hydraulic shop while on TDY to OL-8 Okinawa! Because of my size I was asked to climb-crawl or shimmy into the "Spike Center-body" to remove and replace a leaking Hydraulic line in order to make the aircraft mission capable. It took two hydraulic guys to hold my feet and lower me through the opening, and about two hours to "R and R" the line. I remember the heat and and being given cokes through the access plate to keep away the thirst and to stay hydrated. The hydraulic shop repairman would pass tools and instructions to me on the system. It was about a two hour job but my very skinny 19 year old size came in handy and saved much down time. We worked for MSgt Carle

2) The second is on the humorous side of life at "OKI", maybe better stated as the mischief side of life and why the OL-8 Commander was always on the rug at Base Commander's office. An example of these events are changing the base movie theater signs to "How the HABU won the west". Or the relocating of a model Rocket made of 55 GAL drums from the Kadena fair on the football field behind the barracks to the top of the bus-stop on the street side of the barracks. The Habu-Mongoose fights come to mind or the writing of the word HABU on everything on base or downtown in the red-light district. Like stenciling the words "HABU Approved" after being "serviced in one of the bars" or like renaming of a Hot-dog to the HABU-STEAK in the break room on the flight-line! Most of these incidents took place in 1970. 

I rose through the ranks and later received a commission. I realized shortly after getting my butt chewed for what my troops did or did not do in my career and what I put the OL-8 Officers through as 19 year old E-3! Hey Guys---- I owe you a beer!

Gentlemen This WEB site has brought back a lot of memories ..............thank you. 

Major (Ret) Joe Thompson


srpatch.gifThu, 30 Jan 2003 10:17 TSgt Stan Pascua Writes: 

Stationed at Beale AFB 1978 through 1984 Photo Shop. 

Been to DET1 and DET4. 

Worked on both U2 and SR-71. Been on several TDYs.

TSgt Stan Pascua



srpatch.gifTue, 28 Jan 2003 09:08 Sgt. Chris Baxter Writes: I requested Beale AFB on my "dream sheet" right out of Tech School. My dad was stationed at Beale (in PMEL), so I knew if I got Beale, I would also "get" the SR-71. I was in AMS in the Nav Shop. Some of the memories at Beale are the "burger burns" on Fridays, Dick's Deli, driving the dispatch van for a week at a time. I'll never forget the MSET Eval (ILS functional check) in the cockpit of an SR in full chem-warfare garb in the middle of August. I think I lost a pound or two. Sweat literally poured out of the gloves when I finally finished!  Some names....Vince Restivo, Larry Baumann, Dave Boynton, Marty Hill, Larry Mertz, Bill Mercier, Buddy Williams, Joe Misulich, The Roses, Chuck Bertelson, Mike Sprague, Mike Waldorff, Chad Mobeck, BJ Rollison, Dexter Duran. Does anybody know the whereabouts of any of these folks? Where have they all gone? Colonel "Z", Allison, and Shelton from Det 1. Dave, the Comm 3 rep, and Smith, the MRS rep? 
In all of my adventures after Det 1, I have yet to experience the teamwork we had in Okinawa. Everybody pulling together for the mission. I was assigned to Special Air Missions at Andrews AFB from Okinawa, and was completely let down. I thought the folks working the S.A.M. and Presidential would be a tight bunch, but found them to be pale in comparison. It was certainly life-building being in the program.......... 

Sgt. Chris Baxter


srpatch.gifFri, 17 Jan 2003 17:10 TSgt Gene Bloodworth Writes: Thank you for this web site.  It has brought back a lot of good memories. I have seen a lot of friends names on here. I worked at Beale, in the one and only Phase Dock . Some of the people I would like to find would be MSgt Floyd Jones, MSgt Jerry Jackson, MSgt Dave Stauffer, A1C Gary Wade, SSgt Dave Greene
There are so many others I would like to find and talk with. Again I want to say thanks.

TSgt Gene Bloodworth 


srpatch.gif Fri, 17 Jan 2003 20:43 Sgt Neal Pinkowski Writes: 

Former crew chief on KC-135Q 59-1520 at Kadena in 71+72. Relieve many fond memories by visiting this site. Any chance that anyone out there may remember me? One of my favorite pilots was a Major John Nasholtz. Probably spelled the name wrong and I apologize. Such a long day but worth the experience. Drop me a line anyone. 

Sgt Neal Pinkowski


srpatch.gifTue, 14 Jan 2003 09:37 Lt. Col. Earl J. McGill Writes: 


I'm looking for Bob Locke.


Lt. Col. Earl J. McGill



srpatch.gifMon, 13 Jan 2003 16:43 SSgt Jeffery G. Scism Writes: 

I was stationed at Physiological Support Division from December 1979- May 1982.

Interested in contacts who were "same time" PSD/Pilots/RSOs.


SSgt Jeffery G. Scism



srpatch.gifWed, 8 Jan 2003 04:06 MSgt Frank McEvoy Writes: 

I was stationed at Det 1 from 84-89. Worked in the vans processing the film. 

Had a great time and loved the folks I worked with.


MSgt Frank McEvoy


srpatch.gifTue, 7 Jan 2003 16:37 Daniel Freeman, TSgt USAF (Ret) Writes: 

Editor's Note: Email forwarded by David Allison @Habu.Org.

As a Machinist, one of our most important jobs was to rebuild the SR-71 engine inlet forward by-pass doors. With these books I can show others that the job we did in fitting these doors was critical to the SR-71's performance. The following is an excerpt from my personal manuscript:
When we rebuilt those doors, we were highly motivated and made sure it was right. Mr. LW (Our Lockheed Tech Rep) said the better we make them fit the faster she'll fly. We even designed our own tools and fixtures some of which were incorporated in the tech data. The process of this job was extensive, a lot of measuring, disassembly, repairing, setting, checking, drilling, fitting, installing, shimming, and checking again. One has to account for thermal dynamics to realize how difficult this could be (expansion, warping, etc.) There are breakout limits and droop tolerances to meet. The doors would go in and out several times for rework in order for them to be right. The four door segments had to match fit the nacelle opening with tolerances of plus or minus .015", that's like five hairs, working on four to five-foot diameters. The measurements of the openings varied. Hundreds of titanium screws, rivets, nuts. Aluminum bronze seals had to be machined to fit and adjusted to match the varied dimensions. Everything had to be right so that it would still operate in the extreme pressure and temperature variations of flight. To understand how this process can be accomplished one would have to come to the realization that the perceived impossible can be done. The systems of fits can only be theory is the blackbird world. Different materials, new metal alloys, sizes, mechanical operation and variable temperatures and pressures at variable locations. Could it be just luck? Upon arrival at the 9th Maintenance Squadron you were given a ball cap with a squadron logo patch with the words - IT WILL BE DONE -.

Thank you,
Daniel Freeman, TSgt USAF (Ret)
Chief Metals Technology,
SEI code 42 (Machine Shop)
9FMS, 9thSRW


srpatch.gif Mon, 6 Jan 2003 20:01 P&WA FRDC Test Stand Operator Plus: Fred R. Buckles Writes:

Tested J58 engines [and many others] at FRDC from Jan. 1959 on until mid 1970's. We had no idea what we were working on for quite a while. The day we saw it, The Plane, was on the front page of the Palm Beach Post newspaper, and at a local Model Shop. 

Fred R. Buckles


Email: WWW.Bucky

srpatch.gifMon, 06 Jan 2003 16:11 Ron Schlenker Writes: 

Just wanted to let you know that Major Bobby Campbell passed away Jan. 03, 2003 here in Bossier City, La. Services will be held later this week in Wichita, KS. I don't know if you had received any information on this or not. 

Ron Schlenker



srpatch.gifFri, 3 Jan 2003 09:17 CMS James O. Grimm Writes: Your SR-71 Website is outstanding and is definitely a valuable tool which can be used to convey the SR-71 message. Perusing the comment pages, I find that there are very few comments related to the photo precision processing technicians who produced the invaluable imagery taken by the SR-71---imagery that was not only directly used to formulate strategic intelligence plans of the Cold War, but was also used to assist the United States and its allies in maintaining our cherished freedoms. After 26 1/2 years as NCOIC of directly supporting many different types of aerial reconnaissance platforms, the SR-71 was one of the best intelligence collecting vehicles produced. However, we must give credit to the photographic laboratory personnel who processed and reproduced the imagery for intelligence planning purposes. Without this final intelligence product, there was no need for the next SR-71 mission. Because of the exacting image collection requirements and the high expenses of each mission, the photographic laboratory was required to operate under precisely controlled environmental and operating conditions, and each technician was required to undergo technical training in all phases of precision photo processing. The philosophy in the lab was " you can't lose this mission because of a screw up!" During my last assignment at Wiesbaden AB, Germany,1967-1972,we were required to provide precision photo processing support for all SR-71 operations out of Mildenhall AB, England. This commitment, in addition to our existing Cold War intelligence support, required the development of special processing and reproduction standards, and additional training for laboratory technicians. This was a two year project--- because of the uniqueness of the SR-71 missions, specialized equipment, chemistry, and film handling techniques had to be merged into existing laboratory operations. In summary, although the SR-71 was a great intelligence collection vehicle, there would be no intelligence if it were not for the precision photo processing laboratory and assigned technicians who professionally provided the final product. I consider these technicians to be an integral part of the SR-71 program.

CMS James O. Grimm 


Fri, 3 Jan 2003 14:03 Susan Minter Hurtle Writes: My Dad is Major General Charles F. Minter, Sr. When we were assigned to Beale AFB in December 1966, Dad was the Vice Commander of the 9th SRW, then became Commander in June 1969. I lived at the stables with all the other SR-71 brats, and to this day, those were the best times of my life, as I know they were for Dad, as far as his Air Force career was concerned. Mom and I stay in close contact with Major General Pat Halloran and keep up with the Blackbird "goings-on". I am the secretary to the Commander at the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Barksdale AFB, and am looking forward to receiving our Static Display of the SR-71 here at Barksdale's 8th Air Force Museum. I would love to hear from anyone from the good ole' HABU days! 

Susan Minter Hurtle


Fri, 3 Jan 2003 00:45 SSgt (Ret) Jerry Watkins Writes: 

Hello to all who served in the Blue suit. I was in from 1980-2000 retired in Aug 2000 from 62nd AGS McChord AFB. My First Base was Little Rock AFB in the 314th AMS (from 81-84) as a 32850 Radio troop and going TDY to RAF Mildenhall for several rotations, it was always great watching the SR and the Q models take off every morning before I went to sleep (working night shift12-8am) my best memory of the SR was watching the rabbits jump out of the ground at night while the Blackbird was doing engine runs with the mains chained down. Thanks for the wonderful Page it brought back lots of great memories from the good ole' days.

SSgt (Ret) Jerry Watkins


Thu, 2 Jan 2003 16:45 Okey Jones, SSgt Writes: 

I was stationed at Beale from 1967 to1970. 

I was in the 9th FMS hydraulic shop.

It was the best experience I had. Would like to hear from some of the old crew.

Okey Jones, SSgt


Thu, 2 Jan 2003 07:31 Ann Moran, Airman First Class Writes:

My years in the Air Force working with the people who supported the SR-71 are some of the best years of my life. 

I am proud to be an American and proud that I had the opportunity to serve my country. 


Ann Moran, Airman First Class




skunk1.gifIf 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.



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Page #37 of The SR-71 Blackbirds