FROM THE PAST
Guest Book Entry's for 2007
please feel free to make an entry in:
Additionally, if you feel you qualify to join the Blackbird Association see the link at the bottom of this page or Click Here and go directly to that link.
There are Twenty
total web pages that comprise the
"SR-71 Alma Mater and Recollections of the Past"
The original web page (the one you are on now) had grown to over 3 Megs in size. To expedite your Browser loading, I have divided the "Guest book" Entries into Chronological year groups by dates the e-mail was received..
All current Guest book entries received in the year 2007 will be on the original web page you are viewing now.
Search the entire 219 web pages of the "SR-71 Blackbirds" Web Site:
Here is the Latest Additions to The SR-71 Blackbirds Web Site:
1. Combat Mission Briefing at OL-8, Kadena AB Okinawa: This three page Adobe PDF document reflects the mission capabilities and the results obtained from surveillance of targets over North Vietnam; during the Vietnam War in 1968 and 1969. Included are two specific missions with details of SAM missiles being fired upon the SR-71. Posted February 09, 2007 Go to this URL: ./sr71_combat_briefing.htm
2. B58 Records set by Habu crewmembers and the 15,000 mile endurance flight by Col's Estes and Vick. Posted July 21,2007 Go to this URL: ./b58.htm
3. Unlocking The Mystery of the D-21B Solid Rocket Boosted Air-Launched Mach 3 UAV: Thomas L. Moore and co-authors Robert L. Geisler, Eric M. Rohrbaugh and Carl R. Pignoli presented this paper to the 43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit 8-11 July 2007 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Posted July 24,2007. Go here to read the entire document: ./D21B_AIAA.htm
4. The SR-71 Sensor Pages: This is a collection of three WebPages dedicated to the SR-71 Sensors including Cameras (Optical): TROC,OOC, TEOC and OBC. Mission Payloads graphics are included. Sensors: Side Looking Radar, ASARS1, Defensive Systems EMR (ELINT & SIGINT) and Data Link Systems. Posted to the Internet August 24, 2007. The Three pages are:
Page One: ./sr_sensors_pg1.htm
Page Two: ./sr_sensors_pg2.htm
Page Three: ./sr_sensors_pg3.htm
5. Velocity, Speed with Direction: The Professional Career of Gen Jerome F. O’Malley:
Written by: Aloysius G. Casey and Patrick A. Casey. Here you can download the entire book for free.
There are 286 pages in PDF format.
This is well written book about the life of General Jerome F. O'Malley.
A major historical document as O'Malley and Payne flew the first Habu (combat sortie) into North Vietnam.
The 2007 Blackbird Reunion DVD is now available. This is the entire video presentation shown at the Saturday night banquet at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Reno, Nevada on 23 June 2007.
The DVD has been completely revised with new captions and additional images that were not shown at the Blackbird Reunion. If you did not attend the Reunion, this DVD will keep you informed of the Blackbird Community's commitment to excellence. Relive some of the golden years of the Blackbirds and see what is happening in Reconnaissance today. Price $25.00
Go here to check it out or order:
Here is the latest movie I have posted to YouTube:
SR-71 Blackbird Launch
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
2009 Blackbird Reunion
We have locked in dates for the next reunion in Reno, NV at the Nugget Hotel. They are June 11-14, 2009. The Blackbird Association reunion is for members (and their guests) only.
TD Barnes of Roadrunners Internationale has a great slide show presentation of the 2007 Blackbird Reunion at this URL:
Be sure to turn your speakers on. Great Presentation!
Ed Mckim's new web site has some great crew photos of past Reunions and the new posting of the 2007 Blackbird Reunion at this URL:
SR-71 #963 has been moved from its flight line display near the control tower at Beale AFB to a new Heritage Park location over by the golf course. (Courtesy Fred Carmody)
Mike Relja (NASA) sent us this Powerpoint Presentation of the SR71 Final disposition of parts and units at Barstow.
There are two Powerpoint files. Download and view here:
File One: ./SR-71 Nov 07 Part 1 Final.ppt
File Two: ./SR-71 Nov 07 Part 2 Finalupdate.ppt
If you don't have Powerpoint on your computer you can download a free Microsoft Powerpoint Viewer here:
Own a Piece of Titanium From a Blackbird: Dan Freeman; a Retire Air Force Machine Shop Chief is offering unique Titanium articles for sale at this web site. You can custom order to fit your needs. All Titanium that was stored at Barstow (2,151,760 lbs total of all materials) has been shredded and recycled. A must see Web Site!
2007 Guest Book Entries
Sat 12/29/2007 11:47 AM Richard Graham writes:
Saturday, December 29, 2007 at 16:09 Paul Smith Writes:
My correct E-mail address.
I Would like to hear from anyone that worked with and or flew with LtCol Tom Smith; SR-71 Test Force Commander 1973 thru1976.
Thanks Paul Smith
Saturday, December 29, 2007 at 14:33 TSgt Dan Freeman Writes: It’s hard to believe that working on that fabulous jet was part of my life. At the time I was so involved with working and training that I just took it for granted that it was thee “SR-71 BLACKBIRD”. After all the SR was the most difficult airframe I ever had to deal with. Did you ever try to drill B120VCA Titanium with a hand drill? After all the cuts, scrapes, bruised knees, back strains, and just the plain stress of working in such a high priority program its a wonder I can function at all. I actually remember fellow machinist becoming scared at the call from job control reporting a machinist was needed on an SR. I can recall words such as “I should have taken my time on that tanker job”.
I’ll tell you this; I wouldn’t have changed a thing. You would forget about all of those ills the minute you supported an early morning launch and watched that sleek black beast rumble and shake the earth as the shock diamonds burst from her nozzles, roared down the runway, and dashed skywards like a bat out of hell. Over fives years as a code 42 Machinist, to me, her termination was a shock to say the least. And to say the most would be calling the powers to be quite strangely and simply “NUTS”. But then why would they tell a lowly TSgt about their reasons. I was sad to see this beautiful aircraft, the program, and the people go. I was to finish my career supporting the U-2, another wonderful aircraft, but a little boring compared to the Blackbird. Looking back, I wondered what it would be like to still be working on that amazing jet. Now then I would surf the net and read about its history and the dedicated people like Col. Graham and Leland Haynes keeping her memory alive. Then one day something weird happened. I was at the Beale commissary and I ran into an old SR coworker from the flight line. We were talking and I mentioned about seeing all the Blackbird related products for sale on the net. I said I wish I had purchased some of that scrap SR material they were selling at the end of the program. They had piles of dumped on the ground. I remember taking some old tools up there for turn in and one of my sergeants pointed it out to me. I remember saying “what the heck would you do that dirty old junk”. Then one day my old SR coworker called and said he was coming up to visit. When he arrived he brought a large bin full of turkey feathers. That’s when I thought about using my experience from the SR, make collectible items and sell them to regular people at regular prices. That is my way of spreading the word about a little known program that deserves a lot more recognition. I have recently started a little web site called MACH3TI.COM and so far the responses have been really positive. So many people have purchase little items that I have made, and have given me great feed back and thanks. One person that I made a little titanium cross for is a pastor for the 101st Airborne Division, out of Fort Campbell KY. He said he was really impressed and that it will be part of his ministry kit that will accompany him to Afghanistan next year.
So here I am 17 years later and I’m still working on the Blackbirds. The funny thing is, I still find myself cutting and bleeding on them but now I smile instead of cuss.
Dan Freeman at http://mach3ti.com/default.aspx
Monday, December 24, 2007 at 09:01 CMSGT John Dinubilo (Ret) Writes:
I have made entries into this great web-site in Dec ‘01 and Dec ’04. I guess it is time for another! There have been additional Physiological Training reunions. They occur in October, usually annually. I missed the one in Oct ’07 but all the ex “Phyz Biz” guys and gals who attended had a great time.
Those of you who worked in the Physiological Support Divisions at Beale AFB and at Edwards AFB, (and this includes those who worked in standard Physiological Training Units as well as those who supported high altitude aircraft pressure suit operations) should attempt to attend these reunions. There are folks there who can tell SR-71, U-2, long-wing B-57, and other “special project” aircraft “war stories” that date back to the 1960s. For example, one of the regular attendees at the reunions was at Peshawar, Pakistan, and inserted/launched Gary Powers on his ill-fated U-2 flight over Russia.
I look forward to meeting active duty, one, two, or three termers, and retired Physiological Training personnel at the reunions. As I pointed out in earlier entries, there are countless SR-71 stories that need to be heard!
John Dinubilo, CMSGT, USAF (Ret), Blackbird Association member 1536,
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 15:39 MSgt Robert Bragg Writes:
Was with the 456 OMS twice second time Feb 68 to Oct 69 crewed KC126Q 58-117.Spent several TDYs to Kadena or OL8 as it was called. I am trying to locate patches from that time any help would be nice any questions that I can help with let me know by phone or email thank you .
MSgt Robert Bragg
Email: rfb286 @yahoo.com
Monday, December 17, 2007 at 06:44 Cheryl Spangler Grooms Writes:
My father was MSgt Calvin " Link " Spangler, 9th OMS, Beale AFB Cal.. I'm writing to let his fellow Black Bird comrades of his passing on July 8, 2007. I remember his pride in the program and also his heartache over the crashes. I was 11 years old when my dad took us to the flight line and watched it take off, what a sight. I also remember a round table meeting at our home with 2 of the pilots, Robert and David (sorry I can't remember they're last names) over the naming of my little brother, who's name should be first, many beverages later it was Robert David. There are so many more fond memories. But I do know it was one of the proudest parts of his military career. If any of you have any would like to share with me I would appreciate it.
Cheryl Spangler Grooms
Friday, December 14, 2007 at 17:51 SSgt Anthony McKinney Writes:
I entered the guest book 7 years ago in 2000
This is to change my e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
still the best acft I worked on. thank you ret. Anthony McKinney ( MAC )
SSgt Anthony McKinney
Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 08:37 E-4 Kenneth Stoy Writes:
I came to Beale 11/69-10/70 from Viet Nam. I'm proud to have been associated with the 9th and the SR which was pretty much what we called her. That and a maintenance headache. What a beautiful Woman!!! She made me feel very special.
E-4 Kenneth Stoy
Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 18:11 Sgt Sherry Gregory Writes: I went to Beale AFB from George AFB in 1973, Dec.. I was in the big building that had no windows. My husband (at the time) worked on the flight line crew. He was a jet engine mechanic. I worked in the graphics department, right outside the vault and the commander's office. I talked to the pilots sometimes before and after the flew on missions to the ADIZ line, and around the world a few times in a day. I did the graphics for Commander's Calls, and anything else that was requested. Most of the visual aids were in code. There was a simulator that I was privy to that had the graphics that are now common place on television. The pilots had digital watches, and those were unheard of in the general population then. I was very young, and I became pregnant with my son soon after being stationed there. At that time one could smoke in buildings. Someone smoked cigars, and I was so sick from the smell of cigarette and cigar fumes. There were no windows, as I mentioned. It was exciting, but I'm afraid I did not enjoy it as much as I enjoy the memories and stories the pilots told me. They tole me about the cameras on the planes, the speeds it flew, etc. Everything about it was unique. It was great. The world was a different place then. We were still in the cold war. I remember a commander's call where we saw the photos that the SR-71 took of the soviet ships and submarines shipping missiles to Cuba. I went in the Air Force in 1970. I got out in 1974, so it was during the last years of the Viet Nam War. It was just a very important time in history, and being part of this squadron is a highlight of my life. People's eyes light up when I tell them about the fact that I was there. And I was just a little E-4!
Sgt Sherry Gregory
November 22, 2007 Douglas Johnson Writes: I was with PSD at Davis-Monthan AFB from 1971 to 1974. And during that time I worked with some of greatest men in the world. We were mainly a U-2 Division but on one instance while deployed TDY to Utapao, Thailand, I had the privilege of helping recovering a SR-71 that had maintenance problems over Vietnam. That was the most exciting time of my short military career. I would just like to thank any of the personnel that may have been associated with me during that time for all of their guidance and help.
Long live the DEUCE.
Thank you, Doug Johnson
Mon 11/5/2007 10:27 AM Mr. Joel E. Burdsall Writes:
Mr. Joel E. Burdsall
Monday September 24, 2007 6:09 PM MSgt (Ret) Bradley Mills Writes:
Joined up in Oct 74
to May 80. Assigned 9th AMS, EMR shop, computer maintenance work center,
maintaining the SCL attached to the EMR System. A great bunch of guys and
Gals. MSgt Dawkins made a lasting impression on me as well as Curt Wesley
has. I Remember Tim Harris and Bob McBride. The Tech Reps
were great to work with. Did a few TDY's to
Thursday September 20, 2007 9:46 AM Bill Wirdon Writes:
I just received this sad news. Pat spent many years maintaining the fuel systems on the SR-71 and U-2. I spent a lot of enjoyable time with him at Det 1 and TDY to RAF Mildenhall.
ELIZAVILLE -- Patrick S. Hartley, 57, of Ewing, entered into rest on Sept. 17, 2007, after a long courageous battle with cancer.
Born in Maysville, he grew up in the area and graduated from Mason County High School. He served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired in 1988 as a master sergeant. Pat moved back to Ewing and worked at Carmeuse Lime and Stone, Inc. (Dravo) in Maysville from 1988-2006.
Pat leaves behind his beloved wife, Lucy; brothers, Mike Hartley (Carolyn) of Wallingford, and Jimmy Fallon (Carolyn) of Robertson County; a niece and great-niece, Annette and Christine Knipp of Flemingsburg; five step-children, Leslie Hansen of Augusta, Ga., Robert Bridges of Phoenix, Ariz., Brenda Cridges-Cruz (Chris) of Sacramento, Calif., Laura Krahling (Peter) of San Diego, Calif., and Brian Bridges (Kaleene) of Chico, Calif.; four grandchildren, Trevor and Jade Hansen of Augusta, Ga., Savannah Bridges and Jake Cruz of Sacramento; and several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, David and Blanche (Shepherd) Hartley.
Services are 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at Price Brothers Funeral Home in Elizaville.
Burial will be in Elizaville Cemetery with full military honors by the American Legion and VFW.
Viewing is scheduled on Friday, Sept. 20 from 6-9 p.m.at the funeral home.
August 26, 2007 Roger Attick Writes: Active duty: 1973-1978
100th Strategic Recon Wing, Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ - HABU
U2 C & R
models : Elint (SFERICS) & Electronic Warfare (everything
in the nose, plus jamming System 13 and wing-mounted Infrared System 20)
TDY's : U-Tapao AB – Thailand (assigned to
civilian reps from Langley, VA) In country at time of second crash, One
TDY : Osan AB – Korea
& Electronic Warfare
One TDY to Kadena AB, Okinawa Japan
Sat 7/28/2007 3:29 PM SMSgt Gene Mallory Writes:
I had the misfortune to work
with Leland Haynes on SR-71 #972. I say misfortune because He made Me
look like a slob, which I am but but Leland made my problem stand out like a
Leland came to work looking like had stepped off a recruiting poster, I came in clean and presentable, however the first time I got near the aircraft I looked as if I had been rolling around in a drip pan full of grease and oil. Leland accomplished as much or more than I did and went home as neat and clean as when He came in. No wonder they shipped Me off to Germany prior to the Atlantic speed run.
SMSgt Gene Mallory
Editor's Note: Betty and Gene would come over to our place in Marysville, CA. We were the best of buds. We would drink Scotch until 6 in the morning. And we would go for midnight swims in the Yuba River just down from our house. Too much fun and it is great to hear from him after 33 years. He would like to hear from Carmon Dewain Allen.
Leland Haynes, Webmaster, SR-71 Blackbirds
Sun 7/22/2007 1:39 PM Kirk Knutson sent this info link:
"New Top Secret Construction at Area 51":
Just thought you would like to know. Maybe the unmanned SR-72 (?) looks like this:
Saturday, July 21, 2007 SSgt Steve Hyde Writes:
Sunday, July 15, 2007 David Nolte sent the following photo of Russell Harvey; He worked for Houston Fearless and is a Retired USAF M/Sgt. from the Photo Shop at Beale AFB in California. The Camera is a HR-308B [ TEOC]. Taken at Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
Sunday, July 15, 2007 Colonel Richard Graham Writes:
Habu Ed Yeilding will be inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in Birmingham, Alabama on October 13th. They couldn't have picked a better Habu for that honor. Anyone who knows Ed, also knows he's worthy of being inducted to their hall of fame.
If you would like to attend the ceremony contact Dr. Edward Stevenson at his email address of email@example.com. Let him know you would like to attend along with your mailing address and he will send you a formal invitation in the mail.
If you would like to send a congratulations to Ed is email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, July 15, 2007 Michelle & Robert Spangler Writes: I am sorry to send you this sad news. Link was so proud of his service to the SR-71.
MYRTLE BEACH | C.L. ''Link''
Spangler, 69, passed away Sunday, July 8, 2007.
Born in Lindeside, West Virginia, a son of the late Lester G. Spangler and Anna Mae Ballard Spangler.
Mr. Spangler was a retired Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.
Surviving is his wife, Patricia of Myrtle Beach; two sons, Kevin D. Spangler of Myrtle Beach and Robert D. Spangler of Oak Island, N.C.; two daughters, Traci Dellinger of North Myrtle Beach and Cheryl Grooms of Clifton, Tenn.; 13 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren; two brothers, Joe Spangler of Plano, Texas and Jan Spangler of Ormand Beach, Fla.
Funeral services will be private, directed by Goldfinch Funeral Home, Beach Chapel.
Condolences may be sent to the family via Michelle Lawson
Editors Note: Link Spangler was one of the first Crew Chiefs selected in the all new SR-71 Program at Beale AFB. Link is shown at the bottom left in the photo below. God Speed Link. Your contribution to the Nation's security is greatly appreciated.
Leland Haynes, Webmaster, SR-71 Blackbirds
Friday, June 29, 2007 SSgt. Robert Windle Writes:
1968-71 9thFMS J58 Engine Shop. Two OL8 tours.
Looking for John Reed, John Rash and Tom Mollicone. This is a new email address.
SSgt. Robert Windle
Monday June 11, 2007 at 2:38 PM Mike Carter Writes:
I worked for Lockheed California Company, Advanced Development Projects, from 1960 to 1967. My job title was Electronic Systems Technician - Flight.
In 1962 and 63 I, along with Salvador Paz, was one of the 2 electronic techs at Area 51 reporting to Don Rietzke. We took care of the avionics in articles 121 and 123 as well as the radio telemetry system in 121 which we had built from scratch back in Burbank using some surplus parts from a Lockheed Missile program in Van Nuys of the 1950s.
Instrumentation technology in 1962 was not up to the leading edge standards of the A-12 airframe and systems. The reference for temperature measurements was an off-the-shelf Thermos bottle filled with crushed ice and water. Prior to takeoff a mechanic would run the Thermos out the the idling ship, stuff the thermocouple reference junctions into the ice water and clamp it securely up in one of the wheel wells.
Likewise, voice recordings of pilots Lou Schalk and Bill Park were made with a commercial office dictating tape recorder that connected into the pilot intercom harness and occupied a custom slot on the right side of the cockpit of 121.
It was memorable to witness the first flights of the first two flight articles especially the first flight where some of the fairing panels beneath the wing fell off the ship on liftoff.
I left the Area in 1963 to spend more time with my wife and to finish an engineering degree at Cal State Northridge. I worked in Burbank for Ed Lovick and Luther McDonald making backscatter and antenna pattern measurements on scale models. In addition to aircraft we also tested surface treatments on Corona spacecraft. I left Lockheed for Alcoa in 1967 when I got my degree. My interest in computers was a few years too early for the Skunk Works.
Friday, May 18, 2007 at 13:33 Sgt. Evelyn Whitehead Writes:
I was stationed at Beale AFB from 1980-1981. It was my first base. I went TDY quite a bit with the SR-71. I was in the Fuels Branch. I was scared to death the first time I refueled her. She started leaking all over the place.
Little did I know.
Sgt. Evelyn Whitehead
Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 12:05 MSgt (retired) Thomas Newcity Writes:
I was in the program with the 9th SRW from 1965 to 1972.
MSgt (retired) Thomas Newcity
Monday, May 14, 2007 at 04:01 MSgt Curt Knighten Writes:
Assigned to the 9th SRW, Physiological Support Division (PSD) from 1981-1988. Enjoyed all tours with the SR-71...
MSgt Curt Knighten
Friday, May 11, 2007 at 00:08 Sgt Neal Pinkowski Writes:
I drop in this wonderful site from time to time and try to relive the memories of days gone by. Crewed KC-135Q 59-1520 in Okinawa during 71+72. So many good times that can never be replaced. Would do it all again in a heartbeat if it were not for bad health. All I can say is god bless everyone I was lucky enough to come in contact with and all the other fine people.
Sgt Neal Pinkowski
Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 23:20 LtCol Ronald D. Murdock Writes:
Served as 9SRW/DOX until July, 1987.
LtCol Ronald D. Murdock
Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 20:50 MSgt (RET) Bobby G. Burns Writes:
I was at Beale from December 1969 until I retired 1 April 76. I was assigned to the 9th RTS and worked in the Block House in the Precision Photo Lab and worked in the Blue Van Complex at Kadena. Ran the processors and also worked in the Select Print area. Last couple of years, Matt Donovan and myself (and a couple other people) ran the majority of the color photos from the "Bird". I stood and watched in total awe every time it launched or recovered. I made many trips to OL-8 at Kadena and became acquainted with a number of people in other fields of work involving the SR. Absolutely wonderful group of people!! I made a couple of trips with Buck Adams and I have a print (photo) of the SR-71, (which I believe to be one of 5 in existence) that is signed by the crew who took it to England in Record time and then the ones (including Adams) when it returned to Beale for the record from England to California. I consider this print one of my most prized possessions!! I was present at the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson when the "Bird" that is located there was delivered.
It made several passes prior to landing on a very short runway and there was a huge crowd who witnessed the landing. (Plenty of "OOOOHS" and "AHHHSS" from the crowd.) I don't remember the crew who brought the "Bird" in, but I know they were just a couple more of the ELITE of the AF who qualified to fly this amazing aircraft!
Your web site is absolutely amazing!!. Great job!! Seeing some of the peoples names who have visited brings back some wonderful memories. (And some sad ones too.. I was at Kadena when Capt Bush brought in an "injured" Bird during a typhoon condition. WHAT A PILOT!!) And I came back to Beale with some of the parts from that airplane on the rotation "Q" Bird. Working in the SR-71/U-2 Program was definitely the highlight of my career in the Air Force and the most enjoyable years.
Bobby G. Burns, MSgt, USAF (RET) USAF 1952-1976
Sunday, April 29, 2007 at 21:53 A/1C Bobby Lyons Writes:
I was assigned to the 4028th SRWS, Laughlin AFB, DelRio, TX from 1956 to 1959. I was a supply clerk.
I was TDY several times on the TOY Soldier and Project CROWFLIGHT.
I just wanted you to know there are some old timers around.
Saturday, April 28, 2007 at 12:18 Ian T. Johnson Writes:
Hello to all,
My grandfather, Leonard Orin Hargrove worked on the development of the yf-12/sr-71 guidance system. I've many great stories from him while he was at area 51. He was a great man and mentor to my family and I. He passed away 4 years ago and we miss him dearly. I have been contacted by a few of his friends from the project. I am also interested in knowing if anyone here knew or work with him. If so please contact me by e-mail. Thanks to all who worked on these aircraft. I believe this project did a lot for our country and the future of aviation.
Ian T. Johnson
Saturday, April 28, 2007 at 03:19 Darrell Montgomery (ret. Lockheed Martin Skunk Works) Writes:
I painted special coatings on SR-71S and painted U-2s at site 2 in Palmdale, AF Plant 42. In Burbank I painted 3 different type nose sections (ray domes) for SRs, and "tail feathers" (exhaust vanes) and "spikes" (engine inlets) This was when I wasn't controlling the Biggest Robot in the world (At that time) coating the F-117. I worked with Jim Reichert and FOR Ben Rich in Burbank. They are both gone now, God Bless Them, Wonderful Guys. Ben past away Jan 5th 1995 and I retired on Jan 31st. One day (before I got a certain clearance) Jim and were together he was telling me all about the "ranch" I said, Should you be talking to me about that, and he said "I guess I'll have to kill you". Did I go to the ranch? Do you "have a need to know"?
Darrell "monty" Montgomery
Thursday, April 26, 2007 at 22:14 MSgt James L. Overton Jr. USAF, Ret Writes:
Assigned to PSD from June 1977 to July 1982
MSgt James L. Overton Jr. USAF, Ret
Lt Col (Ret.) Robert L. Riedenauer 1936-2007
Another sad passing of a good test pilot, Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Dianne Knippel said Tuesday. Lockheed Martin is really mourning his loss today.
His wife, Sharon, said he will be remembered as an officer and a gentleman, according to daughter Cheryl Clayton.
Among his many accolades, Riedenauer joined Lancasters Aerospace Walk of Honor in 2002 and was named an Eagle by the Flight Test Historical Foundation in 2005 for his work with the development of the U-2. Riedenauer served as executive director of the foundation in its early years and was heavily involved in the initial fund-raising efforts that resulted in the foundations ability to build the museum facility at Edwards AFB, Air Force Flight Test Center Museum Director Doug Nelson said. Nelson remembered Riedenauer as a real gentleman and a great golfer. In recent years, he was active as the chairman of Palmdales Aviation and Aerospace Commission, tasked with advising the city on matters relating to Air Force Plant 42 and the L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport.
A ceremony recognizing his contributions to aerospace was scheduled by Palmdale today at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42, but has been postponed. Bob Riedenauer was a very special guy, said Larry Chimbole, former Palmdale mayor and member of the Aviation and Aerospace Commission. Riedenauer was a Society of Experimental Test Pilots Fellow, and logged over 6,500 hours in more than 50 different aircraft.
He flew 120 combat missions in an F-105 over Southeast Asia in 1968, and was honored with the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Born in Fresno on Aug. 2, 1936, Riedenauer earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University in 1967. He is survived by his wife, Sharon; two sons, Jeff Koontz of Palmdale and Scott Riedenauer of Bellflower; and two daughters, Cheryl Clayton of Palmdale and Kimberly Sweazy of Florida; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Riedenauer's life will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Antelope Valley Country Club, with military honors and a fly-over. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made to the Antelope Valley Country Club Scholarship Fund, 39800 Country Club Drive, Palmdale, CA 93551.
Submitted by: Donald J. Smith
Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 12:55 SGT. FRANK G. ORMONDE JR. Writes:
I WAS STATIONED AT FAIRCHILD AFB 94-96 AS A REFUELING TRUCK MECHANIC.
WE HAD ONE TRUCK SET UP WITH JP-7 JUST FOR THE SR-71. SOME OF THE MOST POTENT FUEL I HAD WORKED WITH AT THE TIME.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM ANYONE STATIONED OR PART OF THE 92 TRANSPORTATION SQUADRON DURING THAT TIME.
SGT. FRANK G. ORMONDE JR.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 08:12 Wayne K. Tobey Writes:
Air Traffic Controller in both the Phoenix and Denver ARTCC from 1958-1986.
Provided air traffic services to many U2 and SR-71 aircraft during my years with the FAA.
Wayne K. Tobey
Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 12:46 A1C Harry Cometto Writes:
I was the assistant crew chief on KC-135Q 58-103 from 1973 to 1977. I was only 17 years old and traveling all over the world going tdy to Okinawa, Spain, England and Thailand.
I will never forget this celebrated my 18th b-day by going to MA-1A alley in Koza city. I was involved on the L.A to New York speed run and the one to London also!
Many good memories.
A1C Harry Cometto
Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 09:17 Captain David B. Rees Writes:
Served as Mission Director at Eglin AFB from 1968-1972. The SR-71 flights were one of the missions assigned to me and will always be the highlight of my short 4 year Air Force career. I have vivid memories of the aircraft flying in from California in something like 57 minutes.
Taking the SR-71 out over the Gulf of Mexico off Tampa and then heading north on a full speed run over Eglin was astounding ... the turn back south started over Montgomery, Al and because of a combination of speed and altitude ended over Atlanta, Ga. before heading south. It absolutely drove the ARTC people at Jacksonville Center crazy as we couldn't give them the actual altitude...what fun! Later in life I remember visiting the museum at Wright-Patterson and seeing the altitude and speed records listed ... and realizing they were quite understated.
I remember the day SR-71A #970 crashed after hitting the KC-135 tanker (mid-section if I remember right). I still have my black SR-71 tie pin from those days. It was an amazing time and I could recall a dozen stories of that incredible aircraft.
Captain David B. Rees
April 8, 2007 at 17:23 Trey Spooner Writes:
I am 15. My grandfather is Colonel Edward Payne (Retired). He was a navigator on the SR-71.
The Blackbird is my favorite plane. I just wanted everyone to know.
Love you Air Force guys!
Email: Withheld (Contact webmaster)
Sat 4/7/2007 8:31AM Lt Col. Calvin Augustin Writes: My Solo date was May 17, 1979 with my Navigator Major Frank Kelly.
SR71 Webmaster added the following from the searchable data base of Crewmembers Here: ./Supp_BBook.htm
Lt Col. Calvin Augustin
Saturday, April 7, 2007 at 17:30 Sgt Robert Furan Writes:
Worked in Structural Repair Shop (9 FMS) from 21 Mar 1967 to Dec 19, 1968 at Beale AFB.
Participated in TDY assignment Operation Senior Glow Nov 1968. Some good memories! Remember Major Fagg who encouraged me in handball at the base gym.
Sgt Robert Furan
Saturday, April 7, 2007 at 11:23 Daughter of: Col. William R. Griner, Jr. Writes:
I am Col. Griner's daughter. He was flying the SR-71 at Beale AFB in 1966-67. I have memories of him in that flight suit and helmet!
He passed away in February 2004.I wish he could have seen this website, and known about all the sites on the net with photos of the Blackbird.
He really loved flying it. I was so proud of my dad.
April 4, 2007 at 12:14 SSgt Thomas Fenwick Writes: I was a fuel systems mech. Lots of overhauls, too many leaks! Worked with Pat Hartley, Don Robinson, Chuck Palmer, Ken McAleer, Frank Newalu, Hans Apelt, Art Cleveland, and many more... Lots of TDY's Det 1 and 2. Visited Fantasy Island a time or two. Sure would like to hear from some of you guys! PCS to DET 1 in "79 for 3yr's. Live near the Air Force Museum at Wright Pat AFB so I get to see #972 anytime I want. Keep looking over my shoulder when I am there, expecting Col Samay to go riding by on a three wheel cart with a brake cooler strapped to on it. One hand on the handle and a beer in the other! Sure would like to hear from any of the old crew.
SSgt Thomas Fenwick
Email: Not Submitted (contact email@example.com for address/phone. Your request will be sent to him via snail mail.)
Friday, March 30, 2007 at 19:18 Colonel Donald R. James Writes:
Stationed at Beale AFB from 1965-1971. Was the only Wing Director of Safety during that period. Investigated and reported every SR-71 accident/incident which occurred during that period and a few more. Was one very busy individual!
I will always regret that I never got to fly the SR-71, but that honor was reserved for some of the greatest people in the world.
Colonel Donald R. James
Friday, March 30, 2007 at 10:36 Sgt. David Devine Writes:
It's been awhile since I checked this site out. I see John Edwards and Kelly Coder have signed on. I tried to contact John Edwards but his email didn't work. If anyone has his email send it to me.
Sgt. David Devine
Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 14:31 A2C Paul Hilton Writes:
I was one of 5 Air Police Sentry Dog Handlers and one NCO initially assigned at Area 51 on or about July 1963 for night time security duty. We were the lowest ranking of anyone there.
MSgt Dicky was the NCOIC of our group.
Other members were: A1C Donald Chapman, A2C Oremus, A2C Starkie, and A2C Sidwell.
A2C Paul Hilton
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 14:15 M/Sgt (RET.) Maynard Locke Writes: I was the crew chief on the SR-71 tail #61-961.I also was a crew chief on a KC-135(Q)model tanker tail #1474,stationed at the Little Rock A.F.B. before I was assigned to Beale. We used to go T.D.Y. to Eielson to support the B-52's flying along the Russian border during the Cold War. I remember closing the (Q) valve anytime we refueled the SR-71.When we refueled a bomber or a fighter we would open the (Q) valve when the tanker was loaded with JP-4 fuel. The SR-71 used JP-7 the two fuels had to be separated by the (Q) valve. This was a critical valve to monitor since the tanker used JP-4 fuel only. The 9Th.SRW was the best organization, that I was assigned to during my 20 years of service.
M/Sgt (RET.) Maynard Locke
Saturday, March 24, 2007 at 18:29:25 Sgt Ron Robertson Writes:
I arrived at Beale AFB 9th OMS sometime in March 1967. The first plane I worked on was I think 966 Darby was the crew chief.
I know later the plane crashed about 12 miles outside of Beale. I was a close friend with Fred Ramsey.
Sgt Ron Robertson
Saturday, March 24, 2007 at 15:07:35 SSgt Charlie Perry Writes:
I was a member of the 9th OMS. We serviced the blackbird i.e. chemical ignition systems, fuel loading, LOX,etc.
Would like to here from any members still around from our old outfit.
I was stationed at Beale AFB in 1968 & 1969.
SSgt Charlie Perry
Sunday, March 18, 2007 9:11am, PAUL SMITH Writes:
This is to let all you fine SR and U2 crews out there that we lost another SR pilot.
LT COL Tom Smith passed away 12/31/06 we had a fine service for him at Lancaster, Ca. and an internment at Arlington Va.
My name is Paul Smith and I was and am a very proud brother,
Friday, March 9, 2007 at 14:32 Lew Arnold, DAFC GS-13 Writes:
1993 - Sept. 1996, Edwards AFB, CA., Flight Test Engineer, 412TW (SAP) and 418 FLTS (SpecOps). From 1995 to 1996 I was one of the Project Manager's for returning the SR-71 back to operational inventory. Never got to fly in one but sat in the seats and played with the old and new toys. Wonderful technology, especially the elegance of the airframe Ti-laminate design. Never a wing crack. Read former Capt. Zimmerman's Program Reactivation PR release.
The rest of the story... Strategic Reconnaissance aircraft are low inventory but require very high academics and skills to operate and maintain. Air Staff made a few personnel policy changes.... They thought that there was to many high rank grades in the SR-71 personnel pool and they thought that all mechanics and maintainers were interchangeable. Instead of Enlisted and Officers spending the majority of their career with the SR units and keeping these thoroughbreds running, they began rotating them just like the rest of the USAF. Three years maximum then rotated. The result was that the O&M costs per flight hour for the SR's doubled and Aircraft availability declined. So... in 1989 the Brass demobilized the SR units without a suitable replacement, persuading congress that Satellites would do the job. Some in Congress came to believe that they were lied to (they were actually lied to).
1995 When the USAF brass was ordered by Congress to reactivate two SR-71's for contingencies (kicking and screaming). The Air Staff informed Congress that they would require $58M each to reactivate the two birds ($116M) and $54M per year for Training and O&M. Congress appropriated only $100M. LtCol. Kenneth Manfra was Director of Engineering for the 418th. He called a few of his FTE's together and it was obvious that this was an Air Staff Side Swipe and the only way this could be done was with the most experienced and skilled people. Lockheed was wonderful. They threw money at all of the old retirees to bring them back. No newbie Lt's or E-2's. We stole everything and more from the warehouses, flightlines, and museums. Lockheed's five-star golden crew put it all into top condition in one third the time and one fourth the budget the Air Staff had projected. On top of that we had money to completely rehab the hangers. The new aircrew lounge was a nice touch. Our expert Engineer (thief and cheat) even acquired a full professional wet bar, big-screens, Satellite TV array, dynosupreme audio system.
Because Lockheed had just finished the program to bring all digital avionics, glass cockpit and digital recce package to the Dragon Lady... We had enough cash left over to procure the deluxe avionics upgrades for the two SR-71's. They got the full package with a few extras. Lockheed's Project Team outdid themselves. We were all under budget and under schedule. I got a Civilian of the Quarter Award for my end of this.
I left Edwards late in 1996, the hand-writing was in neon day glow. Air Staff hated us and the SR-71 even more. They were trying to protect a replacement X-blackbird but they had only 7 of them flying, it cost $1M in fuel to just launch the thing and Pres. Clinton canceled their bank-breaking replacement in 1998 anyway. So by FY2000 the USAF was without any manned high-Mach high altitude-to-suborbital strategic recce vehicle.
Air Staff even to this day continues to make incredibly foolish and ill planned decisions based upon cost reasons alone. Not on survivability, capability or effectiveness.
I just wish they had let me have the SR-71's for testing them as Interceptors again. They would have been much cheaper than the F-22's ($340M/each) and more effective air-to-air killers with modern missiles and avionics. Maybe even an engine replacement to push them to Mach 4+. The ultimate in quick-draw drive-by shootings.
Lew Arnold, DAFC GS-13
Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at 05:19 SMSGT RICHARD AGBAYANI Writes:
ASSIGNED TO THE 9TH FMS AS A MACHINIST. MY WIFE AND I CONSIDER OUR TENURE WITH THIS ONE OF A KIND AIRCRAFT THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY CAREER IN THE AIR FORCE (SERVED FROM 1967-1969 AT BEALE AFB).
IT WAS GREAT TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH THE DESIGNERS OF THE DIFFERENT SYSTEMS AND TO CONTRIBUTE IN MACHINING AND MODIFYING PARTS TO KEEP 'EM FLYING. IT WAS GREAT TO DEPLOY TO THE DIFFERENT OL'S TOO.
SMSGT RICHARD AGBAYANI
Monday, March 5, 2007 at 20:55 Sgt. Kenneth Ellstrom Writes:
I joined the AF in December of 1979 and after tech school was stationed at Beale in the 9th OMS Wing until December of 1983. I served as a Crew Chief on the flight line for a year before moving into the Phase Dock where we got to tear the aircraft apart and put it back together. I was part of the crew that received the plane in England after it had gone down in Bodo Norway. I served under Sr. Master Chief Campbell and worked primarily the swing shift that spent many a cold night at the trim pad at the EOR. Had the displeasure of being part of an engine FOD that created a huge debacle and the loss of couple GI's stripes, but not mine, thank God. Was involved with a several Higher Headquarters Mission preps that were supposed to be extremely hush hush but always appeared to be like a drive in movie with all the cars that would line up on the flight line with their parking lights on to watch the launch, too funny. My wife hated the plane because after every launch my fatigues were covered with fuel (JP7), man they leaked especially when we had to do a YoYo. See if anyone remembers that term....anyway I will never forget the experience.
Sgt. Kenneth Ellstrom
Sunday, March 4, 2007 at 20:20 E-4 Greg Kilgore Writes:
I was with the 9th RTS when deployed on Feb 29, 1968 (Leap Year Day and the 1st operational mission) with the Mobile Processing Center (MPC) as an Electronic Intelligence Analyst. I would really enjoy hearing from any of you '71 folks from that time frame. Particularly you other forgotten ELINT and Photo Terps.
E-4 Greg Kilgore
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 09:55 Col Joe Reich Writes:
As the 9IS/CC from '94-'97, I was the SIO on the reactivation program. Besides being an imagery officer (RF-4C), I was a trained targets officer. Therefore, with some guidance from the then ACC A-2(IN), Brig Gen Garrison, I told Lockheed at the Beale AFB meeting (Spring '95) and Z-Man to make the reactivated Blackbirds NRT (digital) Look-Shoot-Look intelligence platforms (ASARS and TEOC backplane for EO), and to drop the SIGINT packages/sensors (NSA advances were "already there"). We didn't want to replicate U-2 capabilities, that was a "loiter system." The SR would be the "denied airspace" penetrator for look-shoot-look -- what every theater commander wants.
Being a joint service officer, my follow-on was to USCENTCOM's target shop in Oct '97. Almost immediately, Saddam Hussein threatened to shoot down the UN-approved U-2 over flights. Yes, the U-2 was catching him move "things" (WMD-related) he didn't want us to see/find. The command ordered the U-2 to stand-down. As Targets Chief, I went to BG Noonan, USA, the J-2, and told him about the two SRs President Clinton just red-lined. The J-2 "got interested real fast." (Best way to describe his reaction in a few words). Needless to say, my bullet paper he directed was in front of all the flag officers in minutes, and the secure phones were being used. I personally was keeping in-touch with Stan Gudmundson at Edwards, even called Z-man at least once.
Needless to say, Air Staff and I worked the details. Some of this made the Early Bird and some of the professional aviation journals (Aviation Week).
Can't get into the classified, but Saddam "had a change of heart" and lifted his U-2 shoot-down threat. And all planning ceased. The facts of program termination, and time, then took over.
Within a year, with a promotion, I was in Korea as the USFK Collection Manager. Sure 'nuf, the US Army flags remembered my Blackbird work, started asking why USFK couldn't get them deployed to theater! I had to give them the "straight skinny."
Col Joe Reich
Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 22:36 SSgt Robert Combs Writes:
Hi all -- I'm honored to be here after 25 years. Stationed in the 9th FMS Electric Shop 1982 - 1984. Stayed long enough to make many friends, but lost touch and love to get back in touch with, in no particular order A1C Hebron, A1C Eric Olsen, and many faces I recall but need to dig out an old recall roster and post the names. I especially want to thank you to MSgt Larry D. Haley and MSgt Gale, who helped me get into the AECP program. I made it with your help and support.
SSgt Robert Combs
Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 21:45 TSgt William Verstelle Writes:
I was stationed at Beale 2 times, from 1978 to 1983 then from 1987 to 1994 when I retired. Was assigned to the 9th AMS radar shop. I have so many great memories with the SR-71 and never got tired of working on it or watching it launch.
Was TDY to places like Det 4 Mildenhall England, Okinawa Japan, Diego Garcia, Patrick AFB, and Osan Korea. A lot of SR-71 stories but won't bore everyone with them.
TSgt William Verstelle
Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 17:38 Steven Reese Writes:
In all humility, I wish to state, as the step-son of Walton Daniel Reese, Senior Flight Test Engineer on the SR-71 program, based at Plant 42, Palmdale, Ca., on or about 1965, your records are incomplete, as to his contributions. His name is mentioned nowhere in any archive I can find. I remember what he did, and would appreciate an honest attempt to recover his legacy. He was a fine man. Thank You.
Editors Note: Those wishing to communicate with Steven, I would appreciate a CC. Thanks, Leland. firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday February 23, 2007 Mel Rushing passes away: Richard Graham Writes: Received the following from Fred Carmody on Feb 21st:
I'll fill you in when I get more information . Would appreciate if you would send out to all the HABU's.
Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 20:57 MSgt (Ret) David Luna Writes:
I was assigned to the 9th AMS Photo Sensor shop for 5 years and remember many of the guys.
"Wag" Sherrow, Terry Wickham, Dave Nolte, Bill Asplin, Hank Hysinski, Bob Almy, Howie Fallis, and many others.
I would like to hear from them and see how they are doing after all these years.
MSgt (Ret) David Luna
Friday, February 16, 2007 at 16:18 MSgt Kenneth Short Writes:
I was stationed at Edwards AFB, 4200OET from 1965 until Dec. 1968 in the AGE shop, we serviced the TEB and ammonia on the YF12 and started the engines, we used two Tmc105 GTC's to start each engine, later we got the AG330 start cart.
We also experimented with cartridges, it took six cartridges to start one engine. In Jan 1968, I transferred to Beale, 9FMS AGE and left for Thailand in 1972 ,returned to Beale in 1973. I stayed at Beale until March 1978. I transferred to Carswell AFB, where I retired in 1979. I knew lots of folks during my years with this program, anyone that remembers me can contact me at this Email.
MSgt. Ret. Kenneth Short
Sunday, February 11, 2007 at 22:41 Mark Payne (Sam's by the Sea, Okinawa Yacht Club, Koza) Writes:
I remember the Habu Crews at Sam's by the sea, used to sell them a hell of a lot of FOG CUTTERS, what a rowdy group, but some of the best customers we've ever had.
Many great memories of those days !! Some that we shouldn't even mention here. :)
Friday, February 9, 2007 at 08:01 MSgt Steve York Writes:
I just saw the entry for Sgt Steve York, I knew of at least two other 'Steve Yorks' at Beale at one time or another from 1972 to 1983 when I was there in the Instrument Shop, would always end up with each others mail all the time...
I left to Patrick AFB with the U-2 det there from 1983 to 1990, then the Osan detachment from 1990 to 1992 where I finally retired.
Went to school under the old G.I. Bill, got a BS in Computer Science in 1997 and have been in Mountain View with same large company ever since.
MSgt Steve York
Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 09:47 A1C Brian Hartmann Writes:
I was stationed at Kadena AB from June 1988 - March 1990. Worked in INOP (computer intel) under SSGT Ernie Huntress.
I remember Gern putting a Gumbie blow-up doll in the cockpit during a hurricane watch and I remember Paul Sights tearing the water fountain off the wall in the dorm. Boy, what great times!
A1C Brian Hartmann
Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 18:30 SSgt Ronald Dowd Writes:
I worked in the SLR shop at Beale and OL-8 at Kadena AB, Okinawa.
SSgt Ronald Dowd
Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 16:49 Sgt. Fred Ramsey Writes:
I was in the 9th O.M.S. stationed at Beale from 1967 thru 1970. I was on the second rotation to go to OL-8 in Okinawa. I believe I had six TDYs altogether to OL-8. I picked up the nickname of Capt. Ramsey in Tech school, and it stuck throughout my time in the Air Force. I was even an Asst. Crew Chief for a very short time on 17974 (Ichi-Ban) on my last OL-8 trip. On the nose gear door it read:
C.C. TSGT. D. Person
Asst. C.C. SSGT. R.W. Krumnow
Asst. C.C. Capt. F. Ramsey
I really enjoyed my time on the SR-71, and I still keep in touch with SSGT. Bob Krumnow, SGT. Ron Robertson, SGT. George Kalnas, SGT. Mike (Sly-Dog) Slay, SSGT. John Fogle, and TSGT. Ralph Tucker (my Uncle Ralph). I think I remember the names of everyone I worked with!
I have enjoyed reading this Web Site. Thank you. It brings back a lot of memories.
In closing, remember in the truck coming back from a launch...... "Job control 4------Go 4---------956 in the Blue" Click Click.
SGT. (Capt.) Ramsey
Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 07:17 SSgt Jeffery Deckman Writes:
STATIONED AT RAF MILDENHALL MAY 86-MAY 88. I TRADED BASES AT TECH SCHOOL JUST TO GET TO SEE THE SR-71.
SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE TIMES OF MY LIFE. FRANK STAMPF WAS THE SOF, GREAT PEOPLE ALL OF THEM.
SSgt Jeffery Deckman
Monday, January 29, 2007 at 20:13 Dennis Warner Writes:
I worked in the hot shed 1962-1964 on the hot presses with a number of good men that I would like to get in touch with again.
Dennis Warner , Lockheed ADP
Jim Kunkle passes away:
Wednesday, January 31`, 2007 Jim Shelton Writes:
I just received a news paper clipping from Bonita Springs Florida's obituary section about Jim Kunkle. He passed away on January 11, 2007 at the age of 67. The funeral service was conducted on January 23, 2007 at Community Congregational Church in Naples Florida. He was buried at the Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell Florida with full military honors. The family requested in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts for the Community Congregational Church Endowment Fund, 15300 North Tamiami Trail, Naples, FL 34110.
Richard Graham adds: For those of you who might not know him, he was one of our great Mission Planners/DEF Systems/all-around good guy! He will be missed...
Saturday, January 27, 2007 Gene Handy Writes:
Editors Note: Reference James V. Sullivan, Pilot, New York to London, Sept 01,1974. World Speed Record set at 1hr, 54min, 56.4 seconds.
See URL: ./srspee~1.htm
Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 08:12 Kelly Bernia Writes:
I am interested in stories and publications about the J-58. My grandfather (now diseased) was a field rep. for the J-58. He has been mentioned in Sled Driver and the Untouchables by Brian Shul. His name is Rembert "Doc" Strange. I am not sure of a lot of the specifics but, he was in Mildenhall for quite a few years. One of my boys is very interested in the history and unfortunately, my grandmother has severe dementia. "Doc's" memories are kept alive with many pictures and models around the house. My grandmother still resides in Rosamond, California (Edwards AFB area, and near Palmdale).
Any information and especially stories would be appreciated. "Doc's" grandson Keith Strange as well as my son Robert Linkous, seem to have a natural talent toward mechanics. Hopefully, they will carry the torch someday on a project as great as the Blackbird. Sincerely,
Grandaughter to "Doc" Strange
PS. Awesome site!
Friday, January 26, 2007 at 10:25 Dayne Hatten Writes:
I was made an honorary HABU member by two of the finest gentlemen I have ever known: TSgt. Phil Sage, and Lt. Robert C. Brooksby. Sgt. Sage was part og the Maintenance at Beale, and Lt. Brooksby flew a tanker for the SR. I was a NASA Fire Fighter trying to fit in at Beale AFB when I met the two of them. I remember the day an SR-71 was awaiting clearance to take off but had to wait for a flight of Thunderbirds to land. "They" were given clearance for "A Thunderbird Approach" which meant air traffic was out of the sky as the "Birds" came into Beale. As the came in, they were inverted the whole length of the runway. As soon as they all landed, the SR was given permission to take off. However, the Thunderbirds had one last jibe for the SR Pilot. Loud and clear, the message, "How was that SR?"
When the SR-71 took off, it went straight up and out of sight in what seemed like seconds. Floating over the heads of the Thunderbird pilots was the SR Pilots rejoinder. "How do you like that T-Birds?" All in good fun.
I am trying to find TSgt. Sage to let him know that Captain Brooksby bought it in October. I have been in constant with the good Doctor, and wondered why my messages started coming back. I found out this morning, and am deeply saddened by the loss of a wonderful friend. Captain Robert C. Brooksby, myself and TSgt. Sage were a threesome almost every weekend, riding our Motor Cycles up to Tahoe and back.
If any of you know how to get a message to TSgt. Sage. Let him know of Captain Brooksby's passing, and that Dayne Hatten is trying to contact him.
Dayne Hatten/retired Engineer
Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 20:18 M/Sgt. Maynard Locke Writes:
I was the Crewchief on aircraft #951. I also worked with Recovery Crews. I was also stationed at Little Rock A.F.B. There I was a Crewchief on the KC-135(Q)tanker,tail number 1474. This is how i got to know the 9Th. S.R.W. existed. We would be assigned T.D.Y. 30 days at a time to Beale A.F.B. to support the refueling mission required for the SR-71 to perform it's assigned mission. When I was assigned to the 9Th O.M.S., I performed many T.D.Y. trips to Kadena,Okinawa. The time frame was in the late 60's and early 70's. It was the greatest duty of my career to be assigned to and be a part of an elite group in my total 20 years of service. God Bless to those Men and Women who served with such pride! I miss it. In my heart I'll always be a part of it.
M/Sgt. Maynard Locke
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 21:51 Sgt. Juan Hernandez Jr. Writes:
I was assigned on the SR-71(9th oms)1975-1976. At the time I was an A1C promoted to Sgt. I worked as a crew chief Launch Crew and post flight (recovery crew). This was the most exciting time in my career. Not only for working on the BLACK BIRD (Habu), but by the people I met: A1Cs Hoth, Bagdon, James,-Sgt's McGinnis, Peralta,-TSgt.Flowers-and of course MSgt. Maloof. And the TDY's to Kadena AFB Okinawa, Japan, and made a great experience in the company of such wonderful people. Many more people to numerous to mention.
Sgt. Juan Hernandez Jr.
Friday, January 19, 2007 Beth McCane Writes:
Added on January 23, 2007:
Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 14:48 A1C John Rice Writes:
Proud to have served 81'-83' @ Beale AFB 9thFMS CC
A1C John Rice
Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 11:54 SSgt Ted A Neher Writes:
I was stationed at Walker AFB, NM 1960 - 1964 where my only encounter with the SR-71 was seeing one land one night then very quickly led by a host of AP to the hanger down from ours. I was the the base flight squadron with the C-123 and T-33, as a ground crew member and Flight Engineer on the C-123 669. I saw a blurb of someone writing to your site that was there in 1964 in the T-33 but cannot fine that item again to get the name. If you have a way of finding that I appreciate that name, it was in the 2001 book I think.
SSgt Ted A Neher
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 Tony Bevacqua Writes:
Carl Estes, passes away.
I just received
word from Carl’s daughter that Carl died last night at his home. He had
been in the hospital for a “small heart attack” and was asked to stay the
weekend. He got quite agitated and kept pulling the life support stuff
out, so he went home. Services, etc. will probably be next week, his
phone is 530-674-1647. Sandy and his housekeeper, Jody, will probably stay
More info to follow as it becomes available.
Richard Graham Writes:
Pat Halloran Writes:
January 13, 2007 Tony Bevacqua Writes:
Tuesday, January 16, 3 – 7PM Open casket. Funeral Service at
the Chapel of the Twin Cities, 715 Shasta St., Yuba City, CA, 95991, Wednesday,
12:30PM (Fr. Rojas (Bong) of
Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 13:53 Sgt. Steve York Writes:
Stationed at Beale AFB from 1977 to 1979.
Sgt. Steve York
Monday, January 8, 2007 at 08:19 Sgt. David Arrieta Writes:
I missed the 2005 reunion. I did see a photo of J-58 mechanics. I am wondering if Charles Stewart (Stew) is the same engine buddy of mine. I am David G. Arrieta and was a crew chief on the U-2R in U-Tapao Thailand 1974--1976.
If anyone has contact with him, please let him know that I would like to hook up with him.
Sgt. David Arrieta
Friday, January 5, 2007 at 18:48 SSgt Richard Chestnut Writes:
I was assigned to the radio shop 9th AMS Beale, AFB (1980-1983).
SSgt Richard Chestnut
January 04, 2007 Obituary submitted by Donald Smith:
Smith, Thomas H. (May 3, 1934-Dec. 31, 2006)
Retired Air Force Test Pilot
Thomas H. Smith, a decorated, retired test pilot, politician, and businessman, died on Dec. 31, 2006, in Lancaster, California. Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 3, 1934, to Harold and Mildred Smith. He is survived by his wife Darlene and her two daughters, Anna and Sarah, his three children, Karen Schaefer of Hope, Mich., Carol Cushman of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., Tom of Irvine, Calif., step-son Ryan of Eugene, Oregon, nine grandchildren, six brothers, Dick and Eileen of York, Neb., Jim and Ellen of Waterloo, Iowa, Paul of Waterloo, Iowa, Robert of Refugio, Texas, Peter and Jane of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Kevin of Surfside Beach, S.C. Also surviving are a sister-in-law Wanda Smith of Ankeny, Iowa, brother- in-law Ralph Russell of Council Bluffs, Iowa and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Dave and Phillip and his sister Joanne. Tom attended St. Francis and Abraham Lincoln High Schools in Council Bluffs, Iowa where he graduated in 1952. After a brief tour in the Navy, he joined the Air Force in 1953, in order to fulfill his lifetime dream of becoming a Test Pilot. He attended Squadron Officers School at San Angelo, Texas, and married Julane E. Dugger from San Antonio in 1955. After an assignment as a reconnaissance pilot at Johnson AFB, Japan he attended the Air Command and Staff College and then Oklahoma State University where he graduated with a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1965. He fulfilled his dream when he was accepted into the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, class of 1965-C. From 1967 to 1969, Smith was the Commander of the U-2 Flight Test Program at Edwards. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for his service to the Flight Test Center in 1969, and then served a tour in Vietnam as an F-4 Fighter Pilot, flying over 100 combat missions. His awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with first and second oak leaf clusters, and the Bronze Star for meritorious service as Flight Commander, Mission Launch Officer, Directorate of Combat Operations, and Deputy Chief of Staff. After returning from Vietnam, Smith worked as the Commander, Fighter Test at Edwards AFB. He managed the flight test programs of several V/STOL experimental aircraft and then as the Chief Test Pilot and Commander of the SR-71 “Blackbird” Test Force from 1972 to 1975. He received an M.S. in Business Administration and then attended the USAF Air War College in 1976. After retiring from the Air Force with the rank of Lt. Colonel, Smith worked briefly as the Executive Director of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots but then
returned to his love of flying and testing airplanes as a Test Pilot with Fairchild Corporation in San Antonio, Texas. He later served as the Marketing Manager, Military Flight Control Systems, of Lear Siegler Astronics from 1981-1983, before returning to the Test Pilot Society as Executive Director until 1997. During this time, he also served his community as Planning Commissioner for the City of Palmdale, City Councilman and Vice Mayor of Palmdale (1988-1989), Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Palmdale Hospital and Administrative Assistance to the State Legislator. His last work before retirement was as President of Aviatrek International, which involved a close working relationship with nine sponsoring Russian Corporations. Tom and his wife enjoyed their retirement on their farm near Woodbine, Iowa before returning to Rosamond, California just a few miles outside Edwards AFB where he spent much of his career, learning, teaching and testing many of the Air Force experimental high performance aircraft. “He was devoted to his profession of testing aircraft and his sense of public duty” said his son Tom, a business executive from Irvine, Calif. “He was amusing, witty, very intelligent, and just a wonderful person to be around.”
Services will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, January 6, 2006, at Halley Olsen Murphy, Lancaster, California. In lieu of flowers memorials may be sent to the SETP Scholarship Foundation in Lancaster, California. After cremation, ashes will be interred at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Monday, January 1, 2007 at 21:48 SRA/SGT Douglas Bentley Writes:
It has been awhile since I posted and since it is the first day of 2007, what a better time.
I have 3 boys and am always telling them about the plane that I worked on. I worked Deuces, Sleds and RC's but only one do I remember or really desire to remember as much.
It was a pleasure to see the Jennifer Moxley and Dan Goodwin posted, both EW Troops. I was EW and will always be EW. My wife an I still joke about "..Rm 17..." whenever anyone answered the phone in Oki.
Anyhow, just wanted to say howdy from Texas to all the 9SRW folks and supporters that are still around especially those that remember the smell of JP7 on a hot Oki morning..... Take Care
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