srpatch.gifSR-71 ALMA MATERsrpatch.gif

ashield.gifRECOLLECTIONS FROM THE PASTashield.gif
Guest Book Entry's for 2008

1. 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

2. A Tribute to: Lt. Colonel Tom Smith: Chief Test Pilot and Commander of the SR-71 “Blackbird” Test Force from 1972 to 1975. URL: ./TomSmith.htm

3. SSgt Don Hildebrandt has compiled an SR-71 Timeline of events: Posted at this URL: ./Timeline.htm  A link is provided to the timeline in a PDF format. 

4. Alan Johnson has provided this webmaster with images of the Mission Recording System installed on the Blackbirds. He acquired these from the historical archives of Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. These images show the recording system monitoring the historic flight of SR-71 #972 from London to Los Angeles on September 13, 1974. The graphs show the total elapsed time for the flight of 3 hours 47 minutes and 39 seconds for an average speed of 1,435 miles per hour. Our gratitude goes out to Alan for his contribution to this web site. Here is page one of two pages Of the MRS Data Pages: ./MRS_graphs1.htm

Posted December 23, 2008

Visit Alan's superb British "Black Magic" web site here:



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 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:







View the latest movies I have posted to YouTube:

SR-71 Blackbird Launch

Or This One:

SR-71 Night Launch and Mission Take

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


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. 


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:



bt-eagle.jpgOwn 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!





 Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission takes readers on an operational mission that only a few U.S. Air Force pilots have ever experienced. Go here to check out Richard Graham's newest book features and ordering details:

Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In  the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission

SR-71 Pilot and prior Commander of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB in California, Colonel Richard Graham presents his 3rd in depth book on the SR-71. You can step into the cockpit and see what it is like to fly the famous Blackbird on a combat mission. Included in the book is the previously classified pilot's checklist. If you love to fly, you will find this book detailed and  humorous but most of all concise and accurate from one of the most respected leaders of the Blackbird family. Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to help restore the  SR-71 simulator to operational status. The Sim is located at  the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. Yes, perhaps eventually you will be able to climb into the cockpit and Sim fly the famous Blackbird. It just doesn't get any better than this. Purchase the book; enjoy the read; then feel confident your purchase has helped establish a precedent for future generations. 

Leland Haynes, Webmaster, SR-71 Blackbirds

If you have a few moments be sure to watch "Born Again American" at this URL:

Born Again Americantarget="_blank">

December 27, 2008


srpatch.gifSat 12/27/2008 2:16 PM Jay Buscemi Writes: 

I started working on the SR-71 program in 1966 - as the manager of QA Field Operations at AIL in NY for the Parsons on-board recorders subcontract. Returned to the program in 1969-1971 as the Quality Assurance manager for the AIL recon receivers.
As I recall, the program was called "1912" at AIL - probably just a randomly assigned project number - the company's program logo was a old man's face in a space-suit - good cover, most people thought it was a manned space program.
We would smuggle in Revell plastic model kits of the aircraft and build them inside the closed area - couldn't bring them out again; everybody had one on their desk in the classified area, there were dozens of them.
 One of the great experiences of my aerospace career of 35 years at AIL in New York.
    Jay Buscemi
    Laurel, NY

Email: JAY123@I-2000.COM

srpatch.gifWed 12/24/2008 8:49 AM SRA Ted J Edwards Jr (1986-89 SAN VITO ITALY)  Writes: 

While I wasn't directly connected, as a 207X1 (Morse Systems Operator...DittyBop) in San Vito, one of our missions was tracking THEM tracking IT.

  We used to get such a kick out of their frantic transmissions tracking it's location over the Med or the time they sent their grid numbers, and our Analysts had it posted, that sucker was in Hawaii or

  Great page, brought back some fond memories...

SRA Ted J Edwards Jr


srpatch.gifSunday, December 21, 2008 at 10:06 SSgt. Howard Goodman Writes: 

I was at Beale from 71-73 in the 456OMS.

 I worked on the flight line on the KC135's spent many cold nights draining the body tanks and flushing them to switch from JP4 to JP-7 to refuel the SR-71's.



SSgt. Howard Goodman


srpatch.gifWednesday, December 17, 2008 1:05 AM SSgt Tom Van Kirk Writes:

Hello to all, Glad to see so many are still around, Tom Van Kirk here. 

Crew Chief from '75 to '80 and '84 to '85. 

Hi to all and I will be sure to visit this site more often. 

Last plane crewed #964. God Bless.

SSgt Tom Van Kirk 


srpatch.gifThursday, December 11, 2008 at 16:02 Staff Sgt. Roger Sharp Writes: 

I started at the physiological support division in Tucson in 1969 and was with them, except for a three-year stand at Fairchild, for the rest of my service time. I checked in to the organization just about the time as a young captain, Hector Freeze (spelling), and I left shortly after he was notified of his pending promotion to Brigadier General. I had the privilege of dressing him 4 his final high flight. I also had the opportunity to recover him after a rather stressful and elongated flight in which he flew by hand without the aid of autopilot.

I too had the opportunity to work with and spend time with Francis Gary Powers. I recently spoke with his son from the Cold War Museum and deemed that a privilege as well.

I had the privilege of working with some of the greatest and most professional crewmembers of both the blackbirds and greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with dedicated professionals at the physiological support division.

I appreciate this web site and enjoy reading memories of those who I worked with. The experiences I had working with those airplanes and the people who worked on them are the greatest I have ever had. We truly had an impact on the security of the world.

Staff Sgt. Roger Sharp


srpatch.gifThursday, December 4, 2008 at 13:33 Ltc. Kingdon R. Hawes, USAF (Ret.) Writes: 

he SR-71 Blackbird is my all time favorite flying machine. Not long after President Johnson announced the existence of the SR-71 program in 1964 I applied for the RSO crew position. Unfortunately, I was turned down because of 20/40 eyesight. What a bummer. I was tired of flying BUFFs as an EWO and wanted a change. In 1966 I got that change by entering the world of strategic reconnaissance with an assignment on an RC-135S named "Rivet Ball", aka "Wanda Belle", with the 6th SW at Eielson AFB in Alaska. Our mission was to monitor and record Soviet ICBM launches during the "Cold War" (My Story @ In 1971 I was assigned to the HQ SAC IG aircraft operations inspection team at Offutt, AFB. I was responsible for inspecting reconnaissance operations, including the SR-71 program. Of all the reconnaissance units I inspected nothing compared to the SR-71 crews and staff. They were outstanding in every way. I only wish that I could have crewed with the best of the best. However, I did get to fly the pilot simulator at Beale. LOL

Thanks for putting together such a wonderful website. It's "OUTSTANDING".


Kingdon R. "King" Hawes

Ltc. USAF (Ret.)


srpatch.gifSun 11/30/2008 10:58 AM Fred Carmody Writes: 

Jim Daniels passes away.

I just got word from Carol Anderson (my old secretary in the Skunk works) that OUR Beloved SR-71 old timer, Jim Daniels passed away on Friday evening.  He has been in very poor health for 2-3 years but in the last 3 month he has been critical with Hospice help daily.  I will pass on the arrangement when I receive from Carol.  She lives close to Jim and Barbara in Lancaster , CA .   Sure sad to hear but he was hurting so bad for the past two months that it is a blessing that he left us.

He never flew in the SR-71 or the YF-12 but he was the Lockheed leader on the PDM program at the Skunk Works.  He put the NEW SR-71 front cockpit panel during the first mod at Beale while I was still a Chief in The 9th SRW commanded by Gen Bill Hayes.  What a guy was Jim.  He did make everyone smile even when things were going bad on the mod.  I would be very happy if you would make an entry on the Alma-Mater and Recollections of the Past web page.    The Service bulletin that he put in the birds was SB-618.  One of the most complicated in the whole SB system for the SR-71 aircraft.   ( Actually, he worked for me as a contractor team leader at that time. )

Fred Carmody


srpatch.gifSun 11/23/2008 9:37 AM SSgt Craig Davidson Writes: 

Joined the Habu's at Kadena in the summer of '82. I was an ECM tech and I think was one of the few that didn't get sent to Beale for some initial training. Had been working F-4's at Nellis, and my crusty shop chief (who didn't know anything about the SR-71) told me that the ECM gear on the SR-71 was antiquated. Once I landed in Okinawa I got on the phone (at the MAC terminal) to the Rivet Joint outfit to see if I could get my orders changed - really didn't want to work on antiquated equipment. Good thing the Chief at the RC-135 unit couldn't do anything for me! I ended up spending a little over two years at Det 1 before getting out of the Air Force.

We had some really great people, like Ron Badamo, Mike Hull, and Frank Collins. Ron eventually was my best man after I returned to Okinawa to get married.

One of my first repairs on the SR-71 was to fix a broken splice for one of the control units harnesses up in the rear cockpit. As per my F-4 experience I repaired the splice and used copious amounts of "F-4 tape" to secure the bundle. Because a mission was coming up the next morning the repair was pretty important. I proudly told one of the maintenance officers that I "temporarily" repaired the splice and it was good for the mission. I really got chewed out later for using the word "temporary." I realized that this event signaled my transition from TAC to SAC.

When the Det was shutting down I was sent from OSAN AB to Okinawa to tag test equipment that could be used by the U-2's. I was a civilian, and though I still knew a lot of the folks in the Det I was treated pretty suspiciously since I was now from the U-2 side of the house. The useful tagged equipment never really made it to OSAN - still don't know what happened to it.

On that same trip I managed to get a chance to talk to the commander in his office. I had been told by the U-2 outfit to look for "Oscars" balls, which where rumored to be held by the Habu's. Oscar is the black cat mascot of the U-2's at Osan. The commander knew what I was up to and cut the visit short.

SSgt Craig Davidson


Larry Johnson passes away

srpatch.gifMon 11/17/2008 9:36 AM Don Emmons Writes: 

Larry Johnson passes away.

We lost a great friend and "honorary" Habu.  Larry's sister called to say he passed away last night and would I please put the word out to all Habus.  This is quite a shock as I just talked to him the other night and he was his usual bubbly self and was so looking forward to the reunion in June. Larry was a real testimonial for reminding folks of their blessings by being one that always stayed so excited about life in spite of being strapped to that wheelchair for over 40 years. How many of us could do that?  Sadly, in the last few weeks he was starting to lose what mobility he did have. His love of the SR-71 program gave him a lot of inspiration and he knew as much about the program as many of us.  He has willed his body to science and at some point in time he will be cremated.  A Memorial Service will be held in the Portland area sometime in the Spring.  He would have been 58 years old this Wednesday. So sad.  Please pass on to everyone.

Don Emmons


srpatch.gifOctober 30, 2008 at 14:23 Capt. Don Shipman Writes: 

I just want to update my e-mail address. I was in 9th RTS from 1965-1969 as an Imagery Interpreter. I have many very good memories of that assignment and of later ones with many of the same people that I worked with in the 9th. I was also privileged to work with some of them after retirement. It was a very special time in my career.

Capt. Don Shipman



srpatch.gifSaturday, October 11, 2008 at 16:05 SSGT Larry W. Edwards Writes:

I was assigned to Beale AFB in Jan. 1968 right after Tech school. I did 4 tdy tours at OL-8 and took my discharge in March 1971.

Would like to hear from Herman Brinkman, Robert Galindo, or Jerry Strong.


SSGT. Larry W. Edwards


srpatch.gifSaturday, October 11, 2008 at 15:53 Marjorie Gersten Writes: 

Suit up and riding in the van to the plane with my father!! I was fascinated! The sunset take-off will be forever! The thing that reflected my father's true spirit for the plane was the moment at his retirement ceremony when I caught the tear rolling down his face as 2 of them flew over head....that said it all

Marjorie Gersten




srpatch.gifMonday, October 6, 2008 at 06:19 Pat Norrie Writes: 

I worked on the Blackbirds at Beale 1978-79, Osan and was initial contingent PCS on Kadena 1979-81, in the sensor shop. We worked and partied hard. I retired in 1991 and have lived in the Philippines since. I now live high in the hills above Cebu City. Any old buddies out there can drop me a line or even come visit. The P.I. is still outstanding! Anyone out there know Ivan Stutzman from Lockheed? Like to get in touch. Everybody be cool and remember, "Anywhere, Anytime! Blackbirds Rule!"

Pat Norrie



srpatch.gifFriday, September 12, 2008 at 00:14 Robert Stroebel Writes: 

I was a Planning engineer at Burbank for both the YF-12-A and the SR-71 and also the U-2 project. I retired in 1980. I had the main and nose gear system from about 1962 thru 1971 when I went onto the L-1011. My wife was a electrical technician and she did a lot of the wiring of the cockpit and control stand. I am 88 years old so I do not remember a whole lot. When I retired I got a signed picture of the SR-71 by Kelly Johnson .


Robert Stroebel 


srpatch.gifSunday, September 7, 2008 at 16:21 A1C Thomas D. Moore Writes: 

I was first assigned to Beale AFB, with the 856th Med. Group, in July, 1967. I arrived at night, and was taken to the barracks. When I first came out of the barracks, that next morning, I was greeted by a thunderous roar, and looking off to my left, I saw my first SR-71, in the typical nose up, take off mode....WOW....I had never even heard of the SR-71 before, and it was love at first sight.

I reported to the base hospital, and shortly after that I requested, and was assigned, to the PSD, as one of the rotating medics. I volunteered for duty in Vietnam, and left there in September, 1968. Upon my return the to USA, I requested a return to Beale, AFB, and also a return to the PSD section, in support of the SR-71.

In my later days, I switched to the USCG, and became one of the first Rescue Swimmers. However, those 30' waves, the sharks, the duty in Vietnam, never gave me the adrenalin rush that I had from seeing that first SR-71 take off.

I am so proud to have been a very small part of the program....

A1C Thomas D. Moore


srpatch.gifThursday, September 4, 2008 at 09:46 Sgt. Jeffrey Seelow Writes: 

My first duty station, of my almost 9 yr. career, was Beale AFB. The SR-71 and the U-2 were and still are incredible aircraft. I was assigned to the 9th FMS Electrical shop from 1980 to 1982.To this day it was a honor to work on these two amazing aircraft. It is something that I will always be proud of and always miss.


Sgt. Jeffrey Seelow



srpatch.gifMonday, August 25, 2008 at 07:54 TSgt (Ret) Arthur R Ethridge Writes:

I worked as a photographic developer technician, in the Research and Analysis Section, 

CMS Loomis Robertson was the NCOIC during my time at Beale AFB.


TSgt (Ret) Arthur R Ethridge



srpatch.gifSunday, August 24, 2008 at 16:19 A1C Lester H. Kauffman Writes: 

Transferred from 306 bomb wing, McCoy AFB Florida to 

9th Reconnaissance wing in 1964.


A1C Lester H. Kauffman



srpatch.gifThursday, August 07, 2008 SSgt Roland Vandenberg Writes: 

SSgt Roland Vandenberg here, Beale AFB 1975-1979,

Det-1 TDY's 1975-1979

Beale AFB & Kadena TDY's 1975-1979, 9th OMS TEB Tech.

Would love to know if TSgt Ned Hamilton is approachable. He was my supervisor and we had a hell of an emergency fire on one of the SR's wing when a TEB line QD failed.

SSgt Roland Vandenberg


srpatch.gifWednesday, August 06, 2008 9:53 AM MSgt (Retired) Pat Allen Writes: 

Worked upstairs in Supply Det 1 from 78-81. We were the first PCS folks then everyone started to come instead of TDY. Had a blast working with some real professional people. We had some great bowling and softball teams. Noticed an earlier posting from Bill Parker but his e-mail was no good.


MSgt (Retired) Pat Allen



srpatch.gifWednesday, August 06, 2008 6:25 AM MSgt Elwin "Ed' Hall Writes: 

I was reading down thru some of the experiences of the people assigned to the 4200 OMS. My first job was to baby sit #956 for a 12 hour shift on Sat and Sun. One day I was using the phone for a pillow and it rang. My boss Paul Spratt told me to wake up because Chief Smith didn't think I was doing a very good job. Of course with a ring of air police around the hangers no one could get in, That was early 1966. 

Ed Hall



srpatch.gifSunday August 03, 2008 Marc Radin Writes: 

I lived on Beale AFB as a dependent from 1965 to 1967 and saw the first SR-71 fly into the base.  My father was Col. Norman Radin and he was part of the team that first received the airplane (He was a Lt. Col in 1965 and later made full Col. around 1967). I attended and was at Lone Tree Elementary School on Base as a 5th grader on the first arrival of this airplane.  At that time, we had temporary classrooms (trailers) at one end of the asphalt and that is where we stood for the "fly-over".  You might imagine what a 5th grader felt as he saw this futuristic and unbelievable airplane fly over.  It appeared to be flying very slowly and was very quiet.  It was unlike anything I had ever seen to date and I enjoyed seeing it fly many times after that.  My Dad arranged a family tour of the airplane and we got to see the process of how the pilots got suited up, driven to the SR-71, and the airplane was started with those Buick Wildcat engines on the start cart.  They were loud and awesome (I am a car buff and enjoyed the sound even back then).  Some of the other men that worked in this original group included Col. William (Bill) Hayes, Capt. Tom Ryan, Maj.(I think) O'Malley,  (taught me how to water ski on Lake Englebright), Maj. Jack Morgan, Col. Bloominstein, Col. Curfman, CWO Ledger.  There are others and I will need to think to recall their names.  It was a special and unique time and I am lucky I got to observe aviation history being made.  I returned to Beale AFB this year (2008) and was amazed that the house I lived in was still standing and many things looked exactly as I remembered, including the creek near the park.  There used to be a World War II tank in that park, but it is not there any longer - the creek still smells the same as I remembered. 
Marc Radin


srpatch.gifThursday, July 17, 2008  Ronald L. Burton Writes: 

Just wanted to pass on the sad news of Mr. Joe Allenger’s passing.  He was assigned to the Electric Shop at Beale for 1978-2003.  Another unsung hero that made the mission go, never in the limelight but always a dependable journeyman that got the job done.  Please visit the link and sign the guest book or leave a note for his family!

Editors Note: Mr. Joe Allenger's Guest Book entry's are located here:

Ronald L. Burton, 9 MXG/AFETS
RQ-4 Comm. Systems Integrator
Air Force Engineering & Technical Services
DSN: 368-8655/COMM: 530-634-8655

srpatch.gifTuesday, July 8, 2008 at 05:56 Lt Col John P. Penasack, Ret Writes: 

'67 to '70 9th Test Squadron, Det SR71 OES

Aero Engineer extracting MRS data for flight crews and maintenance.

The highlight of my AF Career.

Lt Col John P. Penasack, Ret 



srpatch.gifMonday, June 16, 2008 at 06:44 MSgt Lee James (Ret) Writes: 


Third Wiper on 976, 1975-1977. 

Looking for old pal Dwayne Sharpe.




srpatch.gifFriday, June 13, 2008 3:03 PM Ronald Girouard Writes: 

I received a phone call this morning from the daughter of Ray Young. Ray was a NASA Flight Test Engineer on the YF-12/SR-71 programs at Edwards in the 70s. He passed away last Monday night she said. He was 74 years old. I hadn't seen anything about this on either your site or the Road Runner site, so I figured that maybe this was news that hadn't reached you yet. His daughter found a letter I had written to Ray back in 2002 asking him to autograph a YF-12 photo I had and she decided to call and let me know the news. I know you would want to put this on the site.


Ron Girouard

Obituary: Augusta 'Gus' White, 83, pioneering Air Force enlistee

srpatch.gifTue 6/10/2008 6:52 PM William M. Gornik Writes: This is to advise all who remember Chief Gus White  as one of the super Senior NCOs assigned to the Blackbird program, that he has passed away after a long illness.  I received the sad news this afternoon by a phone call from his Son-in-law.  For those of you who live in the Sacramento area, his obituary will be in the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday,11  June.  Bill G

Augusta "Gus" White, an Air Force veteran who supervised equipment for SR-71 spy flights and was one of the first African Americans to serve as a chief master sergeant, the top enlisted rank, has died at age 83.














First RSO To receive 900 Hr. Pin:   Lt.Col. Thomas W.Schmittou (Rt)

Al Hichew (Pilot) and Tom Schmittou (RSO)


srpatch.gifWednesday, January 23, 2008 at 12:02 Sgt. Dale Vincent Writes: I went in the air force when i was 17 and from there to brooks AFB to be trained. Then it was off to Beale AFB. Imagine the look on my face when I saw what I would be working the SR- 71 and the U2R model. I was assigned to P.S.D at Beale then to Det 1 to find out what the banana show was and to go swimming at moon beach which was but a short ride from Kadena. I hear they changed B.C. Street to a new name. Olive harvest was my favorite though. Det 2 was good too as long as it wasn't to cold. The pilot I did most of my training on was killed in Cyprus, he was very well liked. I thought it was interesting that when I arrived at Beale I wasn't allowed to do anything until i got my G.E.D. diploma since it was a requirement to work at P.S.D. Also you had to be 21 which they changed. I couldn't legally consume alcohol until I was almost separated from the air force.  If any of you old PSD'ers want to contact me feel free. Thanks for the site


Sgt. Dale Vincent


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


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.
      You must meet the following criteria established to join the Blackbird Association!

1. You must have been Directly Associated with the SR-71, U-2 Programs. Being stationed where the Blackbirds were operational does not qualify. We have received numerous requests to join the Association by personnel that do not qualify, for example CBPO, Supply, Etc. Certainly these personnel contributed indirectly to the programs but remember the qualifications states: "Directly Associated".

2. The Blackbird Association is Not a Locator Service! Questions directed in this area will be ignored. If you wish to try and locate a former member you may search this page and perhaps you may find the individual.

3. When you contact Jack Madison the first time, he needs your Complete Home Mailing Address. Please insure the address is correct in all aspects. Sending just your E-Mail address is not sufficient.

4. Do not send your "recollections of the past" or "stories" to the Blackbird Association. Use the "Guest Book" above to submit your recollections to be posted on this web page.

If you feel you meet the Criteria to Join the Blackbird Association then Contact

Jack Madison at:

Page #38 of the SR-71 Blackbirds