FROM THE PAST
Guest Book Entry's for 2008
I have been requested to include recollections from various personnel that have either worked on the SR-71 or have been closely associated with the program through support operations. Bear in mind that the SR-71 could have never flown had it not been for the expertise of personnel in a wide variety of specialties in the US Air Force and civilian industry. These include but are not limited to KC-135Q Refueling Support, Air Traffic Controllers, Security Policemen, Base Fire Suppression Support, Medical personnel, Lockheed Technical Support, Physiological Support Division (PSD) and a vast array of top notch people that expended that extra effort to insure the success of the program. If you have been associated with the Blackbird Program and wish to share something with others, 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 2008 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:
Updated December 23, 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
A Tribute to: Lt. Colonel Tom Smith: Chief Test
Pilot and Commander of the SR-71 “Blackbird” Test Force from 1972 to 1975.
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: http://www.u2sr71patches.co.uk/
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
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: http://www.u2sr71patches.co.uk/
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
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:
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!
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
Sat 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.
Wed 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.
Sunday, 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
Wednesday, 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
Thursday, 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
Thursday, 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 @ http://www.RC135.com). 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.)
Sun 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. )
Sun 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
Mon 11/17/2008 9:36 AM Don Emmons Writes:
Larry Johnson passes away.
October 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
Saturday, 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
Saturday, 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
Monday, 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!"
Friday, 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 .
Sunday, 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
Thursday, 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
Monday, 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
Sunday, 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
Thursday, 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
Wednesday, 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
Wednesday, 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.
Sunday August 03, 2008 Marc Radin Writes:
Thursday, July 17, 2008 Ronald L. Burton Writes:
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: http://www.legacy.com/appealdemocrat/GB/GuestbookView.aspx?PersonId=112217150
Editors Note: Mr. Joe Allenger's Guest Book entry's are located here: http://www.legacy.com/appealdemocrat/GB/GuestbookView.aspx?PersonId=112217150
Ronald L. Burton, 9 MXG/AFETS
RQ-4 Comm. Systems Integrator
Air Force Engineering & Technical Services
DSN: 368-8655/COMM: 530-634-8655
Tuesday, 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
Monday, June 16, 2008 at 06:44 MSgt Lee James (Ret) Writes:
Third Wiper on 976, 1975-1977.
Looking for old pal Dwayne Sharpe.
Friday, 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.
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
Mr. White served his country in uniform for
more than three decades. He joined the Army in 1942 and fought in all-black
He married German native Elfriede Matri in 1952, started a family and
climbed the enlisted ranks at
Restless in retirement, he opened a fish
"He did a lot for his squadron,"
Romero said. "He was someone to be reckoned with, but he was proud to
be in the Air Force."
Published 12:00 am PDT
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Mon 6/2/2008 9:51 PM Klint Weidinger Writes:
Started at Beale AFB in 1982 in the Automatic Flight Control shop. Went on to work with Honeywell on the DAFICS system in 1986 with Ed Kattenberg, Dewayne Juniman, Duane Nelson, Tim Wilmering and Jim Rush. I would love to hear from all of them as well as the other great people I had the pleasure of working with right up to the end in Mildenhall. Hands down the greatest people i've ever been associated with and had the pleasure of working with! Where ever you are, I wish you all the best.
Mon 6/2/2008 7:55 PM TD Barnes writes:
The Roadrunners staff regrets having to pass on the sad news of our loss of Colonel James P. Cooney, USAF (Ret) Colonel Cooney was part of the original flight crew on the YF-12 Joint Test Force from 1962 - 1968. During this period he spent time at Area 51. On 1 May 1954 he flew back seat for Walter Daniel at Edwards AFB as they piloted the YF-12A on speed runs to set the world speed records for manned flight. Jim flew many YF-12A missions with Jim Eastham, the Lockheed test pilot who first flew the YF-12 at Area 51. Colonel Cooney also launched successful Aim-54 from YF-12A with Col. Joe Rogers at Holloman AFB in 1967. The target was a QB-47. He flew many Cat II SR-71 missions with SAC and AFSC pilots. Later he flew 186 combat missions in the F-4 in SEA out of Udorn AB in Thailand, chalking up 1 MiG kill on 12 May 1972. Cooney won the MacKay Trophy in 1965 along with Fox Stephens, Don Andre, Walt Daniel, and Noel Warner for setting World Speed Records in the YF-12A. He retired in 1977 with the rank of Colonel. Among his many decorations were the Silver Star and DFC w/5 LOC. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and our fellow Roadrunners who have suffered a great loss.
The obit and news article of Colonel Cooney's passing are posted on our web site at:
Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:11 Sgt. Scotty W. Misenheimer Writes:
I was a crewchief on the Blackbird from 1985-1989. I was under the supervision of MSgt R. Lombard and Chief Miller. I left the USAF in June 1989 and until this day that was the biggest mistake ever in my life. I did not realize my status of being a crew member on the world's greatest until several years later. If it is possible to contact former co-crew members I have listed my number. The names are Jay Scott, Lawerence Holly, and Vic Beatty but certainly MSgt Richard Lombard. Thanks for the awesome website and the great memories.
Sgt. Scotty W. Misenheimer
Monday, May 12, 2008 at 10:29 SSgt Roger Brantner Writes:
I was stationed at Beale AFB in 1972. Worked in supply, inspection section and supported the SR71. The building I worked in was close to flight line and also the building where the pilots suited-up. Me and my family lived on Jack Rabbit Hill, on base housing. This was perfect place to watch the SR71 take off, at dusk with it's after burners glowing. This was my first duty station after coming back from Vietnam.
SSgt Roger Brantner
Friday, May 9, 2008 at 12:41 Richard E. (Butch) Sheffield Writes:
It was good to see the picture of Al Hichew & Tom Schmittou on April 28, 2008, on your site. It was forty- three years ago this month that they arrived at Beale and were briefed into the Oxcart & SR-71 program. They went on to the first SR-71 class at the Skunk Works" (SW) on the first week in May, 1965. Then Al went to fly the A-12 trainer and Tom stayed at the SW for training on the navagation system. Then they both went to Edwards to help the SR-71 test force with how SAC was going to fly the SR. They flew some of the first flights by a SAC crew. They did a great service for the Air Force, SAC and the 9th Wing. I salute them!
Richard E. (Butch) Sheffield (RSO)
Richard E. (Butch) Sheffield (RSO) and Robert G. Sowers (Pilot)
Friday, May 9, 2008 at 14:25 Sgt Steve Mahalko Writes: I was stationed at Kadena AFB, from 6 June 67 to 18 December '68. I was with the 824th sec POL Squadron, 824th Combat Support Group, 313th Air Division. In the middle of what we called the SAC area was a hanger that started to receive large amounts of crates and material off loaded from C-130, only at night time. KC-135's and the Buffs were the only aircraft that was authorized to enter the SAC area until out rolled one of the most beautiful aircraft I had ever seen---the SR-71. Took a few months to put one together, but when she rolled out she was something. We had 3 total with there own KC's for their missions. They weren't EVEN suppose to be there. I have a lot more info and stories I can relay to you about the SR and Kadena, loved that place. Hope to hear from you.
Sgt Steve Mahalko
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 14:38 Sgt. Steve York Writes:
I was stationed at Beale AFB from 9/77 until 12/79.
I worked in the AMS Photo Shop.
Sgt. Steve York
Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 18:06 TSgt Albert Walker Writes:
1980-1982, Security Police, stationed at Kadena, Okinawa. I remember the local nationals just lining the perimeter fence along Hwy 58. It seemed they knew about the launches before we did. I remember working post two zero (20), one-three (13) or eleven (11). When working post eleven, I had a couple occasions of dropping the line for the aircraft pilot being transported. He looked like an astronaut. He was cradled in that comfortable Lazyboy looking chair, while cruising in the big blue Chevy step-van. I also remember the amount of fuel that beast would leak just sitting there in the hanger. I recall how awesome it looked cruising by my post location heading for launch. The launches were unbelievable. You would see the after burners kick on and it was GONE. What a site. We called the ol' girl-HABU!
I'm looking for E-2, Bob Williams, of Mass. He went to Incerlik, Turkey and BOP'd to the Clark AB, Philippines. While in Okinawa, did a trip to Australia on a Security Police exercise. Thank you for the site.
TSgt Albert Walker
Sun 5/4/2008 9:21 AM TD Barnes, President Roadrunners Internationale Writes:
Who is this person?
Sat 5/3/2008 4:23 AM Tom J. O'Neill Writes: Hey Leland, It is me! One for the enlisted guys. They gave me a Blade award for this. Ever hear of that one? I will get you a picture and send it out after I get to my
Sat 5/3/2008 11:19 AM:
Tom J. O'Neill
Friday, May 2, 2008 at 19:14 (Daughter of:) Colonel William R. Griner, Jr. Writes I am the daughter of Col. William R. Griner, Jr. He passed away in 2004. He commanded the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB. This was when we were there starting in 1965.
Colonel William R. Griner, Jr.
July 19, 1923 - February 19, 2004
Colonel Griner was born in Cairo, Georgia in 1923. He entered the Air Force under the Aviation Cadet program in 1942. Since that time he accumulated over 10,000 hours of flying time. Colonel Griner's first assignment was with the Air Transport Command later called Military Airlift Command) where he worked as an aircraft commander in cargo and air rescue aircraft until 1949. A command pilot and senior navigator, Colonel Griner spent a major portion of his career as an aircraft commander and operations officer in a strategic air command. In 1951, he joined the 307th bomb group in Okinawa as a B-29 aircraft commander and squadron operations officer, where he flew 59 combat missions over North Korea. Colonel Griner then transferred to the 320th Bomb Wing at March AFB, California, and served as B-47 aircraft commander, operations officer and squadron commander. After seven years, Colonel Griner transferred to Carswell AFB, Texas, where he commanded the 63rd Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Wing, a unit equipped with the B-58, the Air Force's first supersonic bomber. In 1961 he was assigned to the Operations Plans Division, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, where he served as Chief of Tactics until 1965. Colonel Griner then was selected to command the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, California, a unit equipped with the SR-71. Subsequently, Colonel Griner transferred to the Military Assistance Advisory Group at Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam, where he served as Director of Operations and flew combat missions with the Vietnamese Air Force. His next career assignment was Director of Safety at Air Force Logistics Command, the position he held until becoming AFLC's Deputy Inspector General. Later, he experienced heart problems and finding that because of that he should not fly, he retired from the Air Force in August, 1974.
What he loved most in the world was flying! He spent his retired years at his residence in Riverside, California and enjoyed the company of family and friends.
(Daughter of:) Colonel William R. Griner, Jr.
Fri 5/2/2008 1:32 PM
TSgt. William Jones Writes: It's been over 40 years and I'm still thrilled when I'm
reminded of anything about the SR-71. I hope some of you guys remember me. My memory is not what it used to be, but I still remember some names.
SSgt Parker (my mentor), SSgt
Dickerson (#1 Avionic shop tech), Airman Hall,
Sgt Tonery, CMSgt Haney,
TSgt Huitt, MSgt Rogers. I can see many faces, now if only I could put a name to them.
After Beale I went on to work on the F4, B52D & G, F106, C130E & C130 Gunships at Hurlburt Field, FL. After retiring I worked with Lockheed in Saudi Arabia maintaining and training Royal Saudi Air Force troops on the FD109 & AP105 Avionics on the RSAF C130 for 7.5 years. I worked as Engineer on Electron Microscopes with the Philips Company. Finally retired from a Quality Control position with Ford Motor Company.
Now I'm just hanging out practicing the fishing tricks SSgt Parker taught me and the hunting tricks one of you other guys showed me. I see your face, (but not the name). Oh I really envy you guys when reading about your OL TDYs. It seems like things really got more interesting after 1969. E-me if you remember me.
Jai Jones. PS I still have that 1964 Lincoln.
Monday, April 28, 2008 at 13:00 Lt.Col. Thomas W. Schmittou Writes:
First RSO To receive 900 Hr. Pin: Lt.Col. Thomas W.Schmittou (Rt)
Al Hichew (Pilot) and Tom Schmittou (RSO)
Monday, April 21, 2008 at 15:29 MSgt Robert (Bob) Huff Writes: In 1964 I was selected by SAC to go Edwards AFB on a coded project. I was a A1C(Buck Sgt) then to work on something but I didn't have a clue and no one was talking. I had to wait for about a couple of weeks for my upgraded security clearance was processed along with a few other troops. Finally I was going to see what I would be working on!! When I walked through security and into that hangar the first thing that came into my mind was"Batman DOES HAVE a Bat Plane"!!! There resting and leaking fuel was was two YF-12A's!! And my career field was Fuel Systems Repairman. I could see from the git go I was going to have a abundance of work!! We didn't get any SR-71's till quite some time later in the project. And yes I had plenty of work all the time I was associated with the YF=12A and the SR-71's. I stayed at Edwards till the test project was completed and then followed the aircraft to Beale and the OL's. I can still hear the dual Buick Wildcat start carts turning over the most beautiful air breathing aircraft ever produced. I can still see the blue flames lighting up the runway as SR shot holes in the night sky! It was a honor to work on all of them.
MSgt Robert (Bob) Huff
Friday, April 18, 2008 at 11:02 Robert A. Anderson Writes:
Worked for Lockheed in Burbank, CA., from 1967 to 1974. What I did for the company is still considered 'need to know' basis. I was privileged to associate with some of the 'non-computer' engineering geniuses that created and nurtured this technological wonder. It was designed, built, tested and refined under the most carefully orchestrated secrecy program ever. The most impressive factor regarding the A-11/Sr-71 program was the enthusiasm and dedication of the people involved. Those kinds of individuals are just not coming out of our institutes of higher learning any more. The airframe craftsman are not being trained in our schools, and the hands-on, get your fingernails dirty, group of mechanics are becoming fewer and far between. When ever I visit a museum or read an article or see a TV program that lauds the virtues and background of this bit of flying history, I get a very warm feeling of pride and appreciation for my brief association with Lockheed and those creative giants. Sincerely, the 'other'
Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 18:16 SMSGT Jimmy Jackson Writes:
One of my best assignments in my 20 year Air Force career was being assigned to the 9AMS in January 1968 to March 1973. I worked in the NAV/AIDs shop with Chris Hamilton, Rex Kiesling and Doc Adams among many others. I too had the experience of several trips to Kadena in support of the SR-71. Great airplane and great people to serve with.
March 27, 2008 11:09 AM Sgt. Edward Schleeter
Writes: I arrived at Beale in June of '66 just as the 4200th was being designated the 9th SRW. The flight line was full of KC's and B52s
at the time with just 3 or 4 hangars with SR71's in them. The 9th AEMS was run by
Maj. Edgar Whitten. My Com-nav shop was headed by
CMSgt Joe Savery. What an incredible honor it was for me to be assigned to this group right out
of tech school. One tense experince for me was one morning during a launch, with '62 idling on the run-up pad, a control for the UHF radio had to be changed. It's a real rush to be laying on one's stomach half in the cockpit, j58's screaming, and a bird Col. tapping his fingers on his knee waiting to get his mission underway, while trying to work in that crowded front seat. I think all who first saw and heard the SR during launch, will never forget that experience. Great website...thanks.
Sgt. Edward Schleeter
Wed 3/26/2008 8:02 PM
E-4 Wayne Dillehay Writes: Stationed at Beale:
1-67, 11-70, I made 2 TDY's across the pond in support of our mission.
The guys in my shop were Larry Fry, Steve
Vose, John Krable, Dave
Payne who was in the Machine Shop with Bob
Tatroe, our Shop Chief was M/Sgt James Parrish.
I was one of the first to weld on the SR-71 in the fuel cell area with engines in the A/C. When the it crashed in Loma Rica just North of Beale I was sent on the recovery and also the one at Beale at the end of the runway, and the people and the memory's of a great bunch of people .
Monday, March 17, 2008 at 14:33 Sgt. Michael Zervos Writes:
I have not posted since 2001, I guess time flies too fast. I am living in Florida again and my e-mail has changed.
I was a Crew Chief from 1976 to 1980 and Field Rep. on the blackbird from 1982 to 1990. I have been employed by Northrop Grumman for 18 years now as a Project Engineer and also teach business and aircraft and spacecraft development at two colleges. If you remember me, drop me a line or two.
Sgt. Michael Zervos
Sun 3/16/2008 12:38 AM SSgt Errol Ross Writes:
was stationed at Beale for only a year - between 1982 and and 1983 (about May
to May). I lived on base on
am auto pilot, and Josh was our shop supervisor.
I wish I had more definite statements to post right now.
I will return to this site after I've had a chance to got through the
25 years of "boxes." In
the mean time, if you were there at the time and recognize my name, please
drop me a line - or call.
Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 07:11 Sgt Danny (SQUEAK) Grattan Writes:
I WAS STATION AT BEALE FROM 1966/70 AS A CREW CHIEF ON A/C TAIL #1474 KC135Q
I MADE MANY TRIPS ACROSS THE POND IN SUPPORT OF THE 71S WHICH EARNED ME THE AIR MEDAL
BEALE WAS GOOD TO ME
BEST BASE ON THE PLANET
Sgt Danny (SQUEAK) Grattan
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 19:01 MSgt Ronald Dickneite Writes: It's been a while since I entered a comment on the web site so I thought I would update everyone. We are now staying in FL for about 6 months a year enjoying the warm weather. We still go to the reunions and enjoy seeing everyone. Jim Gray is buying a place in the same resort as me so we'll be spending so good times together, Golfing, boating ( Jim will be fishing) while I'm just enjoying the lake. We both keep in touch with CD Allen, Don Carey, Phil Sage, Charles Carter, Gray Chaffin, Gino Fessler, John Lasky and others. Jim, Gary, Carter and I met at Allen's house in AR last year for a great few days together. We (Jim) and I live just live a few miles from Disney so if your in the area give us a call. I have a new email address it is firstname.lastname@example.org I'm still looking for Ken Becker, Larry Harris, Jeff Davis (Engine shop) if you know where they are give me a message. I'm asking everyone to attend the reunion next year so we as maintainers (OMS) could show up and see Bill Gornick, Turner , and others. Just to renew old friendships. We all had a great time in The 9th and every time I read the statements from others it reminds me of another great time I had and a friend from the past. There is a lot of us that live in RV's now and travel around the U.S. In fact Jim and I are traveling together up the East coast this year.
MSgt Ronald Dickneite
Monday, March 3, 2008 at 12:06 SSgt Donald Siegel Writes:
Watching the bird take off and sunset and see those afterburners throw out a 30-40' flame .
Looking for: KENNETH WHITE from Natchez, Mississippi.
SSgt Donald Siegel
Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 17:31 MSgt. (Ret.) Wes Burch Writes:
First off, hello to all w/whom I've worked with in the past...it was truly an experience! I'd also like to send out a special thanks to the Thomas' (Bea and Berry), Dave Pack, Dave Green, and all the others.
With that, I worked the program from the 9th FMS, in the Environmental Control Systems shop, from 1983 through 1988. I worked on all of the assigned aircraft SR-71, U2/TR-1, KC-135, and the T-38s.
I have many memories about the experience, and to single out one over another is impossible...I'd just like to say that at Beale...We Made Sparks Fly!!!
MSgt. (Ret.) Wes Burch
Wednesday February 27, 2008 8:36 PM Don Shipman, Capt, USAF Retired Writes:
Don Shipman, Capt, USAF Retired
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 13:28 TSgt. Leo Marin Writes:
I was a Boomer on the KC-135Q Model tankers. It was a fun program and I got to travel and meet many people while assigned to Beale AFB. Remember the Beale Bandit's stickers we used to put up everywhere? How about the Boom Pod over in RAF Mildenhall or the Bldg. that housed the Habu Crews and us Crew Dogs. Logged lots of good times at both places!!
TSgt. Leo Marin
Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 14:05 Amanda Richardson, nee Fairweather Writes:
I worked at the Smoke House Inn, Mildenhall, England in the eighties and I remember all the SR71 guys.
Tom Veltri and Frank Stampf. Remember Amanda, Cathy, Linda and Doreen from the Smoke House.
We had some good times, and I have fond memories of you all. Will never forget you.
Amanda Richardson, nee Fairweather
Would love to hear from you here in Spain.
Saturday, February 23, 2008 at 15:25 TSgt Thomas Gable Writes:
I worked on the blackbird from July 1970 Sept 1974. I was sent there to be on a top secret project which never came about. I was sent to the 9th and worked out of the instrument shop making 5 tdy tours to Okinawa. I retired after 20 years I am 73 now and remember Walt Blackman and MSgt Goretz.
I would like to hear from them, Thanks,
Thomas N. Gable
Friday, February 1, 2008 at 17:49 MSgt Eric Hanninen (Ret) Writes:
Firefighter assigned to RAF Mildenhall from 1988 to 1992. Spent some time parked in front of the SR71 hangar in a P2 (Crash Truck) while the aircraft was being serviced with TEB. The first time on standby I was shocked at the large number of drip pans under the aircraft, all filled with JP-7 and the individual transferring the TEB wearing basically the same protective gear as us firemen. I can still remember seeing the TEB drip out of the hose when it was disconnected. It was pretty cool.
I was also lucky enough to get some egress familiarization training on the aircraft a couple of times before it left Mildenhall.
I was a little disappointed it didn't fly during our Air Fete air show one year before it left. I think it was grounded because one went down near Japan. I always enjoyed watching that aircraft take off. There was no other aircraft like it.
MSgt Eric Hanninen (Ret)
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 19:31 TSgt Jimmie Gray Writes:
I'm a full time RV'er now, this is my new email address:
TSgt Jimmie Gray
Saturday, January 26, 2008 at 21:57 MSGT / Captain James F. (Jim) Bard, Jr. Writes:
My original entry in the Guest Book was in March 06, my ISP has since changed.
My current e-mail address is shown here.
MSGT / Captain James F. (Jim) Bard, Jr.
Wednesday, 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
Monday, January 21, 2008 at 18:31 Sgt. Raymond Zacher Writes:
Hello! Just a quick note that my e-mail address will be changing. Please use the address as shown below. I have posted in years past, but would still like to hear from anyone who knew me. I was an Illustrator in the 9th SRW, 9 WHS in the old SAGE building in the vault, Mission Planning. I was stationed at Beale from 11/69 to 8/73. My earlier postings detail some of the personnel I knew and worked with, as well as my experiences at Beale. Not to repeat myself from what I have said earlier, but what a great time!
Sgt. Raymond Zacher
Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 11:28 TSgt (Ret) Steven Appel Writes: Still hangin at Boeing and now doing the software testing thing and writing the help files for software and doing a little system engineering. My son Luke went into the Marines in 2007 and is now stationed in North Carolina. I've got a 2000 Black Trans Am which I love to race at the track when I get a chance. Her name is: "Black OPS" How fitting right?...lol. http://www.fquick.com/garages/Pontiac/Trans_Am/2000/7362/ Since being hired on at Boeing, I've become a mogul on the debriefing software which we design and upkeep for the Air Force. I often think about my years spent on the SR-71 and can't get away from the stigma surrounding it. I still have a bunch of those coins for sale if anyone wants them. Only a few of the Black and Red ones remain and are reserved only for true Crew Chiefs. Anyway, wanted to say hi to everyone and email me if you like, Take care,
Steven "BAD" Appel
Sat January 12, 2008 8:26 AM Sgt George Carrie Writes:
Friday, January 11, 2008 at 16:59 Sgt. Mike Correa Writes:
K9 Security/ 1965, May thru November, 1967. I was there upon its first deployment at Beale!!
At that time there was no words to describe the Blackbird. The thoughts /site/roar/vibration/after Burners lighting UP!!!
Right now I can live that experiences Again!!!
It wasn't Science Fiction..
Sgt. Mike Correa
Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 09:20 SSgt. Larry Fry Writes:
I was sent to Beale, right from Lackland, in late 1966...just as the SR became operational. Was in the 9thFMS (weld shop) for my entire four years in the USAF. Was in the very first group sent to Kadena (OL-8)to set up operations there, and went back to Kadena for a second TDY near the end of my enlistment. Odd thing was, I never thought working on and in the SR-71 was any big deal; it was an airplane, I had a job to do. Only decades later, as the mythological proportions of the SR-71 legend grow, does the significance become clear.
I'm proud to have worked on this incredible airplane.
Anyone else here serve with me? Steven Vose? Dave Payne? Mike Montagnon? Ray Schaub? Lattie Robinson? John Krabel? George Casey?
Tue 1/8/2008 4:38 AM Gene Mallory Writes:
This came from my neighbor, a retired Air Force pilot and my best friend.
THE CREW CHIEF
The pilot was everyone's hero
He was brave, he was bold, he was grand
As he stood by his battered airplane
With his goggles and helmet in hand
But for each of these flying heroes
There were thousands little renowned
And these the men who worked on the planes
But kept their feet on the ground
We all know the name of Lindberg
And we've read of his flight of fame
But think if you can of his maintenance man
Can you remember his name?
And think of the wartime heroes
And the acclaim that they all got
Can you tell me the names of their Crew Chiefs ?
A thousand to one you cannot
Now pilots are highly trained people
And wings are not easily won
But without the work of the maintenance men
Our pilots would march with a gun
So when you see a powerful airplane
As it makes its way through the air
Remember the grease stained man
With the wrench in his hand
For he is the one who put it there
Tue 1/8/2008 4:37 PM Tony Bevacqua Writes:
I received a call
this morning that Stretch Field died Sunday.
A memorial service will be at the First Assembly of God Church, 312 Swan
Avenue, Hohenwald TN 38642. I will be attending. As you recall,
Stretch was one of the original members of PSD in the SR-71 program.
If you could spread the word I would appreciate it and so would his family.
Email was forwarded to Tony by:
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
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".
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