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Guest Book Entries for 2015


2015 Guest Book Entries

Updated December 31, 2015

"Eagles may soar, but weasels do not get sucked into jet engines."

Wed, Dec 29, 2015, 8:31pm CST,
A1C Gary L. Saenz writes:

Hi, I have been scrolling through all sites on this aircraft and started recalling my tour of duty at Beale AFB and Kadena AB, some of my best memories throughout my life.

Gary Lee Saenz

Wed, Dec 1, 2015, 3:09pm EST,
MSgt Ron Lauritsen writes:

Beale 1979-1981, Det 1 1981-1983, Crew Chief SR-71.  RAF Alconbury 1983-1986 & 1990-1995 Crew Chief TR-1.  10 year Lockheed Certificate.  Best years and lots of memories!

Ron Lauritsen
Manchester Township, NJ

Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 7:29pm PST,
E4 Leo Nielsen writes:

456 Field Maintanance, Aircraft Electrician

Leo Nielsen

Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 7:19m PST,
Sgt Lex Davis writes:

I was in the ECM shop at at Beale and Kadena from 1977 to 1980.  Just looking to find anyone from my shop at that time.  A lot of memories.  Working for General Atomics on Predator UAV's at Fort Huachuca AZ.

Lex Davis

Tue, Nov 10, 2015, 7:03am PST,
E4 Daniel Hodgson writes:

I am a former member of the 9th. Avionics Maintenance Squadron, timeframe: 1982-1985... Auto-Pilot shop.

Daniel Hodgson

Sun, Nov 8, 2015, 8:21pm EST,
Sgt Frank Lewicki writes:

Air Police 1965/1966 Beale, I felt so much pride back then.  Still blows my mind seeing the blackbird.

Frank Lewicki

Mon, Sep 7, 2015, 4:25am PDT,
Civ Cliff Stetler writes:

Hi, everyone, name's Clifford Stetler, my father (same name) was assigned to the SR-71 9th SRW and we (family) went to Okinawa to live while he went to work on the electronics behind the security gates, he went there in 68 and came back and told us were were going there with him.  From 69-78 he worked when it took off and came back every flight it had to make.  Greatest time I had as a kid, 9 years old till I was 18.  The plane was the most awesome thing the US had to use in its time.  Met the pilots when we had the crew over for Thanksgiving.  So much more but I'll stop.

Clifford Stetler

Sun, Sep 6, 2015, 12:59pm PDT,
MSgt Douglass Sapulpa writes:

Comm/Nav Tech. (U-2) 1970-1976 at DMAFB; KC-135, SR-71, T-38 and U-2,'82-'91, Beale AFB.

Douglass Sapulpa

Sat, Aug 15, 2015, 5:11pm MDT,
Capt Don Shipman writes:

Whit Latham, drop me a note sometime.

Don Shipman
Littleton, CO

srpatch.gif Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 1:49pm EDT, Sgt Rick Thrasher writes:

Just wanted to add that as an fuels specialist at Yokota AFB from 69-71, we had an SR-71 Blackbird stationed there behind closed hangar doors and I was assigned to supply fuel when needed and was proud to add that special aircraft to my list.  Got to see a few late night takeoffs and going vertical!

Rick Thrasher

srpatch.gif Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 11:20am CDT, Civ. Julie Hatchell writes:

My father was LtCol. Robert S. Crawford.  He passed away 7/19/2015.  He was stationed at Beale AFB from about 1974 until his retirement in 1979.  He worked in the vault.  If anyone knew him, I would love to hear from you.

Julie Hatchell
Walker, LA

srpatch.gif Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 9:52am EDT, A1C Jeff Harding writes:

Assigned to the 9 SRW from mid-1980 - 1982.  Would love to hear from any of the great guys I worked with during that time....White, Ortega, Ertle, Bowman, Densmore, Ward......had a great phone chat with LtCol Hammond yesterday.

Jeff Harding
Alexandria, VA

srpatch.gif Thu, July 16, 2015, 8:40pm EDT, A1C Woodrow S. Spivey writes:

I found this site today!  Pure chance.  Glad to say I too had a direct connection to the sweetest aircraft ever.  On Feb. 8, 1968, I was part of the first "Port Bow" unit to arrive at Kadena, with the 91st Bomb Wing.  I was attached to the base photo lab, where, If I remember correctly, we processed the film from the SR-71's, as well as the B-52's.  And by pure chance I witnessed the first takeoff of an SR-71.  It was dark, but I was close enough to see it as it flashed past a building and roared darn near straight up!  Or so it seemed to me!   I never had the opportunity to see another one, and it was one of the few experiences I recall from my TDY at Kadena.  I was finally able to see one up close a few years ago at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, here in Oregon.  Thanks for sharing all the info and photos of the Blackbird.

Woodrow Spivey
Portland, OR

Mon, July 6, 2015, 4:03am EDT,
LtCol (Ret) Whitt Latham writes:

I was in the original cadre at Beale AFB California.

Whitt Latham
Gadsden, AL

srpatch.gif Wed, July 1, 2015, 1:19am EDT, Civ. Celia Rayburn writes:

I have probably posted this on a previous year memory page.  But my mother passed away, which made me go through both my parents' items.  My dad was a Lockheed contractor and assigned to Beale AFB from 66-69 or -68, and participated in several TDYs in Kadena, and he may have been responsible for a piranah in a the Officer's stag bar aquarium after losing a poker game, but I digress.  He was always proud of that plane, he worked with what was called the data recording system, more than likely the ASARS-1.  He separated employment, and remained in Yuba City with a private television business, until 1979.  I found an old Beale Air Force Base coffee cup with both the SR-71 and U-2 on it.
His name was Robert Lewis Robinson Sr. (Robby), and my mom was Doles Ilene Gottlich Robinson.

Celia Rayburn
Gulfport, MS

srpatch.gif Tue, June 30, 2015, 8:48pm PDT, TSgt Bill Clingan writes:

NCIOC training, Beale AFB 1974-79

Bill Clingan
Yuba City, CA

srpatch.gif Mon, June 29, 2015, 7:15am EDT, David Allison writes:

Hello Blackbird Association members.  I am sending out photo CDs from the 2015 Blackbird Reunion to any member in good standing of the Blackbird Association who wants one.  Cost is $5.00 US, to cover shipping and materials.  I will take payment by PayPal or by personal check.  Email me if you're interested.

David Allison

srpatch.gif Fri, June 26, 2015, 4:13pm MST, LtCol Justin Adams writes:

What a great site.  I started off my AF career as a crew chief on SR-71s at Beale (79-81) and Kadena (81-83).  Got a commission 6 years later and served almost 27 active years.  Recognized quite a few names of people I worked with and those that mentored me.  Floyd Jones, my phase dock chief at my first job.  Skip Hosler, who mentored me while in Okinawa.  Other names I did not see were MSgt Jolly, he was my FTD instructor.  Spent numerous TDY's to Mildenhall and many a typhoon party downstairs at the bar while in the dorms in Japan.  Feel proud to have been part of history and lucky to have met and worked with some great individuals.

Justin Adams
Tucson, AZ

srpatch.gif Thu, June 25, 2015, 9:35P CDT, Sgt Neal Pinkowski writes:

KC-135Q crew chief, 1520 in Okinawa 71+72.  Would like to hear from anyone who was there at that time.  The long missions and landing at Utapaho, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  God Bless you all.

Sgt Pinky

srpatch.gif Wed, June 17, 2015, 12:27a EDT, SSgt Lawrence B. Hart writes:

I worked in the Hydraulic shop for four years.  I was TDY to the OL8, I believe it was July of 73.  Watched with my very eyes A/C 978 tried to land while Typhoon Rita was offshore.  First attempt, one tire blew on landing.  The drag chute deployed, so everything is ok "NOT".  Pilot got rid of the chute.  He put it into afterburner and took off.  Wing commander was in his staff car.  He was going apes--t.  The aircraft did several laps around the flag pole and everybody saw the flat tire.  On the second attempt there were severe crosswinds (looked like an airshow with all the bobbing and weaving); with no drag chute he put down and it was very HARD landing.  He blew all the tires on the right landing gear.  Now there were no brakes.  The grinding of mag rims lit up very bright.  He hit the overrun barrier concrete lip that rose above the runway 2-3 inches.  That ripped the right gear out off the aircraft, left gear had broken and the aircraft went belly-down.  I was in the recovery truck about 200 yards away from the runway when he made the second attempt.  They tied the aircraft down and during the night Rita came ashore.  The next day I flew back to Beale.  My head was still spinning as to what I saw.

Lawrence B. Hart

srpatch.gif Wed, May 20, 2015, 2:35pm CDT, SSgt Craig Freeland writes:

Where the hell are you instrument (spike) shop troops?  My buds were Dave Sherman and Ron Cardin.  1968-70

Craig Freeland

srpatch.gif Thu, May 14, 2015, 3:26pm CDT, Civ. Randy Lewis writes:

My father MSgt Art Lewis was the "First Shirt" for the 9th SRW 1972-1974 when he retired from the Air Force.  He passed away Oct 4, 2010.  Just found this site and wanted to pass this on in case there are some of you that knew him or served with him.

Randy Lewis

srpatch.gif Fri, Apr 24, 2015, 3:34pm PDT, SSgt John Pape writes:

Was at Det 4 9SRW at RAF Mildenhall 83-86.  Would love to hear from anyone who was there during that time.

John Pape

srpatch.gif Thu, Apr 16, 2015, 8:09pm EDT, MSgt Albert Weeks writes:

Assigned 4200 FMS, later the 9th FMS, July 1965 to Aug. 1970.  I was an aircraft electrican.

Albert B. Weeks

Hazlehurst, MS

srpatch.gif Wed, Apr 15, 2015, 10:08am EDT, Civ Ken Opdycke writes:

I started working the J58 engine at Pratt & Whitney out of college in 1978.  I worked the program of engine parts life extension, and left Pratt & Whitney after three years when another contract came to an end.  I was asked back to Pratt two years later, even though I was assigned to a different contract, as several who actually knew the hydraulic control system had passed.  I ferretted out a number of controls problems through 1984.  During my time it was my honor to prep the engine for display at Wright Patterson Air Force Museum.  Unfortunately, at the time K seals for the AB manifold were in very tight supply, so the bottom three AB manifold connections on that display engine are missing, as I needed them for my test engine.

Ken Opdycke

srpatch.gif Sun, Mar 29, 2015, 10:34pm MDT, Capt Don Shipman writes:

I was a SSGt imagery analyst in the 9th RTS from 1965-1969.  During the 1976 record flights, a limited number of Dolly Madison U.S. flags were carried on board the SR-71s making the runs.  I am the recipient of one of those flags, given to me by my (then) Goodyear Aerospace Tech Rep, Chuck Hall at SAC, 544ARTW.  It is a proud possession that hangs on my den wall with the Certificate of Authenticity.

Don Shipman
Littleton, CO

srpatch.gif Tue, Mar 24, 2015, 11:07pm PDT, Sgt Graeme Phillpotts writes:

I am interested in SR-71 flight gear.  I served with the USAF on exchange from the RAAF at Wright-Patterson 1991-1994 and did some work with the Museum.  One of my treasured mementos is dressed in an SR-71 High Alt suit in the SR-71 at the Museum.  Cheers from Down Under.

Graeme Phillpotts

srpatch.gif Sun, Mar 22, 2015, 2:20pm EDT, David Allison writes:

Blackbird Reunion 2015 registration is open!  The reunion will be held June 11-14 at the Nugget in Reno.  The newsletter is in the process of being printed and mailed; in the meantime, here are some links:

2015 Newsletter:
Reunion Schedule and Signup Sheet:
Online Electronic Registration:

David Allison

srpatch.gif Thu, Mar 19, 2015, 2:46pm EDT, MSgt Jerry M. Hayes writes:

Assigned Beale AFB Jul 78 thru Dec 82.  Photo shop.

Jerry Hayes
Fayette, AL

srpatch.gif Fri, Feb 13, 2015, 4:42pm EST, Civ. Jeff Gates writes:

My father, Eugene Gates, was a weight engineer at Lockheed and worked on the SR-71.  Of course, at the time, the project was secret and we didn't know what he was working on.  I only new that, as a weight engineer, he calculated the weight of the plane mathematically before it was built.  He died in 2000 and on his tombstone we put the formula for flight:

Jeff Gates
Silver Spring, MD

srpatch.gif Wed, Feb 11, 2015, 7:57am EST, Sgt. Ray Zacher writes:
John L. Harmon has passed away.

I recently found out that my sponsor, MSgt John Harmon, passed away late 2014.  Partial obituary is as follows:
"John L. Harmon 82, of Gridley passed away Thursday on October 23, 2014 in Gridley.  He was born on May 6, 1932 in Springfield, IL.  He was one of three children born to Dean and Gertrude Harmon.  He loved music and played key board in many area jam sessions.  He served in the US Air Force during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Guam and Germany, and retired after 20 years of service.  He was a devoted father and grandfather and was well respected by all that knew him.  His Family…John is survived by one son Stephen(Kathy) Harmon, of Olympia, WA, three daughters, Debra (Toby) Seiberlich of Litchfield Park, AZ, Susan (Vince)Whale of CO, Cheryl Harmon of Gridley, one step daughter Tami of Wheatland, one sister Evelyn Grefe of Glendale,AZ, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren."

He worked in the 9WHS in the old SAGE bldg., and I was an Illustrator in that outfit in the vault.  I served at Beale from 1969 - 1973, my whole 4 years.  I have posted several times in the past.  Several years ago he contacted me after seeing one of my posted memories on this site, and I wish I had maintained contact with him.

Ray Zacher
West Chester, OH

srpatch.gif Sun, Feb 8, 2015, 12:08pm EST, Civ. Chris Soliz writes:
Brian McCallum has passed away.

Hello.  My grandfather passed away on January 29; he was a Blackbird pilot back in his day.
"Lt. Col. Brian McCallum (Ret.) served 23 years in the Air Force, seeing action in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was one of the first pilots to fly the SR-71 Blackbird, a long-range reconnaissance plane that still holds the record as the world's fastest and highest-flying manned aircraft. Lt. Col. McCallum flew the Blackbird for the last 8 1/2 years of his military career. Prior to the SR-71, Brian flew various Air Force aircraft, including the F-86F fighter, the KC-135 aerial refueling tanker, and the EC-135 aerial command center."

Chris Soliz

Sat, Feb 7, 2015, 9:13am EST, MSgt Paul Hutto writes: 

Stationed Beale 1972-1978.  Worked Flight Line, Phase and Maintenance Control.

MSgt (Ret) Paul Hutto
Trussville, AL

srpatch.gif Thu, Feb 5, 2015, 6:45pm PST, Civ. Frances Tonry writes:
John J. Tonry has passed away.

My dad SSgt John J. Tonry passed away January 11, 2014.  I would like to ask anyone that was in my dad's unit I believe 1967 to 1969.  If you could please identify the patch that he would have worn, I would be greatful.  My brother is paying a tribute to our dad with a tattoo of the patch.  However, we have not been able to locate one in his possessions.  Your help would greatly be appreciated.  Dad said he worked on instrumentation on the SR-71.  I believe the years were 1967 to 1969.  He has a picture with about 100 guys' signatures on it from one of the reunions.  He worked with Wally Sass.  Thank you again and I do apologize for the rambling.

Frances L. Tonry
Shreveport, LA

srpatch.gif Thu, Feb 5, 2015, 6:07pm PST, Mike Rejla writes:
Fitz Fulton has passed away.

Distinguished former NASA research pilot Fitzhugh L. Fulton Jr., described by colleagues as, “The Dean of Flight Test,” died Feb. 4, 2015.  He was 89.  During a career in the military, civil service and industry, he logged over 16,000 flying hours in more than 240 types of aircraft from the triple-sonic, titanium and composite SR-71 to the corrugated tin, prop-driven Ford Tri-motor.  He piloted airplanes of all sizes, from the diminutive Cessna 210 to the behemoth C-5A.  Fulton retired from NASA in 1986 after 20 years at the agency’s Flight Research Center (now Armstrong) and 23 years of Air Force service that included support of the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests in 1946 and more than 200 missions during the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and 1949.
Following combat service in Korea and a 14-year assignment as an Air Force test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, Fulton joined NASA on August 1, 1966.  Over the next two decades he flew more than 60 different types of aircraft from sailplanes and helicopters to high-performance supersonic jet fighters and bombers.  He piloted some of the world’s fastest jet planes including the XB-70 and YF-12, each capable of speeds in excess of 2,000 mph and altitudes above 70,000 feet.
Fulton was project pilot on the NB-52B mothership that launched the rocket-powered X-15 research aircraft, wingless lifting bodies and a variety of remotely piloted vehicles.  While in the Air Force he had also flown the B-29 and B-50 motherships used to air-launch the X-1 and X-2 rocket planes.
He was the pilot of the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) on all captive and free-flight tests of the Space Shuttle orbiter prototype Enterprise in the 1977 Approach and Landing Test series.  Fulton was twice awarded NASA's Exceptional Service Medal for flying the SCA, which he also piloted during ferry missions to return operational orbiters to Kennedy Space Center, Florida, following their return from space.
Fulton served as project pilot on a specially modified C-140 JetStar for the Laminar Flow Control Leading Edge research program.  He also flew numerous research and support aircraft including the AD-1 oblique wing demonstrator, F-8 Supercritical Wing test bed, NT-33A variable stability trainer, NC-131B flying simulator, and NC-8A Quiet Short-haul Research Aircraft.  With extensive experience in supersonic delta-winged jet aircraft he was also invited to fly the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic transport.  During a cooperative research program between NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration, Fulton remotely piloted a heavily instrumented Boeing 720 airliner from a cockpit on the ground, guiding the plane to a controlled impact on Rogers Dry Lake to test the flammability of anti-misting jet fuel in a simulated crash situation.
He retired from NASA on July 3, 1986, for a job with Scaled Composites in Mojave, California, where he served as flight operations director and chief research pilot.

Mike Relja

Fri, Jan 23, 2015, 2:25pm PST, John Siordia writes: 

I am a instructor at a local aviation school here in Las Vegas, NV.  We are hoping to have a former aircrew member speak to our students and staff about their experiences flying the Habu in peace and war.  Please feel free to contact me at  Thank you and God Bless America.

John Siordia
Las Vegas, NV

Wed, Jan 21, 2015, 9:07pm PST, SSgt. Bob Taylor writes: 

This is an email update.  I am reaching out to Det 4 veterans who were at RAF Mildenhall 82-86.

Bob Taylor

Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 10:43pm PST, Civ. Jason Massey writes: 

My grandfather was Floyd Massey, and worked on the SR-71 project among others.  He finished his career at Lockheed, and passed away several years ago.  I am looking for anyone who may have known him, or may have some things to share about him.  We miss him very much.  Thank you for reading.

Jason Massey

srpatch.gif Tue, Jan 6, 2015, 8:45pm PST, TD Barnes writes:
Thomas McMurtry has passed away.

The Roadrunners are saddened to report that Thomas C. McMurty passed away last Saturday, January 3.  A former U.S. Navy pilot and graduate of the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, MD, McMurtry was recruited into the CIA's U-2 program and received his first U-2 checkout flight in January 1965.  He was assigned to Detachment G at Edwards AFB North Base where he was involved with testing various systems and upgrades including an in-flight refueling capability to give the U-2 greater range.  McMurtry joined the NASA Flight Research Center (now known as Armstrong Flight Research Center) in 1967.  He was a project pilot on some of the most significant flight research projects in the center's history during his 32-year tenure, including the AD-1 oblique wing program, the F-15 Digital Electronic Engine Control project, the KC-135 winglets and the F-8 Supercritical Wing program for which he received NASA's Exceptional Service Medal.  He also served as co-project pilot on a number of other flight research efforts, including the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire program and the X-24B lifting body, and also flew the modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft when it ferried space shuttles across the country.  He made one familiarization flight in the triple-sonic YF-12A.  McMurtry also served the center as chief of the Flight Crew Branch, Director for Flight Operations and Associate Director for Operations and Acting Chief Engineer prior to his retirement in June 1999.  McMurtry logged more than 15,000 hours of flight time throughout his lengthy career, including 4,000 hours recorded while flying for two private aviation firms for 12 years after his retirement from NASA.  He was honored by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots with its Iven Kincheloe Award for his work on the AD-1 program in 1982, was enshrined in the Aerospace Walk of Honor in Lancaster, California in 1998, and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1999 prior to his retirement from NASA.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 10th at 12:30 at Father Serra Parish in Quartz Hill, California.  Viewing will be Friday, January 9th at Halley Olsen Mortuary in Lancaster between 4-8pm.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Carmelite Sisters of Alhambra ( or Father Serra Parish in Lancaster, CA.

TD Barnes

Tue, Jan 6, 2015, 7:04am PST, Sgt. James Woodward writes: 

Worked on the EMR system at Beale during 1970.

James Woodward

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.


      Do you 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 you are on to see if the individual has left a message.

    3.When you contact Jack Madison the first time:

    You MUST include "Blackbird Association Membership" in the subject line

    Your Name and Affiliation with the Blackbirds (SR-71 or U-2). 

    Your Complete Home Mailing Address. Please ensure the address is correct in all aspects. Sending just your E-Mail address is not sufficient. 

    Email you Blackbird Association application to:

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