RECOLLECTIONS FROM THE PAST
1999 Guest Book Entries
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 U.S.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 Sign the Guest Book . Do not send any classified information (The U.S. Government has been assigned that task and will declassify information as necessary).
There are Nineteen
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..
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
Sun, 19 Dec 1999 13:08 A1C Sam Lockridge writes:
I was at Beale AFB from 1967-70.
I was in photo maintenance 9RTS.
I would like to find some of the guys that were there at the same time.
A1C Sam Lockridge
Thu, 16 Dec 1999 18:38 SSgt George "Dion" Kamboures writes: Crewed 960 from 1986 to 1990 as my first duty assignment. Those were the good ole' days. Now I work at MHAFB, ID as KC-135 Chief Inspector which is nice but nothin' beats the smell of TEB and the vibration of a launch from the inside of "MOOSE" (our launch truck). The best role models an airman could have was my supervision. Thanks goes to MSgt Steve Koren, SMSgt Brad Fisher, and CMSgt Daryl Miller. Thanks again for all you did.
SSgt George "Dion" Kamboures
Thu, 9 Dec 1999 18:13 Sgt Neal Pinkowski writes: Hello to everyone. Just stumbled onto this site and think it is great. I am a former crew chief on KC-135Q's. My aircraft being 59-1520. Served out of Kadena in 1971+1972. Would like to hear from anyone from the good times and bad though there weren't too many of those. Will always remember the times in the air and the people I was lucky enough to be associated with. I understand 520 is still in active duty at Fairchild AFB in Washington State. Best to all and let me hear from you.
Sgt Neal Pinkowski
Wed, 8 Dec 1999 11:47 Michael J. Ramon E-4(Sgt.) writes: I was very happy to stumble across this website. I was astonished to find so many others that have also found this site and also associated with Blackbird. I was stationed at Beale AFB in the 9th FMS from 74 to 76. I was in the A.G.E. shop (Aerospace Ground Equipment). We maintained the start carts (AG 330), air conditioners, heaters, hydraulic test stands...etc.. that supplied the Blackbird with power while it was in the hangers. I went TDY to Kadena in support of Habu twice. I remember watching them take off at night. Truly a sight to behold which one never forgets. I remember just barely arriving at Beale. I took a tractor out to the flightline to do some status checks on our equipment. I glanced over to a Blackbird that was LEAKING! I thought..."What the heck is this"? I promptly reported this to my Tsgt. He gave one big belly laugh. He informed me that all was right with the world and the Blackbird. Seems going 3+ the Habu heats up to such an extent causing expansion, it is normal for it to leak while in the hangers. Newbies....sheeeeeh! Took me quite a while to live that one down! Still have my Habu hat we all picked up over at Kadena. I was awed by the Blackbird then, and to this day, still am. Truly a work of art and brilliance that fit its niche after the U-2. Gee, I'm glad we can talk about it now! Ha
Michael J. Ramon E-4 (Sgt.)
Mon, 6 Dec 1999 15:31 Sgt Howard S "Hap" Wyman Jr. writes: I was assigned to the 456 AEMS in August of 1966. I Went TDY to Kadena in July 1967 with 10 KC-135Q tankers in support of the A-12 Oxcart aircraft there. This was during the initial deployment of Beale personnel to establish Det 1. I also participated in several U-2 ferry missions to various locations in the world while at Beale.
Sgt Howard S "Hap" Wyman Jr.
Sun, 5 Dec 1999 07:05 Sgt William C. Stewart writes: I was amazed at finding this site. I was assigned to Beale AFB from May, 1970 to Dec, 1971. I was with the 9th AMS as a 30153 EWS Tech. I did two tours at OL8, during my time at Beale. One of them was during the holiday time in 1970, so I how lonely it could be, during this time. I still have a photo of the SR-71 in my home office. Met my wife there, and I'm still married, so something went right. I would love to hear form any other EWS/ECM techs that might have been there during that time.
Sgt William C. Stewart
Thu, 25 Nov 1999 16:59 Michael C. Holmes (Ret Sgt.) writes: I just want to wish all of my HABU Family a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe Holiday. If all of my former HABU members can remember what it was like to be away from home on the Holidays, just give thanks that the world is in a better place thanks to us all. Because as we all know, HABU is the BEST in the World. And HABU can fly again, just given a few weeks notice. We are from a very special group of men and women. Very few Americans have ever seen or heard about the SR-71, yet we have spent some of our most special times in our lives with this plane. I was with the 9th SRW from 1970 to 1973 and I had a special feeling in my heart for #974. That was my aircraft, and I watched her every day take off from Kadena. I knew she would always come home which she did. But my heart fell when I found out about her being lost in April of 1989. I have built a model (that you can buy in any hobby store) and it hangs over my desk as a memorial to our best plane. If any formal HABU's want to get in touch with me, you have my e-mail at the bottom of this message. I am always at the EAA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin every year and I would love to see you there. Long may she fly!!!!!!
Michael C. Holmes, Sgt. Ret.
Wed, 17 Nov 1999 07:38 Sgt. Michael G. Zervos writes: I was a crew chief on the SR-71A from 1976 to 1980, I worked under Quinn Jolly on aircraft #960. I was also a Field Service Rep. on the blackbird from 1982 to 1990 at Raf Mildenhall. I am looking for anyone who remembers me and if they would like to contact me. I have attended about 4 reunions and have been able to achieve great success in my life for just being associated with a great aircraft and mostly great people. HABU forever.
Sgt. Michael G. Zervos
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 19:49 SSgt William (Bill) Logan writes: Stationed at Beale from 1985-1990. Worked as a Ground crew member\crew chief. I had the honor of working with some of the best maintenance folks in my career. The pride and integrity of those who worked on the Black Bird is something that is unrivaled. Delivered #964 to the prestigious Strategic Air Command Museum; probably the saddest day of my life. Great website.
SSgt William (Bill) Logan
Mon, 15 Nov 1999 16:10 Civilian Ray Scalise writes:
I flew second seat in the YF-12A series. I have mach-3 certificate #7 presented by Kelly Johnson. I was on A/C 934 for its maiden flight. I also fired the first missile ejected from the YF-12A over the Point Mugu missile range. It was a dummy missile.
I am interested in any info on future Black Bird reunions.
Ray Scalise, Civilian
Fri, 12 Nov 1999 21:34 Col. Art Lusby, Ret. writes: I was the flight test engineer in charge of the performance, stability and control tests during the Category II tests of the SR-71 at Edwards AFB, 1966-1970.I had the pleasure of flying with some of the best test pilots in the world-- Charlie Bock, Merv Evenson, Bill Skliar, and Joe Rogers. Col Fox Stevens was the Test Force Commander. The work we did paved the way for this remarkable aircraft to enter the operational inventory and set so many records.
I am grateful for being part of this team.
Col. Art Lusby, Ret.
Wed, 10 Nov 1999 13:54 Sgt. Bret Leatherwood writes:
Looking for any Habu's from the years 1987 to 1990. Stan Bielizna, Col. Lee M. Shelton, Richard Huber, Larry Beckner, etc. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Sgt. Bret Leatherwood
Mon, 8 Nov 1999 09:58 MSgt Ret (USAF) Charles D. Aldous writes:
I was a member of the 9SRW from 1968-1975. I was the NCOIC of Tactical Communications and assigned to 9SRW Operations/Planning. Article of the speed run brought back many fond memories of my tour with the SR.
MSgt Ret (USAF) Charles D. Aldous
Sat, 6 Nov 1999 09:57 SMSgt (Ret) Danny W. Bogle writes: Just found the Blackbird web-page!!! I think this is great! I was involved with the Sled and Dragon Lady from July '76 through Aug '91 ('cept for a two year stint to the UK!). Worked in the Hydraulic shop and of course had the pleasure of touring The Rock, and other places abroad!! Love to hear from anyone that supported the wing during this time. Good to see the Sled back in print!! Supported the SR program from Feb 1975 through August, 1991, in the area of Pneudraulic Systems maintenance.
SMSgt (Ret) Danny W. Bogle
Thu, 4 Nov 1999 08:54 A1C Billy Munoz writes:
I'm looking for anyone who worked in the electrical shop of the 9th FMS between 1993 and 1994.
Hey Sgt. Jim Turner! Hi heard from Forrest today, Thanksgiving! Man I haven't heard from him in 25 years. Twenty-five years. Please respond to this entry because I deleted your last email and don't have your email address. Thanks, Billy Munoz
A1C Billy Munoz
Wed, 03 Nov 1999 12:28 MSsgt George L. Lester Ret. writes: I was stationed at Beale AFB from Nov. 1970 to May 1985 in the 9th AREFS and later 350th AREFS. I guess I hold the unofficial record as a Boom Operator working with the Sled. John Lonenburg ( Bones ) made it almost 13 years before they shipped him out... I just looked at your web site its.. GREAT. I have a picture signed by Jim Sullivan and Noel Widdifield.. not sure of the spelling ( you know how Officers write) . I have been enjoying looking at the SR-71 web sites. I have offloaded more fuel to the SR-71 than anyone in history. I have a certificate for when I reached 1 Billion Pounds offloaded and that was early in the 15 years I worked with the SR.
Thanks for showing so much about the SLED.
MSgt George L. Lester Ret.
Mon, 1 Nov 1999 15:26 SSgt Tracy Martin writes: I was one of the original Communication Repairmen assigned to the 4200 SRW arriving in April 1965. With no planes, we were farmed out to the 456th as well as detailed for such things as dismantling pipe in missile sites for the golf course. I spent nearly 12 years in the USAF and can still remember the sense of pride I felt being a part of the beginning of a glorious history associated with the SR- 71. Although I bailed out of the program in October 1966, I count the experience as the highlight of my military service. I completed SR-71 Field Maintenance Training, Avionics Course XI at Edwards on November 5, 1965 and worked in the 9th AEMS Comm Shop until my discharge on November 8, 1966. Returning to the USAF 3 months later, I spent 3 years at RAF Mildenhall (prior to SR 71 deployment) and 1 year at Keesler AFB as instructor until my final discharge in February 1971. It was interesting reading of the experiences in your Blackbird Alma Mater and found one name I served with. I hope to see others as time goes by. If any of the early Comm Shop people remember me it would be great to hear from them. Thanks for a great page.
Thu, 28 Oct 1999 13:34 Ronald Carpenter writes: WHAT A TREAT! The Blackbird is the most beautiful confident graceful creature to ever fly, and I just stumbled across your SR page. It brought back so many memories, not just the sights and sounds but the thrill.
I just retired as an AF MSgt here in San Antonio, but in my time at the 9th SRW in Okinawa I walked past the birds every mission on my way to the intel trailers. I used to read out the film from Korea and the Kamchatka peninsula.
I've always been proud the U.S. had it, and I'm unbelievably glad that another enlisted guy created the web's lasting tribute to the plane. It figures it would take an enlisted guy to do the hard part!
The photos you've put in your pages are exquisite, and when I get a scanner I can send you some from my collection of books on the SR, if you want them. I also want to send you a fact sheet that I put together for a group of civilians asking all about the plane. You're free to use anything you want from whatever I send. And I can try to send you some recollections about what she brought home to us in the intel shops.
Look at web page http://www.fas.org/irp/imint/sr-71.htm for samples of the pictures she brought us.
Please keep up the job you're doing. The Blackbird deserves to be remembered as one of the nation's greatest soldiers.
Thanks for the memories.
Ron Carpenter, MSgt USAF (Retired)
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 01:16 TSgt Donald F McMordie (Retired) writes:
Was in Flight Simulator Section at Beale AFB from 1967 till 1970 when I retired.
Had lots of friends and worked with best group of all the AF I had met in previous years. (And some of the craziest)
TSgt Donald F McMordie (Retired)
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 20:48 David E. Brown, Major (Ret) writes: Flew as a KC-135Q navigator in the 903/349 AREFS from 1976-1980. Became the senior nav in Stan Eval. Without a doubt the best flying and the best people in the AF. Great web site and the memories are wonderful. Flew with Neil Denison, Ken Bruhnke, Chick Freund, Charley Hogan, Charley Austin, Bob Boot, and Ron Sams (now commander of the 55th at Offutt). Thank God for the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson. I can get a "Blackbird" fix almost any time I want!
David E. Brown, Major (Ret)
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 18:15 Sgt Leo V. Schesser writes: I worked as a jet engine tech 43250 on the SR71 from 1968-1970. I was involved in a TDY code named OL8. I was PCS at Beale AFB during that period. The Patch I wore, which I still have, is a picture of a red 8 with a Habu snake wrapped around it, the head of which is an SR-71. I'd like to hear from any of the guys who may remember me. I was in the 9th FMS squadron. Boy did we have a BLAST!!!
Sgt Leo V. Schesser
Tue, 19 Oct 1999 06:28 MSgt (Ret) Robert Harris writes: Worked at the UK England SR-71 refuel and recovery site at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk England, from 1974-1976. Was part of the combined FMS/OMS crew. Supported AGE equipment and technical staff from 9th SW. Unit of assignment was Detachment 1, 98th Strat Wing. Was there for Det 1, 98 Strat Wing disbandment and inactivation in late 1975. Loved working with the AGE guys with the souped up launch cart. They built it using twin Buick 400 "Wild Cat" (with headers) and if I recollect correctly... they had a Chrysler 300 automatic transmission connected to a hydraulic extension that would connect to a start gear, on the aircraft, and turn the engines up to ample speed to initiate ignition. What a sight.
MSgt (Ret) Robert Harris
Sat, 16 Oct 1999 20:46 Patrick Norrie writes:
Just trying to contact
some of my old SR Friends.
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 17:29 Sgt. Eddie Hickman writes:
I was assigned to:
Photo Maintenance in the 9th RTS
from Feb 1967 until July 1970.
Sgt. Eddie Hickman
Fri, 24 Sep 1999 16:12: MSgt (Ret) Shannon W. Sherrow writes: Always a Habu!! Went to Beale in August, 1974 assigned to 9th AMS Photo Shop. Remained there (in between TDY's) until July, 1979 when assigned PCS to 9SRW, Det. 1, Kadena. Was Sensor Systems Avionics Branch Chief till return to CONUS in November, 1980. Enjoyed the program immensely and sure miss the good TDYs to Mildenhall but not DG. Would like to hear from: Mike Herrero (Chumley), Bob Almy, Dave Luna, Terry Wickham, CMSgt (Ret) Sam Patten and CMSgt (Ret) Gene Patrick. In case some of you old timers don't remember me as Shannon, in those days I was universally known as "Wag". Thanks for the memories and would appreciate hearing from any and all of the Photo and SLR troops. WAG
MSgt (Ret) Shannon W. Sherrow
Thu, 23 Sep 1999 09:14:20 TSgt (Ret) Curtis Myers writes: I was Stationed at Kadena AB from 1981-85 as an Autopilot Technician. The Shop chief was Gene DeCamp and Chuck Wietoff was our Tech Rep. I remember when the Kadena Marina had their Rubber Ducky Regatta. With the help of James Baron (A Crew Chief), we designed and built an SR-71 Boat out of Plastic Barrels at my house out in Kadena Circle. We didn't finish first but we won Best of Show. The best part was the SR-71 Fly-By just after the Start of Our Race. It was an awesome sight as well as an earsplitting experience.
Tue, 21 Sep 1999 20:14 SSgt Daniel Feller writes: My first assignment was Det. 1 9thSRW Kadena-83-86. I could not have been luckier though I did not know it at the time. I was a Photo Maintenance troop under (Duke) Roland Aird (deceased) and Jim (Mac) Mcdonald. Would like to hear from anyone if they can remember me and especially if they know anything of Mac.
Mon, 20 Sep 1999 18:37: LeRoy A. McDaniel writes:
I was assigned to Beale in 1967 working on the SR-71.
I worked in the AR&R shop mainly changing tires and jacking them up.
LeRoy A. McDaniel
Wed, 15 Sep 1999 12:44 Lt Col (Ret) John S. Reedy writes:
Would like to renew old acquaintances.
Those assigned to Det.6 Norton AFB, CA from 6-80 to 9-83.
Lt Col (Ret) John S. Reedy
Tue, 14 Sep 1999 11:47 SSgt Jose (Tony) Carrion writes: Great Web Site. I'm at work right now and just found it. I was at Beale from 1971 to 1974 in the Environmental Shop with Joe McBride and Robert Holland and the rest. My funniest memory was when we stole a rocket from the Kadena Carnival and put it on top of the bus stop in front of barracks 108. There were 5 of us drunks but it took a crane to remove it along with 2 S.P.'s and 3 Okinawans. Thanks for the memories. Hey!...Callabrese....Marty Hoffman says Hi!
SSgt Jose (Tony) Carrion
Mon, 13 Sep 1999 10:36 Linda Sheffield Miller daughter of Col. "Butch"Sheffield writes: I grew up at Beale A.F.B. I would love to here from the SR kids. My dad Col. Richard Sheffield is doing just fine, so is my mom Rosie. I was there at Dulles in 1990,when they flew the SR in for the last time. Dad was working for Ben Rich at the time, was very sad. We all live near Washington D.C.
Linda Sheffield Miller
Thu, 9 Sep 1999 08:45 Ret. MSgt Jerome Butterbrodt writes: I began my association with the Black Bird at Beale AFB CA in 1980. From 1982 until 1990 I was assigned to Det 4 9th Strat Wing, RAF Mildenhall UK. Mildenhall was originally only a TDY site. In 1981 we opened it's doors for PCS personnel. I was present for the start up and I was present for the sad occasion of locking the doors in 1990. If any one else was assigned to the Det and would like to say hello, please e-mail me.
MSgt Jerome Butterbrodt
Alt E-Mail: email@example.com
Wed, 8 Sep 1999 21:27 SMSgt Dale Shelton writes:
I was a dependent son of an SR pilot in the 60s and 70s. I have fond memories of growing up at Beale and my Mother still speaks fondly of many of the names on this board.
Sadly, my dad, F. Dale Shelton passed on in 1990. Best wishes to you all.
SMSgt Dale Shelton
Sat, 28 Aug 1999 19:00 Sgt. Kent Benn writes: I can still remember the day I got my first assignment out of Tech School at Biloxi. Someone said something about SR-71. I had no idea what it was. 1972 still found the plane shrouded in mystery. But arrival at Beale AFB that summer and a TDY to Kadena placed the SR-71 at the top of my list of awe-inspiring aircraft. 27 years later finds nothing to take its place for me. I can still remember sitting off the side of the runway at Kadena watching a takeoff with Sgt. James Shively. Both of us were amazed that within 9 seconds of a detectible movement from our vantage point the 'bird was out-a-sight. Stayed with the 9th Recon Tech Squadron (INEA) until December 1974 when satellites in Alaska called. Any '72 to '75 ELINT boys out there?
Sgt. Kent Benn
Wed, 25 Aug 1999 23:11 Sgt Michael "Mike" J. Brickley writes:I was at the 9th FMS AGE shop at Beale and Kadena from April 1971 (after Vietnam) to June 1972 (discharge date). After I was discharged I moved to Oregon. I think I remember MSgt Davis (if he was the round face one). If it is him, ask him about an alarm clock that ran backwards. No, it was not me. There was a SSgt Michael Kyzinki??? a small guy like me. There was a TSGT whose wife was from Klamath Falls. Unfortunately my forgetter is better than my remember, as I can remember faces more than names. Do you have a roster from that time? I worked outside in the servicing area. I went to Oregon Institute of Technology from 1972 to 1976 in Computer Systems Engineering Technology. I have been living in Salem, Oregon since 1976. I am now a Senior Systems Analyst for Consolidated Freightways. I am in the Oregon Army National Guard. Can't let those active duty points go to waste. :-) My MOS is 74F, Programmer Analyst.
Sgt Michael "Mike" J. Brickley
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 18:49 Dan Koiro, MSgt. (Retired) writes:
I was assigned to the 9th AMS, Photo Shop, from April 67 thru April 69. Reading through the messages sure brought many memories back into focus.
Would like to hear from anyone who was assigned to the 9th AMS photo shop from 67 to 69.
Dan Koiro, MSgt. (Retired)
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 08:55 James M. Morton III writes: Found your site & had to write! Every time I see a picture or video of the SR-71, I remember quite a few evenings at Beale AFB waiting for one of the birds to come in for a download, and true to the area, we'd be either hot from the summer sun, or wet from the winter rain. Also remember all the times hauling a nose back to the shop or out to the line. Worked with a great bunch of men & women there (late '81 to mid '85).
I've kept in touch with a couple of the guys I met there, but would love to know what became of everyone that worked in the SLR shop from '81 to '85. I remember MSgt. Ed Martin - our shop chief, who got out, and came back to the shop as a Goodyear tech rep. Great guy to work for and with! Also, John Hite, another tech rep. Would love to hear from members of the shop!
James M. Morton III
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 07:20 SMSgt Wayne Nelson writes: Had the privilege to work black programs for 17 years of my 26 years in the Air Force from the inception of U2 at the Area with the 4070th Support Sq to the Project Support Office (PSO) serving as the first depot for the U-2 and SR71. Worked in the Property Control Office under the direction of some very talented, dedicated military personnel, including the original CWO Walt Moberly, CWO John Hatfield and last but not least Jim Molloy.
Thanks for the site, fond memories of both programs.
SMSgt Wayne Nelson
Sun, 8 Aug 1999 15:47 TSgt (Ret) Glenn R. Chapman writes: Although I did not work on the SR-71, I did work on the U-2 in the 4080th from 1958-1966 at Laughlin and Davis-Monthan, and the D-21B Senior Bowl Project in the 4200 Support Squadron at Beale from 1968-1971. I am Blackbird Association member #1261. Great page you have here. Good to read about many people who I knew while working these birds. I give presentations on SR-71A #951 at Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson every Sunday. I love doing this and am amazed at the people who will believe the myths, yet will not believe the truth about this fantastic aircraft. Also, a little trivia for you Blackbirds. Aircraft 951 shares the last three serial numbers with a U-2A we had in the 4080th, #66951. Kind of strange, isn't it? Also, I have gotten to know Rich Graham and heartily recommend his book "The SR-71 Revealed" to all. It is indeed the best book I have read on the SR-71 and it is my primary resource for the presentations I give at Pima Air Museum. I look forward to seeing you at the next reunion in 2001. However symbolic it may be, keep the SR-71 flying for us all via this singular web page.
TSgt (Ret) Glenn R. Chapman
Sat, 7 Aug 1999 10:10:
Major William E. Parrish writes:
I would like to inform all Habu's of the passing of my friend and former Commander of the 9th wing--Maj Gen Charlie Minter--July 1999.
Major William E. Parrish
Fri, 30 Jul 1999 21:30: Robert Soule writes: I was with PSD from Nov '82 till retirement in Feb '91.
You know, it really WAS the "good olde days"
Damn I miss that Blackbird.
Thu, 5 Aug 1999 15:49 Sgt. Alex R. Gregory writes:
I was with 9th FMS engine shop in the mid-seventies.
Enjoyed your web site and I still admire that "BLACKBIRD".
Sgt. Alex R. Gregory
Thu, 5 Aug 1999 09:46 SSgt Dennis R. Townsend writes: I can't remember any names for I have had two strokes and the mind is not working working to well. My wife, Alice is helping me write this message. I was in the 9th OMS at Beale 1970-1972 I was in B Flight. I did two back to back TDY's to Okinawa. I left in Feb. 1972 and went to work for KLM Dutch Airlines in the Netherlands as a Ground/Flying Engineer. One time when we were flying to North Africa we saw an SR-71 in an in-flight Refuel. It brought back a lot of good times to me . The KLM crew wanted to know everything about the Blackbird so that is what we talked about the rest of the flight. After my strokes the KML gave me an early retirement. So I am doing all right. I would also like some information on Reunions and how to join.
If anyone remembers me please contact me. I was with the SR71 from 1971-1972 I spent a lot of time at the RK base. I left the USAF in Feb. 1972 and worked for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in Amsterdam The Netherlands for 25 years. Before I had a stroke and retired for the Airlines. Let me hear from anyone that recalls me.
Ssgt. Dennis R. Townsend B flight 9th OMS Beale AFB. Habu forever.
PS. If anyone remembers my husband please contact him, Alice Townsend.
SSgt Dennis R Townsend
Thu, 29 Jul 1999 07:34 Jeff Perkins, MSgt, Ret. writes: I was the SR-71 Navigation Systems Instructor at FTD 525 from 83 to 87. One of my best assignments! Still teaching... just Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft now.
Great page, keep up the good work.
Jeff Perkins, MSgt, Ret.
Tue, 20 Jul 1999 17:26:55 TSgt Vernon C. Cole (Ret) writes: 4200/9 OMS May 65-July 70. May 65-Nov 65 converted missile trailer into flight line offices and attended FTD School on SR-71. Dec 65; TDY Edwards AFB- worked on Weldon Gard's SR-71. Jan 66-Jul 69 assigned to B Flight CMSgt Morehouse, worked for Horrace Hollis, Gene Booen and was assigned to Carman Allen's SR-71. Due to eye failing had to leave flight line and worked in maintenance office for CMSgt Gornik, CMSgt Scott and CMSgt Shaffer. Jul 69 Jul 70 eyes did not past SEA phyical, retrained as OJT Supervisor and moved across the hall to Training Office under CMSgt A J Smith. Aug 70-Oct 71, assigned to Don Maung AB, Bankok, Thailand. Had family with me, Nov '71-Sep'74. Retired at FE Warren AFB, WY. Completed my 20 years before Medical Board retired me for blindness.
Moved back to the Beale AFB area, in '79, sold our home, bought a RV and the wife and I traveled the USA. Last year we finally settled down in Las Cruces, NM.
TSgt Vernon C. Cole (Ret)
Sun, 11 Jul 1999 17:11 Jim Fitzgerald, Lockheed, Ret. writes:A couple of retired Lockheed patriots have left us just recently: Arthur J. (AJ or Pete) Peterson, June 28, of ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. AJ flew P-38's in WWII, combat elsewhere, F-104, A-12 and MD-12, SR-71, U-2 for Lockheed. He was one of the world's great guys and anyone who met or worked with him will agree. We always called him the "Wide bodied test pilot" as he was always fighting his weight. I remember one time he arrived at Edwards to fly his first flight in the SR. Got into the cockpit and the nose strut collapsed. Well, did that bring the razzberries from all his flight test buddies. He was plenty current in the A-12 at the time. A big loss to aviation in general. Charlie Hall--one of the best flight test engineers and managers in avionics that Lockheed ever had. My friend. Had a head on collision with a big rig outside of Phoenix in the last couple of days. He was on his way home from a solo "back east" visit to friends, family. It has been a bad week. We can't afford to keep losing people like these when those young whippersnappers who know NOTHING are running our government and military. Sorry to sound off, but I'm upset.
Jim Fitzgerald, Lockheed, Ret.
Thu, 15 Jul 1999 13:38 SSgt (Ret) David Dunkelberger writes: What a great WEB site!! I was with the 9AMS from July 1980-82 and Det 1 from 82-83. I had just returned to active duty and had my choice of assignments, so knowing that the SR was at Beale, it was my only pick. While waiting for my clearance to come through, our Magnavox Tech Rep "Col Bob" Elliot, taught me all about the radios. I remember him telling me that when I finally go to the flight line to always be "like a one-eyed dog in a meat market". I really cherish my time in the program and have a lot of memories both at BAFB and Kadena. Would enjoy hearing from folks that I worked with, and enjoy reading all of the messages here. "Once a HABU, Always a HABU" Keep up the great job!
SSgt (Ret) David Dunkelberger
Sun, 11 Jul 1999 18:33 Charles W. Schumacher, Tech Rep writes: Great Page........enjoyed reading the recollections......I started my association with the SR in 1964 on Long Island working for the EMR contractor. I came to Beale as a Tech Rep in 1966 and stayed with the program until retirement in 1990. Wrote and maintained most of the ELINT processing software. Enjoyed all the years, made many friends and would have felt better about the SR retirement if the public hadn't been lied to about there being no need for the SR capabilities. I have many memories but here is one of the earlier ones:
Early in the SR program on the first TDY of the Buck Adams and Machorek crew, they were fragged. Everyone in the T hanger, including many tech reps were aware of it. The crew were briefed for their first routine training flight out of Okinawa and were suited up by PSD and eased back in the lounge chairs in their flight suits. Their cooling air was turned on and the noise muffled the sounds of the attending PSD troops removing all their clothing from the lockers, leaving only their flight line badges and keys to a staff car. While Buck and Bill were close to napping everyone left the hangers, blockhouse and processing vans. The last man to leave the suit-up area turned on a tape recorder to record the conversation of the two when they discovered that no one else was there. In addition, no one was to be in 318 to answer any phone calls. Everyone retreated to the 'Feeb' (FBIS later known as the 'Skoshi Koom') for a few hooks and to find out how long it would be until they caught on. Back in the PSD room, after calling, then shouting for someone, anyone, Buck and Bill realized they had been had. They managed to get out of their suits with some difficulty and finally understood why they had been so thoroughly briefed on how to get out of the flight suit by the PSD folks during the suit up. Once out of the suits the only thing they had to wear were the long johns. At the time there was strict security in the area and once in the staff car, (in long johns) they had to show their line badges at the guard gate to egress the area. Driving up to 318 they found no one present and finally figured out what had happened and eventually showed up at the Feeb where they were greeted by a smiling group who wondered why they were late for 'hooks'. Unfortunately the tape in the recorder ran out just after Buck and Bill were heard shouting, trying to get someone's attention. Needless to say the next day when they were to officially take their first training flight out of Oki they made sure that some support personnel were in sight at all times during suit up.
Charles Schumacher, Civ, EMR Technical Rep
Sat, 10 Jul 1999 19:02 TSgt Gerald W. Boyle, Ret. writes: My name is Gerald "Smokey" Boyle I was assigned to the SR program from '65-'75,
I was in the 9thAMS ANS shop and would like to hear from the following people
I went to school with at the Nortronics plant in Hawthorne Calif,
TSgt Bill Smathers, MSgt Al Caisse and TSgt Ron Stellfox.
TSgt Gerald W. Boyle, Ret
Sun, 4 Jul 1999 14:42 Sgt. Pete Nawrocki writes:
Served in the Radio Shop from April '65 to Oct "68.
Sgt. Pete Nawrocki
Fri, 2 Jul 1999 10:36 Civilian Robert Goguen writes:
I was part of the OXCART program from 1965-68. Worked with one of the camera systems.
I would like to hear from some of my former colleagues. Bob B. Steve C. Nat A. and any other P.E. people that see this. THANK YOU.
Civilian, Robert Goguen
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 14:18
Lt. Col C. J. Mcneer writes:
Black Bird Association, Charter Member #282
RSO Crew E19 With George Bull, 1965
Lt. Col C. J. Mcneer
Mon, 28 Jun 1999 14:40 Robert Scott, Lockheed, Retired. writes:
I spent my time on the SR in the early seventies at Palmdale Ca. Made many friends there and hope to see their names here. Looks like a fine site to continue to visit, keep up the good work.
Robert Scott, Lockheed, retired
Thu, 24 Jun 1999 00:23 Kevin Heagerty writes: It was great to find this web page. I was in the 9th OMS from 1975 to 1979.
I was on the tanker side, but none the less I miss watching the night take off of the SR. Great job. Thanks.
Sun, 20 Jun 1999 22:50 David Boyle writes:
My name is David Boyle and I am writing concerning my father TSgt Gerald Boyle. He too was on the trip with you to England and he wants information on any reunions coming up. Thank you.
Tue, 8 Jun 1999 14:58 SMSgt Gene Booen writes: I was the first Crew Chief on aircraft #958 as it was going through build-up at Burbank and Palmdale, in 1965. I was with the program until I retired in 1973, except for a year in Vietnam. Jack Kennedy was my assistant & when I got promoted in December to M/Sgt he took over the aircraft. I attended the reunion this past weekend & really enjoyed it. That is where I got your web page. Really do enjoy it. Thanks a bunch.
Gene Booen SMSgt(Ret)
Mon, 7 Jun 1999 09:28 TSgt Salvador R. Lucio writes:
I am trying to locate Arturo Lopez, Robert Hemmerly, Greg Blass, Gene Patrick.
I would like to see a list published in the web page of all the SR-71 and U-2 members that attended the Reunion on June 3-6, 1999.
TSgt Salvador R. Lucio
Sat, 22 May 1999 17:01 Paul H. Schwarz (Sgt. E-4) writes: I left 9th OMS Feb. 20, 1969. I don't recall meeting you but that was such a long time ago. Your arrival probably followed my departure. I too, Sgt. Haynes, savor choice memories of my years with the 4200th or what would become The 9th. Not surprisingly, I recall having to report for the 4200th/9th transition ceremony. Not fun in those days for a young man with an aversion to standing at attention for hours. What I truly appreciate about that period of my life was the caliber of people with whom I served. The bear's head with airman's stripes on his canine tooth above CMSGT's Gornicks desk or the mat with footprints before his desk also standout in my memory. Yes, I stood there once. Sgt. Gornick didn't require the bears head for emphasis. He was fair and calm with this young knuckle head. I remember many people there, most of them friends. Frankly, it bothers me to hear of these machines on "static display." I should take solace in the fact that they've not been ordered crushed by the Commander-In-Heat. I've not visited an SR-71 but would enjoy doing so. My wife doesn't know much about them and I'm certain would find a visit interesting. Perhaps it's time to breakout the old SR-71 stuff and display it. Your website and others have blown the dust from many memories. Thank you, Sir.
Paul H. Schwarz (Sgt. E-4)
Wed, 19 May 1999 09:24:03 TSgt Russell Mangio writes: As the Sensor Troop (Photo Troop) on the SR-71, I remember spending long nights doing heater checks to keep the temperature stabilized on the camera and 0200 launches. At that time we had a group of 2 stripers with different personalities. Also we had TDY's to Kadena AB, Okinawa to help out the PCS personnel there. I remember buying too much stereo equipment that I had to load up the KC-135Q. Those were the days.
TSgt Russell Mangio
Sat, 15 May 1999 03:54 MSgt Ret Ken Miller writes: I was stationed at Beale from 1973-1977 and worked in admin in the 9th OMS, QA and for the DCM. After a 22 year career I worked supporting all types of aircraft but none will ever beat the experience I had with the Blackbird. The feeling of a family atmosphere always was present at the home station and at Det 1. The guys that I remember are Chief Benardi, SMSgt Maloof, SMSgt Pogolewski, Col Allee, Col Kardong, Maj Fruehauf, Lew Sulzle, Rich Sharp, just to mention a few. I think your site is great and just reading the stories bring back a lot of memories.
MSgt Ret Ken Miller
Thu, 13 May 1999 16:05 SMSgt James M. Kelly writes: My name is Jim Kelly, I was assigned to the 9th FMS Electric Shop from Oct '71 to Jan '77.
As all of the rest have said those were the highlight years of my career.
Hello to all the HABU's out there.
SMSgt James M. Kelly
Thu, 13 May 1999 13:11 Ret. Master Sergeant David L. Shadwick writes: I am writing this because my father did work on the SR-71 at Beale AFB from 1970 to 1975, I think. I have always been honored to know my dad worked on the SR-71. If anyone remembers him let me know. David L Shadwick is his name. His nickname is "Shad". If anyone has pictures of my dad with the SR-71, I would love to have a copy of them.
Sun, 9 May 1999 11:20 Col. Jon Kraus, Ret. writes:
We Lost A Pilot On May 02, 1999, Col. George Bull, Ret. He was one of the originals.
His RSO was" Red" McNeer.
I flew with him after that for 3 yrs, Sad Loss.
Col. Jon Kraus, Ret,
Fri, 30 Apr 1999 23:56 Paul Mellinger-Lockheed ADP Technical Rep writes: I stumbled into your excellent SR-71 web site quite by accident. You are doing a great job with it and I hope you keep it going and growing. There is such a jumble of names and events that come rolling back out of my memories when I begin to think about those 23 years that my mind boggles at the idea of putting it all into a capsule format. I will just say: "It wouldn't have been possible to find a greater group of people to spend the last 23 years of my working career with than the people who were on the SR-71 Program, both Military and civilian."
Paul R. Mellinger
Lockheed Technical Rep
Fri, 30 Apr 1999 12:36 Maj. Lester F. Marquart, Jr. (Ret) writes: I Started out as head of the Mission Planning Shop at Det 1, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan from 1983 - 1988. Finished my tour in 1990 as a EWO Plans Officer at Beale AFB. I enjoyed my tours for many reasons. Among those reasons are that I got to work with a very professional group of people and planned many interesting and complicated missions during that period of time. I certainly hope that I will get to meet many of those people at the up coming reunion. This will be the first reunion I have been available to make since my retirement in 1990. I am still involved in the recce business. I have worked with the Hunter UAV Program as a pilot and sensor operator instructor for three and a half years and the Predator UAV Program as a sensor operator instructor for two years. This has given me the opportunity to travel to Israel and Hungary as well as several different places in the US. I guess I can't get the recce business out of my blood now.
Maj. Lester F. Marquart, Jr. (Ret)
Thu, 29 Apr 1999 21:39 Sgt. Michael C. Holmes writes: I arrived at Beale A.F.B in 1971. I was with the 9th FMS, Aerospace Ground Equipment. I can remember taken my tour of the AGE shop and seeing the AG 330 (start-cart). I was only about 19 years old at the time, But there before me sat a machine with 2 Buick 426 cubic inch engines, with 4-barrel Carbs, Straight exhaust pipes and it sounded just like a Top Fuel Dragster. I remember wondering, what the Hell kind of plane this start cart was used to get it started?? Well it was about 5 minutes later when I heard the ROAR of the AG330, and that Sweet sound of HABU coming alive. Right then and there I knew I was in a special outfit! I fell in love with that plane! I have many pictures in my scrap book from Beale and Kadena. I would like to also say hello to the following people-MSgt Hubert Davis Jr, SSgt David F. McCormack, TSgt Joseph G. St.Onge (my QC&E) and most of all my Unit Commander Lt.Col Earl C. Barlow. Oh and by the way Col. Barlow, I don't know if you can remember me, but you did ask me if I knew what happened to my training records? Well Sir I still have them after all of these years! Oops! I would like to hear from anyone who was at Beale or Kadena during the time of 1971 thru 1973. One other thing-YO BJ (cookie-monster) Where are you Buddy?
Sgt. Michael C. Holmes
Blackbird Assn #1345
Tue, 27 Apr 1999 09:55 1Lt Peter Olsen writes: My name is Pete Olsen, my father worked on the SR-71 from around 65-78 time frame, at Beale, Castle, finally at Offutt AFB. In his final job he was the mission planner, and planned both record setting flights you've mentioned. He retired in 1978 -- Lt Col (Ret) Martin G. Olsen, to this day he's in awe of this aircraft and while he doesn't have access to the Internet, he would truly enjoy your website.
1Lt Peter Olsen
Sun, 25 Apr 1999 18:23 Robert E. Smith III writes:
Former CIA. DDS&T OD&E, OSP 1970's. NPIC.
Good work during '73 Arab Israeli War.
Robert E. Smith,III
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 13:42 MSgt (Ret) David R. Horn writes: I suppose I can thank the Viet Nam Veterans of Brevard County for finding this web site. This past weekend we had our 12th annual reunion and I was surfing the Yahoo search engine to look up my old outfit and come across this site. Man...what a terrific flash back. I've read most of the messages and I want to answer them all. Give me some time and I will. I first arrived at Beale AFB from Phan Rang AB Viet Nam in August of 1968. I was assigned to The 9th OMS. There I was assigned to what we called the "Handle Shop". I was also third wiper or so. What an experience just to be assigned to the 9th SRW and work on the SR-71. I believe CMSgt Morehousewas the top dog. I remember Jim Gray, MSgt Allen (974) SMSgt Scott (Scotty), and many others. I forget who seemed upset all the time who crewed 955 the "B" model. Oh yeah, I believe we called him Mother Tucker. Also I remember SSgt Becker, SSgt Norman Waldrop, SSgt William (WJ) Duffy. Bill and I were room mates at OL8, Kadena, Okinawa. Duffy called me "Room". Oh how I remember the TDY's to the Rock. I thought I never would see the "Ranch" again..Ha! Ha! What memories. I could go on and on but I'll contain myself for now. I left Beale in 1971. I was reassigned to Beale in 1978. My wife Bonnie was assigned to the 9th SRW Standardization and Evaluation with Maj Ken Brown in control. I was assigned to the 9th FMS Sq. R & R shop with MSgt "Bubba" Booker in charge. He retired and went to the U2 program I believe and MSgt Applehoftook charge. In Jan 1982 I was assigned to the 9th QC/QA. In Dec 1982 I went TDY to Patrick AFB Fl with the U2. In January of 1983 Patrick become DET 5, 9 SRW. My wife (Bonnie) and I were the first two assigned to Det 5. At some point in time Lt Col William (Bill) Machorek became our Mission Planner for the Det. If you recall Col. Bill was an RSO for the SR-71. He also was along for the ride when he broke the world speed record from New York to Los Angelas. Here in Det 5 their were 14 enlisted and 4 officers assigned. Maj Ken Stanford was our first Commander then Lt Col Denny Gagen took charge. Lt Col Fred Kishler (sp) was Commander when I retired 1 Sep 1988. MSgt Johnnie Battaglio and I were Line Chiefs. Mike Unruh was crew chief. Bill Cook was our Tech Rep. Tsgt Steve York was our Avionics specialist. Mike Wilson,Salazar (Sal), Al Adams (supply) Hal Wyeth or just a couple of the guys assigned. Oh yeah, Sgt Mark Conners, Avionics troop, radio I believe was also with us. He later went on to OTS at Texas A & M to be a meteorologist. I'm sure I missed more than I remember. Drop me an e-mail. I sure would love to hear from the alumni.
MSgt (Ret) David R. Horn
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 21:13 David A. Burns Msgt. USAF (Ret) writes: I came to Beale Mar '74, Took over #61-7956 the "B" model in the fall of '74. Changed the Right outboard wing, with the help of a Lockheed depot team. Crewed #956 till I PCS'd to Det 1 in January '79. I left the program in January 1982. If you aren't HABU, you know the rest! Yes it was my best years of my AF career!!! I'm a member of the Blackbird Association. I will be at Reno this June, see you there.
David A. Burns Msgt. USAF (Ret)
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 11:15 SMS Gerald M. Lipper writes:
Assigned to the 9th SRW Supply Division and Logistics Plans & Programs during the years 1971 to 1973 before Loggies had their own AFSC. Best job I ever had in the Air Force!
SMS Gerald M. Lipper
Fri, 2 Apr 1999 13:44:32 Chief Master Sergeant Lew Sulzle writes: This is an outstanding Web Page. I was with the SR-71 program from February 1973 to November 1978 at Beale AFB and November 1978 to May 1980 at Det1 Okinawa. While at Beale AFB, I was in OMS Recovery, Phase, Crewed 962, and was in Quality Control (Assurance now). I was in OMS while at Det1. What a team !!! I left the program for about six years and returned as a member of the HQSAC staff until 1990 when we retired the airplane. In 1995 I joined the Skunk Works, working for Jay Murphy. I had the privilege of participating in the Re-activation of the aircraft (971 & 967) at Edwards AFB, CA, as the Site Manager of the detachment. We again carried on the HABU tradition of having the best aircraft, best aircrews and best maintenance team providing this nation with the best and most economical reconnaissance, UNTIL, the presidents Line Item Veto again retired the program. Right now the aircraft are still sitting in the Hangar at Edwards, in flight ready condition. What impressed me more than anything while with the SR-71 program was the professionalism of the maintenance and ops crews. When the Crew Chief said the the aircraft was ready to fly, it WAS ready to fly. The aircraft were respected and remained in fantastic condition. I remember the TDYs to the OLs where team members shared all, good and bad times. A true Habu Family. I was fortunate enough to make the first Toronto trip. Very prestigious event. SMS (later CMS) Sellers was our team chief. There were so many great people associated with the program, one hesitates mentioning names in fear of missing someone, so I just want to say HABU to all and wish GODS speed.
CMS (Ret.) Lew Sulzle
Sun, 28 Mar 1999 18:45 James R. McBrayer, Msgt,(Ret) writes: I was a Boom Operator in the 9th AREFS from Dec69 - May 73. Came across you web page, great job! While TDY at Kadena we would refuel the Habu overhead and in country, on recovery a tanker would standby to refuel the returning SR if needed. On one of these occasions the Lt Col (Name withheld) flying the SR told me to watch, that he was going to show the F4 pilots how a real airplane performed, seems they had a discussion the night before at the Officers Club with some F4 jockeys, which would buzz the flight line on returning from a mission. We were at our aircraft waiting for the SR to land, I saw him on final, about 2 miles out he retracted the gear, I yelled at the rest of the crew that he was going to do it for real, he turned on the afterburners, came half way down the runway and pulled her vertical, breaking windows in some of the buildings along the runway. It did not take him long until he was out of sight. (WHAT A SHOW THAT WAS). Upon landing the Commanding General call the pilot on the carpet. His reply was that he always flew with this Snoopy doll, and for some reason on final Snoopy raised the gear and added full power and by the time he got control back he was vertical and going through 25,000 ft. No more was ever said about it. All you guys from the 9th know who flew with Snoopy.
James R. McBrayer Msgt Ret
Sun, 28 Mar 1999 12:11 SSGT Eric R. Caubarreaux writes: Hi, fellow Blackbirds! I worked as a crew chief at Beale from 1984-1988 and this message goes to all the unsung heroes of the flight-line, who, under sometimes impossible conditions, got the aircraft FMC and ready to takeoff on time-making all our bosses look good. Sincerely,
Eric R. Caubarreaux
President & CEO, Medals Press, Inc.
Author-"Decorations & Awards of Heroes of the U.S. Military"
Sat, 27 Mar 1999 10:08 Keith Economy writes: Great site. Another fine tribute to the truly amazing Blackbird aircraft and crews. I am one of two sons surviving Col. Pete Economy who retired in 1977 with 33 years of service with the USAF and worked with both the U-2 and SR-71 programs. Few other aircraft continue to inspire GENERATIONS of enthusiasts?
Thu, 25 Mar 1999 16:23 Colonel Robert Q. ("RQ") Williams writes: Member of the 903rd Air Refueling Squadron at Beale AFB from August '59 to August '64 and July '65 to August '72; first period as instructor/standardization navigator crewmember and second period as squadron staff officer. Filled Task Force Navigator position with KC-135Q Tanker Task Force at Kadena AB, Okinawa, along with Bill Inman, Bill Spacy, and Dick Byrne from May '67 to November '71, 9 week tours at Kadena and 18 week time between back at Beale. Introduced to the Oxcart (A-12) program in July '62 or '63. Still in touch with some of the others from the 903rd by e-mail, postal mail and telephone. Visited Beale October '98 for the first time since leaving in '72. Base seemed almost deserted compared to my memories. I consider the time I spent working with the A-12/YF-12/SR-71 programs as the highlight of my 30 year career. Developed and refined tactics for refueling and flight security without help from higher headquarters.
Colonel Robert Q. ("RQ") Williams
Blackbird Association #1264
Wed, 24 Mar 1999 10:27 MSgt (Ret) Christopher W. Bennet writes: Hi all. The web page is looking great! I was a Crew Chief on the SR-71's at Beale AFB from 1984-1990, then served as the maintenance Superintendent at Palmdale and Det 2 Edwards for the Reactivation effort! I look forward to hearing from some of you, and also look forward to reading the posts left here!
MSgt (Ret) Christopher W. Bennet
22 Mar 1999 Dennis Gearhart writes: I was assigned to the 9th AMS Photo shop from 1984-1992, with stints as Shop Chief and AMS Supervision. I went to Kadena for a "vacation" in 1985, and am also a veteran of the U-2 and "Buffalo Hunter" programs at Davis-Monthan from 1972-1975. I am now at Edwards/Dryden, as a Sensors Tech on the NASA ER-2, continuing my life in Recce. When I go over to Blackbird Park in Palmdale, I find myself talking to the Habus there like old friends. It's good to see all the names from the past. It's great to see all the names and memories. I remember during the Gulf War, we were ready, willing and able to bring the Blackbirds back into service, and we would have done it, too!
Sat, 20 Mar 1999 18:48 A2C Sam Lockridge writes:
I was at Beale AFB between '67-'70. I worked as a repairman in the photo lab.
A2C Sam Lockridge
Sat, 20 Mar 1999 18:33 Sgt Kevan L. Key writes:
I was an aircraft electrician (9th FMS) on the SR-71 aircraft from June 74 - 78.
It's time to hear from some of the "spark chasers" out there!
Hey Murphy, how are you?
Sgt Kevan L. Key
Thu, 18 Mar 1999 18:52 SSgt Matt Moran writes: Aircraft Electrician/Environmental Systems.
9FMS Beale AFB '84-87 DET 1 Kadena AB '87-closure of program.
"Best assignment in the AF!"
Sgt Matt Moran
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 07:03 Ed Camillieri writes:
I was assigned to the 99th SRS at U-Tapou Thailand, From Nov. 1972 - Nov. 1973 as NCOIC of Maintenance Control.
I would like to contact my former Commander Col Buddy Brown.
E-Mail address unavailable. Ed is located in Orangevale, Ca 95662
Sat, 13 Mar 1999 20:10: MSgt Menko D. Christoph writes: Just a quick update since I found your website last November. My e-mail address has changed and it is now - firstname.lastname@example.org - Also, I am still trying to locate or find John H. Graham and Carl Bledsoe, both assigned with me to the 9AMS (1975 - 1978) and working as ANS technicians. John PCS'ed to Aviano AB, Italy in the late 70's, and he then returned to Beale AFB working in FTD, some time in 1982 or 1983. Carl Bledsoe transferred to Barksdale AFB, LA, also in the late 70's, and I then lost track of his whereabouts. It would be great if any other Alma Mater members remembered their new location, or how I could get in touch with them. - I really appreciate your website and the efforts produced in maintaining it. At least three different individuals have located me through this web page, for which I am very grateful. Finally, my wife "Sue" and I are planning to attend the reunion in Reno this June, and we look forward meeting many of our old friends again, after all these years. Cheers, until June 3-6th.
MSgt Menko D. Christoph
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 17:08 Frank J. Doyle, Capt. USAFR writes: Greetings from The Woodlands, TX.
Greetings to all of you who were associated with the FTTA @ Edwards, 64 thru 67.
Would like to hear from you and how you have been since we last saw each other some 30 + years ago. Best Regards
Frank J. Doyle, Capt. USAFR
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 14:56 John Dalton, LtCol USAFR (Ret) writes: Hi. I just stumbled across this wonderful website. I was assigned to the 9th FMS from Dec. '67 to Jan '71. I was the Field Maintenance Supervisor in '69 and '70. I was at Kadena from Dec '69 to Mar '70. When I got the job at Beale, I was a brand new 2nd Lt. with a degree in English. Four years on the SR gave me the desire to be an engineer and now I'm a Technical Fellow in Airplane Safety Engineering at Boeing. My experience with this wonderful organization definitely shaped my future. Thanks guys.
John Dalton, LtCol USAFR (Ret)
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 08:02 Capt Rich "Radman" Radvanyi writes:Outstanding Web Page! Although I'm not qualified to be a "Blackbird", I did have the privilege of being one of the last Air Force Navigators to ever interview for an SR-71 RSO position. During the summer of 1997, I spent a week with the outstanding aviators of DET 2 at Edwards AFB. During my stay with DET 2 I had the pleasure of spending 1.0 hours in a black T-38 with Lt Col Tom McCleary, "Thanks for a most outstanding ride!" I also spent several "interesting" hours in the SR-71 simulator with Lt Col Blair Bozek. Part of the interview included spending some time in a pressure suit, quite an experience!
During my entire stay, Lt Col Jim Greenwood made sure I felt comfortable with the most outstanding group of flyers I ever met. I'm just sorry the program was terminated before I could get a foot in the door! I have 20 years and over 5,000 hours flying experience as a KC-135 IBO, B-52 nav and B-1B IWSO, and my SR-71 interview will always be one of the high points of my flying career, thanks to the "Habu's" at DET 2!
Capt Rich "Radman" Radvanyi
Thu, 4 Mar 1999 16:44
SSgt Rhett C. McGowan (Mad Mack) writes: SR-71 Crew Chief from 1982 to 1986, primary crew chief assigned to clipper ship #975.
I am looking for former MSgt Steve Koren aka Capt Chaos and former crew chief Gary Minton and Robert Friend.
SSgt Rhett C. McGowan
Sat, 20 Feb 1999 15:36
Major Harold Harting writes:
Giant Bear tanker task force Ops Officer 1979-1982.
Det 4 Ops Planner 1986-1990.
Major Harold Harting
Mon, 15 Feb 1999 11:00 John L. Minor writes: I was assigned to the 9th SRW in 1976 and worked in the 9th AMS Photo Shop until May 1980. I maintained and prepared electro-optical sensors for all kinds of RECCE missions, uploading and downloading sensors and film conducting periodic maintenance. Working on both the SR-71 and the U-2 was a great experience for me that has helped to advance my career and provided me with some great memories. There was a definite "esprit de corps" that existed in the 9th, and "mission success" was definitely everyone's goal. I made a lot of very good friends at Beale and Okinawa, and had many memorable experiences. I distinctly recall when the KC-135 tanker crashed on the runway at Beale after hitting a cow with it's landing gear during early morning touch and go's. That week the commissary offered the best "barbecued beef" in its history. I also recall supporting a unique 2-ship SR-71 launch at Okinawa---the deafening roar of 2 SR-71 Habu's going down the runway at the same time is not something one easily forgets and the Russian trawlers were definitely present that day. I especially enjoyed the night launches--they were spectacular to say the least. I was selected for the AECP (Airman Education and Commissioning Program) in 1980. After graduating from the University of New Mexico with BSEE and MSEE degrees, I spent a number of years developing and flight testing all kinds of targeting and reconnaissance sensor systems. I graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School in 1988 as a flight test engineer. Following that I spent time at Edwards AFB, Hill AFB, and Eglin AFB. I currently work for the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in the Reconnaissance Programs Department. I'd love to hear from any of my old 9th AMS buddies from the photo shop. Drop me an email. I still can't believe the Habu's were canceled. What a loss to our national defense! There may never be an aerospace vehicle, reconnaissance or otherwise, that will equal the technological breakthroughs, the capabilities, and the mystery and intrigue of the fantastic SR-71 Blackbird!!!
John L. Minor
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 18:07 Sgt. Eddie W. Hickman writes:
I worked in the 9th RTS photo repair shop from
Feb 1967 until July 1970.
Sgt. Eddie W. Hickman
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 23:17 Mark D. Newey writes: I worked as a ground crew member on the SR-71 from January, 1979 to March, 1981 at Beale and then went to Kadena, Okinawa until August, 1982.
I have always loved the blackbird and to this day, still have my photos hanging on my wall to admire the beauty of it.
Mark D. Newey
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 22:41 SRA Bob Moore writes: Nice Website! It brings back a lot of good memories. I was stationed at Beale from March 1975 to July 1978 in the ANS shop. I still have a picture of a SR-71 on the wall of my office and it doesn't take much to elicit a story or two. I still remember the TDY's and weekend recovery trips but now they seem that they were more fun than I felt they were then.
SRA Bob Moore
01/26/99 01:12:20 John A. Fraser writes: So glad I found this page. I arrived at Beale prior to the first aircraft. I was assigned to the 9th AMS in the SLR shop. Although we'd been to Arizona for ten months at the contractors plant, it was maddening awaiting an aircraft we'd never seen, or seen flown. But what a RUSH when you saw that powerful landing light in the distance and the arrival of the first Blackbird to touch down at Beale.
John A. Fraser
Sun, 24 Jan 1999 23:15 SSgt Greg Camp writes: My name is Greg Camp and I was stationed at Beale AFB from 1981 to 1984 and again from 1985 to 1986. From 1987 to 1991 I was stationed at DET. 1, 9 SRW Kadena AB , Okinawa, Japan. I was an engine mechanic on the J-58 . When I first arrived at Beale back in '81, I had very little interest in aircraft and was rather disappointed to arrive in sunny " California" only to find Marysville/Yuba City and not the sun drenched beaches one would expect of a California assignment! However, over the next few years of weekend duties, TDY's, and late night engine changes, I slowly developed a love for aircraft and especially the Blackbird. I got out of the Air Force in 1991 after the last SR-71 left DET 1 and I went to A&P school to begin my civilian aviation career. Since then I've worked as an airline mechanic and am currently an engine analyst at Allied Signal Aerospace in Phoenix AZ. But , trouble-shooting an aircraft problem at the passenger gate so some people can get to Boise on time just doesn't compare to the thrill of watching those two engines light burner as the Blackbird rolls down the runway...and the satisfaction of knowing that you spent the last evening installing the #2 engine! I've spent many hours since then running up passenger aircraft engines but...I've never duplicated the thrill of sitting in the SR-71 cockpit and feeling the nose lower as I moved both throttles 'over the hump' into min. AB !
SSgt Greg Camp
Sat, 23 Jan 1999 22:43 Walter E. Cheatham writes: I first was associated with the SR-71 while working at the SRA (Special Repair Activity) for the Side Looking Radar System, as a Radar Transmitter Repair. The SLR was located in the nose of the aircraft. Later I got into Computer Programming and was on the team that designed and wrote the computer program for the new, replacement, OBR (Optical Bar Radar) System. I became the lead programmer when we took the system to flight test. I spent much of 1976 at Air Force Plant 42 Flight Test working on that system. It has been many years since then and can only remember one name of the people there, Rod Quance (hope I spelled it correct). He was the crew chief for the Lockheed crew that maintained and modified, as needed, the SR we used. I loved the days our bird flew. The take off and landing were really something to watch.
Walter E. Cheatham
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 09:05 SMSgt Frank D. Marlow writes: I got your web site address from my latest copy of the "Blackbird Association" newsletter and I find it a SUPER piece of work! I don't see how you can maintain it so well. I was assigned to the 9th AMS as the Comm Shop Chief and later as the Comm/Nav Branch Chief, from '73 to '77. I too, went on the many TDYs to the many OLs during my 4 years there. I met a lot of dedicated people and was really proud of them and that SPECIAL aircraft. I would like to hear from them, if they remember me. Keep up the good work on this site.
SMSgt Frank D. Marlow
Blackbird Assn #427
Tue, 19 Jan 99 15:25 Donn A. Byrnes writes: My name is Donn A. Byrnes and I was a Capt and then Major assigned to the YF-12/SR-71 Test Force. I spent about 6+ years on the program from 62 to 68 and loved every minute of it. I was the flight test engineer on #955 among other things. Earl Blemmel was the crew chief. Just wanted you to know that there are still some of us around and we still get a lump in our throats when we see pictures of the Blackbird. Your web page does a great service to an incredible aircraft and the people that designed, tested, flew, and maintained her. She was a cranky lady but she and her crews never balked at going to the tough places and getting the job done. Thanks from an old blackbirder,
Wed, 20 Jan 99 21:38 I printed out the entire Alma-Mater page, 65 in all, and will re-read then later. There was one in particular that mentioned Horace A. Templeton. The note was sent in by his granddaughter, Mary Pat Lehman. My Blackbird boss, Kenneth Hurley, and I would dearly love to get in touch with "Temp" and because of the way you manage your web page I assume that you know the address or email address of Mary Pat Lehman. Would it be possible for you to reach her and give her my email address and ask that she contact me? This is probably above and beyond the call of duty. If she has any questions you can tell her that I am the person that welded up the metal sculpture of a black bird/with tail feathers and feet like a crow. It was called the NK-DAB #1. It was presented to Temp at Edwards as he was retiring and leaving the program. You are doing a great service. Loved reading the remembrances of the different people that are featured on the page.
Donn A. Byrnes
Mon, 18 Jan 1999 18:39 SMSgt (Ret) Clarence (Skip) Hosler Jr. writes: I began my Air Force career (at 18) on the SR-71 aircraft at Beale in May of 1972. I worked the OMS flightline, launch, recovery, phase dock and all shifts at Beale AFB. During my first 6 six years at Beale, I had over 1100 days TDY to England, Okinawa, New Mexico, Seymour Johnson. You name it, I went there. I was single then and would spent 6 months at a time, come back for a few weeks and go off again. My first stint was 1972 to 1978. Returned from 2 years in Florida, back to Beale. I crewed #975 (first SR with the new subdued paint). By the way, someone walked down the chine area on the first night. 1980 to 1982, crewed #975 and worked Quality Control with Bob Penner. I also made it to Bodo (the first time). Dec 1982, through July 1987, went PCS to Kadena. Ran OMS swing shift then later on took over OMS Flight Line Side. Had some outstanding people, Jack Schaab, Skip Lessard, Terry Melanson and John Robinson. Worked for a great SMSgt W.D.Clay. He's retired and lives in Okinawa. I've done my share of bypass doors, lubes, chute packs, engine runs, and those stealthy night (short) tows with a warehouse tug. At Kadena, I could push an SR backward and put it on a dime, but couldn't pull it straight for a million bucks. I don't miss the long tanker rides. I do miss the people and times we had. No matter how many times you look back and try to figure what you would do different in your life, when it comes to the HABU and all the great people, in my 13 years, I would not change one thing. Coming from the Crew Chief side of the house, the best crews that flew the SR-71 was Col Tom Allison and J.T. Vida. Coming in at Number 2, Cunningham and Quist.
SMSgt (Ret) Clarence (Skip) Hosler Jr
Sun, 10 Jan 1999 22:11 TSgt (ret) Maurice (Moe) Works writes:
I was Stationed at Beale From 1975 to 1980 when I retired. I had many good times and made many good friends at Beale and Det 1. I was a Hydraulic Tech and really enjoyed working on the Habu.
Would enjoy hearing from some of the guys.
TSgt (ret) Maurice (Moe) Works
Fri, 8 Jan 1999 14:43 Frank W Turcany CIV writes: My involvement with the SR-71 started on 17 January 1967 when I started to work at the then Electronics Division of Northrop. I was hired into the system test organization for the NAS-14 system more commonly known as the ANS (Astro-Inertial Navigation System). After three years of working on and learning the ANS, I took a field job (Tech Rep) at the then OL-8 located at Kadena AFB Okinawa. When first arriving on Okinawa I felt that I would never be able to complete the 18-month tour of duty I signed up for. That feeling of being alone in a strange place did not last long. In fact that 18-month tour turned into 18.5 years. Everyday I thank God that I was one of the lucky few that was able to be associated with this fantastic program on Okinawa. Not only was I able to make good and lasting friends but it was where I met my beautiful wife, Keiko. There was a lot of hard work and hard partying by the guys at the 9th on that island. I often wonder how any of our marriages survived the hell raising. Who could ever forget the heavy handed Dr. Ito at the SKOSHI KOOM?!! While on Okinawa I became the father of two beautiful baby girls. My first daughter Mayumi was born March 1st 1971 in a local hospital during condition green (local economy was off limits to U.S. military and civilian personnel). I remember driving to the Naha City hospital during demonstrations by the local nationals. My second daughter Miyuki was born one year later on March 5th in the then Camp Kuwae U.S. Army Hospital. There were so many memorable times on Okinawa that itís hard to select one incident. I do remember the fun of trying to get a fresh Christmas tree from the AAFES tree lot. The lot opened at 10AM and to insure getting the best and freshest tree on the lot most of us were there at 5AM waiting in line. Of course the majority of the times it would rain but with coffee and Irish Cream in hand we were able to keep warm. Of course after 5 hours of coffee and Irish Cream not much effort was put into selecting a tree. In early 1988 it was rumored that funding for the Blackbird on Okinawa was not in the í89 budget and that the then Det 1 would be closed down by December 89. With the Det shutdown a reality, I decided to return to the states. The Det operation was not shutdown until a year later when all funding for the SR-71 was terminated. During that final year I worked as an in-plant engineer on the NAS-14 program. In 1995 still working at Northrop on a weapon system, I was given the opportunity of working on the reactivation of the SR-71 program at the skunk works in Palmdale. After reactivating two aircraft the unit became operational was moved to Edwards AFB, where myself and Bill Klebes manned the last operational ANS shop with six Fully Mission Capable Guidance Group and all the necessary support equipment. As of 1 Jan 99 I have retired from Northrop after 32 years of service. I consider myself lucky that the majority of that time was spent working in the field on the SR-71 with SR-71 people. I would have never been able to complete a 32-year career at Northrop if I had been in-plant behind a desk. After all the years Iíve been associated with this program it is still an awesome sight to see a SR-71 launch. I want to thank all the crew members, ANS troops and Tech Reps Iíve had the pleasure of working with over the years and hope to see you all at the reunion this coming June 99.
Frank W Turcany CIV
Tue, 5 Jan 1999 16:44 Sgt. Al Johns writes: I served as a Fuel System Tech. from 1/5/68 through 8/5/70 at Beale in the 9th FMS. I was deployed with the first group to Kadena in May of 1968 for the first SR-71 operations and witnessed the first operational flight from Kadena. To my surprise, the CIA was operating out of the T hangers with the A-11 version before we arrived (to relieve them).
Sgt. Al Johns
Tue, 5 Jan 1999 12:20 Mike Relja SMsgt Ret. writes: Currently Lead Quality Assurance Specialist at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. I have been working on and associated with the SR-71 Program since 1973, between Beale, Kadena, Mildenhall, Air Force Plant 42 Flight Test, and now NASA, 25 uninterrupted wonderful years. Great Job on the Web Site.
Mike Relja SMSgt Ret
Sat, 2 Jan 1999 18:31 SSgt Ivan L. Wood writes:
My last assignment in the Air Force was at Beale AFB. I was a 30153 ECM Repairman. I enjoyed the Blackbird very much. I was stationed there from Jan 71-Aug 71.
SSgt Ivan L. Wood
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#35 of The SR-71 Blackbirds