FROM THE PAST Guest Book Entries for 2019
Leland Haynes passed away on November 26, 2010. I was honored that he and his family asked that I continue keeping this web site going after he passed. Since he passed away, there have been no postings to the Guestbook/Alma Mater page, because all submissions went to his personal email address, to which I had no access.
At the request of many people in the Blackbird Community, I am resuming the Alma Mater page. I have created a new submission site, in the same format and with the same rules as the one created by Leland. All of Leland's rules below will be followed to the letter.
- David Allison (www.habu.org) on behalf of Leland Haynes and family
I have been requested to include recollections from various
personnel that have either worked on the SR-71 or have been closely associated
with the program through support operations. Bear in mind that the SR-71 could
have never flown had it not been for the expertise of personnel in a wide
variety of specialties in the US Air Force and civilian industry. These
include but are not limited to KC-135Q Refueling Support, Air Traffic
Controllers, Security Policemen, Base Fire Suppression Support, Medical
personnel, Lockheed Technical Support, Physiological Support Division (PSD)
and a vast array of top notch people that expended that extra effort to ensure
the success of the program. If you have been associated with the Blackbird
Program and wish to share something with others, please feel free to make an
entry in the:
There are Twenty-Three 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
The first year group starts in 1996 and includes the year 1997
"Eagles may soar, but weasels do not get sucked into jet engines."
Thu, Jun 6, 5:18pm EST, Tony Landis
writes: Ben Bowles has passed away.
"Lieutenant Colonel Ben Bowles has passed away. January 14, 1932 - June 1, 2019. He was the first SR-71 pilot to reach 900 hours. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for saving SR-71 #960. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family. Ben was an American hero."
The greatest generation is disappearing way too fast.
Thu, June 6, 12:49pm PDT, TD Barnes
writes: Jacob Kratt has passed away.
The Roadrunners Internationale mourn the final flight of Col. Jacob Kratt, Jr. of Spokane, Washington. 3 February 1925 – 28 April 2019
In 1951, the US Air Force had accepted the F-84 as a first-line combat aircraft. Because of the urgency of the Korean War, there was no time to ship F-84s by an aircraft carrier. Jake Kratt and others led mass flights of F-84s across the Pacific Ocean to Korea, using the sextant. Kratt, later a CIA U-2 pilot in Detachment A, shot down 2 MiGs and a Yak-3 while flying the F-84 in Korea.
The Roadrunners remember Jake for his flying for the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1955, Jake Kratt, Bruce Grant, Glen Dunaway, and Hervey Stockman, now flying for the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, met John Raines from CIA security at the Brown Derby in a hotel on Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles. From there, they went to the Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank where they boarded a C-54 for their first flight to Area 51 in Nevada where they met Marty Knutson, Wilburn Rose, and Carl Overstreet already in place as U-2 Detachment A.
On 14 April 1956, Flying west over the Mississippi River at the Tennessee border, Jake Kratt’s U-2 experience a flame out. Six hundred miles later, he experienced another, becoming the pilot of the first off-test site flameout landing at Kirtland AFB near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kratt’s U-2 flight covered over 900 miles, including more than 300 by gliding.
Deployed to England ad Detachment A, On 2 July 1956, Jake Kratt flew Mission 2009 over Eastern Europe, heading south from Wiesbaden across Austria into Hungary. Kratt flew past Budapest and turned south flying along the Yugoslav border. The route extended across Bulgaria to the Black Sea back to Wiesbaden, making it a 7-hour sortie.
Tue, May 14, 2019 7:40pm EDT, Sgt Danny Grattan
I was a crew chief on the 135's from 1966 to 1970, made many trips across the pond in support of the 71's. This was the best time of my life, thanks for keeping this site going.
Long Island, NY
Tue, May 14, 3:31pm PDT, TD Barnes
writes: Ray Haupt has passed away.
We just received word that U-2 Brother Ray Haupt (solo Feb 1957) took his final flight West.
He had been in hospice for just about two months. A great guy with a long background in the U-2 and SR-71.
Fri, Apr27, 1:01pm PDT, Civ Michael Czarnecki
writes: Matthew Czarnecki has passed away.
My brother MSgt Matthew F. Czarnecki (USAF, Ret.) was a Maintenance Crew member on the SR-71 in the USAF.
Sorry to say that he passed away and I am his brother, Michael Czarnecki who wishes to help his surviving wife and daughter collect memories/photos of his life.
Matthew retired when attached to Beale AFB and settled in Petaluma California. His daughter Tracy received from him a SR-71 ring that was carried onboard during the SR-71 Speed Run Record. The Czarnecki Family is in the process of gathering any memorabilia in the public domain of this part of his life for a Celebration of Life Memorial sometime in June near his birthday, he would of been 79.
If anyone could assist the Czarnecki Family in any way to help us gather information about his time associated with the SR-71 it would be greatly appreciated.
Fri, April 19, 10:05am PDT, TD Barnes
writes: Billy O'Neal has passed away.
Billy O'Neal passed away on Sunday, April 14. His son posted the following on Facebook: It is with a broken heart and lots of tears that I let you all know that my father passed away on Sunday. He is now with my Mom in Heaven which is all he wanted....I will miss the stories about his military career on the SR-71 and his trips to Korea and Okinawa. The reminders with his memories of our time in Beale Air Force Base and Hahn West Germany.
Sun, Apr 7, 2019 7:00pm PDT, Sgt John Peterson
I was a J-58 mechanic in the jet shop from 1986 to 1990. I am so proud to have been a part of the SR-71's history. I would love to hear from any of my old co-workers. Ssgt. Wayne Stephans...you out there? Pamela Henderson? Crispy Critter? Natalie, Thrash, Turner, Pete, Wendell, SSgt. Lorrimore and Crawford? SSgt. Conod? Anyone from that time in life feel free to drop me a note!
Thu, Mar 28, 2019 4:12pm PDT, SrA Ronald Lostica
In 1980 Beale AFB, CA was my first assignment and was fortunate to be assigned to the 9TH FMS Hydro Shop. I want to thank everyone that I worked with that worked in 9th FMS 1980-1984.
Sun, Mar 24, 9:40pm EDT, Maj Robert Rieser
writes: Stanley Knight has passed away.
Stanley Knight passed away Wednesday 13 March 2019. I was privileged to work with Stan in the 1980s at RAF Mildenhall where he played a key role as our civilian expert keeping the TEOCs ready for each mission. Stan was the man we could count on to troubleshoot any camera anomalies. Stan was top notch. He could be counted on to expend that extra effort to ensure mission success. I will miss his sense of humor and his friendship.
Here is a link to his obituary: https://obittree.com/obituary/us/indiana/bloomington/the-funeral-chapel/stanley-knight/3775663/index.php
Falls Church, VA
Mon, Mar 4, 2019 5:59pm CST, MSgt Menko Christoph
Already looking forward to the June 2019 Blackbird Reunion in Sparks/Reno Nevada. At the same time, I'm anxious to know who from my former co-workers (primarily 9 AMS) are planning to attend this year's get-together? Feel free to contact me anytime at 636-447-8539. Cheers aka "Prost".... Habus ueber alles...
St. Peters, MO
Sun, Feb 24, 2019 9:54pm PST, MSgt Jerry McKern
Ran Jet engine shop and flight line engine battle from 1991 to 1995. Looking for maintainers who live in Oregon.
Fri, Feb 4, 3:44pm PST, Sgt Richard J. George
writes: Larry Hart has passed away.
I would like to inform you that Larry B. Hart, 70, from East Haven, CT passed away on January 30, 2018. He was stationed @ Beale AFB and worked in hydraulics. We actually got in contact through this site, years back.
Wed, Jan 16, 2019 7:42pm PST, Civ Steve Bolton
Chair of the National Air Force Museum of Canada. Follower of blackbird info and stories.
Fri, Jan 11, 6:13pm EST, Tony Landis
writes: Reg Blackwell has passed away.
In case you didn't hear, Reg Blackwell passed away last week. His full obituary is here:
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".
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:
MUST include "Blackbird
in the subject
with the Blackbirds (SR-71 or U-2).
Complete Home Mailing Address. Please
ensure the address is correct in all aspects. Sending just your E-Mail address
is not sufficient.