FROM THE PAST Guest Book Entries for 2021
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."
Sat, Aug 28, 9:32 PM EDT, Mike Bryan
writes: George Parsons has passed away.
My uncle George Parsons, who was #18 on the list, passed away in July 2011. He was an FCO on B-58 Hustlers which helped land him the FCO on the YF-12.
He did share a couple of stories. They were shooting at the B-47 target drone that was at 500 AGL over the Gulf of Mexico. They had some kind of emergency and had to land right away. They went to an airfield near Houston. It just so happened that particular airport was having a air show that day. He said that they landed and taxied into the hanger and the doors closed with a guard outside. He was sure that the spectators were all wondering what they just saw. He didn’t have a change of clothes with him so they had to take him into town in his space suit to get some clothes.
He was my favorite uncle.
Sat, Aug 28, 11:42am PDT, TD Barnes
writes: Robert Powell has passed away.
U-2 Brother Robert “Bob” Powell (solo Aug 1959) made his final flight today after a long illness. Bob checked out in the U-2 at Del Rio on 3 Aug 59 and the SR at Beale on 5 July 67. Bob accumulated over 1,500 hours in the U-2. He was one of the 8 early U-2 pilots to transfer to Beale to be in on the activation of the SR. He was the first 9th SRW pilot to reach 1,000 hours in the SR-71. He was one of the 10 pilots in the AF to fly operational missions in both the U-2 and the SR-71. He is the only crew with 1000 hours in both aircraft.
Wed, Jul 28, 3:19pm PDT, TD Barnes
writes: Bill Weaver has passed away.
Today, the aviation community lost another of its icons, Lockheed test pilot, Bill Weaver, a great friend, mentor, and colleague to many. Bill Weaver once said, "Among professional aviators, there's a well-worn saying: Flying is simply hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. And yet, I don't recall too many periods of boredom during my 30-year career with Lockheed, most of which was spent as a test pilot."
This describes Bill's most memorable flight that occurred on Jan. 25, 1966 when Jim Zwayer, a Lockheed flight test reconnaissance and navigation systems specialist, and he were evaluating those systems on an SR-71 Blackbird test from Edwards AFB,Calif. His account of what happened is a must-read. http://roadrunnersinternationale.com/weaver_sr71_bailout.html
We’ll never forget you, Bill. Our condolences to Bill’s family.
Tue, Jul 27, 7:53am PDT, TD Barnes
writes: Bill Fox has passed away.
The Roadrunners International Association of former Area 51 veterans is saddened by Bill"Foxy” Fox's, past association president and a good friend, departing on his final flight. Bill was one of 20 charter members of the Blackbird Laurels Society organized to honor those deemed most responsible for the success of the Blackbird. In April of 2005, Bill received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Osage Educational Foundation for outstanding achievements and contributions to society following graduation.
I proudly worked in the Orderly Room, Working under LtCol Murphy, LtCol McKean and others. I once went on a KC-135 to refuel the BLACKBIRD. Working three years in the Det, and witnessing firsthand El Dorado Canyon Mission. My association with the SR, and Det 4 personnel will NEVER be forgotten.
South Bend, IN
Fri, Jul 23, 4:20pm PDT, Robby Butterfield
writes: Lee Shelton has passed away.
I'm sorry I have to pass this on, I found out this morning that Lee Shelton passed. He was the commander at Det 1. A tribute page has been set up for him here: https://hughesfuneralhome.org/tribute/lee-m-shelton-ii/
He was a really good commander and a very good person, he will will truly be missed. Funeral will be Friday.
Las Vegas, NV
Wed, Jul 7, 10:32am PDT, Sally Anne Johnson
Thank you all who serve at such a high level. I am proud to have known Dick Kratt.
Proud that we both set off Geiger counter bleeps at Lowes from yellow cake Uranium
residue in our bones. You may not be visible, the cost of the job, but you will
never be forgotten by those who count. With love and respect, a "salley", Sally Anne Johnson
Sally Anne Johnson
San Jose, CA
Mon, Jun 21, 8:24pm CDT, SMSgt Debbie Atkinson
Looking for old friends from Okinawa. Possibly attended or was part of Debbie and Ed's marriage.
Debbie Atkinson (Tilschner)
Tue, Jun 15, 3:27pm EDT, Kevin Lantz
writes: Myron Gantt has passed away.
Just thought I'd let you know that LtCol Myron L. Gantt, an SR-71 RSO from 1968 to 1972, has passed away, May 5, 2021.
Wed, Jun 9, 1:40am PDT, TSgt Herbert Greathouse
writes: William Shelby has passed away.
TSgt William (Bill) Shelby passed away June 8th, 2021. He was in the 9th FMS/AMS Instrument Shop at Beale.
Yuba City, CA
Tue, Jun 8, 3:04pm EDT, Civ Don Turley
My father TSgt Ronald C. "Jonesy" Turley worked on the SR-71 and was in from 1965-1980. I know he was crew chief on F4 phantoms and in the end did egress systems on F16s at Hill AFB. He was at Kadena and Beale at some point in his career. I am piecing his story together after his death in 2017 and looking for any stories. Maybe one of you guys knew of him.
Mon, Jun 7, 4:13pm EDT, SSgt John V. Pavia
In 1969 I was a crew chief on an SR-71 on Swing Shift. Hornburg was day shift. I was the one who got a bath in JP7 when I was changing fuel filters. Come to find out the cannon plug was not connected, so I had to pull the tire can with fuel dumping on me to get to the manual lever. Thank you Brad.
Thu, Jun 3, 11:16am PDT, TD Barnes
writes: Mike Schmitz has passed away.
The Roadrunners Internationale association and the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame are saddened to announce Mike Schmitz's final flight. Mike was the photographer for both organizations, a task that he excelled at and enjoyed very much. In addition, Mike was a proud USAF SR-71 enlisted veteran and a member of the SR-71 Blackbird association. Our condolences to Mike's family and many friends. Funeral services will be private.
Tue, Jun 1, 10:43am EDT, Maj Harry Pittman
writes: Jack Veth has passed away.
Lt Col Jack Veth died during the night May 27 from cancer.
Thu, May 20, 1:48am PDT, MSgt Tommy Spahr
At Beale AFB March 1972 to 1980, assistant crew chief on 58-0103 with Paul Scott then crew chief on 59-1460. Started on B-52's then about 75 went to the tankers. What great job, I enjoyed every minute. Hopefully there are still some Beale Bandits out there?
Now I'm retired Master Sargent in Atwater, California.
As a Senior Technical Representative from Itek Optical Systems Division, I supported the SR-71, OOC (Operational Objective Camera System) and the OB (Optical Bar Camera System). I served at both Beale Air Force Base, Ca. and OL-8, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa from 1969 thru 1971.
San Jose, CA
Sat, Apr 17, 10:10am CDT, SSgt Pete Fischer
I was in the SLR Shop from May of ‘74 to August of ‘79. Bat Approved!
Forest Lake, MN
Wed, Apr 7, 7:29pm CDT, Maj Ronald B. Jenkins
Every now and then I log onto this web site to see if anyone from my old unit has popped up. I was a Side Looking Radar (SLR) Spec. & part of the first group assigned to Beale in '67. Our unit was the 4200 SMW, later, it was changed to the 9th SRW. I was selected for the AECP, went to CSU, commissioned a 2nd LT in 1970. Retired 1985 as an 04. Now a resident of the Army Retirement Community for 11 years with my aussie bride of 40 plus years, from a hardship tour down under. Love to hear from any survivors from Beale or Oz.
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.