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War Stories & More

What GI hasn't a few stories to tell of his adventures and  mis-adventures that occurred to him throughout his career ? We all had good and bad times serving in GAM Units. Here are just a few stories of those times.

Missile Woes
By: Otis Brown

November 1962: It was a cold November night at Minot AFB North Dakota. I was working the Graveyard shift on the flight line. The "B" shift had just uploaded two Hound Dogs on the B-52. We finished up. Putting on the engine screens and dropping the hog troughs. It was a clear night. The stars were shining bright. Looked like we might get a track. We made sure the monkey hats were off.

I was in the co-pilot's position. Cranked up both Hound Dogs: Oil press light out: RPM and EGT normal. Running at MAX CONTINOUS everything looked fine. About 0200 hrs,a voice came over the headset from the Navigator position. "Shut 'em down. Looks like we got two good ones. We even got a track." I turned the # 1 engine controller to OFF. Watched the EGT drop and heard the engine whine down. Next, I turned the # 2 engine controller to OFF; Nothing happened !  I cycled the controller a couple of times with the same results. It was clear , this puppy wasn't going to quit. What to do?  I™m sitting in the co-pilot's seat of a B-52, It's 2 o'clock in the morning, It's 20 below zero, I'm freezing and the missile engine won't shut down.

MISSILE#1, Our Metro Flight Line Van ,called Missile Control and told them our situation. They didn't know what to do. Come to find out this had never happened before. We broke out the TO s. See if you're getting power to the power lever actuator (PLA); Yes. That's Okay. How about closing the wing valve and letting it run out of fuel? No, That might damage the engine when it flamed out. Call the Maintenance Super at home . Get him out of bed and to the flight line. We still have some Tech Reps from North American. Get them into the act. About the only thing left to do was to disconnect the linkage to the PLA and manually shut the engine down. We had our reservations about doing that: but it worked. It was a welcome sound to hear that engine whine down.

It's 0600 hrs, just getting light. This BUFF has a 0930 hrs takeoff and we have a broken missile. Get the pads on it and get it down. Have the Hanger drop that backup missile from the Meat Rack . We're going to have to drop this one and put another one up. ASAP. "Roger That ,Missile #1" MMS still has to load ballast and OMS has to finish refueling. We're going to have to go without the under-wing on this one. We don't need to be charged with a late takeoff.

Looking back: I think the Hound Dog was a great missile; Maybe ahead of it's time. I was proud to have been part of it's heyday. I'm sure the PLA failure has happened to someone else, but this was the only time it ever happened to me and it was not on the checklist.

Tafolla Tales
By: Joe Taffola

I served at Barksdale from 1972 until 1975. This unit had a long and cherished reputation for outstanding work. It had a complement of great leaders and doers; it also had some very interesting characters who made life enjoyable, even during the most trying of times. This story is about one of them. 

This young man created quite a fuss one day in the orderly room. 

We were being asked to complete a new  Personnel Card on which we were to indicate Race and Color. He refused to complete the document because his race was not listed.    

Col. Tulluh and I sat down with him to see if we could straighten the problem out.  After a while we arrive at a compromise. We agreed that he could create an additional blank and mark it "other," not really knowing what he was going to write in that space.  We had a good laugh when he brought the document back to the  First Sergeant.   Neatly printed on that space was one word: Cajun. 

Tid Bits and Shop Talk
By: Curtis E Lamson

In September 1960, as a Bomb/Nav. tech, I returned to Ramey AFB after completing SAC Bombing competition and trying to win the coveted Fairchild Trophy. The 72ndBomb Wing did not win and I lost my chance for that magical spot promotion. 

Feeling disappointed at what could have been, I was dispatched on a work order to be on the bomb/nav end of a C2-47M aircraft checkout. A friend who had been bomb/nav and completed GAM school, the late Carl Lafitte, (we were stationed together at Barksdale before Ramey), was down in that big yellow cart, plenty of conditioned air available and as the checklist was being called out, step by step, ole Carl would just "bark" out "GO" on the intercom. 

I thought, this sounds like a pretty good job so I went in and talked with the  Commander about cross-training into missiles.   I got a school slot as a guidance system tech and returned to Ramey to practice my new trade. Boy! did I find another side of all those "GO'S" Carl uttered. I found that we had plenty of "NO GO'S". Sometimes, it appeared the gyro's would lock and the gimbals would spin. Didn't look like a stable platform to me. That 88 lb. Verdan computer sometimes weighed 88 tons on the brain. I wondered if we should go back to abacus. 

We learned to appreciate our tech reps very much and after they were gone,  we learned rather quickly. We had too because the King and his Court in Omaha so ordered. 

 We performed more marriages than a Los Vegas wedding chapel only ours was Conversion & Control to Stable Platforms. 

I fill blessed to have been a part of the Hound Dog program and to have  known so many great people who worked in it and the Quail Bird .

That is why [God willing] I hope to see you all at Cocoa in 2000. 

Final Chapter
by: James G Cornett


Promotions were coming out that day in 1966, and I was sure I      was going to be on the list for SSgt. I had been in the Air Force 10 years. I had 7 years time in grade. I had made Airman of the  Month for the 17th Bomb wing twice in the last year. I had all  outstanding APRS. I had submitted 12 suggestions, and 10 of them had been approved. I had taken 10 ECI Courses, including NCO Prep School and OCS. I had won the SAC Educational Achievement Award.   I was the most eligible in the shop for promotion. The man who  worked for me in the Quail Missile Maintenance Shop was an AIC who had been in the Air Force for only three years. He never turned in       a suggestion or took an ECI course. He did go to the NCO Prep      School, but only after the Commander ordered him to.

He made the promotion list. I got very mad, and went in to  talk to the Commander. He didn't give me a satisfactory answer to  why I wasn't promoted, so I said, "Colonel, you can take these missiles and stick them up your ass, because I'm not working on  them any more!" He looked at me and clenched his fists. I thought he was going to hit me. instead, he reached across his desk and   jerked off my Line Badge. He said, "You're disqualified under the       Human Reliability Plan!" I saluted him, and said, "That suits me  just fine, sir!", did an about-face, and walked out of his office.

The First Sergeant made me sit down in his office, got me a cup of coffee, and went back in the Colonel's office. He came back  out, and told me to stay put. Soon, two men in white came and got  me, put me in an ambulance, and took me to the Mental Ward of the Base Hospital.  I stayed nine days, came out with a note on my  records, "No psychiatric diseases noted.,,, and went home.

The First Sergeant called me at home and told me to just stay  home until he called me again. I stayed home a month, hunting and  fishing almost every day. Finally, he called, I went in and he met me in the parking lot with my tool box. They started re-training  me into the Personnel field, then after a month, into the  Administrative Specialist field, where I stayed for 11 more years, ending my career as Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force.  

Missile Towing
By: Ernie Lillo 

I was fresh out of tech school at Fairchild and was towing the Hound Dog from the hangar to Combined Systems. We were told over and over that you can only tow as fast as a normal person walks. Tsgt Fred Guidion was on the tug with me when it began to pour rain down on us. I kept going at regulation speed until Fred told me to kick it. I quoted the rule for towing and Fred said, "when it's raining a normal person usually runs." That's all I needed to hear.

Food For Thought
By: Otis Brown

At Minot AFB,1961-1965, I lived in Base Housing, There were no Fast Food  resturants on the Base, so to get a late night snack we used to go to the  Flight Kitchen on the Flight Line. Their specialty was the Egg Burger:(a 
quarter pound beef patty on a large sesime seed bun,topped with a soft egg,  mayonase, pickel ,onion, katsup and lettice. This is the only place I have  ever gotten one, They are kind of messy to eat, but they are soooooo good.   Me and my wife still make them at home once in a while. I was just wondering  if anyone else remembered them. 

And I used To Fly With Them Dogs
By: Carleton Tischer

There I was at 39,000 feet on a B-52G out of Robins AFB, approaching the Statesboro Bomb Plot with two AGM-28 Hound Dog MissileA Hound Dog missiles throttled in at Max Continuous just about to be placed into simulated launch. The navigator (missile operator) looks back at me and screams through the mike, 'Okay missile expert, what in hell do I do with this blinking red light an number 1 now." I thought, "Are you kidding me, all this for $55.00 a month. What in the world am I doing here?"

 I guess if a hadn't been for the love of flying I probably would not have even considered doing that. You see when I joined the Air Force back in 1953, 1 had already learned to fly. I soloed in a J-3 Cub on my 16th birthday, got my private license on my 17th birthday and my commercial rating when I was 18. I was attending the University of Miami when I was offered a job crop dusting in Seeing PT-17 biplanes. Guess what I went and did?

While crop dusting in Maryland, for the summer season, I received my draft physical notification and had to report to Baltimore, Maryland. While standing in line, awaiting my turn, an Air Force recruiter over heard me talking to a friend about my flying experiences. He approached me saying he could get me right into the Air Force Cadet pilot training program if I would enlist in the Air Force first. Took that hook, line and sinker and enlisted.

 Well, things went great until I took my flight physical and they said my eyes were not good enough for Air Force pilots. What a crock and let down for here I was stuck for 4 years in the USAF as an enlisted troop. After doing well in all the pre-tech school AFSC tests except one, which was Morse code, guess what school I went to? Yep, radio operators school at Keesler, AFB.

During the next four years I got married to a Savannah Georgia peach, made Staff Sergeant, and wanted to get out and try getting on with an Airline. Having had second thoughts worrying about airline physical requirements, guess what I went and did? Yep,  re-enlisted.

Eventually after cross training several times I ended up as a missile technician, better known as an Analyst. After working just about every area of AMMS, I was asked if I would like to volunteer as an in-flight Technician for the missile on the B-52. Again I jumped on that like stink on a real hound dog.

As I took back now, I realize that even with those 11 hour missions, cooped up in that humongus aircraft with all that gear strapped to me, trying to convince an aircrew I really know a lot about those two monsters with jet missiles, was really a great experience that only a few in this world have done.

During those approximately 1,000 hours I flew on that great Boeing B-52, that by the way, is still doing its job to this day some 25 years later, has given me so many different experiences and stories that would take a month of Sundays to tell.

 Would I do it again? You bet your sweet bottom I would. Flying with these Dogs was something else.

Almost a Broken Arrow
By: Tony Severa

It was 1964 and I was working in the Missile Analysis Office at Clinton-Sherman AFB, Oklahoma. It was a quiet Friday afternoon and even Missile Control was empty and I was watching the phones. A phone call came in from the Alert Pad. The Alert Pad was just across the field from our building and less than 800 feet away. I picked up the phone and said, "AMMS Missile Control, Airman Severa speaking".

A nervous voice said they were from the Alert Pad. They were trying to start an MA-1 power cart next to one of the bombers and the engine blew up. They looked at one of our missiles and a Hound Dog had a hole in the side, just where the warhead was. Could I please come out there quickly and take a look at it. They had also called MMS, but we were closer and they needed to know what to do and how dangerous it was.

I said I'd be right out. I immediatly considered calling my wife and tell her to start driving to Oklahoma City, but I had the car. I went out to the Alert Pad and approached the bomber on alert. I could see a small two inch hole in the side of the missile. I looked closer and could tell it wasn't back enought to be imbedded in the warhead, but it was in the electronics portion. We moved back further, and waited for MMS. They had the same idea I had. It hadn't penetrated the weapon, one of them verified that there was no radiation leakage. However, because the electronics had been hit, this was still dangerous.

 I was allowed to leave and go back to the maintenance building. Everyone was looking out the windows towards the pad. We watched MMS download the weapon and take it away... very carefully and very slowly. I never found out the extent of the damage to the weapon. We had toreplace the warhead bay door and the missile was as good as ever.

We almost had our first Broken Arrow. I was so glad we didn't.

Toads and Hound Dogs
By: Otis Brown

1967 Robins AFB,Georgia. I was working in the Hanger Maintenance Section.  We rotated shifts and I was working the Swing shift. After the sun went down  the lights inside the hanger attracted a swarm of toads in from the surrounding swamp . They came in to catch insects off the hanger floor.

 We had an A2C on our shift that was scared to death of these toads. We also had an A1C, Redneck,that would go bear hunting with a switch, that would catch  the toads in his bare hands and play with them. One night the A1C caught the A2C off guard , slipped up behind him and put a big fat toad in his front,deep, fatigue trouser pocket, and took off running. I was standing across from him and he just stood there,looking straight ahead,frozen. He
did'nt move for about five minutes. Then he took his hand and slowly retrieved the toad from his trouser pocket. As soon as it cleared his pocket  he sort of reached down and let it fall out of his hand and onto the floor
,without looking at it.

The A1C came by later and apologized to him and told  him he did'nt know it would tramatize him that much. I know the Old Wives tale about toads causing warts. Well it may be coincidental , but I knew several of the troops that were doctoring their hands for warts, present company included.

Its Only Three Minutes 
By: William ”Tom” Tucker

A story (best as I can remember after 29 years)  One of the first of many of my assignments when I got to Ellsworth was to work with two Air Force surveyors ( I think they came from Scott AFB) who came to Ellsworth AFB to shoot and install bench marks in our facility that we could use to align the stable platforms in the Hanger and Guidance Shop. After several days on the task, they informed me that they had completed their work and that even though the specified tolerance had been "EXTREMELY SMALL" and "VERY DIFFICULT TO WORK WITH", they were able to certify the bench marks at plus or minus three. Being the detailed person that I am, I immediately ask "three what?". The team leader responded to the effect "well, three arc minutes of course". I informed him that we worked with three arc seconds and could not use his tolerances. A major discussion then occurred concerning the impossibility of meeting those tolerances and resulted in my directing them to the AMMS section at SAC Headquarters where they WERE informed as to the required tolerances for AMMS Squadrons. Needless to say, I
was not their favorite person in the world and they spent another two weeks remarking and certifying to our requirements.

By the time this task was completed, the Guidance Shop was up to the point that we could run some test on stable platforms but we couldn't get any to pass due to azimuth problems. The Air Force sent another survey team to check out our alignment bench marks and found them still way out of tolerance. This team was however able to create marks for us that worked but only after "X'ing" out several marks on the floor plates.

Can You Outrun a Nuclear Missile?
Yes, But Only If You Don't Obey The Guard's Orders to Stop!
A short story by H. Michael Sweeney based on true fact

One person who I will never forget was a certain Airman whose name is unimportant, but we will call him Gomer for the purpose. Gomer was from the Ozarks, and not known for being terribly bright. A big, lumbering oaf of a guy, he was slow as molasses both in body and in mind. Someone once bet him one dollar he could not eat one dozen doughnuts in one minute. He won that bet, but when he was done, his mouth was bleeding from the attempt.

 I remember one day the Hound Dog was hung on the Table and ready to be tested. It was a nice, hot
summer day in North Dakota. Gomer was arranging for a jet fuel fuel delivery to the test cell. I think we kept about 2,000 gallons in the cell tank, and the fuel truck had to be pretty good sized for the job. The truck pulled up and the driver ran the hose over, and locked it down.

The hose has a safety valve which is supposed to shut down the truck's pumps when the tank is full or if anything goes wrong. Things would go wrong. Unfortunately, very nearby was a diesel operated generator, which was always in operation when the test cell was up and running. For reasons unknown, when the tank was full, the valve did not shut down the truck. Instead, full began spraying from the nozzle in a very fast and furious funnel-shapped pattern all about the area. 

The truck operator and Gomer were immediately doused with fuel. Worse, the spray was engulfing the power generator. Both the driver and Gomer realized at once that this was not a good thing. The driver tried to shut down the truck's pumps manually, but fell in the pooled fuel. He fell because Gomer was running past him, bumping him and knocking him to his feet. The driver took Gomer's cue and ran after him. 

Gomer may not have gotten the best grades in school, but he had calculated his best move. Seconds later, there was the first fireball as the misted jet fuel ignited on the hot generator. The driver ran about 100 yards and dove into a ditch at the side of the road when the fuel cell tank blew into a massive fireball number two. Gomer had already crossed that road. He hadn't stopped, even to take cover from the blast.

Gomer kept running. He ran roughly 100 more yards until he came to the parking lot for the main facilities at the flight line. Across this he ran some 50 more yards, and then past the first cluster of buildings of a like distance. Another 100 yards to the maintenance hanger, then through it for perhaps 50 more yards. It was then that the third fireball from the trucks fuel tank let go.

Onto the flightline where the "ready" B-52s were parked. These aircraft were armed withnuclear weapons in case of alert, and were guarded by guards with machine-pistols. At hearing the explosions, of course, they took on an air of concern. When ONE someone seemed to be running away from the direction of the explosions, he caught their attention, too.

As he ran across the 100 yards towards and between two B-52's, several of the guards leveled their weapons at him and shouted at him to "stop, or I'll shoot!" He didn't stop. Fortunately, something about the fear on his face the whole time and a certain uncaring about the threats deterred the guards from making good on it. They didn't shoot. Gomer kept running.  

He ran past the airplanes and across 50 yards to the main runway. Across that and another 50 yards to the parallel return runway. Across that and then many, many hundreds of yards, he ran. He ran until he encountered a burm near the edge of the base boundary. He tried to climb that, but collapsed in the attempt. Seconds later, the guards had him in custody, as suspected terrorist, or worse.

In the end, he explained his marathon as being based on just one thing. His concern was that that darned Hound Dog that went up in the fireballs was armed with a nuclear bomb. He was afraid the missile's warhead would explode. Too bad no one told him that the missile was not armed, or even that if it were, it would not detonate in any such accident. Too bad he didn't stop to think that even if there was such a danger, he would have had to run better than five miles just to avoid evisceration.

Were was I? I was off duty that day, at the barracks some three blocks away. I was on the third-story balcony enjoying the sun when I noticed the refeuling operation getting underway. Wondering who was working, I retrieved my binoculars. Just as I trained them on and recognized Gomer, the fuel began to spray. Gomer never lived it down. He asked to be transfered, and was. The last I saw of him was him running away past the fuel truck and into the field beyond, distancing himself from the white-hot fear which drove him.

The Instructor Knows All
By: Alonzo Gillette

I thought myself to know about as much about this AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile as any man in the AF or at Autonetics, cant tell you how many times I would get a call in the night and be patched into some Nav operator on Chrome Dome, or some where having a problem.

When first sent to Wurtsmith AFB they had a real Hanger Queen, Missile  2202. She had about a 5% reliability. Chief Bainbridge (who I had as a student), laughed and said he had a problem child for the smart ass Instructor. He told me to figure out what was wrong with 2202.

I Came to work Monday, worked over the Missile history for a couple of days, figured out that anytime the Buff made a turn the AN no go lite would come on and blink, hell they had changed every box hundreds of times so I figured I knew what was wrong and went into Stand-up Wed morning, proclaimed I could fix it, and you should have heard the laughs.

They gave me Staton Crooks to help, We took a PSM-6 and checked the circuits from the Platform to the Platform Amp and found about 25 ohms of resistance on the Z gyro precision torquing coil loop. , Took the bulk head cannon plug apart, blew into it and put it back on, gone was the resistance. In less then an hour we walked into Bainbridge's office and told him it was ready to fly. Would not tell him what I did.  

They put it up for flight the next Tuesday and it flew good, so they left it up for a Thursday turn around, and again it was good. 

She had a 97% reliability after that and I had made a reputation.

MSET Strikes Again
By: Joe Taffola

Jimmy Loar, MSET, came to Ramey in early 1970.  We got on his wrong side somehow and came up short on technical testing.  I had to get one more "Pass" for the shop to pass.  I told him that I would do the last test. Normally, the shop chief would not do the hands-on tests.

He picked the Hydraulic Test Stand, a test lasting more than three hours for me to perform.  Obviously, as the shop chief, I had performed very little practice on any of the over 55 different areas in which we could be tested and none on the Hydraulic Test Stand.

I gathered every piece of tech data that I could pile up on the pull-up shelf in front of the console.  Not to read, but to obstruct his ability to get too close to the test gauge readings.  My guys all huddled together where they could observe what was going on.  They knew what the stakes were.

It was a real test of wits as to who was going to win that one.  I made sure that I read the gages quickly and moved on before he could read them. He complained that I was not giving him enough time to read my test results. I countered that I was on the clock and I could not wait for him so he was going to have to do the best that he could.  I finished the test without him being able to document any of the readings.  He reluctantly gave me a "Pass" and we passed overall.

I shipped out to Minot in late summer 1970.

Jim showed up with MSET in Minot in 1971.  He inspected all of our equipment and we did alright.  He asked for five men to test hands-on equipment.  All five passed.  Then he asked me to perform a supervisory inspection on work that had been performed on of all things, the Ammonia Test Stand.

I checked that thing with a very critical eye because I knew that he was gunning for me.  I documented everything that I could see wrong with it. When I told him that I was done and gave him my report, he asked, "Are you sure?"  I said, "Yes, I am."

His question told me that I had missed something but I was not going to go over it again.

Inside of the box shielding the electronics components was one little bitsy component that did not have a spaghetti sleeve on it.  I failed!

I had gone from 1961 until 1971 without a failure but now my record was broken.  That was my last "personal" test under MSET.

The Saga of the Waxed Hangar floor and Missile Wings.
By: John Keylon

If any of you guys remember the Hangar floor at Turner that we kept painted a dark green with pretty yellow and red lines on, and mopped avery 2 or 3 days ( yes I did my share being an A2C Rat GI) It looked real good most of the time, until one fine day when one of our Big Dog Chasers, who shall go name and rankless decided it would look better if it was WAXED. We WAXED it !!.

Looked real good till one fine RAINY day in Ga. When we tried to tow a missile up the little slope to get it inside the hangar to work on. The wet tug tires just sat just inside the door and spun merrily with all the Rat Gi's standing around laughing, until caught by said Big Dog Chaser, HE AIN'T HAPPY So we get to strip the wax of the hangar floor so we could go about our business of missile maintenance.

Above mentioned Big Dog Chaser next thought it would be a better idea if we WAXED THE MISSILES to protect the pretty white paint and red stripes. WE WAXED SOME MISSILES

Guess who the first guy who walked out on a WET WAXED MISSILE WING and fell and busted his Big Dog Chaser fanny was. You get the CIGAR!!!

By: John M. Keylon

FOREWORD: Since we've found Ron Turnow he can defend himself  if he disagrees with this story. I feel it is my duty to tell what happened to that long legged New Jersey cat one warm sunshiny afternoon at Turner AFB, GA.

 We took a bird from Hangar Maint. to Combined Systems and loaded it on the table and hooked it up. The Key Element in this funny were the two hoses that went to the Absolute Pressure Regulator in the little aft compartment, where old Screamy the generator also resided. There being no provisions to hang the hoses anywhere close to the ends, some enterprising GI came up with a piece of rope that was noosed around the hoses, then around the generator cooling air inlet and secured when the cooling air hose was put on. The above mentioned hoses had a very soft, spongy flammable rubber outer coating on them.

 We were a goodly way through the Systems test as the engine had been running long enough to thoroughly heat up the tail pipe, when if you guessed the rope broke you got the cigar. The call on the intercom was FIRE IN THE HIGH BAY!!!, as the hoses fell on the hot tailpipe and created gobs of smoke (I never saw any actual flames) and even more confusion.

Griffin (James W. RIP) was test conductor, I was on the 1M, Lou Bouley was on the 113, Chuck Kennedy was on the table controller and hydraulics and Bert Vermont was way down on the end on the pressure/vacuum console. Dick Champley, John Bridges and Ron Turnow were in the highbay, Ron on the side between the missile and the control room, Champ was on the other side and I don't know where John Bridges was (he didn't either most of the time).

Griff told Bouley to cage the platform, Kennedy to close the hydraulic dump valve so the generator would keep running and told me to kill the engine, which I did in record time. I looked out the windows into the highbay in time to see Ron sell out real cheap and I wondered where he was going since the fire was on his side of the bird. Champ grabbed a CO2 bottle off the wall and started to spray the hoses, when somehow Ron levitated over or around the MA-1A sitting between him and the walk thru door in the back of the highbay and set sail for the exhaust deflector area, which was 60 or 70 feet outside the rear door, and just barely off the paved area the building sat on (an old taxiway from training base days). If you guessed he had on one of the big black sets of sound resistant Mickey Mouse headgear, you get another cigar. He was 10 or 15 feet past the deflector when he ran out of cord, 5 18 Ga. Electrical conductors and 1 1/16 or 3/32 inch soft strand aircraft cable that did not, repeat did not stretch.

I've seen some football players get clotheslined but I have never seen one like Turnow survived that day. I leaned back and looked out the open control room door (Damned A/C in that building never worked) in time to see his big feet above the top of the exhaust deflector and when he hit the ground I figured he was dead from a broken neck, but the push to talk switch and headset connector he had clipped to his belt evidently slowed him down enough to keep from killing him. He ripped the connector completely out of the amplifier/connector box that was mounted on the highbay wall. We all thought it was real funny, except Ron, had a weird sense of humor I guess.

 I tried to get Griff to set off the big CO2 system that we had in the highbay cause I wanted to see what frosty the snowman would look like in AF fatigues, as Champ and Bridges would have been had he
tripped it off. I aggravated him enough about it that he told me if I didn't close my lip It would probably develop a fat spot.

Nuke'em or Bust'em
By: Lyle Cubberly

Our team was working late into the night on the flightline at Beale. We were all a part of the 456th AMMS. It was summertime. The summer days and the Sacramento River Valley could get real hot, but the nights always cooled off and it was very pleasant. It was getting onto 3 AM. We didn't have a mid shift, so us swing shift guys had to continue working to get this buff ready for a late morning launch. I was the systems analyst on the team and was upstairs at the nav position trying to figure out the problem we had along with MSgt Gruver, the team chief. It started to look like the armament panel was bad, so I called down stairs to  Don Metzsger, who was in the truck along with John Evans to tell him to have the crew chief call into supply and have them get an Armament Panel out to the pad. We knew it was going to take a while to get the part out to the buff, so we kicked back and tried to get a little rest.

Well it didn't take long before Don called up to us to tell us we had some company. The DO, then the DCM along with the Sq CO had just pulled up. It turned out the the Wing CO and VC weren't far behind. Of course we were wondering what in the world was going on.  We were told to get our butts down stairs now. Once we were there we were put at attention in a row and we started to get our butts chewed out real good. When one Colonel got tired, the next one would start. We were told we were all on our way to Leavenworth and they were going to through away the keys for the stupid stunt we had pulled. Sgt Gruver finally got a word in edge-wise and asked them what we had done wrong. We were asked just what we thought we were going to do with a NUKE we were trying to order. Did we think it was funny?

After the Colonels got tired of chewing us out, our Sq CO started to ask some questions. He couldn't believe we would do something like this. We were the best team he had in the Sq. We had just earned top scores on the MSET inspection. I had been selected for the MSET Honor Roll for perfect scores on the under-the-wing and wring-out checks.

Well it turned out that when the crew chief called the Part Number into supply for the Armament Panel, somewhere along the line, we never did find out where, the Part Number got changed to that of  a  NUKE.

That was one night none of us would ever forget. By the way, we got the buff fixed. The Armament Panel was bad, and the A/C had an on-time takeoff.

When He's Right, He's Right
By; Sam Jones

In 1963 at Ramey, we had a problem with the Flight Control Console on Station 1. I spent a lot of hours and some sleepless nights, trying to figure out what the trouble was.[the console would not self-check]. Well I finally traced it down to a resistor on card one in drawer 7.

Soon after that I shipped out to Wright Pat, Ohio. One day, as I was processing in, I walked across the Hanger floor, and noticed some one working on the Flight Control Console. I stopped and watched him for a while [we had never met], I asked him what kind of problem he had. He said it would not Self-Check, and he could not find out why. I looked in Drawer 7, and asked him what kind of voltage he was getting here and here and here. He told me what they were and showed me the Digital Voltmeter readings. I looked at them, and then said; Change R-7107 on card 1, and walked away and went into the Shop. He turned to another guy near by and said; WHO IS THIS SMART ASS, I have been working on this thing for a week and can't fix it, He walks up and points to a single component on a single card in a certain drawer.

Well he did change card one; it cleared his trouble. He later found R-7107 was bad. Man they had me walking on water for awhile, Thought I was some sort of expert. I let it ride for a couple of months, before I finally told the truth of how I had just had the same trouble before I left Ramey

What Am I ?
By: Bob Guillory

On the day of my separation from active USAF duty (August 1, 1967), I was informed that I was a sergeant, but my DD214 papers were prepared prior to the change. Seems the name of the E4 rank and other lower Airman ranks were changed effective that date.

I remember two stories being circulated about that time:

The first story is that promotion to SSGT was non-existent and so many A1C's, like myself, were serving as team supervisors that they decided to just make all of us sergeants. This lack of promotion changed my mind about being a lifer, like two of my brothers. All five brothers served in the military, but only two made it to retirement.

The other story was a rumor about Lady Bird Johnson not liking her nephew being called a Airman 3rd Class (or anything but First Class), so she waged a campaigned to eliminate A3C and A2C ranks.

My DD214 states that I was an E4-A1C, but my discharge states that I was a SGT. I sure am confused.

The Naked Coffee Maker
BY: Renwick Preston

There is a funny story about an incident that happened. I don't know if it made the rounds to other bases or not. Around 1974 we got a new guy who was very smart. He was working on a degree at Arkansas State and drove there on his Honda 750 motorcycle. He was always doing homework while monitoring one of the consoles during missle tests. Well, his homework was interfering with his work and they finally told him to stop. He wouldn't and got mad.  Being married, he had coffee bar duty every so often. This one day, after being told to stop his schooling, he took off all his clothes while standing behind the coffee bar. They called for the men in white coats to come get
him, presuming that he had flipped his lid. The psychiatrist, after examining him, said that there was nothing wrong with him, that he just wanted out of the Air Force! So they let him out.

Bailout at 60,000 ft
BY: William Baisden

In 1964 I was on flight status and flew at least once a month to monitor Missile operations.  We flew out of Wright Patterson headed for the Gulf Coast for firing practice, nav. legs and missile runs.  I was sitting behind the co-pilot not really paying any attention to the intercom.  I had removed my field jacket and had settled down for a couple hours of sleep when, over the intercom, I heard the aircraft commander say, " We have about five more minutes then we will have to break off the inflight refueling rendezvous.''  I thought we only had five more minutes of fuel left.  I started cinching up my parachute straps and wondering if I would freeze to death after we bailed out.  After setting in a daze for a few minutes I asked the A/C about the fuel and he told me that the inflight part of the mission had been scrubbed because the tanker didn't show up and our time on the fueling range had expired.  I then told him what went through my mind and all you could here on the intercom was everyone laughing.

Looking For a Promotion
BY: Sam Jones

A lot of you out there, most likely have a story about getting OR not-getting promoted. Well during my first tour at Ramey, along about late 1961 you could not buy a stripe. So one day the whole Squadron was lined up in formation out in front of the Hanger. The Hound Dogs had not been flying too good, and the Quail couldn't get the Flight Control Console to self check[my job]. The Wing Commander,  a Brig. General, gave us a pretty good chewing out and said some words to the effect that if we did not start shaping up, they were going to have to cut some promotions. Some guy in the back row, said in a nice firm voice; Sir, half of nothing ain't nothing. The General got the message.

Tow to Tow at Kincheloe
BY: Tim Lewinski

I don't know why but the memory of us towing a Hound Dog back from the flightline to the hanger during a winter storm popped to mind.  I can close my eyes and still see that missile sliding slowly down the street ... at a 45 degree angle to the tug. To this day I have no idea how we missed that telephone pole with the ass end of the missile.  But I swear if there had been one more coat of paint on it ..... 

More Tow to Tow at Kincheloe
BY: Rich DeMilia

Oh, how I remember . . . vividly! I also remember (my sense of touch and pain never forgot this one) my "intimacy" with one of our uncovered tugs. On the worst of those "40 below, blizzard" days, the cabbed tug was always first to be taken. I wound up with the uncovered tug to make an Alert Facility run on the other side of the base. It was just before midnight, when I completed and started my trek back to the maintenance hangar. I was frozen solid, even in that "Arctic" gear, and couldn't wait to get back to WARMTH! So, I floored it on the way out of the Alert gate. As tears began filling my eyes from the cold air blasting into my face, I made a rather sharp right turn onto Perimeter Road. That's when I realized just how close those drainage ditches were to the pavement. The rear wheel of the tug caught the dip, and the tug bounced into the air. The seat cushion flew off and I landed (you guessed it) square on top of the threaded end of that one "extra long" bolt that held the chair frame to the tug!!! Oh, the PAIN even through those thick Arctic pants.

Hey, do you remember when we first received those Coleman's? I think all of us drove 'em sideways to the Flight Line wearing devilish grins more than once. It was slick being able to steer the rear wheels too, but a couple of guys almost bought it before learning that the rear wheels were a lot slower in centering when it got real cold. Also, the electric clutch got finicky in Kincheloe's weather. It was my first night with the new Coleman. We kept them parked outside by the rear hangar door. I pulled the heater plug out of the wall and climbed aboard. Someone left it in gear and it was stuck. I pressed the clutch button as I began cranking that brut to start it. Unfortunately, and unnoticed to me, the clutch also decided not to work. All of a sudden, "BANG" as the tug cranked forward into the hangar's foundation. I never saw our guys run out of that hangar as fast as they did that night. I'm told it made one hellova "BANG" inside!

Musical Collets
By: Tom Sandman
5th AMMS, Travis AFB

Does anyone else out there remember the great "collet debacle" of 1964 (or was it '65)?  Here is the background as I remember it: Sometime during the middle of the night at one of the southern AGM bases, a security policeman on guard duty at the alert pad heard a loud "crack" emanating from one of the B-52s. Upon investigation he found an AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile pitched nose down at a very steep angle. He reported this immediately and, as you might expect, panic ensued (Can you say, "Broken Arrow!"?) Fortunately, they were able to successfully download the missile without bouncing it (and the Mark 28 warhead) off the ramp. When they got it back to the hangar they found several tines from the front collet were broken off. I am not sure of the all facts surrounding this incident since they were mainly "hear say" to us folks at Travis (maybe someone who was at the base where this
incident occurred can comment). What I am sure of is what happened next.

That incident resulted in an issuance of an emergency TO requiring every collet in the AGM fleet to be inspected. The procedure for checking the collets was to pull the pylon, remove the front and back collet, and send them to the machine shop to undergo a process known as "magna-fluxing". I was in the 5th Bomb Wing where the orders were that no missile was to be grounded due to a failed collet and that the flying schedule was to be maintained at all cost (remember MCS points?). The next two to three months became a living hell for personnel of the 5th AMMS. We yanked the pylons and magna-fluxed the collets of all the non-alert missiles and then the collets of each missile as it came off alert. More than half the collet sets inspected showed hairline cracks. Then we began to play a game that can best be described as "musical collets". The two daily fliers and the missiles going on alert got the good collets. We had maybe two or three sets of good collets available for the fliers. Of course, different missile tail numbers were scheduled to fly every day so the good collets had to be continuously installed and
uninstalled to maintain the flying schedule. The hangar soon began to look like a missile parts warehouse with missiles and pylons, minus collets, stashed everywhere. Talk about your  "24/7". Every time a pylon was reinstalled on a missile we had to take it to combined systems for verification so combined systems ran 24 hours a day during that period. The hangar and flight line guys were on 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week for over two months until we started getting new replacement collets. Family life became non-existent. Tempers flared. Accidents happened. Some fun. But, we never missed a scheduled take off, we survived, and we did win the "cold war."

The A.P. said, "How's it Hanging"
By: John Istle

A Follow-up to Tom Sandman's "Musical Collets" story

The first noted collete failure happened at Homestead AFB, 19 AMMS, 1964,   It did occur on one of our alert birds and the failure was on the front collet.  When the A.P. saw it sometime in mid morning, there was about two to three inches separation between the pylon and missile body. He thought it looked a bit odd but it didn't really sink in

We were in the second six month Chrome Dome tour of which we pulled three back to back. Thanks to Seymour Johnson dropping four eggs off the Spanish coast, on the first few days of their turn of Chrome Dome.  (That's another story)  We would place a B_52H with dogs onto the alert pad, then pull another off the pad to fly the Chrome Dome Mission.   Our four man team had entered the Alert Pad and was in preparation process to upload two birds on the BUFF coming onto alert status when this  A.P. walked over to us ( he was the rover that circled the pad) and asked us how far down can our birds hang from the pylon before we need to adjust them????  He was pointing to the plane  next to us and we looked over to see what he meant.  Our initial reactions, and,  mixed emotions, were vocalized with assorted variations of verbs that G.I.'s speak so well. The A.P. went on to  explain that the gap originally was about 3", when he saw it but when the "creaking sounds" started a while ago, it doubled, plus.

At the time, I saw the gap, I wasn't thinking inches.  I was thinking, why that tail number.  I was the assigned
crew chief in the good old aircraft records book on that bird.  I wanted to know how MMS was going to drop the warhead out at that angle, without the dog falling off the pylon.  Remember those collets were two different sizes and both always looked too small to me to hold the weight they did.

The final result that day was simple.  No Broken Arrow, not even a Bent Spear.  We just uploaded the birds we had brought out to the alert pad so we could have a free trailer.  Then we were told that we would have to download the dogs before MMS could drop the "egg".  To do that we had to drop the trailer as low as it would go, then let out most of the air in all the tires.  I will always remember the trailer just squeezing under, then the missile emitting weird metallic noises as it quivered above the trailer.  We all moved very softly but quickly. I don't know about anyone else that day but my muscles were clamped tighter than a frog's butt, and that's water tight!

As I remember, three tines had broken on the front collet.  When the back collet had been removed and magnafluxed, it was discovered that most every tine on the collet had hairline cracks.   We changed out every collet in our fleet within two weeks only to find out that the new collets, never used, straight from the factory, had hairline fractures. For some reason, unlike the 5th AMMS, we got priority on the new and improved collets shortly after.

Company Woes
By: Wesley Horen

Regarding  the stories about the failed collets. I  was working at North American at the time and I remember the situation and was trying to get new collets out.

 The problem was that a small machine shop had originally manufactured the collets for the production run. They had gone out of business and never returned the blueprints and manufacturing data. We scrambled to find someone that would build them and finally did replace all of the collets.

The Analyst Co-pilot
By: Dave Matthews

One of my classmates at Chanute was Tilford W. Harp, of Ponca City OK.  We started electronic principles together and made it all the way through the Hound Dog analyst course.  He was always one step ahead of the instructors in any discussions involving math.  When we graduated in May of 1965, he was selected for the AF Academy prep school, so he never made it to an AMMS squadron. 

I didn't keep track of him, much too much going on getting used to SAC.  In May of 1975 I heard his name again for the first time in ten years.  A C-5 flying out of Saigon in early April had an inflight emergency and crashed on takeoff.  The plane was loaded with small children and women caretakers (Operation Babylift).  There was great loss of life, but many survived because of the limited control the pilots were able to maintain.  'Tilly' Harp was the co-pilot on that flight, and he and the pilot were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses for the extraordinary airmanship they displayed.  I was in Korea and read about it in Pacific Stars and Stripes, and had no way to contact him.  I still regret not letting him know how proud I was to have known him "back when", so I'm telling all of you now….

The Eject Leg Clamps - Gotcha! Story
By: Bob Guillory (with inspiration from Mike Georgen)

B52ejectseat202Mike Georgen and I were talking about our Barksdale memories ('64 - '67) some time back and the 'Eject Leg Clamps - Gotcha! Story' came up. I asked Mike to do this write-up, but he said that he had almost successfully erased it from his memory bank. So I guess I have editorial license to tell it the way it really happened. All Mike said about writing the story was "don't make me sound too stupid".

As I remember, I had a recurring Hound Dog under-wing checkout problem.  Naturally, the problem never showed up in a shop checkout. To show those shop guys that this was not an 'Analyst Operator Error' I got my friend --the trusty Shop Technician, Mike Georgen, out onto the flight line, and into a B-52 for the first time in his life.

Mike was soon sitting comfortably in the navigators seat, but before long he was at the edge of the seat as the problem reared it's ugly head. Mike soon had that look of recognition. He sat back into the seat to contemplate the situation, pulled his legs toward the base of the seat, and .... tripped the ejection seat leg clamps!!!

The look on Mike's face! Was it the fear of a possible ejection into the concrete below at a zillion feet per second? Was it embarrassment for not realizing that the seat had leg clamps to save the poor navigators legs as he is propelled into space through a hatch only slightly larger than the seat? Or was it that Bob was rolling in the aisle, and laughing like a fool?

Another Towing Story - The SAC-ORI Guard Shack Incident
By: Bob Guillory

We all remember the SAC-ORIs, don't we? During one such ORI,   where very little had gone right, I had the pleasure of rushing a replacement Hound Dog out to a waiting B-52.

It was a miserable, cold and rainy night on the Barksdale flight line, and vision was terrible. In my haste to deliver and load the Hound Dog, I clipped the roof of a flight line guard shack with the wing tip of the Hound Dog.

No big deal you say! Well, the guard shack had glass walls on all sides, and the guard was inside - for a short while! It tweaked the building just enough. The guard emerged with glass shards in places you don't want to know about! And, boy - was he pissed!

More guards emerged from the ether. AMMS & Bomb Squadron officers gathered.  The 2nd Bomb Wing officials gathered. What are we going to do about this situation, asked the officer of the guards? Can we jeopardize the ORI mission by detaining this wayward Hound Dog Analyst asked the AMMS & Bomb Squadron officers? The 2nd Bomb Wing officials determined that the ORI was 1st priority, and I was released to finish my mission.

Why Not Minot
By: Ed Cooper

The 450th AMMS had an incident that sent chills down my spine and left me with a question all these 37 years.

The missile was downloaded from the-alert pad  and brought into the hanger for a periodic check. All was going well as the Hound Dog was moved from the trailer to the hard stand. I opened the warhead compartment as per the T.O. instructions. As I looked into the WC I saw something that didn't look right. I had seen the distinctive ballast coloring numerous times, but this was different.  The thing was silver in color. I called over Staff Sergeant Mack to take a look. Sarge immediately sent out the alarm for everyone in the hanger to leave the area, posted airman to front and rear doors with orders to let no one in and proceeded to the Maintenance Control area with me in tow. All the while I am trying to get a response from him as to "What the Hell is going on". Sgt. Mack said nothing until we reached the MC. He said in a loud voice, to controller on duty, "Better get MMS down here in a hurry, they left their damn bomb in the missile that just came in for a J-Box check".

 The call was made to MMS and they must have broken the sound barrier getting to our hanger. I saw them coming down the service road next to the flight line with their trailer bouncing all over the road nearly tipping it over as they rounded the turn to our hanger. Those of us outside could not help but burst into laughter. They blew through the now open hanger doors, not saying a word, went about their business removing the thing and left the area in haste. I never heard anything about what should have been a "Dull Sword" or something. By the way, if the warhead compartment was not opened, as I had seen on some occasions, and the weapon not detected was there a possibility the J-Box check could have added new meaning to "Why Not Minot?"   

What is That Noise ?
By: Tom Tordel

A Hot Day On The Flight Line at Mather AFB [Oh, memory don't fail me now..]

 I'm out early for a weekend [Sunday I think] preflight, waiting for the crew. I'm in the van and the crew chief's in the trailer, hot and sunny, just the soft whisper of the power unit [yeah, right!] and I hear a loud "CLANG"!!, hmmm, what... "CLANG"... what is that ?" "CLANG!!"  Seems to be coming from near the power unit and.... WHOA!!  the darn fuel pit cover lifts up a few inches and a HUGE "bubble" of fuel gushes out..."CLANG"!.. AGAIN!!..

I hop out and run to the chief's trailer and open the door yelling to get his attention. [here my memory is fuzzy, either I radioed ground, or he did]  and he runs out to kill the power unit [remember all those nights watching the little sparks fly from the exhaust?]. well he secured the unit,"CLANG" again, lotsa fuel now, and , in the distance, flashing lights from fire trucks and, oh look,  an air police pick-up. The fire trucks come to us, but the AP truck stops WAY over there next to a solitary airman, in the middle of the almost empty ramp, on his hands and knees, looking [doing something?] in a refuel pit. From where we were it looked as if he got to kiss the ramp for a while. Never did find out what he was doing, or how it caused the fuel to come gushing out of the pit by our A/C.

Did it Ever Snow in Maine ?
By: Tom Tordel

I will always remember Dow AFB in 1965. Bangor had some good winters and two guys from the ground equip shop Sgt Marzo and [roomie] Ken Gammel rigged up a plow to fit over the "grille" of the tug [?clarke?].  Well,,, to see Marzo drivin like a bat outta hell with Gammel holding the pipe which was located by two welded upright's on the right side top of the grille was something. They used some 2x12 [I think] planks as the plow and by golly it worked.

But Sir, I Really Lost It
By: Larry Sabadini

LINEBADGEComing from the Boston area.I went home most every weekend in good weather, usually with John Iadarola who worked in the guidance shop.Well on one of my trips, I lost my line badge.  I was lucky that I did not get an Article 15 at least, but I just reported it as lost, not in the Boston area, and I was issued a new one.  Years later, it turned up in my folks' home, and I haven't lost it since.

Where There's Smoke There's Fire ?
By; Foster Beall

I remembered a small incident that happened in the Guidance shop at Bergstrom AFB, probably in 1965 or 1966.

Curtiss Lamson had just been reassigned to our shop and was sitting in front of the Aircraft Simulator test station. Miley Glissen was showing him how the Aircraft panels worked . They were both highly engrossed in what they were doing. Sooo, I just couldn't pass up on a chance to get back at Glissen. I went to the rear of the station, and soon white smoke came pouring out from between the panels. I walked around to the front just in time to see both Lamson and Glissen switching off the power as quick their fingers could move. It was then that they realized I was standing there with a smoking cigar and a long piece of hollow flexable plastic tubing. I never knew if or how much Lamson was angry, But I knew Glissen was.

Watch Out Below
By: Leonard Granger

After arriving back from  the Missile School and being newly assigned  to the 5th AMMS, at Travis AFB, CA,  I was  happy to supervise a special  all-night  readying of the AMMS Hanger for a  special inspection.  The  AGM-28 Hound Dog MissileB Hound Dog Missile Facility  was scheduled the following morning for a personnel and missile area inspection by the 5th Bomb Wing and Base Commanders.  We were directed to put a coat of high gloss wax on the hangar floor and polish it,  which we did,  and it looked great.  It was somewhat slippery but no one fell during the  inspection.

 We were all in formation and the Wing Commander was telling us how proud he was of the our squadron and the work we had accomplished in modifying an old B-36 Hangar into the  an outstanding  missile maintenance facility.  As we  were listening to all the kind words,  a pigeon from high up in the reaches of the tall  maintenance hangar,  made a diving flight  low over the officers and place his calling card on the hat of the Wing Commander. We were shocked and did not say a word or make a sound.  Later it was the talk of the base and within an hour the Air Police were using pellet guns in an attempt to scare the pigeons away.   In a few weeks each missile station became a  small building  within the large hangar,  however,  the pigeons were always a problem.  My later AMMS assignments were in conventional type missile hangars  and inspections were all routine.

Attack of The Anhydrous Ammonia
By: Ed Cooper

A somewhat humorous incident, or panic time depending on your perspective, with filling the pylon's anhydrous ammonia tank occurred sometime in 1966 during a most severe winter.

Was there any other kind at Minot?

Anyway two Hound Dog mechanics, which will go un-named, were servicing the bird and apparently did not properly connect the feed and return lines. As I remember it the fill hose popped off and the ground servicing unit drained into Earth's atmosphere. The white cloud that formed wafted towards the end of the flight line about a quarter of a mile away. The mechanics were, I am sure, forever grateful that the toxic substance was blown away from the 450th  AMMS complex. They thought no one knew of their error and were safe. Unfortunately for them there were three Air Policemen standing next to their trucks at the end of that runway and the scramble that ensued as the cloud overtook them looked to me just like the silent films Keystone Cops. I was always thankful that my AFSC kept me away from that particularly nasty duty. Needless to say the mechanics took a lot of busting from the rest of us, but only the grunts ever knew.

I cannot stop with this one story about the nasty coolant.

     We had a particularly bad problem with Moles digging up the grounds.  Another mechanic was tasked with the periodic service of the 10 lb.   Anhydrous Ammonia bottle mounted on the I-Beam and for getting rid of the Mole problem. I observed him on many occasions empty the contents into a barrel of H2O and refill to the correct weight. This time he decided to do something about the Moles. He added an extension hose to the bottle and shoved the line down the Mole hole. This was done under the cover of darkness of course. He opened the valve and drained the AA. I could see a cloud of white drifting out of the ground 50 ft. away in a gully three ft.deep and five ft. wide, that meandered it's way in a serpentine pattern off into the distant tundra. The next morning, we went back to see how it went, as far as the eye could see everything that once was alive was alas dead. Grass, weeds, rodents, rabbits, snakes and bugs lie still forevermore. I now had a renewed respect for that stuff and was doubly glad I did not work with it. By the way the Moles kept on making their burrows. Wrong hole I guess.

Have Quail, Will Travel
By: Sam Jones

When we closed out Ramey and Moved to Ellsworth, Lt. Col. Kata was the Commander and Capt. Perez was the Maint. Officer.

In Nov. of 1971 SAC put out the schedule for Ghost Walk II, when each base would launch a Quail on the Eglin Test Range. Part of getting the missile ready, was to install the Command Destruct Kit. I usually did this job at the base where I was stationed.

As the list was read out Ellsworth's was in Jun of 1972, but Warner Robins was in Jan. '72. In a kind of joking mood--with a straight face, I told Col Kata that it had been quite a while since we had launched a missile, and that it might be a good idea to send a man down to Robins and "observe them getting a Quail ready". He said that's a wonderful idea, you go, and take Capt Perez with you.  REMEMBER WE ARE TALKING ABOUT JAN. WEATHER IN SD, 30 degrees below wind chill. Versus 80 degrees and Motel swimming pools at Robins.------A month or so goes by when one day at Standup, the Col asked me if I had my orders yet. I said no, not yet, he said well get up to Personnel and walk them thru. I did and about the middle of Jan.,with Ice and Snow all over,  Capt Perez and I went over and got on a Commercial Flight to Robins. Capt Perez kept saying, Jones "just what are WE going to do down there". I said Capt. for ONCE absolutely  nothing, We are going to watch someone ELSE work.

And we did.

Bottom line: I have a picture of all us Quail troops, at Ellsworth, taken with the Wing Commander, Col. Reed, with a hand written note of Congrats. on an Outstanding "Ghost Walk II". after our Launch.

Sam Jones

AMMS Stories

Contributed by James G. Cornett


Getting close to 70 years old, I feel that I must tell these stories, before I forget them.  At Seymour-Johnson, there were emergency showers everywhere, just in case someone got doused with fuel or ammonia.  They were never used, but they were there, just in case.  We got in a new 2nd Lt,  right out of school.  He had nothing to do, so the commander told him to do a Facilities Inspection.  When he got to the Quail Hangar, he looked up at the shower head and pulled the chain.  Rusty water rained down, all over his new uniform.  The next day, there was a new Squadron Regulation:  "All emergency showers will be tested once a week, and will be run until all the rust is out of the lines."
At Seymour-Johnson, I was allowed to run up and check out the Quail often.  We never had a problem.  At  Wright-Patterson, things were different.  Running the engine one day, another man was sitting beside me, playing with the Fire Detection switch.  He was turning it off and on.  Then he turned it off, and the light stayed on.  "Look at this," he said.  I jumped up and looked out the window.  The missile skin was buckling up, and smoke was everywhere.  The outside man yelled "FIRE" into the mike.  A 500-gallon fuel tank was sitting beside the missile.  I hit the door running, headed for the ditch.  I forgot to take off my headset, and just about tore off my ears.  The fire was put out, and I came walking back to the hangar, red-faced as they laughed at me.
During a SAC Alert, we were working 12-on; 12-off.  I was on the night shift.  The Air Policeman tied his dog to the grounding strap and went to the latrine.  When he came out, his dog was gone.  He found him outside, where we were feeding him scraps from our lunch.
They painted the hangar floors green at Wright-Patterson.  Then they put a coat of clear varnish over this.  Slicker than owl crap.  One day, the Commander said we were going to strip the floor.  Gallons of paint stripper were brought in and spread.  It ate the thread out of the soles of our shoes.  Rubber boots were brought in.  Several men passed out from the fumes before they decided to give us masks.   The job was finally done, but the smell lingered on for several months.
In my story about my last day as a Missileman, add that I made SSgt the first promotion after I started cross-training into Administration.
Thank you,
James G. Cornett

The Day It Rained In the Combined Systems Building at Clinton Sherman
by Ralph B. Smith

I was originally assigned to 4123 A&EMS of the 70th Bomb Wing. The missile folks were like a branch in the A&EM Sq. We started with an empty hangar and spent most of our time building stuff and setting up stations. Our missiles were delivered on C124 Globe Master II. Off loading was a big deal because the C124 sat high off the ground. Our squadron was re-designated the 70th AMMS.

I was a Mech Tech (Missile Chief) and spent more than my fare share of time in the Combined Systems building bay doing engine trims. Standing next to that engine at trim power setting was very exciting as described on your web site.

Some really funny stuff happened in the Combined Systems building. There was a plan to cartridge start missiles on the alert pad for extra B52 take off power. A MA-1A air cart and missile starter adapter could be used if a cartridge failed to fire. The adapters got high speed air from the MA-1A hose and drove the engine through a dog in the accessories case. There was a shortage of starter adapters. A young officer from somewhere on base had a plan to eliminate the need for an adapter by windmilling the engine by blowing MA-1A air directly into the engine intake. We were told to help in this experiment. Unfortunately, the MA-1A cart hose was too short to reach the intake from the front of the building. We rolled the thing slightly inside the bay and started it. Did you know there was a small jet engine inside that cart and the exhaust went straight up out the top? Have you ever seen a water deluge system go off? Fortunately, I was an airman 2nd at the time and was doing what I was told.

Ralph B. Smith

The Last Day at Loring’s AMMS

Just surfing on the net trying to see if I could find any old Air Force information (for nostaglia's sake), I came across your AMMS web site.  Thanks very much for creating and maintaining such a great site.  It was wonderful looking at the old pictures and catching up on the history.

I was only in AMMS at Loring for a short time, working as a Tech Admin under Colonels Charles Bailey (I believe that's the name) and Jean Beaudoin (I'm certain of him).  It was a short assignment simply because of the squadron being deactivated and MMS taking on the SRAM program which replaced the Hound Dog.  In fact, I may have been the person who actually "turned out the lights" at Loring's AMMS.  Everyone else had been transferred, some took early retirement, etc. and Colonel Beaudoin took a job at DCM for a short period of time before I believe he retired.  He and I were the last two out and after he got to DCM, he arranged for me to get a job in the Logistics, Plans, Programs, and Mobility office there.  By that time, the old AMMS building was one empty shell of the place that had had so much life during the Hound Dog and Quail days.  I had to get some paperwork still in the admin office one day before my transfer -- you know what they say about the job isn't finished until all the paperwork's been filed -- and the last time I left the building, it was completely void of personnel and essential equipment. I literally turned out the lights on Loring's AMMS.

I'm thankful for some of the names I was able to recognize among the Loring alumni--Beaudoin, Mickel, Mayne, Kirschmann, Wunderlich ...

To those no longer with us, may the memories always be good ones.

Thank you once again.

Carl Richard


One Still Hangin

In 1967 I was serving with the 465th BW at Robins AFB, GA in Bomb/Nav.  My primary responsibility at the time was aligning the Terrain Avoidance radar/computer in the AN/ASQ-38 system on the wing's B52G models. Because the 12-hour process could not be interrupted without restarting from the beginning, this twelve-hour operation was normally done at night in one of the hangars where we were less likely to be disturbed.  My partner and I had dinner and were about three hours into our alignment project when we got a call on the radio in the van.  A Bomb/Nav guy was needed on the maintenance pad for an engine run on one of the aircraft that included the AGM28B engines being runup as well.  I asked for someone else to handle it since I didn't want to waste the six man-hours we had invested in the TA alignment.  The response was that we were the only ones available, and it had to be done now as the bird was scheduled to fly in the morning.  Since the TA alignment could be kept hot by my sidekick and they only needed one of us at the aircraft, I rogered the call and headed the van out onto our 44-acre pad.

    AMMS already had a crew outside and a man in the co-pilot's seat, with the crew chief in the pilot's position.  I got the usual flak about Bomb/Nav holding up the show as I took up my prescribed position in the RN's seat and got on the intercom.  The manual called for me to read the checklist and confirm that each step had been performed as the responsible individual reported.  It wasn't long before the crew chief had all eight engines running at max-cruise.  The engines were screaming at 87% and the BUFF was vibrating in an effort to overcome the restraint of brakes and chocks.  Then it was time for the 28Bs to add their engines to the party, and the AMMS guy upstairs got them cranked without any trouble at all.  Things were going very well, entirely too well as it turned out.

    Both Hound Dogs were brought up to max from idle, and we started the simulated launch segment of the checklist.  I was never totally comfortable with simulated launches because of the potential for disaster, but I'd gone through this many times in the past without incident.  The simulated launch procedure went ahead, but what we got was a real launch on the number one missile under the left wing.  Even with all the noise and vibration from the engines, the BUFF gave a lurch when the Hound Dog released from the pylon.  Through it all I heard the bird hit the pad with a "thunk" and sound of grinding sheet metal....more noise than I expected from the short drop.  There was yelling on the intercom and all engines began to wind down.  Unlike earlier models the G did not have an RN window, so I couldn't see anything.  I envisioned the missile careening across the pad to collide with the BUFF on the opposite side, or just to be incinerated on the spot.  There would be fire, explosions and destroyed aircraft....disaster.  The crew chief, the AMMS guy and myself all collided at the hatch in a rush to get out when the outside crew said it was safe to exit.  On the ground I saw that the missile had come to rest on it's right side about 50 feet in front of the aircraft with the engine shut down.  (Apparently it had been running on fuel directly from the BUFF's wing tank and not on internal fuel and just ran dry, but I didn't and still don't know.)  There was only a ballast warhead installed on the Hound Dog because the plane was scheduled for a training sortie.  She had a bent nose cone, a damaged right canard and wing and the engine nacelle was a bit scarred.  That was it.  No leaking fuel, no fire.  Talk about relief.  The AMMS guys were going berserk trying to figure out what had happened, while the crew chief stood fireguard with the wheeled extinguisher.  I hung around expecting to be needed for something.  After a few minutes, I cornered the AMMS honcho and crew-chief, telling them that I would be back at my TA alignment if they needed me for anything.  I had shut down the BNS system already and left.  We finished our alignment, and my partner would fly with our plane the next day as it was customary for the guy who aligned it to fly it (AKA, flight crew insurance).  I called it a night and headed for the BNCOQ.

    The next day I expected to be contacted by someone.  Surely there would be an investigation.  I never heard a word, and even my AMMS buddy didn't want to talk about it.  I certainly wanted to know what had gone wrong.  Later in the afternoon, the Bomb/Nav shop chief took me aside and told me that the incident was closed and AMMS was short one man.

Have some stories of your own ? Just email me and I will be glad to add it.

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