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I grew up in the oil fields of Oklahoma and graduated from high school at Madill, Oklahoma in 1948. For a couple of years I worked in a gasoline plant and went to college. I knew I didn’t want to dig ditches, run concrete or paint gasoline towers for a living. And it seemed that every time an aircraft flew overhead…well, I was looking up at it. I discovered that after two years of college I could join the USAF Aviation Cadet program.

I went from college at Durant, OK into the USAF Aviation Cadet program in July 1952. I was commissioned in December 1953, at Ellington AFB, TX and received my wings in July 1954, as a Flight Engineer. I reported to the 436th BS, 7th BW, Carswell AFB, TX and my first assignment was as a 2nd Flight Engineer. I soon upgraded to 1st Engineer and spent a few hours being dragged/pulled all over the world in the B-36, with the likes of Captain Neil D. Van Reenen and Major Harlan Lefler.

I left Carswell AFB in November 1957 and went to Mather AFB, CA for navigator upgrading. Following crew flight training in the B-47 at Little Rock AFB I was sent to Dyess AFB, TX as a radar bomb/nav. There I spent more than a few hours in the cramped, busy, cold front end of a B-47, trying to get us where we were supposed to be going – and making a jillion simulated bomb runs along the way. At Dyess AFB I was on a “select” crew with Major Charlie Tubbs and later Major Bert Spalding.

In 1962, I was selected for B-58 Hustler training. I arrived at Grissom AFB, IN in January 1963. My 6 years in the B-58 program as a radar bomb/nav were the highlight of my career. I again was on a "select" crew and flew with Major Bobby Franklin. I was able to attend "Bootstrap" at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and I got my Bachelor of General Education in 1966. I finally got off crew duty and in 1968 I transferred into an Avionics Maintenance Squadron as Maintenance Supervisor.

I was transferred to Kadena AB, Okinawa in August 1969. In January 1970, I took over as Commander of the 376th Avionics Maintenance Squadron. I had 420 personnel in my squadron and we were responsible for the avionics maintenance on B-52, KC-135 and RC-135 aircraft. We were selected as the "Best Avionics Maintenance Squadron" in the Strategic Air Command for 1970. In 1971 we were selected the “Best” in 8th Air Force. I retired in August 1972 as a LtCol, after 20 great years in SAC.

After retirement I worked in the computer field as a computer operator, programmer, systems analyst and data processing manager. I again retired in 1992 and now spend my time playing golf, fishing, traveling and piddling with my computer.

B.J. Brown, Lt Col, USAF, Retired, Shreveport, La





WILLIAM C. "BILL" CALLAHAN was born August 10, 1933 in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in a varied environment of Detroit and Chicago suburbs, a dairy farm in Wisconsin, the beach area of North Carolina, and finally finished high school and started college in New York City. "My dad was a journalist and moved around a lot," he explains.

Bill enlisted in the Air Force in August 1952 and completed basic training at Sampson AFB on the shores of Lake Seneca in upstate New York. After completing radio school at Keesler AFB, Bill reported to the 436th Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing, at Carswell AFB in the spring of 1953, where he was assigned as 2nd radio/ECM operator on a crew with J.B. Morris as A/C and Richard S. George as 1st pilot. Bill stayed with that crew throughout his hitch at Carswell, eventually becoming 1st radio/ECM and reaching the rank of S/Sgt. before separating from active duty in August 1956. He recalls many TDY's to garden spots such as Nouasseur Air Base in French Morocco in the summer and Limestone, Maine in the winter.

Like many Korean era vets, Bill returned to civilian life and completed college at Columbia University in New York and Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan, where he was editor of the student daily newspaper for 2 years. He then worked as a newspaper reporter, photographer and editor in Decatur, Illinois and South Bend, Indiana, until moving over to corporate press relations work with Corning Glass Works in upstate New York in 1963. Bill later worked in the same field for PPG Industries in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation (the black box guys) in Mountain View, California, and is currently still working as a senior public relations manager for National Semiconductor in Sunnyvale, California.

Bill married his wife, Gretchen, from Holland (Michigan) in 1960 and they have a son and two daughters, and now four grandchildren.

Bill is proud of his service in the B-36 program and says he feels we really made a difference in keeping the bad guys under control in the early cold war years. There were some memorable moments, including the time the rear bulkhead blew out in an explosive decompression. Or the time #3 swallowed a valve and shorted out the a.c. bus, causing fuel starvation to all engines. "We discovered the B-36 has the glide characteristics of a streamlined crowbar," was how Dick George described the incident, according to Bill.

He and his wife live in a modest 4-bedroom home in Sunnyvale and spend as much time as they can traveling the world.





William Crittenden was born October 9, 1932 in Creston, Iowa where he grew up on the family farm and graduated from high school in 1951. Bill enlisted in the Air Force in May 1952 and took basic training at Parks AFB, California, from there to Lowry AFB in Denver, Colorado, graduated from Electronics & Gun Laying Radar School and received his gunners wings in July 1953. Bill was known as Critt to all his Air Force buddies.

In July 1953 Bill reported to the 9th Bob Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing at Carswell AFB in Ft. Worth as a B-36 Tail Gunner. His first crew was with Col. Eberlein, 1st Pilot Capt. Engels; Maj. Sidie later took over as AC. During Bill's term of duty as a tail gunner, they went to Limestone, Maine; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Goose Bay, Lab., and three trips to Nouasseur Air Base, French Morocco, North Africa.

During the time Bill was a gunner at Ft. Worth, the B-36's were being featherweighted to increase their capability. Normally there had been five gunners in the Aft Compartment, but two were eliminated in the feather weighting process, and many of the gunners were sent to Puerto Rico for boom operator training on KC97's.

During Bill's hitch at Carswell he married his home town sweetheart, Betty. On January 25th, 1954 their crew was scheduled to fly, but the flight was canceled due to the birth of their son, Jack, born at the Base Hospital.

During the last flight from North Africa there was a strong head wind and very few of the planes made it all the way back to Carswell without landing and refueling somewhere. Their crew landed at Columbus, Ohio. He remembers the AC asking the engineer if we had enough fuel to get to Ft. Worth. He said it looks like we have enough to get there but not enough to land on. The little gas trucks that came out to fuel us looked pretty small compared to the semi tankers that were used at Fort Worth.

Bill is like most of his colleagues when he says he is proud to have served his country and most proud of being a crew member on a B-36 at Carswell Air Force Base, Ft. Worth, Texas. Bill was honorably discharged after flying a little over 1000 hours on the B-36 in May 1956. After leaving the Air Force, Bill worked at Convair for six months then returned to Iowa to farm raising corn, beans and cattle. Another son, Steve, was born in 1958.

They have built a new home in Afton, Iowa in 1995 where they are enjoying their retirement.





Major General Thomas J. Darling was born in Abilene, Texas, and graduated from Abilene High School in 1950. He received a B.S. degree in 1954 from Texas A&M University. At A&M he was named a Distinguished Air Force ROTC Graduate.

During his 33-year Air Force career, General Darling served over 12 years as a B-36/B-52 pilot before assuming various staff and command positions. These latter positions included: Commander, 97th Bombardment Wing, Blytheville AFB, Arkansas; Chief of Air Training and Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Strategic Air Command, Omaha, Nebraska; Commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia; and Vice Commander, 15th Air Force, March AFB, California. After serving as Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command, Norfolk, Virginia, with concurrent responsibilities as Chief of Staff, General Darling retired from the Air Force in July 1987 and came to Texas A&M University to serve as Commandant, Corps of Cadets, and Head of the School of Military Sciences.

General Darling earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from George Washington University and completed the Management Program for Executives at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, and the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.

A Command Pilot, General Darling has more than 7,000 flying hours, including more than 500 combat hours in B-52s during the Vietnam War. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, and Legion of Merit. Also, for his leadership initiatives while serving as Commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College, he received the MacArthur Medallion, a gold medal that was struck by the U.S. Congress in honor of General Douglass MacArthur.

During his time as A&M Commandant, several new programs and positions were established: Corps Recruiting Division, Corps Leadership Outreach (recruiting network of over 200 volunteer recruiters), Commandant's Honor Roll, Corps Academic Support Center, Corps Center Guard, Corps Operations and Training Division, college-credit leadership courses for Drill and Ceremonies cadets, screening boards for the selection of cadet commanders, and a Corps Academic Counselor position. Under his leadership, the number of corps scholarships went from less than 200 to over 700. He also had the vision and led the effort to fund and construct the beautiful Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadet Center, a privately financed museum and visitor center. Further, his vision led to:

  1. The establishment of a brick plaza on the Center's front side that contains over 10,000 named bricks and;
  2. The Corps Hall of Honor Program that incorporates the induction of at least four outstanding former A&M cadets into the Hall of Honor each year.

Through his concern and persistence, academics became the number one priority in the Corps. The Corps grade point average (GPA) made a steady climb, setting new records with each succeeding year.

On leaving the Commandant position in May 1996, General Darling was named Commandant Emeritus and presented the President's Achievement Medal in recognition of his outstanding service as Commandant.

On 1 June 1996, General Darling assumed his current position with primary responsibility for leading the Corps Endowment Campaign. The goal of the campaign was to raise at least $25 million for the A&M Corps of Cadets over a three-year period. At the campaign's conclusion in August 1999, over $33 million had been committed to the Corps. The endowment proceeds will be used to insure the Corps and its programs are enriched and extended well into the 21st century and that the Corps remains the Keeper of the Spirit and the largest and best leadership and character-building program of its kind in the nation..

Since August 1999, General Darling has continued his work in support of the Aggie Corps of Cadets. Much of his effort has been directed toward increasing the number of scholarships available for award to A&M cadets. With his help, the number of endowed Corps scholarships has grown to over 1,200, including the introduction of the Rudder Corps Scholarship, the Corps' premier endowed scholarship. Some 20 Rudder Scholarship have been established since the scholarship was announced in September 2000.

Also, General Darling serves on the boards of the Texas A&M Corps Development Council and the Jesse H. Easterwood Scholarship Selection Committee, which annually selects some 20 recipients for the prestigious Easterwood Corps Scholarship.

General Darling is married to the former Evelyn Redden of Hamilton, Texas. They have two children, Suzanne, and David, class of 1980 at Texas A&M, and two granddaughters. General and Mrs. Darling reside at 9103 Riverstone Court, College Station, Texas 77845.   (Updated: June 2001)





Walter R. Douglas was born Jan 9 1920 in Bradford, Pennsylvania.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1940 at Langley Field, Virginia.  He was transferred to Hq 8th Air Force and sent to the UK in April of 1942.  He was a telephone maintenance supervisor at Hq 8th Air Force.  In 1943 he was sent back to the states to learn to fly as an aviation student (Flying Staff Sgt).  He graduated with class 43k at Marfa, Texas in Dec 1943.  Then to Albuquerque, NM for B-24 pilot training and then to Las Vegas, Nev for B-17 pilot training.  He was sent back to the UK as a copilot on a combat crew with the 305th Bomb Group at Chelveston, England.  After flying 10 missions he was promoted to 1st pilot { AC}.  He married an English girl Oct 1944 and flew 25 more missions.  After a 30 day rest he was stationed at Orlando, Fla, flying formation demonstrations and experimenting with radio controlled and heat seeking bombs.   He was discharged in 1946. He re-enlisted and crewed a staff B-29 at Andrews A.F.B.   Then transferred to Guam and crewed a P-47.  He was discharged again.  A year later he re enlisted at Bolling A.F.B. He was maintenance supervisor of the base telephone exchange.  He was recalled and sent to advanced pilot training refresher with a cadet class flying AT-6s.  Upon completion he was sent to the 11th Bomb wing, 42nd Bomb Sq at Carswell A.F.B. to learn to fly the B-36.  He flew the B-36 as 3rd pilot, copilot and AC from 1953 to 1958.  He was transferred to Altus A.F.B. and flew B-52s for a short time and was grounded because of a history of migraine headaches.   After communications officer training at Keesler A.F.B., he was stationed in Newfoundland for 3 years. Then a short stay at Tinker A.F.B. as a communications officer.   Retired as a Major in 1963.  He, his wife Elsie and two children reside in Fort Worth and Azle, Texas.





Colonel Richard S. "Dick" George, USAF (ret), is a Texas son who was born in Austin, Texas. While attending the University of Texas in 1942, he joined the Aviation Cadet Program and graduated in Pilot Class 44-F at Pecos, Texas. Following a B-17 tour in England with the 452 Bombardment Group, 731st Bombardment Squadron, he returned to the US for B-29 training. Fortunately, the Japanese learned of his potential arrival in the Far East and signed an armistice. Not wanting to lose his expertise, he became involved with instructing B-29 Flight Engineer Cadets and Airplane Mechanics at Amarillo AAF and Keesler AAF until 1947.

He was also a T-6 and T-11 flight instructor in the reserve training program and flew F-51s, B-26s and C-47s with the Florida Air National Guard while on active duty before flying C-54's on the Berlin Airlift. The Soviets soon learned that trying to starve a city in the face of the USAF airlift might would fail and ended the blockade of Berlin. A short stint at Lackland AFB preceded his next assignment with the 49th Maintenance Group at K-2, Taegu Korea (1950-1951) where he flew C-47 missions throughout the Korean peninsula. As the Chinese hordes moved into North Korea he flew many evacuation flights to remove stranded US military units from potential annihilation. His was the last USAF aircraft to depart the N. Korean capital of Pyongyang before it fell to the Chinese.

His 1951 return to the states was to an assignment at Carswell AFB. He was made Commander of the 11th Air Installation Squadron (AIO). This position lasted only six months before his extensive four-engine pilot time was discovered and he was redirected to the 436th Bomb Squadron to fly the B-36. After 2600 hours and seven years in the B-36, he transitioned to the new B-52F. His crew was selected as instructors; and, upon transfer to Columbus AFB in 1959, the crew was assigned to the Wing Standardization Board. After 2000+ flying hours as pilot in command, he was earmarked for increased responsibility and selected to spend a year at the Command & Staff College at the Air University in 1961. Upon graduation, he moved to Offutt AFB and the staff of the Strategic Air Command in the Plans Directorate. While there, he attended college in his spare time and graduated from the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

In 1967 he was promoted to Colonel and assigned to Westover AFB as Director of Operations for the 57th Air Division. Europe beckoned after he graduated from the Air War College in 1969 and he spent the next four years as Director of Plans & Programs, 17th Air Force, and Chief Plans Branch, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). When he retired in 1974, he was Director of Logistics, 19th Air Division, Carswell AFB.

He and his wife Judy reside in Fort Worth, Texas. Their four children and their grandchildren make their homes in Carrollton and Dallas, Texas, and in Ida and Shreveport, Louisiana. A son and a grandson are graduates of the Air Force Academy. He was instrumental in organizing and creating the 7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association and served as the first association President.




"I enlisted in the Air Force in the Summer of 1946, just before it officially became the "Air Force." I joined to "get that over with" before I went to Architecture School at Texas Tech. I lived in Bonham, north of Dallas, the Berlin Blockade had just started and most everyone thought that WW III was starting. Since I was 18, I could join for 2 years. I enlisted in June 1948 and got out in June 1950, two weeks before the Korean War started. That turned out to be one of the "luckiest" things that I have done. My time at Tech was not interrupted and I finished school 2 years before any of my contemporaries. On enlistment, I was sent to Lackland AFB, San Antonio and was transferred to Sheppard AFB here in WF about half way through basic to re-open Sheppard. I never dreamed that my adult life would be spent here. When my 13 weeks of basic was completed I was assigned to the 492nd Bombardment Squadron at Carswell. I worked in Tech Supply for the two years I was there, keeping the big birds flying. When I arrived in the late fall of 1948, the 492nd had only two planes. Since the Air Force had bought the B-36 from Consolidated, across the field, before it was totally proven, we had lots of problems. My job, among others, was to keep the Unsatisfactory Reports (UR’s) written up and sent to HQ for their use. At that time it seemed every other one was about the casting the rudder sat in and on which it turned. They were always cracking. I also remember that we had a piece of wire that looked like a 12-inch long piece of bailing wire with a small circle in one end. It had something to do with the oxygen equipment. I remember losing one of those one time and it cost me $5.00. I have a lot of good memories (now) of those days that didn’t seem so good at the time.




Wendell Jenkins was born in a small farming community in Grayson County, Texas near Sherman, in 1929 and grew up working in cotton fields and bailing hay and numerous other farming chores.

After graduating from Collinsville High School in 1947, he decided to leave the farm and moved to Dallas, Texas. After working for an A&P Super Market for about a year and a half, he enlisted in the Air Force on June 8th, 1949 and was assigned to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX for basic training.

After completing basic training in August, 1949 he was sent to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi to radio operator technical school. He married his wife, Marjie, while at Biloxi. Upon graduation in May 1950 he was assigned to the 4925th Test Group, (Atomic) at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, N.M. There he served as a ground radio operator during the era of the Atomic Bomb Tests in the Nevada Desert.

In June, 1951 Wendell was transferred to Carswell AFB and initially was assigned to the radio operator ground station. After about two months communicating with the B-36s, he decided he wanted to fly in the B-36. He applied for and received a transfer to the 436th Bomb Squadron. After graduating from ECM School in November 1951 he was assigned as second radio operator to a crew commanded by Capt. J.B. Morris with Capt. Richard George as 1st Pilot. He flew with that crew until his discharge on December 7th, 1952.

There were some memorable moments during that time such as an explosive decompression and lighting striking the plane's antenna. Then there was the time when the crew landed at Carswell, they were put on a bus and taken to Eagle Mountain Lake and left there for 3 days to survive on leftover flight lunches.

After returning to civilian life Wendell droved a bus for the Fort Worth Transit company until June 1954, then became a Dallas, Texas Firefighter for 25 years. After retiring from the Fire Department he worked for the U.S. Postal Service for about seven years as a rural mail carrier, and retired again in August, 1994 with 10 years service as a Federal Employee, including Air Force Time.

Wendell and his wife of 52 years, Marjie, presently reside in Duncanville, TX. They have one son, Daughter In Law and two Grandaughters who live in the area, the youngest Grandaughter being in college at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.

Wendell is presently working for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club in Suite Security.





James D. Johnson was born in Excel, a small farm town in south Alabama. He joined the Air Force in 1950, a few days ahead of the Army draft. Out of basic training, he was assigned to the 436th Bombardment Squadron at Carswell AFB, Texas.

During his in-processing interview, he remembers his first lesson concerning the B-36. He asked (then) Lt. Rembert A. Ebert how many "motors" the B-36 had. Lt. Ebert stated very matter of factly, "Oh, it has hundreds of motors." After a brief pause, he added, "It only has six engines." James never forgot the difference between an engine and a motor.

A TDY stint to attend Clerk Typist school took him to F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. He returned to Carswell and was assigned to the 436th Orderly Room. He remained there until November of 1954 when he received orders for K-55 at Osan, Korea. In 1955, he returned to the US and was stationed at Eglin AFB, Florida with the Air Force Armament Center. Here, he decided that he did not wish to continue in the administrative field. He applied for and received orders for Keesler AFB, Mississippi to attend Air Route Traffic Control School. James remained in the Air Route and Approach Control Field for the rest of his Air Force career.

He served two tours at Lajes Field, Azores and one each at Harlingen AFB, Texas, Forbes AFB, Kansas, Kunsan AB, Korea and Laredo AFB, Texas. He retired from the Air Force in 0ctober of 1972.

A friend had been elected sheriff of Hood County, Granbury, Texas and asked James if he would work for him. He worked as Chief Deputy with that department for twenty years and retired again in June of 1992.

James and Bobbie G. Huston were married on Apr 6, 1952. She is now a retired school teacher, and they reside in Tolar, Texas. They have three children and seven grandchildren.





Wray Jolley graduated from Enid (Oklahoma) High School in May 1943 and went immediately to Enid Army Air Field (now Vance AFB) to join the Army Air Corps.

After months and months of this and that, I received navigator's wings and a 2nd lt commission in April 1945. The war ended while I was in B-29 crew training in Savannah, GA. In March 1951 I was recalled to active duty from a reserve light bomb wing at Tinker AFB and assigned to the 492nd Squadron at Carswell. Almost immediately there followed a couple of months nav refresher training at Ellington. Then an assignment as 3rd observer on George Burch's crew, where I stayed until I went to pilot school in April 1952. I remember many of the experiences in the 7th. After, was a pilot and co-pilot on B-50s and B47s in the 97th BW at Biggs near El Paso. After wing headquarters in plans, I went to SAC HQ, Stanford University, the Pentagon, and 4 years at USAFE in Wiesbaden, Germany. Retired May 31, 1970 and worked as a civilian for NATO in Belgium for 13 years. Returned to US (Oklahoma City) in 1983 and have been here since.

Wray Jolley





Stephen P. Larsen was born 6 March 1933, and raised on a farm near Independence, Mo. He enlisted in the USAF February 1953. Not found eligible for aviation cadet training, he was sent to Parks AFB, CA, for basic training and then to Amarillo, TX, for jet engine mechanic training. While there, he worked on T-33, F-84E, F-89, and B-47 type aircraft.

Assigned to Carswell AFB July of 53, and having a burning desire to fly, he hoped to be assigned to a Base Flight, or Training Squadron and get some "back seat time" in the T-33 or related 2 place trainers. Arriving in Ft Worth with a new bride and everything they owned stuffed into a 1940 Ford sedan, they drove by the base, caught sight of a huge aircraft tail and were "struck dumb" by the size of the machine. After learning about the power plants used on the H model B-36's, it seemed logical that Steve should be assigned to maintain the J-47 jets. Little did he know that General LeMay had other ideas regarding his contribution to the SAC program. :Steve was assigned to a Carswell Training Squadron and "cross trained" to be a B-36, 4360 reciprocating engine mechanic. Having been lucky enough to get assigned to the 11th Bomb Wing, 42nd Bomb Squadron, he was then turned loose on those fuel injector leaking, coil shorting, rocker box gasket leaking, smoke belching, fire breathing, earth shaking monsters. Being tall and slender and exhibiting no trace of claustrophobia, he was often sent into the wing leading edge intake to do battle with some engine accessory gone "south" and praying the wing stand would be in place when backing out of the aluminum cave.

He enjoyed many great experiences during his 4 years at Carswell. His Carswell memorabilia includes a note which states: "Jan 1954, Sgt. Hamilton, Crew Chief on aircraft 5718 arranged for me to fly with a Major Savage." What a thrill!. He wasn't sure if the tail section was going to be in sync with the rest of the fuselage by the time the brakes were released. Steve met George Savage at the 1999 7th BW reunion and via recent e-mail discovered that this "hot-shot" 42nd Bomb Squadron pilot had learned how to operate the B-36 aircraft in a reasonably safe manner and was indeed the Aircraft Commander on this memorable flight.

While on TDY to Nouasseur Depot, French Morocco, Steve was alerted by his Line Chief Tom Read Jr. that a C-47 had been "appropriated" for a flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. Accompanied by Read, Larsen was able to visit his grandparents and cousins in Denmark, and make stops in France and Germany on the way. Through the 7th Bomb Wing Directory Steve was saddened to learn that Sgt. Read had passed away before they could share the memories of this grand adventure.

Using "surplus" materials such as an aircraft high pressure air compressor, oxygen breathing regulators, and fire extinguishers, Steve built a very functional SCUBA outfit (complete with gas powered spear gun and exploding warhead). Many successful dives were made at Possum Kingdom Lake (says he has pictures of large fish on end of spear gun to prove it).

Steve discharged from Carswell in 1957, began college training in the biomedical sciences, and his career has been in college/university teaching and conducting scientific research.

While working on advanced degrees at Texas Christian University and North Texas State University, Steve's dream to become an aviator was realized and the Private, Commercial and Instructor Pilot ratings were earned. Over the years, he has had the opportunity to own or fly primary, basic, and advanced single engine type trainers used by WWII AAF pilots. He still manages to pass the flight physical, although "heavy" aerobatics are a thing of the past as critical body parts sag to the point of no return during high G maneuvers.

Steve lives in Independence, Mo, is "semi-retired", and his interests are now focused on the family which includes wife Dona, son Cameron, daughter- in- law Kirsten and grandson Griffin. Restoration of WW II aircraft, vintage motorcycles and reading AAF and USAF history are his main hobbies. He is very appreciative of the 7th Bomb Association which allows him to meet Carswell veterans who contribute to the oral history of WWII, and experiences at Carswell.

During reflective moments he can hear the deep roar of the radials and whistling jets of the "36". If there is an Airmans Heaven, he hopes to hear that sweet music again when this Carswell veteran turns "base to final" on his last flight.




Upon Graduation from high school, my father threatened to give me a cow. This obviously required drastic and immediate action: I enlisted in the Air Force.

For a seventeen year old Minnesota farm boy of that era, San Antonio was as exotic and fascinating as Cairo, although the administration at Lackland AFB conspired to make our visits to town brief and infrequent.

After basic, several of us supposedly mechanical types were loaded aboard a train for Miami with a stop at New Orleans. Life in the Air Force was good! We attended the Embry Riddle School of Aviation at Opa Locka to study aircraft maintenance fundamentals. After graduation we were ordered to Nellis AFB at Las Vegas. Air Force life was getting even better!!

After a few hours servicing F-80s, the maintenance officer decided that our experience with BT-13s, a T-6, a B-18, and a Ford Trimotor at Embry Riddle hadn’t adequately prepared us for the Jet Age. Off to Chanute Field for specialist training.

At Chanute Field we were repeatedly scheduled for various specialist schools only to be preempted by SAC personnel who, we were told, had absolute priority on everything in the Air Force. Classed as Casuals, we were detailed to fire the barracks’ furnaces and water heaters with coal that consisted of 20 lb. chunks and dust.

I reconciled myself to the thought that my contribution to winning the Cold War would be maintaining the Pittsburgh-like sky line at Chanute when the administration, faced with the approach of spring and the need to find us other menial tasks, decreed that we would enter the next available schools, SAC be damned!

Mine turned out to be propeller school, which wouldn’t have been my first choice. After graduation I opted for duty in Germany and was soon on my way to Korea and a winter of tenting and maintaining B-26s outdoors in a climate not unlike Minnesota.

At the completion of my tour I chose MATS as my stateside assignment and soon was on my way to Fort Worth. At the Carswell gate I presented my orders to the AP who asked to see my ID photo card. I told him I hadn’t been issued one due to my somewhat unusual assignments over the past 2 years. He called the O.D.

The Provost Marshall said things would go better for me if I told them what actually happened to my ID card. I think they thought I was too young and stupid to be a real spy, and that I was probably testing SAC’s vaunted security system. I reminded anyone who would listen that I was ordered to report to 7th Field Maintenance that day. Eventually I was sent on my way with the dire threat that any additional misconduct on my part would result in more severe punishment.

The 7th orderly room supplied me with an emergency pass so I could get on the flight line and go to work. Unfortunately the pass did not get me into the chow hall so I subsisted for the next three days on junk food from the little convenience store on the corner near barracks 112. I finally told the NCOIC that I thought that the Air Force’s refusal to supply rations had negated my responsibility to report for duty. I don’t think my argument was legally tenable, but it did get me a chow pass.

You may be familiar with the Prop Shop. It was not all sledge hammers as some may believe. Keeping the rpms within the tolerance was fairly complicated and kept us active. The props, by the way, were responsible for the distinctive, perhaps ominous, sound of the B-36. The props were 19’6" tip to tip and the tips had to be kept subsonic, so the relatively low rpms and the wide blades created that sound. I eventually took my discharge, went to college and have, for the last forty years or so, worked as a real estate appraiser at MnDot.

About seven (now nine) years ago my family and I were returning from south Texas and passing through Fort Worth. At about where I thought Inspiration Point would be I turned off. I pulled up to an apartment complex and, by dumb luck, there below us and across Lake Worth was Carswell. In place of the B-36s were a bunch of weird looking airplanes that, like their parent McNamara, did not seem to be sure of their role in life. I think they were F111s. As I was pointing out to my son that I had worked on the noble B-36s at that very spot, as a lady at poolside said, "It’s a good thing you’re showing it to him now. They’re shutting it down next year. I thought I was watching Jimmy Stewart filming a scene from "Strategic Air Command" as I worked on an aircraft parked next to the one they were using in the movie. I look for that scene whenever the film is on late TV. For the first time I wondered what happened to "Mother Fletcher’s B-36s" as they were sometimes affectionately referred to. I saw a reference to the B-36 Association in the Legion Magazine and got Richard George’s phone number off the internet. I signed up as a Life Member and hope that there is enough time remaining in that Life membership to allow me to attend the next reunion. I may see someone I recognize, maybe even that AP at the gate.

"My, how I do run on. If you have gotten this far remember, as they said on the old TV show, "You asked for it."




Jacob G. Lynn, "Jake" to all who know him, is a Georgiana, Alabama, native. Like most south Alabama folks, and pretty much everybody else, he began life at an early age - in the land of cotton on the frosty morn of November 22, 1936. Old times there are not forgotten. Jake enjoyed a boyhood filled with the happy occasions one associates with close family, good friends, and small towns. Those years, mixed with the usual hijinx of misspent youth, set Jake on a course which would lead him out of Butler County and into the wild blue.

Like many eventually distinguished service personnel, his enlistment was preceded by a rousing freshman year at college majoring in sociological studies. However, his academic emphasis at Auburn University tended more toward the social than the logical. A born leader, he introduced his fellow classmates to the joys of the quest for knowledge beyond the classroom - and daylight hours. This would have been a questionable use of tuition had it not led Jake to a kind of revelation. Better than flunking-out would be a new direction, away from the classroom and toward danger, drudgery, maturation, a little glory, and a legacy of enduring friendships and associations which continue to this day. And so, in March, 1956, after realizing Auburn wasn't ready for his good-times approach to scholarly pursuits, Jake decided that perhaps the U.S. Air Force might be the place for his kind of enlightenment. It was.

By the end of USAF basic training, Jake was marching in the right direction. Impressed by his sharp eye and steady trigger finger, a Placement Officer suggested he enroll in Air Gunnery training. Being one to take good advice when it comes free, he transferred to Lowry AFB near Denver. There he got what a later generation would call a "Rocky Mountain high" as he learned the skills to crew the glorious B-36 "Big Stick."

Because the B-36 was among the last of its blue-smoke, propeller-driven kind, Jake saw limited action as a tailgunner observer - limited, in fact, to training missions over the Gulf and south central United States. The B-52's were waiting just off-stage to make their appearance in the strategic military theatres of the world. The B-36's were in their twilight as the jet age dawned.

With the mothballing of the B-36's, Jake took his newly honed Air Force skills to the Fire Control Systems Unit, becoming a Fire Control Systems Mechanic. Upon completing his tour with the 7th A&E Squadron at Carswell AFB, he began to think again about Auburn University. By 1960 he figured enough time had elapsed for those fusty professors to have caught-up with his own more progressive notions of the collegiate experience. And so, it was back to the "loveliest plain" of East Alabama where Auburn is located - to yell "War Eagle" again.

In 1964, Jacob G. Lynn was minted by Auburn as an Industrial Management graduate, sheepskin and all, surprising himself and not a few of the relatives. With an IM Engineering degree, he was in-demand as various companies in the forestry and paper products industry sought him out, companies which also happen to dot the landscape of southwest Alabama. Crown Zellerbach (CZ) of San Francisco, CA, was the winning bidder in the derby for Jake. So, after filling out the forms, he began indoctrination in Dallas as to the proper way to think in the paper business.

After eight months at CZ, Jake used his new management training as he attempted to negotiate avoidance of a transfer to the hinterland toe of the boot that is the shape of Louisiana. But, in the kind of twist that makes life a pretzel, it was there in Bogalusa, Loo-siana, that Jake would find paradise among the pines and smokestacks of one of the world's premier paper mills. However, it wasn't the high-tech milling which most impressed Jake about his new surrounds. Rather, it was the willowy shape of the daughter of the local furniture magnate. And hey, whadayaknow, they had something in common; furniture is made from trees, too! Bogalusa was looking so much better. By December of 1967 there was a new couple in town and they settled along the banks of the ancient Bogue Lusa creek.

After a quick change of corporate horses in 1978, saddling-up for a ride with Houston Corrugated for a year and then a short hitch with International Paper in Springhill, Louisiana, Jake returned to Bogalusa to join the family furniture business. In the meantime, Jake was fulfilling the promise of the old ditty, "first comes love, then comes marriage," then comes Jake and Lynne Brock Lynn - yes, Lynne Lynn - with 3 baby carriages, each about a year or two apart. But that's how happiness happens. And he got to use his USAF Fire Control training some more, too - just ask Scarlett, Brock, and Leighia - as he spent a couple of decades commanding his own corps of kids. Now, 33 years later, the fires are pretty much out. What remains is a glow of warmth and satisfaction as three increasingly productive children more-or-less live their dreams.

Into every life rain falls. And if it's a Louisiana rain, it can wash almost everything away. Several years ago Lynn began a heroic fight with lung cancer she ultimately would lose. First cured at M.D. Anderson Clinic in Houston, it recurred with a sudden vengeance two years ago. Vows kept, Jake is adjusting to life after Lynn's death, the parting of two well-matched lovers.

A new bride, of sorts, arrived on the scene recently to fill what otherwise might be solitary stretches of the single life. But this one is an aluminum bride, one that is just beginning to take him for a ride. And what a ride it is, harking back to the run-ups and cleared-for-take-offs of the B-36 days. This time though, Jake is at the controls, having just passed his written flight exam. As for brides, he's beginning to find out that the female kind might well be the cheaper of the two!

And so, red-feathered Cessna Cardinal N19793 is roosting at the Bogalusa airport. Like the B-36's of the late-'50's, she's always at the ready. All are welcome anytime - for dinner, coffee, and a ride down memory air-lanes, off into the wild and still blue yonder!


Hubert R. (Mac) McCartor


I was born on August 21, 1926 in Shattuck, Oklahoma, the eldest son of a farming family. I grew up on a Texas panhandle farm, graduated from Darrouzett High School and attended Texas Tech University for one and a half years. My interest was in airplanes from an early age.

I enlisted in the Army Air Force Reserve at Amarillo Army AFB in August 1944. After being called to active duty at Ft. Bliss, I was sent back to Amarillo for basic training and to attend B-29 Tech school. Then, I was assigned to Roswell Army AFB in 1946 with the 509th Bomb Wing, 393rd Bomb Squadron. I was there for the famed UFO landing but didn’t personally encounter any Martians! I was next transferred to Randolph Army AFB. In 1947 I was transferred to Fort Worth Army AFB, which later was named Carswell AFB, where I spent the next nine years with the B-36 maintenance program. 

While at Carswell AFB, I married Fay Daniels on November 11, 1949. We had two children, Gerry born in 1953 in Fort Worth and Susan born in 1957 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

During my tour at Carswell, I participated in “Project Ivy” Bomb Test from Kwajalein (Marshall Islands) in 1952. Then in 1954, I participated in “Project Castle” Bomb Test from Enewetak, where the blast effects of the bomb drop was evaluated. Upon examining the plane after the bomb drop, we found the bomb bay doors had been blown inward by the power of the blast. After my team, with no protective gear, had thoroughly examined the bomber, we were amazed to see the “official” inspection team arrive in full protective suits to conduct the formal inspection. After being flown home, the plane was declared radioactive and junked. I may be the only witness to George Savage’s painting the ruptured duck on the nose of the “effects” aircraft! (Check with George Savage). Highlights of my military career were these two bomb tests, along with TDYs to England, North Africa and other interesting places.

In 1956, I was transferred to Lake Charles AFB, assigned to the 44th Bomb Wing. While I was stationed there, a B-47 burned on the Alert Pad, causing the evacuation of the base and much excitement. Also, Hurricane Audrey visited the Louisiana coast during that time necessitating evacuating our planes to safe bases.

In 1959, I was transferred to Dyess AFB through the transfer from B-47s to B-52s as the Air Force’s primary bomber. I was stationed at Dyess six years. In 1965, I transferred to March AFB and was assigned to the IG Team for two years before receiving orders to Vietnam. 

I helped unload the first A-37 plane to arrive in Viet Nam and worked with the introduction and maintenance of the A-37 fleet at Ben Hoa. My tour was punctuated with numerous rocket and mortar attacks, but I was not too disappointed to have been on R&R in Hawaii during the Tet Offensive in January 1968. Upon completion of my tour of duty in Viet Nam, with twenty-four years of service, I retired from the military with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. I spent twenty years of my military career in SAC, mostly doing maintenance . 

Among my citations, I acquired two commendation medals and one bronze star.

After retiring from the military, I took over operation of the family farm at Perryton, Texas and farmed for the next twenty seven years. Then, I “really” retired in 1996 and Fay and I moved to Kerrville, Texas, where we currently reside.





My Background : I flew in WW II as a Flight Engineer on a B-17 with the 99th BG 348th BS from Italy, towards the end of the war. I completed 27 missions.

I flew to Italy to deliver a new B-17 via the Northern route through Wales, then N. Africa to Italy. I returned on a B-24 as a passenger, via the southern route, and after a 30 day leave was assigned to a P-51 training Group for a short period until Japan surrendered.

I was discharged in October, 1945. I was married in October 1946 and moved to Riverside, CA where I re-enlisted in January 1948 and in May 1948. I was then sent to Alaska for a two year tour. I returned in March, 1950, and was assigned to the 92nd BG (B-29) as a member of a B-29 ground crew.

In July, 1950, the 92nd, and the 22nd BGs were the first two SAC units sent to the Korean Conflict. Both BGs returned to the US in November 1950, and the 92nd was then transitioned to the B-36.

After spending time in the 92nd BG. (Fairchild AFB, Spokane WA), in the PMS (OMS) on the Bomber version of the B-36 from 1951-1952 as an electrician, I was transferred to the 99th SRW (OMS), on 1 January 1953, where the 99th SRW operated the RB and GRB-36s, until I phased out in the summer of 1957. The 348th BS operated the GRB-36 (FICON) and was my BS in Italy on the B-17. So I have a total of over 11 years in the 99th BG/SRW/BW.

I was sent to Carswell in 1951 prior to the 92nd receiving their first B-36...on a 30 day TDY to learn the location of the Electrical units...Motors, Transformer-Rectifier units etc, with the instructions to learn the locations, but not to worry about the functions, as on my return I was to attend the Field Training Detachment at Fairchild to learn their function and use. 

I started out as an electrician, then Wing Chief, and finally Dock Chief, when we phased out the RB/GRB-36s.

I then transferred with the 99th BW to Westover AFB, Mass, for duty with the B-52C/D, from 1957-1963 and then transferred back to Fairchild with the 92nd again with the B-52D, until my USAF retirement in July 1965 as a M/Sgt (E-7).

I then moved to Seattle and was employed with Boeing at the Renton, WA Transport Division as a QC inspector, and moved to Cost Accounting, when the big layoff came at the end of 1966.

I hired in to West Coast Airlines, in March 1967, in Production Control, and when they merged with Pacific Southwest and Bonanza in 1968 to form Air West, I moved to Phoenix, AZ, where Hughes bought Airwest, changed to Hughes Airwest, then Republic merged with Hughes Airwest, and retired from Republic Airlines in 1981. Republic Airlines then merged with North West Airlines.

While in the Scottsdale, Phoenix area, I joined the AZ Wing of the CAF, and went on several tours with their B-17. I was the CAF's Parts Procurement Officer and Records Officer from 1978-1991, and for a period of time was the only FAA licensed A&P.

My wife of 56 years passed away in December 2002 after 7 years in a nursing home, and in November 2003, I moved to Columbus, Indiana, to be close to my youngest son, James II.

James S. Peters Sr.




George Savage was born in Collinsville, Illinois on 2 May 1923. Also born on 2 May (but other years) were Kate Smith and Baron Manfred Von Richtofen. George was destined to be a great singer or a great pilot.

At the age of 16, his father presented him with his own airplane, an Aeronca C-3, commonly called a flying bathtub because it sat so close to the ground. It had NO airspeed indicator, ONE wing, One engine, but TWO cylinders. (His father had heard him sing one day and ruled out that career.) Thereafter, young George looked to the skies, and was forever running into things on the ground.

When WW II broke out young George, at the age of 18, enlisted in the Army Air Corps with the intention of becoming an aircraft mechanic and then entering Aviation Cadet training. When the Army found out he could type, they made him a clerk. He entered Aviation Cadet training forthwith and, at the tender age of 19, completed training as a hotshot fighter pilot and even hotter 2nd Lt. Five days later he was a Basic Flight Instructor (UGH) and had five students!!! He volunteered for combat duty every month (Even as an artillery spotter in L-5 aircraft). He finally got out after almost a year and ended up flying B-29s in the Pacific. After his first mission he volunteered for assignment as a Basic Flight Instructor but to no avail. He completed 30 combat missions and left B-29s scattered all over the Pacific. One more B-29 to his credit and he would have become a Jap ace.

After winning WW II he performed heroically flying C-54s on the Berlin Airlift. Thence to B-36s at Carswell AFB for 8 ½ years. His only claim to fame during that period was flying the “Effects” B-36 during several nuclear tests off Eniwetok in the Pacific. He suffered no ill effects but two of his sons glow in the dark. He then went to Altus AFB as Deputy Commander for Operations for a B-52 wing and, after a couple of years, to Headquarters 2nd Air Force as Chief of Training. He then went for some personal training at the Air War College where he graduated in the upper bottom of his class. Then back to B-52s as Director of Operations for an Air Division at Blytheville AFB. After 15 years in SAC he wangled a hardship tour to Paris, France as a nuclear “Bean-Counter” for USEUCOM. He and the rest of USEUCOM got kicked out after about a year when George made a caustic comment about DeGaulle’s mustache and George went to Travis AFB to fly C-141s back and forth to Vietnam. In 1968 he was assigned to Fort Fumble on the Potomac and in 1974, after about 10,000 flying hours, lots of medals, decorations, and “atta boys”, he gave it all up and retired to Ft. Worth, Texas.

The very best thing that happened to George during all this time was that he met and married Betty. She was not only good looking, she was rich!! And she adored George. So much so that they ended up with five kids. At the present time (2000), it should be noted that their offspring have kept up the good work and the Savages have 15 grandkids and two great-grandkids. Betty and George have only one regret, that they can’t do it all over again.





It was 1955 when I was assigned as Co-Observer on BUD WALKER's B-36 crew. We normally flew a pretty long mission 20 or22 hours. Which was really long for a guy coming out of F-89's where any flight over an hour was a display of superior fuel management.

Now for sure we did a preflight on the F-89 including loading our gear. Gear being parachute, helmet and oxygen mask. Normally, if you stretched it out it would take 10 minutes or so. Of course before that you had to get your chute off the rack and get out to the plane. Still just a matter of minutes. From the time somebody said let's go fly to breaking ground was usually less than 30 minutes. More likely 20 minutes.

It was different in B-36's. There, crew roll call was six hours before take off. We, our crew, would assemble in front of the hanger next to the 98th BS headquarters building. I say hanger the top floor was devoted to personal lockers and mission planning facilities. On the bottom floor was a very important operation called the snack bar. Run by the enlisted men, the snack bar sold coffee, soft drinks, doughnuts, candy and so on.

As I recall most of our takeoffs were scheduled for around 9 or 10 in the morning. Which meant the snack bar was closed when we got there, but was open before we took off. I think it opened at 07:00 hours (7AM civilian time). JIM HENSEN, the first Pilot, would get us all lined up and call roll. At which time COLONEL (LTC) WALKER would appear and JIM would report "All present and accounted for." or on a rare occasion report someone missing. We would then be dismissed to get on to the preflight tasks.

How much you had to do on preflight depended on your crew position. Take me, my preflight didn't call for much. I remember counting the spare cans. They were the spare parts for our radar system. The Radio Operator, up front where most of the crew was didn't have much of a preflight either. I think the engineers had the most to do. Followed by the second and third Pilots.

Those without a lot of preflight tasks got to load the gear. Out next to the 98th hanger were some Quonset huts each with wire enclosed cages. Each crew had a cage where the gear for their airplane was kept. Back then there was one crew for each airplane. One of the Sergeants would get a stake bed and with some help would load it up and drive it out to our plane. You didn't take all your gear on some flights, but you did take it all on combat missions and deployments. I'll probably leave some things out, but as I recall there were parachutes. One for each crew member, there were 13 of us, and three or four spares for the front compartment and some spares for the aft compartment. There were portable oxygen bottles at least three for each compartment. There were "Mae Wests" for everyone and a twenty-man life raft for the front compartment. Hoisting a twenty-man life raft from the bed of a truck into the entrance hatch of a B-36 was a chore. It usually took three lifting and pushing and two pulling. There was also a life raft for the aft compartment. I don't remember if it was a twenty man or an eight man raft. There water jugs and coffee jugs and electric hot cups. There were hammocks for the front compartment. Two for the radio compartment and one for the radar and navigation compartment. A sexton and a spare. Checking that the sextons were in good working order was another thing I did during preflight.

Portable electric heaters. I think we had three up front. They were big clumsy things. Shaped like an upside down U and weighed about 25lbs. They had a long cord that plugged into an electrical socket. I say cord, cable would be better as it was about as big around as a fat cigar. They had a handle on top so you could move them from one spot to another. Moving them could be tricky as you got a lot of gyroscope torque pulling ninety degrees from the direction you were trying to move them. It gets pretty cold at 43,000 especially in the bottom of the airplane where the Navigator and Radar-Bombardier and I were. Really cold in the Plexiglas nose where the Navigator was. I remember HAROLD BERMAN our Navigator, would work a few critical minutes in his position and then move back six feet or so where BILL TAYLOR and I were. Back there it wasn't too much below freezing as there was less radiation heat loss and the hundred or so tubes in the old radar put out some heat. Sometimes HAROLD sent me up to fill in for him while he got warmed up. Well not really warmed up, just warmer or better said, less cold. Those electric heaters didn't work very well. The big 4 bladed fan spun like mad and the electric coil around the fan got red hot. The problem was that when you needed the heat the most, you were at 43,000ft.that meant the cabin pressure was like 10 or 12 thousand feet and there wasn't that much air to heat up or move.

There were first aid kits. The morphine was kept separate and had to be checked out for each mission. And C-rations. Cases of C-rations. I recall we used to heat the C-rations cans by sitting them on top of some of the radar components. We heated C-rations for ourselves and for everybody else up front. And some where we stowed boxes of pemmican bars. There were side arms, 38 revolvers I think, but if somebody said they were 45's they wouldn't get an argument out of me, I think some times we also had some carbines. At times the plane had to be guarded by two armed men. Sometimes guards were supplied and at other times the crew had to do the guarding. There were steel helmets and flack jackets.

It was while HAROLD, BILL and I were loading flack jackets and steel helmets into the upper aft turret that I found out that we always carried a couple of monster electric hoists with chain in the aft turret. We called it the aft turret, but it wasn't a real turret what it was where the turret once was. Except for the tail turret all other guns and turrets were removed when the B-36 was feather weighted. The idea of the hoists was that after we flew our nuclear strike mission we would eventually land at base with some reserve atomic bombs. There we would get one. Or maybe someone would let us have one is a better way to say it. The crew might have to transport it and more than likely have to load it. In addition to the hoists there were a bunch wrenches and other stuff needed to convert the bomb bay from carrying a 42,000lb bomb to carrying a 10,000lb bomb.

I found out from HAROLD and BILL that they had the same flak jackets and helmets in B-17's. HAROLD said he wore his. BILL said he didn't. He took his flak jacket and those of some other crew members and lined the floor of the nose compartment with them. I think we had some individual survival packs for each man. About all I remember was that they had fishing gear and a signal mirror and an over and under 22rifle / 410 shotgun combination for hunting. That's about all the gear I remember.

Well after the gear was loaded and everybody had clambered all over the plane inspecting this and that, we assembled in front of the left wing in two rows of six with the Aircraft Commander in front. It seems to me that the main purpose of this assembly was for parachute inspection. Maybe the AC gave us a pep talk or some special instructions. If so I don't recall any. As for the parachute inspection, we all by now had gotten a chute and adjusted it for a good fit. First, I think the AC ordered a right turn and then everybody inspected the parachute of the man now in front of him. We opened the back flap and inspected the pins holding the canopy in the folded position. The pins were connected, by steel cable, to the D-ring that you pulled to open the chute. Another thing we checked was the D-ring to make sure it was firmly attached to the cable.

I think these checks go back to the days of the old Army Air Corps. An older officer, who had once been a nose gunner in the old B-9, told me there was a lot of tampering with parachutes back in those days. You could find your parachute stuffed with newspapers instead of a canopy. Sometimes the pins had been bent so they wouldn't slide free. Another trick was to tamper with the cable connecting the D-ring to the pins so that when you pulled on the D-ring it would just slide off of the connecting cable leaving the pins holding the chute closed. Now, as I am sure you noticed, the above right-turn procedure left the two men at the end of the line and the AC with unchecked parachutes. I am not just exactly sure how they got checked, but there was some coordinated shuffling of people and each of the remaining chutes got checked by someone other than the wearer. I don't know when what one called preflight ended and some other phase of the mission begin.

Later in B-52's we had a checklist for each phase of the flight so if you were doing so and so you knew what phase of the mission you were in, or maybe it was vice a versa. It could be preflight ended with the parachute inspection, because after that everybody got on board and engines were started and we taxied out to the runway for take-off. Maybe, every thing that happened before take-off could be called preflight.

As for me I didn't have much to do during engine start and taxi. Once we got at the end of the runway and nearly ready for take off, I did have another task to perform and that was to check the bomb bay. I would climb into the tunnel, mount the trolley and set off for the aft compartment. Once there I crossed to the right side of the plane entered the hatch leading to the aft bomb bay. The tunnel ran down the left side of the bomb bay and the crawl way was on the right.

Once, shortly after I got on the crew, I got a thrill or maybe a surprise anyway when I opened the hatch and went forward about four feet, I saw the bomb bay was all clouded with what I assumed was smoke. I quickly retreated and told the Right Scanner that "The bomb bay was full of smoke." I normally reported the results of my bomb bay inspection to the Right Scanner who relayed it to the cockpit. I guess the AC didn't have much confidence in me as the scanner took off his headset and went forward to double check on me. He soon came scooting back, grabbed headset and mike and spoke. Immediately the alarm bell sounded "Emergency" and then "Abandon ship".

Well we all got out plenty fast, Pilots and Engineers were last out as they had to shut down the engines before evacuating. We all assembled out left of the airplane about 60 or 70 yards away. By then the fire trucks arrived and encircled the plane. Some brave souls, all dressed in their flame-retardant suits and masks, approached the plane and opened the bomb bay. They soon gave the all clear and we all approached to see what was up. What we saw was a bomb bay dripping hydraulic fluid everywhere. What I had thought was smoke was a fine mist of hydraulic fluid escaping under pressure. Well that was better than smoke, but not much better. The plane was towed in and we unloaded the gear and called it a day.

Looking back over this I see that it's pretty rough and could use a lot of polish. I must admit I might polish it for months and it would probably still be rough. I think it best I follow my first instinct and get it out while I can.






Master Sergeant (retired) Ward Allman Turley was born August 2nd 1937 in an oil lease home by Salt Creek near Alluwee, Ok. He joined the Oklahoma 45th Antiaircraft Division while still in high school. Eight months later, after graduation on the 13th of June 1955, he joined the Air Force.

Following completion of basic training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX, he attended Airborne Radio Operator School at Keesler AFB, MS, graduating in January of 1957. A transfer to Carswell AFB brought assignment to the 492nd Bomb Squadron. After attending the ECM school at Carswell he was placed on Major Jesse Walker’s crew as 2nd RO. Tech Sergeant John (The Wild Hunkie) Pernyak was 1st RO and instructor. He flew slightly more than 500 hours in the B-36; and, when the program began to close, he was sent to Hunter AFB, GA. in January of 1958. He was assigned to the 308th Air Refueling Squadron as Radio Operator and cross trained to Boom Operator in September 1960. When the KC-97 program closed, he left Hunter AFB for Griffiss AFB, NY. After arriving at Griffiss and being assigned to the 42nd Air Refueling Squadron, he was sent to Beale AFB, CA for KC-135 Boom training. During the period from 1962 to December 1976 He went from Griffiss to Little Rock (SR-71 Refuelers), to Grissom AFB, IN (3rd ACCS) and then back to Griffiss AFB where he ended his flying as Chief Standboard Boomer. He had to quit flying in 1973 because of poor night vision, grounding himself.

He then tried his hand at being First Shirt of the 416th Security Police Squadron, staying there until retirement on 31 December 1976 with exactly 22 years of active military service. He ended his career with 6000 plus flying hours, 235 Young Tiger missions in SE Asia, and a world of wonderful memories of the men with whom he flew.

He is now retired from his second career as a Security Supervisor for one of Arkansas major Hospitals. He has what he calls "Heaven on Earth" in Ada Valley between Petit Jean Mountain and Blue Point Mountain near Morrilton, Arkansas. He now has a ball watching the wildlife in his back yard.