THE REAL VALUE OF TYNDALL
Having been stationed at Tyndall four times and losing my on-base home and most of my belongings to Hurricane Michael, I appreciated y’all attempting to capture the challenges going forward and for quoting a great American, Retired Gen. [Herbert J.] “Hawk” Carlisle’s sage wisdom [“Can Tyndall Recover” December 2018, p. 20]. A couple of areas of clarification and additional thought:
Col. Brian Laidlaw did, and continues to do, an incredible job as 325th Fighter Wing commander. His decisive actions in the face of a Cat 2 storm that rapidly became a Cat 5 (in essence) literally saved lives and precious resources. Any questioning of his actions are basically done by folks outside the zip code. His actions may be “second-guessed,” but only by those who are ill- and/or uninformed.
There is no such thing as the 53rd Air-to-Air Weapons Evaluation Group per p. 23 of your article. Air Force Public Affairs, Air Force Magazine, and a host of other folks have gotten this wrong. It is the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, and it does Combat Archer (air-to-air) and Combat Hammer (air-to-ground) evaluations of all major USAF weapons systems and reports their finding to the highest levels of USAF and DOD. I should know how amazing they are, … I commanded that amazing group from July 2016 to July 2018.The AOC, while able to deploy elsewhere and continue to operate, is placed at Tyndall for a lot of reasons. This AOC, in conjunction with all of the other AOCs, is situated in a strategic location that provides diversity of mission and location versus other AOCs. As a current member of 1st Air Force, it is a national treasure that needs to be kept separate from other national treasures for good reason.
Lastly, the Panama City area needs Tyndall for more than just the money. The area’s schools, places of business, shelters, churches, etc., rely on the business that Tyndall brings, but they also rely on the people that Tyndall brings to run the local economy. The nonmilitary spouses, high school-aged kids, volunteers, etc., are all part of the Panama City, Fla., community, and the high-quality folks that Tyndall bring “ups the game” of this now considerably challenged area.
I love Tyndall and the Panama City area for all the reasons y’all mentioned—and for those above.
Col. Lance “Blade” Wilkins
Panama City, Fla.
TANKER TOPS BUFF BARGAIN
With respect to the article “The Best Bargain In Military History” from your December issue [p. 56], I feel I must disagree with the conclusion given by the authors. In actual fact, the KC-135 fleet of aircraft cost less than the original purchase of the B-52 fleet, USAF bought more aircraft for less money, and currently more KC-135s are still flying the line and doing the job every single day than the handful of B-52s that still fly. Does the KC-135 have the glamour or visceral impact of other aircraft in the USAF inventory? Admittedly, it does not, however, that wasn’t what the title of the article implied, the title was suggesting which aircraft was the best deal ever for the USAF. We are all a team, and it takes everyone on the team to get the job done, but [Nobody Kicks A** Without Tanker Gas].
Maj. Randall A. Nordhagen,
FROM THE BONEYARD
[Regarding “Re-Engining the B-52,” January/February, p. 38]: I discharged from my first enlistment in USAF in 1966. I moved to Connecticut with my family and went to work for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Co., in the flight-test department. Our main test aircraft was one B-17, used for testing Hamilton Standard propellers; and two B-45s which we used to test jet engines, from JT-12s to TF-30s. Around 1968, P&W had developed the JT-9D but had no in-flight analysis of its performance. Its marketability was based only on ground testing. Boeing, at the time, had a need for that engine to power its new 747 aircraft, but required in-flight testing prior to purchasing. So, P&WA obtained a B-52E Stratofortress (56-0636) from USAF at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., commonly referred to as the “Boneyard.” It marked the first time a B-52 was refurbished from storage.
After acceptance of the aircraft at Bradley Intl. Arpt., Windsor Locks, Conn., it was placed in a Cantilever hangar where it remained while extensive modifications were undertaken. Numbers 5 & 6 engines and their supporting nacelles were removed. We built another nacelle in their place designed to hold the JT-9D; installed wiring and tubing to support requirements for instrumentation; and generally continued the aircraft’s overall restoration. We worked two shifts, 10-hr days, six days a week for about a year to get her airworthy again. Her maiden flight was very successful and provided a dependable JT-9D test bed for years. In 1979, a tornado ravaged the airport and collapsed her hangar around her. She survived, was repaired, and flew for a few more years. I’ll never forget the memories that she provided and one day hope to see her again in the “Boneyard.”
SMSgt. Wayne C. Beach,
Beverly Hills, Fla.
I am very interested in how the engine selection will be made. The article stressed the importance of fuel efficiency and reliability over the TF-33. This is a very important part of the equation, but I would hope the decision-makers also put emphasis on thrust. I am also pleased, for a lot of reasons, that the eight-engine configuration will be maintained. I am in favor of at least a 15 percent increase in thrust. This can easily be managed with the thrust gate management procedures, and I believe there are engines in this range that can be fitted in the desired dimensional envelope. It should be noted that the KC-135 re-engine program gave the aircraft a 70 percent increase in thrust with the CFM-56. I am a former B-52H IP (instructor pilot) with a total time of 3,000 hours in the B-52D, F, G, and H. I know how much the added thrust given to the B-52H was a great advantage. I am also a degreed aerospace engineer and have experience with flight testing B-52 weapons.
I believe there are plans to add heavy external stores to the B-52H in the order of 20,000 pounds to each wing. If anything, increased thrust over the 17,000-lb T-33 is needed. I have in-flight refueled the B-52H to 525,000 pounds. The bomber becomes very thrust-sluggish at that weight. Additionally, consider loss of engines and/or thrust with heavy external stores. Yes, they can be jettisoned, but at what cost
The re-engine program must take into account current and future plans for the B-52H and consider the added drag any weight and external configuration options may introduce. After all, the BUFF has 30 more years in service. That in itself is awesome. I would also suggest that the “lessons learned” from the KC-135 re-engine program be examined. I am sure Boeing has a lot to offer here. I will watch with great interest how this important program matures.
A ROSE IS A ROSE IS NOT A ROSE
I must comment on your excellent article on Air Force Special Ops recruitment [“Special Treatment for Special Warriors,” December 2018, p. 42]. The Air Force doesn’t and never has understood the marketing value of a name. People want to be a Navy Seal or an Army Ranger because it is challenging and because it is something they know they will be recognized for and proud of for the rest of their lives. Combat controllers and other Air Force special operators work side-by-side with seals and rangers, but who’s ever heard of CCT
The Navy has “Top Gun,” the Air Force has “Weapons School.”Huh? Do you think Tom Cruise would have been in a movie called “Weapons School?”
Back when computers were brand- new, I spent several months writing a flight-planning software program for our newly forming F-117 squadron. I hadn’t given much thought to naming the thing when my wife suggested I should call it something catchy, like “Hanner-Planner” (after my last name).
The program worked well and was used for several years.
Nearly 30 years later, upon meeting a new acquaintance at a military function, he remarked, “Oh, are you that ‘Hanner-Planner’ guy?” I was astounded! There is so much in a name, and the Air Force just doesn’t get it.
Lt. Col. Dale R. Hanner,
DOOLITTLE WAS A ZEALOT
Welcome to Air Force Magazine [“Letters: From the Editor in Chief,” December 2018, p. 3]. As a 30-year-plus Life Member of the Air Force Association, I have long appreciated the different perspectives expressed in Air Force Magazine.
The difficulties faced by the Air Force you present in your December inaugural editorial [“The Air—and Space—Force We Need,” p. 2] are unfortunately only too true. The Air Force is “overtasked and under-resourced,” causing the Air Force to “fray at the edges.” And, it is a DOD-wide issue, impacting not only the Air Force. However, I disagree with your conclusion that we do not need a separate Space Force, for the following reasons.
My grandfather was in the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps under General Pershing in WWI. My father was in the Army Air Corps flying combat missions in P-47s from Ie Shima in the South Pacific. Renaming the Aviation Section to the Army Air Corps, then renaming the Army Air Corps to the Army Air Forces, did not resolve the problems of funding or tasking, because a consolidated airpower strategy was lacking. Only recognizing that the air was a separate domain from the Army-focused land domain finally led to airpower being more strategically implemented. As the Congressional Research Service pointed out in their Aug. 16, 2018, article “Toward the Creation of a US ‘Space Force,’?” there are long-standing concerns about the fragmentation and overlap in national security space acquisition management and oversight. It further stated that the slow pace of the Air Force in addressing space issues creates a growing threat to US national security in space. Only in forming the Space Force will this new, separate domain receive the focused funding and strategic tasking that only a space leader will provide. As Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson stated in her open letter of Sept. 14, 2018, we need to transition to a “consolidated space” effort. Yes, we need to invest more in the Air Force. That can best be done by Air Force leadership focusing on air—while Space Force leadership focuses on space.
There will be a Space Force. The recent Chinese and Russian military reorganizations have created their own Space Forces. If we do not evolve, as our adversaries have, we will hand over our current lead in space and jeopardize our national security.
The source of the funding and tasking issues, of course, is the lack of national will expressed by congressional failure to provide the necessary resources to fight our nation’s battles. The inability of the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, who represent their own parochial special interests rather than the greater good of the nation, is an unfortunate truth.
I do not believe submariners, nor cyber warriors, nor airpower advocates will “run amok” when the Space Force becomes a reality. I have great faith in our nation’s professional military service members. And the zealots of your article are more likely the Arnolds, Mitchells, LeMays, and Doolittles of today.
Aligning existing capabilities will accelerate space capability development and unify the fractured efforts of DOD and other national organizations. We must maximize the limited existing resources and avoid duplicative functions, as stated in the Air Force Proposal for a Space Development Agency and Transition to a Department of the Space Force document of Sept. 14, 2018, and develop concepts, doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures, and organize, train, and equip space forces for global integrated command and control. Big words—if only we are up to the challenge.
Lt. Col. Mike Daetwyler,
Colorado Springs, Colo.
READER TO READER
Wow! Gee Golly Whiz, I didn’t realize there were so many sour grapes in orbit! So she didn’t like your “position on … a separate Space Force” and then canceled her AFA membership and took all her space marbles home [“Letters: Blasting Off,” March 2019, p. 4]
I normally don’t take the time to comment on a letter you publish (not since the last time anyway). But as a flight line maintainer for eight years and 43 years as a USAF contractor in missile and space systems acquisition technology and threat analysis, I felt I should comment after reading her letter. Perhaps I can offer an alternative reality to some of her points and questions.
First, I submit that “the USAF has got the Space mission” in a larger context than just “personnel management.” Every day, 24/7, the military and national space systems must be monitored, updated for the mission (think how to spell GPS), and replaced when necessary. The USAF has clearly “got” this. It requires critical technology and systems development to meet the needs of launch and lifetime requirements. USAF personnel that do this, as performance shows, do an excellent job despite their “mismanagement.”
They’ve definitely “got” it!
My response to her questions follow:
1) Should a space officer lead an air wing?: Clearly, no! Despite all the technical knowledge it takes to understand the requirements for space systems, it does not include knowledge, but more importantly experience, of air systems and technology. For example, maneuvering in a gravitational field is obviously different than in an aerodynamic environment.
2) Can a space officer on a promotion board understand what a pilot did?: I would certainly think so. Even so-called “space cadets” are in the Air Force and can understand what fly and fight means.
3) Why do space officers have a two-year rotation after learning their jobs?: Perhaps as more officers join the space ranks, this will change. I did witness this, however: After educating young lieutenants into a particular space job, they rotate out of it—that is, they have the opportunity to broaden their experience and become more valuable to the Air Force overall. That’s not all bad!
4) Why are the best and brightest sent to NASA and the NRO?: The critical nature of these missions in the former case is success for the big bucks and big publicity programs; in the second, it’s big bucks and no publicity for national security. Why would we not want the best in those jobs
5) Why are many Space officers deployed to OCONUS in non-space jobs?: Sorry, can’t comment on this, but I suspect it has something to do with the needs of the Air Force.
6) Why can’t space personnel be managed and promoted in their own career fields?: Seriously? If they’re not, then they’re being promoted in other career fields. That is not my observation in either military or national space programs. It doesn’t even make sense.
7) How can the Air Force be trusted after Space and Missile Systems Center moved and then atrophied in Air Force Space Command?: Double seriously? The last time I checked, before retiring there, SMC was doing just fine, even though it’s a tough job—putting big bucks into orbit for 10 years or more while maintaining close to top mission performance. Again, look at GPS, for example.
8) More space officers in the Army?: What about the Navy? Why is that a bad thing? I can remember when those services—happy with their INS (inertial navigation system)—didn’t want to learn how to spell GPS! I bet they can now, thanks to the decades-long service of the space officers at SMC.
9) Why does the Air Force [only] promote two space officers to brigadier general at each board? Can’t comment on that.
10) Why should any space entity fall under the Air Force’s purview?: Because the Air Force has “got it” (see above). Also, any other option (“a separate space entity”) would require a long learning curve (space is a complicated place) that would affect launch success and mission performance.
I hope I’ve clarified some of the issues Ms. Insprucker has raised. Sorry, but I guess the [Space] Force will not be with her.
BRAVE, BY ANY DEFINITION
I really liked this article on the Son Tay raid [“Into Son Tay,” October/November 2018, p. 72]. It gives me insight on how this raid took place. I found out about the raid—like most airmen—after it had happened. I was stationed at Udorn RTAFB, Thailand, when this raid took place. However, he left one thing out—in the intelligence report paragraph, the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flew recce missions (RF-4C) on this target as well.
It was not a solely SR-71 and Ryan 147S drone job. I am not sure about our sister squadron, the 14th TRS, which flew the RF-4C as well. I don’t understand why tac-recce always seems to get swept under the rug for doing their dangerous job. Their Motto of, “Alone, Unarmed, and Unafraid,” says it all. I am sure the unafraid part of the motto was a bit exaggerated, but they did their job. That is why—in my eyes—the RF-101C, RF-4C, and RB-57A aircrews were the bravest aircrews of the Vietnam War.
TSgt. Daniel Edwards,
Your recent profile of fighter pilot Charles Loring Jr. [“Namesakes: Loring,” December 2018, p. 64] triggered some warm—and also frigid—memories of the 15 months I spent at the base named in his honor.
I arrived at Loring Air Force Base in September 1964, after completing three months of OTS at Lackland, AFB, Texas. Northern Maine’s brisk autumn breezes and tall pine trees seemed like paradise after Lackland’s grueling summer heat and arid landscape. As a new second lieutenant, I was deputy public information officer for the 42nd Bomb Wing, part of SAC’s Eighth Air Force. “You soldier in SAC,” a Lackland sergeant told me before I left OTS. He was right.
SAC was a world unto itself, with regulations and pressures a world apart from the regular Air Force. It had “zero tolerance” for errors, whether they occurred in a MITO (minimum interval takeoff) of the wing’s B-52s during an alert exercise, or a news release or article in The Limelight, our base newspaper (named after the nearest town, Limestone). Our biggest fear was an ORI (operational readiness inspection), when an IG team hit Loring with no advance notice, checking out every base unit’s adherence to SAC standards, including B-52 bombing precision. A pilot told me he’d rather have a war than an ORI. “You don’t have to do a remake if you flunk a war,” he said.
Your article noted Loring’s “remote” location. But the Air Force could not designate it as a remote PCS assignment, because Maine’s Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (the only female US senator at that time) declared that “no part of my state is remote.” USAF couldn’t place a time limit on a Loring assignment, which could last for a few years. I escaped by volunteering for Armed Forces Network, which sent me to the Azores.
Senator Smith was a powerful presence at Loring during my tenure there. She raised hell after learning that our base dining facilities served Idaho potatoes instead of those grown in northern Maine’s Aroostook County, where Loring was located. The reason was simple: Idaho potatoes cost less under the Air Force’s central food purchasing system. But that didn’t satisfy [Senator Smith]. Maine spuds replaced Idaho potatoes on our menu.
Senator Smith’s most dramatic impact came during her visit in January 1966, when local weather was freezing. Brig. Gen. Robert J. Dixon, 45th Air Division commander, and his staff prepared for the visit like they were planning an air strike on Russia. No detail was overlooked in their efforts to impress her. Dixon showed her huge piles of coal used to heat the base. “Senator Byrd of West Virginia will be impressed,” she said.
Not content to stop while he was ahead, Dixon decided that his guest should eat lunch with a B-52 crew on alert status, ready to wage war at the sound of a klaxon. They ate in the cafeteria of an alert dorm that flight crews called “the mole hole.” Smith asked a B-52 pilot how he like being stationed at Loring.
“Well, senator, if God ever gave the world an enema, this is where he would shove up the tube,” he replied.
“Now, captain, you exaggerate, it’s really not that bad,” said a shaken Smith.
The captain, who was due to voluntarily separate from the Air Force in a month, said: “How would you know, senator, you’re down in Washington most of the time.” Dixon turned white, and I did everything I possibly could to keep from laughing.
My time at Loring ended in March 1966 when I transferred to Lajes Air Base in the Azores, as Armed Forces Network detachment commander under USAFE. I felt less isolated in the middle of the North Atlantic than I did in northern Maine, partially because Lajes was officially a “remote” PCS, with a 15-month time limit, although I really hated to leave. But I still have warm memories of Loring. The warmest—literally—is of the Air Force parka I was issued there, with my name sewn on it. It stayed with me at Lajes and Stewart AFB, N.Y., where I voluntarily separated in September 1968. But I was forced to turn it in when I left USAF, even though I offered to pay for it. “Sorry, this is Air Force property,” I was told. I miss my parka and wish I still had it. But I’ll never lose my fond memories of Loring or the other bases where I spent 52 months in the Air Force.
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
As an “old school” (1983) retired USAF pilot, I found your recent article “The Future of Pilot Training” very interesting [January/February, p. 30]. The only “cloud-based training” I received was making (no kidding) instrument approaches in the frequent clouds and low ceilings around Columbus AFB, Miss.
While the article was informative and reflective of the many changes coming in flight training, I think that Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace Industries would be very surprised to learn that Boeing will be delivering their T-50A under the $9.2B T-X contract that Boeing won last year.
Col. Jim Ratti,
TOLD YOU SO
USAF was warned repeatedly by those of us who knew about the flaws of the Boeing FRANKEN TANKER, as we called it in the pages of Aviation Week and Space Technology, that this would happen [“World: Not Quite Perfect,” January/February, p. 18].
We strongly opposed USAF buying the Boeing model over the Airbus 330 variant.
The “Buy America” theme prevented USAF from buying the Airbus airframe, and we got what we got.
Had USAF bought the Airbus 330 tanker it would be fully operational Day One with no DD250 attached, and not two years late—ask the Australian Air Force how they like their tankers.
The only upside to this—if there is one—is that Boeing will eat the cost, but USAF will lose operational readiness while they try to work out the issues, which are many.
The United States needs to realize that we are a great country, and we did put a man on the moon, however, there are some countries that do things better than us, and we need to buy it from them and move on, especially when it comes to our nations defense.
Col. Clyde Romero,
John Tirpak indicated that the Air Force has accepted the first KC-46A despite persisting problems with the remote viewing system. “Under certain lighting conditions, and when the sun is at a particular angle, the boom operator’s view of refueling could be impaired,” he reported.
As a program manager for the KC-135 Boom Operator Part Task Trainer in the late 1970s, I met similar challenges with our electro-optical system as Aeronautical Systems Division engineers tried to fulfill a requirement that we simulate a refueling situation in which the sun shined in the boom operator’s eyes. Putting a bright light on the boom operator’s viewing window washed out the images of the refueling aircraft being projected onto the display.
After consultation with Strategic Air Command personnel assigned to the program, it was decided to address this challenge with an operating procedure, rather than a more sophisticated (beyond state-of the-art at that time) engineering fix.
The operating procedure was modified to include a warning to the effect: “If the sun obscures the visibility of the boom operator during a refueling operation, change the refueling heading by 15 degrees.”
Perhaps this same approach could resolve at least this one particular problem cited with regard to the KC-46A.
Col. Robert J. Sallee,
Colorado Springs, Colo.
GERMAN BEER IS PRICEY
I really enjoyed the article about the SR-71 save [“Saving a Blackbird,” January/February, p. 43]. While reading the article I saw that Nordholz Air Base is in Denmark. If my memory is correct, and unless there are two Nordholz bases, this air base is located in Germany, on the North Sea coast next to Cuxhaven. I only bring this up because as a young staff sergeant, I was assigned as an F-4D crew chief with the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th TFW. In 1977, we deployed to Nordholz for a month, as it was our Crested Cap/Checkered Flag base of assignment in order to fulfill our NATO commitment.
We were billeted in a caserne in downtown Cuxhaven, which also happened to be a German resort town. At that time an American dollar was worth about 1.78 German marks, so the off-duty enjoyment was kind of limited, as a beer cost a little over 3 marks … just for reference, I enlisted in 1972, and 1977 was the first year I earned enough income to have Social Security withheld … regardless, it was a wonderful TDY and left me with some great memories.
Your article about the SR, and seeing the name Nordholz brought the memories flooding back.
CMSgt. Gary Martin,
Boiling Springs, Pa.
A wonderful article about the risks of Cold War reconnaissance in such dicey places as the Baltic. I’ve personally flown my share of missions in that area in RB-47H aircraft in the 60s. The MiGs were there all too frequently, one never knowing which way they were going to go, even though we were flying over international waters. We were also aware that there was a Swedish Air Force and were always happy to know when they were around, even though—on occasion—our aircraft saved themselves by escaping over Swedish territory.
Awarding the Swedish pilots the Air Medal made me proud. Long overdue, but it finally happened. As for the article, it would have helped understanding by readers not that familiar with that area to have had a depiction of the routes flown by both the SR and the Viggens. Nordholz, by the way, is an old German Zeppelin base dating from before the beginning of the Great War and has been used by our NATO fliers for years, including my son Charles who flew his A-10 into that venerable base during a NATO exercise. We, in our RB-47s, like the SRs, recovered in England, if all went well.
Col. Wolfgang W. E. Samuel,
Fairfax Station, Va.
LOOSE LIPS COULD SINK AIRSHIPS
I am, as usual, enjoying my Air Force Magazine (the January/February issue) and have taken more than a passing interest in the article, “Red Air Rising” written by Amy McCullough [p. 24]. Having spent most of my USAF career involved with airspace battle management, my interest was piqued at the thought of adversary air being outsourced. To be effective in a red force role, the contractor pilots must obviously be proficient with USAF air-to-air tactics as well as combined force and, finally, likely adversary tactics.
In-depth knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of contending weapons systems and the technical performance parameters under a wide variety of environmental regimes is a must for these talented folks. Since some of this in-depth information likely stems from classified sources, it surprised me that no mention was made by the author or any other party quoted in the article about the implications or restrictions related to transfer of technology (TOT) or operations details of “possible intelligence value” when these same contractors are later hired by foreign governments to season their country’s air force pilots.
To my mind, the standard debriefing one receives when leaving US government service would likely be insufficient to prevent revealing in the heat of battle—albeit simulated—that information which should be protected. Code 22 USC 2778 addresses a wide variety of technical and operational information that our government can insist be protected. That said, I believe the subject, specialized red force behavioral knowledge, lies in an area that will fall between the cracks of such legislation with all our pertinent watchdogs believing that the matter lies outside their purview.
Capt. John Facey,
First off, thank you for writing (and publishing) such a good and accurate article about my dad, the U-2 incident, the fall out upon his return home, and the initial restoration of his reputation [“U-2 Down,” January/February, p. 56].
However, the story does not stop with the 1998 CIA USAF declassification conference, which is actually the start of dad’s reputation being fully restored and him being posthumously awarded the POW Medal, DFC, and CIA’s Director’s Medal for extreme fidelity and courage in the line of duty in May 2000, and the USAF Silver Star in June 2012.
My new book, Spy Pilot, released in January, fills in the gaps and outlines my 25 years of research into the U-2 incident.
Francis Gary Powers Jr.
I would like to make a slight correction to the article’s statement that the CIA pilots went overseas in two groups. There were actually three groups designated Detachment A, B, and C. Det. A went to Wiesbaden AB, Germany, Det. B—which included Powers—went to Incirlik AB, Turkey, and Det. C was deployed to Atsugi NAS in Tokyo, Japan. Det. C included my father, Albert J. Rand, who on June 8, 1957, piloted a U-2 overflight of the Kamchatka peninsula originating from Eielson AFB, Alaska. That made it a milestone as it was the first overflight for Det. C and the first overflight originating from US soil. Frank Powers and my father remained lifelong friends and are in fact interred next to each other in Arlington National Cemetery.
Lt. Col. David Rand,
As a HQ SAC ICBM Requirements staff officer from 1986-88, and later a Peacekeeper combat crew member, I read with interest John T. Correll’s article on the MX/Peacekeeper program in the March issue [“Peacekeeper by Fits and Starts,” p. 55]. Unfortunately, there were a couple of factual errors that bear correcting. First, when Rail Garrison was canceled, the missiles intended for that program were never installed in Minuteman silos. Second, when Peacekeeper was deactivated, they were not replaced in the silos by Minuteman III missiles. Although two Minuteman squadrons at the 90th Missile Wing at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo., were slated to be modified for Peacekeeper use, only one, the 400th Strategic Missile Squadron, was ever used. Following deactivation, the former Peacekeeper facilities were placed into caretaker status.
Lt. Col. Dennis Lyon,
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