Stories

THE TWELFTH STAGE

This section has stories that members have published that may be of interest. By clicking on the below links you will be taken to each story. We also call this area the “Twelfth Stage”. On the B-47 the “Hot Air” for heating the cockpit was obtained from the 12th stage of compression of the inboard engines. One might find a bit of “hot air” in this section as well.

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These stories are listed in reverse order with latest added listed first

15. The Day We Nuked Mars Bluff  By Clark Rumrill

14. “Way Up North” KC-135 Pilot Refueling RB-47s in Alaska. By Gerald Hanner

13. Gear Up Landing On Guam – The Crew Chief’s Version  By Don Foster

12. The Saga of B-47E 53-6244 The Last B-47E manufactured. By James Villa

11. My 22 Years At Douglas Flying The B-47 For The Navy  By Dean Abrams, Navy B47 Pilot

10 A Crew Chief’s Story  by Harley Dahler

9. Broken Arrow  by Col Howard Richardson

9 a  Broken Arrow USAF-Report

9 b Broken Arrow Two

8. An Inside Look At The Boeing B-47 by Walter J Boyne Col. USAF (Ret)

7. Three a Day in Tampa Bay  by William W. Simmons, Col. USAF (Ret)

6. A Gathering of Eagles  by Michael J Larkin

5. A B-47 Down in the Atlantic  by Sigmund Alexander

    5 a A Kids Eye View of “A B-47 Down in the Atlantic” by Teri Brennan Kidd

4. The Ultimate Back Seat Driver  By Jim Diamond

3. I’m the Navigator And I Had Nothing To Do With That Landing by Alex P. Brewer, Lt Col USAF

2. An Overflight of Russia – 1954   by Colonel Hal Austin

1. An Alaskan’s assault on the Mackinac Bridge  Recalled by Michael J Larkin





 








43 thoughts on “Stories

    • Thanks Frank, I appreciate the feedback. My old bird was 53-2033, 48 planes after yours. Check back and look at the Omaha 2010 page as have just finished it tonight

    • I am trying to find one of the models that was made by Boeing and given to crew chiefs? Where could I find one? It is for my dad. He had one but in a couple of moves,it has been lost. Please help.

      THank you!

      • Ron; Those models are really hard to come by. It has been like 50 years since they were made and those of us who do have one do not want to part with them. Hopefully someone seeing this post might have one they would like to get rid of and make contact with you.

      • Jim, thank you for your reply and YES I understand completely! Hopefully someone will see our posts! I appreciate your words.

    • Does anyone here remember the incident at Chennault during the mid-1950’s in which a ground crew stole a fully loaded and armed B47 for a couple hour joy-ride, finally landing safely back at Lake Charles ?

      • Rick; I have doubts that ever happened. Do you have any thing to support this? Surely something like this would have made the news of the day.

  1. Remember the B-47 in the atlantic. I was at Plattsburg from 59 to 64. Prior to Plattsburg I was in the 2nd BW and Crew-Chief of 53-1965. When SAC moved out of Hunter 53-1965 came to Plattsburg, and I really would like to have had her back, but she was assigned to a different flight. I had crewed 1965 as a brand new airplane fresh from Lockheed. 53-1967 was assigned to the 380th, but 53-1965 was the airplane involved in the mid-air. While in the 380th I was Crew-Chief of 53-1865, 53-2120, and 52-067, in that order. They were a Lockheed, a Boeing, and a Douglas, all good airplanes. Capt Brennan had flown my airplanes many times. He was a good guy and a true professional.

    • Hello Domer; I see you and I might have crossed paths back in our younger days. I was PCS at Brize Norton from late 1961 to early 1964. Its also great to hear from our members as well. I hope to see you in Tucson in November, I’m sure we will lots of stories to discuss.

  2. I was at March AFB from 1953-57, working in the 320th Periodic Maintenance Sqdn. I enjoyed reading your story of the pilot landing a B-47 from the backseat with the canopy gone. I always understood a Lt Schroder (I’m unsure of the spelling of his name) did that in one of the 320th’s B-47 in about 1954 or 55. A similar situation to the one described in your article.

    • Donald; Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. As far as I know this was the only time a landing was made without a canopy.

    • A few years back I sent a letter about my tour in the AF, out of boot camp(1954) to Amarillo to Altus, no A/C when I got there (late 1954-337 BS).assistant CC.to S/Sgt 1957. All moved to Dyess in 1957.. was on the ramp when the 341 b-47 co-driver landed w/o canopy @ night. Still in touch with sevral ol’ buddies that was there. the copilot was on tv (this is your life program..don’t know what happened to the old post i sent a few years ago. Some may find it interesting and I wasn’t alone. Hope to hear from ya……..Ret..USCG Previous service USAF for 10 yr.

      • Jim; Go to the ‘Stories Page’ and click on the 4th story, called “The Ultimate Backseat Driver” for the full story of this incident. Jim Diamond

    • Donald: My uncle Capt. David J Clare was in 320th BW in 441 BS in Oct’55. He was Co-pilot killed after take-off Oct.13,1955. Did you know of him??

    • The aicraft was from Dyess AFB and I met the Lt a couple of weeks later when he was arriving at March AFB to be awarded the Air Medal at 15 AF Hq.Even with large dark glasses on the wind bruises to his face were still black and blue. His exploits were later featured on TVs General Electric Theater and I’m not sure if Ronald Regan was the host at that time. Added note: This incident broke the stalemate in allowing young Lts from upgrading to Acft Cmdr as many Korean war recallees/WW II vets, often senior Capts, were riding the back seat on select crews for their spot promotions to Maj. The young copilots with 500 to a 1000 hrs didn’t have a chance to upgrade to Select Crews or get their own crew. I was sent to Forbes AFB soon there-after for upgrade training when the Forbes Recon Wg was converted to a B-47 training school.

      • I have Photos of Forbes if your interested some of B47’s and some photos of Forbes out of Guidebook and Directories.

      • After this incident the aircraft was sent to the factory for repairs and sent to Pease AFB New Hampshire where I became the crew chief. The tail number was 52-0278 and the co_ pilot wrote a book about it named the “Jimmy Obinoff Story”

        Jerry Van Boxtel
        M/Sgt Retired

  3. Hey guys! I’m trying to ID two birds that were at Pinecastle AFB. I’m trying to find the serials of “City of Orlando” and “City of Winter Park”. There are pictures out there of their noses, they won the 1957 SAC Bomb/Nav Comp. Thanks,
    Ed Nissen. AC-130H/U Loadmaster
    USAF, Ret

    • Ed; Thanks for your question. How about it, any of you former Orlando guys have any info to help Ed with the aircraft serial numbers of “City of Orlando” and “City of Winter Park” that were stationed at Pinecastle.

  4. I was involved with operation “Snow Flurry” in 1958 and I remember when the Hunter AFB B-47 dropped the bomb on South Carolina. When we arrived in England, we heard about the accident. I remember seeing a political cartoon in the local newspaper showing a B-47 with a log chain wrapped around the fuselage keeping the bombay closed.

  5. Hello; I am SMSGT Harold Payne (USAF Ret) and reside in Birmingham, Al. I congratulate you on the quality of the B-47 Stratojet Association website. I have checked out the website over the years and it has evolved into a “first class” presentation. It has been an enjoyment for me to see pictures and read about experiences people have had with this aircraft. I have had an interest in the B-47 for quite a few years now. I joined the Air Force in April 1952 and after attending A&E Mechanic school at Sheppard AFB Texas and Hydraulic School at Chanute AFB in Illinois, I was stationed at Pinecastle AFB Fl. In Feb 1953. At that time it was in the Training Command and the pilots were learning to fly the B-47. I had some anxious moments watching those aircraft “porpoise” down the runway and rebound into the air at an angle to the runway centerline at full power with black smoke trailing! I went through the B-47 Mobile Training Detachment School and was assigned to the hydraulic shop. SAC subsequently took over the base and I was transferred into the 321 Bomb Wing . In 1954 I was transferred to the 19th Bomb Wing which had moved from Okinawa and converted to B-47’s at Pinecastle AFB. In Aug 1954 I attended the B-47 school at Amarillo AFB Texas and returned to the 19th BW at Pinecastle. I made two trips to SIDI Slimane AFBi in French Morocco (1955, 1956). The pictures on your website of the Sidi Slimane flightline with the Atlas Mountains in the background and the buildings brought back memories. I was discharged from active duty in April 1956 and entered the active AF reserve where I spent the next 26 years. In my civilian occupation I was a QA supervisor for 37 years for an aircraft company that modified and repaired military aircraft. Please forgive me for rambling and perhaps being somewhat boring but I did want to acknowledge and commend your efforts to create a memorable website to those associated with the B-47.

    • Harold: Thanks for your input to the Site. I appreciate the comments and hopefully you may be re-connected from others from those Reflex Operations. I appreciate the picture you sent as well and will post it on the site as well with the other picture from Sidi-Slimane. This site exists and is only possible as long as those connected with the B-47 keep sending me information, pictures and questions. You and the others are who make this site possible.

  6. Like the new look of the website Jim – its been a while since I last visited.
    Being a great fan of the B-47, having seen hundreds in England during my teenage years, I find the stories from ex air and ground crews to be compelling reading – sometimes answering some of the questions I’ve pondered over for many years.
    Gerald’s excellant Tanker/Elint story brought back many memories of seeing 55SRW E/RB-47H’s at their (OL-1) Brize Norton and later Upper Heyford. Sometimes I would get lucky and saw one in the air but usually they remained firmly on the ground. It was unusual to see more than two in situ but here’s a couple of exceptions:
    Brize Sun 30June’63 RB-47H’s 34282, 34294 and 34301
    Upper Heyford Thurs 10June ’65 RB-47H’s 0-34298, 0-34303 and ERB-47H 0-36245
    Looking back I’m certainly glad that I was able to witness that part of SAC’s history in England.
    The photo of KC-135 ’77AJ’ refueling an RB-47H raises one of those questions I’ve been pondering over – what was the purpose of those Boom Codes? I saw several different number/letter combinations on KC-97G/KC-135’s up until about 1965 then it seemed like they were discontinued. Were these connected with radio silent air refueling procedures whereby reciever crews would be given their tankers boom code prior to departure? It would be good to know the real reason.

    • Graham; Glad to see you back on the site. You sure did keep a close tab on what were were doing way back then. Yes the code on the tanker booms were call signs so that the tanker could be identified without the use of radio.

  7. I was a B-47E maintenance crew chief at Lincoln AFB, NE, Oct ’57 – Mar ’60; commissioned via USAFOCS in Sep ’60; flew 5000 hours as navigator-bombardier in B-52D, E, F, G, H, including 72 Arc Lite and 6 Linebacker II missions in Vietnam.

    Here is a link to a Linebacker II (the 11-day B-52 bombing campaign in Dec ’72 that led to ending the Vietnam War) article in current (Dec) Aviation History Magazine that I helped to write, edit, etc. http://www.historynet.com/the-11-day-war.htm

    I was also deeply involved in helping to write, edit, etc., a book by the author of the above article, Robert O. Harder, “Flying From The Black Hole:” The B-52 Navigator-Bombardiers of Vietnam; available at amazon.com

    I was also deeply involved in helping to write, edit, etc., “The Goldsboro Broken Arrow,” by Joel Dobson, a book detailing the 1961 crash and recovery of a B-52G and its two nuclear weapons near Goldsboro, NC; available at lulu.com and amazon.com

    Thanks,
    Wilton Strickland, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
    B-47 Stratojet Assn. Memb.

    • Wilton; Thanks for your contribution and your service. I have read the article your link points to and highly recommend it to all. I also have the book authored By Robert O. Harder “Flying From The Black Hole:” and highly recommend it to everyone’s collection.

  8. Great reading about you guys. I left Hunter AFB when closed out for school on the B52 ECM program,
    We had a crash at hunter also and I don’t think they ever figured what caused it. Lots of opinions floated.

  9. I was at Hunter AFB (2nd Bomb Wing) in 1958 and had a part in the recovery of the F-86 that had a mid-air collision with the B-47 from Homestead AFB. At that time I was a 1st Lt., aircraft maintenance officer, and my squadron commander was Maj. Joseph Hojanaki . Can anybody relate to this event?

  10. I am looking for information on Capt. Byron Foster. He was killed in the crash of B-47, 52-0766 at McConnell AFB on 9 Jan 1961. He was assigned to the 4347th CCTW at the time of his death. He was my cousin and I am researching this information for his sister.

    • Capt. Byron Foster was my father. I was about 3 1/2 years old when he was killed. I thought his sister was dead. I am just learning about his side of the family. I have no photos of him and not any memories of him. Would love to hear from you and maybe we can exchange some family history.

  11. I’d like to hear more stories/opinions from B-47 vets about:

    a) What they did as the B-47 was retired in the early-to-mid-60’s (move to B-52’s or B-58’s? move to TAC/MAC/other? leave USAF?)

    b) Memories/thoughts of Cuban Missile Crisis.

    c) Memories/thoughts of Gen. Curtis LeMay.

    d) Memories/thoughts of

    — SoD Robert McNamara
    — his famous trade studies between missiles vs. bombers (ultimately favoring the former)
    — how hard is it (if it’s at all possible) for a SAC pilot to be dispassionate about that since it represented the loss of a terrific flying opportunity for you guys who won those hard-earned skills.

    • John; Great idea! anyone out there care to contribute more stories and opinions? Just send them please. We’ll find a place to put them. By the way many of the B-47 pilots went on to become B-52 pilots and several were selected for the B-58 program as well. Some even, who in their initial training flew in a fighter type aircraft and had that on their records were used in F-100s, F-105s and F-4s as well as some ended up flying C-130s and even the observation type planes in the height of the Viet-Nam era.

  12. Hi Jim, How are you?
    This is Teri Kidd. To jog your memory, we spoke last summer about my dad, Maj. John L. Brennan. You were kind enough to send me an article about his mid-air collision in September, 1960. Story # 5

    Since our conversation in July, I have been able to speak directly with his co-pilot, Richard Glogowski, twice, and his wife, Donna, who was a good friend of my mother. It just so happens, that my mom and dad were his son David’s godparents. So many great details have come of my contact with you that I wanted to follow up and tell you what you have indirectly inspired, along with Col. Glogowski. I’m not sure what exactly caused me to start wanting to know my dad again, but your conversation made much of him real to me.
    Thanks, Teri Brennan Kidd

    • Teri; I am real honored and pleased to reply to your post. This type of posts makes it a real pleasure to do this site. I am pleased you have made the re-connection with Col Glogowski. I hope to have many more posts similar to yours. Thanks for contacting us to begin with. Jim

  13. I was a civilian employee at March AFB, married to a SSgt and living in
    Wherry housing across the freeway from the base. One morning sometime in the 1960s, a B47 took off on the long runway, had trouble and crashed on the end of the runway, just short of a freeway overpass filled with cars. All 7
    aboard died. I could see the flames and smoke from the Base Civil Engineering office and felt heartsick! Does anyone who is familiar with this crash recall the date?

  14. I recently found out from a relative that my father was killed in a B47. Growing up I was always told it was a B52. Wow, incredible the amount of information I am now able to find knowing the correct information!

  15. Hello. I’m trying to research any information I can find about my Grandfather’s crash. He was a Major in the Air Force, Robert Dean Dowdy. He flew a B-47E, 51-7033. He perished on 2/12/1955. It’s my understanding the rest of the crew were able to eject and survive. I’m struggling finding many details. Any help or direction you could provide would be great! I appreciate all the work you do on this website.

    • Jason; The only information I have on this incident is:
      12 February 1955, B-47E 51-7033, 22 BW, March AFB, CA. The aircraft was destroyed when an engine exploded and tore the right wing off the aircraft while it flying over Saskatchewan. Three crew members parachuted to safely, but the navigator was killed. Capt. Thomas P. Pittman survived three days in the subzero weather without food. However, doctors were forced to amputate the lower part of his right leg after he was rescued.
      Hopefully some way you might be able to get in touch with Thomas Pittman. I don’t show him to be a member of our organization

    • Jason, my father found two of the survivors of 51-7033 while flying his De Havilland Beaver equipped on skis. He picked up and flew out Lt. Kenneth McGrew from a frozen lake and he walked through the trees and heavy snow to Captain Lester Epton,. Dad was a naval aviator in WWII and a Bush Pilot following the war before he became a doctor. I have a few more details of what he did that morning. He is 93 now and is not in a condition to answer any questions.
      Feel free to contact me by email, I am in Libya Africa until the first week in February then will return to Canada.

  16. I arrived at Maccill a.f.b. in 1951-1955. thought i would share some of the crashes we incountered during that time. The first one involved a b-47 and a kc-97 during inflieght refueling.There was static electricity on the boom and when it touched the b-47 both exploded.
    Being a aircraft electrician I was involved on a better grounding fix on the refueling boom.
    The second one was a b-47 going down on the practice bombing range about one hundred miles from Macdill the plane went in with such force the eighteen foot engines were compressed to three feet.
    There wasnt a crash but we lost a Engineer when he ejected going down the runway on takeoff.
    then there was one lost on takeoff in Tampa Bay.
    The Air police when relieved from guarding a B-47 are suppose to clear there weapons out from under the plane. We had one who cleared his weapon under the plane, the weapon went off and the bullet went thru a lot of wires giving me a rough job repairing them. Maybe there will be some airmen out there that will remmber some of these events at the beginning of the B-47s early days

  17. I’m the youngest son of Maj. Richmond Case, Base Supply Officer, I believe – at that time. 1960-1963. Chennault Air Force Base. I would be very interested to know anything about him and that time. He passed away many years ago. Thanks.

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