B-36 Gunners - 492 BS-Carswell AFB 1956-1958

                                                  MAX N. CAMPBELL (OKIE)

                                                             

Air Force Service: 1955-1958
Station: Carswell Air Force Base
B-36 Tail Gunner: 1956-1958

  • Squadron: 492nd
  • Aircraft Commander: Maj. William Hagan
  • Aircraft Number: 5741

 

STORY: Do you remember the hail storms we used to get in Texas. Okie remembers one real well. The one where he was flying on aircraft 5741 when they went through a hail storm. I remember him telling us in the barracks how all the chutes and equipment was flying around the aft compartment. I think he said that even the oven broke loose from the wall. I guess he wasn't too scared until someone went into the bombay and saw daylight through a large crack in the fuselage. Sometimes I think disaster followed Okie around. Take a look at the photo at the end of this page. Aircraft 5741 never flew again!

Air Force Organizations:

  • 7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association
  • Air Force Gunners Association
  • Date of Birth: March 20,1937 
  • Present Location: Midwest City, Oklahoma
    Education: Bachelor of Arts
    Occupation: Retired
    Hobby: Military Patch Collector
    Married: October 15, 1965
    Wife: Carol
    Children: Tim & Eric
    Grandchildren: Tim Jr., Mandy, Tony, Desiree, Neil
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                                         THERMON  FOWLER  (TP-Tango Papa) 

                               

     

    Air Force Service: July 12, 1955 to August 1, 1975
    Stations:
    • Carswell AFB, Texas (B36H&J)
    • Shilling AFB, Kansas (KC97G&G)
    • Yokota AB, Japan (KB-50J)
    • Little Rock AFB, Arkansas (KC-135A&Q)
    • Pease AFB, New Hampshire (KC-135A)
    • Barksdale AFB, Louisiana (KC-135A)
     
    B-36 "E" Gunner: 1955-1958
    • Carswell AFB Squadron: 492nd Bombardment (H)
    • Crew Number: L-17 & S-17
    • Aircraft Commander; Major Jack Cardwell

    STORY: It was in July of 1956 that I took my first flight in the B-36. It was late in the afternoon or early evening that we took off for Bomb comp. at Loring AFB, Maine. Anyway, the highest I ever flew was about 12,000 feet in an airliner and when the Peacemaker reached somewhere I would say in the 20,000 range, the blister started to frost. Being an old arkansas boy from the cotton patch, knowing dam well that this is not right in July, I was becoming worried. Also, not knowing what altitude we were climbing to, I was becominga bit concerned about that also when they called out passing through 40,000 feet and greatly relieved when they called out leveling at 42,000. I spent about 5,700 more hours in the air during my career but nothing compared to that first couple of hours in the Big Stick.

                                                       DISTINGUISHED AWARDS

                                                                   
                                                                 5 -Air Medals
     
     DID IT MY WAY: I retired from the Air Force in 1975 as a Master Sergrant with 20 years of service., 119 combat missions, 5 Air Medals and a totoal of 5,788.8 flying hours. If I had a life to live over, I wold do it the same way.
     

    KC-97,KB-50,KC-135 Boom Operator: 1958-1975
                              
                                                 T.P.'s TANKERS
     
                  
                                                  
    Air Force Organizations:
    • 7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association
    • Air Force Gunners Association
    • Air Force Sergeants Association
    • 310th Bomb Wing Association
    • IFR Association
    • TAC Tankers
     
    Date of Birth: January 31, 1938
    Present Location: Benton, Louisiana (Bossier Parish)
    Education: High School
    Occupation: Heavy Equipment Mechanic
    Married: December 23, 1958
    Wife: Cathrine (Cathy) - (Who now resides in heaven)
    Children: Douglas Erwin (born at Tachikawa AB, Japan, 24 July 1964) & Melissa Marie (born at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, 16 May 1966 (married to Oswaldo Flores)
    Grandchildren: Carmen Marie & Dustin Scott (both Milissa's)

     

                                                           BOBBY F. HARMON

                                                
        

    Air Force Service: 1955-May 1960
    Station: Carswell Air Force Base, Fort Worth, Texas

    B-36 "E" Gunner: 1956-1958

    • Wing: 7th Bombardment (Heavy)
    • Squadron: 492nd

    Other Stations: Randolf AFB, Texas
                          Plattsburg AFB, New York

    KC-97 Boom Operator: 1958-1960

    STORY: On a B-36 flight, the inboard engine caught fire and Bobby thought for sure he was a goner. However, the engine was feathered and the fire extinguished. The crew continued on with their 20 hour mission. Boy, it was great to have 10 engines.

    TIDBIT: Bobby was a real nice guy when he was a young airman in the 492nd. However, he seemed to have trouble follow him whenever he opened his mouth. You can ask Bob Huebert about this as he saved Bobby's butt a few times. once I was with Bobby at the B-36 Lounge when he was talking to a Texan about his Arkansas football team. I don't know what he said but all of a sudden the Texan swung at Bobby who was quick to duck. The bartender then got into th e act and before you knew it, there was a brawl. Bobby and I ended up sitting on a lounge chair watching the fight. Bobby never got a scratch on him. Saved again, this time by the bartender. !

    Air Force Organizations:

  •       7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association
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  • Present Location: Mulberry, Arkansas
    Education: High School
    Occupation: Retired
    Wife: Carole
    Children: Rob, Tamara, and Joe
    Grandchildren: Grant (Rob's) Mary Beth, Sarah, Samuel (Tamara's)
  •                                                ROBERT L. HUEBERT (BOB-HUEB)

                         

    Air Force Service: March 7, 1955 to April 1, 1981
    Stations:
    • Carswell AFB, Texas (B-36 & B-52)
    • Columbus AFB, Mississippi (B-52)
    • Pease AFB, New Hampshire (B-52)
    • Offutt AFB, Nebraska (Reassigned)
    • Hickam AFB, Hawaii
     
    B-36 Tail Gunner: 1956-1958
    • Wing: 7th Bombardment (Heavy)
    • Squadron: 492nd
    • Aircraft Commander: Jessie Walker
    • Crew Aircraft Number: 1344
    B-52 Tail Gunner: 1958-1970
    • Wing: 7th Bombardment (Heavy)
    • Squadrons: 492nd & 736th
    • Aircraft Commander: Leroy Dunston

    STORY:  After Basic at Lackland AFB, TX, I was transferred to Lowry AFB, CO for B-36 Retractable Turrent School. After completing school, I was sent to the 7th A&E Squadron at Carswell AFB. However, the B-36 no longer had retractable turrents at Carswell. I was asked if I wanted to be a tailgunner and by all means was my answer, as that is what I wanted in the first place when I went to Lowry. I was then transferred to the 492nd Bomb Squadron. After a couple of flights with Earl Roberts, the Ops Officer wanted me Standboarded, as they had a shortage of Left Scanners and needed me on a crew. I was sent up the flight line to the Standboard Section were I was administered an emergency procedures test. I guess I set some sort of record for the number of questions I had gotten right. Col. Schffler felt that he had to give me an oral test. After several questions that I did not understand at all, he asked me were the urinal was located in the aft compartment. I was able to answer that, was passed, and thus qualified to fly the left seat.

                                                       DISTINGUISHED AWARDS

                                                                               
                       Distinguished Flying Cross                           11 -Air Medals
     
     DID IT HIS WAY: I retired from the Air Force in April, 1981 as a Chief Master Sergeant with 26 years of service. I ended up with about 900 hours in the B-36 and 7,500 hours in the B-52. I flew 239 B-52 missions in Vietnam, receiving the DFC and 11 Air Medals. After retiring from the Air Force, I returned to Panama, IA and went to work in an Insurance Agency of which I later became the owner. In 1998, I sold the business and fully retired.
     
     
                   Bob's Early B-36 Days                    Bob Receiving Award for 200 B-52 Combat Missions

                                  
                                                            Bob during his Nam days.
     
    Precision Photo Processing: 1970-1981
    • 544th RTG
    • 30 Tac Recon Squadron
    • 497th RTG
    • 544th RTG
    • 548th RTG
     Air Force Organizations:
    • 7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association
    • Air Force Gunners Association
    • Air Force Sergeants Association
     
    Date of Birth: August 20, 1935
    Present Location: Panama, IA
    Education: High School
    Occupation: Retired
                      Formerly owned and operated an indenpendant insurance agency.
    Married: June 8, 1974
    Wife: Ruth
    Children: Kate & Ann

                                                        THOMAS KENNEDY (KEN)

                   

     Tom was taken from us on November 2, 2004. We will always have Tom on our minds and in our hearts. His wit and humor kept all of us laughing. I'll always remember when I saw him for the first time in 1996 (reunion in Fort Worth) since we parted in 1959 at Carswell AFB. He kissed me on the cheek and said he was glad to see me again. I was glad to see him too. Now we will have our memories while he and Jim have a drink on us. "Ken" will be sorely missed by all of us.

    TOM'S OBITUARY
     
     

                                                   JAMES F. NELSON (JIMMY)

                                                       
     
    Air Force Service: February 6, 1956 to February 5, 1960
    Stations:
    • Carswell AFB, Texas 1956-1959 (B-36H&J & B-52D&F)
    • Columbus AFB, Miss. 1959-1960 (B-52D&F)
     
    B-36 Tail Gunner: 1956-1958
    B-52 Tail Gunner: 1958-1960
    • Wing: 7th Bombardment (Heavy)
    • Squadron: 492nd
    • Crew Aircraft Commander: Major Jessie Walker
     
    STORY: In 1958, as the B-36 was being phased out, we were flying from Carswell to the North Atlantic to drop old weapons, filled with concrete, into the drink. The mission called for us to land at Westover AFB in Massachusetts, after dropping the weapons, and spend the night before flying back to Carswell the next day. Before leaving Westover, we loaded the tail compartment with wooden crates filled with lobsters to take back to the troops in Texas. About half way back to Carswell, we went through a thunderstorm and the crates were thrown all over the cabin. The crates broke up and the lobsters were crawling all over the cabin. About that time, the flight engineer asked for an engine check and I responded on the intercom that I couldn't give an engine check right then because "I was up to my ass in lobsters". We finally policed up the damn lobsters and then gave the flight engineer an engine check. You can imagine the ribbing I got when we landed!
     
    TIDBIT: Ask Huebert and Kennedy which one is really "Herman P. Schwartz"!
     
    Air Force Organizations:
    • 7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association
    • Society of the Strategic Air Command
     
    Date of Birth: September 16, 1937
    Education: B.S. Aeronautical Engineering from St. Louis University, 1964
    Occupation: Aerospace & Restaurant Consultant
     
    • 1966-1970: Worked for Grumman at the Johnson Space Center as Lunar Module Environmental Control System Consol Operator.
    • 1970-1987: Worked for Martin Marietta in Houston and Denver responsible for the military payload on Shuttle missions.
    • After leaving the Space industry, went into the restaurant business for 11 years in Durango, CO. as owner of the Aroma Restaurant.
     
    Married: January 24, 1959
    Wife: Barbara
    Children: Jimmy (married to Suzanne), Carolyn (married to Donato), Linda, Elizabeth (married to Tom).
    Grandchildren: Katie & Michelle (both belong to Jimmy & Suzanne), Audrey & David James (both belong to Elizabeth & Tom), Isabella & Olivia (belongs to Carolyn & Donato)

                                                       JIMMY'S OBITUARY

    We will always remember Jimmy who left us on November 7, 2003. I am so glad that I was at least able to enjoy Jim's company over the last seven years. I'll always remember our great friendship during our B-36 days. I know I speak for all the guys when I say we lost a great friend and brother who will be sorely missed. We all send our love to Barbara and the kids.

                             

     

                                                  RICHARD J. REENTS (DICK)

                                                  

    Air Force Service: 1956 - 1960
    Station:
    • Carswell AFB, Fort Worth,Texas
     
    B-36 Tail Gunner: 1956-1958
    • Wing: 7th Bombardment (Heavy)
    • Squadron: 492nd
    • Crew Aircraft Commander: Col. Wells F. "Zeke" Zerdecki
           

    Station:
    • Westover AFB, Chicopee Falls, MA
     
    B-52 Tail Gunner: 1958-1960
    • Wing: 99th Bombardment
    • Squadron: 346th
    • Crew Aircraft Commander: Capt. Lief Hanson
     
     Air Force Organizations:
    • 7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association
     
    Date of Birth: February 9, 1938
    Present Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
    Occupation: Retired 
    • Formerly EDA Programmer for Unisys Corp. for 32 years.
     
    Married: August 30, 1958
    Wife: Joann
    Children: Victoria, Joni, Jeffery and Vaughn.
    Grandchildren: Alli, Gavin, Kelsey, and Tsepo (Vicki's) Caleb and Allison (Joni's)
                          and Shawda, Hannah and Adam (Jeff's)

                                                            DICK'S OBITUARY

    Dick was taken from us on August 10, 2012. We will miss Dick's sense of humor. If there ever was a real friend and a great guy, Dick was that man. I was glad that I was able to find him in 1998 and I will always remember his first mini reunion with us at Branson, MO. This was the first time I saw Dick in 40 years. I will always remember the reunions that we spent together for the last 14 years. I only wish there could have been more. God bless Dick, Joann and all his family.                                                       

             

     

                                                       HENRY A. SILVA (HANK)

                                                     

    IN PROGRESS

                                                JOHN ZIMMERMAN (ZIMMY)       

               

      

    Air Force Service: April 12, 1956 to April 11, 1960
    Stations:
    • Carswell AFB, Fort Worth,Texas
     
    B-36 Tail Gunner: 1956-1958
    • Wing: 7th Bombardment (Heavy)
    • Squadron: 492nd
    • Crew Aircraft Commander: Captain (Chief) Bolton
    • Crew Aircraft Number: 5721
    • Flew With Other Aircraft Commanders:
                 Maj. Fanyo, Col. Whitehead, Maj. Dunston, Capt. Giacomo, Maj. Walker,
                 Col. Burch, Col. Dunston, Col. Zerdecki.         
    • Flew On Other B-36 Numbers:
                 1093-1344-1348-1350-1362-2823-5704-5713-5716-5721                     
    STORY: Remember the "long range low level missions", 1000 ft. over land, 500 ft. over water? Well, we were flying over land in south Texas heading for Matagorda. Capt. Bolton called the navigator, Charlie Boerschig, and asked him for a heading. Charlie, the excellent navigator that he was, looked out and noticed that we were flying along in the same direction of a highway below. As you may remember, south Texas was quite open country so Charlie asked the "Chief" if he would follow the highway to the next town so he could get a better bearing in order to give him a heading. After a short pause, Capt. Bolton calls Charlie on the intercom abd says, "Charie, what the hell are you navigating with, a road map?
    I spoke to Charlie about this incident during a reunion in the late 90's. He told me that in fact he did have a road map! He said he used anything he could to get us where we were supposed to go.
     
    TIDBIT: The next time you watch the movie "Strategic Air Command" with Jimmy Stewart, watch closely in the backround as he walks on the flight line to take his first B-36 flight. Our crew aircraft #5721 can be seen clearly in the backround being refueled.
     
    OTHER FLYING TIME: I put a little flying time on a B-25 at Lowry Air Force Base, in Denver, in 1958. It was like riding on an old bus but I'm glad I had the experiance. Remember that this was the aircraft that Doolittle used to bomb Japan for the first time, taking them off from an aircraft carrier.There was a Navy Reseve base east of Denver where I also put some time in a P2V5F. It was really great. Sat in the "Bow" where the view was fantastic. We made some practice no touch down landings over the runway at Stapleton, flew formation, and had fighters making passes at us. All this was great being viewed from the "Bow" position.
         

    • B-52 Tail Systems Mech.: 1958-1960
    • Squadron: 7th Armaments and Electronics
     Air Force Organizations:
    • 7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association
    • Air Force Gunners Association
     
    Date of Birth: April 28, 1938
    Present Location: Torrington, CT
    Education: B.S. Business Administration, University of Connecticut
    Occupation: Retired August 1, 1996
    • Formerly "Manager of Finance" for the Metropolitan District in Hartford, CT.
     
    Married: April 23, 1960
    Wife: Tresa
    Children: John (married to Laurie), Tracy (married to Armand).
    Grandchildren:Sarah in 1993 & Jake in 1996 (John & Lauries)  Nickolas in 2001 & Alexa in 2004 (Tracy & Armands)