Air Force Service: 1955-1958
Station: Carswell Air Force Base
B-36 Tail Gunner: 1956-1958
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:
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.
Air Force Service: 1955-May 1960
Station: Carswell Air Force Base, Fort Worth, Texas
B-36 "E" Gunner: 1956-1958
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.