5 December 1956 – A Northrop XSM-62 Snark, 53-8172, N-69D test model, fitted with a new 24-hour stellar inertial guidance system, launches from Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, Florida. It wanders off-course, ignores destruct command, disappears over Brazil. It is found by a farmer in January 1983. The Day They Lost the Snark By J.
William Francis Claudio
Bill enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1956 and re-enlisted in 1963 as an officer after obtaining a degree in aeronautical engineering from Parks College, all aimed at a singular goal — to become a fighter pilot. He graduated USAF pilot training in 1965 and was assigned to the 417th Fighter Squadron at Ramstein, Germany, sitting on nuclear alert; did a tour in Wethersfield, England; and ended his Air Force career at Phan Rang, Vietnam, flying his beloved F-100 Super Sabre. He achieved the rank of captain and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 21 Air Medals. Many of his absolute favorite stories were of this time in his life.
A multitalented charismatic man, Bill went on to sell recreational real estate in Georgia and Colorado and enjoyed some success in modeling and acting before moving back to Greenport in 1974 to work for his father at Claudio’s Restaurant for three seasons. Moving from Greenport in 1976 with his soon-to-be wife, Janice, he joined Hazeltine Corp. and sold IFF equipment to countries in the Far East while earning his master’s degree from Columbia University. He later returned to his first love, aviation, selling commercial aircraft for Page AvJet and Beechcraft in Washington, D.C.
In 1990, Bill, his wife, two sisters, and brother-in-law purchased Claudio’s Restaurant from his father, beginning a new chapter that would last 28 years. The restaurant, which opened in 1870 by Manuel Claudio, was considered by the National Restaurant Association as the oldest same-family-owned restaurant in the United States. Together they ran and expanded the business until finally retiring in 2018.