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.
Curtis M. Burns
After retirement from the USAF
I joined the College of Business Faculty of my alma mater, Texas A&M University where I managed Executive Development and Management Courses for Business and Industry until I was able to retire from the University in 1986.
As I had shot pistol competition on various Air Force Pistol Teams to hone my survival skill as a fighter pilot, I revived a defunct collegiate pistol team at A&M and have been the volunteer coach of the team for the past 34 years. Still going strong at 76.
Serving my country during two hot wars and a cold war for 21 years was the highlight of my life. Flying different Air Force fighters for a good part of it was the best part. I had the interesting experience of serving as a combat ready Fighter Pilot in the F-100C on the cutting edge of the Cold War, sitting Zulu Alert as a Day Fighter Pilot and then Victor Alert with the Mk-7 nuclear strike mission, beginning with the Lebanon Crisis.
A mid-career flying assignment was very rewarding, although not in a very exciting airplane, was training pilots of 26 allied nations in the T-28 MAP Pilot Training Program. About 80 % of our students were from South Viet Nam, starting in 1961. Another highlight was delivering slicks, snake, nape, and 20 mm mostly on unseen enemy under the teak trees, in-country, flying the F-4C. Every Fighter Pilot should have a real war to fight in, at least once in his career. I was never out of a cockpit, except for minor TDY’s, from Sept 1953 until August 1973.
Organizations: Air Force Association, Daedalians, QB’s, F-86 Sabre Pilots Assn, Super Sabre Society, F-4 Phantom Society, BSA (Been Shot At, a local group of aviation-related, career military pilots).