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.
John A. Drittler
Jack Drittler joined the Air Force in July of 1960 and completed pilot training at Laredo AFB, Texas in May of 1967. He was sent to Vietnam with the 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron and completed 226 combat missions at Bien Hoa, flying the F-100 Super Saber. He earned 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 12 Air Medals for superior flying skill.
After Vietnam, he returned to Laredo AFB as a flight instructor. He was transferred to Mt. Home AFB, Idaho and assigned to the 366th TFS flying F-111 F. He also served in the 48th TFW (495th TFS) at RAF Lakenheath, UK and McClellan AFB, California where he directed all Flight Test Operations for the F-111, FB-111, A-10, and F-106.
During his USAF career, he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two bronze stars, two Meritorious Service medals, 12 Air Medals and twice received the Best in TAC award. He retired as head of the Sacramento Air Logistics Flight Test unit in May 1984. He was best known for his superior flying skills, his fierce loyalty to his men, and his wicked sense of humor.
Jack was also a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He married Dorothea Buck in July 1962. They had two children: Laura and John.
After he retired he went on over 65 cruises with his wife and family. He also enjoyed cooking and spending time with his family. Jack “Headed West” in 2019.