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.
Gene D. Hartman
“Misawa Japan to Kunsan Korea by Gene Hartman
Intro: While stationed in Misawa Japan from 1960 to 1963, we generally would sit alert at Kunsan Korea for a week about every other month. We would rotate the F-100 aircraft during our rotation, and you would normally get to either fly to Korea or fly home. This is just one adventure where I became concerned on the way to Korea.
We would normally fly to Kunsan Korea IFR until we hit the west coast of Japan and then we would descend and if we were VFR at 10,000′ we would cancel IFR and descend to the deck and fly a low level to the coast of South Korea and then continue to a predetermined target near Kunsan Air Base. If it was not VFR at 10,000′ we would climb back to the assigned altitude and continue IFR to Kunsan. This to some degree was supposed to simulate some of the targets we would be assigned while on alert. The only navigational aid we had was the F-100 initial navigational system when it worked. Time distance and wind correction was a must. This was my first trip over there, so I did a lot of map studying.
A little over halfway to the South Korean coast on the deck a very small island of trees showed up at 2 o’clock that was not on my map. I immediately thought somehow I must have drifted north and could be getting close to North Korea. The North Korean MiG’s would be active at times I was told, and I became very nervous and spent a lot of time checking six. My heart was going 100 MPH and I got so concerned that I thought I should turn 35 degrees to the south when I saw land in front of me. As it turned out, if I had turned 35 degrees to the south, I would have missed the southern edge of South Korea. As it turned out I was right on track.
I had a long talk with the intel officer upon landing of why we weren’t told of islands that might not be on our maps. I guess he thought it was good training. This was the most scared I had ever been in an aircraft until I was over Hanoi a few times. “
Colonel Hartman was born Aug 1, 1934, in Valley City, ND. Following graduation from high school, he entered the North Dakota State University and graduated in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Colonel Hartman earned a master’s degree in business management and supervision from Central Michigan University in 1978.
Colonel Hartman began his military career when he joined the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1953. He entered active duty in February 1958 and received his pilot’s wings at Big Springs AFB, Texas, in 1959. The next assignment prepared him for his first real home in the Air Force. After F-100 training at Luke and Nellis AFB, He was assigned to the 417th TFS Misawa Air Base, Japan. He spent one-third of his tour at Misawa sitting alert in Kunsan Korea. He also had temporary duty in Okinawa and Formosa.
Colonel Hartman returned to the U.S. in 1963 and was assigned to the air training command at Craig AFB, AL. There he was an instructor in the T-33/T-38 and was the chief of the Basic Training Section of the Standard/Evaluation Board. While there he also spent temporary duty in Fortaleza, Brazil instructing in the T-33/F-80.
In 1967, after finishing F-105 training he was assigned to the 469th TFS at Korat, Thailand. He also spent time in South Vietnam flying with forward air controllers of 101st Airborne Division coordinating F-105 bomb deliveries for troops in contact. After finishing his 100 missions over North Vietnam he returned to the U.S. and was an instructor at McConnell AFB in F-lO5’s.
After Command and Staff in 1971, Colonel Hartman was assigned to PACAF Headquarters to Studies and Analyses and as a PACAF command briefer. From there he went to F-4 training at George AFB with a follow-on assignment as Squadron Commander of the 35th TFS at Kunsan, Korea. In 1976 he was assigned to the plans division in the Pentagon. Colonel Hartman retired from the Air Force in 1988 as chief of staff for the Director of the Air National Guard. The last six years in the Pentagon he was a GM14 as the Special Assistant to the Director of the Air National guard. He retired from this position in September 1996. Colonel Hartman has logged time in 18 different military aircraft with, most of his time, in the 0-2, T-33, T-38, F-80, F-100, F-105 and F-4. The Colonel is a FAA Certified Flight Instructor with over 6,900 hours, 2300 hours as an instructor.
His military decorations are numerous and include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak cluster, Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Combat Readiness Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three gold stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Outstanding Civilian Service Award.
Colonel Hartman is a 50-year, voluntary member of the Civil Air Patrol, Auxiliary of the Air Force. He is married to the former Joan Stammen of Donnybrook, ND. They have two sons, Randolph and Mark.