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.
Donald Lee Hutchinson
“Colonel Hutchinson served his country and contributed to the advancement of aviation through a 20-year career as a USAF officer…
Attended the USAFA, graduating in 1962. Completed pilot training in T-37 and T-38 aircraft at Williams AFB, AZ, and F-100 checkout at Luke AFB, AZ. Flew the “Hun” operationally with the 48th TFW at RAF Lakenheath, U.K., with a primary mission of nuclear war deterrence, from June 1964 to December 1966.
Tabbed for duty as a Forward Air Controller in Southeast Asia (SEA) flying 0-1 and 0-2 aircraft operating from Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam. Returned stateside in April 1968 and assigned to the 474th TFW at Nellis AFB, NV, flying F-111s till July 1973, after which he attended the Naval War College. Tabbed for a second tour in SEA, serving with the 347th TFW at Korat RTAFB, October 1974 to June 1975.
Served as a staff officer for Headquarters USAF at the Pentagon, July 1975 to July 1977, after which selected for instructor duties at the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, AL, August 1977 to January 1980. Once more, returned to operational duties in February 1980 with the 27th TFW at Cannon AFB, NM, as the commander of the 27th Equipment Maintenance Squadron and, in turn, commander of the 27th Aircraft Generation Squadron. Retired on 30 September 1982.
Military awards and decorations include: Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 14 Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster Army Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
In retirement, Colonel Hutchinson continued to advance the cause of Aviation by active membership in the Air Force Association, Order of Daedalians, Association of Graduates of the USAFA, and last, but not least, the Super Sabre Society. In addition, he was a prolific and generous donor to multiple, aviation-related museums, both in the U.S. and abroad.” (1)