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.
James H. Bradley
I graduated from Williams AFB AZ in the 1954 (54-M) Fighter Pilot option. The next assignment was Basic Gunnery at Del Rio TX (T-33). Advanced Gunnery was canceled – the F-84-F was grounded.
I was given a temporary assignment to Mather AFB CA and flew the T-29 flying classroom for navigators. Three years later, I went to Okinawa as the Training Officer with the 51st FW, 16th FS. I flew combat in F-86’s (Sabres) during the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis defending the Kinmen and Matsu Islands during attacks by the People’s Republic of China.
By urgent Strategic Air Command (SAC) request, I became a B-47 Aircraft Commander at Mt. Home AFB in Idaho after transition training in Kansas. During the six years in Idaho, I also taught Instrument School, ran the simulator, and was an Instructor Pilot.
Finally, I left SAC with another transition assignment to the 524th FS at Cannon AFB NM. There I fell in love with the Super Sabre (F-100). Then, along came Vietnam.
In June 1966 I arrived in Bien Hoa and was assigned to the 90th FS (Dice). As a Flight Commander, I flew 150 missions and became a member of the caterpillar club when I was shot down by ground fire over the Mekong Delta on October 12, 1966.
During the last five months of my tour, I volunteered to replace a friend (who had been wounded in action) as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) flying O-1’s out of Cu Chi covering the US Army 25th Infantry Division. I left Vietnam in June 1967 with the DFC, the BS, 16 Air Medals, and the Purple Heart.
Jolly ‘ol England beckoned and I was assigned to RAF Wethersfield, 20 TFW, 55th FS. I was an F-100 pilot, worked in the Command Post, and ran Base Operations until the Air Force closed the base and I ended my flying career.