Wed Dec 18 09:17:15 2002
Keith L. Wharton
Wed Dec 25 16:05:27 2002
I flew on Cobra Ball in 1972 on several occasions and in fact flew on one of its shakedown cruises when it was being readied for deployment. I was a Russian linquist stationed at Eielson AFB from 1971 to May, 1973.
Sun Dec 29 22:04:11 2002
I flew on Cobra Ball 1 & 2 from 1972-1974 out of Shemya. I was also stationed at Eielson from 67-70 and knew many of the people lost on Rivet Amber. I was the "special communications" person in the unit and was asked to evaluate the tape we received from Elmendorf Airways. This web site is a great memorial to all those who flew and "fought" to keep the Cold War cold. I hope to see you at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio in September 2003 for the recon dedication.
Hank Whitney Hanover, Maryland
Mother (Ed Wakeman)
Sat Jan 4 15:05:13 2003
King, Received your E-Mail before Christmas,but today I installed DSL and got to view your totally Fantastic site. Each time I view this site it has more great stuff. Really a great tribute to our Cold War days in Alaska. Edwa ...
Charles F. Dreher II
Thu Jan 9 19:19:46 2003
Thank you King for all your great info. on the Rivet Amber. I'm looking into having a painting made of the last photo of her on her Heavens Bound flight.I know some very good artist's that are going to work with me on it. Have you heard of the book they are working on about the planes tragic flight? We're trying to find out why my father (Charles F. Dreher) was on that plane when there was already too many on her. Please feel free on E-mailing us. Curiously waiting... Charles F. Dreher II ...
Sun Jan 12 15:55:13 2003
I was with the 6985th SS from February 1972 to September 1973 as a 203 Russian linguist and flew many TDY missions to Shemya and Mildenhall England. We flew on the Cobra Ball at Shemya and on RC- 135's, 00356, 00357 and 00362 from Eileson. I do believe that picture in the photo gallery entitled Rivet Brass refueling, actually 00357 being refueled. I spent many hours on Position 17 and it's backward tape recorders on 00357 and was glad to fly on the other two.
Mon, Jan 20, 2003, 3:40am (CST+1)
Great site and a fitting tribute to some of the real heroes of the cold war. From 67 to 73 I worked on all models of KC,EC and RC-135s at Offutt, Eielson and Shemya with several TDYs to England. Also, we installed the then new Flight Director system in all the RC's. In Sep 1968, I was on the initial maintenance support team from the 55th at Offutt for Rivet Amber. We flew into Eielson first, then out to Shemya the next day. To kick off the friendly competition or rivalry between the Ball folks in Hangar No. 2 (who were affectionately known as "Ratto's Raiders"), we dubbed ourselves, in Hangar No. 3, "Chumley's Chargers". Major Raymond Chumley was the ranking man on our orders. I got to know and admire many of the crew members that I lived, ate, and worked with for their dedication and professionalism.
I was an Avionics Instrument Tech. and worked primarily on the Instrument Systems but we all helped each other when there was something to do from changing tires and brakes to polishing the engines cowls.
I remember the first operational mission after arriving for my first 120 day TDY. The klaxon went off while we were sleeping, after midnight. Within a few seconds the power cart and the Eucilid were fired up and Amber was backing out as the crews were scrambling up the ladder. The time from klaxon to wheels-up was less than 12 minutes! They got what they went after. I remember someone at a briefing after that first mission saying, "The value of the data collected could pay for the entire project." And that was just the first mission!
On my several TDY's to Det. 1, I did all the normal things that one could do at the rock to include; junkyard tours, glass ball and coke bottle searches, pinochle, lots of jigsaw puzzles, cutting my own hair, although SSgt Dreyer cut it once, reading and writing a lot, some ping-pong and seal, walrus and blue fox spotting. I also contemplated finishing the infamous bridge project………………….to Seattle.
The first week in June 69, I was supposed to return to the Rock but the TDY was delayed due, I think, to the Aleutian weather. A couple of days later while working on the flightline at Offutt I heard that Amber was missing. I was on flying orders so I ask to fly search and rescue in one of the RC-135C's from Offutt. Major Gmmitter was the A/C, I think the Nav was a guy they called "Zigzag Howe" and Sgt Minty was a photo guy on board. We flew a S/R mission from Offutt over the Bering Sea in a search pattern, refueled from a tanker 2 or 3 times and finally landing at Eielson 27 hours after take-off. Saw lots of water and white-caps from as low as 300 feet but nothing else. I didn't get back to Offutt until about 10 days later. My shop chief wanted to give me an Article 15 because I left without orders (and he had to work while I was gone), but the Commander and DCM wouldn't let him.
There was a very strong sense of mission at Det 1 and a great bunch of dedicated guys that made all the negatives bearable. I wouldn't trade those TDYs for anything.
Thanks for the memories and a great site. Keep up the good work!
All I fly these days are hot air balloons.
Dave Knoblock, MSgt, Ret
Paul Boone [MSgt USAFSS Retired]
Mon Jan 20 11:55:41 2003
I was assigned to the 6985th as a ground analyst when Rivet Amber was lost. I spent many hours in the back of a KC135 during the search and rescue. Having known most of the backenders that were lost, to this day I often remember and wonder with dispair over what really happen. I too listened to the last transmissions, over and over, hoping for a clue. I pray that someday an answer will be found.
Mon Jan 20 16:17:14 2003
Today is my fathers birthday, Don Wonders. Whether it be his birthday, Memorial Day, or June 5, I always find myself coming back to your site. I will always forever be grateful for what you have done for me. God Bless for everything you have done for my family as well as the other families that were aboard Lisa Ann that fateful day. Although you went home and wept that day.....little did you know that you would become the Angel to so many people later on. Thank you again my dearest friend.
Sat Feb 1 23:41:50 2003
King, when people ask me about Rivet Ball, I tell them that we intercepted everything from DC to Light. That usually ends the questions. If pressed, I tell them I was an Air Force Spy! Edwa ...