The Crew Dogs of Team-2, Rivet Ball, were no different than any other reconnaissance crew in SAC. Each crewmember had their own story to tell and everyone did their best to stay focused on the mission. We were all professional warriors. Most of the Ravens transferred from a B-52 outfit and were delighted to enter the world of "Peacetime Aerial Reconnaissance" (PAR). In the bomber world we trained hard on the ground and in the air. We were constantly being evaluated and our careers were always in jeopardy. It was a stressful world. In the reconnaissance world we performed our mission every time we flew with very little interference from Higher Headquarters and the outside world.... and we loved it. The Ravens assigned to Rivet Ball and Rivet Amber were especially happy because they were able to bond with one aircraft and one mission.

Now I'd like for you to meet the characters of Team-2, Rivet Ball (Circa 1967-69). While under the command of Col. Stan Ratto (Det-1 CC) they were known as "Ratto's Raiders".

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Bob Armentrout 
(Raven, Tactical Coordinator, Inventor, Builder and Den Mother) 
Nickname: "Granny

Granny was our fearless leader, heavy thinker and creator of the Team-2 Patch. He was also an all around craftsman and resourceful kind of guy. He loved to make knives from old car springs and did a beautiful job of it. One of Bob's favorite things to do was rummage thru the million dollar dump on Shemya looking for parts and pieces for his next project. The last time I saw Bob was 1973 in Germany when he was having the time of his life trolling the skies in an F4-G Wild Weasel. Bob now lives on a farm in the backwoods of Virginia and keeps himself busy chopping firewood, grooming 60 cashmere goats and teaching middle school science on a full time basis. Retirement is not one of Granny's goals. 

Click Here for a high resolution photo that shows Granny seated at the Tactical Coordinator (TC) station. The seat to his left is the Signal Monitor (SM) position. Click Here for a recent photo (March 2009) of Granny that shows him cleaning up his property after a winter storm.

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Kingdon Hawes 
(Raven, Signal Monitor, A&P Mechanic, Tech. Rep. and Tinkerer) 
Nickname: "King / Tinker"

Rivet Ball was my all consuming passion. Sorry to say it, but I missed her last flight due to the flu. I was "DNIF" as the old saying goes. That was the one and only flight I ever missed during my entire career. Maybe it was Fate, then again maybe it was nothing but luck.... you be the judge. 

After retiring in 1981 I put everything in storage, traded my Mustang for a VW camper and started traveling on the blue highways of the Good Ole' USA. Two years and 100,000 miles later I ended up right back where I started..... Omaha, Nebraska. I then re-entered the world of parenting, home ownership, mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills, telephones, clocks and TVs. In need of a little extra cash and something interesting to do, I established Kingdon Aviation and contracted with the Offutt Aero Club as a licensed aircraft mechanic (A&P). After ten enjoyable years with the Aero Club I shifted gears once again. When asked what I'm doing these days I say.... "I'm enjoying my wife, playing with grandkids and telling stories". Life is good.

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Bob Brown 
(Raven, Manual Tracker, Underground Press, Covert Instigator, Movie Meister, Stage Director, Expert Marksman, English Professor, Historian, Confederate Rebel, Actor, Author, Publisher and graduate of The Citadel.) 
Nickname: "Viper

Viper.... that says it all. He loved playing the role of Gotcha.... and he was good at it. Bob had more creative talent than all of us combined. He was also an Outstanding (9-4) MT (Manual Tracker) and good friend. If it wasn't for Bob and his 8mm camera, we wouldn't have many of the movie clips shown on this site. You do good work Bob. Next time around you should work in Hollywood. They need a creative mind like yours. 

Bob lived on a seventeen acre horse farm in Dalzell, South Carolina called "Raven's Nest". He served as the South Carolina state commander, for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and was a Senior Lecturer in English, at the Adjunct Faculty for the University of S.C. at Sumter.

Save your confederate money folks, the South shall rise again

Click Here for a high resolution photo of Viper's Manual Tracker position, the best seat in the house.

I'm sorry to learn that my long time friend and fellow Raven, LTC. Robert L. "Viper" Brown, USAF (Ret.) is no longer with us as of 11:30pm ET on 19 April 2016. He will be missed by all that knew him. May he rest in peace.... AMEN

Short Bio

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Brad Perry 
(Raven, Manual Tracker, Signal Monitor, Investor and Multi Mission Man) 
Nickname: "Troll

Brad was a man of many talents and multiple interests. He shifted between Manual Tracker, Signal Monitor, Raven and just about eveything in between. He was a jack of all trades. Whenever Brad wasn't flying he liked to hunker down in his room and grind away on studies. He was also our resident expert on the stock market. 

Brad was not what you would call a Happy Camper when it came to serving time on The Rock. Not long after leaving the island paradise of Shemya and the frozen tundra of Alaska he shed his flight gear, turned in his hack watch and departed the Air Force for greener pastures. 

Brad now lives in Houston, Texas with his family.

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Al Hansen 
(Raven, Photographer, Travel Agent and Army Infantryman) 
Nickname: "Lurch

Senior Ranking Raven.... and don't you forget it.... also one time Army Infantry.... don't forget that either. 

Al had three passions in life. They were travel, photography and hats. I will always remember Al for being the best dressed man no matter what the occasion, even when camping in the wilderness. Al traveled in style. He also carried enough photography equipment with him to open up a retail store. 

Click Here for one of Al's more memorable photo adventures now on YouTube. 

I'm sorry to report that Al Hansen (Lurch) is no longer with us as of January 1999. Al suffered heart failure after years of struggle. He will be missed by all that knew him. May he rest in peace.... AMEN

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Russ Howard 
RIP: 14 Sept. 2019 (84)

(Raven, Social Drinker, Party Host and Lightning Rod) 
Nickname: "Gort

War Story by Don Moore:

Great sense of humor, loved Jim-Beam and the fastest man alive when exiting a crash landing. He has the scars to prove it and a story to go with it. Russ always told a great story and had many to tell. He was a lot of fun. 

A classic example of Russ Howard's sense of humor is when he returned to the crew lounge after having both hands bandaged for severe rope burns. Russ stood in the doorway holding both hands up and said... "You can sure tell who your friends are when you've got to take a leak."

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Ed Wakeman 
(Raven, RB-47H Veteran, Historian, Motor Pool Officer, Artifact Collector and Connecticut Yankee) 
Nickname: "Mother

You could say Ed was born to be a Raven. He cut his teeth early in the game by crewing on the RB-47H. When I say early, I mean real early. Ed dates back to the days when Ravens used a "Tuning Fork" to calibrate audio recordings on wire recorders. 

He was always making sure our zippers were up tight and our hats were on straight. His favorite thing though was to watch Bob Brown, aka "Viper", in action. As a matter of fact, he still does to this day. Ed gave Bob the nickname Viper and whenever you heard the two of them start laughing, you knew something was up. Click Here for a 2005 photo of Mother with Viper at Stellato's Family Restaurant in Sumpter, SC. 

Mother can usually be found at the annual 55th Wing reunion or driving up and down the east coast in his beloved PT Cruiser. Click Here for a March 2013 photo of Ed with his wheels in Florida. I gotta say, they both look good. You can tell he takes good care of that cruiser. Believe it or not, it has 350,000+ miles on the odometer !!!

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Joe Hall 
(Raven, Radio Amateur, Bible Thumper and Southern Gentleman) 
Nickname: "Preacher

RIP: “Preacher” (85)
I’m sorry to report that Joe Hall aka “Preacher” is no longer with us as of 30 May 2022. Joe was a gentle soul and kept our team on track with his unwavering faith in God. He’s also been very supportive in keeping our story about “Rivet Ball” and Shemya alive. Over the years Joe said that his assignment with “The Ball” and Team-2 was the best assignment he ever had. Thanks Joe, we’ll miss you.
Obituary: https://www.ashbyfuneralhome.com/obituary/joseph-e-hall

Joe was an all around nice guy (Southern Gentleman) and our moral guide. We all tried to stay on his good side since he was closer to God than anyone else on Team-2. You never know when you might need a little help from above. Someone had to pray for us. Joe was also in contact with the outside world via radio amateur. Preacher is now living in northern Louisiana and long retired from his fencing business. I hope he still finds time to pray for us because we still need it.... "Praise The Lord". 

Click Here for a high resolution photo of Raven positions one and two. Lurch is on the left and Preacher is on the right. 
Click Here for a high resolution photo of Raven positions three and four.

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Tom Dodds 
(Photog, Camera Technician, Photographer and Southern Gentleman) 
Nickname: "Short Round

Tom was our main man when it came to making sure our cameras were loaded and in working order for the main event. He always kept a cool head under pressure and never complained. 

He was a gentle soul with a kind heart and a warm smile. Tom was a pleasure to work with. Wherever he is and whatever he is doing I wish him well. 

"It's a wrap, lets head for the barn." 

I'm sorry to report that Tom is no longer with us. He died from a massive heart attack on 23 January 2006. Tom will be missed by all that knew him. May he rest in peace.... AMEN

"The Iron Pumpkin"
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Art Reid 
(Photog, Camera Technician, Photographer and Equal Opportunity Expert) 
Nickname: "The Shadow

Art was our right hand man and photo technician. He and Tom were indespensible when it came to capturing our "Kodak Moment". When the pressure was on you could always count on them . They were professionals. Click Here for a candid shot of "The Shadow" taken by "Granny" in 1968 while riding the infamous crew bus during changeover. The dude up front looking aft is Maj. John Achor's navigator, Capt. Stew Williams. 

The Shadow now lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and works for the federal government as an Investigator. Hmmmmm.... I hope he's not investigating us. 

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? 
"The Shadow Knows!"

Team - 2 Patch

B. Armentrout
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