The Ravens and Photo Techicians (Photogs) assigned to Rivet Ball were divided into two teams:Team-1and Team-2. Each team rotated every other week between Shemya in the Aleutians andEielson AFBin central Alaska. Prior to becoming dedicated teams in 1967 the Ravens flew operational missions on bothRivet Ball(RC-135S) andRivet Brass(RC-135D) aircraft. Crew exhaustion and mission overload eventually became a problem and resulted in the creation of two Raven teams dedicated to Rivet Ball only. Both teams were highly qualified, fiercely competitive and bound by a single purpose. They also enjoyed a lot of camaraderie. TheRivalrybetween both teams was not unlike what you would experience in a family. That*s because we were family and Rivet Ball was our baby.

Team -1 and Team -2 (Back Enders) were dedicated to flying Rivet Ball. The Pilots, Navigators (Front Enders) and Security Service troops (Spooks / Secret Squirrels) rotated between several different RC-135s operating out of Shemya and Eielson. The crewmembers in the story that follows were on Team -2, dedicated to Rivet Ball and... Second to None.

K. Hawes
Hi Res

Here's the gang all decked out in their zuit suits attending a formal Dining-In at the Eielson, AFB Officer's Open Mess, aka "O" Club. The dress was formal but the party was wild !! It was an occasion of awards, skits and hard partying. It was also a lot of fun.Click Hereand watch a skit we put together in 1968 at the "O" Club recorded by Major Alan R. "Lurch" Hansen.

Standing L-R: King Hawes, Bob Armentrout, Al Hansen, Joe Hall, Ed Wakeman, Bob Brown and Russ Howard. Center Stage: Brad Perry

K. Hawes
Hi Res

Here's Team-2 (Ratto's Raiders) in 1968 on Shemya with The Ball. Standing L-R: Bob Brown, Bob Armentrout, Al Hansen, Russ Howard and King Hawes. Kneeling L-R: Joe Hall, Tom Dodds, Brad Perry, Arthur Reid and Ed Wakeman.

Click Herefor team photos taken in 1967 before the creation of two dedicated Rivet Ball teams. In early 1967 the Ravens flew both Rivet Ball and Rivet Brass missions.

K. Hawes
Hi Res

This was a typical post flight debriefing of Team-2 Ravens (Gaggle) in hangar #2 where we discussed inflight maintenance problems and operational procedures. No mission was ever complete without the usual paperwork. When everything was wrapped up and shipped out we headed for the chow hall. Midnight chow was always a favorite. After eating we liked to play a serious game ofZOTSin the lounge. Zots was a game created by the crewmembers on Shemya and similar to chinese checkers. However, the rules and terminology reflected our mission.... "Shoot The Gap.... Kill-Kill-Kill".... and so on. The game of Zots was like everything else on The Rock. It was extreme and we loved It !

T. Dodds / A. Reid
Hi Res

The unauthorized version of Rivet Ball in the photo above has a story behind it as so many things do on Shemya. I'm now going to give you the straight skinny on this unique photo.

Det-1, 6th Strategic Wing (6th SW), Strategic Air Command (SAC) was about to receive a rare inspection visit from Headquarters 15th Air Force. That's right....The General is coming !Now that's what we call an opportunity ! You can be sure we all shined our shoes, put out the trash and arranged the furniture. We even polished the floors and dusted off the briefing room chairs. It's Show-Time folks, fire up the dog and pony show. Gotta look good....The General is coming !

After all was said and done, everyone tucked in for the night and slept with one eye open. Everyone that is except two Ravens by the name of Bob Brown and King Hawes. Now that's asking for trouble.

About two o'clock in the morning Bob's creative mind begins to work overtime again and he says to me.... "Hey King, lets put shark teeth on the Ball." And I replied.... "That's a great idea Bob, I like the way you think." We then went to the mission planning room and proceeded to cut, glue and mark navigation charts in the form of shark teeth and eye balls. The teeth and eyes were then taped to "The Ball". I think we finished somewhere around 3:00 AM. It looked great. Now we're ready for The General.

What do you think the Det-1 Commander, Colonel Stan Ratto, had to say about our nose art when he opened both eyes on that memorable morning ? You guessed it.... "Oh...Shit".


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