Michael Michaud  

~ Perspective From A Family Member ~

Hello to all Reconnaissance Aircrews and their particular brood out there. My name is Michael G. Michaud, son of Lt. Col. Charles Bruce Michaud who was the Pilot in Command of Rivet Amber on that fateful day in June 1969. He was known as "Mitch" by his friends and that is how I will refer to him, unless "Dad" slips out.

I was 12 and my sister Teri was 11 when Rivet Amber was lost. We were residing at Eielson with our mother Pat. Both Teri and I were classic "Air Force Brats" having been born on Forbes AFB in Topeka, Kansas and never knowing anything but base life while following Mitch on his then current assignments. When assigned to Rivet Amber, Mitch held Instructor Certificates in both 47s and 135s.

Like so many before us, we had our stint at the apartment complex in North Pole when we initially migrated up from the Lower 48 in 1967. In time we migrated to Eielson AFB. What an adventure we were all on! Mitch on his professional path of choice and the family moving to this wondrous land previously only read about. We were all simply devouring the experience.

An important note in the statement above to those children who may have been to young to really know their father's "professional path of CHOICE". A great deal of insight into your father's character may be gained by simply acknowledging the tremendous sacrifice, hard work and dedication with which they put themselves into the position to make that CHOICE. The Air Force does not simply hand these positions to the first guy saying he will take it. Every single position on these aircraft, from nose to tail, are manned by proven professionals at the pinnacle of their careers. The pride you should feel for your fathers accomplishments are firmly cemented in this basic premise and cannot be denied. Like it or not, that blood flows in your veins, so stand tall and honor them with the pride they worked so hard to earn. These were not only men of Intelligence, but intelligent men. They practiced what they knew and planned for the unknown as best as humanly possible. Every single one of them were cognizant of the potential dangers they faced with every mission. Time after time they would mount their unarmed steel steed and firmly spur it into the unknown future with intent and purpose. I have absolutely no doubt that if they were with us today, the decision to go would remain constant.

The loss of Rivet Amber on June 5, 1969 was not about a single aircraft and 19 men alone. Each face with a name had family behind them. On average, multiply each crewmember by 4 or 5 times. In Mitch's case, he is survived by a wife, two children and two younger sisters named Suzie and Carol. The point being that you are talking about roughly 80 immediate family members who's life made a drastic change in that particular time node. Factor in parents, relatives, Air Force associates, civilian contractors (LTV-Hughes-Litton-Boeing-Goodyear) and you can see that the numbers become absolutely staggering. Within 24 hours we were taking calls from Alaska, California, Nebraska, Washington D.C., Texas and more. Everyone had one thing in common during that time, a feeling of complete helplessness and disbelief.

As a 12 year old it seemed logical for me to simply ask mom, "Why don't they go get them, can't we go?". I obviously didn't have a grasp on the environment they operated in on a daily basis. In my rather long winded way, I am trying to direct another point specifically to family and friends of the Rivet Amber crew. When you find yourself feeling like you are weeping alone, as hard as it may be, try to expand your horizon to include the hundreds of above named people and KNOW that you don't weep alone. I for one, would be proud and un-ashamed to weep with you. Many feel the same.

We need to sing the accolades of this particular crew while acknowledging the fact that we are actually talking about an entire corps of men, past, present and future. Each willing to answer the call for the greater good at a moments notice with little concern for their self.

- To current Aircrews.... I say that in your greatest hour or moment of need, your family is but a thought away. Kiss them when departing like it was the last time.

- To future Aircrews.... God's speed.

- To those who survived the rigors of the real world.... Thank you.

- To those who have paid the ultimate price.... We love and miss you dearly to this very day.

Best regards to all Aircrews and Family,

Michael G. Michaud
March 27, 2004

(Revelation 2:10)

~ High Flight ~

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.


1000 - 18 August 1969


In rememberance of the crew of an RC-135 lost in the
Bering Sea on 5 June 1969:

Ltc. Charles B. Michaud
Maj. Peter S. Carpenter
Maj. Richard N. Martel
Maj. Horace G. Beasley
Maj. Rudolph J. Meissner
Capt. Michael E. Mills
Capt. James F. Ray
MSgt. Herbert C. Gregory
TSgt. Donald F. Wonders
TSgt. Lester J. Schatz
TSgt. Hervey Hebert
TSgt. Charles F. Dreher
TSgt. Eugene L. Benevides
SSgt. Robert W. Fox
SSgt. Roy L. Lindsey
SSgt. Richard J. Steen Jr.
Sgt. Douglas Arcano
Sgt. Sherman E. Consolver Jr.
Sgt. Lucian A. Rominiecki

Officiating Chaplains

Ch. Col. Wade K. Tomme
Ch. Maj. Dean L. Minton
Ch. Maj. Robert B. Lantz

Ch. Lt. Col. John R. Collin
Ch. Capt. Jerome A. Fris

Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)

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