Lisa Ann Prologue  

Joseph T. Cleary

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Capt Cleary had been assigned to SAC (DORQX) in June 1963. He had been an Electronic Warfare Supervisor (Raven 1) assigned to the 38th Strat Recon Sq of the 55th Strat Recon Wing for the preceding 6 years. Although he had very little Administrative experience with SAC, he had been Adjutant of the 610th Aircraft Control and Warning Sq at Itazuke Air Base, Japan for 18 months and this stood him in good stead when he had to learn his new job.

He was soon to learn that his new job would require much diplomacy as well as learning how to manage a project at a Major Air Command. It was a lot different than being Adjutant at a Sq !!! As it would turn out, he had to learn how to diplomatically give orders to some officers who were Senior to him, in such a way as it would seem more like a request for assistance than an order.

Meanwhile, at Greenvile, AFLC-LOT was holding meetings to which all interested parties were invited. These were sporadic at first, later becoming more scheduled.

As time went on things changed. For one thing, there was a re-organization at SAC Hq. DORQX was transferred to the Director of Plans, and became the Reconnaissance Division (DPLC3). Personnel changes became almost a weekly thing. In the end Colonel Melford Lewis became Commander and Capt Cleary found himself in the same office as the Project Officers for the SR71, the Pilotless Drone Program, and the RC135C "Big Team" Program. He was to become involved with all of them either as an advisor for them in Electronics matters or as a fill in for when the assigned Project Officer was absent.

By this time he was promoted to the rank of Major which helped with the diplomacy problem. Also at this time it became obvious that a Management tool had to be devised to coordinate all of the activities within SAC Hq, something which allowed him to have the authority necessary to "run" things. So it was deemed necessary to create the RC135 Working Group with himself as Chairman. Monthly meetings were held and directives were issued to the other 26 members of the Group based mostly on information received from AFLC-LOT.

As time went on it became obvious that Lisa Ann was experiencing problems that might not be overcome. The costs were rising more than anticipated, and there was not much accomplished in passing the Test Flights.

In the Spring of 1966 my contemporary at the Pentagon, Major Ed Steffen, was told by his superiors to "pull the plug" on Lisa Ann.

I knew in advance about this as Ed and I were in close contact. So, I convened the Working Group to see what could be done to prevent having the plug pulled. There was a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Some members felt it was none of SAC's business. Others, such as myself, felt that Lisa Ann had to be saved because she was the only way we could add the Intelligence from the Tell Two and Wanda Belle Programs to that of what we knew Lisa Ann could tell us. This would show us what the Soviet capability would amount to.

Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)
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