Lisa Ann Prologue  

Joseph T. Cleary

In the end the Group concluded that SAC was in a better position than AFLC-LOT to run the Flight Tests. We had the manpower and the facilities to do a more thorough job. A plan was devised for me to present at the next meeting at Greenville at which Major Steffen would announce the death of Lisa Ann.

This plan envisioned moving Lisa Ann from Greenville to Hickam AFB, Hawaii. Hickam was chosen because it was the only base with C135 support that was anywhere near the Kwajalein Missile Test Range. Kwajalein was the site at which the re-entry events of ICBMs being launched from Vandenburg AFB could be monitored by Lisa Ann. We felt that if Lisa Ann could be run against the Vandenburg missiles she would stand a better chance of passing her Flight Tests.

Lisa Ann had been assigned to cover the missiles being launched at White Sands Missile Test Range in New Mexico. While it was near to Greenville, the missiles were smaller than Lisa Ann was designed to operate against, and the Test Flight Objectives were not being met. Another thing we had to consider : it cost $10,000 a day just to sit Lisa Ann on the tarmac at Majors Field. This could be saved by moving her to Hickam.

On the appointed day Major Steffen arrived at Greenville . He gave the introduction to his announcement. I asked if I could say something. He agreed. I laid out the plan that the Working Group had devised. I could see relief on his face. I asked him if he wanted time to think about it. He said no, we obtained consent from AFLC-LOT , and the deal was made.

The next thing to do was to involve 6th SW in the plan. I sent a message bringing them up to date on everything and directed them to appoint someone as the Lisa Ann Task Force Commander and send him to Hickam. I also included SAC X-Ray at Hickam, and SAC Zulu at Kwajalein and asked them to assist in coordinating whatever help the Task Force Commander would need.

The biggest problem was when to launch Lisa Ann to monitor the Vandenburg re-entry events. It was over a 2 hour flight from Hickam to Kwajalein. This meant launching Lisa Ann in time to get to Kwajalein before the re-entry event happened. And that meant that we had to know in advance what Vandenburg 's launch schedule ( complete with windows ) was.

I contacted the Ballistic Missiles Division of Air Force Systems Command , told them as much as I could of what we wanted to do, and asked for their highly classified launch schedule. As I suspected, they refused.

The only other alternative I had was to ask Major Steffen if he could get a 3 Star General at the Pentagon to whisper a few thousand well chosen words in the ears of AFSC and BMD to get us what we wanted. He did and we got the launch schedules.

The rest was now up to SAC. I turned the directives over to Recon Operations ( DOOR ) downstairs at the Hq and DMAT ( DM4D ) upstairs and retired temporarily from the business of operating and maintaining the Flight Tests. I had other programs for which I was Project Officer.

To make a long story short it took 18 missions before Lisa Ann satisfactorily passed her Flight Tests. There are a few stories associated with these missions which others will have to provide. One was a mission when a UFO whizzed by Lisa Ann in flight. Another was when Lisa Ann had to divert to Wake Island.

Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)
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