Tech Rep  

Thomas M. Simundich

This part is indeed sad. On the final night before the plane was to leave for Eielson for maintenance I was in an expansive mood. Rivet Amber being away would mean that I could relax. I told Maj Martel and Maj Miller that I would be up in the morning to check the LN16 and see the plane off. I thought that the commotion of preparing to leave would wake me up. It didn't. After I fell asleep the next thing I heard was the roar of the engines as the plane pulled away from the hangar. I went back to sleep thinking darn it I missed them. Later in the morning my roommate, Tupelo, woke me and said that we were in big trouble. I thought that he was referring to the LN16 failing. He then said, "Lisa Ann is 2 hours overdue at Eielson and did not make its mid flight call-in". My chest went heavy since I suspected the worst. I walked out on to the hangar floor. Nobody was there. I heard no sound. I went into the rec room. There were a few people sitting in the chairs just staring not wishing to talk. We knew for sure that Rivet Amber was lost. Then everyone started asking who was on the plane. People started saying the names. Eventually conjectures started being made, "The plane hit a flutter mode. The radar dome popped out". No one knew. Logan Delp said without conviction "When I worked on the dew-line we saw many pilots thought lost come walking out the tundra". Bless his heart. In about a week an investigation crew came out. We had little to tell them. Russ Howard told us that the search was fruitless. He said, "Visibility from RC135s is poor and you soon realize that the ocean is full of floating debris. Even at low altitude Rivet Amber debris can not be distinguished from ordinary debris". Soon we tech reps left the island and returned to our companies.

I never met General Urschler. This is my misfortune. He had left the 6th SW when I arrived. However, both the operational and maintenance personnel of the 6th SW were still telling Reggie stories while I was a tech rep to the wing. (Even after the Amber tragedy one of the Air Force wives said, "Reggie must be taking the loss of Lisa Ann hard. She was his airplane.") While these stories were told for laughs, the respect for, the then, Maj Urschler and admiration for his pilot skills were apparent. Indeed, I hold all the former members of the 6th SW in the highest esteem, not only as dedicated professionals but also as warm human beings. War stories as GIs tell them have a hero, usually the narrator, describe with humor how the hero prevails over outrageous fortune and conclude with a punch line. The stories included here, except the last two that are exactly as I recall them, are in this vein. They are mostly true but are exaggerated. They are to be enjoyed not authenticated. My once vivid memories of Rivet Amber and Shemya have faded, some to mere impressions but now as I recall them fully imbued with sentiment. Although we counted the hours until we could get off Shemya, we now would gladly for a little time return to those days.

Thomas M. Simundich
July 10, 2003

Logan Delp
Hi Res

Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)
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