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SR-71, The Blackbird

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SR-71, The Blackbird

Old 5th Jan 2019, 18:54
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
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From the Distinguished Flying Cross Society's site:

No one knows how many DFC’s were awarded but The Distinguished Flying Cross Society has over 6,200 recipient members with possibly thousands more eligible to join our prestigious and elite Society.
The Medal ? The Distinguished Flying Cross Society

Here's a news story on a fake DFC Society applicant:


On the SR-71 side of the story, I believe there actually were pilots who flew the A-12, YF-12A and SR-71. It appears that Lockheed test pilot Jim Eastham was one:

Jim Eastham, known in aviation circles under the Codename Dutch 52, was a legendary Lockheed test pilot known for flight-testing the world's first three Mach 3+ articles at Area 51, White Sands, NM, and Edwards AFB. He was the first pilot to fly the YF-12A (Project KEYLOCK [sic]), second pilot to fly the SR-71 (Project SENIOR CROWN), third pilot to fly the CIA's A-12 Blackbird (Project OXCART). Jim was the chief test pilot during the testing of the Convair YB-58A, and the author of the YF-12 flight manual.

Jim Eastman, Member Roadrunners Internationale
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 20:44
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
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Posts: 1,058

It is hard to quickly find someone who received an award/decoration.

I went to the national archives and could not find my DFC, but it could be the dates I entered didn't match. Ditto for my SIlver Star, and I had the dates just right as it was pinned on me by a USAF two-star on the battlefield where the action took place within two weeks of the end. The Army has a quick and dirty process in order to keep morale up and then move on, and they were the ones who put me in for the decoration. Hell, they even had a "program with pictures and a map", just like you would get at a football game. ( Look up :THE 5TH BATTALION ASSOCIATION - Battle of Y Bridge ) USAF is full of paper pushers and I didn't get the DFC for over a year after my flight lead submitted the paperwork, unbeknownst to me until I had returned to the states and the boss ordered me to a ceremony.

Oh well, I have never met an out and out liar about a war, far as I clould tell. But I have heard confusing stories and embellished ones.

Gums sends...
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 22:27
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
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I have some I cannot talk about....far too embarrassing a story behind them.

The one I am most proud of is the "Royal Order of the Yo-Yo" Medal with Cloth Ribbon that I earned twice.

It was presented by the WOPA Chapter at the Unit to a member that had really done something far beyond stupid......and you retained custody of it until it was awarded to someone else.

It had to worn anytime you were off duty, in the Officers Club, and within sight of alcohol.

To be caught not wearing it meant you bought all the drinks that night.
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 00:31
  #44 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by gums View Post
USAF is full of paper pushers and I didn't get the DFC for over a year after my flight lead submitted the paperwork, unbeknownst to me until I had returned to the states and the boss ordered me to a ceremony.
This guy had to wait 68 years for his DFC:

I stumbled across this awards ceremony by accident years ago while walking back from the New Sagaya grocery store in ANC. The gentleman in the broad brimmed hat behind Lt. Gen. Hoog in the picture turned out to be Alaska's sole U.S. congressman Don Young.

More in this article:

World War II heroics not forgotten The Alaska Star
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 01:26
  #45 (permalink)  
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This guy had to wait 68 years for his DFC
I thought waiting eleven years for the American Embassy to pass on my humble decoration (not DFC) was an inordinately long time. Bureaucratic wheels turn ever so slowly.
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Old 15th Jan 2019, 15:14
  #46 (permalink)  
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I just came across more on that 1977 SR-71 static display at Mildenhall in Paul Crickmore's Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions (Revised Edition 2016).

Colonel 'Buz' Carpenter narrates:

As a postscript, about two weeks later we were informed that our TDY at Mildenhall had been extended to support the Air Tattoo celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. A two-day open house would attract well over 100,000 visitors and the SR-71 would be on its first British public display since setting the speed record from New York to London in 1974. The SR-71 would be part of the static display, but roped off so people could not touch the aircraft.
We had been advised to watch for representatives from the Soviet Union and Eastern satellite countries trying to get too close to the aircraft and securing material samples. To prevent the Russians or anyone else from exploiting the display, no sensors were left on the aircraft, all fuel had been removed from the tanks and the aircraft was heat soaked to ambient temperatures to prevent infrared cameras from discovering the secrets of the aircraft’s internal structure and support systems.

As we four crewmembers were standing around the aircraft answering questions from the crowd, sure enough the Russians showed up in numbers. They took numerous regular and infrared photos and some of the Russians even had hidden microphones. They were a sight to see, coming up like a covey of quail. It looked like the Salvation Army had outfitted them. Their dress sense was that from a 1930s movie about American mobsters. They were attired in bulky double-breasted suits made from rougher cloth than one normally sees, and all clustered around each other waiting for their leader to act. The head of the Soviet delegation, a former MiG-23 fighter pilot, was quite relaxed and talkative in his demeanour and invited John and I to sometime drop in on Vladivostok in the Far East as a gesture of peaceful relationships. We just quipped, ‘Please forward that request to our State Department.’ The British open house audiences are much more aviation literate than their American counterparts. Tough aeronautical questions were often asked as we stood by the aircraft in the static display, but a great time was had by all, with wonderful weather and spectacular flying demonstrations.

Actually, one of my Navy skippers did cross-deck with the Russians in Vladivostok in about 1978.
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Old 18th May 2019, 10:19
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Col. Rich Graham is giving a lecture near Stratford On Avon this coming Wednesday.

Tickets are still available

✈ ✈ ✈ **SPREAD THE WORD** This is an event open to members and none members ** ✈ ✈ ✈ Colonel (ret.) Rich Graham, flew the world’s fastest and highest-flying aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, for 7 years during his 25-year Air Force career. He also flew 210 combat missions in Vietnam as an F-4 fighter pilot and Wild Weasel pilot. His many military awards include 3 Legion of Merit medals, 4 Distinguished Flying Cross medals and 19 Air Medals.
Rich speaks with authority on the SR-71 having been the Squadron Commander and 9th Wing Commander of this Top Secret reconnaissance program. Rich is a respected authority with an incredible depth of knowledge on the Blackbird. His truly amazing stories enthrall aviators and non-aviators alike.


The Charlecote Pheasant Hotel
Charlecote Road
CV35 9EW
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Old 18th May 2019, 11:11
  #48 (permalink)  
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Col. Rich Graham is giving a lecture near Stratford On Avon this coming Wednesday.
He must be on a tour. I am hoping to hear him speak in Bournemouth on Thursday evening.
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Old 18th May 2019, 18:00
  #49 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by pulse1 View Post
He must be on a tour. I am hoping to hear him speak in Bournemouth on Thursday evening.
He was at Metheringham airfield on Wednesday evening as well. Would love to have gone and hopefully I will be able to get to another one, he's presented at least twice before.
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Old 19th May 2019, 10:35
  #50 (permalink)  
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Same person?

Hi, is it possible that Jim Eastham and Jack Mecham are actually the same person who chooses to be known under a different name now for whatever reason?
Cheers Paul
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Old 19th May 2019, 15:53
  #51 (permalink)  
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Training as a civil ATCO at Northern Radar in mid 1973, one day one of the RAF controllers strolled over and told me 'watch track number XX; it's an SR71'
I watched it and noted it would move at high speed for some distance, then the blip would apparently stop (the Type 82 radar I was watching was not equipped with MTI) then it would move again, tracking north west from the vicinity of Alconbury.
It wasn't until later I read about the SR71 climb technique.
The following year, 1974, having been posted to Farnborough I was present when 'Aspen 01' arrived having left Beale only a few hours previously and setting up a world record across the Atlantic.
We were told to have fire crews standing by as if one or more of his 3 brake chutes failed to stream, he would stay down but have VERY hot brakes when he stopped.
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Old 19th May 2019, 18:32
  #52 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Surrey
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Chevvron,when I was an ATCO at Eastern Radar(civil) in 1983,I was called into the bosses office one day (HL,you may know him).I was given a brown A4 envelope,and told to read the type-written page inside,digest the information,hand it back,and then talk about it to no-one.It contained information about the procedures to be followed when the SR71 was to be operating from Mildenhall during my next morning duty.However,when I arrived for work on the said day,my colleague(DW,whom you may also know,being an ex-ATCA).had already arrived,and had 'plugged-in'.Bearing in mind my instructions,I said nothing to him,presuming he had been shown the contents of the aforementioned brown envelope.I did however watch the progress on the spare screen,and thereafter these flights were quite a common occurrence,but I do wonder if this was the first one.
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Old 19th May 2019, 18:52
  #53 (permalink)  
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I do wonder if this was the first one.
It wasn't .
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Old 19th May 2019, 19:28
  #54 (permalink)  
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Wonder what all the hush-hush stuff was all about then ?
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Old 20th May 2019, 11:30
  #55 (permalink)  
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Is there a way of finding out where else Col Graham is speaking? Charlecote and Bournemouth so far, but if there's anywhere else...
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Old 20th May 2019, 21:33
  #56 (permalink)  
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Fairy, check out the RAeS web site for Rich giving lectures at a number of the Branches. He comes over to UK twice a year. Based in Cambridgeshire. Likely to appear at Duxford talking to youngsters in the main.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 07:04
  #57 (permalink)  
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Cheers. As it turns out, a change in plans means I'll try to get to the Bournemouth event this evening.
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