Posted in Military History

Today in U.S. military history: a secret Space Shuttle mission

Today’s post is in honor of the crew of FROSH 10, a B-52C that crashed into a mountain in Maine during a training mission on this day in 1963. The airmen were testing terrain-following radar and flying at near-treetop levels when they encountered severe turbulence from the mountains, completely shearing off their rear stabilizer. While the pilot and navigator survived, Maj. Robert J. Morrison, Lt. Col Joe R. Simpson, Jr., Maj. William W. Gabriel, Maj. Robert J. Hill, Jr., Capt. Herbert L. Hansen, Capt. Charles G. Leuchter and Tech. Sgt. Michael F. O’Keefe of the 99th Bombardment Wing, Heavy perished.


1847: Col. Sterling Price (future major general in the Confederate Army) learns a force of nearly 2,000 Mexicans and Pueblo Indians is preparing to assault U.S.-held Santa Fe, in modern-day New Mexico. He assembles his 353 soldiers, militia, and volunteers and heads out to meet the enemy, which occupy houses and the heights overlooking Price’s position.

Despite the terrain disadvantage and five-to-one numerical odds, Price’s heavily outnumbered force routs the insurgents.”In a few minutes,” Price reported, “my troops had dislodged the enemy at all points, and they were flying in every direction.”

1944: As Maj. Gen. John P. Lucas’ VI Corps expand the beachhead at Anzio, Adolf Hitler orders his troops to defend the Gustav Line (situated between Anzio and Monte Cassino) to the last man. The nihilistic dictator’s order comes a year — to the day — after ordering Gen. Friedrich Paulus’ shattered Sixth Army to fight to the death at Stalingrad. Paulus and his men only hold out for another week.

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Posted in Images Military History

Is that a lifting body under your wing, or are you just happy to see me?

It’s hard to believe that the B-52B in this photo from 1969…

… is the same plane (NASA Tail Number 008) in this picture from 2001:

Continue reading “Is that a lifting body under your wing, or are you just happy to see me?”

Posted in Images Military History

20 incredible aircraft of the Strategic Air Command

When most American troops were returning to civilian life after winning of World War II, the Army Air Force established a new outfit, responsible for delivering America’s new atomic weapon: Strategic Air Command. Before the United States had an arsenal of nuclear-armed submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles, the only way to target our opponents was to send the pilots and crew of SAC flying over hostile territory. Advancements in jets, missiles, and air defense technology meant SAC’s arsenal of planes had to constantly adapt and be replaced in order to provide the nuclear deterrent needed during the Cold War. Here are just some of the aircraft used by SAC during its 45-year history:

B-50 Superfortress

After World War II, Boeing modified its iconic B-29 design, adding more powerful engines, a larger tail fin, and a stronger air frame. Boeing also produced reconnaissance and aerial tanker versions of their last piston-powered warplane. RB-50s conducted reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union, but the advent of jet-powered MiG fighters means that Soviet flyers can – and on occasion do – shoot down these high-flying “Superforts.”