The Earl E. Myers Story
Chapter 22 RB-47 Transition Training
Page 1 of 1
I moved on to AOB training in November of 1952. Although I didn’t fully realize it at the time, the coming months would prove to be a remarkable opportunity for me to advance and broaden my knowledge as a USAF pilot. The AOB training requirements were in two phases. For the first 6 months I was assigned to Ellington AFB, Houston TX. It was fine training and restful after the extensive schedule with the 31/91st SRS on Okinawa and Japan during the Korean conflict. It certainly was a change in pace to Fairchild AFB under the former C.O. that I had also served under on Oki. and Yokota AFB.
|Classes were from 0800 hrs. to 1700 hrs. The class work was boring but the flights in a T-29 Convair were interesting and sometimes scary as it was not too shiny of an airplane on one engine. The damned aircraft was a hog for engine problems in flight. It was 6 months of R and R. One evening I returned to my quarters about 3 miles from Ellington took a shower. My favorite wearing apparel to wear after a grueling day was to have a shower and a cold beer. A red nightgown was donned that had just been laundered and within about 10 seconds, I ripped it off and had very small red ants all over my bod. I am allergic to ant, bee and wasp stings. I went to the emergency room at Ellington with body parts swollen up to about 4 times regular size. The flight surgeon gave me a shot of some sort of antihistamine. The symptoms faded over a period of days, but that experience still lives vividly in my memory.
The first stage being completed at Ellington and then off to Mather AFB, Sacramento, CA. for advanced training where after 6 more additional months of R and R we graduated and received our navigator wings. This was all fine and the courses were excellent and all this training for me to be an Aircraft Commander in an RB-47, a 6 engine jet.
built by Convair.
The above aircraft was photographed on
This aircraft was delivered to the
Photo ctsy web site
Below: T-29 images ctsy web site
|One of the first things I found was that the sextant port for celestial shooting of the stars and sun was located in the aft seat of this tandem seated aircraft above the co-pilots head.
I was assigned to the 90th Strat Recon Wing at Forbes AFB, Kansas. Before our official training was to begin and while we were waiting for our RB-47s to be ready for delivery from the factory, we had several KB-29s to deliver to the "Boneyard" at Davis Monthan AFB, AZ. The KB-29's were very very tired and it was not unusual on arrival at DM that an engine or two would fail enroute. Once we landed at DM we only had two fans still turning. It was very difficult to taxi when the engines were both on the same side. It was a long distance from the end of the runway to the Bone Yard parking areas and a tow was required, Closing down the runway until we were clear was necessary.
Our former Wing C.O. at Forbes was Col. Shaky Shower He was stationed at DM and was the Commander in charge of the Boneyard. We had several discussions about Forbes and the RB-29s. He would almost always go with us to a local restaurant and we would hash out old time's at Forbes. One of my first encounters with Col. Albert J. "Shaky" Shower was in Kingston, Jamaica. We were ferrying a replacement engine for one of our wing's RB-29s to Kingston. On arrival a fuel truck pulled up to the aircraft and started refueling and a local crew began downloading the replacement engine. We were not told why the engine was being ferried to Jamaica. Shortly after the refueling and engine download was completed a staff car and two vans arrived at the parking hardstand. Out came our Wing C.O. Col "Shaky" with his crew. This was the first time I had met him. Of course I did not ask him why his crew did not stay and ferry their own tired old bucket of bolts back to Forbes. But we made the best of it for the next 5 days.
Our hotel was the Myrtle Bank Hotel right on Kingston Bay. The first night it was dinner at the hotel and then bed rest. The air conditioning was louvers on the windows and doors. The next morning our crew all had breakfast together. We noted there were very young boys swimming in the Bay and if you threw a coin in, they would dive for it. What a scramble! Then, out to the airport we went to check on the progress of the engine change, Our transportation was a 1928, aluminum body, Lincoln Touring car like the hood's used with machine gun's blazing away at the cop's with the top down, I might add. Man, we were living high on the hog.
We were at Kingston for 5 days before the engine change was completed, Hardstands and crane's were tough to get. They were made available by Air Jamaica on a low, low priority. We "suffered" the complete stay in Kingston. We retained the same two drivers that we started out with. They were both jolly and very helpful in touring the South Coast of Jamaica and the night spots They knew them all. They were very friendly and especially when we passed an oncoming Lincoln Taxi. I asked the driver if he knew everybody in the Kingston area. His reply was, they are all my sons. “How many do you have, I asked” “Twenty-two” was his reply, “but not all from the same mother!”
The driver also kept a good supply of cold beer for our consumption. It was legal in Jamaica at that time to have beer on board. and it cost about 10 cents each. YUM YUM. It was good weather everyday and quite warm both day and night. We always had a nice breeze out of the East due to the persistent Trade Winds. When we returned to Forbes Col. Shaky Showers greeted us. His first words to the crew were, “Didjamicia it back O.K”
|On one trip to Davis Monthan we were put up in a hotel downtown Tucson. We had 3 days to wait for military transport with other ferry crew's to return back to Forbes. At that particular time no one in the military could rent a car from any of the car rentals in the area. We were extremely bored in the hotel. Since I grew up in a funeral home environment, I got the bright idea of renting a hearse. I told the crew that I would return shortly and we would go to Nogales. I drove the hearse to the hotel and the doorman was more than shocked to see a hearse in front of the hotel and moreso our crew. We all boarded, all 12 of us, and away we went. We all had dinner in "The Caves" in Nogales, Mexico. We were returning about 0300 hrs to go thru customs etc for reentry to the good ole U.S. of A.
|The first question that was asked was “How much booze do you have on board?” “We have 24 gallons.” “24 gallons” the custom's officer replied. You are only allowed 12 gallons, one gallon per person. He counted the bottles we had and asked where the remaining 12 gallons were. I said, a gallon in us and a gallon with us. He said, “Get the heck on down the road.” So off we went on the highway back to Tucson. This vehicle had a tilt system built into it that would tilt the hearse up or down, both forward and aft. Also tilt up or down on the port or starboard side as the final resting places are not all level. In proceeding on the highway returning to Tucson I got the bright idea to use the tilt system and those that were still awake thought it was a very unique experience
All of a sudden, about half way back to Tucson, a bright "RED LIGHT" was flashing behind us. Needless to say I pulled over very rapidly. The State Patrolman came up to the driver's side and asked me for my driver's license and shined his flashlight toward the back. He shook his head and said, "OK" you guys follow me back to Tucson. I thought we would all end up in the clink. He escorted us to the hotel and took the keys and said, “O.K. all of you bail out”. He entrusted the keys to the desk clerk and told him not to give them to me or anyone else before noon.. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Nuf said about that trip.
|It was a good and comprehensive course. The only difference in the flight instructor pilot and myself was that he had 18 hours more flight time in the B-47 than I did. What a course and I loved every second of it.
Back to Forbes, now the ferrying of the tired old beasts (the KB-29s) was completed. Our Sq. C.O., L/C Vincent Crane, the Ops Officer Maj. Merlin Tebbs, Capt Dick Newton and myself were off to McConnell AFB, Wichita for B-47 ground and flight training.
ready to finish
View of McConnell AFB flight line, looking aft from the rear seat of a B-47. The shadows at the top of the picture are reflections from electronic wiring imbeded in the B-47 cockpit bubble canopy.
historical data relating to the B/RB-47, click here and
return with your back button at your discretion.
End of Page 1 of 1, Chapter 22 Go to Chapter 23