The Earl E. Myers Story
Page 1 of 1 Pages
|On arrival at Pease AFB, NH, I was assigned to the 817th Air Division Directorate of Operations. The 100th Bomb Wing, was commanded by Col. Pete Wall. The other Wing, the 509th, was Commanded by Col. "Buck" Buckwalter. My varied duties included monitoring the ground and flight training these wings were accomplishing and serving in a leadership position relating to accident investigations.
Regarding the latter. If an aviation accident occurred, I would head up the operational portion. The first thing on the agenda was to determine what the flight crews activity was before reporting for flight. It was not a pleasant duty to observe the mutilated crew members and body parts hanging in trees and scattered on the ground after an accident.
One accident was a midair collision involving a B-47 and KC-135 tanker off the coast of Greenland. All were lost, It was determined that the flight crew of the B-47 did not have the required crew rest before flight.
Another related to a B-47 take off where the fuel had not been loaded properly, creating a nose high uncontrolled attitude. They came in contact with tall pine trees and the ground. During the accident investigation proceedings it was determined that the crew chief had not used a check list. The flight crew did not discover the unbalanced fuel load prior to departure. Apparently some items were missed on the flight crew check list.
Another accident that happened was during snow removal. An Airman was missing from his duty station at sunup. A ramp check was being conducted to determine if more snow removal was required. A snow bank with red coloring, scattered throughout, was noted. The airman had accidentally been sucked into the blower of the snow removal equipment. It might be noted that it was often so cold that a few personnel would violate orders or a regulation so that they could be thrown into the slammer where it was warm. There they could watch color TV and have hot coffee and food.
Monitoring the conditions of the Combat Alert Force was also one of my duties, making sure that the crew's were comfortable and fully ready to perform their alert launch duties.
I did have opportunities to keep up my own flying proficiency. On one of my flight departures, I was climbing out on a predetermined heading which took me over Kenneybunkport, Maine. For reasons unknown, the right wing tank jettisoned and fell into the Atlantic Ocean. I returned to Pease AFB and, and at a low altitude, burned off fuel to bring us down to a safe landing weight. This accomplished, we made a safe and successful landing.
On other occasions I made several flights to England to inspect the operational conditions of our alert flight crews that were on TDY to Brize Norton and Upper Hayford Airbases. Written reports to the 8th Air Force Headquarters were required.
This assignment would prove to be my final one for the USAF. From a family standpoint, we had mixed feelings about living in that area. Pease was located in New Hampshire, near the Atlantic Ocean. The water was about 65 degrees in the summer. Diving for lobsters was one of our more memorable and relaxing family pursuits. By this time, I had accumulated 25 years of active service, 9,984 military flying hours, and could choose retirement at any point from here on. The experiences I had accumulated were priceless, but I had the strong feeling that it was time for me to move on. Retirement was in order. I soon had filed the necessary retirement papers and was ready to pursue some "New horizons".
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