The YB-52, the second XB-52 modified with additional operational equipment, first flew on 15 April 1952 with "Tex" Johnston as pilot. A two-hour, 21-minute proving flight from Boeing Field, King County, near Seattle, Washington to Larson AFB was undertaken with Boeing test pilot Alvin M. Johnston and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Guy M. Townsend. The XB-52 followed on 2 October 1952. The thorough development, including 670 days in the wind tunnel and 130 days of aerodynamic and aeroelastic testing, paid off with smooth flight testing. Encouraged, the Air Force increased an initial order to 282 Boeing B-52s.
After countless years of service, and after earning the nickname of BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fellow) there were concerns about the lifespan of the fleet. Several projects beyond the B-52, the Convair B-58 Hustler and North American XB-70 Valkyrie, had either been aborted or proved disappointing in light of changing requirements, which left the older B-52 as the main bomber as opposed to the planned successive aircraft models. On 19 February 1965, General Curtis E. LeMay testified to Congress that the lack of a followup bomber project to the B-52 raised the danger that, "The B-52 is going to fall apart on us before we can get a replacement for it."
All these years later, the B-52 is alive and very well, and will remain in service long after the B-2 and B-1 bombers have retired to the boneyards, once again proving to be ageless in her reign, the Buff is still smoking its 8 engines, and flexing her massive wings around the world!
On some Pacific Islands, there exists a deadly, black venomous pit viper called the Habu. When the top secret brainchild of Kelly Johnson and the Skunk Works, none other than the worlds fastest air breathing aircraft, the A-12, and later SR-71s first flew into their remote base of Kadena AFB, Okinawa, the local people couldn’t help but notice the strange and menacing shape thundering in the sky. The Titanium monster came to be known as Habu, as did the crews that flew her.
One of the first Habu to appear over Kadena, was Number 974, and on March 21st 1968, USAF SR-71 #974 flew the First Operational sortie over Vietnam, piloted by Jerry O'Malley and RSO Ed Paine. #974 went on to become the Blackbird who flew the most operational missions, and for each mission flown, a Habu was painted on her side. Once the crew amass more than 5 Habu snakes, they were considered aces.
In recognition of having the most operational missions, a large Habu, wrapped around a red number 1 was painted on the tails of #974. She became known as “Ichi-Ban” translated to “number one” in the local language.
On April 21st, 1989, Blackbird #61-17974, better known as “Ichi-Ban” departed Kadena on a mission. At the controls were Pilot Lt. Col Dan House, and RSO Blair Bozek. As #974 accelerated through three times the speed of sound, the left compressor bearing froze, causing the immediate disintegration of the port engine, and resultant explosion from the catastrophic failure sending shrapnel through critical hydraulic lines.
Lt Col House managed to slow #974, and even decend below 10 thousand feet. Both crew ejected safely, and were quickly rescued by local fishermen in the waters below.
Only one of the two section seats from Habu #974 was recovered. According to legend, the other ejection seat, having never been found, was being used by a local tribal chief as his personal throne.
As SR-71 Operations came to a close in 1990, the DET 1 commander had a plaque placed on a hill that overlooked the base, that came to be known as “Habu Hill”
This vantage point is dedicated to the magnificent SR-71 Blackbird, known worldwide as the Habu.The first SR-71 arrived at Kadena Air Base on 9 March 1968 and the last aircraft departed on 21 January 1990. Throughout those twenty-two years, the Habu roamed Pacific skies unchallenged in war and peace to insure the freedom of the United States and her allies. Habu Hill stands as a memorial to the SR-71, the special men and women who sustained its strategic reconnaissance mission and to all people who gather here and know that jet noise is truly the sound of freedom.
You know the part in 'High Flight where it talks about putting out your hand to touch the face of God? Well, when we're at speed and altitude in the SR, we have to slow down and descend in order to do that.
— USAF Lt. Col. Gil Bertelson, SR-71 pilot
MACH 3+ Diamond Decal:
VF-84 Jolly Rogers Crew Cap
The first incarnation of the Jolly Roger was established on January 1st, 1943 at NAS Norfolk, as VF-17, flying the F4U Corsair. Inspired by the Corsair name being derived from the French Privateers, better known as Pirates. VF-17's commanding officer Tommy Blackburn selected the Jolly Roger's stark white skull placed against a sinister black background as the squadron's insignia. Sporting the fearsome bone markings, VF-17 became known as the highest-scoring Navy squadron of World War II.
On 1 May 1944, the first VF-84, "Wolf Gang" was formed around a nucleus of veterans of VF-17 (the original "Jolly Rogers"). VF-84 took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima; raids on Tokyo, and other targets located on the Japanese mainland; the discovery and sinking of battleship Yamamoto; and support of the invasion of Okinawa.
On 11 May 1945, while off Okinawa, two Japanese kamikazes struck the USS Bunker Hill carrier in quick succession. A bomb carried by kamikaze aircraft penetrated down to the pilots' ready room. 22 members of VF-84 lost their lives on that day. Both the carrier (then flagship) and its air group were knocked out for the remainder of the war. The squadron was disestablished on 8 October 1945
By wars end, the pilots of VF-84 were credited with 92 shootdowns for a loss of 4 Corsairs in air-to-air combat, with a kill ratio of 48:1.
The second VF-84, known as the Vagabonds, was established on July 1, 1955, at NAS Oceana flying the FJ-3 Fury. VF-84's commanding officer, formerly with VF-61, requested to change his squadron's name and insignia to that of the Jolly Rogers. His request was approved on April 1, 1960. The squadron then was reassigned to Carrier Air Wing 7 and transitioned to the F8U-2Crusader in 1959. VF-84 continued to fly the F-8C Crusaders for several years prior to being introduced to the F-4B, J and N in 1964, until ultimatly transitioning to the F-14 Tomcat in early 1976.
VF-103 adopted the Jolly Roger after VF-84 was disestablished on October 1, 1995 , all the Sluggers aircraft were repainted with ominous all-black tails and black bands with gold chevrons painted on the side of the forward fuselage.
After a last deployment ”Last time baby” on John F. Kennedy with Carrier Air Wing Seventeen and returning to NAS Oceana in December 2004, VF-103 gave up their F-14B Tomcats and began transition to the F/A-18F Super Hornet and transfer to Carrier Air Wing Seven. The squadron was officially re-designated as VFA-103.
The Jolly Rogers continue a long-standing tradition of “passing the bones” to the new members of the squadron (FNGs). The skull-and-crossbones encased in glass, known simply as “Ernie” is the remains of Ensign Jack Ernie of VF-17. During a fierce battle over Okinawa, Ensign Jack Ernie was attempting to disengage from a fight due to loss of oil pressure. He was jumped by two Japanese Zeros and fought valiantly, even managing to splash one with his crippled Corsair, but was shortly overcome by the second Zero. As his F-4U Corsair plunged towards the sea, Ensign Ernie managed to make one last transmission: “Skipper, I can’t get out, remember me with Jolly Rogers.”
VF84 Jolly Rogers Decal
Sierra Hotel Aeronautics Crew Cap
Sierra Hotel Aeronautics (SHA) Phonetic abbreviation for “shit hot", The highest praise; the pilot’s favorite and all-purpose expression of approval from fellow aviators. Wearing the Sierra Hotel Crew Cap is a declaration of your personal pursuit of aeronautical excellence.
During wartime, flight crews quickly discovered that baseball caps not only provided better protection from the glaring sun when spotting enemy aircraft, but also enabled a more comfortable fit under their headsets. Long missions under the sun soaked canopy caused fatigue and a reduction of flight crew readyness. For this reason many crews began to fly with baseball caps in the Pacific Theater of Operations.
During the Second World War, St. Louis Cardinals manager Billy Southworth received a unique handwritten request.
It seems that a commander of a Marine fighter squadron in the Pacific made an offer to Southworth that he could not refuse. If the St Louis Cardinals sent baseball caps to his squadron based in the South Pacific, he and his pilots would guarantee to shoot down one Japanese fighter for each cap received.
Southworth agreed, and sent a box of 20 caps to the island of VellaLavella. By early 1944, Southworth learned that the Marine Squadron had splashed 48 Zeros, and that number was still climbing. The Cardinals manager later discovered that the Commander that made the request, was none other than Maj. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington and the squadron was no less than the famed VMF-214 "Black Sheep Squadron."
Chemtrail Flight Crew Cap
Each chemtrail crew cap comes with a chemtrail crew certificate of qualification to proudly display in your office, or show your family and friends!
Introducing the worlds first, and only Chemtrail Operations Flight Crew baseball cap! With a tip of the hat to our DiHydrogen Monoxide Geoengineering crews around the world, our titanium on black crew cap proudly honors your tireless work for all to see!
Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering crews (You know who you are...) have openly admitted to generating Dihydrogen Monoxide on almost all aircraft they have operated.
FACT: Dihydrogen Monoxide is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, two elements that are regularly used in rocket fuel, bombs and hair bleach. It is also a proven and openly accepted fact that it is a major component in Chemtrails.
FACT: Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is both colorless and odorless Hydric acid. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.
FACT: DHMO has been known to cause burns to exposed areas of human skin, induce the spread of mold and fungus, and even serve as a carrier for a multitude of bacteria and disease.
Sorry...there is no such thing as Chemtrails. Dihydrogen Monoxide may sound scary, but in reality, it is simple H2O, better known as water. That is what condensation trails, or "contrails" truly are... simple aircraft induced clouds.