Special Sub-Topic: The Dangers of Airborne Reconnaissance
|Over the South China Sea on April 1, 2001, a People's Republic of China F-8II collided with a USN EP-3E reconnaissance aircraft assigned to VQ-1. How many people were killed in this accident?|
1. The EP-3E landed safely at Lingshui airfield on Hainan Island, and there were no US casualties. The pilot of the F-8II, which was based at Lingshui, was killed in the accident and his aircraft was lost at sea. The EP-3E crew was held by the PRC for 11 days during tense negotiations, but was released on April 12, 2001.
|On September 10, 1956, a USAF RB-50G2 based at Yakota Airbase, Japan, took off on a reconnaissance flight over the Sea of Japan but never returned. What was the fate of the 16 crewmen on board?|
Unknown. This accident remains a mystery to this day. The Russians deny any involvement in this accident, and there was typhoon (Typhoon Emma) in the area. Speculation is that the aircraft was torn apart by violent winds or the aircraft crashed into the ocean. All 16 crewmen, assigned to the 6091st Reconnaissance Squadron and Detachment 1, 6924th Security Squadron, are classified as Missing In Action.
|On July 1, 1960, a USAF RB-47 assigned to the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron took off from Royal Air Force Base Brize Norton with six crewmen on board. A Soviet MiG-19 shot down the RB-47 over the Barents Sea. How many of the crew survived?|
2. Captain Freeman Olmstead, the co-pilot, and Captain John McCone, the navigator, survived and were captured by the Soviets. Charged with espionage, the intrepid Captains were imprisoned and repeatedly interrogated in the infamous Lubyanka prison. They admitted nothing to the Soviets and were eventually acquitted of the charge in Soviet court and released on January 25, 1961. Major William Palm, pilot and aircraft commander, was killed in the crash. The fate of Major Eugene Poasa and Captains Dean Phillips and Oscar Goforth, all electronic warfare officers, is unknown, but were presumed killed in the shoot down or subsequent crash.
|On April 14, 1969, a USN EC-121M assigned to VQ-1 was shot down and all 31 crewmen were killed. Which country shot down the "Willie Victor" and over which body of water?|
North Korea; Sea of Japan. The EC-121M was based at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. The crew included one enlisted Marine. Some members of Congress and the American public demanded retaliation since the previous year, (January 23, 1968) the North Koreans had attacked and seized the USS Pueblo in international waters, but President Richard Nixon refused to request a declaration of war.
|On April 18, 1955, a USAF RB-47 assigned to the 4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska went missing over the Northern Pacific Ocean. The crew was classified as Missing In Action since there was no proof that the RB-47 had been lost as a result of hostile action. Later evidence proved that the RB-47 had, in fact, been shot down. How was this evidence obtained?|
Russian President Boris Yeltsin provided the Soviet documentation of the incident.. In 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin provided documentation proving that two MiG-15's had shot down the RB-47 and that subsequent searches in the area discovered aircraft debris, maps, and an RB-47 aircraft manual. The Soviets also claimed that the RB-47 opened fire on the MiG-15's. There was no statement on the status of the six crewmen, and their status was changed to Missing In Action, Presumed Killed.
|On June 22, 1955, Soviet MiG's attacked a USN P2V over the Bering Strait. The Neptune crash-landed at the airstrip on St Lawrence Island, Alaska, and all 12 crewmen survived. What is so unusual about this incident?|
The Soviets paid for 50% of the damages claimed by the U.S.. The Soviets sent a note to the U.S. with a check for $724,947.68 attached. In the note, the Soviets claimed that the P2V had violated Soviet airspace, but the check would seem to constitute admission of fault.
|On June 5, 1969 a USAF RC-135 took off from Shemya Air Force Base and went missing over the Bering Sea. All 19 crewmen aboard were presumed killed. What was the crew's mission that day?|
Direct flight to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. No one knows what really happened to the RC-135. Communications from the crew indicated that the RIVET AMBER was experiencing severe vibrations from an undetermined cause -- possibly wind shear or a damaged/malfunctioning vertical stabilizer.
|A Soviet MiG-15 shot down a USAF C-130 on September 2, 1958 near Yerevan, Armenia. Six crewmen were confirmed Killed in Action and 11 are still listed as Missing In Action, Presumed Killed. True or False: the C-130 violated Soviet airspace.|
True. Due to a navigation error, the C-130 did enter Armenian airspace. The U.S. never used large, slow, low-flying aircraft to intentionally violate Soviet and PRC airspace; that mission was reserved for the SR-71 and the venerable U-2. A replica of the C-130 is on display in National Vigilance Park outside the entrance to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland.
|On May 21, 1989, a USAF SR-71 took off from Kadena Air Base, Japan for a reconnaissance mission that never occurred due to multiple mechanical malfunctions. How many of the two-man crew survived?|
2. I was flying an RC-135 mission from Kadena Air Base the day the SR-71 went down. We were recalled from our mission area to head to the area off the coast of the Philippines where the SR-71 went down to help in the search and rescue effort. By the time we arrived on the scene, both men had been rescued by Filipino fishermen and were on the beach. The men, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel House and Major Blair Bozek, actually made a call from a payphone from a village in the Philippines to Kadena to let someone know they were okay and needed a ride back to base... I wonder where you stow spare change in a space suit!
|On January 25, 1987, a USN EA-3B assigned to VQ-2 crashed killing all seven crewmen on board. Where did this crash occur?|
USS Nimitz. During an attempted night landing, the pilot of the EA-3B boltered five times. Missing the wire so many times resulted in the need to refuel, but could not be accomplished due to several factors. The crew didn't have enough fuel aboard to make it to an airfield on land. On a final attempt to land on the Nimitz, the EA-3's nose wheel caught the arresting net. The jet slammed onto the deck and skidded over the side into the Mediterranean Sea, killing all aboard. A replica of the EA-3B is on display in National Vigilance Park outside the entrance to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland.
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