(Barré) #1
involved, the applicant was issued a report
date pending the outcome of an extensive
background investigation for a Top Secret/
Sensitive Compartmented Information/
Codeword security clearance. There
would be months of training ahead, but a
commendable  rst step had been achieved
as only 15% made it through initial application
and  ight training to become one of just 24
U-2 pilots at any given time. I performed my
last acceptance  ight on May 12, 1978 – at
the conclusion of which I was accepted on
the U-2 programme.
In total, 100 hours  ying were assigned
to teach a pilot how to  y the U-2. When the
TR-1A came on the scene (see later) to help
meet the extra demand for pilots the 4029th
Strategic Reconnaissance Training Squadron
was established at Beale. After 75 hours
pilots destined for the TR-1A headed to RAF
Alconbury in Cambridgeshire for specialised
mission training. Once certi ed on the U-2R
and deemed ready to deploy overseas,
new pilots  rst went to Osan AB in South
Korea. They had to prove themselves by
 ying  awless top secret missions at all the
operational locations and detachments (OLs
and Dets), located at the time at (in addition
to Osan AB), RAF Mildenhall, RAF Akrotiri in
Cyprus and Patrick AFB in Florida.
If these were  own successfully, after
a few hundred hours the next step was
becoming an instructor pilot (IP). Barring
any catastrophes at IP level, a select few

became standardisation-evaluation pilots,
responsible for administering ground and
 ight evaluations in the U-2R and/or -CT.
Those who survived any embarrassment
while instructing in the U-2CT had a chance
to become interview acceptance evaluators.
Before joining the USAF, I had served in
Vietnam as a US Army Chinook pilot. My  rst
air force operational posting was on the KC-

135 and, with a view to climbing the promotion
ladder, I decided to study while sitting seven-
day nuclear alert cycles at Loring AFB, Maine.
I undertook professional military schooling
through War College by correspondence.
Every true military pilot cherishes  ying
and likewise dreads the thought of ‘ ying’ a
desk during the inevitable staff assignment.
Unfortunately, the USAF reward for a  awless
piloting record is often the same as that of
a tarnished one. I had jumped through all
the appropriate hoops that were available
to a U-2 pilot, including being selected for a
one-year stint as the deputy commander for
operations (DO) and second in command at
Detachment 2, Osan AB. At the end of that
challenging tour, my Dragon Lady  ying days
ended abruptly and I was assigned to 15th Air
Force as the director of U-2 Reconnaissance.
While I disliked the desk job, I was wired to
always do my best and, less than three years
later, was awarded with a promotion to Lt Col
two years early, making me the most junior
member in the required follow-on Air War
College Class of ’89.
After one year of academics, I had to
 ght my way out of another staff job and
into a  ying position back at Beale as the
5th Strategic Reconnaissance Training
Squadron DO. My job was to oversee the
training curriculum and  ight instructors
while – along with my chief  ight evaluator,
‘Bubba’ Lloyd – administering acceptance
 ights to interviewees.





The author suited in one of his two S-
pressure suits. USAF
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