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The runaway U-2

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posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 10:21 AM
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In 1966 President Johnson had banned direct overflights of Cuba. Instead, U-2s were skirting the 12 mile limit and looking sideways at the island. To help protect the flights the JARCC at Key West kept F-4Bs on Alert 5, waiting to launch if the Cuban military tried to go after the U-2s. The crews would sit in an air conditioned trailer, suited up, minus helmet, and play games waiting for the bell to ring.

John Newlin was one of those pilots. He had arranged for the bell to ring every afternoon so the crews could practice getting airborne in under 5 minutes. They would launch, and the JARCC would release them to intercept aircraft in their own.

July 28th, 1966, the bell rang as usual and they launched. Then everything changed. JARCC directed them to turn and gave them vectors to a bogey. They climbed to 55,000 feet and were cleared to fire, before suddenly being ordered back to base, right at the 12 mile limit.

Captain Robert D. Hickman had departed Barksdale AFB on a routine flyby of Cuba. He was required to check in with the JARCC as he passed into the Gulf of Mexico and failed to. The JARCC ordered the F-4s to shoot him down on the assumption that he was incapacitated, and to prevent him from flying over Cuba. The F-4s never got in range, and Capt. Hickman's aircraft flew over Cuba, and eventually crashed near Bolivia. He was almost certainly dead by the time of the launch.

www.airspacemag.com...

edit on 3/24/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 10:32 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

That's a very sad story.

What was the cause of the oxygen deprivation?



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 10:38 AM
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a reply to: grey580

Never determined. They were leaning towards an oxygen system failure, but he also reported frequent headaches, so it's not clear if it was a system failure, or medical issue.

There were three crashes of aircraft out of Barksdale. One was returning from a mission and had an autopilot failure. The pilot was hand flying and entered a flat spin. He ejected but was never recovered. That was two days before JFK was killed.

The other suffered significant damage during a thunderstorm and crashed trying to return. The pilot survived.
edit on 3/24/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 10:40 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I've never heard of this tale-has it been recently made available through the FOIA?

The sad fact in hindsight is that the OXCART was so close.


edit on 24-3-2016 by Thecakeisalie because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 10:44 AM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie

It was in the news when it happened, but the F-4 aspect was left out until fairly recently. It was fairly big news for the time, because even though everyone had seen them, it was the first public admission they were flying out of Barksdale.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 11:24 AM
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Cool story. It was weird that he was using some terminology that seemed wrong. For instance, now "Judy" means "shut the hell up" and we don't use De-arm as a directive command. I believe a lot of the standard communications were standardized through Top Gun and I believe they also coordinated with the Air Force to standardize.

Really crazy that he was about to shoot down a U-2.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 11:45 AM
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a reply to: cosmania

It was shut the hell up back then too. Only then it was, shut the hell up I'm taking over. It's a lot easier now though. They had to standardize when the Big Eye and College Eye became somewhat effective.




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