The B-17s' Last Military Mission?

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by FLYBOYJ, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I found this tonight - this could be the last military mission flown by a B-17...

    "28 May 1962 In Operation Coldfeet, Maj. James Smith, USAF and Lt. Leonard A. LeSchack, USNR parachuted from CIA B-17G N809Z (44-83785 c/n
    32426) into the abandoned Soviet arctic ice station NP 8. After searching the station, they were retrieved using a Fulton Skyhook system installed on the B-17, piloted by Connie Seigrist and Douglas Price, on June 1st."
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Where did you dig up that gem of trivia?

    Good job!
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good stuff Joe!
     
  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Wow! Interesting.
     
  6. R988

    R988 Member

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    I love all that cold war secret stuff :cool:
     
  7. alieneggsac

    alieneggsac New Member

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    It's my dad who flew this mission, this is the real deal. The plane is now in it's old WWII colors on display with the Spruce Goose up in McMinville, OR.

    I used to fly in the B-17 all the time when I was a kid (and flew in it last around Portland, OR about 5 years ago). CAT (Civil Air Transport) used to fly it from Taiwan along the coast of Communist China in the 1950's dropping spies and testing out various types of spy listening equipment.

    Watch this space if you want to know more stuff in a few months. :shock:
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Very Cool! Please post more when you can!
     
  9. R-2800

    R-2800 Member

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    Yes please! post more stuff always good to get a first hand account!
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Very cool good info FBJ and am looking foward to the new info coming soon...
     
  11. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Sounds like the story in Blind Man's Bluff. If you have never read this fantastic book detailing cold war espionage, you are truly missing a real treat. This book covers details of everything from post WWII submarine missions, RB-47 tactics, to mid 60s USSR fighters shooting down C-130 reconnaisance planes. Truly fascinating, VERY well written and documented, and a dedication to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during that long WAR. Folks might be really surprised at the number of service men who died during those times and have never been properly recognized.
     
  12. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I would highly recommend that book, it is very well done.

    Amen to that, brother.
     
  13. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I would love to be in the briefing room when they threw this one at those two guys,

    "Ok fellas, we're going to fly you up above the Artic Circle in a beat up old B17 where you drop out of the airplane by parachute to snoop around an abandoned Soviet Weather Station. When your done, we come back and pick you up by plucking you off the ice using a balloon capture technique that really oughta work well this time. Any questions?"

    "Just one, are you f****** nutz?!"

    Definitely a volunteer only mission.
     
  14. alieneggsac

    alieneggsac New Member

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    When my dad was developing the system with inventor Robert Fulton (grandson of the inventor of the steam ship), the other pilot (who shall remain nameless) took out all of the electricity to Edwards AFB when he came in too low on a practice pick up, and the target mannequin whipped up off the ground, flew up over the top of the B-17, then whipped back down slamming into the ground and then the line looped around the power lines to Edwards AFB and ripped them out. My dad said he was laughing his head off because the B-17 was so low that it was kicking up dust off the desert floor. The story still makes my dad laugh when he talks about it.

    A rundown of the story on the agency's website:

    https://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/95unclass/Leary.html

    And here's my dad about to take off from Pt. Barrow to go pick the guys up:

    https://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/95unclass/104.gif

    By the way, the navigational feat on this mission alone was unhearalded... trying to find a moving ice floe in Arctic Russia (last positioned 4 days earlier)by flying 14 hours, w/o magnetic navigation... all by dead reckoning. They weren't sure they would ever find the guys on the ground to take them out.

    The very same B-17 was also used at the end of the 007 Movie Thunderball when it was used to pick up James Bond and his girlfriend from a raft at the end of the movie. It's a great piece of movie history, actually, because it shows in great detail how the whole system worked... it's the only film archive of the system I know of. The joke of the Bond sequence, however, was the two mannequins could not be reeled into the plane because the reel in point was a hole in the tail gunner's position (where the twin 50's went), you could only fit one man at a time through the hole. The B-17 landed with James Bond mannequin and his girlfriend's legs sticking out the back of the tail gunners position!
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Very very Cool!!! Thanks for the info!!!!
     
  16. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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  17. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Very interesting, thanks for sharing.
     
  18. P38 Pilot

    P38 Pilot Active Member

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    Thats amazing.
     
  19. Aggie08

    Aggie08 Active Member

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    Hahaa, I was thinking the same thing. Funny! :lol:
     
  20. bigZ

    bigZ Member

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    It was also shown in the The Green Berets starring John Wayne.
     
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