The story of
The Impact of U.S. Aerial
during the Early Cold War
Service & Sacrifice of the
Cold Warriors


I am deeply grateful for the support and encouragement I received from my family. I owe special thanks to my supportive wife, Cindy, without whom I could never have accomplished most things in life. In this effort, I am thankful for her priceless assistance, encouragement and support through many years of simultaneously juggling work, Air Force projects and duties, and my education.

Special thanks go out to a very unique group of individuals—the men who flew these missions and their families. To the Air Force veterans who shared their stories, homes and records with me, my eternal gratefulness. Some of these Cold Warriors are former unit members like Bill Baumer, Earl Myers, John Marks, Hal Austin, George Penfield, John Corryn and John McKenna, to name a few. My respect for their honorable service when our nation needed them most.

For the crews who didn’t return and their surviving family members, this work was really written for them. I was inspired by family members like Greg Skavinski, Mary Dunham-Nichols, Gordon Berg, Bruce Sanderson, and Charolette Mitnik—all relatives of men lost from my unit during the Cold War. This has not just been a graduate thesis but a journey. This paper is another of my efforts, like spearheading posthumous awards ceremonies and helping to create the National Vigilance Park, since gaining an appreciation for their service and sacrifice over four years ago. My hope is that some of the research crafted into this thesis helps them and others better understand why their loved one’s service was vital for our nation in a great time of need.

Thanks goes out to the various authors, writers, historians and like-minded enthusiasts I’ve met and received information from over the last several years. Robb Hoover, Cargile Hall, Fred Frederikson, Paul Lashmar, Chris Pocock and Bill Burrows are but a few of the men with whom I’ve formed a special bond as we try to bring Cold War sacrifices the attention it deserves. Of the Librarians and archivists who helped me, David Haight of the Eisenhower Library stands out as most helpful and selfless. For Denis Clift, my thanks for his continued efforts in POW/MIA affairs and for allowing me to play a small role in providing research and photos to the U.S./Russian Joint Commission.

I would also like to acknowledge the men and women of the 91st Intelligence Squadron, for whom I’ve worked as the unit Historian over these last several years. My early unit research led me to this distinguished chapter of our unit’s history. My hope is that the Air Force members I leave behind take pride in the service of our past veterans and always remember the sacrifices of those who came before them.


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Cover PageEditor’s IntroductionOverview

AcknowledgmentsTable of Contents

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Appendixes — ABC D

BibliographyMaps & Figures Listing