From 1960 to deactivation. A little explanation is in order if you weren’t in Korea around 1960-62. Osan was about 10 minutes south of the DMZ via Mig-19. It took 15 minutes to do an alert countdown by the book so technically we were dead 5 minutes before we got the first bird off the pad. So, you have to improvise.The crews got so good and knew their birds so well that from a no power situation, they could have the first one off in 45 seconds! That included starting up the 60kw generator which had the throttle preset to the proper speed and the overspeed switch tied down (to keep it from overspeeding on startup). I was on a maintenance crew so I didn’t go out on A diamond very often.
Joe, I just read Doug Lewis’ clipping about “Gone Guidance”, I was at the Mace Pad watching the launch of that Missile. The Guidance Man’s name was Ken Simon they had the launcher in the fire position and guidance went out. the Missile was lowered and Ken came out of the Blockhouse with a selector unit and the RT unit ready to change them. my LO asked me how long it would take and I told him 5 minutes, the new RT unit was already set up and the hardest part was putting in the safety wire. While we were talking Ken went back inside and they raised the Missile and fired it.. The tail number on that bird was 56-1947. I had counted it down several times in Orlando and we had a lot of guidance problems but every time maintenance would work on it it would work fine. Then just before it was taken to the Cape, it caught fire and burned up the engine and aft section, since the Cape was committed to 4 birds on June 1, maintenance put in another engine (which was reported to be a Mace A engine) and they then had to rob an aft section from a Matador that was a display bird. so when it fired it was all olive drab except the aft section that part was white with 1/2 of an Air Force insignia on it. We were told that the reason it was launched was that Col Smith (the Vice Commander for the 4504th ordered the LO (Capt Miller ) to fire it.). Doug Lewis
I was the guidance man the same day on missile 56-1648 for Major Thomas O’Connor, and also 56-1648 for Capt Charles K McCullam. I have a clipping someplace that states that that day was the 1st time 4 missiles had been launched in the same day all within the daylight hours. we were the last 4 crews (the guidance man and launcher Tech each did double duty, My Launcher tech was Joe Josefczyk) I just thought someone might be interested in the rest of the story concerning Doug’s clipping. Doug and Joe and I and several other of the 4 crews went to Ellsworth together after Korea but that is another story. James E. Denman