In the early 60's the 38th Tac Missile
Wing acquired this H-19 helicopter for missile site support.
Images and history courtesy
of Fred Horky
Two of the pilots were Wayne Arvo and Jay Strayer.
On the day these pictures were taken (a particularly nice day
in 1961) I was on a day off from my missile duties, and (per
usual) I was at the flight line, trying to scrounge an extra
(An aside about my flying at Sembach. I was in a missile unit
-- first a launch officer at Grunstadt, then duty officer in
the command post -- so my flying was of the "proficiency"
variety.) During my first year I flew Sembach's "base flight"
C-47, including some memorable cross countries --Berlin, Copenhagen,
London, etc. But I had flown the T-33 in pilot training, and
for the remainder of my tour (a little over two years) I managed
to talk my way into being attached for flying to the "simulated
missile section" of the 38th Tactical Missile Wing. It transferred
to Sembach from Hahn in 1959, and went out of business three
years later when the older TM-61C "Matador" missile
was deactivated. This small unit -- most folks on Sembach didn't
know what they did -- with call sign "Maverick", had
specially equipped T-33 jets with the same APW-11 airborne transponder
that was the primary guidance system of the "Matador"
missiles, then still operational with the 385th Tac Missile Group
at Bitburg. After a missile were launched, those missiles would
have been directed to an eastern Bloc target by the ground radar
weapon controllers of the 601st Tactical Control Group at their
lonely hill-top radar sites near the border of East Germany.
Obviously, these weapon controllers needed training: the "simulated
missile" pilots provided that by pretending ("simulating")
to be a missile. Instead of the APW-11 "beeping" turn,
weapon arm, and "dump" directions into the missile
autopilot, colored lights in a box mounted on the cockpit glare
shield would flash, giving the T-bird pilot those instructions.
Since we were flying very close to VERY dangerous country and
because of the typically terrible flying weather, it was some
of the most exacting flying I've ever done . and on my "off-duty"
On that pretty day I didn't have any luck getting an extra flight.
But as often happened, I had my camera in the car and talked
Wayne and Jay into letting me go with them on their local training
flight. This was one of the best "photo ops" you could
wish for, as the view from the open cargo door of the H-19 was
superb. Hence, the following pictures: