We Served with Honor Print

We Served With Honor

Before the SR-71 Blackbird and the U-2 Dragon Lady graced the skies, SAC’s 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing was responsible for much of the Air Force’s aerial photography.  Flying the RB-17, RB-29, RB-50, RB-45 and RB-47, the 91st SRW flew critical Top Secret aerial photography missions for target and global mapping.  The wing recorded a number of events that made aviation history.

The first jet bomber to be air refueled in late 1950, the first trans-Pacific deployment of F-84G fighters air refueled in 1952, and the first bomber air refueled in combat are a sample of the distinction the unit enjoyed.  Detachments of aircraft and crews deployed to England, Japan, North Africa, Newfoundland and Greenland to support SAC missions.  In the post-WWII security environment, the men, some as young as seventeen, performed their assigned duties with the highest levels of secrecy.

One pilot describes his Top Secret over flight of Russia’s Kola Peninsula including an attack by MiG fighters.  The partnership between the Royal Air Force and this unit was a unique collaboration and is described by the RAF officer who was at the center of the events.  WE SERVED WITH HONOR tells the history of the 91st SRW from the perspective of the men who lived it. 

The second edition of Freedom Flight is scheduled for publication in late 2012. 

Excerpt:

COMMENTS FROM THE BACK SEAT By Carl Holt, Co-Pilot

It was a clear day, not a cloud in the sky, as we coasted in to the Soviet Union. Suddenly we started to generate contrails like six white arrows pointing to our airplane. That wasn't in the forecast! As we passed over our first recon target, I could see the fighters circling up to meet us and I knew it would only be a matter of time before they reached our altitude.

When I saw the flashes of fire from the nose of the fighters, I knew this would not be a "Milk Run." I had trouble getting the tail guns to fire. I was in a reverse seat position and I felt a little like Wyatt Earp looking out the back end of the canopy and firing at will by visual bore sighting.