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Narrative:On 7 April 1961 B-52B (53-0380) "Ciudad Juarez" rose from the runway at Biggs AFB, Texas with Captain Don Blodgett in the left seat. It completed the first navigation leg of its training sortie and then prepared itself to offer some interception practice for a pair of F-100A Super Sabres of the 188th TFS, New Mexico ANG, the first Air Guard unit to fly the type. 1st Lt. James W van Scyoc and Captain Dale Dodd received instructions from Blush First, their ground control interception station, to steer towards the B-52's position as it approached Albuquerque and complete their armament safety checks. Each F-100A, with its smart black and yellow "sunbeam: markings, carried a pair of AIM-9B Sidewinders on a dual pylon under its left wing.
|Friday 7 April 1961
Boeing B-52B-30-BO Stratofortress
|95th BWg USAF
|Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 8
|Mt. Taylor, New Mexico -
United States of America
| En route
|Biggs AFB, TX
| Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
After five simulated missile passes followed by tail-chase gun "attacks" van Scyoc, the 188th's Safety Officer, hauled his fighter round for a final Sidewinder practice. He was closing with the bomber when his No. 2 AIM-9B suddenly left its rail, homed on to the B-52's left inboard engine pod and exploded, severing the wing. Capt. Blodgett, who had always had reservations about these intercepts, explained to the authors what happened then:
I heard van Scyoc call "Look out! My Missile's fired". We were on autopilot and I grabbed the controls just as the missile hit. There was a tremendous shudder and the aircraft banked left steeply. Electrical equipment in the right side of the cockpit caught fire. My copilot ejected with the aircraft in a 90 degree bank and in all the confusion I didn't realize he had gone. I tried to reach the alarm bell control between the two seats to order the crew to bail out, while holding the controls with my left hand to maintain full right aileron and rudder. I didn't realize the wing had gone and the aircraft wasn't responding at all; it began to spin down into the clouds and I still wasn't sure that I had hit the alarm. Later, my crew chief said he had seen the red light flashing as he sat on the steps to the lower cabin. With g-forces building up tremendously, pinning me to my seat I could not raise my right hand from its position near the bail-out alarm but could move it sideways to the ejection handle. The hatch fired and the seat threw me up fifty feet with the B-52 at 600kt. The slipstream tore off my helmet as I left the aircraft. There was another explosion and I went through a ball of fire u2013 it felt like being in an oven. Immediately after that I went through a "bath" of JP-4 fuel as the fuel tanks had broken up in this second explosion. At least this put out the fire but now I was soaking wet with fuel and still on the ejection seat. Assuming a seat malfunction (they told me afterwards I was holding on to it) I reached out to unfasten the lap belt when suddenly I flew out of the seat. However, the inter-phone cord wrapped around my leg so now I was going down through the clouds with a 650lb seat hooked to my leg. I thought it would rip my leg off and I managed to claw the cord free. By now I was falling in a cloud of debris u2013 and a blizzard. I released my survival gear pack, which also automatically released the survival raft. This was suspended about 40 feet below me and, with all the updraughts in the clouds due to the bad weather it acted like a sail, pulling me round in a 180 degree arc. I thought, if I hit the ground sideways, this is it! I couldn't get to my knife to cut it free but I soon got out of the turbulence and began to fall straight.
When I ejected, my left arm hit the hatch putting a big gash in it. The blood was pouring out of this and I was holding this with my right hand, trying to stop the bleeding. Suddenly I saw something white and I hit the ground in a downswing of the parachute and a 30kt wind. It felt like jumping off a two-storey building. I hit so hard that everything in my survival kit: the radio, mirrors, etc. was broken apart from the survival rifle. My original intentions were to get the radio going and tell that fighter pilot what I thought of him! I thought
|Dr. John Smith
|Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
|Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Operator]