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SR-71

VERNON L. "Vern" CALVIN

I was born in Marshall Texas, a small town in Central East Texas near the Louisiana State line. Marshall, sometimes referred to as the cultural capital of east Texas, is located approximately 144 miles east of Dallas, one of the oldest historical cities in the state of Texas

After completing eight years of elementary and Jr High schooling at Dunbar Elementary School, l progressed on to HB Pemberton High School where l graduated in 1953. Thereafter, l completed two year plus at Wiley College, the college that inspired the movie "The Great Debaters".

My military career began in late January of 1956. I was sworn in at Shreveport, Louisiana and my official training began 1 February 1956, at Lackland AFB, San Antonia Texas. I have strong qualifications in many areas. However, my preference was that of Radar Ops. Because of Air needs l was not able Force to work in my field of choice. l began technical training at Francis E Warren AFB 3450 and 3467 Sturon in Cheyenne, Wyoming Logistic/Supply School provided Records, Unit, and Warehouse training. l chose Records because it allowed me to have a working knowledge of the other two fields l finished as one of the top (2) two in my class.

After training, my first assignment was at Kinross AFB ZO7 Matron in Northern Michigan. The weapon system at that time was the F-86 Fighter; thereafter the F-89 was adopted. At Kinross l was given the opportunity to learn a little of the maintenance side of the house. This knowledge allowed me to become more effective in my response to our mission

My next assignment was in Japan, at Johnson Air Force Base, 6041 SUPRON PACAF Primary weapon system: B57, RB57, B57E (TOWT'ARGET) Bombers. I was assigned immediately to this total system only. Because of many problems with aircraft and a lack of parts, the aircraft was grounded. When part numbers were converted, it was learned that most parts were available on base or in PACAF. This discovery allowed for reduced aircraft down time

476 MATRON (ADC) Glasgow AFB, Montana, where l helped setup a Cooperative Commissary was my next assignment. My duties included: inventorying, management, purchasing and accounting. After Strategic Air Command (SAC) 91st Bomb Wing took over, l was moved to 4141st Supply Squadron, weapon Systems, F-l0l Fighter (ADC), and B52 Bomber, KC135 Refueler (SAC.) Duties included record management for all three systems, and supply and logistical support. My experience and involvement with the systems prepared me for my 1129th SAS assignment.

After arriving in the area, l was briefed and showed where I would work. This area was called "Peculiar" and I would work it alone. l was given total responsibility for managing the primary systems, parts and records of the articles (A-12s) being tested; camera systems, the beautiful and efficient engine (J58/JT11 D-20,) and the outside and other related internal systems. My responsibilities were once again demanding and challenging. During the test phase of the project, many changes were made in all systems Contractors, Kodak, Pratt & Whitney, and Lockheed were my main primaries As changes were made, purging the system of the old parts was made to prevent old parts from being reinstalled on any article (A-12). This purging was especially important for the J58 engine The purging of all expired parts insured that only new upgraded parts would be installed O1d parts could cause problems and create safety issues or compromise the integrity and efficiency of the article The safety of our drivers and the mission was the number one priority..

In addition, the readiness of camera systems was equally important. I worked with the contractor, attended, and worked at provisioning conferences. This allowed us to monitor and maintain the integrity of cost and quality of products provided. In some cases, items were already available at lower cost in the Federal Logistic/Supply system. Together with the cooperation of the maintenance and supply personnel of the contractors, we were successful in our mission.

I was further deployed to an FOL in support of the Black Shield where l was totally committed to ail aspects of my tasks, duties and responsibilities.

I departed the area in January 1969 and was assigned to the United States Air Force Southern Command, Allbrook Air Force Base Canal Zone from 27 January 1969 to 10 June 1973. I was assigned to work in the Air Force Security assistance Mission Program as well as the command logistics mission. We were assigned to give effective and timely support to the Air Force sections of the United States military groups in Latin America. One Non-Commissioned and one Commissioned Officer was assigned certain countries to provide Logistics planning and management tasks Host country Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, and Venezuela were our primary Groups. Doing well would enhance the image of the United States and the Air Force in the TheaterG€¦

I departed Panama June 1973 and was assigned to Mather Air Force Base, California from 23 July 1973 to 15 August 1974 as NCOlC of Demand Processing Unit and After Duty Hour Support Unit, Supplies Management Branch, 323d Supply Squadron. Mather had dual missions: Navigation training utilizing the T43 training aircraft and the Strategic Air Command B52 Bombers and KC1 35 Refuelers

I was responsible for effectively and efficiently preventing support downtime for ail aircraft involved. Despite the constant challenging pressure associated with Demand Processing, we prevailed. Increased personnel efficiency resulted in sustained support of the dual mission at Mather Air Force Base.

After only four months at Mather AFB, l was informed that l would be reassigned to Thailand in a few months. I left Mather in August 1974, and was reassigned to Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base from 12 September 1974 to 15 September 1975, where l was assigned as NCOlC, Stock Control Section, 56th Supply Squadron, and 656th Supply Squadron. My multiple responsibilities included once again managing NCOlC, Demand Processing, and After Hour Support Unit, and Not Operationally Ready Supply Control Unit l had to identify and resolve problems in the logistical support of all assigned aircraft aggressively and thoroughly reduce the unneeded, outdated base excesses. I replaced outdated and unneeded base excesses with undated parts and equipment that had a direct bearing on the operational readiness of all aircraft engaged with us. This included our operation in Phanom, Pehn, Saigon, and the Mayaguez operations

Last but not least, a small extension to facilitate base closure for the USAF to turn over Control to the Thai Air Force. I was reassigned to Beale Air Force Base, California near Marysville, California, 17 October 1975 to 30 November 1978. Originally assigned as NCOlC of the inventory Control Unit, this lasted two years. On 10 August 1977, l was reassigned as NCOlC Stock Control with more responsibilities. I identified supply support to the SR-71 Program, and designed and carried programs capable of solving supply support problems. My experience and my knowledge of the article in the area helped to facilitate changes needed to effectively and efficiently provide better management and control of supply support.

In mid 1978, my knowledge and experience allowed me an opportunity to augment the Air Force lG inspector General Team. We inspected Billeting, Clothing Sales, and our Commissary both in the East Coast port of Embarkation/Debarkation. I recommended that a new skill be established to allow clerks in the Air Force to be as professional as the clerks in large hotels.

On 30 November 1978, l retired at Beale Air Force Base



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