I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees

I remember when I was a little kid in Peru, Indiana way back in the nineteen hundred and sixties. My dad was in the Air Force stationed at Grissom AFB. The base, originally a naval base (??) known as the Naval Air Station Bunker Hill was located in Peru, Indiana. In the middle of the country of all places. The navy closed it when the Second World War ended and the Air Force reopened it during the Korean War as part of the Tactical Air Command. I can only remember a few of the celebrations and parades that accompanied the re-dedication and renaming of the base after Gus Grissom died in the fiery Apollo 1 accident in nineteen hundred and sixty eight.
But what I do remember most were the B-58 Hustlers taking off and dramatically landing with drag chutes to assist in stopping. Back then, during the Cold War these strategic bombers were always in the air with nukes. If anything happened they could be in Russia in two hours for payback. Or if US generals got really crazy ala Dr Strangelove the Hustlers could provide a surprise preemptive strike.
As an aside, Friday night I ran into and chatted with an acquaintance I had always thought was from Columbia, but she informed me she's from Peru. I smiled and told her I was born in Peru.
She got a confused look on her face and I let her grapple with that for a minute before letting her off the hook and admitting I was born in Peru Indiana. Then it was her turn to get excited as she told me about the Peruvian Tourism Bureau traveling to Peru, Indiana and staging a small culinary festival for exposure.
Its funny, no matter what you start talking about, the conversation always finds its way back to food.
Museum of the USAF
Untitled
1962 BENDIX TROPHY
On March 5, 1962, Capts. Robert G. Sowers (pilot), Robert MacDonald (navigator) and John T. Walton (defensive systems operator) flew from Los Angeles to New York City in the B-58A on display at the museum in only 2 hours 56.8 seconds, an average speed of 1,214.17 miles per hour. For this, they were awarded the Bendix Trophy for 1962 and each received the Distinguished Flying Cross. They broke two other speed records on the return flight -- New York to Los Angeles and for the roundtrip.
The record wouldn't be broke until 1990 when an SR-71 averaged 14mph faster.
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1 comments

1 comment:

  1. Excellent photos and narrative about Grissom AFB!

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