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Famous River Falls Missile Vanishes
River Falls, Wisconsin

By Mary Field                                                                                                                   Feb 2000

 The next time you give an "out of towner" directions to Barb's Garage or Dale's Service station, don't tell them to turn right by the missile. Tuesday the River Falls landmark was torn down and turned into scrap metal. The Air Force AGM 28A "Hound Dog" missile has been an eye-catching sight in front of the American Legion hall, 701 N. Main St., since July 1977.   It was put on display in River Falls through the efforts of legion member A.J. "80" Halvorson, who used to fly with that type missile while serving in the Air Force.  Last fall the "Hound Dog" was deemed beyond repair and plans were made to remove it.  According to Beaner Frey, the local American Legion was required by the Air Force to maintain the missile's appearance. When it was discovered that costly repairs, including sandblasting, repainting and new decals would be required, members began to consider disposing of the missile. In order to repaint the missile, it would have first had to be sandblasted. Because of environmental concerns, the missile would need to be moved to a shop for the blasting and painting process. On top of that, Frey said new stickers required would have cost another $600 apiece.  Because the Air Force required that the local legion to either repair or scrap the missile, last October the decision was scrap it.   That's where 83-year-old R.J. Johnson stepped in. Johnson, a member at the Legion for nearly 40 years, has also been in the scrap metal business for the last 50 years. He volunteered to tear the missile down and haul it to his scrap yard.

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Before the dismantling process, however, Johnson insisted he wanted to give it one last ride. So early last week, the spry and limber Johnson climbed a ladder, straddled the "Hound Dog" and posed for pictures of "R.J.'s last ride."

Our Past is Deteriorating

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These photos were supplied by Otis Brown and were taken at the 8th AF Museum at Barksdale AFB.

End of an Era

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Missiles in storage prior to demolition at Fairchild AFB

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1978 at Fairchild AFB
Not a pretty sight to look at.  Our Birds have been De-feathered
Photo courtesy of: Mike Murphy

Who Said Our GAM’s Weren’t Worth 2 Cents?

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This MPC script was Series 681, issued in Aug 1969 and used in Vietnam until Oct 1970

Do You Remember?

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AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile Engine
Pratt & Whitney J52 Turbojet

H. Michael Sweeney Remembers

As jet engine mechanic for the Strategic Air Command in the mid-late sixties, I had the pleasure of working on a variety of aircraft powerplants. This includes test cell operation where the engines are put through their paces prior to installation into aircraft. But one engine I worked on violated that norm, because it was not an aircraft engine, at all.  Rather, it was the engine to the Hound Dog AGM (air to ground) tactical nuclear missile.

This weapon system is a relatively small (smaller than most trainer aircraft) and sleek swept wing missile normally carried under the wing of the B-52 bomber. The role of the engine in missile application was entirely different than that of normal aircraft -- as was the maintenance cycle and procedure. In a normal fighter application, for instance, you might expect a given max thrust level for short periods of afterburner operation and similar, but lesser levels for max cruise operation. In such a situation, the rules called for frequent tear down inspections based on aircraft operational hours, typically a number in the hundreds.

But in this particular application, the engine was "souped up" to perform well beyond anything a fighter aircraft would demand of it. It was designed to run flat out at specifications which would be torture to all parts concerned. Thus we did not perform tear-down maintenance at all. The engine was rated for a very short life span, six hours as I recall. After that, it would be discarded (on the presumption the missile was never fired
in anger).

But we would need to perform tune up and other maintenance, such as filter changes, and so forth, on a regular basis. We were required to test run the engine afterwards, as we would any maintenance on any engine. But because the missile's flight course correction (programmed flight path) also needs to be tested, such tests are not performed out of the aircraft. Rather, the entire missile is hung from a special free-mount gimbal to allow it to simulate flight changes.

So the Hound Dog would be run at idle for leak checks, tuned for idle, and then run up slowly to full throttle and checked, tuned again. At full throttle, the blue-white flame spitting out the back was probably thirty feet long. Standing under it to make the adjustments was probably the bravest thing I have ever done. The roar and vibrations are so intense that, standing firmly on two feet, you feel as if you are vibrating along frictionless on the cement floor like a coin on the roof of a car slapped repeatedly with fists. Even being in a helicopter crash was not as scary!

 Then the engine would be returned to idle and the flight program would kick in, and the thing would roar to life at once, and the missile would pitch and yaw to simulate its flight to target. Quite impressive. Not something you soon forget.

A Item Not Seen By Many

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This is the W-28Warheadcarried by the AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile Hound Dog. It was a Thermonuclear device that was rated at 1 Megaton. It was only loaded on the Missile when it was on Alert Status and on the Pad. For Training flights the Missile carried a Dummy Warhead

Words From The Past

EXCERPT OF SPEECH BY SENATOR JOHN F. KENNEDY,
AMERICAN LEGION CONVENTION, MIAMI BEACH, FLA.,
OCTOBER 18, 1960

”We must take immediate steps to protect our present nuclear striking force from surprise attack. Today, more than 90 percent of our retaliatory capacity is made up of aircraft and missiles which have fixed unprotectable bases whose location is known to the Russians. We can only do this by providing SAC with the capability of maintaining a continuous airborne alert and by pressing projects such as the Hound Dog air-ground missilewhich will enable manned bombers to penetrate Soviet defenses with their weapons.”

An Embarrassing Moment For Snoopy.

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This is the Famous Missile, S/N 59-2807 that outflew its F-100 chase plane and then when it failed to destruct made a unscheduled visit to a little southern agricultural town of Samson, Alabama

A Grand Moment For Snoopy.

Operation "Silk Hat" conducted at Eglin AFB in May 1962 was an event that was quite an honor for the Hound Dog. This was a Airshow that was staged before a Grandstand audience of international dignitaries headed by our late President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B Johnson.
  
The list of attendees included Generals Lemay, Power, Sweeny and Shoup along with several top-ranking Naval officers, U.S. Senators, Congressmen and representatives from 60 nations of the world.
 

The highlight of the show was the GAM-77 Hound Dog being launched near the Grandstand on a Low-Low mission to a simulated target in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Minot's Hound Dog

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The Hound Dog missile
S/N 61-2206 that is on display outside the Main gate at Minot AFB is shown being retored to its former beauty.
Snoopy is a "Happy Puppy"
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What's Wrong With This Picture ?

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MMS troops loading M-117 GP's on an AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile Pylon
( Where's the Hound Dog ? )

The Begining of the End

Draft Memorandum from Secretary of Defense McNamara to President Johnson
Washington, September 22, 1966.


I recommend that 3 squadrons of Hound-Dog A be retired in FY67, and the remaining 6 squadrons in FY68; Hound-Dog B should be retained pending the outcome of the Terrain Matching Guidance (TERCOM) development program. This program will maintain enough Hound-Dogs for their SIOP mission, primarily to attack area bomber defenses and lower-priority airfields, while resulting in FY67-71 savings of approximately $30 million

And What Almost Was

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There was a John L Clay who was Program Control Officer at WPAFB for the AGM-28 Hound Dog MissileC from Jun 1971 to Aug 1973

TheAGM-28 Hound Dog MissileC was to have a map-matching
system similar to the Mace missile.  It used a high
definition radar to scan the terrain, looking for the
correct pattern of hills and valleys to steer to the target.  The ALCM and Tomahawk both use it now, and today it's called TERrain COMparison (TERCOM).

The program did not reach the stage of making hardware, so there is  no pictures of a AGM-28 Hound Dog MissileC.  You would not be able to tell the difference from the outside, the only external change would have been an additional radome for an antenna.

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A Hungry KC-135

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Chow Time?

This KC was hungry for a "Hot Dog" as he tried to eat up one of our Hound Dogs. The GAM was S/N 61-2121 out of Columbus AFB, MS

B-52D Navigators Panels

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On the B-52D the GAM panels were located to the Navigators right. On the E thru H models , the panels were in front of him.  Photo courtesy of: David Matthews

465th AMMS-"1962" The Best Year and the Worst Year

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This was the year of "THE ACCIDENT".  A GAM 77 blew the squibs and dropped to the ground during an under-wing check.  Somehow it was reported to 8th AF as an unplanned launch, and they assumed it was airborne.  This occurred in May 1962 and the accident board ruled Conflict of Tech Data as the cause, but that was a close call.  To show how strange things happen, by December 1962 the 465th AMMS was  standing tall receiving  THE OUTSTANDING AMMS AWARD.

Do You Remember FSAGA?
416th AMMS - May 6, 1968

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This may have been the first and only time that both missiles were "Shacks" on the same Aircraft on a sortie after Ground Alert.  Courtesy of Robert McFarland

Speaking of "SHACKS"

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Hound Dog 59-2807 from the 450th AMMS
was launched on the Atlantic Range on Mar 1, 1963. Accoding to H.C. Peregrine, North American Tech Rep who was at the scene, the impact score was by far the best of any GAM-77 launched at that time.
The B-52 Crew was awarded the "GAM SLAM" Award for a perfect launch of a Hound Dog

Safety is Everybody's Business
(Except The Photographer)
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Courtesy of: Ken Stackhouse

A Ken Stackhouse Chilling Experience

The story begins:

It was at Blytheville one early cold morning. The temperature was between zero and 6 below most of the day when lo and behold the Squadron Safety Officer decided this was the day to work on his Safety Manual and he wanted a photo of an AGM upload for his cover. He had the photographer come out and after what seemed an eternity he finally had all the pictures he needed of the # 1 missile upload. Needless to say we were less than comfortable and we still had # 2 missile to upload.
     Well me, George Bamberg and Charlie Moreau hustled as fast as we could with numerous safety violations being incurred and then the photographer decides he wants one more photo. We were lucky they didn't use this one for the Manual. 

Stuck In The New York Mud

B-52 runs out of runway at Griffiss

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A Griffis B-52 had two GAM's and a Covey of Quail aboard this Buff. As you can see the pylon looked pretty deep into the mud so they had quite a time getting those Dog's downloaded. Or should I say uploaded, they were already down.

 

 

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Last updated on:  Friday, June 29, 2012
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