Wednesday, April 30, 2014

LtCol Frank Murray 1930-2023 'Dutch 20'

Frank Murray was born 21 September 1930, an Army brat of William and Agnes Murray. Raised in San Diego, California, Frank graduated from St. Augustine High School class of 1948. In August 1948, he enlisted in the USAF, the military branch in which his two older brothers were serving. Advanced to the rank of corporal after attending A&E Mechanics School, Murray was later promoted to sergeant and subsequently accepted in the Aviation Cadet Flying Training Program.

 In April 1952, he commenced training at Columbus AFB, Mississipi and Laredo AFB, Texas. Graduating with Class 53-C, Murray was commissioned a second lieutenant and transferred to Laughlin AFB and Luke AFB for Gunnery School in the T-33 and F-84B. Murray's first fighter plane assignment was the F-84G and F-86-F at Chaumont, France. Assigned to Bergstrom AFB, Texas, Murray flew the F-84F and F-101A/C. From there, Murray was assigned to Otis AFB, Mass to fly the F-94C and F-101B. In 1963, Murray was selected for the 1129th Special Activity Squadron at Groom Lake where he flew the F-101, T-33, and Cessna 180/210.

 At Groom Lake, Murray was later selected by the CIA to be a Project Pilot flying the A-12. Resigning his USAF commission to take this new assignment, Murray stayed with the OXCART Project until it shutdown in 1968. Rejoining the USAF, Murray was assigned to Tyndall AFB, Florida where he flew the F-101 and T-33 until his volunteering for training in the A-1 Skyraider at the 56th Special Operations Wing, 1st Special Operations Squadron (Hobos) at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand. Murray flew 67 combat missions in the A-1 before being reassigned to Tyndall, AFB to continue flying the F-101. During his flying career, Murray accumulated 6,000 hours of flying military aircraft and another 1,000 hours flying civilian planes.
Murray retired from the USAF a Lt. Col. with 29 years combined service in the U.S. Air Force and CIA.

Friday, April 25, 2014

S/Ldr Gordon Smith MBE 1921-2014

Born in East London, Squadron Leader Smith was a keen sportsman who played for West Ham boys’ team and excelled at athletics.
At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the RAF and flew fighters and bombers.
His flying career continued with duties as a unit test pilot at RAF Lyneham on Spitfire and Vampire aircraft. He trained to fly helicopters and was posted to Malaya for a three-year operational tour flying troops in and out of jungle clearings.
During his time there he was also able to pursue his golfing interests, winning the prestigious Lake Cup at the Selangor Golf Club.
Returning to England, Squadron Leader Smith was posted as a test pilot at Boscombe Down when he flew in experimental helicopter trials both in the UK and abroad.
The hot and cold weather trials took him from northern Canada to North Africa and the American/Mexican border. As project pilot for the Bristol Belvedere, he flew to Tripoli in Libya breaking the existing world flight distance record for helicopters.

After 10 years at Boscombe Down he retired from the RAF to take up a helicopter instructor post at Middle Wallop, where he remained until retiring from flying 12 years later in 1981.
During his long career spanning 41 years, he flew nearly 10,000 hours in more than 100 different types of aircraft, survived three serious emergency landings and trained 120 students.
During his retirement, Squadron Leader Smith took up fly fishing and he continued to fish with a group of friends until he was well into his 90s