My quest to find Joe Walker (F104N)
The search for the F104N site was a very stressful task and also dangerous. It all began with some bogus info. Put out by some people who sell items found at the F104N site The info. On a website and mislead others into a wild goose chase that almost cost my life.
Myself and Tim (A Vietnam Vet) went to the XB-70 site and paid our respects to Major Carl Cross and decided to look for the 104 site. With only little research, we moved N/W from the XB-70 site and searched for hours and came up with nothing. We drove down a ridge that had some very soft sand. When we turned around and tried to Drive back up the ridge my truck started to slide down the hill so Tim opened the passenger Door and jumped out leaving me and my truck hanging over the cliff. I then climbed out the passenger door removing my belongings, Gun, Cameras and other items from the truck and began to panic.
We were out there for 6 hours with no water and a cell phone that was out of range. I took a deep breath and prayed to god to help me out of this mess. Being 20 miles from anyone with no water we started digging my truck out of the mess. After several hours of digging and praying we freed my vehicle and left the area never wanting to return . I asked Tim if he was ever that scared in Nam, He said NEVER!!!!
I woke up the next day and realized that we still had not found the Joe Walker site. I emailed several not so helpful websites and was told that I had not earned the right to go to the site and that I could never find the F104N crash site location. I again
I thought maybe I should give up on ever finding the site. I began to do more research like going to Edward Air Force Base . When we arrived at Edwards we were told we could not come on the base due to security reasons and again I thought GO Home?? I almost forgot I had my Police badge and ID with me so we went back to the same guard at the gate ( A rather Large Army Reservist with 2 guns) I showed him my ID and he lets us on the base. After driving around the base for several hours with not a clue where to look we decided that the base must have a history dept. We located the history dept. Went inside and were greeted by a gentleman that did not look like what we thought a Military person should look like. I said Hello SIR I have a question? Have you heard of the F104N Crash? The gentleman with the longer silver hair said "First of who are you and why are you here"? I said that I was just looking for the F104N crash site. He asked where we have looked and then said the reason you have not found the site is because it is on private property and that is why we have not found it. The historian then lightened up and welcomed us in his office for a quick tour. He also gave us a map of what we thought was a map of the 104 site. We drove off the base and pulled over just to realize that all the local crash site were on the paper except the 104 (shit). We drove back to the area we thought was the crash site and remembering the gentleman mentioned it was on private property we began to search the desert again and the same results NOTHING. Several hundred hours and at least 500.00 in gas money we began to think that maybe we HAVE earned the right to find the site. I called the historian at Edwards and asked him for another clue, he said the guy's name that has something to do with the property and he might be willing to help. I was desperate to get in touch with this person and spent another 20 hours searching for his tel # and finally located him. Turns out his brother is also in Law Enforcement and figured I was worthy of visiting the site. We made arraignments for me to pick him up and go to the 104 site. I was not going to be denied and continued with my journey and FINALLY we found the Joe Walker site. It was a very AWESOME feeling to be there and pay my respects to this Super hero of a man. I almost forgot from the beginning of my journey I found ONE website that I felt could be helpful and one of the few people who would not be in the search for any gain like me, that person was T.D Barnes AREA51SPECIALPROJECTS.COM. Mr. Barnes seemed like a friend from the getgo and turned out to be very helpful and knowledgeable on the crash sites. I decided after finding the site there was one person who I also felt worthy to visit the site so I called T.D and asked him to meet myself and Tim on Memorial day so we could all pay our respects to Joe Walker and leave him a huge US flag at the site. If anyone would like to visit the site lunch is on you and I would be very happy to assist you in getting to the site. The coordinates to the Walker site are: N35.08062 W117.05799. The topo index is 34-35.
Tim and I periodically visit the crash sites to show our respect. Anyone wishing to accompany us to visit the sites may do so by meeting us at the BLM parking lot in Barstow. We suggest you bring a 4x4 and 2 flags, one for each memorial marking.
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Posted Thornton D. BarnesBy Thornton D. Barnes Google Publisher