Projects Aquatone, Idealist and the Pilots Today
The first pilots of the U-2 were those of the Contractor, Lockheed. By ground school and flying in the Groom Lake of Area 51 in Nevada (known then as "Watertown" or "the "Ranch"), the Lockheed (LAC) test pilots along with other relevant contractor personnel trained an Air Force transition team designated, the 4070th Special Activities Squadron, on the systems. The Lockheed test pilots were: Tony Lavier, Robert Matey, Ray Goudey, Robert Seiker, Robert Schumacher.
Mr. Dick Newton was the CIA Station Chief at Watertown. The 4070th SAS was composed of: Col Wm R Yancey, Commander, Major R E Mullin, pilot navigator and classroom instructor, Navigation Officer: Jack Delap, Lt Col Art Lien as Chief of Supply, Col Herbert Shingler as Deputy Commander and Material Chief, Louis A. Garvin as Dev. & Test Flight Officer,Phillip O. Robertson, Captains Hank Meierdierck and Louis Setter, U-2 pilots and Test Flight Officers. This Air Force transition team in turn trained the first CIA pilots.
Major Delap devised the system of flight planning and navigation as the transition team actively
Upon completion of the program, each student was declared
mission and combat capable. There were no USAF failures since all were very
skilled pilots. They also trained several foreign students who were eliminated
very early since they lacked the skills to fly such a sophisticated airplane.
There were several accidents and deaths of students during the tenure of the total program. All of the students except one went on to deploy with their units to an overseas location.
During this training period the 4070th SAS was responsible for the preparation of the three units for overseas deployment. This effort include EVERYTHING that a tactical unit need including, but not limited to, personnel, finance, base preparation, supply, transportation, fuel, camera film, A/C maintenance ,mission planning and clearance, security and many more things that are necessary to a restricted deployment.
As this program was completed, the training pilots checked out
some USAF pilots and the program was turned over to them. In 1991, CIA Project
Idealist was declassified. It is probable that the subsequent Air Force U-2
operations remain classified, therefore will not be posted on this site.
The list below is intended to be a small gesture towards establishing and maintaining the legacy of those special aviators who silently soloed along the fringes of outer space with their cameras and ELINT equipment to ensure the safety of the free world.
VIDEO BY GENERAL GERALD E. MCLIMOYLE
Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr. (KIA)
Major Buddy L. Brown
Major Edwin G. Emerling
Major Richard S. Heyser
Major James A. Qualls
Captain George M. Bull
Captain Roger H. Herman
Captain Charles W. Kern
Captain Gerald E. McIlmoyle
Captain Robert L. Primrose
Captain Daniel W. Schmarr
Lt. Colonel Clyde B. East
Lt. Colonel Joe M. O'Grady
Captain Arthur W. Beckstrom
Captain George W. Bernert
Captain Jack C. Bowland
Captain Thomas B. Estes
Captain Thomas L. Hennagan
Captain Hallett P. Marston, Jr.
Captain Bobby J. Martin
Captain Byron L. Marvin
Captain Simon W.C. Moses
Captain Carl K. Overstreet
Captain James B. Payson
Captain Gordon Palenius
Captain Albert G. Rogers
The rosters below are the combined effort of Bob Ray; Buddy Brown; BG Pat Halloran; TD Barnes, Alan Johnson, Dave Allison, Joerg Arnu, and unnamed at Beale AFB.
The U-2 pilot roster is current to August 2013. If you see an error or omission please advise the webmaster.
U-2 Pilot Roster
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Posted Thornton D. BarnesBy Thornton D. Barnes Author Publisher