And Now Including the:

25th Air Force

"They Served in Silence."

Although this page honors the men who gave their lives in the performance of their duties, primarily, as airborne warriors the term "Silent Warrior" refers to any member of the United States Air Force Security Service and the various command names since the original USAFSS. We all served in silence whether in the air or on the ground. And all jobs were equally important regardless of where we served.

This photo above, taken from the gunsight of a Soviet MIG fighter, is of C-130 60528. On board this aircraft were 17 members of the United States Air Force on a normal workday that ended with these men paying the ultimate price for a philosophy of "Freedom Through Vigilance." This is a real photograph and on board this aircraft were 17 real men, 17

Silent Warriors

We are a group of rapidly aging and steadily disappearing veterans, of a war that was fought with skills and talents not normally associated with the military, nor understood by the general public. Our pride is in accomplishments that are often secret, and memories are about things that happened, but will be officially denied.

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

"But I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious!"

"As the shadows of the Cold War began to lengthen, with each side pitted against the other in realms that extended from one hundred fathoms under the sea to one hundred miles in space, the need to collect intelligence with aircraft flying manned reconnaissance missions grew urgent. But it was as dangerous as it was imperative. Fighter and bomber crews practiced constantly but flew no combat. They were in the cold war. But Air Force and Navy reconnaissance crews routinely flew into the teeth of the enemy on operational combat missions. For them, the cold war was very hot indeed."

Quote from book, By Any Means Necessary, by William E. Burrows.

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and seriously wounded the US Navy and the United States of America. Despite this setback the attack on Pearl Harbor became a rallying cry for citizens of the United States. Even as a small child I can remember my grandmother wearing a pin that said, "Remember Pearl Harbor." The US military recognized that had our intelligence been better - or better acted upon - we may have been better prepared for the attack on Pearl Harbor. As such men began to be trained in intelligence gathering techniques that often put them at danger and, in many cases, cost them their lives. The unfortunate aspect of this kind of work is that the men - and women - who were engaged in electronics and communications surveillance did so with little recognition of that service until September 2, 1997.

On that date - and because of the dedicated efforts of men who wished to recognize the services of these heroic individuals - a National Vigilance Park was established at Ft. George Meade, Maryland. The crew of a C-130 , which had strayed over Soviet Armenia and was shot down, killing all crew members, was honored by the creation of this memorial park. Family members who had little information about the reasons behind the loss of their sons, husbands, and fathers had an opportunity for a "kind of closure" after 39 years of silence. During the creation and recognition of this national memorial a term was coined calling these men, "Silent Warriors".

But the term "Silent Warriors" also applies to thousands of individuals who daily put their lives on the line to maintain a constant vigilance so as to be better prepared for another "Pearl Harbor." This web site also is to recognize those individuals, my comrades of the Cold War. Dozens of planes were lost in peacetime reconnaissance. Many men worked constantly, under combat conditions, and many were killed with little or no recognition of their service to this great nation of ours. Some have never been accounted for.

This web site is created to recognize my brothers and to point others to the web site of the National Vigilance Park . I personally wish to thank my brothers for their service. I can only hope that their families and the people of the United States can appreciate, in some small manner, the service of these "Silent Warriors," - And for my brothers who performed service during the Vietnam conflict I wish to say, "Welcome Home! Thanks for your service."   // Airlee Owens

Thanks also to the crews who took us out and brought us back - most of the time.

This Web Site is Dedicated to the "PROP WASH GANG."


CLICK HERE to go to the web site for The Price of Vigilance book. Larry Tart and Robert Keefe have written an extensive book on airborne signals intelligence reconnaissance. Larry is the man behind the creation of the National Vigilance Park and Aerial Recon (C-130) Memorial at Fort Meade, MD. He also founded the Prop Wash Gang. The book is an extensive investigation into attacks on American surveillance aircraft, with special emphasis on the shootdown of C-130 60528 on September 2, 1958. It also documents the early histories of the USAF Security Service and Air Force airborne COMINT recon. In addition, it covers the U.S. Navy EP-3E-Chinese incident in April 2001 and related Cold War U.S.-Chinese air incidents."

CLICK HERE for the webpage for Larry Tart’s five-volume USAFSS history, “FREEDOM THROUGH VIGILANCE” — "FTV," Volumes I, II and III cover USAFSS ground site history and “FTV,” Volumes IV and Volume V address USAFSS Airborne Recon history.

CLICK HERE for information about a book by one of our own Prop Wash Gang members. Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona served as a Vietnamese linguist and later as an Arabic linguist prior to, and during, the Gulf War. He ultimately became General Norman Schwarzkopf's own personal interpreter and sat in on the peace talks with the Iraqis at the end of that conflict. He has an interesting story to tell.

CLICK HERE for information about a book by another one of our own Prop Wash Gang members. James C. Wheeler MSgt Ret. USAF has written a book about the history of the EC-47, of which all reconnaissance personnel who served in Vietnam will have an understanding. Check out his site and buy his book.

Click on the PWG Bookstore link below to find a novel by Delray K. Dvoracek called The Baltic Sea Incident. Del is another former USAFSS recon flyer.

CLICK HERE for the PWG Bookstore, books of interest for Silent Warriors.


FTVA Departed Warriors Merry Christmas! Invitation to Memorial Service
Laurel, Maryland - 2001 Medal of Honor Citations Army Security Agency San Antonio 2000
60528 Remembrance 60528 Remembrance II 6924th Security Squadron US Military Medals
Veterans Organizations Military Aircraft Photos Reserved Russian Aviation Page.
Chrystal's Poem Stan Poyas' Page National Vigilance Park Cold War Reconnaissance
NSA Aerial Photo Big Safari Web Site Air Force Song Warplane Picture Gallery
RB-29 Web Site Three Beauties K-14 TAC RECON Reserved
PROP WASH GANG Photos Task Force Russia Site Geneva Convention Card Cold War Shootdowns
Reserved Last Photo of 60528 Darmstadt Story KAL 007
Reserved CMS of the Air Force The Beaner Banner RC-135 60357
The Spyflight Website Our Web Site Awards RB-47 Shootdown - 1960 6916th Home Page
The Spokesman - AIA Almanac Reserved Larry Tart at NVP Reserved
USAFSS Emblem USAFSS Patch Iraqi looking over RC-135 Air Intelligence Command Patch
USAF ESC Patch USAF ESC Patch Surrealism? Original 60528
6927th RSM Ron Kriegel Photos Reserved Reserved
Commemorative Envelope Mark Pepin Photos Commemorative Coins Photos from SMSgt. Frederick Ferrer
Dick Wheelock Photo RU-8D ASA Tribute Code of Conduct Our Secret Cold War
Attack on P4M-1Q Mercator Reserved 6913th RSM Site 6931st ESS - Iraklion, Crete
Baron 52 POW/MIA RC-135 Aircraft Site U-2 HISTORY
More U-2 Info Comfy Levi - 84 Intelligence Resources Intelligence Resource Program
Rivet Amber/Ball Shemya FLAG 2002 Photo Reserved
Lt Col Rick Francona's Blog PWG Memorabilia Cold War on the Web Cold War Pathfinder
VFW Article - Cold War in Asia 6985th ESS (NEED SITE!) Reserved 10/17/42 Terry and Pirates Strip
Reserved News Report of RB-47 Shootdown Office Boy Reunion - 2003 Huge USAFSS Emblem
6901st RSM WAG One - 2004 Naval Security Group - EA-3B Reserved
Bellevue - 2005 Offutt AFB Article about PWG Reunion PWG Poem Ron Chapelle Poem
Baltimore - 2008 A Mexican Christmas in Bavaria Airborne Maintenance Assoc Recordings and Transcripts of 60528 Shootdown

Silent Warriors poem written by Russ Butcher is posted here.

Here Lies a Silent Warrior by Bob Armistead - © 2009

Click Here for important historical documents, The Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitutional Amendments.

The Guestbook is no longer active

If you wish to peruse two older guestbooks CLICK HERE

Attention: Messages posted on this web site, even private messages, will be shared with the other members of the PROP WASH GANG, all who are former members of aerial reconnaissance crews. Although this site was created by Airlee Owens, it belongs to all of the Prop Wash Gang members.

Website started October 15, 1997

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This document was last updated September 11, 2008.

Warning: This web site has been set up to honor US Air Force personnel involved in intelligence. The web site domain name and hosting service was paid for by Airlee Owens until his death and is currently paid for by the Prop Wash Gang. No one is authorized to send e-mails to the webmaster using this domain name mailing address except as it relates to information contained on this web site and attached web pages. This web site has not been set up for others to use for promoting their merchandise via e-mail addressed to the domain name except as expressly permitted on Silent Warriors web site pages. Please respect this request.