(Contact Info: larry at larryblakeley.com)
Important Note: You will need to click this icon to download the free needed to view most of the images on this Web site - just a couple of clicks and you're "good to go." For reasons why - go here.
A listing and access link to all:
song lyrics and mp3 audio files http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/ (all of which are a part of this Web site) can be accessed simply by selecting the "htm" file for the song you want;
quotations http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations.htm; and
essays written by Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/articles_larry_blakeley.htm,
all of which are used to tell the story in this Web site, can be accessed by going to each respective link set out above.
My son, Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/larryblakeley_photos_jpeg.htm manages this Web site.
Major Roy James Blakeley (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - USAF (KIA)
When I was young my dad would say
Come on son let's go out and play
No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
No matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye
- "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," Performer: Chet Atkins
MP3 audio file/lyrics http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm
For a larger image click on the photograph.
In April, 1962 my father was assigned to the 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 479th Tactical Fighter Wing located at George Air Force Base, Victorville, California. There he trained to fly the F-104 Starfighter.
We arrived by shipliner from England after a week voyage at the harbor of New York City - picked up Taurus station wagon - loaded up - and headed west across America for a site seeing tour.
In fact, my father's preferred destinations were located in Arizona, California, or Nevada - Luke, Williams and Nellis, specifically. He was not given a definitive destination until "in route." Here is a photograph of my parents standing next to the Taurus at my mother's parents' ( John and Edna Ashton) place on Higway 70 - just 3 miles north of Roby. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/mother_dad_roby1962.djvu
We also stopped by Whitharral, Texas to visit my father's mother, Violet - on U.S. Highway 385 - 10 miles north of Levelland in north central Hockley County - here we are in front of the Whitharral sign on the highway. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/mother_violet_larry_karen_sharon_whitharral_sign.djvu
On the 26th day of May, 1962 my father received a certificate from the Tactical Air Command of a "Deep Sea Survival Training" course. This was a 40-hour course that he completed at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/deep_sea_survival_certificate19620526.djvu
Here is a Certificate of Supersonic Recognition signifying membership in the "enviable and exclusive" Order of Starfighters (Mach Buster Number 1120), signed by Senior Starfighter test pilot - Tony LeVier, issued to Capt. Roy J. Blakeley. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/certificate1120_tony_levier_f104.djvu
Here is a picture of my father and some fellow pilots of the F-104 Starfighter. Starting from left to right: Roy (Bud) Jameson, Roy Blakeley, Brooks Morris http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/brooks_morris/brooks_morris.htm, Fred Alvord, and Morris (Brownie) Parker.
USAF Accident/Incident Report - AF Form 71 dated Wednesday, February 6, 1963; Pilot: 1/Lt Frederick B. Alvord III (A03086546); Location: Moron Air Base, Spain; Wing: 479 TFW; Squadron: 436 TFS; Flight Leader: Capt. Roy James Blakeley (45482A); Aircraft Involved: F-104C (Serial No. 56-0899). http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/accident_report_F104C19630602.htm
A newspaper clipping here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_news_McCordAFB.djvu from the George Air Force Base paper showing my father taxiing his F-104 Starfighter to the ramp at McCord Air Force Base, Washington sent there to carry out ground support missions for the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington as part of the U.S. Strike Command in the Puget Sound area. He was 1 of 10 of the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing from George AFB.
My sister, Karen holding Jim and Miko Dore's (neighbors) son here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/karen_miko_son196401.djvu (January, 1964). Here is a photograph of Jim and Miko's wedding in Yokohama in 1961 http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/miko_jim_dore_wedding_yokohama196111.djvu Here is a a photograph of them in our living room at George Air Force Base in January, 1964. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/miko_jim_dore196401.djvu
Some valentine cards for my mother - no date on this one here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/valentine_directory_rblakeley.djvu - this card was for Valentines Day on February 14, 1964 he mailed from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida to my mother at home at George AFB here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/valentine_directory_rblakeley19640214.djvu. Another thoughtful card from my father to my mother here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/directory_card_thinking_of_you.djvu .
On March 10, 1964 my father received an award for being the "Top Gun," 479th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW), Turkey Shoot IV. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/top_gun19640310.djvu
And, the Blakeley family at George Air Force Base, Easter Sunday, 1964 http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/directory_easter_sunday1964.djvu
A line of F-104 Starfighters on the parking ramp. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/starfighters_line.djvu
Here are two F-104 Starfighters and two F-4 Phantoms lined up on the runway in a diagonal orientation in order for my father to take this picture from the cockpit of his F-104 (most probably with his canopy open since the photograph is relatively clear). http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/2_f104_f4_196407.djvu
Here are some other F-104 Starfighter photographs taken by my father - 2 of which are in the cockpit looking through the canopy. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_f104.djvu
Here is a photograph of my father's mother, Violet, standing in front of an F-104 at an airshow. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/f104_vblakeley.djvu
And, while he was out flying - my mother continued with their joint project of making F-104 Starfighter shadowboxes for each of the squadron pilots. My father did all the woodwork and together they did the finishing work. Mine is sitting right above me - they really are pretty cool. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/shadowbox_f104_mother196407.djvu
As my mother is well aware - and her curlers in the above photograph attest to - you really never knew when my father was going to put you permanently on film.
Mother and I in the snow at the San Bernardino Mountains here http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_mother_snow.djvu .
Mother in our home at George AFB here http://www.royblakeley.name/johnnye_blakeley.djvu .
A Mother's Day card I made for my mother here. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_card_mothers_day_larry_bee.djvu
Here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/georgeAFB_school_records1962_1963.djvu is a copy of my grades for the school year, 1962 - 1963 (3rd grade), at George Air Force Base and for the school year, 1963 - 1964 (4th grade), here. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_georgeAFB_school_records1963_1964.djvu
A drawing of "The Boxer" http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/boxer_larry1964.djvu and of "Leaving Las Vegas" http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/drawing_leaving_vegas_lblakeley1964.djvu were both drawn by me at the age of 10.
How do I know we were leaving Las Vegas (since there's no indication from the features of the automobile)? Because when we would leave George for the trip to visit my father's parents - we arrived there late in the evening. And, when we would head back to George - we returned early - the sun is shining in the drawing.
Here is my drawing of some "Starfighters." http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/drawing_starfighters1966.djvu
Here is a drawing of mine http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/drawing_space_capsule_entry_lblakeley.djvu of Alan B. Shepard, Jr.'s http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/shepard-alan.html, ride in project Mercury's Freedom 7 MR-3 (18) - a craft that on May 5, 1961, headed for its ultimate splash-down at a location in the Atlantic Ocean with the coordinates of: 75deg 53min longitude, 27deg 13.7min latitude http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/history/mercury/mr-3/mr-3.htm
40 years ago from today's date of November 11, 2004, one of my childhood heroes, Roy Rogers, signed a 25-year lease of the Apple Valley Inn with the owner, Newton T. Bass - President of Apple Building and Development Company. The inn's name was changed to the "Roy Rogers' Apple Valley Inn." http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_roy_rogers_newspaper19641111.djvu
If I was not riding my bike, skateboarding, swimming, or playing "king of the hill" outdoors on summer break, or Saturdays - I was at the picture show watching Roy Rogers at the matinee. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/why_learn.htm
So, I was really excited when my mother told me he was going to be close to us. She took me out there to meet him - and, when he came out into the hallway to say "hello" - he scared me. He had some sort of device holding his neck and head upright - perpendicular to the ground.
Here is a photograph of me http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/larry_backyard_george196507.djvu and my youngest sister, Sharon here with our cowboy hats on. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/sharon_backyard_george196507.djvu
This article confirms this injury, but does not say what happened to him. It is my recollection that he injured himself in a skiing accident.
Trigger (Senior) did not make the trip to Apple Valley - he went on to "horse heaven" - I suppose, but Trigger (Junior) did end up at the stables - so, I had my mother take me out to pet him. I was a little taken aback because Trigger (Senior) was not given a proper burial - instead he was stuffed and put on display at the entrance to the inn.
Here is a photo of me with Dale Evans' horse. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/evans_dale_horse.djvu
And, I do remember going to the stables and a friend named George coming along. We feed the horses sugar cubes and apparently - instead of cupping the sugar cube in the palm of his hand, George must have tried to feed one of the horses with the sugar cube held with his fingers - and he got bit - and bit pretty good from the screaming he was making.
Sites covering the F-104 Starfighter
NASA's gallery site http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/F-104/index.html
USAF Museum http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/fighter/f104c.htm
LOCKHEED F-104C "STARFIGHTER http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/modern_flight/mf46.htm
Harry's Lockheed F104 Starfighters Site http://www.starfighters.nl/ - this site contains a wealth of additional links about the F-104 Starfighter.
Air to Air Combat.com http://www.airtoaircombat.com/background.asp?id=45&bg=270
916- Starfighter.de http://www.916-starfighter.de/ - "My homepage will show you the history of the 916 German Starfighter," Hubert Peitzmeier <email@example.com> Also, please see "How the Hell Do I Get Around Here?" - email exchanges with Hubert Peitzmeier, November 5 - 6, 2004
File Name: email_exchange_peitzmeier
Articles of Interest covering the F-104 Starfighter:
- "The Joy of High Tech," Part 2: Starfighter, Rodford Edmiston
File Name: starfighter_rodford_edmiston (3,828 words)
For a picture of my father standing in front of his F-104 Starfighter go here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/roy_blakeley_f104.djvu . Mach 2 certificate here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/Extra_Photographs/f104_mach2_certificate.djvu . A photo here http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/starfighters_signature.djvu of two F-104's in flight in a beautiful blue sky that is signed "Roy J. Blakeley Capt. USAF." Possibly, this was left over from an air show. The pilots of the squadrons greeted visitors in front of their respective aircraft and signed photos at these public air shows. My favorite airshow in the desert outside Las Vegas, Nevada. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/favorite_airshow.htm
My father standing in front of the squadron's bulletin board here where presumably the top secret and important squadron information of interest is placed - Playboy centerfolds of the 1960's. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_playboy_photos_dad.djvu
A photo of my parents in their living room at their home at George AFB here. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/dad_mother196407.djvu
Operation Diamond Lil
What do I know at this point (November 10, 2004) about this operation?
- it was designated "top secret" for reasons that I can only assume by looking at the following material:
DD Form 1351 - Travel Voucher http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_DD1351_travel_voucher19650223.djvu - my father's copy of his itinerary reflecting that he departed George Air Force Base on January 21, 1965 at 1900 local standard time by government bus for a 1-1/2 hour trip to March Air Force Base. The next morning he boarded a government aircraft at 0800 for a flight to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska; and several more stops later ended up at his ultimate destination - Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska on January 22, 1965 at 2130 local standard time.
My father was at Elmendorf Air Force Base until departing for Eielson Air Force Base on January 27, 1965 at 1730 local standard time for his next extended destination of Eielson Air Force Base - arriving there by government bus on the same day at 2115 local standard time.
He was conducting "secret" flights.
How do I know that? My father has written in red the word - "secret" - on each of his flight plans. These secret flights originated out of Eielson; were characterized by a magnetic heading of west towards the Russian border; then back east to Eielson. It seems there must have been two routes that were flown over this period of time while at Eielson.
He was slowly down along the U.S.- Russia Convention Line of 1867 and flying very close to USSR's Big Diomede Island at an altitude and groundspeed that enabled him to "see" what was going on - especially over this island (and, possibly there was some interest of what was happening, if anything, on the U.S.'s Little Diomede Island).
I can't imagine that there weren't some Russian Mig's on the western side of this fine line separating the U.S. and Russian borders.
The routes of these flights are substantiated by the following documents:
- Eielson Route #1 http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_eielson_flight_plan_route1.djvu
- Eielson Route #2 http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_eielson_flight_plan_route2.djvu
Here is a copy of the charts my father used with check points marked in black dots http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_eielson_chart.djvu
The Travel Voucher reflects that my father departed Eielson Air Force Base on February 18, 1965 at 1000 local standard time and arrived by F-104 Starfighter aircraft at George Air Force Base on the same day at 1730 local standard time (a 7-1/2 hour flight).
Somehow, during all of this my father was able to locate a valentine's day card and mailed it to my mother with a postmark date of February 11, 1965 from Fairbanks, Alaska. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/directory_card_valentine_rblakeley19650211.djvu Not only was this card beautiful, but was quite unique in that the front of the card was in two sections - with the white section being elevated on four foam blocks raising it above the base underlay of red and gold. I have tried to scan this card so that you can see some of the 3-D characteristics of the card - hopefully, you will feel the depth of the heart here - it is right there in the center of this story and is evident behind the front facade.
Here is a photo of my mother and my sisters at the steps of his F-104 Starfighter upon his return to the parking ramp at George. I am in the car waiting with the mumps. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/rblakeley_alaska_return.djvu
Special Order No. 7 dated June 15, 1965 appointing officers of the 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron to the F-104C/D aircraft.
DjVu Original http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/special_order_7_19650615.djvu
List of officers of the 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/special_order_7_19650615.djvu (TFS), Major Eusebio Arriaga, Commander, as Special Order 7, dated June 15, 1965
Special Order TA (Travel Authorization) - 1100, dated June 22, 1965 issued by Headquarters, 831st Combat Support Group (TAC), George Air Force Base, California:
Advance Party -
Major Eusebio Arriaga
Captain Richard A. Bianckino
Captain Roy J. Blakeley
Captain Howard E. Sargent, Jr.
Captain J. L. Symonds
Captain Morris B. Parker III
Captain James J. Torson
DjVu Back http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/special_order_TA100_back19650622.djvu
Here is a photograph of the 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron ("Black Aces") http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436TFS.djvu
The pilots in this photograph have been identified by others, as follows:
Front Row (left to right):
Captain Roy J. Blakeley
Captain Mike A. Korte
Captain Walter B. Harris
2 remaining pilots unknown
Back Row (left to right):
Major Eusebio Arriaga
Major Charles W. Ward
Captain Luther T. Harvey
Captain Richard A. Bianckino http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/richard_bianckino/index.htm
Colonel Howard C. Johnson (sitting on wing)
3 remaining pilots unknown
Here is a copy of an email exchange between myself, Lt. Colonel Harold Alston, and Bob Irwin http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/george_436th_fighter_squadron/email_exchange_harold_alston_bob_irwin.htm concerning the identification of the pilot sitting at the desk with my father at Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam in this photograph. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/roy_blakeley196507.djvu