Biographical Notes re

Charles A. (Chuck) Stone

Page 2 of 4 Pages, of Chapter 7,


It was about this same time that I was offered a chance to be evaluated for a regular commission. Hoping my medical history would not stand in the way, I made my application. I was referred to a local neurosurgeon for evaluation and, it being one of my better days, I passed. The Wing Personnel Office sent in the application with their positive recommendations.

Coincidentally, a few days later and just before going on leave up to Minnesota, I spent much of a day walking around a table helping to gather and assemble a new 98th BW publication. This required repetitive movements that my body just didn't like at all. It didn't tell me this until my family and I were driving through Iowa, enroute to our Minnesota vacation. Mile by mile, my lower back muscles begin to form in large knots. By the time we got to Cedar Falls, IA, where we would spend the night with dear friends originally from Park Rapids, I could just barely navigate in a very bent over position. We had a visit with them and I crawled on my hands and knees up to our second floor bedroom. With little improvement, overnight, I had to decide whether to abandon our trip and return to Lincoln and throw myself at the mercy of the medics, or go on to Little Falls and Park Rapids, praying for a healing miracle. We chose to head north. Nell drove the rest of the way. While visiting in Little Falls, I went to an osteopath daily for treatments. I remained bent like a gorilla for almost a week. Finally, while walking in my mother-in law’s garden, I felt the muscles relax all at one time and I could stand straight. I was sore, but upright once again. We headed on to Park Rapids for the balance of our leave time. I had helped set our Wing Commander, Colonel Coleman, up for a fishing vacation at one of our Park Rapids area lakes and he was expecting me to drop in and check on how he was doing. You may be assured that when we did so, there was no sharing of information about my back problem. The regular commission request was in the mail. All’s well that ends well. He had a great and relaxing time, something he really needed and deserved. Nell, the kids and I had a good time and I was increasingly more comfortable, day be day. We returned to Lincoln and soon received news that I had been accepted as a regular USAF officer. Happy days!

Life for a military family in the community of Lincoln, NE, was a warm and hospitable experience. Our second home was well suited for our family. We had neighbors that soon became close friends. We developed family relationships with B-47 crew families where we held so much in common. Every Holiday Season was cause for celebration with either neighbors or a group of our military family friends. From year to year traditions of special times to share became the rule. When the men were away on TDY or extended missions, the wives would keep in touch and look out for each other’s family health and special needs. Many of these friendships continue, even today.

Nell, the children and I usually took our vacation times in Northern Minnesota during the summer months. Photographs you see on this page represent some of our more typical experiences.

In the meantime, I was becoming increasingly immersed in the 98th Bomb Wing Operations as a part of a rapidly growing Strategic Air Command (SAC). I was constantly impressed and amazed to be a part of the larger SAC organization that had bombers and tankers aloft at all hours of the day and night, every day of the year. The general threat assessment saw the screws turning, shortening the span of time available if an “Alert” was called. First our crews each had a bag packed at home, later, selected crews were on standby in the alert barracks, on base, anticipating the call to their waiting aircraft. Soon, it would be standing by in an alert building at the end of the runway, just seconds from a preflighted and “cocked” aircraft. The flight safety record that SAC was accruing, while involved in this demanding and complex process, demonstrated the value of their strict training and standardization programs. General LeMay and his staff were creating management and analysis programs that would be adopted by other Major Air Force Commands, other military services and the corporate business world.

IG Inspections caused plenty of flaps and higher level staff changes from time to time. This business of pouring three gallons of sand into a gallon pail, with nothing on the floor, was harder on our supervisors than it was on the peons. We were set up with a new Division Commander about the time that on-base alert crew duty was instigated. To enhance crew morale, he decided we needed to dig a lake on base and build a recreation building by the lake. This would permit alert crews to be comfortable, entertained and available on call, and the rest of the base population would benefit through its use, as well. This would all be done by volunteers. He got a military Engineering outfit to dig our lake as a training exercise. You know how it is with commanders. Some want good grass. This one wanted a lake big enough to water ski in. We had a hangar to tear down so the rec building materials came from that source. Any supervisor, who had any staff under their control, was notified how many volunteers they would provide. The lake was built, but the combat crews pulling alert never really got to use it much. We were soon building an alert building at the end of the runway where the crews could be airborne in a few minutes. With that much energy going into lake and rec building efforts, you might know our flying time and square-filling began to drop off. Our Division Commander was soon promoted out of his job and headed, I believe, to the Pentagon, and a new Division Commander was installed.

With all this going on, we were visited by a team of psychologists from the Aeromed Lab at Wright Patterson AFB. They visited with crews, operations, training and staff supervisors at as many units they could fit into their time schedule. When this one interviewer got to me, I didn't hold back and told him in detail things that were wrong about elements of our learning environment. One of my important issues was the fact that much of our crew simulator training was conducted in a T-33 simulator trainer and far too little time was available on the B-47 simulator. I told him they ought to sell one of our B-47s and provide us with a couple more real-life simulators. I outlined accidents, some fatal, that might have been avoided if they had done this long ago. As they headed for the flight line and departure, I dogged him up the steps into his airplane before finishing my comments. He thanked me and away they went.

A week or so later, our Wing Commander received a letter from Wright Pat asking that I be allowed to come over and give an informal talk to their bevy of training psychologists, outlining in more detail some of my opinions and theories. The deal was made and I traveled to Wright Pat, was warmly welcomed and heartily applauded by many in the group. During the question and answer period and informal discussions after, I learned they had a divided camp.

Sandie and David peek in
their front door to see if Santa
had been to visit their house,
Christmas, Lincoln, Nebraska

Sandie feeding the new calf at Alyce
and Bob’s farm., Little Falls, MN.

Ready for church while
visiting in Park Rapids

David shows off a bass caught at
Spider Lake, Park Rapids, MN.

Dad closes out a day of fishing
on Lake Itaska, Headwaters
of the Mississippi River.

There were some in their group that believed that training B-47 pilots in the T-33 simulator was as good as training in a B-47 simulator and that all procedures learned and practiced were fully transferable. My recommendations were just the opposite. I contended that in actual emergency conditions, having been trained on a trainer that had the same number of throttles in the correct location, and the location of instruments, switches and levers in their real locations, was very important.

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