Eugene Peyton Deatrick - Military Career - Flight Test

Flight Test

In 1949, he was assigned to the 3759th Electronics Test Squadron whose mission was the development of new radar bombing equipment. In 1950 the squadron moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida as the nucleus of the new Air Armament Center. Deatrick was assigned as the Bomber Engineering Test Pilot. In addition to bombers, he flew the T-33, P-51, and the F-84. In 1951, Deatrick was a member of the first class to attend the newly formed Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and subsequently served five years in the Bomber Flight Test Division at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio. During this tour of duty, he flew development tests on the B-47 and B-52 aircraft among many other programs.

Deatrick also participated in nuclear weapons effect tests in these aircraft at the Pacific Proving Grounds in 1954 and 1956. During Operation Castle, he flew a B-47 to test thermal and overpressure effects of an atomic blast on aircraft in flight. A year later, in preparation for Operation Redwing, Deatrick received B-52 instruction at Boeing Field near Seattle, Washington. In August 1955, Col. Guy Townsend "signed off" Deatrick and qualified him to fly the Boeing bomber. B-52B serial number 52-0004, the first B model aircraft, was extensively instrumented to measure thermal, blast, and gust effects of a nuclear explosion. The aircraft was redesignated a JB-52B and nicknamed by the crew, The Tender Trap, after the movie of the same name. In March 1956, pilot Charles G. "Andy" Anderson and co-pilot Deatrick left Seattle for Eniwetok. They participated in eight "shots" including, Cherokee, the first airdrop of a thermonuclear bomb, and Zuni, the first test of a three-stage thermonuclear design.

From 1956 to 1964, Deatrick was assigned as executive officer to Major General Howell Estes, Jr. He followed Estes on many assignments throughout the world. In 1965, he volunteered for Vietnam. Deatrick received indoctrination in the A-1 Skyraider at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and graduated with class Express-20.

Read more about this topic:  Eugene Peyton Deatrick, Military Career

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