Remembrances

REMEMBRANCES

(of Goodfellow AFB or San Angelo, Texas)

If you would like to share on the website a memory or story about life at “Goodbuddy” or about places you visited in San Angelo, please “Contact Us”.

James Alverson, an ex-207X2, wrote: 
“The twin engine plane shown (see BASE PHOTOS – Other Buildings tab) was one of two Cessna 310s, aka Bluebirds, belonging to Goodfellow that were used for executive and courier flights primarily between Goodfellow and Kelly AFB, were also used for longer trips. I flew on them to Keesler AFB 2-3 times in the early 70s.

One of the Cessna 310s crashed in late 72 or early 73 at Mathis field. The Captain who was normally the co-pilot was doing touch and go training, but forgot to lower the landing gear on one of his approaches.

In about late 73 or early 74, the remaining Cessna 310 was replaced by two O-2B push/pull propeller aircraft. They were also used for executive and courier flights, but no long trips. I seem to recall that both of those aircraft were removed from Goodfellow sometime in 1974 leaving Goodfellow with no active aircraft. It was shortly after that when the runway was decertified for use.”

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James Artlip has graciously given me permission to post the following link from Facebook* of a video he took in 1962.

https://www.facebook.com/james.artlip/videos/1818614244841274/permalink/666815867035758/

*Old Goodfellow AFB Tech School 1950s – 1979

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(CMSgt-Ret) Ed Bendinelli – “Ray Leftwich was among the seven (including three USAFSS morse operators from Det 1, 6994th Scty Sqdn, Nha Trang, RVN ) crewmembers killed when their EC-47, Tail #201, Callsign Tide 86, was shot down on March 9, 1967.  I was assigned to Det 1 and actually had lunch with Ray the day he was killed.  Ray’s family was here in San Angelo at the time of his death.  Wife Betty actually operated a little roll-around hot-dog stand out in front of the old BX until her death in 1991.  There is a dorm with Ray’s name on it on Goodfellow.  Our FTVA group is currently in the process of preparing a shadow box to post inside that building.   Fred Sebers, a 202 who was also killed while serving at Det 1 now has his name on Bldg 519.  There are four other 6994th KIAs memorialized on Goodfellow:  Pete Cressman, Todd Melton, Jock Ryon, and Joe Matejov.  Hopefully there will be yet another if we can get Sgt Dale Brandenburg****, the only USAFSS Bravo maintenance technician killed while serving with the 699th, memorialized at Goodfellow.  It is most fitting that the beautiful EC-47 stands in front of Goodfellow’s (new) Wing Hqs – as Goodfellow played an important role during the EC-47 era, training operators, linguists, analysts and maintenance types before they left for Southeast Asia.  Just a thought but photos/programs of the memorializations on Goodfellow for men and women who were stationed at or trained on Goodfellow during past conflicts would fit in well with your historical record.”

****”Dale was killed on Feb 5, 1973, when his EC-47 was shot down over Laos.  Among his crewmates were (the above mentioned) Pete Cressman, Todd Melton and Joe Matejov, all who have buildings named after them on Goodfellow.  That’s why it’s kind of important to have Dale’s name put on a building here also.”

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Clyde Cantrell –“Where Fuentes restaurant is now was the old Concho Drug Store.”

Clyde Cantrell – Clyde Cantrell noted that the tall building is known as the McBurnett Bldg after the architect that built it. It was an office building that had the First Savings and Loan on the first floor when he lived in San Angelo.

Next two-story building has been Tom Green County Public Library since April 1981 (Judge Edd B. Keyes Building at 113 West Beauregard). According to Clyde Cantrell the Keyes Building was the old Sears and Roebuck Building and it had the first escalator in San Angelo. When he was a little boy, he remembered they had two water fountains in that building, one for African Americans and one for Whites. When they were remodeling the building they found the old signs labeling the water fountains. They had been covered by plaster or some other wall covering.

Bill’s Man’s Shop/Scramblers use to be F. W. Woolworth in 1973. Clyde Cantrell noted that the original Woolworths store was on S Chadbourne in the same block that the old Nathan’s Jewelers was in. There was another five & dime there too called McCellands (sp). All are gone now.

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(MSgt-Ret)  Lew Casey/Terry Dobrilovic Casey – (Terry writes:  In late October 2018, a question was posed to us if we knew of an emblem for the 6940th Training Wing or Training Group. – Please Ctrl F “Ross” to see the final outcome of such a search below.  Anyway, we both starting searching the internet and Lew found a color image (first photo) of the USAF SCHOOL OF APPLIED CRYPTOLOGIC SCIENCES emblem.  He then remembered that he had an old unclassified (of course) document that was printed in Printed Materials/Course Materials office.  He scanned the front cover (second photo).  Then, I was directed to check out the military mural that was painted downtown (third photo) with same design but says USAF SECURITY SERVICE SCHOOL.

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Ron Coughenour, an ex-202, wrote: “While looking for my photos I saw the old picture of the officers’ swimming pool.  When my class was waiting during the two week break between the non-classified and classified sections I got to be a life guard at that pool.  While my classmates were lining up for “weeds and seeds” duty, I was off to the pool.  What a deal!  I actually had to go in and save a kid who had gotten hung upside down in the water on an inner-tube and was thrashing around.

I was also glad to see that there are no other interior shots of the barracks.  I’m happy that I could show what they looked like.  I was on the second floor.  Many times, on a Friday night when you came back to the barracks, all of the beds were knocked over and all the mattresses and sheets were scattered all over the floor.  The term for this was “rat-f*+#ing the barracks”  You simply found a mattress and went to sleep.  On Sunday night, everyone had to get together and put everything back in shape for Monday morning.  You were very strongly expected to attend the straightening up process.  Thank God there never was a weekend surprise inspection.  In fact, there never was an inspection of the barracks that I can remember.  The only time I saw an officer in our barracks was one night a Lt. pulled a fire drill.  We failed badly.  He was not happy and pulled another drill a few nights later.  We passed that one.

There was a guy who was also from St Louis in my class and in the animal barracks.  He got a car and when we got paid we would drive to the San Angelo Holiday Inn and only drink Budweiser beer.  We would continue until the bartender told us that there was none left.  I think they only stocked a few six-packs.   Mostly they had Lone Star beer.  That about sums up my memories of Goodfellow.

One other memory that can put me right back in the compound.  When I hear the songs “Hair”, “Light My Fire” and “Ode to Billy Joe”  I am right back in uniform, sitting at the table in the snack area with some coffee.  Those were the three songs that were played over and over on the jukebox.  We heard the officers particularly didn’t like “Hair”.”

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(MSgt-Ret) Johnnie Estes – “I spent two different times going to school at Goodfellow for the long and short courses for 328X3’s.  I love your website and I am about to put a link from the Airborne Maintenance Technician Association (AMTA) website to yours and was wondering if you would be interested in putting a link from your site to the AMTA?   It just helps us in locating people.”

Terry answered:  “Johnnie, consider it done – everyone, please check out the following website:  www.amtassociation.org

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(SMSgt/First Sergeant) Gerard Ferris – (when asked by me what were the NCO PME training phases):

Phase I was NCO Orientation (was 3 days in duration and was required before you got your star on the stripes)

Phase II was Supervisor Course (was two weeks long and was for both civilian supervisors and military NCOs)

Phase III was NCO Leadership Course (about 4 weeks long)

Phase IV was NCO Academy (about 5 weeks long)

Phase V was a kind of unofficial title for the Sr NCO Academy in Alabama at Gunter.

Also, Gerard (Jerry) Ferris wrote to me:  “Think, Glenn Rodgers mentioned it to me once and I had heard it before in the old NCO Club.  (My drunken butt may be in the bushes in one of the old photos by the way.)  Anyway, the story goes that Doc Holiday was going past the plane (B-25 above/below) and noticed the tail number.  Story goes that he flew on that very plane many years ago and had to jump out of it during some action.  The pilot saved the plane but wasn’t much left of it.  Also, Doc was supposed to be the second highest decorated NCO in the USAFSS after Korea.  The highest decorated was a guy named Clu Culliger who went on to star in some movies.  These could be just some old bar stories but there is some truth in all of the legendary drinkers stories from USAFSS.”

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(MSgt-Ret) Zack T. Fleming – My class moved the equipment for the 304 (Ground Radio Maint) labs from Bldg 501 to Bldg 407 in the summer of 1967. In 1981 we moved the entire AZK30474 school to Bldg 407 when I was the Branch Chief. The dash courses remained in the smaller buildings as they were unclassified. We had the front half of Building 407 and the airborne maintenace (328’s) had the back half. Building on old flight line that was thought to be common block class room was used for the AZR30474 fundamentals (unclassified) classrooms in 1967 and I don’t know when it was first used or for how long it was used by the ground radio maint school.

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(MSgt-Ret) Zack T. Fleming  “I’ll give you a few more memories of GAFB in 67 that came to mind.

Check me out but I am 99% sure Bldg 407 was occupied by the 6948th SS (Mobile) prior to being occupied by the 6940th for training in 1967. I am almost positive the ’48th relocated to Kelly AFB when it became clear the runways at GAFB would be closed to normal air traffic due to the apartments and houses off the end of the runway.

I also remember there was a weather detachment there in 67 and they flew WC-47 “Goony Birds”, but also relocated due to closing the runway.

Finally, there was a secure area of single story buildings between the motor pool and Bldg 501 that were used for classified training. I’m sure the entrance to this area was off the street across from base supply.

One final bit of trivia is that my class in the ARZ30474 course that started in Feb 67 was a first. I was a newly promoted SSgt but the rest of my class were A2C fresh from Keesler. Prior to this attendees had to be career status and E-4 over 4 since it was a “7 level course. I was the Class Leader and could not have asked for a better bunch of troops. They all were very mature and not much younger than me. They all looked like they were supposed to look, acted like they were supposed to act, and were where they were supposed to be. I never had any problems with dicipline or any trip to see the Commander or 1st Sgt. We would all go to Lake Nasworthy after school and swim and mingle with those that had their wives with them and also the single or unaccompanied guys. I still have my old notebook with training notes, class roster, and instructor names for all the blocks in the 28 week course.”

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Carl Frentz  “On the picture of the theater and chapel, the third building was the bowling alley in 62/63–complete with pin boys.  The building in the background was the BX.  I believe I remember only four lanes in the bowling center.  My barracks was 52, back up the street from the BX just past the post office.  And once they built the new theater, they turned the old building over to the chapel.”

Carl Frentz – “The Snack Bar was located right next to the Fire Station.  Looking to the east, it would Fire Station first, then the Snack Bar.”

Carl Frentz – “Common block for us was in those buildings you identified in the southeast corner next to the flightline, including the one with the parachute tower. I believe the last one before the hangar was where the typing school was. Of course the hangar is what was converted into the BX. I heard the other day that some of the original wooden roof is still up there.”

Carl Frentz – “501 in 1962/63 was the TMO warehouse–one of only four brick building on base. I remember taking my hold baggage down there for shipment.”

Carl Frentz “On the shot where you could see the flight line and you asked what the two building you have marked with the question marks were.

You identified B320 which was the Ed Center as being the phase 2 of the 202 school.  The first question mark was originally part of the school house behind the fence.  It was where we did the final parts of the course before graduation.   The other building next to the hangar was civilian personnel in the 80’s.  Not certain what it was in the 60’s.  Hope that helps.”

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Steve Gaylo – “I would indeed like to assist in any research done on the base as it was in the early 1960’s, if I can. My problem is that I did not pay much attention to such details as building numbers, or even street names for that matter, during the five months I spent at Goodfellow in 1963.  Of course, I recall the base theater, next to the chapel; I must have seen more than a dozen flims there – or more: every time an old flick from the early ’60’s plays on tv, I say to myself – I saw that in a theater – and many of them must have been at Goodbuddy.  Tickets probably went for about a quarter.
I recall the 6944th HQ being in a small building just south of the “Stockade,” which was, as you probably know, our training facility. During ALK203 training, I lived in a barracks building that was at the far south end of the runway, across from the old mess hall – long since gone, as I see from one of the photos. During AZK203 (flight) training, we occupied a barracks that was across the street from the old finance office, I believe one block north of the BX. I notice that in the photos there is a small block building on the corner just north of the BX that is described as the barbershop. I puzzled over that, as I could not remember ever getting a haircut there. But then, can’t recall ever getting one anywhere on base, even though I must have plenty of times. One haunt I definitely do recall is the base snack bar that was located on the avenue next to the flight line – spent many a night in there snacking and playing cards. The AZK training location was just a stone’s throw to the north from there along the flight line. Wish I could recall in greater detail, but if a question about some part of the base in that time period ever comes up, I would enjoy contributing.”

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Rich Haycook – “The picture of Fuentes Cafe at Chadbourne and Beauregard was known as the “Airmen’s Corner” in the 60s. It’s where we would all wait for the bus to go back to the base – or for the dreamers, the place where one could get picked up by a carload of girls. 99 44/100% of the time the bus came first.”

Terry adds..In 1973, Fuentes was a drug store. The city bus would stop right in front of the drug store.

Rich Haycook – “This photo might have been dated as shown (before 1975) but it appears to show an area where I lived and trained.

I can’t be certain because the landscape there has changed but…to the right of the Motor Pool are the old wooden barracks — I lived in the “Rabbit Patch” which was across the street from the motor pool.  That was Dec63-May64 when I was at 292X2 school.  I recall the 6948th(?) mobile units staging there prior to a deployment.  The 4 rectangular buildings in front of  “common block training” would be where I went to classes…the guard shack is to the left of them.  My orderly room (6943rdSS) might be the brick building to the right of 407.  However that might have been a dorm for another squadron at the time. I vaguely remember it being a brick building but most of them at that time belonged to 202/203 trainees so I’m not entirely sure.

Also you have pictures of La Fonda Dining Hall — I spent Christmas 63 pulling KP in there… I had just arrived on base on the 23rd Dec.  It looks the same as it did then.  I notice there is no mention of the “2T School” officially known as Mission Improvement Conference in which 2T selectees (all E4) went to “management” classes prior to their second overseas tour.  That was a program during the 60s intended to enhance quality of young NCOs in hopes they reenlist.  E4s were not NCOs yet but at the beginning of our 35th month of service we were promoted to E5.   IMHO  It didn’t work out so well because just a small % stayed in for the duration.  While I was there I was a member of the Base drum/Bugle Corps…. A1C (E4) Billie Skeins was the leader at the time. We marched in Miss Wool, Armed Forces Day and other parades in town as well as the base parades.  If anyone has any pictures of that I would appreciate seeing them posted.  I might be able to identify some of the players.

Great site….. I haven’t been there for a while so it’s good to see the updates.”

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(MSgt USAF Ret) Michael Horne – “On your pictures of places around San Angelo, you have one of Fred Harris Bar B Q, that you didn’t know where it was located. This building opened as an Underwood’s BBQ in the early ’50s, then was bought by a Fred Harris after closing about one year later. This building became the Kung Fu Chinese Restaurant, on Sherwood Way. Apparently, this picture was taken before the larger adjacent (attached?) building was put in. I first arrived here in 1988, and the Kung Fu was still open at that time!

BTW, Harry’s Grocery building was built as the ORIGINAL Sears store in San Angelo in the 1930s. Also, the building where Talley Press is now (next to 1st Baptist on Harris) was the ORIGINAL Montgomery Wards (before they moved behind Penney’s.”

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Roy Ivey “One serviceman who trained there during WWII was Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the Star Trek entertainment universe.  I don’t have any documentation, but remember that he agreed to speak at ASU, I believe in the ’80s. He was known to turn down speaking engagements, but agreed to speak at ASU because he wanted to see what San Angelo looked like after all those years.  He trained as a bomber pilot at what was then known as Goodfellow Field.  By the way, James Doohan, Scotty from Star Trek, later spoke at ASU. I suspect that might have been related to Roddenberry speaking there.

Here is something I found on the Internet:”
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Go to Base Photos; Other Buildings; and do a search for the following:  Taken in 1973 (I think) Can anyone help me with the question-marked buildings?  Anthony Karafelis helped to identify a building across the street from snack bar.

Anthony Karafelis Concerning the photo taken in 1973 where you ask if anyone can ID the question marked buildings: the building across from the #6-snack bar is (was) an ASA barrack building.

 

I was housed on the second floor from January to March 1969 as a member of the ASA student contingent. 

 

That the snack bar was across the street made it a terrific location. The food was good, the pin-ball machines were fun, the music was great & the beer was cheap!

 

There were plenty of activities to keep us busy & sane during the rigorous training program, such as the volleyball tournaments at the old gym, the movies, the library, & the monthly steak bar-b-cue cookouts at the mess hall. We attended the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performance in San Angelo, bought our cowboy gear at Bill’s Man’s Shop on Beauregard Ave. (I still have it!), had out first real Mexican dinner at Pancho’s Cantina (long gone), & traveled all over the area, including a climb to the top of one of the twin buttes. We also had some interesting encounters with the Air Force Courtesy Patrols which had the responsibility of pointing out all the faults that military personnel exhibited, LOL!

 

Goodfellow was a decent duty station, thoughts of which are pleasantly nostalgic.

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(MSgt USAF Ret) Jeff Kinlaw “Thank you for creating the Goodfellow Then and Now Site.  I have enjoyed each visit and will continue to visit and review your outstanding library of photos and comments.  I was assigned to the 6940th Security Wing (USAFSS) GAFB Jan 1964 – Jul 1966 and 6948th Security Sq (Mbl) (USAFSS) GAFB Aug 1969 – Apr 1970.

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David LallyOne major thing I recall in 1960 was a terrific hailstorm that hit us, did over a million dollars in damage to the City of Sn Angelo. We were in class when it hit the hail was the size of goose eggs, hitting the classroom roof with a terrible racket. Our instructor opened the door, the hail stones came bouncing into the room. He quickly slammed the door closed. Once it subsided, there were piles (drifts) of hail all over the base. Cars looked like a crazy person with a ball peen hammer went at them, dents everywhere!”

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Donna Marro – “Did you know where Myers Drug store is now, it used to be a JC Pennys and behind the building was a Montgomery Wards?  I remember the old wood floors.  When they closed Pennys, they had an indoor putt putt which would have been in the 80s.”

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(CMSgt USAF Ret) Bob Mehaffey – “When I returned to Goodfellow AFB in 1974, after tours in Trabzon, Turkey; Misawa, Japan; Augsburg, Germany; and Brindisi, Italy, I knew that my career was winding down.  I had completed twenty-seven years of service and was looking forward to the final three years being at Goodfellow.  I had come to really love Texas in general and San Angelo in particular. I figured I would finish up there and stay for the rest of my life. I had bought a home and was, I thought, ready to settle down for good. My Air Force job was a good one serving as Superintendent of the Air Force Cryptological School, and Senior Advisor to Colonel Harlan Bruha, a man I really respected. I was a part of the school, served as an instructor in more than one course and was guest lecturer in the Air Force Intelligence Officer Course. It was this course that trained varying levels of officers to serve in USAFSS units around the world. Then things changed. A new Wing Commander took over. Colonel Norma Brown, the first female to command a Wing level unit came on board. I had known Colonel Brown for many years and respected her greatly. She was probably the best “people” commander I ever worked with. At any rate at her first command staff meeting, where she was meeting staff from around the base, people were being introduced to her. When it got to me she interrupted and said, “That is Bob Mehaffey, and today I am appointing him as my Senior Enlisted Advisor.” She turned to Col. Bruha and said, “Harlan, get you someone else!” And I became Goodfellow’s first Senior Enlisted Advisor. It was a great fit. Col. Brown and I worked together like a hand and glove. We thought alike and saw problems the same. We supported each other in every possible way. But by early 1976, after a very rewarding tour I began to get antsy. I never thought that would happen, but it did. I read all the intelligence reports coming in every day and very soon recognized that I missed being a part of the construction of those reports rather than a reader. I knew I couldn’t go back overseas because of the status of my children in high school and college. I had offers for some very good civilian jobs that would offer great opportunities for my own and my family’s future right there in San Angelo. I decided it was the appropriate time, so I gave it all up and retired. Shortly thereafter I became the Regional Business Director for the Texas Department of Human Services, covering first fifty-four then sixty counties of the state and managing eighty three offices manned by some thirteen-hundred people. Did I miss the Air Force? Every day!”

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Don Pfeffer  “Great site.  I learned about your site when I visited with the GAFB Wing Historian.  I visited GAFB this past week after being away for 36 years.  I served there from 1971 to 1975.  In 1971, I was assigned there as a 202X0 student and then permanent party in the 6948 SS (Mobile) till July 1973.  I was then assigned to the 6940 Wing as a Social Actions Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Specialist until July 1, 1975.  In 1974 the GAFB Social Actions Office was named the AF Wide Outstanding Social Actions Office.  Our office was last located on the flight line next to the hanger that housed the last airplane (an 02) to fly out of Goodfellow.

I have been looking for persons who were assigned to the 6948th from 1972 to 1973.”

SIDENOTE:  Contact Don directly at dpfeffer@clcmn.edu

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Richard Pointer  “Thank you so much for taking the time to publish the pictures and comments about GAFB.  I was stationed there in 1959 then again from Nov. ’63 to Apr ’66.  I was in 292×2 school in ’59 then back as instructor from ’63 to ’66. Great memories of San Angelo/GAFB.  Oldest son born in ’64 while we were there.  The photos brought back lots of memories.  I would like to see some photos of the old A&W Root Beer stand by Old Ft Concho.”

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Tim Roberts  “I was there from Jan 75-Sept 78. Col. Brown was the WC.  I was an SP. I remember much from GAFB and San Angelo.  The Mexican Grill at N and Chadbourne, Zentners, Stadium Lanes Pizza. I served with many good folks…Msgt DY Cole. Msgt. Tom (Rod) Moran, Lenny Lessner, Thomas O.B. O’Brien, Ed Cobb, Buddy Estrella, Chief Heard, Msgt Sheldon Meats, Sgt. Michael Thomas, Chet Kowall, Alan Caywood, the Barry Brothers, Billy and Robert (Stick), Greg Corrigan, Robert Baer, Kevin Malesic, Rich Bramley, Hal Moore, Stagger Lee Bryant, Ray Gilmore, Danny Archuleta, and many more than I can think of today.”

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Larry Ross/Doc Garrett – In late October 2018, a question was posed if anyone had or knew of a 6940th Training Wing emblem.  The following is a thoroughly researched answer given by  Larry Ross with input from the Base Historian Doc Garrett:

“The reason that no one can find a 6940th Training Wing emblem is that there was none.

In 1977 someone made a rough (actually very crude) preliminary pencil sketch of a proposed emblem.

According to AETC/HO records, the 6940th proposed an emblem (no record of its design) in November 1977, but the wing inactivated before it could be approved.

Lineage. Organized on 1 Oct 1958 as 6940 Air Base Wing. Redesignated as 6940 Technical Training Wing on 1 Apr 1960; 6940 Security Wing on 1 Feb 1963. Inactivated on 1 Jul 1978.

The 6940th became the 3480th Tech Tng Wing 1 July 1978.

The 6940th was reactivated as the 6940th Security Wing at Ft Meade, 1 February 1980. Different unit, different mission. Their emblem was approved on 4 December 1980.

Just receive updated info from Doc Garrett, 17th TRW Historian.

Here’s the sequence of the host units beginning with the transition to USAFSS on 1 Oct 58:

6940th Air Base Wing, 1 Oct 58
6940th Technical Training Wing, 1 Apr 60
6940th Security Wing, 1 Feb 63
3480th Technical Training Wing, 1 Jul 78
Goodfellow Technical Training Center, 1 Mar 85
Goodfellow Training Center, 1 Feb 92
17th Training Wing, 1 Jul 93

The transition to ATC was on 1 Jul 78.  ATC became AETC on 1 Jul 93.

Hope this helps.”

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Ron Samson  “Back in ’68 we would spend half the school day in the lab/classroom learning 207X2 stuff. The other half was spent in an open air (literally had screen windows, NO A/C in the Texas heat,(and this was in July!) learning to copy morse code with a pencil and paper. Yep, just you, your pencil, a legal pad, and a headset. You had to successfully copy 12.5 GPM to complete the course. Copying with pencil and paper was a challenge after learning on a typewriter (Keesler AFB). The Texas heat was a real incentive to be successful. Once you successfully copied 12.5 you were done and didn’t have to go to the “code” shack anymore. The “instructor”, obviously not the cream of the crop, sat in a booth behind a partition playing the tapes we listened to. When you felt you had a good copy you would take your sheet to him and have it graded. If successful, then on to the next speed. We learned quickly that the instructor NEVER left the booth, it had A/C. So we would diligently copy our “traffic”. At the end of a good pass, you would look around to see if anyone else had a good copy. We would then compare “notes”, make any necessary corrections and submit our “proofed” copies.  Hey, if he was too lazy to check, then we were going to take advantage….. it was HOT!!! We took care to make sure that no one got left behind. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.”

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Edward Sellmeyer (ex 20351) “I was at Goodfellow from March64 to Sep64 for ALK and AZK courses. I got married the day after I graduated from Syracuse and drove to San Angelo. Seeing the pictures and reading some of the comments brought back memories. One that stands out is going to movies at the base theater to see Hard Days Night with the Beatles and the incongruity of standing for the anthem, then seeing the chaos of that movie. I have many more good memories of the place.

I was a one-termer, on active duty for four years and two years of inactive duty. I was an A1C (E-4) when I left active duty. I also remember the Cessna 310’s. I had to fly back to Perrin AFB with two others to finish the rapid decompression phase of the altitude chamber training because we had gotten head colds. It was pretty exciting being in the takeoff line at Perrin with a string of F-102s waiting to leave. that little bird was really shaking.

Thanks for managing this site; it really made my day to see it.”

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Calvin Skidmore – “The old base theater was next to the old chapel in 1961 when I first arrived at GAFB and these buildings were situated the same when I departed the last time in September 1967.”

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USAF Retired Marc Stevens – “A little about my ties with Goodfellow. My dad (CMSgt Ralph Stevens) was a balloon operations supervisor stationed here at Goodfellow from 1960 to 1970 when he retired from the AF.   (The high-altitude  air sampling mission was at GAFB from 1958-1971.)

Dad was a Balloon Operations Officer with the 1110th Balloon Activities Squadron (and five other unit designations in the 1960s.)  Several balloons were launched from the old Goodfellow flight line.  Most of the high-altitude air and particle sampling balloons would land around the West Texas region where their samples would be recovered by H-21B choppers in the early 1960s to aircraft tracked ground crews.  Depending on higher headquarters mission requirements, members of the unit had to fly balloons from as far as Alaska and Brazil.

The mission operated out of the gray pass-through hangar until it was deactivated 1n 1971.  As you know, that hangar became the base Commissary in the early 1970s until the new commissary was built next to the BX, and them was torn down, with the location becoming the main BX parking lot.

For a long time the history of these balloon operations were forgotten; to quote my Dad commenting on the special Standard Times section on Goodfellow AFB’s 50th Anniversary  in 1991, “Not one Word” was mentioned about the balloon mission.  Since then (with the encouragement of wing historians) I have researched and gathered as much information about the history of the balloon mission and activity at GAFB.”

NOTE:  Eight photographs provided by Marc are posted in the BASE PHOTOS icon in the Base Photos Info tab.  Remember to click on the info drop down tab to see additional information about each photograph.

“After studying the picture (Three TB-25Js from pilot training school at GAFB flying over SA early 1950s) and driving by the SACHS area recently, I have a better idea of where the CHS campus was originally built and the street locations, so I’ll try to update your information.

First, the most noticeable change was the four-lane street extension of Harris Avenue and the bridge across the Concho River to where it merged into Pecos Street. The street extension passes behind the Francis Bacon Library and the Thomas Carlyle classroom building. We knew the building as the Junior building, since that was where most of the junior grade level classes were taught.

Second, that baseball/softball diamond became the vehicle storage area for the National Guard Armory that was built there on Caddo Street down from the Del-Tex Candy warehouse. Both of those building are now part of the CHS campus. The Guard Armory is now the CHS ROTC detachment building and the Del-Tex warehouse was remodeled into the CHS Band Hall.”

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Jack Stewart – (wrote in part) – “My father-in-law, Sam Franco, was the original pharmacist who opened up the base pharmacy in 1941.  Mr. Franco’s photos were posted on the wall  of the new clinic at one time but now removed. I would like to find them if that were possible.  Mrs. Franco is still alive at 87 years old.  Mr. Franco was the only pharmacist here during the war years and had his hands full. He was an honorable and dedicated man to the hospital and the way he lived his life showed it.”

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Jeff Vandine Lt Col, USAF (Ret) – “I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to put this web site together.  I was first stationed at Goodfellow back in 1985 for the old SIGINT Officers Course, but got stuck on casual status for almost six months while they fooled around with my clearance (there was a backlog then, for a while, for some reason), so I wound up working in the Base HQ with Deputy Commander for Support under then-Colonel Chalmers.  So, while I wasn’t involved in the actual planning of the big expansion (and Pave Paws) at that time, I got to see all the plans and marvel at the changes coming for Goodfellow!

I LOVED San Angelo so much when I was there that I decided I wanted to come back, if I could.  I was raised in El Paso, Texas, and believe me, despite all the whining other people did about how “desolate” San Angelo was, for me it was an oasis!  Heck, it had free-standing water and an actual RIVER, for crying out loud!  (Funny story, in SIGINT school, one of my classmates commented; “I Just can’t believe this place!”  and I responded with; “I know!!  It’s so green here!”  The guy stared at me and said; “Where in the hell are you from?”  Turns out he was from Vermont!  Call it an early lesson on how two people in the exact same place and situation can have a completely different view of the circumstances!)

After I graduated (in November of ’85), I was sent off to Berlin, GE for my first assignment as a Flight Commander, and didn’t make it back to Goodbuddy until 1989, when I went through the old Targeting Officers Course in Bldg 519.  I then got to see many of those changes I’d only seen the blueprints for actually in place.  It was quite amazing the changes that had already occurred.  I was living in the old VOQ/BOQ right there by the ball fields and every night my classmates would all assemble on the balcony with folding chairs and beer and cheer on the baseball teams who were engaged in the USAF World Series right there in front of us!  Between that, the chili (and goat!) cook-offs, the road trips, Zentner’s Daughter, and all the things to do in San Angelo and on base, we had an amazingly good time.

The next time I made it back to Goodfellow was as permanent party in 1992, where I became an instructor for the weaponeering block of the Intel Officers Course (in building 525), for two years.  During that time, I won Officer instructor of the Quarter twice for the 315th, and Officer Instructor of the Year for the 315th in 1993.  (I also received Targeteer of the Year for TAC/ACC for 1991, as a result of my time as the Chief of Weaponeering for CENTAF Forward during the Gulf War, and again Targeteer of the Year for AETC for 1992 for my work as an instructor at Goodfellow.)  I  earned my Master Instructor badge in record time, and it was a good thing I did, because my tour was cut short when I was ordered out to Pensacola, FL to take over the 313th Training Squadron at Corry Station.

I’ve never made it back to San Angelo since those days, but finally, this December (2020), it looks like I’m going to be moving back there.  For me, this will be like coming home again — despite the HUGE number of changes that have occurred (What?!  Mejor Que Nada CLOSED?  Dammit!).  My only regret is I sold my old house there almost 20 years ago (it’s still there — I looked), but I’m really looking forward to resuming the lifestyle I love in the place I love.

Anyway, I just wanted to say a huge “thank you” to you for producing this site — it was a wonderful trip down memory lane for me, and makes me even more eager to see it all for myself again!  Thanks!”

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Jeff Vandine Lt Col, USAF (Ret)  “I love the photos you’ve uploaded already, and would love to see more, not only of the base, but San Angelo too.  It’s a beautiful town, and much underappreciated (IMHO) by all too many people who went there or were permanent party there.  For one thing, for me, the whole town always embodied the true spirit of “West Texas Friendly”.  Far more so than any other place I ever lived or visited in West Texas (including El Paso, where I was raised and my parents lived until they passed on).  The art pictures you’ve posted showcase just how “diverse” and quirky the town can be too.  I always liked that about it.

If I do make it back there in December (2020) – (it’s still somewhat up in the air, but I’m hoping it works out), I know I’m going to go through some serious system shock at all the changes in the last quarter century plus, but seeing all those depicted in pictures has not only given me a serious case of nostalgia, but also helped inoculate me (if I can use that word in these uncertain times) against being overwhelmed by that shock.”

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Randal Walls – “The old Charles’ Drive-In Restaurant located on the s.w. corner of N. Chadbourne & 14th St.  The first photo is the rear view of the building, the old awning still exists. Patrons could park on each side and order from their vehicles, or go inside and listen to the jukebox at booths and get full table service.  The second photo is the north view of the building which had a awning patrons would drive up under back in the old days where car hops would bring your food & drink orders on a aluminum tray and attach to drivers side vehicle windows.  Before the Bryant Throughway was built, Chadbourne Street was the major artery of US Hwy 87 through San Angelo back in the old days.  Charles Drive-In was a very popular restaurant during the 40’s-60’s era, and had great food. Another great old building that deserves a historical status marker by the City of San Angelo so it won’t be torn down in the future.”

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Randal Walls “Another old building just south of Charles’ on the east side of Chadbourne also deserves historical attention.  The small building built of sandstone w/ a rounded front was once the E & E Tavern, once operated by Country Music Star Ernest Tubb & his wife Elaine.  It was also called the Cherokee Bar for many yrs after Ernest moved to Ft Worth before going to Nashville.  Last time I passed that area the old building was called JT’s tire shop.”

“When Ernest & Elaine Tubb ran the E&E Tavern in the late 1930’s, they lived in a small 3 room house located just around the corner behind the bar. That is where they were living when their first child was born. It is no longer standing.  To attract attention to the bar, Ernest would sometimes climb up on top of the bar and play his guitar and sing to passersby driving on Chadbourne St.  During those same years, Ernest also worked days at the original Western Mattress Co., just a few blocks south of the bar on the west side of N. Chadbourne, about where the Houston Harte Expy is now.  Ernest would occasionally sing and play on the Western Mattress flat bed advertising trailer in front of the mattress plant.  He also had a 15 minute radio show on KGKL for awhile and also drove a beer delivery truck during those years to support his family.”

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