Friday, December 05, 2014

Nouasseur AFB Part 2

During the time I was stationed at Nouasseur Air Force base in Morocco, it was an historic time. On a given day in 1957, you could see B-36's, B-47's and B-52's all on the same ramp.

The B-36, easily the largest bomber we ever built, was the first long range aircraft able to hit the Soviet Union, bomb them with nukes and return. It featured six R4360 reciprocating engines and four jets, two outboard on each wing. It was configured with pusher, rather than the standard puller props.

The next SAC bomber was a radical departure from typical aircraft layout. It flew with a two man crew and had bicycle landing gear. A dual aft and another dual forward, with outriggers on each wing. When fully loaded with nuclear weapons, it needed Jato bottles to assist in takeoff. These were independent rockets which were mounted near the tail assembly, ergo, Jet Assisted Takeoff. Once in the air the bottles were jettisoned, mostly over water to protect the innocents. Once airborne she could cruise at over 600 mph.

The B-52 which was flying in 1955 was our principle vehicle for MAD, or mutual assured destruction. If Russia bombed us we would obliterate the most of their country and likewise if we bombed them, the same would occur to us.  It sped along at a cruising speed of 644 mph. Many are still flying, 60 years later. Thus while I wasn't involved with Korean or Vietnam service, we won the cold war.

 These were the primary SAC aircraft of my day in the 1950's. SAC dispersal s. which were called Reflex Alerts and were designed to move an entire wing to other countries such as Morocco for asset protection in case of attack. Yes, they were fully loaded with nuclear weapons at all times. We also had some F-86D fighters and of course my unit, 1603rd Support Squadron. Were were MATS. Military Air Transport Service. Essentially we were a military airline serving as a passenger and freight organization.

We supported SAC in their Reflex Alerts, transporting spare parts, food, ground personnel and pretty much everything needed to operate. Two of our Moroccan bases were essentially empty until SAC arrived, then the skeleton crews that maintained the facilities would open them to the sac troops.

This Howard Hughes invention and built by Lockheed was the best airliner ever built prior to the jet age. It cruised at about 360 knots and was the first pressurized aircraft in production. The prototype was built before WW11ended but didn't go into production until after the war. While most airlines were buying surplus C-54's and C-47's, a couple of forward thinking airlines like TWA and Pan American bought the aircraft, along with the Air force.  These were stationed at Charleston, South Carolina AFB. Part of Atlantic Mats, they frequently visited us for fuel and necessary repairs.

The C-124's that flew in were from Dover AFB, Delaware. On the west coast Travis AFB, California and Mchord AFB in Tacoma, Washington, where I spent the last year and one half of my four year enlistment.   We also had C-118s which were the civilian DC-6. It flew about 100 knots slower than  my favorite, the C-121, or known as the Lockheed Super Constellation  in civilian use.

                                                            C-124C Globemaster    


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