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Jim Curtis, U.S. Air Force 1966 to 1970

My dad, Jim Curtis, was part of the U.S. Air Force 524th Fighter Squadron from 1966 to 1970, and his duties included the maintenance, troubleshooting and testing of the weapon control systems on F-100 and later F-111 fighter aircraft. The weapons control systems were a radar controlled site system that were tied to all guns, missiles and/or bombs that might be on the aircraft. The pilots viewed information from these systems on a lighted HUD projected onto the aircraft's windshield. In addition to conventional aircraft attack modes, the 524th was also involved in training for Nuclear Low Altitude Drag Delivery (using a parachute to slow the bomb's descent) and Nuclear Toss Bombing (releasing the bomb while flying at an upward angle, thus "tossing" it higher into the air to delay the bomb hitting the ground); both of these techniques allow the aircraft to leave the target area before the blast. Toss bombing may sound inaccurate, however the F100 could, at the time, "toss" a nuclear bomb about 6 miles with an accuracy of a few 100 yards.

During his service, he was deployed at Air Force Bases in Colorado and New Mexico. Incidentally, near the end of his time in the service, I was born at the Cannon Air Force Base hospital in Clovis, New Mexico. :)

The 524th Tactical Fighter Squadron group photo (top, right) was taken around 1968 or 1969 after the squadron had received a maintenance achievement award (click for larger version). The other F-111 photos were taken in the Phillipines by one of his friends.




Just for fun, I've created a store with merchandise sporting the 524th Fighter Squadron "Hounds of Heaven" insignia.