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A U-2 Pilot's Passing

Major Ed McGovern

Major Edward J. McGovern, USAF (Ret.)
March 31, 1962 - December 6, 2009

From: LtCol Bryan Anderson, USAF (Ret.), former 1 RS Commander
Sent: Saturday, December 12, 2009 2:00 PM

I write from Dover AFB where Ed McGovern was returned today. As you may know, Ed passed away on 6 December and he arrived back in the USA today at 1230 EST. Ed's final flight was aboard Atlas Air's N522MC, a 747-200. It was clear, cold and windy today as Ed's mother, father, siblings and family stood on the flight line at Dover to watch their beloved Ed's return. The sun shined brightly on his flag draped coffin. Ed's escort officer stayed with him the entire route back from "downrange". An honor guard team was present to move Ed from the aircraft. As you would expect, the entire ceremony was performed with honor, respect and dignity.

Ed was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on Wednesday, 10 February, 2010.

From: Stefanie Roberts, Sent 11 Feb, 2010 from Arlington, VA

I just thought some of you might like to hear that Ed's funeral went as scheduled yesterday - in the middle of the great DC blizzard. So many friends were able to gather at the pub the evening before for a good Irish wake - warmth, drink, stories, laughter, broken glass, and even singing. The wake's huge turn-out included most of his immediate family and was a true reflection of Ed's great camaraderie with so many life-long friends, fellow aviators, old family friends, newer friends and mission partners. Despite many getting snowed in yesterday morning and not being able to make it out to Arlington, some 40 friends and family did actually make it to the Old Fort Chapel by mid-day - amazing feats of travel and trudging all around. Some barely making it in time, literally coming from all corners of the world. About 30 if us had assembled at the hotel in the morning and went over on a bus, which barely made it through the snow.

The service was a short Catholic mass. Bryan Anderson gave a wonderful eulogy, eloquently speaking the words we were all feeling in our hearts. Then due to the weather, the military honors were rendered inside the chapel. Unfortunately the T-38 fly-by team from the 9th Wing at Beale did not make it for a missing man formation. They did get to the East coast, but the weather just did not permit flying yesterday. Inside the chapel, the Air Force honor guard escorted Ed's magnificently beautiful casket and with perfect precision they folded and presented the flag to his father and mother. The rifle team and bugler stood outside the chapel front door in the blowing snow, we could barely see them through the blowing white, but we clearly heard the gun salute and taps. It was heart-wrenching but amazing.

Afterwards, we all went back to the hotel and gathered all afternoon in an 16th floor ballroom with windows all around. We watched the storm, told Ed stories, played gambling games, took lots of pictures, looked at all the photos and mementos Ed's mother had assembled on a memory table, including his bronzed baby shoes and lots of pictures... and we told more stories. At some point just after dark, we even saw a fireworks display over the Air Force Memorial near the Pentagon. No one knew why there were fireworks in the middle of a blizzard. By 9pm, we were all exhausted and hungry so we sat together in the hotel's big dining room and finished the night with dinner and more stories.
Ed's family made it safely back home today.


Donations in Memory of Ed
(From Ed's parents, Edward and Joan McGovern)
Hello everyone,

I was able to speak with the charity that we are considering for Eddie.  We all agreed in Dover that the work that they are doing (reuniting wounded soldiers with their families) is something that Eddie would be proud to have his name associated with. They have two full time employees and over 1300 volunteer pilots that participate in their operations.  Their administrative costs are between 2% and 5%.  Some of the other charities we looked at were over 50%.  Crash also asked some of their friends about the charity and there are two former U2 pilots that were close with Eddie that are volunteering for this organization. If someone would like to donate instead of sending flowers, they can fill out a form on the charity's website and make a donation in remembrance of Edward J. McGovern.  Their contact information is:

Veterans Airlift Command
5775 Wayzata Blvd. Suite 700
St. Louis Park, MN  55416

A Hero's Passing

From: Roadrunners <mailto:roadrunners_intl@cox.net>   
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 10:16 PM
Subject: Steve Heyser

Once again it is our sad duty to inform you that we've lost another
aviation legend, Steve Heyser. Steve passed away Monday night. In 1957,
Heyser was among the first Air Force pilots sent out to "the ranch" to
learn to fly the U-2. On 14 October 1963 he flew the first Cuban
overflight, departing out of Edwards AFB, CA in a CIA-owned U-2C.  The
following morning, the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation
Center, housed in a dilapidated seven-story building above a car
dealership at Fifth and K streets NW, concluded that the Soviets were in
the final stages of deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles in
Cuba. Touched off by Heyser's photographs, the Cuban missile crisis
brought the two superpowers to the brink of nuclear war. Tensions
reached a peak two weeks later, on "Black Saturday," October 27, when
Maj. Rudolf Anderson Jr's U-2 was shot down over Cuba. In his later
years Heyser sought to give all the unheralded U-2 pilots credit for
their flights over Cuba during the Cuban Crisis.

Pat Halloran reports that Heyser was having a decline for the past few
weeks, was in and out of the hospital but died in his bed at peace with
the world and his God.  The family is having a funeral mass at 10 am on
Friday and internment in the family plot.  The kids are all there and
they and Jackie are in good shape as everyone knew he was on a slippery
slope for the past few years.  He was always in great spirits, funny as
hell and totally at peace with his medical issues.  Rick's number is
(850) 323 0966 and Jackie's is (850) 653 8118.  Their address is 22 12th
St, Apalachicola, FL 32320.

Member Nellis AFB Support Team
Member Civilian Military Council
Roadrunners Internationale

Former 17 RW Deputy Director's Wife Passed

Col Jim Deal was Deputy Director for Logistics for the 17 RW in
England when I was CC in 1987.  Jim's wife, Mary Ann, passed away on
Sep. 14 according to a letter I received from Jim today.

Jim and Mary Ann were true friends of the 17th and the TR-1/U-2
community.  Jim earned an Excellent IG rating for the 17th's maintenance
organization, and together Jim and Mary Ann did so much for our
relationship with the British and our host wing at Alconbury.  After
retiring from the Air Force, Jim went to work for Boeing in the Seattle
area.  Mary Ann was one of the most enjoyable people to be
around--refreshing personality and a great sense of humor.  She was a
wonderful contributor to the families of the 17th.  Those who served in
the 17th around that time should remember them well.

I have this address for Jim:
Col Jim Deal (USAF, Ret.)
4902 South 314th. Court
Auburn, WA  98001-3715

Best regards,
Art Saboski

RAF Akrotiri Memorial Garden -- Finished & dedicated on 7 Dec 2007

With the help of generous donations from DLA members, the the British personnel at RAF Akrotiri completed construct a Memorial Garden near the control tower to commemorate the U-2 disaster in 1977. The dedication of the Memorial Garden occurred on December 7, 2007, the thirtieth anniversary of the crash. Thanks to the many generous DLA members who sent donations.

This first picture shows the current, modest commemorative; a small plaque and picture on a back wall in the Meteorological Office. The plaque says: "In Memory of Jack Alan Flawn, Senior Scientific Officer, and the Cypriot Staff: G. Gostanian, G. Hannis, P. Panayi, and A. Televantos, who died as a result of an aircraft accident which destroyed the meteorological office at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, on 7 December 1977." It is only a small recognition of a tragedy that took six lives.

The new memorial is a fenced-in area with a bronze plaque, benches, plants, etc. Personnel from Project Olive Harvest participated in the planning, construction, and dedication of the Memorial. Memorial Garden. It is right at the base of the control tower, very near the impact point. It has a large bronze plaque, trees, plants, a pergola with bench and a fence surround the Garden.

Click here to see more photos of the construction and dedication ceremony.

Donation Requests

Dick Whitaker, former U-2 pilot, has been helping Jane Drake (widow of Rich Drake – also former U-2 pilot) clean out some of his memorabilia and donate it to the Southern Museum of Flight. The museum is developing a display area dedicated to the U-2. If you would like to offer items for the museum or help in any other way, please contact Mr. Whitaker (see Member List for e-mail address).

Mail call

Looking for a new job? Seeking out an old friend? Know someone who needs a 'get-well' wish? Passing along a goodbye to a U-2 Brother? Or do you just have a good story to share? See Mail from Members

News Articles

UAE ban may complicate U-2 mission
AirForceTimes.com -Mar 28, 2007
The statement could prevent the Air Force from flying intelligence missions over
with its squadron of U-2 and Global Hawk spy planes based at al-Dhafra Air Base near the Emirates capital
Abu Dhabi

'Will Arab Muslim "Allies" Support the West in a Time of Crisis?' American Daily
Gulf allies reject role in any attack on Iran York Dispatch

Defective US “Lockheed U-2” Grounded from Gunsan Reconnaissance Party
Donga.com -Mar 22, 2007
On March 21, a report was released claiming the Lockheed U-2, the US’s high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, which is in charge of making joint reconnaissance flights over North Korea, has been ordered out of the air with all flights being suspended ...

Into the blue
Art Saboski U-2 Pilot
Prescott Daily Courier -Mar 27, 2007
"They were looking for U-2 pilots," he said. "The airplane had been kept quite secret and the press and public stuck with the notion of it being a spy plane.

Good Training, Miracles, and Heroes

The story of Lt Col Kevin Henry's mission.
- from the Beale AFB news
- from the Chico Enterprise Record and Oroville Mercury Register

From the C4ISR Journal

Recent article on U-2 perseverance

The U-2 50th Anniversary Reunion was a great success!!

Still available !
Signed Seeker 72 painting
This copy has signatures from the reunion!
Special discounts and options for DLA members.

Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial Project

In memory of Maj Duane Dively

5th Reconnaissance Squadron - Oscar's Passing (obituary)


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