RB-66 Eyes Penetrate Cloud Cover
BREMGARTEN.-In the early hours of darkness on Monday, May 16th, Captain Boyce D. Beverly rolled his RB-66 out from a hardstand in the 4th ATAF area. With him were navigators, Captain William Cole and Captain Robert C. Yirka, not to mention the hopes of some 43 other members of the 10th Wing's Royal Flush V task force.
First target for Beverly's crew that night was 60 miles from the Swiss border in eastern France, followed by one in the northwest sector of Germany.
In the meantime, 1st Lt. Kenneth D. Walts and crew (navigators: 1st Lt. Tunney J. Oydna and 1st Lt. Edwin L. Stanford) roared out of Bremgarten, headed for targets near the Germany-Denmark border and in northern France.
Weather conditions were bad, but the 10th crews got the needed intelligence information, PI personnel interpreted and recorded it and the photo lab gave photographic evidence back up the reports. The result was a convincing win over the RAF Canberras and a point lead going into the second night of competition.
On Tuesday, it was Beverly and company again on the first mission. This time they hit airfields in Germany and France. Following up were Captain Titus C. Thomas, 1st Lt. Lawrence Russ and 1st Lt. Donald A. Rigg. They flew over targets in Germany and France.
The purpose of the Royal Flush Missions can be described in a hypothetical situation. Allied strike forces have attacked an enemy airfield with certain coordinates. Our intelligence agencies have not been able to establish if the enemy has reactivated in the southern area of the field. The crews job- confirm existence of a target and furnish a report containing number of aircraft, type, runway length and any other intelligence information desired.
The missions are flown and the data gathered and interpreted by experts in the intelligence and photo fields. With this information on hand, higher headquarters can plan still further activities against a target.
Adverse weather hampers such missions but as proved by Captain Thomas and his crew, the weather cannot halt the gathering of certain valuable information. During their sortie on Tuesday evening, Thomas' crew searched out a bridge in Germany 16 miles north of Kiel. Heavy cloud cover obliterated the target area and prevented both the Canberras and the RB-66's from obtaining photographs. By utilizing the radar camera, they obtained a scope photo that not only proved the bridge was intact, but that the 10th wing crew was right on the target. Although no direct points were gained by the radar photo, it gave the judges something to consider about 10th wing reconnaissance accuracy.