Ron Barrett

The Last Aviation Cadet

The military family - 1961 - Aviation Cadet Ron Barrett (left - 21 years old), Col. Robert B. Barrett (center), ROTC-USAF Cadet Robert B. Barrett Jr.

In November of 1961 Ron Barrett was selected for the Aviation Cadet Program and went to James Connally AFB in Waco, Texas to become a navigator.

The demands of Aviation Cadets were 100% of the time. Only 15 minutes a day were allowed "Free Time".

What you see here is all the cadet could have! And all of it had to be in the right place, all the time.


(Click picture for enlargement)

Aviation Cadet Museum

Look Sharp! Be Sharp! Barrett's class presents itself for inspection 63-06 B1, the Bad Bengal's!

I was not the best cadet, as I maxed out on demerits due to use of bad language! Yep - you were not allowed to even swear - well that is to be heard swearing. I spent 60 hours on the tour ramp being punished - a worse punishment was NEVER being allowed off the base for a year!

Try that today! (click picture for enlargement)

I enjoyed every moment around the planes. This was Armed Forces Day, 1962, height of the cold war, and the refueling drogue on the ground next to me was on the KC-97 (then) jet refueling - transport aircraft.

Ron and the new F-110 fighter in 1962. Yes it was a F-110! later under the Robert McNamara years - redesigned the F-4. The F-110 was the USAF version of what was a U.S. Navy - carrier fighter.

At this date the U.S. Forces were all prepped up to be "nuclear" weapons platforms. Very little conventional munitions existed. Viet Nam had not yet gotten our attention.

The primary "get-you-there" navigation instrument in the early 60's was the Kollsman D-1 sextant. Here Ron is inserting it's periscopic tube into the sextant port in the very top (roof) of the plane.



Ron has been active with:

USAF navigators had to be extremely proficient at star identification and sightings. Here Ron, "shoots" a star, or as they called it, "takes a shot." The Nav would see only a tiny bright spot in the dark sky background - surrounded by a ghost like halo. The ghostlike halo was an optically superimposed view of the artificial horizon - a bubble in the sextant. It all had to be kept aligned, after 2 minutes, a shudder would close and the Nav would read the mechanically recorded height (of the star) angle and then derive the line of position to be plotted on his map.

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