William E. Smith Interview, 25 August 2001(b)

‹‹ Interview Index
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24

WS:No. They called it TUSLOG at that time. It was a US Air Force in Europe Command and we were controlling certain assets, aircraft and other types of assets for the United States and making sure we could turn those over in case there was a war to the Turks. We had those Dets all across Germany, we had them all across Europe, and of course Turkey was one of those Dets that we had. Greece we had them, France and other places.
JK:Was the U-2 program there where you were?
WS:No. Not at our—we had a small Det... we were on a Turkish base... the actual base was in Ankara Turkey. But we were about 40 miles I guess, close to 40 miles north of the actual capitol city. It was a Turkish Air Force training facility and had a runway of course, and we built our bunkers out there. There were 80-some people on a detachment; well the Turks had about 2000 troops I think. They were basic trainees and all levels of people, and so we were responsible for control of the assets, the Air Force assets there. And it was an enjoyable tour. It really was. I learned an awful lot.
TT:So when you came to Minot, you started out doing security police work, at some point you were moved up to a Flight Security Controller?
WS:When I first got there I went into the missile field at Minot, let me go back and explain. We had security of the aircraft on base. It was a Strategic Air Command base that had both aircraft bombers, tankers and fighter wing, and also the missile wing that spread itself out all across the countryside. I was assigned the missile side of that. So when I first went out there, I took the training required and I think I was first assigned in the missile field, up in the northern sector, and I think it was at Oscar initially, and then I went to Mike, took over as Flight Security Controller, and came back to Oscar. When this incident happened, of course, I'd come back to Oscar Flight.
TT:Were you a Sergeant at the time you arrived at Minot?
WS:Yes, I think they changed the rank a little bit. I think I had three stripes and they changed that to mean Sergeant, but I was promoted to a Staff Sergeant by the time I then got into the missile. So I came here with three stripes and ended up with four before I left.
TT:How did you end up becoming a Flight Security Controller?
WS:As a result of my experience, and as a result of the tests. You see they would test us almost daily. They had a Standardization Team that would come out, we had training people that would come out and ask you questions, Supervisors that would come out, and so you had to read a lot of these technical manuals. You had to know how to go to a site, how to, with just two of you, make sure you back each other up. Generally, there were always some people watching you, whether it was your direct supervisor or somebody from the base, and they would go out and tinker with the sites and make them to go off [alarm], and we had response times we had to make, and on and on. Based upon that they suggested that I was one of the sharper people there, and based upon my knowledge, you had to know how to open the doors properly and let people in properly, all those procedures. There were just a myriad of things to protect those assets. And so over a period of time I was selected to be one of the FSC's because they had to be the best.

‹‹ Previous Page Next Page ››