© Travis AFB Heritage Center Foundation

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Directors' Documents (password-protected)

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Collections

The Travis Heritage Center have an extremely interesting and wide variety of collections. Our weapons, engines, aircraft nose art, models, original photographs, aviation sculptures, military coins and uniforms are a delight to any craftsmen’s or artisans’ eye. The following represents an example of our holdings:

 

Armament:  AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile

The North American AGM-28 Hound Dog was the first air-launched nuclear stand-off missile deployed by the United States.

Specifications

  • Length: 12.95 m (42 ft 6 in)

  • Wingspan: 3.66 m (12 ft)

  • Diameter: 0.71 m (28 in)

  • Launch weight: 4,500 kg (10,000 lb)

  • Speed: Mach 2.1

  • Ceiling:  16,800 m (55,000 ft)

  • Maximum range:  1,100 km (700 miles)

  • Guidance: inertial:  with astro-tracker heading correction

  • CEP:  13,000 feet

  • Warhead:  W-28 thermonuclear (1.1 MT)

AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile

Development

The development of the nuclear stand-off missile was initiated by the USAF in 1956. Initially known as Weapon System 131B, it was intended to give Strategic Air Command heavy bombers the ability to attack Soviet targets from outside enemy airspace. The first powered flight of the prototype missile, designated XGAM-77, was made in April 1959. The missile's engine, airframe, and warhead were straightforward adaptations of existing technology, so the weapon's development period was quite short, and the production GAM-77 entered operational service in December 1959. It received the popular name Hound Dog, apparently inspired by the contemporary hit song by Elvis Presley.

Hound Dog was essentially an unpiloted jet airplane with small delta wings and forward canards. It was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney J-52-P-3 turbojet in a ventral pod beneath the rear fuselage, with 7,500 lbf (33 kN) thrust. It used inertial navigation for guidance, with heading updates provided by astro-trackers mounted in the launch pylon. The W28 warhead (the same as the B28 nuclear bomb) had an explosive yield of 1.1 megatons. The missile's maximum range was about 700 miles (1,100 km).

The Hound Dog was carried by B-52 Stratofortress bombers; the B-52D, B-52G and B-52H were fitted with provision for the large under-wing pylons to launch the weapons, each bomber normally carrying one under each wing. The Hound Dog's fuel tanks, interestingly, could be topped up from the B-52's own fuel supply, and before launch its engines could be used as auxiliary booster engines for the bomber. The missile's inertial navigation system (INS) could be used as a backup system for determining the aircraft's position after the initial calibration and "leveling" which took a minimum of 90 minutes.

The GAM-77 was subsequently upgraded to GAM-77A standard, with improved astro-trackers now mounted in the missile, rather than the pylon, a radar altimeter, and larger fuel capacity. The upgrade made possible several different altitude profiles, such as high altitude launch/high altitude cruise (high/high) or high altitude launch/high altitude cruise followed by a descent to terrain following cruise (high/high/low). Other options were high/low, low/high, low/low and low/high/low.

In June 1963 the GAM-77 and GAM-77A were redesignated AGM-28A and AGM-28B, respectively. An updated AGM-28C, with improved guidance, was proposed in the early 1970s, but never built.

A total of about 700 Hound Dogs were produced. They were intended to be replaced by the AGM-48 Skybolt, which did not enter service. The last Hound Dogs were retired in 1976.

Hound Dog Restoration Crew

Hound Dog Restoration Crew

The Heritage Center’s Hound Dog restoration team members pictured in the photo carried out the initial inspection and assessment of the dog. They are, left to right, Lloyd Brunsen, Dave Stone, Mike Frankhouser, Neil Wood, and Gene Hollingsworth.

 

Travis Heritage Center Engine Room: R-2600-13 B-25 Engine on the Right

The following has been excerpted from the North American Aviation Field Service Manual for B-25C and D):

The Wright Cyclone, Model C14B, carries the Army Air Forces designation R-2600-13. The "R" stands for radial type of engine, "2600" stands for the number of cubic inches piston displacement, and the "13" is the model number.

The engines are air-cooled, static, staggered, twin-row radial type having two speed superchargers. Owing to the high compression ratio of 6.9:1, the engine operates on 100-Octane fuel. No other fuel may be used except in the event of an emergency, when a fuel of the next highest Octane rating may be used.

Under normal operating conditions, the engines develop a maximum of 1700 BHP (brake horsepower) for take-off at 44.3" Hg. (manifold pressure - in inches of mercury - of the fuel-air mixture in the engine intake pipes after passing through the supercharger) and 2600 RPM (revolutions per minute of the crankshaft, not the propeller).

The cylinders are numbered in a clockwise direction when looking from the rear, or anti-propeller end, forward to the propeller end. Number 1 cylinder is the top cylinder of the rear row. Number two is to its right in the front row. Thus, all odd numbered cylinders are in the rear row and all even numbered cylinders in the front row.

Specifications:

  • Model:  R-2600-13 (Wright Cyclone Model C14B)

  • Type:  Static Radial, Air Cooled, Double Row

  • Number of Cylinders:  14

  • Bore:  6.125 in.

  • Stroke:  6.312 in.

  • Piston Displacement:  2603 cu.in.

  • Compression Ratio:  6.90:1

  • Blower Gear Ratio:  7.06:1 and 10.06:1

  • Blower Diameter:  11.00 in.

  • Rated RPM of Crankshaft:  2400

  • Rated BHP/RPM at 6700 ft:  1500/2400

  • Rated BHP/RPM at 13,000 ft:  1350/2400

  • Take-Off BHP/RPM:  1700/2600

  • Rotation of Crankshaft (from anti-propeller end):  Clockwise

  • Rotation of Propeller (from anti-propeller end):  Clockwise

  • Propeller Reduction Gear Ration (crankshaft to propeller):  16:9

  • Average Weight of Engine:  1978.50 lbs.

  • Overall Length of Engine:  63.10 in.

  • Overall Diameter of Engine:  54.26 in.

Nose Art

By SSgt Bob Bond

Aircraft nose art is a special and unique form of folk art.  It has provided a way for aircrews and support personnel to personalize their "babies," to make them different from the multitude of other aircraft.  Its origin can be traced back to World War 1, when squadrons placed artwork consisting mainly of their insignias or emblems on their aircraft.  Without question, World War II was the heyday for this kind of art and its unique expression of military life.  During that war, thousands of B-17s, B-24s, B-25s, B-26s, B-29s, P-40s, P-38s, P-47s and P-51s rolled from the aircraft assembly lines.  Mass-produced, each model could only be differentiated by tail number, but tail numbers were for the "bean counters" or "ribbon clerks."  The real difference was in the talent and imagination of the men who flew and maintained them.  Few crew members or support personnel would talk about 124583 or 457652, but they surely knew and talked about "Sack Time," or "Final Objective," or "Dream Girl."

 

The inspiration for nose art, during World War II and later during the Korean Conflict, came from almost all areas of popular culture; girl friends, cartoons, comic strips, movies, matchbooks, calendars, you name it. However, the majority of nose art was inspired by the calendars and magazines of the time. The most widely copied artist was Alberto Vargas. Arguably the premier pin-up artist of our time, Vargas was the principle artist for Esquire Magazine and produced most of the art work for that magazine's pin-up page and calendars.

World War II, in particular, was a time when almost anything was allowed to be painted on aircraft. Allowing this kind of expression was seen as a way to boost morale and unit efficiency. But, in time, there were some excesses. This was particularly true in the case of pin-up girl nose art, so that by the end of the war, Army Air Corps censorship became evident in some of this art work.

"Sack Time"

Nose art all but disappeared following the Korean Conflict. It reappeared for a brief time during the Vietnam War, but disappeared once more at the end of that conflict because new command directives forbade nose art.

During the 1980s the United States Air Force began to reexamine its heritage, and despite complaints from the National Organization for Women -- because beautiful women were favorite subjects -- the Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command endorsed nose art on aircraft to re-instill tradition and pride.

Nevertheless, peacetime does not provide the ideal climate for this genre of art. It seems to take a war for nose art to survive and flourish.  During the Gulf War, it did just that. By the time the conflict with Iraq ended in early 1991, almost everything within the theater that could fly had been decorated - some cute, some not so cute and some raunchy.  When the aircraft returned home, most of the nose art seemed to disappear over night.

 

Coins

General Charles T. “Tony” Robertson Jr. donated his 600-piece coin collection to the Travis Heritage Center where it is handsomely exhibited near the Gift Shop.

 

Tony Robertson was commander in chief, U.S. Transportation Command, and commander, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.  He retired effective December 1, 2001.

General Charles T. “Tony” Robertson Jr.

Military Challenge Coins

Military Challenge Coins are an unofficial element of military culture.  The true origins of these coins are shrouded in legend...

During World War I, an American fighter pilot was shot down over “no-mans land.” He used a coin with the insignia of his squadron to identify himself to French soldiers intent on shooting him as a suspected saboteur.  Thereafter members of his squadron carried their coins at all times.  Soon a ritual challenge began.  If anyone struck their coin on a hard surface, such as a bar, all others in attendance had to respond in kind.  Anyone not having their coin had to buy a round of drinks.  If everyone had their coin, the challenger bought the round.

Variations developed in WW II.  In the Philippine Islands, a force composed of Philippine, American, British, Australian, and others used the classic guerrilla tactic of striking hard and disappearing in the jungle before Japanese forces could react.  In order to make contact between unknown guerrilla bands, they adopted the expedient method of filing a large one-peso coin flat on one side and stamping it with their unit emblem.  This allowed them to carry a means of identification that would be overlooked if they were searched.

In Vietnam the challenge tradition took a dangerous turn. Members of elite army units always carried one round of ammunition with them just in case. As sometimes happens with traditions this one got a little out of hand.  Instead of carrying a rifle or pistol cartridge in their pocket when they visited a hootch (bar) some wise guy carried a larger .50 caliber machine gun round. It wasn't long before 20 mm, 40 mm, and even 105 mm cannon shells were carried to these gatherings.  Common sense prevailed and challenge coins replaced live ordinance.

Today, challenge coins are a symbol of pride that military members carry, not for personal identification, but to identify themselves as part of a team.  Soldiers and airmen from numerous countries have taken up the challenge.  One of the ways to make new friends when deployed to distant lands is to trade coins.  People strive for the most unusual coins and carrying the coins of another unit or nation is acceptable as long as they can show their connection with that organization.

Uniforms: Military Uniform Collection

The Travis Heritage Center is exceptionally proud of its extensive military uniform exhibits.  Authentic uniforms from WWI to the space exploration; from pilots to medics to WASPs are displayed.

 

Travis Heritage Center Military Uniform Exhibit

Travis Heritage Center Military Uniform Exhibit