A-12 OXCART, Anthony "Tony" LeVeir, Area 51, Central Intelligence Agency, Colonel Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, Committee for State Security, Doctor Hugh Latimer Dryden, Francis Gary Powers, Francis Gary Powers, Junior, KGB, NACA, NASA, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Area 51 Was Created To Accommodate The A-12 OXCART And The U-2 Reconnaissance Programs

An ariel photograph of Area 51.

Area 51 was founded, at a location in proximity to Nevada’s above ground nuclear testing site, after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began a high altitude reconnaissance program with former U.S. Air Force pilots. The Air Force Pilots had to resign their military commission to work, as civilians, on the CIA’s Top Secret A-12 OXCART Program and the U-2 Reconnaissance Program. To conceal the existence of the single engine Lockheed U-2 spy jets from the public, members of the CIA would disassemble the components from a single U-2 jet into a large C-124 cargo plane. The C-124 plane would then be flown to the Area 51 land-strip, where the single U-2 jet would be reassembled.

A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) photo of former NACA Director Doctor Hugh Latimer Dryden.

On May 7, 1956, Doctor Hugh Latimer Dryden, the Director of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), issued a directive stating that the aircraft were conducting high altitude weather missions. With the new directive, NACA was working in conjunction with the Air Force and the CIA to further deceive the public on the true mission of the U-2 spy jets. Some of the U-2 jets, utilized by the CIA within Area 51, were labeled as NACA planes to support this false public narrative. All of the other U-2 jets were labeled as U.S. Air Force planes.

Photograph of a U-2 aircraft inside of Area 51.

In July 29, 1955, Anthony “Tony” LeVeir was the “Chief Test Pilot” at Area 51, whom was the first to successfully land a U-2 aircraft.

Tony LeVeir would conduct a total of 19 flights before leaving the CIA’s U-2 testing program.

After May 1, 1960, the real purpose of the high altitude flights was publicly revealed after Francis Gary Powers, whom had trained at Area 51, was flying a U-2 jet over the Soviet Union and was shot down by their anti-air defenses.

Photograph of Francis Gary Powers in his flight suit.

Initially, President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower believed that Francis Gary Powers was killed during his mission. It was soon discovered that Francis Gary Powers survived his crash landing and that he was being held hostage by the Soviet Union.

Photograph of the KGB Agent Colonel Rudolf Ivanovich Abel.

Powers was not released from custody until the United States negotiated a “spy swap” by releasing former Committee for State Security (KGB) agent Colonel Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, also known as William August Fisher.

Francis Gary Powers with a model of a U-2 jet.

Author’s Note:

In 2004, Philip Andrew Hamilton volunteered at the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and met Francis Gary Powers, Junior, the son of the Air Force veteran who trained at Area 51 and was shot down over the Soviet Union during a CIA reconnaissance mission. At the time, Francis Gary Powers, Junior was the President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and was the president of a traveling musuem that honored all Cold War veterans.

Photograph of Francis Gary Powers, Junior with a model of a U-2 jet.
Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard, Greenbelt, Maryland, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, U.S. Senator John Glenn Beall, Junior

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

In August of 1958, U.S. Senator John Glenn Beall, Junior announced that the federal government would establish a “Space Projects Center” in Greenbelt, Maryland. The center site was part of the Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.

U.S. Senator John Glenn Beall, Junior after he won an election.

Months later, after the passage of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, the Naval Research Laboratory’s Project Vanguard was legally transferred to the “Beltsville Space Center,” though it remained at the Naval Research Laboratory facilities until the completion of the new center.

Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard with a liquid rocket.

In May of 1959, NASA formally announced that the new facility would be called Goddard Space Flight Center, after Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard. Robert Goddard, whom is widely considered the father of modern rocketry, theorized that rockets would work in a vacuum, and thus could potentially be used to send payloads into space. On March 16, 1961, the 35th anniversary of Goddard’s first liquid-propellant rocket launch Goddard Space Flight Center was officially dedicated.

Researchers prepare Explorer XX, the Topside Sounder IE-A, for launch. The satellite was put into orbit on 25 August 1964. (Credit NASA Goddard Space Center).

The NASA Goddard Visitor Center has various exhibits for visitors to see.

Ariel view of NASA’s Goddard Visitor Center. (Credit NASA Goddard Flight Center).

Author’s Note:

Dan Hamilton, the father of author Philip Hamilton, worked at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from 1991 to 2018.

Laurel, Maryland, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, VT Fuze, World War II

The John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

In 1942, John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory was established to help create the proximity fuze, known as the VT Fuze, that was instrumental in improving American site defenses during World War II. Since the era of the space race, the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has worked with NASA to develop deep space research and other space technologies.

Author’s Note:

My daughter Krystal Marie Hamilton’s grandmother Charlene Roelecke and Richard G. Shelton both work for the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory campus in Laurel, Maryland. There is an addition Applied Physics Labratory in Silver Spring, Maryland.

NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The District of Columbia, Washington D.C., World War I, World War II

The National Air And Space Museum In Washington D.C.

In January 2018, I had the opportunity to visit the National Air and Space Musuem with my older sister Linda Hamilton and a couple of friends.

The musuem exhibits aircraft from the age of air pioneers as well as those used in multiple wars, capsules from the Mercury and the Apollo missions during the space race, and fragments of meteorites form space.

Various posters showed that during World War I there was a great emphasis placed on the manufacture of airplanes for the war effort.

One section of the museum has an original model of the first jet aircraft in the world that was built in Nazi Germany during World War II. Nazi Germany had planned on mass producing the jet aircraft in the mid 1940s, but lost the war and was unable to manufacture jets under the treaty signed with the allied forces in 1945. Therefore, the United States and the Soviet Union were the first to mass produce jet aircraft during the Cold War.

Goldstone, California, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA’s The Deep Space Network At Goldstone

The Deep Space Network has the largest antennas in the world to communicate with spacecraft, such as the Voyager craft, located in other parts of the Milk Way Galaxy.

NASA currently the large antennas within the former gold rush town of Goldstone, within Southern California. This is one of three locations in the world with deep space communication capability.

The Goldstone Deep Space Network visitor center, in Barstow, California, has exhibits on the various craft missions to other planets and beyond.

Apollo XII Mission, Astronaut Alan LaVern Bean, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Neutral Buoyancy Simulator, Sky Lab II, Stephen Fuller Austin, The Pioneer West Museum, The Texas Rangers

The Pioneer West Museum

Attorney Marion Reynolds built the brick Reynolds hotel from 1925 to 1928, in Shamrock, Texas, and operated the hotel for about fifty years. The hotel went out of business, and the building was repurposed as the Pioneer West Musuem in 1978.

I really enjoyed this museum since it covered a wide variety of history in Northern Texas through newspapers and artifacts donated by locals.

The musuem has an exhibit on the Texas Rangers that were formed by Stephen Fuller Austin in 1823. The rangers helped protect American settlers from Native Americans and hostile Mexicans during and after the Mexican- American War.

The phrase, “One Riot, One Ranger” was created in 1896, by a Texas Ranger in Dallas, Captain William “Bill” McDonald.

The musuem had articles about the grand Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in the town of Shamrock.

The “War Room” had many artifacts from Chester Beasley, who was a prisoner of war in Austria during World War II. Some of the items included maps of the Civil War and other American conflicts.

There was a space exhibit based on astronaut Alan LaVern Bean an astronaut from Wheeler, Texas who was the first training astronaut to dive into the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator. Alan LaVern Bean was on the Apollo XII Mission and passed away earlier this year on May 26, 2018.

Author’s Note:

The Texas Ranger Musuem in Waco, Texas has more extensive history of the rangers.

In addition, Western Trips has more information on the local history of Shamrock.

Hermann Oberth, Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Nazi V-2 Rocket Scientists, Operation Paperclip, President Harry S. Truman, President Thomas Woodrow Wilson, The Rocket Into Planetary Space, Vergeltungswaffen-1 Rocket, Vergeltungswaffen-2 Rocket, Wernher Van Braun

The Competition for the Nazi V-2 Rocket Scientists Amung France, Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union

Wernher Von Braun Rocket Experiment In Duetchland
Dr. Wernher Von Braun, second from the right side of the photo, experimenting on rockets with other Germans in the 1930s. Photo Credits: National Aeronautics and Space Administration / Marshall Space Flight Center

In the 1930s, German scientists were the first in the world to build liquid fueled rockets, with the potential to reach the atmosphere of the earth, after their development of the Vergeltungswaffen-1 Rocket.

Hitler commanded that the space program, for the Vergeltungswaffen-1 Rocket (which during the war was also called the Vergeltungswaffen-1 Flying Bomb), be converted to a weapons program, so that the rockets could be used to hit structural targets of adversaries in Europe.  On June 13, 1944 the first Vergeltungswaffen-1 Rocket attacks against London occurred a week after the D-Day landings.

Before, the first rocket attacks against London occurred, a larger ballistic missile was already in development. In October 3, 1942, the Vergeltungswaffen-2 Rocket became the first device to reach space after flying 118 miles.  On September 8, 1944, Vergeltungswaffen-2 Rockets were launched for an attack against Paris.

A V-2 rocket is prepared for launch in Cuxhaven, Germany. 1944.
A 1944 photo of a V-2 rocket on a launchpad in Cuxhaven, Germany. Photo Credit: Rare Historical Photos

After the end of World War II, part of the negotiations between Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States involved dividing the scientists who had worked on the Vergeltungswaffen-1 and the Vergeltungswaffen-2 rocket programs between each country.  In 1946, President Harry S. Truman’s administration and the Stalin regime in the Soviet Union had a severe deterioration in relations as highlighted by the Miller Center of the University of Virginia.  The “Russia Report” that had been created by Truman’s white house aids, further added to Truman’s determination to counter the expansion of the Soviet Empire.  This deterioration of relations between the Soviet Union and the United Stated, further contributed to the, then deemed, national security necessity of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency’s Operation Paperclip.

In the United States, several scientists and Vergeltungswaffen-2 rockets, were taken to the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, to test them for the space program.  Wernher Van Braun, whom was compelled to study rocketry after reading Hermann Oberth’s book The Rocket Into Planetary Space, and other German scientists working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics that were given new identities under Operation Paperclip, were instrumental in building the Saturn V rocket that took the first humans to the moon.

Doctor Wernher von Braun explains the Saturn Launch System to President John F. Kennedy at Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 16, 1963.
On November 16, 1963, Doctor Wernher von Braun explains the Saturn V Launch System to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo Credit: New York Post

Respectively, France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union also had different German scientists, who had worked on the Vergeltungswaffen-1 and the Vergeltungswaffen-2 rocker programs, work on their missile and space programs.

Author’s Note:

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was formed after the Naval Appropriations Act, which had a rider creating NACA for the regulation of flight, was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson in March 3, 1915.  NACA was the predecessor to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and was dissolved October 1, 1958.

Further References:

Behind The Secret Plan to Bring Nazi Scientists to the U.S.

Records of the Secretary of Defense (RG 330)

How Britain Put Nazi’s Top Men to Work

German Legacy in Soviet Rocketry

Operation Paperclip