Happy Birthday United States Air Force

Brodheads have been serving continuously in the United States Air Force since the National Security Act of 1947.

My Uncle Douglas Brodhead, who was named after the great Senator Stephen Douglas, would serve from 1943 to 1968. During that time period as a pilot, he would operate the Being B-17, B29, KC-97, KC-135 and B-52. While serving on the B-52, he would be involved with “Operation Chrome Dome!” This  “Cold War” operation involved nuclear laden B-52s flying along the Soviet border.  Uncle Doug was also the squadron security officer and controlled the keys to the safe that secured the mission routes and nuclear codes that enabled the arming of the nuclear warheads.

Doug would also be on the backup crew for the B-52 mission that collided with a KC-135 over Spain. The event was called a “Broken Arrow!”

My Father Milton Brodhead would serve in the Strategic Air Command from 1953 to 1973. He was radar technician. He would be the NOIC of operations at the Hawthorne bomb plot in Nevada or detachment 12. In 1966 he would spend 6 months directing B-52 strikes as part of “Operation Combat Sky Spot!” In 1968, after TET, he would again serve in South East Asia. The Agent Orange exposure would be dreadful.

I would serve in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves from 1977 to 2006. AS an Aircraft Technician and Flight Engineer, I would have the opportunity to work on the B-52G, B-52H, KC-135A, KC-10A, C-130H, and C-141B and C-141C.   Just as my uncle, I too would serve around nuclear weapons. and pull nuclear alert. Presently I am in the Retired Reserves.

If we add up all the time just my father, uncle and I served in the Air Force, we are talking close to 80 years. As it is, we have been part of the Air Force since it’s birth.

It is crucial for the Air Force to re-engine the B-52H to gear driven turbofans.

Anyways, Happy Birthday. America is proud of the way you have grown as it relates to equality, innovation and the ability to meet threats across the globe.


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