LT. COL. TONY BEVACQUA
  Tony Bevacqua  
  Two Distinguished Flying Crosses - Fourteen Air Medals  
Lt Colonel insignia   Command Pilot Wings   Lt Colonel insignia
         
 
This page is dedicated to a good friend. Tony has been a Tremendous friend in helping this web site with patches and unit histories.
     
54G cadet class flight I was commander of while at Basic Training (T-33) at James Connolly AFB, Texas, some time prior to graduating in April 1954.
Tony, son of a Sicilian immigrant was born in 7th October 1932 in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduation from high school he enlisted in the USAF on 29 February 1952.  He began Aviation Cadet Pilot Training Program in January 1953, graduating 14 April 1954, rated and commissioned the same day.

He was commander of 54-G cadet class flight while at Basic Training (T-33) James Connolly AFB, Texas

 

     
     
 
2nd Lieutenant. 1954/55 Tony's first assignment following F-84 fighter gunnery training at Laughlin AFB and Luke AFB was the 508th Strategic Fighter Wing, Turner AFB, GA, flying the F-84 G and F. Three flying Squadrons formed this Wing and Tony joined the 468th SFS.
508th

Strategic Fighter Wing

468th

Strategic Fighter Squadron

467th

Strategic Fighter Squadron

466th

Strategic Fighter  Squadron

As the Strategic Air Command was closing down its fighter operations Tony agreed to join a Weird Program that was TOP SECRET. 
The 508th was deactivated  11th May 1956 at Turner AFB and personnel and equipment absorbed into the recently formed  at Turner AFB (1st May 1956) 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing( Light) . Aircraft on strength being 13  F-84F's,  3   RB-57C's  and 1 RB-57D The 4080th SRW would have a classified mission with the 4025th SRS and the 4028th SRS
     
Tony's Orders reassigned from Turner to Laughlin AFB and TDY  to Groom Lake   Appox 75days

( 1st March 1957 )

Groom Lake amended Orders

 ( 8th March 1957 )

TDY at Groom Lake extended appox 59 days.

 

Tony checked out at Groom Lake (Area 51)  making his first flight in the U-2  on 14th March 1957 .
 
The 4080th was moved to Laughlin AFB, TX in 1957.

 

   Tony's Orders assign him as 4028th SRS Combat Crew

Laughlin AFB

( 17th May 1957 )

Tony's Duty Title Orders

Laughlin AFB

( 22nd May 1957 )

After completion of training at Groom lake  Tony flew the U-2 with the 4028th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS) / 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SRW) at various Operating Locations (OL) around the world in Operation Crowflight which was the Monitoring of Nuclear Bomb explosions. These areas of operations included Puerto Rico, Alaska, Argentina, England Australia and Panama. Tours of Vietnam and  Cuba overflights during the crisis also are part of his U- Dragon Lady career
 
The 4080th SRW  moved in 1963 to Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ. After accumulating 2002 flight hours Tony left the U-2 program in the summer of 1965 and reported to Air Command and Staff College ( ACSC) , AL.

 

     
While at ACSC he was asked if he would like to fly the SR-71 by Colonel DesPortes who had transferred to Beale AFB when the Blackbird program started and Tony's response was "Hell Yes Sir" He was then assigned to 9th SRW at Beale AFB, CA to fly the SR-71 and arrived in July 1966. After T-38 checkout flights & training he was crewed with RSO Major Jerry Crew. Unfortunately Jerry was Medically retired in 1969 and Tony then gained a new RSO in Jim Kogler.
     
A couple of milestones in Tony's SR-71 career are ,
  On 26 July 1968 #976 was piloted by Major's Tony Bevacqua and RSO Jerry Crew in an operational mission over Hanoi, North Vietnam. This flight was the first time that a SAM had locked on and fired upon a USAF  SR-71. The crew knew they had been fired upon by two missiles and after flying a return track over the same area, no additional SAM's were fired. Landing was uneventful at Kadena. The Terrain tracking camera recorded the SA-2's launches and later evaluation revealed the nearest missile exploded about one mile behind and away from #976.
 
Leaving this TDY at Kadena, the guys presented me with this placard.
       
 
And secondly the Longest time to take a bird(!) to Okinawa. After a generator failed they had to diverted to Midway where they spent nearly two weeks.

During their stay SR-71 974 gained some art work in Goony Birds being painted on the undercarriage doors and on the fuselage near the cockpit.

 

     
     
Tony with his family and his first RSO Jerry Crew Following his USAF career, Tony was in the real estate and real estate lending business until 31 December 1999. Married to Marilyn (Carroll), they have five children, and nine grandchildren.
Tony retired at Beale AFB, 31 March 1973 with 738 hours in the SR-71. Although his involvement with Beale did not stop as he was  been a member of the Beale Military Liaison Committee for over 30 years serving as both Chairman (18 1/12 years)  and  in his current capacity as Secretary.
     
Tony is active with several hobbies. They include his autos: Corvettes, a 57 Chrysler New Yorker 2-door Hardtop, a 1961 Chrysler 300-G, and a 1956 Imperial 4 door sedan. Other hobbies include racquetball, spectator sports, volunteer work, and civic/charitable organizations.
Tony's beautiful 1956 Imperial Sedan is painted Raven Black over Nugget Gold Tony and his Z06-

Still the "Need For Speed"

 
On November 2nd 2008

Lt Col Tony Bevacqua ( USAF Retied)

was presented with the

Yuba- Sutter Outstanding Veteran of the Year Award 2008. 

Tony  has been a member of the Beale Military Liaison Committee for over 30 years serving as both Chairman (18 1/12 years)  and  in his current capacity as Secretary.
 

Tony's U-2 /SR-71 HISTORY

 

U-2 DRAGON LADY

 

 

SR-71 BLACKBIRD

First flight:  14 March 1957, Groom Lake, NV

1006 hours, 7 November 1961

1506 hours, 20 November 1963

1904.2, 7 July 1965 = TOTAL U-2 HOURS

Functional test pilot, 30 July 1957

Instructor Pilot, 18 October 1957

 

TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENTS (TDY)

HOME BASE, LAUGHLIN AFB, TX

25 Oct 57,  Ramey AB, Puerto Rico,  110 days

13 Oct 58, Eielson AFB, Alaska, 30 days

4 Feb 59, Ezeiza Airport, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 90 days

9 Dec 59, Laughlin AFB, TX, 90 days

7 Jan 60, Det. 3, APO 845, NY, (LAFB)10 days

12 Feb 60, Ramey AB. P. R., 10 days

21 April 61, Eielson AFB, AK, 50 days

26 Jan 62, Eielson AFB, AK, 30 days

3 Mar 62, Edwards AFB, CA,   accident investigation    

 17 Aug 62, Upper Heyford, (OL 7), U.K., 90 days

3 Mar 63, Laverton AB (RAAF), (OL 11), 90 days

HOME BASE, DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, AZ, effective 10 Jul 63

27 Dec 63, Barksdale AFB, LA, (OL 10), 67 days

5 May 64, Bien Hua AB (OL 20), 90 days

25 Oct 64, Barksdale AFB, LA, 10 days

17 Dec 64, Albrook AFB, Panama (OL 18), 56 days

TDY average, 117.6 days/year

SIGNIFICANT MEDALS:

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), July 1957

Air Medal:  Oct 57 to Jan 58

    1st OLC   Feb 59 to May 59

    2nd         Dec 59 to Mar 60

    3rd          Jan 62 to Feb 62

    4th          Aug 62 to Sep 62

    5th          Oct 62 to Dec 62

    6th          Mar 63 to May 63

    7th          Dec 62 to Jan 63

    8th          Jan 64 to Feb 64

    9th          May 64 to Jun 64

   10th         Mar 64 to Jul 64

   11th         Aug 64 to Jan 65

 

 

First flight:  18 November 1966

300 hours, 14 January 1969

600 hours, 11 March 1971

735.9 hours, 10 October 1972 & total SR-71 hours

Functional test pilot:

Instructor Pilot:

 

TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENTS (TDY)

 

29 May 68, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, 90 days

20 Sep 69, Kadena AB, Okinawa  20 days

18 Feb 70,     ?nbsp;         ?nbsp;          ?nbsp;       66 days

30 Sep 70,     ?          ?nbsp;          ?nbsp;       60 days

9 Jun 71,       ?nbsp;         ?nbsp;          ?nbsp;        50 days

7 Dec 71,      ?nbsp;         ?nbsp;          ?nbsp;        65 days

16 May 72    ?nbsp;         ?nbsp;          ?nbsp;        65 days

24 Oct 72,    ?nbsp;         ?nbsp;          ?nbsp;        65 days

 

SR-71 TDY average, 120.25 days/year

 

SIGNIFICANT MEDALS

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS,

AIR MEDAL, 12th OLC

  ?nbsp;          ?nbsp;       13th OLC

 

 

SAMs (2) fired at us over Hanoi area, 26 Jul 68,  #976

Midway NAS emergency landing,

 

 

 

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