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I guess you know that you have made it big when your
outfit appears in a nationally syndicated comic strip.
The 58th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron achieved
this honor in November of 1951. 

Zack Mosley created Smilin' Jack, the intrepid aviator,
in 1933 and Jack flew through our comic pages all the
way until April 1973.  Mr. Mosley traveled the world to
stay abreast of what was happening in aviation.  Prior to
drawing the strip shown below, he visited Eielson AFB.

For more information about Zack Mosley and his creation:

Go to official Smilin' Jack Page

Our thanks to AWRA Life Member
John Priestle, who managed to preserve this bit of history.
John has shared other articles and photos that we will
post in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Fear not, somehow Jack survived.  And the 500th Ptarmigan mission led to the 1000th, and the 1500th, and so on ....

On August 30th, 1956, the final Ptarmigan flown by a WB-29 occurred.
It was the 1956th Ptarmigan flown since the mission began in 1947.  Ever since April 1956, the WB-29 crews had been joined by the new WB-50D.  Then, on October 13th, 1956, a new milestone was reached...

Official USAF Photo
Courtesy of the Air Force Weather History Office
We can thank Roger Cole for help in identifying the participants in this photo.  In the front row, holding the Ptarmigan banner, are (left) William T. Gill, Jr, Flight Engineer, and  (right) Capt James D. Beebe, Aircraft Commander.  In the back row, from left, Mr Don Bullock, of Fairbanks radio and television station KFAR, Roger H. Cole, Crew Chief, Lewis Bond, Jr, Radio Operator, Gerald Ferguson, Radio Operator, Jack P. Brenkle, Dropsonde Operator, Capt Ralph F Paige, Navigator, Capt Allen P Gyving, Navigator, 1Lt Lynn F Johnson, Weather Observer, and Maj William H. Iooss, Co-Pilot.  Also on the flight, but missing from this photo, was Mr John Thompson, news editor for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. This mission received extensive coverage locally in Alaska, and throughout the Zone of the Interior (ZI).