Albuquerque’s near-Doomsday incident of 1957 – – a long-forgotten, hushed up event

Albuquerque, New Mexico was nearly obliterated by an accidental detonation of a 10-megaton hydrogen bomb dropped on the outskirts of Kirtland Air Force Base.

by Les Adler, special to THE ALBUQUERQUE TRIBUNE


At 11:50 a.m. on May 22, 1957, I was a 15-year-old sophomore at Highland High School in Albuquerque when the city and a good portion of the surrounding region were nearly obliterated by the accidental detonation of a 10-megaton hydrogen bomb dropped on the outskirts of Kirtland Air Force Base.

First reported to the public in 1986, this early “broken arrow,” as such accidents were referred to in military jargon, became as much a historical “non-event” during the intervening Cold War decades as the recently exposed atmospheric radioactivity showers and radiation experiments. Like these tests, it, too, was a product of what Sen. John Glenn has called “the Cold War frenzy which gripped our nation.”

Those of us living in the region had long known, and, indeed, were strangely proud of the fact, that Albuquerque was likely to be a major enemy military target due to the region’s role in the production, testing and storage of atomic and hydrogen weaponry.

Nearby Sandia Base, nestled in the foothills of the Manzano Mountains, was widely suspected of housing extensive underground storage facilities where much of the nation’s nuclear arsenal was guarded.


Electrified, barbed-wire double fences, patrolled by guard dogs, were clearly visible from the highway as one entered or left Albuquerque through Tijeras Canyon to the east.

Sixty miles to the northwest, the heavily guarded Atomic City of Los Alamos, creation site of the first atomic bombs and then, as now, a major national arms production laboratory, guaranteed our supremacy as a prime Soviet target.

On that particular day in May 1957, unknown to any of us, a huge B-36 bomber with a crew of 13 was preparing to land at Kirtland Air Force base.

On board, as recounted in John May’s “The Greenpeace Book of the Nuclear Age” and later interviews with surviving crewmen, was the Gold War’s ultimate product.
It was a 42,000-pound, 10-megaton hydrogen bomb – the largest weapon ever made in the world up to that time, and the first droppable thermonuclear device – traveling incognito under the code name of Mark 17.

The giant bomber, a mainstay of America’s Strategic Air Command forces, was commanded by veteran pilot Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Meyer with the mission of ferrying its deadly payload from Biggs Air Force Base in Texas to Albuquerque’s Kirtland field.
Standard operating procedure on all such flights called for the manual removal of the locking pin designed to prevent accidental in-flight release of bombs to allow emergency jettisoning of weapons, if necessary, during takeoffs and landings.

The awkward procedure required a crew member, usually the navigator, to climb into the bomb bay and lean over the body of the bomb at the start and end of each flight to set and later remove the large U-2 pin.

On May 22,1st Lt. Bob Carp was assigned the onerous task.
With the plane descending to 1,700 feet and making its final approach before landing at Kirtland, Carp began moving back toward the bomb.

As described years later by another crewman, the difficult job resulted in Carp hanging over the 25 foot long, steel-encased weapon, roughly the size and shape of a large whale, “literally by his toes” to retrieve the pin.

It was 11:49 a.m.

The plane was nearly four miles south of the airfield, and landing conditions were normal as Carp completed his stretch across the gleaming, rounded shape lying silent and inert in the plane’s belly.

Packed with the explosive power of more than 10 million tons of TNT, enough to destroy a dozen Hiroshimas or Moscows, this bomb and others like it, always in the air somewhere in the world awaiting coded attack signals, formed the foundation of America’s proclaimed military posture of “massive retaliation.”

Slim Pickens, Dr. StrangeloveWhat happened next is in dispute.

Previously published reports describe Carp reaching up to regain his balance and pull himself into the cockpit, and being unexpectedly jolted as the huge bomber bounced through a pocket of turbulent air.

Trying to avoid a fall, according to this version, he grabbed for the nearest hand-hold, a lever that immediately gave way under his weight, triggering a rapid succession of events: the giant bomb under his feet instantly sank, pulled free from its mooring and tore its way straight downward, directly through the closed bomb bay doors, ripping them away and opening a gaping, terrifying hole in the bottom of the plane; and the bomber itself; suddenly released from the weight of its 21-ton payload, bounded upward, gaining more than 1,500 feet of altitude in seconds before the startled pilot could regain control.

In a recent interview, however, Carp, now a businessman in San Francisco, has challenged the turbulence-fall scenario. He asserts — as the one eyewitness to the entire event — that a “defectively designed” manual release mechanism had been accidentally pulled into release mode by a snag in his long cable, causing the bomb to drop the instant he pulled the pin.

There is agreement on what follows.

Bombs away!” reflexively screamed one nearby crewman, his eyes wide with shock as he peered in-to the newly opened void where the weapon and the man had been.

According to another witness, Electronics Operator Jack Resen, it was only a few seconds later that Carp, his face, “whiter than any sheet you ever saw,” slowly pulled himself out of the remaining bomb bay, yelling even above the deafening roar of jet engines and rushing air, “I didn’t touch anything! I didn’t touch anything!”

Radio Operator George Houston, seated nearby, alertly responded by sending a distress call to the Kirtland tower. To the stunned operator, he reported the ominous news: “We’ve dropped a hydrogen bomb!”

The bomb itself plummeted downward with frightening speed, the 1,700 foot drop far too short for its parachutes to slow its descent.

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – “Ground Zero” impact area today at Mesa del Sol – photo, courtesy of Carl Willis – – by the way, this location has the best, panoramic view of the entire Manzano-Sandia Base, Albuquerque’s military test base since 1947!!)

Long before the plane could pull away, the weapon smashed into the nearly barren mesa, where a lone New Mexico cow peacefully munched sagebrush, oblivious to the source and immediacy of its own destruction.
There was an earth-shattering explosion as the weapon detonated.

For most of the intervening years the American public knew nothing of what had happened, and, officially, of course, the event didn’t happen at all.

It was only in 1986 when an Albuquerque newspaper published an account based on military documents recovered through the Freedom of Information Act that the rest of us learned of this accident, and the many other Broken Arrows, both civilian and military, that occurred both at home and abroad.



(Adler was a professor of history at the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University in California.)

Here is my YouTube summary of this amazing event:



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Points of origin of the Dulce base rumors – – a self-guided tour in Albuquerque, New Mexico

(CLICK AND ENLARGE ABOVE – – three-tiered razor-sharp barbed-wire electric fences surrounding the former Manzano underground nuclear storage facility (base) – – photo by Norio Hayakawa)

Here is a self-guided, educational, whole-day  tour entitled:
A special, self-guided tour that explores the origins of the Dulce underground base rumors.
How it all started right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico

You should start from across the parking lot of the late Paul Bennewitz’s Thunder Scientific Laboratory, right next to the main entrance of Kirtland Air Force Base on Wyoming Blvd.:

From there, you should proceed on Wyoming Blvd. to Central Ave., making a right turn at Central Ave.
From Central Ave., you should proceed east to the Four Hills area:

(CLICK TO ENLARGE ABOVE — this is where the former Manzano underground nuclear storage base is located, very close to the Four Hills area where Paul Bennewitz‘s residence is located, right near the edge of the perimeter fence)….notice also that the new underground storage area (KUMMSC) has been set up since 1992, to the left.

( Go east on Central Avenue all the way to Tramway Blvd. – – make a right at Tramway Blvd. –
– make a right at 4 Hills Rd. – – make a right at Stagecoach Rd. – – Stagecoach Rd. will become Wagon Train Dr. – – you should stop at the first fenced area of former Manzano underground nuclear storage base, right across from the condos where Paul Bennewitz residence is located )

(Paul Bennewitz’s residence is located inside the white-walled condo community – – white condos with red tile roofs) – – from his second floor deck, with a great view of the Manzano Base, Paul Bennewitz claimed he used to see lights floating above the Manzano base from around 1979 t0 1981:

(CLICK AND ENLARGE ABOVE – – A security warning sign located inside the fence, further west of this area):

From there you should drive to the location from where you can clearly see three tiers of razor-sharp electric fences surrounding the base.
All you have to do is drive further east on Wagon Train Dr. until you get to the dead end, which is a cul-de-sac right next to a nature walk park.
After parking at the cul-de-sac, start walking towards the nature walking trail area on the right side. You will already see a fence, along with other 3 fences inside.
You will hike for about 10 minutes alongside the fence until you get to the sign that says “You may be under video surveillance”.
That will be the end of this portion of the tour.
Not to worry. It’s just a leisurely walk alongside the fenced area.
You will not get arrested by security personnel unless you try to climb over the fence, even though you will not be electrocuted by this first fence.
It’s the other 3 fences that you can see inside that are lethal:


(Occasionally you may see a white security truck patrolling on the dirt road right next to the fence, but not too often. You may also see a security personally patrolling on a bicycle once in a while. This is not like the perimeter area of Groom Lake Road of Area 51 in Nevada where you constantly see the security trucks.)

Please make sure you saw the actual location from where Paul Bennewitz claimed he witnessed “lights” hovering over the Manzano underground nuclear storage base from around 1979 to 1981.

You should read on the Internet how and why Bennewitz’s focus of attention started, thereafter, to shift from there to some unusual events he came to believe were taking place 120 miles north, in a tiny sleepy community of Dulce, New Mexico.

You should also read about how Bennewitz met New Mexico State Patrol officer Gabe Valdez in 1979 at Albuquerque Public Library where a public meeting on “cattle mutilations” was convened at the request of State Senator Harrison Schmitt. (Officer Gabe Valdez had already been investigating many cases of “cattle mutilations” in and around Dulce, New Mexico).

You should also read about who Richard C. Doty really was – – a self-claimed
“government UFO disinformation agent” who simply happened to be working at AFOSI at Kirtland when Bennewitz reported his sightings to the base.

The popular speculation is that both William L. Moore and Richard C. Doty, together, or if not, individually, fed disinformation to Paul Bennewitz allegedly under the delegated authority from the CIA or NSA.

But this could likely be nothing more than their grandiose claims that they were officially assigned this task by these governmental agencies.


Watch the following short video:

Once again, I hope you saw the area adjacent to three tiers of razor-sharp barbed-wire electric fences surrounding the former Manzano underground facility (base) located at the eastern-most section of Kirtland Air Force Base.

Here is the video surveillance warning area:

And finally, you should drive to Mesa del Sol and see the best viewing location of the entire Manzano-Sandia base, Albuquerque’s military test base since 1947 – – Click and enlarge photo below, courtesy of Carl Willis, and also see the video below:

Here are the directions on how to get to this area:

After finishing the Manzano underground nuclear storage base area tour, go back to Central Ave., take the I-40 Fwy West, then take the I-25 South, exit at Rio Bravo exit, go left and make a quick right at University Blvd. and go all the way till the very end of the University Blvd. and you will see a glass building. You will be parking at the eastern side of the glass building.

By the way, this exact location happens to be the Ground Zero impact area of a hushed up incident that took place in 1957 – – CLICK AND READ:


And, from this location, you can clearly see Project Starfire facility from a distance:



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A hero to some, Michael Riconosciuto was finally released from prison on June 27, 2017

A hero to some, Michael Riconosciuto was finally released from prison on June 27, 2017.
He was instrumental in the expose of the INSLAW Scandal that helped launch investigations into the death of folk hero, the late Danny Casolaro.
He was released from Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution in California (under Michael James Riconosciuto – Register No. 21309-086).


On June 27, his name was taken off from the inmates’ list.


BREAKING NEWS – – verified – – – August 16, 2017

Michael Riconosciuto is back in jail, this time at SEATAC  FDC   (Seattle-Tacoma Federal Detention Center):



Click on  the following links concerning Michael Riconosciuto:


MICHAEL RICONOSCIUTO’S LETTER, THE SMOKING  ‘HOWITZER’  OF 9-11?  – – His February 5, 2001 letter warning of the planned hijack plane attacks in the U.S. by Al Qaeda terrorists




By the way, it was indeed an honor to have the wife of Mr. Riconosciuto attend my presentation on Area 51 that I did in Anaheim, California in 1992.

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US fighter drops mock nuclear bomb on Nevada desert

In this March, 2017, photo supplied by Sandia National Laboratories, an F-16C makes a pass over Nevada’s Tonopah Test Range after a March test of a mock nuclear weapon as part of a life extension program for the B61-12, near Tonopah, Nev. Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories are claiming success with the first in a new series of test flights that are part of an effort to upgrade one of the nuclear weapons that has been in the U.S. arsenal for decades. (John Salois/Sandia National Laboratories via AP)

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (Associated Press) – April 15, 2017
by Susan Montoya Bryan:


Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, New Mexico) are claiming success with the first in a new series of test flights involving an upgraded version of a nuclear bomb that has been part of the U.S. arsenal for decades.

Work on the B61-12 has been ongoing for years, and government officials say the latest tests using mock versions of the bomb will be vital to the refurbishing effort.

An F-16 from Nellis Air Force Base dropped an inert version of the weapon over the Nevada desert last month to test its non-nuclear functions as well as the plane’s ability to carry the bomb.

With a mere puff of dust, the mock bomb landed in a dry lake bed at the Tonopah Test Range.
“It’s great to see things all come together: the weapon design, the test preparation, the aircraft, the range and the people who made it happen,” Anna Schauer, director of Sandia’s Stockpile Resource Center, said in a statement.

Tracking telescopes, remote cameras and other instruments at the test range recorded information on the reliability, accuracy and performance of the weapon under conditions that were meant to replicate real-world operations.
More test flights are planned over the next three years, and officials with the National Nuclear Security Administration said the first production unit of the B61-12 — developed under what is called the Life Extension Program — is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

The B61-12 consolidates and replaces four older versions in the nation’s nuclear arsenal. It’s outfitted with a new tail-kit assembly and other hardware.

The weapon is much different than the non-nuclear “mother of all bombs” used in Afghanistan this week to attack an Islamic State stronghold near the Pakistani border. The Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB, isn’t designed to penetrate like the B61-12 but rather create a large blast over the surface and it has to be ferried by a much larger plane given its size.

In Nevada, it took two passes before the pilot could drop the mock B61-12. A herd of wild horses had to be chased away on the first go-around.
With the run commencing, people gathered on balconies at the range despite knowing they would see only dust rising from the target miles away. A video feed showed the test bomb fall through the air after being released by the F-16.
Officials said it left behind a rather neat hole. Crews were able to dig the mock weapon out of the dirt so it could be packed up and returned to Albuquerque for further study.



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U.S. Air Force planning something big in the Nevada desert – – April 10, 2017

(Click to enlarge above satellite imagery of Tonopah Test Range airport complex)

“Unusually worded, multi-billion dollar drone services contract possibly points to a new, shadowy unmanned aircraft – and a lot of them”.

by Joseph Trevithick, TheDRIVE, April 10, 2017


In June 2016, The WAR ZONE’s own Tyler Rogoway wrote an extensive and thought-provoking analysis of why the U.S. Air Force either had yet to show off a fleet of advanced, combat-capable unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAV), or didn’t have any at all. It’s a long but worthwhile read, especially since the service has just announced a massive and shadowy drone-related contract for work out in the Nevada desert.

On April 6, 2017, as part of the Pentagon’s daily announcement of any contract awards worth over $7 million, the Air Force revealed a deal with URS Federal Services, Inc. for nearly two decades of work regarding unmanned aircraft.
The official details are unusual, so feel free to read them yourself:

URS Federal Services, Inc., Germantown, Maryland, has been awarded an estimated $3,600,000,000 indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract with award fee and award term portions for remotely piloted aircraft services.
Contractor will provide testing, tactics development, advanced training, Joint and Air Force urgent operational need missions.
Work will be performed at Nevada Test and Training Range, Nevada; Creech Air Force Base, Nevada; and Tonopah Test Range Airfield, Nevada, and is expected to be complete by March 31, 2034.
This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with four offers received.
Fiscal 2017 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $2,875,894 are being obligated at the time of award.
Air Force Test Center Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity. (FA8240-17-D-4651).

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s start right at the top.
This contract with URS Federal Services is worth $3.6 billion, but the program, whatever it is, isn’t expected to end until the spring of 2034.
That’s 17 years for those keeping score. The math works out to more than $210 million per year, on average, over that period or $17.5 million every month.

That’s a big price tag for services.
In 2013, the RAND Corporation estimated that it cost $435 million a year for the Air Force’s 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to operate three squadrons of F-16C/D Vipers.
This calculation included everything associated with flying the fighter jets, such as pay checks for military personnel and supporting contractors, fuel, depot-level repairs, as well as indirect support from the Wing’s other elements, including security forces guarding the flight line, civil engineers maintaining facilities, and basic utilities and supplies, such as electricity in the barracks and food in the chow halls.
A similar analysis of the 187th Fighter Wing, a unit in the Alabama Air National Guard with just one squadron of Vipers, produced a final price tag of just $63.6 million.
In short, the URS Federal Services’ contract could potentially cover the full costs of running multiple squadrons of pilotless planes for nearly two decades.
And remember that this deal likely only pays for just a portion of the total cost of this project. So, while we don’t know what unmanned aircraft—singular or plural—the Maryland-based company will be helping test, the money involved here suggests there are quite a few of them. Of course, none of this is surprising. The Air Force and defense contractors both repeated hint at the existence of multiple top secret “black” military air and space projects.

“We’re modernizing the Air Force, so you’ll see in the future new aircraft here on the ramps,” then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in September 2016. “Then there are other things you also won’t see, because we like to have some surprises, also, for potential adversaries.”

These comments were squarely in line with the Pentagon’s much-touted Third Offset Strategy, a high-technology master plan to push development of revolutionary weapons and associated systems to counter rapidly modernizing near peers.
On top of that, the idea has been to produce solutions to future threats that don’t necessarily require a lot of manpower or developmental funding.
But that 2016 trip to Nellis that seems especially relevant to this new arrangement with URS Federal Services.
See, all of the sites mentioned in the contract announcement fall within or along the border of the base’s extended boundaries. T
he first of these, the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), is a massive 4,500 square mile practice space with 5,000 square miles of restricted airspace for military exercise. The area hosts the Air Force’s biggest annual mock combat events, including Red Flag.
Inside the zone, fighters and attack aircraft can fire missiles, drop bombs, fly mock dogfights, and tackle surface-to-air missile threats among various other scenarios.
Creech Air Force Base, the Air Force’s central hub for Predator, Reaper, and Sentinel operations, sits along the southern reaches of the NTTR, which is collocated with the National Test Site.

Click and enlarge above map of Federal Lands in Southern Nevada – – Tonopah near northwest corner – – Indian Springs Auxilliary Air Field is now Creech Air Force Base

And then there’s the matter of Tonopah Test Range and its associated airport.
Regular readers of THE WAR ZONE are surely familiar with the Nevada test site’s history.
Air Combat Command, the Air Force’s top warfighting command, owns the complex, but Sandia National Laboratory — which has the primary job of designing parts for nuclear weapons—technically administers the site.
This obtuse arrangement and remote location make it a perfect place to test whole squadrons of shadowy aircraft and it has done so marvelously in the past.

From 1984 until 1992, the base hosted the Air Force’s first operational stealth jets, Lockheed’s F-117. Officially, the 4450th Tactical Group was situated at Nellis.
The cover story was that the unit was flying A-7D Corsair II attack planes to test new tactics and equipment – sound familiar?

In 2008, the Air Force officially retired the F-117s for good.
However, the service kept a number of aircraft in so-called “Type 1000” storage at Tonopah, meaning crews had to keep them just serviceable enough to return to action in a relatively short period of time. For years afterward, there were numerous reports, along with photos and videos, indicating that at least a few of the jets were still actively flying, possibly for experimental purposes.

As the stealth jets moved into storage, Tonopah became home to Lockheed’s secretive RQ-170 Sentinel. The 30th Reconnaissance Squadron had at approximately 20 of the bat-wing unmanned spy planes sitting at the desert airport until 2011.
Then it moved to the Air Force’s main drone hub at Creech Air Force Base and set up a separate detachment at Vandenberg Air Force Base in neighboring California.

It is very possible that some sort of Sentinel operations still occur at Tonopah as well, but clearly it is the USAF’s chosen home for secretive aircraft that have moved from the developmental stages to an early operational one.
Eventually, once the programs are declassified, the programs move to a more convenient home.
In the F-117’s case, that was Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
For the RQ-170, it’s Creech and Vandenberg.

Who’s running the program URS Federal Services will be supporting isn’t entirely clear, either.
The Pentagon press release points to a confusing collection of units and bases.
It says the Air Force Test Center (formerly Air Force Flight Test Center) awarded the contract, but adds that the specific contracting office was at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
AFTC’s headquarters is at Edwards Air Force Base in California and its website doesn’t mention a detachment at Hill, but it does has a strong connection to secretive aircraft projects and a long-standing relationship with Lockheed’s famous Skunk Works design group.
Since the April 2017 contract announcement specifically cites “joint” requirements, other services or the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) could be involved in the project.
In its budget request for the 2016 fiscal year, SOCOM asked for approximately $20 million for a hangar at a classified location somewhere in the contiguous United States, which would be large enough to conceal multiple drones. Based on the type of facilities the line items described, the Air Force Special Operations Command seemed to want the structure for an unspecified test project.

John Pike, director of the defense and security information website, agreed at the time that Tonopah was one possible location for the new, 36,000 square feet building. In addition, this budget proposal for the classified hangar came after work had already started on another massive hangar at the secretive Groom Lake test site, better known as Area 51, suggesting the two buildings were separate projects.

It may turn out that the Air Force moved the bulk of the RQ-170s out of Tonopah to make room for another top secret, joint drone program.
We have seen official details and other hints about various secretive Air Force aircraft projects since the Sentinels came into the light.

In December 2013, veteran Aviation Week reporters Bill Sweetman and Amy Butler reported the existence of another flying-wing stealth drone, dubbed the RQ-180.
Six months later, Air Force Lieutenant General Robert Otto, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, made the unprecedented move to acknowledge the program publicly during a speech sponsored by the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. It took the service three years to cop to the existence of the Sentinel on the record.

In 2014, mysterious triangular planes appeared over Texas and Kansas. The next year, an Air Force report War Is Boring first obtained via the Freedom of Information Act suggested a still-unknown spy plane had already flown missions over the Pacific region two years earlier.
Still, the details we know of URS Federal Services’ contract point to work on an entire operational concept based around something more like a more numerous UCAV fleet than a handful of “silver bullet” pilotless spy aircraft and suggests that these aircraft already exist.
There’s no indication of weapon system research and development or procurement money involved in this “services” contract.
The Air Force pulled almost $3 million out of a so-called “operations and maintenance” account (funds services generally set aside for things like payroll) to get URS Federal Services quickly off to work.
Publicly, the Air Force has stutter-started and then canceled a number of such projects since the late 1990s as Rogoway’s piece details.
Before dropping out in 2006, the Air Force had tested experimental armed unmanned aerial vehicles in partnership with the U.S. Navy under the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program.
Six years later, the Air Force curiously shuttered another next-generation unmanned aircraft project, which it referred to as MQ-X, ostensibly aimed at producing a pilotless attacker.
In the meantime, in response to Navy requirements, Northrop Grumman has built the revolutionary X-47B and proposed an improved X-47C variant, Boeing has flown a derivative of the X-45C—the last of the J-UCAS aircraft—called Phantom Ray, and Lockheed has shown artwork of an enlarged RQ-170 it calls Sea Ghost.

An X-45A shows opens its bomb bay door during the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems program of the mid 2000s. The UCAV concept was proven to be extremely promising, then it just mysteriously disappeared. Today the USAF operates as if the technology does not exist.
All of this would seem to offer more hints of a “pocket UCAV force” like the one Rogoway posited in his earlier analysis.

“You have to imagine that if there has been such an amazing outburst of programmatic creativity in the unclassified world, that there would have been at least as much friskiness on the classified side of the house,” Pike told me back in 2015, referring to years with a nearly endless stream of public drone prototypes and concepts.

While there are just too many unknowns to be sure, given the history of the locations, the money involved, the time frame, and what we already know about separate developments, this contract suggests the Air Force is up to something big out in Nevada. We’ve already put in a Freedom of Information Act Request for documents related to the contract and we’ll be sure to follow up with any new details as we become aware of them.

Update 4/12/2017: On April 11, 2017, the Air Force issued an official correction to their earlier notice as part of the Pentagon’s daily contract announcements, which said:

CORRECTION: The $3,600,000,000 contract to URS Federal Services Inc. (FA8240-17-D-4651) that was announced on April 6, 2017, had the wrong contract type and statement of work. The contract type is actually a cost-plus-award-fee, indefinite-delivery requirements contract. The statement of work is range support services and not remotely piloted aircraft services as stated in the announcement. All other contract information is accurate.

On that same day, we reached out to Hill Air Force Base’s public affairs office hoping to clarify the circumstances of this change. At the time of writing, we have not heard back. We are also continuing to pursue our FOIA request for the contracting documents.


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How to cut down on funeral costs – – the best is to plan ahead while you are still alive and well

There are many questions that people ask about funerals – – “What should you do when your beloved ones pass away?”
“What should I tell my beloved ones before I pass away?”.
This topic is one of the most important topics you can think of.
As a (retired) long-time, licensed funeral director in California, my personal feeling is that funerals are done not for the sake of the deceased but only for the sake of the ones who “lost” their loved one.

Personally, I am not an advocate for “traditional” funerals.
Nowadays, funerals can cost anywhere from about $12,000 to $15,000 and up.
In fact (strange as it may sound, coming from a long-time funeral director), I do not really believe in having funerals.
I even dislike the word “funeral” and would rather use the term “Memorial Gathering” or “Celebration of Life” gathering.

My feeling is that instead of having a funeral after one passes away, people should have a one-time “Celebration of Life” gathering at a most appropriate time while they are alive and well.
This could eliminate the need to have a funeral later on.
This type of having a one-time “funeral service” while one is still alive and healthy is becoming popular in countries like Japan.
They use a community center or a hotel banquet hall with food, music and dance – – in addition to giving the attendees a chance to eulogize that person on stage – – it’s like a celebrity “roast”.
And subsequently in the near future when that person passes away, the family will not organize any funeral, but will simply go for a simple cremation with no service.

(My wife and I will be having this type of an event soon.)

If anyone has any questions on how to cut down funeral costs, I am here to help you do so.

First of all, to those who are having financial difficulties, I recommend cremation, whether or not you are planning a memorial service later.

For those who are having extreme financial difficulty, my recommendation is Straight Cremation (with no embalming) with no service at all, or if you still want to have a service, then have it at home, or borrow a community center, or even rent a private room at a restaurant.
Straight Cremation (itself) with No Service should not cost more than $1500, or maximum, $2000.
However, transportation and other required procedures are not usually included as well as such items as a decent urn, instead of just a cardboard urn.
There are some decent, reliable Cremation Societies (such as Neptune Society) that can take care of everything (including transportation, relocation protection, and a decent memento chest) for around $2500.

Here is one thing that most people do not know:
You can actually declare yourself an ACTING AGENT, remove the remains yourself from the hospital, go to the doctor and have the doctor sign a death certificate, go to the Health Department yourself and file for a permit for disposition. And take the remains to a crematory…and receive the cremated remains directly from the crematory.

The only reason that funeral homes exist is because most people do not have time or knowledge of how to do it yourself, such as going to the Health Department and filing a death certificate and getting a permit, or removing the remains from a place of death, etc. etc.
All these things take time. And most people would rather hire someone else (i.e. the funeral home) to do all the work.

Some regulations vary from state to state.
However, basically the funeral homes exist because most people do not bother to do it themselves.
Sure, funeral homes are businesses, just like any other business, i.e., making money. Some are atrocious for pushing things to you that are not really needed.

Also, here is something most people do not know.
You are not obligated to buy a casket at a funeral home. Actually you can buy a casket directly from some casket companies.

Going back to the topic of cutting down funeral costs, here is another way to do it.
For example, the casket is not required for a viewing.
A viewing can be held on a viewing table.
The remains can still be there, fully dressed and cosmetized….but the casket is not required.

Even wooden caskets are not required for cremation.
The least requirement is a cardboard cremation unit.

However, if you’re having a burial (as opposed to cremation) at a cemetery, then a good ole pine box is O.K.
However, most cemeteries require, in addition, a concrete vault for the pine box (or any casket) to go in. (to prevent “cave-ins”)

Sure, some folks say that when they pass away, they will make it simple.
Actually that’s what we all say.
But, in reality, when the death actually takes places, things do not go that way.
The surviving family, relatives and friends will not allow that.

The only way to guarantee your wish is to make a clear, documented will stating clearly what you wish, and legally.

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New Mexico’s hidden natural wonderland near Rio Rancho

(CLICK EACH PHOTO FOR ENLARGEMENT – – above, great view from the White Ridges trail, looking towards the White Mesa towards the top left – – April 10, 2017, 1 p.m., temperature, a comfortable 57 degrees Fahrenheit – 15 degrees Celsius)

New Mexico is truly a Land of Enchantment. There are so many amazing wonderland of nature.
And you don’t have to drive too far from the city to get to these “hidden spots”.
Just about 20 miles northwest from the City Hall of Rio Rancho is a wonderland called the White Ridges, located between the Ojito Wilderness and White Mesa.
Here are the directions to get to this area:
Go north on Unser Blvd. (passing the City Hall) and make a left on Hwy 550.
Just before you get to San Ysidro, make a left at Cabezon Road, a dirt road.
Take the left fork where it says White Ridges Bike Trail. This dirt road is called the Cabezon Road.
Keep on going for a couple of miles or so. Soon you will see a gravel parking lot on the left side.
Keep on going for a half a mile or so and you will get to a gravel parking lot on the right side.
Park your vehicle and just start hiking upward on any biking/hiking trail and you will get there – – guaranteed.

For more detailed instructions on how to get there, CLICK and READ the following:


(Above, you can see my “companion” towards the bottom)

(Above photo and two photos below taken on March 25, 2017 – – in the above, you can clearly see the deep canyon)

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