Norm Darnell Remembers-Part 1


By Norm Darnell

This goes back to the early 1970’s when the GEMS (Goodyear Electronic Mapping System) system was in operation.  Basically it was a modification of pieces from the APQ-102A/R/T/RT and the system used in the SR-71.  The system put in the French Caravel was first used to radar map Venezuela and then move on to Brazil to radar map the Amazonian region of north west Brazil.  During this time we found rivers, rivers going in the wrong direction, a very large meteor crater, and with the data collected established the dividing line between Venezuela and Brazil.  The Correlator was under the wing of the SR at the Pima County Museum the last I saw of it.

 Joe Mills and the Dual Passport

We had many things happen that brings back fond memories of the people and situations. Joe Mills (who was part of the first installation of the laser on the 5 inch correlator and part of the film selection when Harold Campbell and I got to be the 5th and 6th case of laser eye burn recorded) and his wife traveled all over the world, but they were on the same dual passport. When Joe tried to leave Belem, Para, Brazil to come back to the United States, he could not clear Brazilian Customs due to his dual passport and it would take three weeks to get a new passport. Simple (as I knew the Brazilian Officers). I just found a young lady at a shop in the Airport Terminal and she became Joe’s wife to get through customs. Then I walked over to say goodbye to Joe and she walked back with me.  This was a big story and Joe’s wife told me later, “It is a good thing she did not get off the plane with him. I would have blamed you.”

Beer/Water/Lee Graham

When I went and got lunch for the crew that came down to fix the radar, I brought back beer for them to drink. OH BOY was that a problem. So they drank bottled water with ice. They all got sick and later they switched to cold beer. Also the story of Lee sleeping in my room with air conditioning is very interesting, but we will not elaborate here because Lee still has his 1895.

The oil companies paid for the mapping of Venezuela and the Government for the radar mapping of Brazil.  In Venezuela we always had an armed guard on board and could not fly without him.  He made me very nervous with his 1911A1 so I helped him and field stripped it to clean it properly and then gave it back to him.  Well it was that way for the entire flight and when we landed I put it back to gather and then put the magazine back in and told him to leave the chamber empty because it would deteriorate the 1943 steel cased 45 ACP ammunition.  Several time we got hit with lightning, lost an engine, lost A/C power, pressure dropped to altitude which was 39,000 feet, and other minor things.  The people who would fly with us as a publicity endeavor was great and I got to meet a lot heads of state, governors, CEO’s of major international companies, secretaries and stews.  Guess who got the most attention, especially after I took a lighting hit. In an attempt to get maps, I met a Russian Night Witch and a Sniper at Copacabana beach.

Danger: Soccer Game has Ended!

In Venezuela one morning we could not go from the hotel to the aircraft because they machine gunned some rowdy students. However, in Ipanema Beach they would be more selective: they just used sub-machine guns and took out a very limited number. But, the most dangerous times were after a soccer game and they would kill up to two dozen.

The first two attachments are of my badge and the last is Norm at the GEMS controls somewhere before it became Brahma time.

On Another Note

I even know a pilot who saved an F-4 after forgetting to look at the fuel indicator and did the impossible.  One who has both the Paratrooper wings from the 101st and Italian Military, one who heard and saw the first shells from WWII hit Danzig, saved those in Dachau/Japanese POW camps, were interred by the Russians after landing their B-17 in Russia after a bombing raid, and other people of interest. Most I met on the 1,000 yard line during competition or at the end of a shooting competition when we divvied up the money.

Norm Darnell . . . June 2017

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Al Ingelse

Allen O. Ingelse, 86, passed away March 28, 2017 in Phoenix. He is survived by his wife in Peoria, AZ of 61 years Audrey Ingelse, daughter Jennifer Burns (Gary), son Jeffrey (Kathy), granddaughter Lisa Cantella (Alexander) and grandson Chris Burns. He is preceded in death by his parents Harvey and Sadie Ingelse and brother Harvey all of Sheboygan Falls, WI.

Born in Sheboygan on May 18, 1930 he attended Parks College at Saint Louis University and graduated with a BS in Aerospace engineering. He served in the USAF as a 1st Lieutenant at Kirkland AFB in New Mexico from 1954-1956. While stationed there, he met and married Audrey. They moved to Phoenix in 1956 where he worked for Goodyear Aerospace, later to become Lockheed Martin where he retired in 1985.

In 1990, he, along with his wife, daughter and son in law opened Bell Signs in Glendale AZ, which is still in business today. In 2005, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma which he battled until his passing. He continued to work at Bell Signs until 2010. A Memorial Service will be held at Community of Grace 10561 W Pinnacle Peak Rd, Peoria AZ 85383 on April 22, 2017 at 1:00 pm. Access only from 107th Avenue. – See more at:

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April Picnic Reminder

April Luncheon Details


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Nelson S. Ladd

Nelson Ladd was born on November 1, 1931 in Eureka, Kansas. He passed away in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

He is survived by his wife, Bette and Bette’s children, Mike Saari, Kim Saari and her husband Doug Fowler, and grandson Austin Saari. Brother Charles and his wife Jean, Charles’ daughter Christiane Ladd Smith. Brothers-in-law, Dick Vanberg, Carmen Anderson, Glenn Gaddis and sisters-in-law, Jean Vanberg, Lorraine Anderson, and Connie Benson, and cousins Nancy and Robert Mills, Leanne and Mike McGinney.

He was a Korean War veteran and served with the 84th Engineer Construction Battalion, US Army in 1952 and 1953. He participated in the construction of the Libby Bridge over the Imjin River. He also worked on humanitarian projects during the war with the building of refugee camps in Pusan. At the conclusion of the war, he participated in the marking the 38th parallel at the DMZ.

After his service in the Korean War, Nelson continued his education, receiving both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Physics from the University of Wichita. He taught Physics as a professor at Wichita State University. Through a scholarship, he pursued advanced studies in Physics at Arizona State University.

Nelson always understood the importance of education and thus he founded an ongoing scholarship for physics students at Wichita State University. In his career, he worked as a physicist at Goodyear Aerospace for over 25 years, working on various military projects and also on the Apollo 17 mission. He was also very active in in serving our community on various committees for the City of Phoenix, Phoenix Police Department, Arizona Supreme Court, and Phoenix Art Commission.

He enjoyed traveling, boating, and fixing things to make them work. In 2013, he and his wife travelled to South Korea in special ceremonies at the Korean Military Academy and participated in Korea Revisit program sponsored by the South Korean government. Nelson was also very active in the Korean War Veterans Association of Arizona serving in various officer positions. He was highly recognized for his outstanding work as the editor of the newsletter for the West Valley Chapter of Korean War Veterans Association.

For many years, he also devoted many hours to preparing his truck and trailer for the parade entry in the annual Phoenix Veterans Day parade. He had a deep devotion to making sure that the Korean War is not forgotten. His life and service will never be forgotten.

His funeral service and internment will be on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 10 AM at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona at 23029 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85024 . Following the funeral there will be a reception at Moon Valley Country Club at 151 West Moon Valley Drive Phoenix, AZ 85023. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: Arizona Korean War and Defense Veterans Association, c/o S. Schwartz, State Treasurer, 4337 E. Calle Redonda, Phoenix, AZ, 85018.

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Pioneer Picnic March 15 & Future Events for 2017

To read the full newsletter, March 2017 Newsletter.






Welcome back Pioneers for another year of activities!

The March picnic lunch will be held at Rio Vista Park.
March 15, 2016 WEDNESDAY
Rio Vista Community Park — Ramada #9
Located at 8866-A W. Thunderbird Rd.
The park entrance is about a third of a mile west of the Loop 101 on Thunderbird.
10:30 Social
11:30 Lunch
12:30 Announcements & Door Prizes

March Luncheon Information

Bring your wife, husband, or friends. They are always welcome.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Social hour begins at 10:30.

The picnic luncheon will be held at Peoria’s Rio Vista Park. The park is located at 8866-A W Thunderbird Rd. The park entrance is about a third of a mile west of the Loop 101 on Thunderbird Rd. Go north on Rio Vista Drive about a half mile to the park entrance. Look for the covered ramadas, just past the community center (on the left) we’ll be at Ramada #9 (also on the left).

The picnic lunch will be sub sandwiches, potato salad, pickles, a variety of chips, water – soda – and beer, and dessert. The cost is $15 per person. We need to get a count of attendees. It’s requested that Reservations be made with Lee Graham via e-mail, Tony Frey at , Dave Craytor , or any of your officers by Sunday March 12.

April Luncheon Information — Apr 19, 2017

The Spring Western Barbeque Picnic will be held at Rio Vista Park on April 19th and we are hoping for a large turnout of members and guests. The Barbeque will be prepared and served by FAMOUS DAVES BAR B QUE. The meal will include your choice of Pulled Pork, Chicken and Beef Brisket served with BBQ sauces on sandwich buns, including BBQ Baked beans, Cole Slaw and Potato Chips. A Dessert and beverages, including beer, soft drinks and water will also be served. Please make your reservations by Sunday, April 16.

Reservations can be made by contacting your Officers, Pete Mulla at or Webmaster Lee Graham at .  Cost of the lunch is $15.00 per person. It’s important that we have the maximum attendees to obtain the price we have contracted for. So, let’s get our current, former workmates, wives and friends to join us for this enjoyable event. Directions to Rio Vista Park are noted above.

Upcoming events – Plan/Mark your Calendars

Wed Mar 15, 2017 Picnic Rio Vista Park Pioneer lunch
Wed Apr 19, 2017 Picnic Rio Vista Park BBQ (Dave’s)
Wed Oct 18, 2017 Picnic Rio Vista Park Pioneer lunch
Wed Nov 15, 2017 Picnic Rio Vista Park Classic Catering
Wed Dec 2017 Christmas Lunch TBD TBD

2016-2017 OFFICERS as of Mar 2017

President: Bill Rappold – 623-362-1988 –

Vice President: Tony Frey –  602-361-5509 –

Secretary: Pete Mulla – 623-386-3324 –

Treasurer: Dave Craytor – 623-935-6322 –

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Don Lebet

don-lebetDonald Lebet passed away on February 16, 2017. He was born on December 5, 1928 in Williamsport, PA to the late Joseph and Mary Lebet.

Don was raised and lived in Williamsport, PA until he enlisted in the Navy and served from 1944 thru 1948. Donald married Patricia Lyons on November 10, 1951.

Donald worked at Goodyear Aerospace in Ohio and transferred to Arizona and worked there for 37 years as an Industrial Engineer. He is survived by his wife Pat, four children Donald (Karen) Lebet, Bonnie (Michael) Conwell, Michael (Amy Cuccia) Lebet & Patricia (Greg) Miller, five grandchildren Michael, Tonya, Jessica, Donald and Carolyn and four great grandchildren Trenton, Brodie, Jami and Jayna with an additional one due in June.

In addition to his parents, Donald was preceded in death by his six siblings. Graveside services with military honors were held on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 2 PM at Resthaven Park Cemetery, 6450 W. Northern Avenue, Glendale, Arizona. –

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Doyle Lyddon

doylelyddonDoyle Lyddon went to be with the Lord on February 17, 2017. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 55 years Lenora and son Harry.

He was born in Clearfield, Iowa to Harry and Flora Lyddon. He had five brothers:Donald, Daryl, Dale, Bernard and Ivan. He also had one sister Neva.

He was a caring and loving father to Debbie Grande and Ramona Young. He loved spending time with his granddaughters Heidi Grande, Hillary Grande, Savannah Young and Alexis Young. Doyle served in the U.S. Navy and graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

He loved to travel with Lenora in their RV. They could always be found doing the Jitterbug at the American Legion, or any other celebration. Doyle also enjoyed playing golf, and working around the house fixing things. He will be missed dearly from those who knew him. We will always love you Papa. A Memorial Service was held at St Andrews Episcopal Church at 6300 W. Camelback Ave., Glendale AZ on Friday, February 24th at 11:00.

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