Seeking information regarding secret missions over Pacific in early 1950s

I'm looking for information about my great-grandfather Loren Lester Green (Sr.) who flew secret missions over the Pacific after the Korean War until his death in 1956. He was a pilot. I don't know much about those missions as my grandmother (his daughter) only recently found out while in China when she happened to meet someone who intercepted radio signals from his plane. I'm not sure where to even begin looking for information about those secret missions. I know Loren ended WWII as a 1st Lieutenant, flew in the Korean War, and died as a Captain in Honolulu, Hawaii. (It would also be nice to learn about his service in the Korean War; I have almost no information about his life other than these brief tidbits. However, my priority right now is information about the secret missions.)

  • There were several secret programs (that we know of) in the 1950s and 1960s.

    We ran overflight programs over the Soviet Union (and, one presumes, China) for several purposes. One was to determine where their nuclear-capable airfields and production facilities were. One book that describes the program that I found on Amazon, is:

    {Moderation edit: Project Home Run: A Declassified Oral History of the Top Secret Spy Flights Over the Soviet Union 1950-1960 eBook : Office, National Reconnaissance: Kindle Store}

    Note that if you do some Google searching, you may be able to find a copy of it for free from the government, since it is produced by the National Reconnaissance Office historian's office.

    Your father wouldn't, most likely, have been flying U-2s, as they don't appear to have been flying until 1956.

    Another, related program we ran was to fly planes through the fallout clouds of Soviet (and, later, Chinese) nuclear tests to collect samples of the fallout particles. By doing so, we can actually determine the yield of the weapon, how efficient their designs are, and so forth. This would also involve overflying Soviet territory, or along the coastline to obtain samples.

    There was a book that was published in the last 1-2 years on that program, but I can't remember the name and can't find it by a keyword search on Amazon. Sorry.

    I have a friend whose uncle was on one of those missions in the 1960s when their plane was lost with all hands in the middle of the Pacific. The Air Force said mechanical failure; I think she still doesn't believe them.

    If you haven't already, you should write for a copy of your father's Official Military Personnel Fle. In the remarks, ask for copies of all the documents, not just a summary--and ask them if any documents have been withheld due to classification.  If they say there have been, submit a second request under the Freedom of Information Act asking for the release of as much of those documents as possible. I suspect that either he received unclassified evaluations that say he flew classified missions in a highly efficient manner, or the reports have reached the point that they've been automatically downgraded. But you never know.


    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

    If you have not done so already, we suggest that you request a copy of your great grandfather’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), which should be in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. Veterans and next of kin of deceased veterans also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates (such as for dates), but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file if it survived the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests

    For a complete copy of a personnel file, in Section II, on the line for "Other" (Specify), write "Complete copy of every page of personnel file - not an extract."

    Archival OMPFs may also be requested by visiting the Archival Research Room at the National Archives at St. Louis. Please see the linked web pages for more information. Please email for further assistance prior to making an appointment. 

    If your great grandfather died while serving in the U.S. military, there may also be an Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) for him. U.S. Air Force (including Army Air Corps) IDPFs from 1940-1973 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis. For more information about these records, please email

    Additionally, microfilmed copies of Air Force Individual Flight Records have recently been accessioned by the National Archives, St. Louis and are open to the public for the years 1911-1958. The information you are seeking might be included in these records. Please email them directly at to request a search of these records, and include the full name of the individual (last, first, and middle initial) and the specific year of interest in your inquiry. 

    Next, we searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Award Cards, 1942 - 1963 for the U.S. Army Air Force/Air Force that includes a World War II Air Medal Decoration card for Green, Loren L. (see image 475) that might be of interest to you. These cards have been digitized and may be viewed online using the Catalog link provided.

    The Award Card lists the General Order number under which the Air Medal Decoration was awarded. Army Air Force General Orders are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis. Please provide the General order number, unit designation and date from the Award cards when you submit your request to them via email at

    Since some veterans registered with their state or local veterans service agencies after they separated from service, we also suggest that you contact the state or county veterans agency where Loren Lester Green, Sr. lived for additional assistance. Please review the NPRC web page Other Methods to Obtain Military Service Records for more information. Please note that registering discharge papers with local and state authorities was optional, so we cannot guarantee that these types of organizations will have his records.

    Additionally, we searched the Air Force History Index (a non-profit site not directly affiliated with NARA or the Air Force) and located 1 reference to "Green, Loren L" that might be of interest to you. The records related to this index entry are in the custody of the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA). Please contact them directly for further assistance.

    Finally, if you know or learn the specific unit or units that your great grandfather served in, then you may wish to search the Air Force History Index for records related to those units. The National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RR2R) has custody of microfilm copies of some operational records relating to U.S. Army Air Force/U.S. Air Force units. Please read the brief Abstracts available in the Air Force History Index to determine which records you are interested in and click on the specific PDF icon. In the PDF listing, the IRISREF is the microfilm reel number and note the FRAME and FRAMELST numbers for the location on the reel. If the reel number begins with A, B or C, please contact RR2R via email at for more information about them. 

    If the reel number begins with D - Z, the microfilm is still security classified and RR2R will not be able to make the reel available to you. The original paper copy from which the film was created is still in the custody of the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) and has been declassified. To obtain copies of these records, please follow the instructions on this page. If there is no IRISREF information, only AFHRA has the records.

    We invite you to continue the conversation with community members on History Hub, but should you have follow up questions for the staff at Archives II, please email us at so that we can assist you further. 

    We hope this is helpful for your research! 


    Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RR2RR)

    [RR2RR 23-52502-RS]

  • This is helpful, as I didn't even know where to begin my searching. Thank you so much for sharing this information! And thank you for the advice as to how to request the documents. I will reach out and see what I can find.

    Many thanks!


  • This was extremely helpful! Thank you so much for going through that for me and laying things out so clearly so I can proceed with my research. I've already looked at a few of the links you provided, and I'm eager to continue researching and reaching out to others for the information you referenced. 

    Thanks a million!


  • It would appear that he was awarded six air medals in World War II (actually the Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters).

    So ask for copies of General Orders 267-44, 322-44, 384-44, 441-44, 499-44, and 570-44, all from HQ, 1st Bombardment Division.

    Most Air Medals were awarded for flying a specific number of missions, and these all seem to be spaced about 50-70 orders apart, except for the first one, so that's probably what they're all for. But you never know--one or more could be for valor.

    It also gives you his Serial Number if you didn't already have it: O-760829

    As for the record from the Air Force History index, it appears to be a crash report from World War II.

  • Thank you for helping me understand this and finding those order numbers for me. Where should I request those specific copies from? (There seem to be several different places to request documents and information from.)

  • The Textual Reference Branch gave you the answer, but they gave you a long answer, so I'm extracting it here:

    The Award Card lists the General Order number under which the Air Medal Decoration was awarded. Army Air Force General Orders are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis. Please provide the General order number, unit designation and date from the Award cards when you submit your request to them via email at

    If you go to the link they provided for the data card, Green, Loren L. (see image 475) , unfortunately they only give the order number for the air medal, not for the Oak Leaf Clusters. The Air Medal was awarded on 21 August 1944, that was General Order 267-44, HQ, 1st Bombardment Division. Then the Oak Leaf Clusters are General Orders 322-44, 384-44, 441-44, 499-44, and 570-44, all from HQ, 1st Bombardment Division, but with no dates listed. E-mail them that info, and the link to the card Green, Loren L. (see image 475) and cross your fingers. But I imagine they're pretty efficient at it after 80 years--and you're not the first one who can't give them the dates for all the orders.

    Good luck.

  • You're so helpful, thank you for helping me piece together the information I need to reach out! 

  • Hi my name is Jami Lynn green Loren Lester Jr is my father I have all the info you want in pictures and paper work I can help you

  • Hi, Jami! Sorry for my delayed response; I've been traveling abroad. That would be amazing. How would you like to communicate?