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.

  • 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!


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