This story appeared in the Sioux City Journal on Feb. 5, 1961.
The daring young men of Sioux City's 174th A.N.G., have a new flying trapeze, the supersonic F-100 sabre jet, an 822-mile an hour airborne mailed fist equipped to deliver two nuclear bombs, each one of which is more destructive than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Effective today the 174th tactical reconnaissance squadron, Iowa Air National guard, becomes the 174th tactical fighter squadron (SD). Announcement of the switchover from a photographic unit to a bombing squadron was made here by Lt. Col. Donald W. Forney, commanding officer of the 174th, after a high level brass conference in Denver, and confirmation by the Pentagon.
To carry out their assigned mission, the 174th will need 64 more airmen and 16 more officers, which will bring their personnel to 532. Applications are now being taken.
Arrive in June
Beginning in June the super sabre jets arrive at the Sioux City base at the rate of two or three a week until the full strength of 25 fighter-bombers has been delivered. Col. Forney said the squadron is planning a public open house, probably in August. Until recently the super sabre has been under security wraps, but now it can be shown.
One of Three Units
The Sioux City squadron will be one of three comprising the 140th tactical fighter wing, the others being located at Denver and Wichita, Kan. The wing will be under the command of Col. Walter E. Williams, who is also commander of the Denver squadron. Brig. Gen. Edward F. Fry is air Adj. Gen. for Kansas with Col. Forney commanding the 174th at Sioux City. Another wing of three squadrons is located in eastern states.
The (SD) tacked on the 174th's official title means "Special Delivery" and refers to the tactic used in delivering the plane's nuclear payload, either one of which is capable of reducing Sioux City to dust. Naturally all training and target practice will employ only dummy bombs, the same size, shape and weight of the real atomic weapons.
The "Special Delivery" method of destroying a target consists of low level approach at supersonic speed to a predetermined point, then pull into a vertical climb, also at full power. Near the crest of the climb the nuclear bomb is automatically released. The bomb continues upward as the pilot does an Immelmann turn to get away from the target as fast as possible. The bomb's trajectory is an arch and fall to its target. Even when 10 miles away the resulting blast will rattle the pilot's teeth.
Pioneered Fighter Drop
Incidentally, Maj. Gale Stevens, squadron operations officer for the 174th and basketball coach at East high school, was the first pilot ever to drop a thermonuclear weapon, an inert model, from a fighter aircraft. That occurred at Elgin airforce base, Fla., in 1952, when the new concept of fighter-bombers was still an experiment.
The F-100s to be used here is powered by an axial flow turbo jet engine in the 10,000 pound thrust class. It set the world's official speed record of 822 miles an hour and has a service ceiling of more than 50,000 feet. In addition to nuclear bombs, the plane also carries two 20 mm cannon, has an in flight refueling system and can carry extra fuel droptanks. Range is 1,000 miles.
From now until planes begin to arrive in June, personnel of the 174th will take training at Wichita and Denver for both ground crews and pilots. From June on mobile training detachments will arrive here for training classes at the Sioux City base.