My Odyssey To Area 51

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The autobiography of an Area 51 veteran selected to serve with a 23-man special projects team for the CIA, and how the secret life affected his family. His odyssey starts with Army intelligence in Korea, Army missiles and radar in Europe, to NASA X-15 flights, the CIA A-12 surveillance plane, exploitation of Soviet MiG planes, Soviet radar, the early stealth prototypes at Area 51, and today. More

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About Thornton Barnes

Thornton D. Barnes
DOB: January 25, 1937
Place of Birth: Dalhart, Texas
Current Address: 468 Palegold St., Henderson, NV 89012
Phone: (702) 566-4168, Fax: 566-4168, e-mail:

Served ten years in U.S. Army. Served in Korea as Intelligence Specialist. Attended a total of 126 weeks in various air defense missile schools and counter-measures and counter-counter-measures training. Served in Germany with Hawk missile unit during Berlin Wall crisis in 1960. Attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill upon return from this assignment. Served with JAG at Fort Sill until discharged from injuries suffered during training exercises in OCS. Am rated 100% service-connected disabled.

Upon discharge from U.S. Army, served as field engineer and technical advisor at NASA High Range Tracking Station in Beatty, Nevada. Participated in flight operations of the X-15, XB-70, YF-12, SR-71 Blackbird and various lifting body craft. Participated in NASA’s NERVA project at NRDS, Nevada at Jackass Flats to develop and test nuclear rocket engines for space travel to Mars. Assigned Senior Research Engineer at the Flight Dynamics Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson AFB for testing of the Apollo space capsule. During the mid to late 1960’s was engaged in Department of Defense and CIA Special Projects at Groom Lake. Also during this interval, was participant in several underground nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site. In this regard, received extensive training in drilling operations, underground excavation, geology, etc. to supplement electronic knowledge in order to conduct various DOD and AEC experiments. This training was later applied to private business ventures.

In 1970, formed a family oil and gas exploration company and served for 18 years as president and CEO employing up to 56 employees. In 1978, diversified family company into mining industry. Though semi-retired since 1988, am still 20% owner and CEO of Startel, Inc., corporate owner of 109 acres commercial property near Searchlight, Nevada that is source of decorative landscape rock supplying southern Nevada, and a producing gold mine.

Served as 1976 Republican delegate at the Oklahoma Presidential Convention, and was Delegate in 1984 Colorado Presidential Convention. Served on San Miguel County Planning and Zoning Commission at Telluride, Colorado for three years.

Currently president of Roadrunners Internationale, an association of former Air Force, CIA, and contract personnel serving at Groom Lake and Kadena, Okinawa during CIA U-2 Project Idealist and A-12 Oxcart program. Am affiliated with the U-2 Dragon Lady Association, the SR-71 Blackbird Association, and the NTSHF Atomic Museum.

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Review by: Jim Harrison on Oct. 28, 2013 :
This is a must read. This is an insider's story of how others and he became members of a little-known cadre at Area 51 emerging as America's Secret Heroes of the Cold War with the CIA declassification of this famous, but little known military technological laboratory housing some of the world's deepest secrets. For the first time, the public will learn about the families who supported those working in secret at places unknown at tasks that they would not learn of in some cases for almost half a century. The nation's enemies knew, but not their families and friends. The book reveals how what happens at Area 51 is a global affair. This is a book that you will not lay down.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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