As Good As It Gets

From 150 MPH TO MACH 3  2100 MPH
A glimpse of Air Force assignments that certainly places them in the category of the title of the book. A career that started by  flying 30 sorties over Europe in a  B-17 bomber during WWII then a tour in B-29 bombers flying alert sorties, which was followed up by flying worldwide RB-47 recon missions around Soviet territories. More

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About Sam Pizzo

Military History
Signed up for Aviation Cadet Program October 1942
Graduated from Bombardier School May 1944
15th AF,97th BG Italy July 44 Nov 45
Air Force Reserve Feb 46 Nov 47
LA ANG Nov 47 Feb 51
Active Duty USAF Mar 51 May 73
Points of Interest Along the Way
15th AF 97th BG (H) Foggia Italy 30 B-17 sorties. Lead Bombardier on 20.
Shot up and crashed landed in Yugoslavia. One member of crew KIA, Co Pilot.
Awards . . . DFC, AM four clusters.
LA ANG Louisiana ANG New Orleans LA
Squadron Nav/Bomb, A-26 Douglas Invader Aircraft.
Called to Active Duty, Korean Conflict.
Trained Crews in Shoran, Nav and precision bombing tactics.
Opted to stay on active duty.
301st Bomb Wing
Transferred to B29's 301st BG 32nd Sq stationed at Barksdale AFB.
Select Crew Bombardier, Selected for Nav/Radar School.
55th SRW
Assigned to 55th SRW 343rd SQ.
Flew in RB 47E then RB 47H Aircraft.
Select Crew, Standboard Nav, Instructor Nav and Squadron Nav.
Wing Mission was to fly recon sorties around Communist countries, during which our crews were shot at and shot down by the Soviets.
While TDY at Thule AFB proposed, and had accepted, change to Polar Navigational procedures.
As Squadron Nav, developed new Celestrial Computation form that was adopted by the Wing.
Selected to fly onboard Russian Aircraft flying in support of Premier Khrushchev's visit to the United States. Made nine trips, eight on civilian versions of the TU-104 and one on the TU-114. The latter returning the Premier back to Moscow.
As a result of these flights, wrote a story, entitled Safety Soviet Style, which was published in the SAC Combat Crew Magazine.
While stationed at Forbes, earned a DFC, AM and AFCM.
Area 51
Assigned to the initial personnel cadre of the 1129th SAS reporting to Area 51 in support of the A-12 program.
Housed in the much written about House Six.
Assigned as Chief, Mission Support Division. Duties, along with assigned staff, were to develop mission planning techniques, briefing techniques.
Worked with Lockheed personnel on Navigational procedures.
Worked with Aeronautical Chart personnel in developing map with unique qualities required for A-12 missions.
Worked with A-12 pilots as to desired data they wished displayed on maps.
Planned and coordinated with FAA, A-12 training sortie routes.
Worked with Baird Electronics personnel on the development of photo equipment and procedures required to produce inflight navigational aids.
Briefed A-12 pilots on training sorties.
Worked with Air refueling Squadron to develop specified Air Refueling areas within the U S.
Assigned to Recon Center as Chief of SR-71/B-58 Branch, to include being the Directorate Of Operations Project Officer working to bring the SR-71 up to Operational status.
Duties included working with all Headquarters Staff that were involved in bringing a new weapons system into the SAC inventory.
Specific Recon Duties included development of all facets of requirements associated with scheduling, coordinating, planning and execution of SR-71 sorties, world-wide.
This entailed the writing and publishing of the SAC Ops Plan which governed the parameters under which the SR-71 would operate.
Mission planning techniques were developed, unique to this aircraft, which were then coordinated with the SR-71 Wing at Beale AFB.
When the aircraft became operational, on a daily basis, our office obtained the Intelligence requirements for the mission and developed a sortie to satisfy the requirements.
This route was then presented to the SAC Director of Operations for approval, then to the Recon Center at Washington for their approval. Once approved, it was forwarded to the field.
I received the Meritorious Service Medal upon departing Offutt.
[ Recon Center/DCI-Dir Col]
As Chief, Special Support Branch, was responsible for scheduling and coordinating all USAFE sponsored Recon sorties throughout the European Theatre of Operations.
Updated and rewrote the Ops Plan governing USAFE Recon missions. Short time assignment, as I was promoted to 0-6, and transferred to the Directorate of Intelligence, Director of Collections which included Sigint, Elint, Comint ,Photo and Humint programs.
As DIR-Collections, visited all USAFE units utilizing Intel data collected and utilized in support of their missions to determine the need and validity of the data we provided. Based upon study developed, determined need for update throughout USAFE to change and standardize mission planning techniques as they related to Electronic Counter-measures. Study was approved and forwarded to USAF HDQRS.
Personally involved in developing a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] between USAFE and the German Air Force on matters pertaining to Intelligence Collection and Dissemination. Document signed By General David Jones and Chief of the German Air Force.
Personally worked with various NATO countries on collection and dissemination of all Intel data.
Worked closely with German Air Force personnel in determining the need to update their Electronic Collection capability which led to their decision to upgrade and purchase U S manufactured Electronic equipment in order to do so.
Assigned as Project Officer for an ongoing Collection program located in England. Up to this time the program had expensed $25,000,000, and had not produced any useful data. After numerous visits, I concluded this program was not going to produce any meaningful data, and recommended it be cancelled. I was promptly relieved of my responsibilities. However, approximately three months after I departed Wiesbaden, I learned that the program was discarded.
The German Air Force presented me with their Electronic Warfare Communications Electronic Service Badge-Gold.
I, along with another Intel Officer, was requested by name, by the Swedish Air Force to visit their HDQRS in Stockholm, no reason given as to why specifically us or the reason for the visit. We were told to travel separately, and do so in civilian clothes, and stay in different hotels. We were picked up separately and transported to a fenced in area, escorted into very large room full of civilian dressed individuals who introduced themselves with names only, no rank or job identifications. We were told that we would be given a briefing on a Soviet Invasion of Sweden, as envisioned by Sweden, in case of war, however no notes were permitted to be taken and no questions asked. A very large map was revealed with routes, many arrows indicating where troops would travel etc, many numbers, totally mind boggling. After approximately three hours the briefing ended and we were requested to inform our Government of the data presented. We were given a lunch and returned to our hotels, short time later boarded a flight and returned to Wiesbaden, completely bewildered.  We did our best to recollect what we were briefed upon, but we agreed that this was a hodge podge effort. To this day, we wonder why us and why this ridiculous briefing when there were so many available channels to do this in a proper way. 
At the end of this assignment, awarded the Legion of Merit.

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