Saturday, October 8, 2011

Roadrunners Internationale: A reunion in the ''middle of no where'

CIA,  secret base, black projects, aliens?  Put those together in the 'middle of no where' and what do you get? A very special,unique gathering in the southern Nevada desert about 150 miles north of Las Vegas. Former workers at the infamous Area 51 made the trek on October 5 to the tiny oasis of Rachel, Nevada--only just about 20 miles away from the secret base that does not really exist.  Roadrunners Internationale, an organization of those who worked at Area 51 during the dark days of the Cold War caravanned along with CIA staffers and aviation enthusiasts to the infamous Little A'Le'Inn right off the Extraterrestrial Highway to meet and greet locals and tourists on a cold, rainy and windy day in the high desert.

'Who would've ever thought we would someday be all together, here in Rachel talking about what we did in secret more than 50 years ago," said Thornton T.D. Barnes, president of Roadrunners Internationale. "We are so glad that now we can share with others."

Frank and TD having a laugh "at the aliens expense"
Barnes was joined by Frank Murray, project pilot for the CIA operated A-12 'Archangel' (predecessor to the SR-71)  The A-12 is still the fastest and highest manned aircraft ever built. Designed by engineering genius, Kelly Johnson the A-12 was first test flown at Groom Lake in April, 1962. It's operational mission was short, but was imperative to our national security, including the first photo reconnaissance shots in 1968 when the North Koreans seized the U.S.S. Pueblo. "Best plane I ever flew," said Murray. "She was ahead of her time and served us well."

The "Black Mailbox"
The Roadrunners meet in Las Vegas every two years reuniting, sharing stories and memories of their roles and experiences working at Groom Lake.  They are joined by spouses, associate members and friends to ensure their legacy stay alive and future generations are educated on the program.

And, of course to take field trips such the one to Rachel.  "We made a stop at the Black Mailbox," said Jeff Hollenbeck, associate member. "Although  the mailbox is  really white." The mailbox belonging to local rancher is widely known as a place where UFO buffs claim people get abducted by the aliens.

At the Inn, cameras were flashing and people  conversing while enjoying an 'Alien Burger." The CIA store had among many items, various mugs, shirts, coins and hats for sale with both the CIA logo and the A-12. This writer also bought a bottle of Little A' Le' Inn red wine. 

Murray even bought some 'out of this world' items at the Inn.This has been a great experience," he said. "'Funny being out here after all these years."   Barnes, who is also the Director of the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame (NAHF) "This all ties together with NAHF, too, he said.'There is so much aviation history right in Nevada."

Stay tuned for more news from 'no where'.

Contributed by:  Connie Pardew

1 comment:

budzooka said...

I used to have a slot machine route that took me by Area 51 every week. I saw some strange things over the desert at night out there.. Of course since Area 51 officially doesn't exist I guess I must have been dreaming. Interesting article Connie. Keep up the good work!