Director of the CIA, Leon Panetta addressed the large crowd today gathered in front the A-12 and spoke about the heroism of these early aerospace pioneers.
He personally thanked A-12 personnel that attended the event including Lockheed Industrial Manager for the project, Bob Murphy; project pilot Ken Collins, Dr. Gene Poteat, who was responsible for pioneering stealth technologies; TD Barnes, hypersonic support specialist Dennis Nordquist with Pratt and Whitney who designed the one of a kind J-58 engines; Roger Anderson USAF operations for the 1129th Special Activities Squadron,as well as SR-71 pilots, Col Richard Graham USAF (Ret) and Col. Buzz Carpenter USAF (Ret)
'We are so proud and grateful to be here today to educate and inform people about the program under the beautifully displayed Article 128," said Barnes. "The plane symbolizes the accomplishments of the Agency and the 'Secret Heroes of the Cold War'.
Barnes also said today he was reassured that in light of the worldwide challenges we face today, the morale of the Agency under the leadership of Director seems higher than ever.
Barnes and the others were especially happy to talk with young children interested in this sleek, black aircraft that protected our country during hostile times. "We were impressed to see the interest of the children within the CIA families," he said.
Roadrunner Mike Schmitz worked with project pilot Frank Murray and the agency to make a photographic tribute to the A-12 secret heroes. The photograph was for sale at the family day event. "I was very honored to share the day with the individuals that have such pride in their accomplishments," he said.
Special Note: I am truly overwhelmed and honored to have participated in this wonderful event today. It gives me great satisfaction to witness the pride the agency takes in the family tradition and it is a great privilege to see our Cold War Warriors honored.
Photos by TD Barnes