4028th SRS Operations
The initial mission of the 4028th SRS was the High Altitude Sampling Program (HASP) that was designed to sample the radioactive debris in the upper atmosphere following the detonation of Russian, Chinese and French Nuclear weapons. Unofficially this program was called "Crowflight".
Crowflight missions were initially flown from Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico (Det 3), and Plattsburgh AFB, New York (Det 4). The U-2 aircraft being used in these Crowflight missions were designated as WU-2A's which carried some of the sampling equipment in the aircraft nose. This resulted in the nose being flat at the tip to accommodate the sampling device. Further sampling inlets were carried on the port side just in front of the Nose wheel well. Filter membranes were placed inside these units and after flying though the radioactive clouds the membranes were sent for analysis. From this test the strength and make up of the Nuclear device could be determined. Aircraft flew in a Straight line, North to South and then reversed course, hence the mission name of Crowflight (as the crow fly's).
As a result of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the HASP program had been terminated, so all U-2 aircraft had the HASP air sampling equipment removed and were refitted with photo and electronic (PHOTINT & ELINT) collection gear
The 4080th SRW then moved to Laughlin AFB, Texas on 1 April 1957 and was designated the 4080th Strategic Wing on 15 June 1960.
Cuban Missile Crisis
4028th SRS pilots played a major role in preventing a global war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the summer of 1962, shipments of people and equipment from the USSR to Cuba increased dramatically. Despite Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev's denial, President John F. Kennedy directed SAC to begin U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance flights over the island. After high-altitude reconnaissance flights over Cuba, Majors Richard Heyser and Rudolf Anderson returned with pictures of ballistic missile sites and nuclear storage facilities under construction. President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation 22 October and six tense days followed. While negotiations between the two superpowers were still under way, Major Anderson attempted another reconnaissance run and his U-2 was shot down and he was killed.