In 1985 an administrative sergeant tried to sell SR-71 Blackbird top secret information to Soviets. He was caught after Soviets notified US intelligence because they figured he was deranged.

In 1985 an administrative sergeant tried to sell SR-71 Blackbird top secret information to Soviets. He was caught after Soviets notified US intelligence because they figured he was deranged.

By Linda Sheffield Miller
Aug 27 2022
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One of the administrative sergeants assigned to the unit called the Soviet embassy in San Francisco and proposed they give him $100,000 for several key documents related to the SR-71.

What aviation geek doesn’t love speed, new technologies, advanced manufacturing methods, and the mysteries of a secret government program? Many aircraft embody these features, but none come close to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

It could fly over Vietnam in eight minutes, its electronic counter measures were so advanced that they are still in use today on other airplanes and remain top-secret, had tires filled with nitrogen, and was made from one of the most expensive metals on earth. And, it’s still the world’s fastest plane.

In 1985 an administrative sergeant tried to sell SR-71 Blackbird top secret information to Soviets. He was caught after Soviets notified US intelligence because they figured he was deranged.

For speed, innovation and secrecy, no aircraft of its era came close to the SR-71 Blackbird.

The following is an interesting story told by SR-71 Blackbird pilot Terry Pappas in his excellent book SR-71 Blackbird Q&A, available to buy HERE.

‘Sentenced to 25 years of hard labor at Leavenworth, Kansas.

In 1985 an administrative sergeant tried to sell SR-71 Blackbird top secret information to Soviets. He was caught after Soviets notified US intelligence because they figured he was deranged.
This photo comes from Terry Pappas‘s book SR-71 Blackbird Q&A. Terry said this may be the most members of active harbors assembled at one time during the Blackbird’s entire operational history. Left to right Bernie Smith, Rod Dyckman, Tom Bergam, Larry Brown. Doug Sofer, Randy Shelhorse, Terry Pappas, Bill ORCUTT. Tom VELTRI, Don Watkins, Mac Kendree, Mike Finan and Greg Crittenden

‘When you try to sell top-secret information in 1985, Leavenworth is where you’re going.

‘One of the administrative sergeants assigned to the unit was in financial distress. He figured that the top secret information that he had about the SR-71 could be sold. He called the Soviet embassy in San Francisco and proposed they give him $100,000 for several key documents related to the SR-71. The Soviets figured that this guy was deranged so they notified US intelligence. He was caught. He got a one-way ticket to Leavenworth.’

Pappas concludes;

SR-71 print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. SR-71A Blackbird 61-7972 “Skunkworks”

‘Just how secure was the top-secret information? At Beale Air Force Base in California there was a cipher lock to enter the building. There was another lock to enter the hall where our squadron was then we had a separate room, there was safes lining the wall. Each of the RSO‘s and pilots had their own safe and in it was in a larger safe that had to be unlocked in order to get your safe. What did they keep in there? Their checklist, among other things. Security was paramount around the SR-71 program.’

Be sure to check out Linda Sheffield Miller, Col Richard (Butch) Sheffield’s daughter, Col. Sheffield was an SR-71 Reconnaissance Systems Officer) Facebook Page Habubrats for awesome Blackbird’s photos and stories.

Photo credit: Terry Pappas

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird model
This model is available in multiple sizes from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

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Linda Sheffield Miller

Linda Sheffield Miller

Grew up at Beale Air Force Base, California. I am a Habubrat. Graduated from North Dakota State University. Former Public School Substitute Teacher, (all subjects all grades). Member of the DAR (Daughters of the Revolutionary War). I am interested in History, especially the history of SR-71. Married, Mother of three wonderful daughters and four extremely handsome grandsons. I live near Washington, DC.

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