Military Aviation

The story of Buddy Brown, the U-2 pilot that took part in O Club parties wearing fake bad teeth to joke about the ozone level effect on U-2 drivers

Buddy was stationed in Alaska as a U-2 pilot where he became friends with a dentist, Dr. McCallum. McCallum made false teeth that were really decayed looking for the pilots to wear over their good teeth!

Built in complete secrecy by Kelly Johnson and the Lockheed Skunk Works, the original U-2A first flew in August 1955. Early flights over the Soviet Union in the late 1950s provided the president and other US decision makers with key intelligence on Soviet military capability.

The Air Force jointly managed U-2 development, testing and missions with the CIA from the start. Pilots for overflights of the USSR, though, were civilians working for the CIA. President Dwight D. Eisenhower believed sending military pilots over the USSR would be perceived as an act of war, so USAF Reserve fighter pilots voluntarily quit the service and went to work as CIA pilots. Officially, they were Lockheed test pilots.

Buddy Brown (Buddy is not a nickname it’s his real name) was one of a handful of men in the entire world to be picked to fly the U-2 and then the SR-71.

It would be an understatement to say he was a good pilot.

He experienced in his life critical historical moments. He took it all in stride, somewhat nonchalant about his achievements remembering to work hard and play hard.

Buddy Brown in front of an SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy plane

Buddy was stationed in Alaska as a U-2 pilot where he became friends with a dentist, Dr. McCallum. McCallum made false teeth that were really decayed looking for the pilots to wear over their good teeth! At parties at the officers’ club the doctor would introduce them as the new U-2 pilots and then nonchalantly ask if the high altitude had in any way affected them.

Buddy and his pilot friends were almost always reply ‘’the ozone has really affected our teeth!’’

Then they would slowly smile…. showing off their bad teeth. This would always get a big response. ‘The teeth were so bad that people when they were talking to you would never look at you in the face again fearing that you would think that they were staring at your (fake) bad teeth!’ Brown recalls.

This is hilarious. This is an example of the caliber and personality of these extremely talented pilots. They were fearless and love to have fun. Thank you to Lori Hudson Puente for sharing this with me.

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.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. U-2S Dragon Lady “Senior Span”, 9th RW, 99th RS, 80-329

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

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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