If you would like to donate prizes or giveaways to the golf tournament, please contact Ian Young.


This year's reunion is fast approaching. Please read the memo located at the link below. Complete the registration page (last page) and submit as soon as possible.

BSA Registration Notice & Form


       Recently we mailed out 588 Double Reply Postcards to help us maintain our Members and Friends mail/email addressís, remind those members who need to renew their 2016 membership and solicit those who are not currently BSA members to join. Weíve also requested those that might be interested in learning more about this years reunion to indicate that by marking the box on the FREE stamped/address return card attached.



POSTCARD INFORMATION: If you are a BSA Member there is a date after your name. This date indicates your: "Membership Good Thru Date".  If the date shown after your name is 2015 or earlier its time to renew your membership.   Our dues are still: $10 per year or 3 years for $25.00.  If there isnít a date after your name, you are not a BSA member. For those desiring to join the Big Safari Association, you can CLICK on the link below for a the BSA Membership/Renewal form. You can also contact me by the email link below. If necessary we will email you a Membership form. For those wanting to renew your BSA Membership, please mail your dues to our Membership Chairman: Jon Burgoyne at Big Safari Association P.O. Box 3113 Englewood, CO 80155-3113. Checks should be payable to the: Big Safari Association with RENEW and number (1 or 3 ) of years on the Memo line. Please help keep our data base up to date by letting us know of changes to your mailing and E-mail address or any other changes in your contact information.

CLICK HERE: for the BSA Membership & Renewal Form

Big Safari Association Reunion 2016

Big Safari family and friends, please save the date;

Our next Big Safari Association reunion will be October 26-30, 2016, at the Holiday Inn Resort, Fort Walton Beach Florida. What better time of year to celebrate Big Safariís 64th year in service to America, and in what better place? Our reunion planning committee, being supported by the amazing Sue McKechnie, has planned, what will hopefully be, one of the most memorable reunion events ever. The hotel is right on the beach, so bring your swimming attire. We plan on numerous optional activities including golf, fishing, a trip to the Eglin AFB Armament Museum, a limited-number dinner cruise, and possibly a Hurlburt AFB visit. To wrap up the reunion, we will be having a banquet at the Emerald Coast Conventional Center right across the street from the hotel. We will soon be sending out the formal event registration cards. I would ask that you please return these registration forms as soon as possible. Sue has been amazing at getting us good rates, but the sooner we have firm numbers, the better.

Please remember that our Reunion is for anyone in our Family, including spouses, friends, and/or anyone associated with Big Safari. ALL ARE WELCOME. BSA Membership is not required to attend, but we are making a concerted effort to grow the BSA Family ranks, so Membership applications will be available. We want to get the widest distribution of information about, and invitation to, the Reunion, so please help get out the word.

We will be getting more details loaded up to the website soon.

We strongly encourage you to book your guest rooms at the Holiday Inn Resort, Fort Walton Beach as soon as possible. Please see below for negotiated rates and rooms offered during the reunion dates. YOU are responsible for making your own, first come, first serve reservations. Please be sure to ask for "Big Safari Association" for the negotiated rate (do not use BSA). Please note the cut off date for the discounted rates. Sue has also negotiated a daily Complimentary Breakfast for two that is in the price of the room.


Airport is the Fort Walton Beach/Destin Airport (VPS-Northwest Florida Regional) Shuttle Service can be arranged thru Sunshine Shuttle -


Per person flat rate is $47.00 one way Rental car agencies are located in the airport terminal


Holiday Inn Resort, Fort Walton Beach

1299 Miracle Ship Pkwy SE

Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548


Please ask for "BIG SAFARI ASSOCIATION" when asking for our group rate. Rates are as follows:

$132 - Two Queen Standard or King Standard

$169 - King Suite Beachfront

$199 - Kids Suite Beachfront

Room Tax: 14.25% Check in 4:00 PM - Check out 11 AM

*Breakfast for two is included daily in room rate on dates of reunion.


We look forward to another great reunion. Please look for a complete list of events and the schedule to follow in June. If you have questions, please contact any of the BSA Board Members, and we will get you additional information.

All the best, Mike Meermans President



       CMSgt Billy C. Johnson, USAF, Ret., passed away on 2 March 2016. He was initially assigned to Det 2, 645th Greenville, TX, in 1979. Later he was assigned to Det 4 Ontario, CA returning to Det 2 in 1986 and remained until his retirement in 2007. During that 28 yrs he was the Big Safari (BS) Chief of Logistics, managing specialized "FX" accounts in support of a multitude of BS National programs. Billy was "Invaluable" to the success to all of the programs he supported. Because of his efforts, the Rivet Joint ACFT were able to maintain an operational (combat) ready of 90%. He was "without equal" in the world-wide BS Logistics Support System. His motto: "The Difficult We Do Daily, The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer".

       Ltc. Larry Wendfeldt, USAF, Ret., passed away on 25 February 2016. Larry was an AF RC-135 (various models) Navigator. He was assigned to Detachment 2, 645th at Majors Field. Now known as the 645th AESS. Larryís navigational expertise was essential to the early development and modification the Combat Sent, Cobra Ball and Rivet Joint platforms at the Greenville E-Systems facility in the 1970ís. Larry also serve as the Executive Officer (XO)to the Det 2 Commander

       Mr. Frank Cook, passed away on 30 October 2015. Frank was the lead technical expert on the RC-135 Cobra Ball Reconnaissance aircraft Optical sensors. He worked for Textron (formally AVCO Everett) during the early years and worked directly with the AF Big Safari Det 2 Greenville Cobra Ball Project Engineer. During his career, Frank was an invaluable asset to the AF - Contractor Cobra Ball team. His technical support was key to the early and continued success of the Cobra Ball program.

       MSgt Bart Toulouse, USAF, Ret. passed away on 9 September 2015. Bart worked with the L-3 ComCept Group in Rockwall Texas, upon his retirement from active duty. Bart was instrumental in the Network-Centric Collaborative Targeting (known as NCCT) which was essential to the inter-operability of many of the Big Safari Airborne and Terrestrial Networks and Air Assets.

       Col. Hollis W. Russell, USAF, Ret. passed away on 10 May 2015. In 1963, Col. Russell was assigned as the second Commander of the Air Material Logistics Command Detachment 2, 645th at Majors Field. Now known as the 645th AESS. As the Det 2 Commander, his was directly responsible for the early success of many of the Big Safari Programs, at the Greenville E-Systemís facility.

       CMSgt Thomas J. Sprague, USAF, Ret. passed away on 16 February 2015. Tom worked in the 645th AESS (formally Det 2) Greenville Texas as until his retirement from Civil Service in 2007. Tom was the Chief of the Quality Control Branch, and as such he was in charge of the Hanger Dock and Line maintenance, of the Big Safari RC-135 fleet under going PDM and upgrades.

       MSgt Michael (Mike) L. Ford, USAF, Ret. passed away on 22 January 2015. Mike worked in the 645th AESS (formally Det 2) Greenville Texas in the Navigation/Avionics office, until his retirement in 2014. He was recognized as the "Core Expert" in the LN-120 Stellar/Inertial/Doppler nav system used in the RC-135, SR-71 and other Big Safari aircraft. His was the lead expert in the Development, Flight Testing, Modernization and Integration of the LN-120 into RC-135 "Glass Cockpit" avionics upgrade.

       Major Thomas (Loose) H. Lane, USAF, Ret. passed away on 1 January 2014. Loose was originally assigned to Det 2 (now 645th AESS) Greenville Texas as the Chief Navigator to the Detachment for all models of the RC-135. He served as the Program Manager and Project Engineer in the Development , Flight Testing and Modernization of all the RC-135 ACFT navigation systems. He was the "EXPERT".

       Ltc. William (Bill) E. Rosser II, USAF, Ret. passed away on 25 November 2013. Bill was a B-52 Electronic Warfare Officer. He was assigned to HQ AFSC/SCSR (Systems Command Reconnaissance Branch) which was involved with the development of Ryan Intelligence drones in support of the Vietnam War. This program directly supported various Big Safari intelligence programs. Bill flew numerous operational missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross(2 awards) and the AF air Medal(10 awards), among many others.

       CMSgt Lawrence A. Cobb, USAF, Ret. passed away 5 November 2013. Larry was assigned to Det 2 (now 645th AESS) Greenville Texas to assist the modernization of the RC-135 ACFT to the Rivet Joint configuration. Upon his retirement from the AF ,he was the Program Manager for the RC-135S Cobra Ball fleet at the Greenville Detachment. Larry was instrumental in the success of the Cobra Ball program for over 20 + years. Early in his AF career he flew numerous operational missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the AF Air Medal with 8 oak leaf clusters.

       Colonel Bruce D. Strotman, USAF, Ret. passed away on 9 August 2013. Bruce was a Pilot and flew various aircraft and combat missions in Vietnam. He worked closely with Security Service and Electronic Security Command in the airborne collection of intelligence. Bruce was an essential in the Development, Flight Testing and RC-135 Rivet Joint Modernization (Block 1/2) Program.

        CMSgt David H. McMullen, USAF, Ret. passed away on 6 August 2013. David supported various Big Safari Airborne Programs as an In-Flight Maintenance Technician and Quality Control representative. He was instrumental in the development and deployment of the Real Time Optical System (RTOS) for the "Cobra Ball" platform. While on active duty he was assigned to Det 2 Greenville Texas.

       Lt. Col. Wilson (Wil) E. Main, USAF, Ret. passed away on 19 January 2011. Wil  was an RC-135 Electronic Warfare Officer on the "Cobra Ball" platform. He gave a lifetime of service to various Big Safari programs during and after his retirement from active duty. Wil was an exceptional leader, sportsman and friend to many of the Big Safari Association members.

       Maj.Gen. Paul H. Martin, USAF, Ret. passed away on 22 July 2010. Paul was an RC-135 pilot and numerous Combat Reconnaissance Missions in the RC-135M "Combat Apple" aircraft in support of the Vietnam war. He was assigned to many of the intelligence organizations such as; 6SW, 55SW, Det 1 and ECS during his Air Force career. Gen. Martin was great friend to many of the Big Safari Programs after retirement from the US Air Force

       Mr. Gary Jett passed away on 17 December 2008. Gary served the Big Safari organization at WPAFB, OH for over 35 years and was instrumental in the genesis and fielding of the Compass Call electronic attack weapon system in 1982. He helped grow and mature the capabilities of the EC-130H aircraft over the last 25 years. Garyís engineering expertise and affable personality are greatly missed by the Compass Call community and by all who knew and worked with him.

      Lt. Col. Bruce Carson, USAF, Ret. passed away on 13 September 2008. Bruce was an RC-135S Electronic Warfare Officer. He was assigned to the 24th SRS at Eielson AFB, Alaska. He flew many  RC-135S "Cobra Ball" reconnaissance missions from Shemya AFS, Alaska. Since his retirement from the USAF, he has been working with the Air Staff, AF/A2CP, in the Pentagon.

      Major John C. Chipman, USAF, Ret. passed away on 25 May 2008. John  was an RC-135M Airborne Mission Supervisor (AMS) assigned to the 6990th Electronic Security Group, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan. He flew the "Combat Apple" mission over Vietnam in the very early days of the War. John was the one first AMS to be Commissioned as a 2nd Lt. during his Kadena AB assignment. John was also assigned to Det 2, Greenville, TX later in his Military career.

      Lt. Col. Kenneth (Ken) D. Oliver, USAF, Ret. passed away on 23 May 2008. He served as Det 4. Commander at Lockheed Aircraft Service Corp. Ontario, CA facility modifying various Special Mission C-130.

      Lt. Col. Robert (Bob) J. McMahon, USAF, Ret. was killed in a car accident on 3 December 2007. Bob was an RC-135M Navigator assigned to the 82nd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SAC) Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan. He flew the "Combat Apple" missions over Vietnam in the very early days of the War.

      Chuck Riechers, passed away on 14 October 2007. He served Big Safari in Det 4, AFLC/AZ and SAF/AQLG. At the time of his passing he was the Air Forceís principal deputy assistant SAF/AQ. Chuck was an ardent Big Safari spokesperson.  He was a Seminar presenter at Dallas 2007 Reunion.

      Maj. Gen. Doyle E. Larson, USAF, Ret. passed away on 14 August 2007. Gen. Larson was the Commander  of the 6990th Electronic Security Group, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan during the early days of the Vietnam War. This unit flew the "Combat Apple" missions in the RC-135M aircraft. In later years Gen. Larson was the Commander of the Electronic Security Command located in San Antonio Texas. Until his death Gen. Larson was very active in the intelligence community.

      Lt. Col. John King, USAF, Ret. passed away on 22 Dec 2006 in Rockwall Texas. John was an RC-135 Pilot and also served as the Big Safari Det 2 Commander at the E-Systems Greenville Texas facility. John was an early leader in the development of the RC-135 Programs. His dedicated service was instrumental to the current success of these important airborne programs.

      CMSgt Jimmie E. Ely, USAF, Ret. passed away 29 May 2006 at his home in Montgomery Alabama. Jimmie retired after 55 years of distinguished service to his country with 32 years retiring as a Chief from the U.S. Air Force, 18 years civilian duty at Wright-Patterson AFB and five years as a contractor. Jimmie was a "corner stone" to the Big Safari Program. His positive dedication, influence and guidance to the many Big Safari programs will continue for many to come.

     Lt. Col. Lloyd T. Navarro, USAF, Ret. passed away on 18 January 2006 in Universal City Texas. Lloyd served his country for over 31 years in both the U. S. Marine Corps and the U. S. Air Force. He was an early RC-135 Raven on many of the Combat Apple missions in the late 60ís. After retirement from the service Lloyd was an accountant for the City of  Austin Texas.

     Mr William J. (Bill) McCormick passed away on 4 January 2006 at his home in Austin Texas. Prior to his retirement Bill was the Lead and Senior Project Engineer for the Big Safari ELINT program for E-Systems at the Greenville Division. He was instrumental in the development of the AEELS sensor installed on the RC-135 aircraft. His was a dedicated Engineer and totally devoted to supporting the various Big Safari programs though-out the world.

     Lt. Col. William (Willie) C. Mueller, USAF, Ret. passed away 13 October 2005 according to the Albuquerque Journal, 14 Oct 05 edition. Willie was an early RC-135 Raven and was assigned to the EWO training school at Mather AFB, CA for many years before his retirement. Willie flew as a Raven on many of the Combat Apple missions in the late 60ís.   

     Mr Wade Drew Whitaker passed away on 18 September 2005 at his home in Canton Texas. Prior to his retirement he was Vice President of Special Projects (Big Safari) for E-Systems at the Greenville Division. He also served in the United States Air Force. Wade was instrumental in the delivery of the first Block III Rivet Joint Aircraft.

The Associations Current Board of Directors:

President Mr. Mike Meermans

Vice President Mr. Kim High

Treasurer Mr. Jon Burgoyne

Other Elected Board Members

Mr. Ken Belden

Mr. Tom Boyce, III

Mr. Danny Bryant

Mr. Tom Coffield*

Mr. Jack Cooke*

Mr. Joe Durant

Mr. Dave Ellefson*

Mr. Bill Ernst*

Mr. Charles Gilmer

Mr. Bill Grimes*

Mr. Kevin Hoffmann

Mr. Sam Klein*

Mr. Kevin McNellis

Mr. Ralph Pollitt*

Mr. John Reynolds*

Mr. Edward Topps

Mr. Bruce Trego*

Mr. Ian Young

* Permanent Director Status (IAW BSA Bylaw 3.1.2)

Appointed Board Member

Chief of Special Projects (AFMC 645 AESG/CC)

"The History of Big Safari (paperback edition)Book" can be found on-line at the Amazon book store

Big Safari Association Membership Book

A copy may be obtained by active BSA members by written request, address shown below, to the association or by E-mail to the Webmaster shown below. Please include your name and mailing and E-mail address in the request. The Association Membership Roster is not available for "Commercial purposes", but for use by only itís active members.

 Man AT Work

(Secretary/Web Master:  Barry A. Kibbe)

Big Safari Association

 10511 Linda Lane

Greenville, TX 75402-3519


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