National Affairs: The Deadliest Crew

Just after 5 o'clock one afternoon last week, the B-47 City of Merced stood deadly quiet on the parking ramp of the March Air Force Base near Riverside, Calif. Suddenly the plane came alive: her six turbojets throbbed, then hummed,then split the air with a banshee scream. In their tandem seats under a Plexiglas canopy, Major Horace ("Beau") Traylor Jr., the aircraft commander, and Major Martin Speiser, the pilot, made ready to taxi to the runway. Their green coveralls were soaked through with sweat; it was more than 140° in their compartment. They...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!