Offutt AFB memorializes Rivet Amber crew Published Sept. 16, 2023 By Kristen Allen, 55th Wing Public Affairs Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kingdon Hawes, acting commander of the 24th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron the day “Irene 92” disappeared, stands behind the newly-unveiled memorial to the crew at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Sept. 15, 2023. More than 100 people attended the ceremony, including family members and friends of the crew and current Airmen who fly the RC-135 Cobra Ball aircraft, which now conducts a similar mission set as the Rivet Amber. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kristen Allen) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res The 45th Reconnaissance Squadron unveiled a new memorial for the crew of Rivet Amber call sign Irene 92 during a ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base Sept. 15, 2023. The one-of-a-kind RC-135E Rivet Amber took off from Shemya AFB, Alaska, June 5, 1969, enroute to Eielson AFB, Alaska, and disappeared over the Bering Sea with 19 crewmembers aboard. Six of the crew were maintainers on temporary duty from the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Offutt. Search and rescue crews conducted a two-week search, but never found any remains or aircraft debris. Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kingdon Hawes, acting commander of the 24th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron the day “Irene 92” disappeared and guest speaker for the unveiling, has made it his mission to make sure the crew is never forgotten. “This is a very important day, and I hope this gives some sense of closure to those who lost loved ones on Rivet Amber on the 5th of June 1969,” said Hawes. After recounting the exact events of Rivet Amber’s disappearance that day, he talked about the other memorials for the crew at Eielson AFB, Alaska, at the Big Safari program, and at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. “This monument [at Offutt] has been in the works for quite some time,” Hawes said. “I give most of the credit to Lt. Col. C. W. Roberts. He and I worked together making sure the names and airplane on there were right, but he chose to make this design and put it here like this.” Historical photo taken in 1968 or 1969 at Shemya Air Force Base, Alaska. (L-R): Staff Sgt. Robert Jones, Master Sgt. Clarence Wine, Tech. Sgt. Connie Curtis Jr., Master Sgt. Herbert Gregory, Tech. Sgt. Donald Wonders and Tech. Sgt. Lester Schatz. They were all on temporary duty to Shemya from the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Gregory, Wonders and Schatz were aboard Rivet Amber when it disappeared from radar June 5, 1969. Three other Offutt Airmen also aboard and not pictured here - Tech. Sgt. Hervey Herbert, Tech. Sgt. Charles Dreher and Staff Sgt. Robert Fox. (Courtesy photo) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res “It is a beautiful day to have a beautiful ceremony to honor that generation that came before us,” said Lt. Col. Maria Methe, 45th Reconnaissance Squadron commander. “Fifty-four years ago, the mission Irene 92, it just never finished. I know some don’t have closure, but I hope you know that the new generation of aviators still honors and remembers the sacrifice made by our own.” Family members of Tech. Sgt. Charles Dreher pose with retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kingdon Hawes (3rd from right), acting commander of the 24th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron the day “Irene 92” disappeared, after a memorial unveiling ceremony Sept. 15, 2023, at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Dreher was one of 19 crew members aboard and one of six from the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Offutt aboard the aircraft when it disappeared June 5, 1969. (U.S. Air Force photo by Charles J. Haymond) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res “We celebrate our heritage because it has developed us into who we are today. We proudly display our monument in front of our squadron so we never forget that 54 years ago, a crew just like us paid the ultimate price and we are willing to do the same,” added Methe. Invited guests took photos of the new memorial and toured an RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft after the ceremony.