Stanley Haldane, U.S. Air Force, 1955 – 1959

Stanley Haldane served as an Airman, 2nd Class in the 15th Air Force

Stanley "Stan" Haldane was born in Metlakatla and married a woman from Hoonah.  He enlisted in the Air Force in 1955 and served as an Airman, 2nd Class in the 15th Air Force.  During the Cold War, the 15th AF was one of three Numbered Air Forces of the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC), commanding USAF strategic bombers and missiles on a global scale. Elements of 15th Air Force engaged in combat operations during the Korean War; Vietnam War, as well as Operation Desert Storm.

He initially wanted to be a bombardier, navigator, or radio operator on one of the new B-52 bombers.  He was told he would have to wait at his basic training facility at Parks Air Force Base located in Dublin, California before there were any openings, so he made a different choice that sounded kind of exciting to him-“machine accounting”, or data processing.  He taught himself- by reading manuals- to work on IBM machines running reports and classified reports in March Air Force Base in Riverside, California for 18 months.  He had to “study real hard”, this was on-the-job training.

Mr. Haldane was on the “ground floor of the computer age” in 1955, running reports on the B-52 bomber which had just been put into service (at the roll-out ceremony on 18 March 1954, Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan Twining said: “The long rifle was the great weapon of its day. ... today this B-52 is the long rifle of the air age”.  Mr. Haldane stated that he felt pretty proud that he was helping the 15th Air Force. 

When he had to opportunity to move, he wanted to go overseas and see the world.  When they grabbed his name out of a hat, he was sent to… Fairbanks, Alaska for two years.  “Fairbanks.  Overseas duty!”  Not quite what he wanted and of course, no overseas pay.  Mr. Haldane thinks his superiors might have been getting back at him, as he was being groomed for a promotion to the next higher up, top secret clearance data processing position. His first year in Fairbanks he remembers the temperature being -57 below zero.  At Ladd Air Force base, he trained really hard, “If I want to do something, I go at it 150%...” so in 1958 he tried out for the Base basketball team.  He said, “All these guys from L.A. and from all over the United States, all these guys 6’7”, 6’6”, 6’2, to my 5’11” …”  Mr. Haldane was one of the 12 who made the team.  They ended up winning a championship after playing Anchorage, Eilson, Fairbanks- they beat them all that year.  They were prepared to go to Denver to play in the Air force championship.  But then the base got a new commander in and he cut all the sports teams.  Needless to say, they did not get to go to Denver.