Toward The Unknown:
Memoirs of an American Fighter Pilot
CLICK ON THIS TEXT TO EXAMINE THE BOOK AVAILABLE AT AMAZON.COM...
Col. Chuck Maultsby was born in Greenville, North Carolina on June
After his mother's death (when he was eight years old),
and subsequent rejection
by a callous father, he went to live with an
aunt and uncle in Norfolk, Virginia.
Chuck Maultsby was born to fly and was fixated on aircraft from the time he could walk.
He spent much of his youth hanging around the small municipal airport near his Norfolk
home doing anything he had to do to be near airplanes and
pilots, while hoping someone would offer him a ride.
He worked multiple jobs after school to raise the money necessary to take
and soloed on his sixteenth birthday. He applied for
the Army Air Corps cadet program
on his eighteenth birthday; only to suffer
the disappointment of
seeing the program's suspension at the end of
World War II.
The Korean War provided the next oportunity to become a jet pilot, and Chuck Maultsby
grabbed it, only to be shot out of the sky during his 17th combat mission; and then he
endured 22 months as a Chinese prisoner of war all the while suffering "unpleasant"
After the Korean War, he became a pilot-instructor at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada and
won a spot on the Nellis Fighter Weapons Team of 1957; the team that swept every event
at the "William Tell" competition, beating every other military
fighter-pilot team in the U.S. and rest of the free world.
Captain Maultsby, pictured far-left in left photo above and third from right in right photo above, as
member of the Nellis AFB Fighter Weapons Team of 1957
From there the Colonel became a member of the USAF
Demonstration Team, The THUNDERBIRDS (1958-1960).
As a U-2 spyplane pilot, the Colonel found himself in the very dicey predicament of
detected by the Russians over their airspace at the height of the Cuban
Missile Crisis of
October 1962. It's true to say that he very nearly
was the cause of World War III.
The next major phase of the Colonel's life was spent in Vietnam in 1967 where he flew 216
missions (a full third of those missions were flown in North Vietnam). He was
the Silver Star for gallantry in action for his mission in close support of American ground
troops in dire straights.
After the Vietnam experience, Col. Maultsby continued as a pilot-instructor and squadron
commander at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona, a staff officer at Tactical Air Command
Headquarters at Langley AFB, Virginia, and finally, as the standards
and evaluation officer for
NATO Forces South in Naples, Italy.
Col. Maultsby was married to his wife, Jeanne,
1949 until his death in 1998. They had three sons.
P.S. The Colonel even retells the story of his involvement
in one of the most
embarrasing scandals in military history
involving the Chief of Staff of the
Royal Australian Air Force...!
The book's foreward was written by the
Colonels friend, Martin Caidin, author of over
books including "Cyborg" that became Television's "Six Million Dollar Man," and "Marooned"
which became a movie starring Gene Hackman, Gregory Peck and Richard Crenna.
Click on this text to see the type of F-80 "Shooting Star" that Col. Maultsby flew and was shot-down in while on his 17th
combat mission during the Korean War...
|5th January 1952 ||
|| F-80C Shooting Star
|| 35th Ftr-Bmbr Sq |
| Hit by AAA || 1st Lt. Charles W. Maultsby bailed out |
RMC, Big Switch
Photos above are contained in the book, "THUNDERBIRDS", by Martin
Click on this text to visit the U.S.A.F "THUNDERBIRDS" website...
Click on this text to watch a THUNDERBIRD Museum video tour (see Col. Maultsby's tour jacket and flight helmet at 2:40 into
Colonel's THUNDERBIRD flight helmet and tour jacket now reside
display in the THUNDERBIRD MUSEUM at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo Above is of six international Air
Force arial demonstration teams including the USAF "Thunderbirds" (bottom right),
USN "Blue Angels" (upper right), Taiwanese
Air Force "Tigers" (center), Italian Air Force
"Red Devils (upper left)..... Team at top (unknown, perhaps U.K.), team in lower left (unknown
Click on this text to visit the NSA Archives to see the story of Col. Maultsby's overflight of Russia during the Cuban Missile
* * *
Click on this text to see the U-2 Spy Aircraft taking-off and landing... The type of aircraft Col. Maultsby was flying when
detected over Russian airspace at the height of the Cubam Missile Crisis Oct. 1962...
Click on this text to see the Unclassified story of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis...
Cuban Missile Crisis - Three Men Go To War -The "accidental" flight... Pure Baloney...!
* * *
Here is the real story of the cause of the Russian overflight:
Click on this text to see Former Secretary of Defence WILLIAM PERRY PROJECT video describing the U-2 overflight of Russia.
IN JUNE OF 2014 THIS EMAIL (Below) WAS
RECIEVED BY CHUCK MAULTSBY II...
"Thank you so
much, and great meeting the son of one of my favorite Deuce
Drivers that knew how to navigate
over the Arctic Seas with no navigation of
My driftsight let him down, because the O-Ring
seal failed and
leaked out. No help there. The Radio Shop let him down
because the Radio Compass failed. The sextant, along with the driftsight,
fogged up. Here he was, over frozen
hell, and I await the tale you will
tell how he made it back without egressing over hostile territory and did
it so well. Kid, he was great!
Chapman (Ret.) USAF
ME and U-2, My Affair With The Dragon Lady)
IN JUNE OF 2014 THIS FOLLOW-UP EMAIL (Below) WAS RECIEVED BY CHUCK MAULTSBY II...
"I only gave you a very scant idea of the driftsight on the U-2. I shall try with more here.
The Perkin-Elmer Mark I Optical Driftsight and Sextant Systeeas in four main units:
itself; the Optical Sextant for celestial viewing for navigation; the unit known
by us as "the
knuckle," and by the pilots as "the viewing screen, " and the Perkin-Elmer
Mark III Hand Control or the only six special Baird Atomic Electroopical
Mark III Mod
A Hand Control. The driftsight was shaped like an old time stove and was
downwards behind the instrument panel. At the top of the driftsight was
knuckle, or view screen at about forty degree angle in respect to the driftsight
with an optical
viewing glass with a rubber boot about fifteen inches long, tapering from
inches at the knuckle glass to about an inch and a half in front of the pilot's
was to prevent sunlight from destroying his vision. He could look in the
boot with only
On the top rear of the the driftsight was attached the Optical Sextant that looked upwards
from the nose
through the same-part number optical glass bubble that the driftsight had.
When the pilot
wanted to view through the driftsight, he pushed a shaft with a metal button
on it forward
and to the instrument panel. That would disengage a reverse "V-Mirroe" in the
of the viwwing path of the knuckle. When he wanted the sextant, he pulled the
out, disengagine the fiew through the driftsight and into the reverse V-mirror
his viewing into the optical sextant. Day or night, a star could be located
using the sextant
controls and provide him with celestial navigation extremely accurately.
with the North Star.
The knuckle also had a larger V-mirror that looked downward. With the sextant
the sextant roof mirror reflected the star image onto the knuckle glass. With
out of the way, the downward roofmirror in the knuckle picked up the view
of the ground below.
The Mark III and Mark III Mod A Hand Controls had no connection to the sextant.
only for the driftsight. The Mark III Mod A were six specially-modified hand
a swivel adapter around the handle shaft with three detents machined in it.
The 73B, or
B Configuation 36" camera had seven "look angles, vertical, and
Right One, Two, and
Thjree to the right, and three of the same to the left. This camera had five
to Five. Mode One was when the camera lens "coal bucket was activated
to R1, R2,
R3, L1, V, R1, R2, R3, and Vertical again for a ten-shot "burst"
of photography, actually
horizion to horizon. This was the most useful mde for the B Config. Moce
Two was R1, L1,
V, three times, for a 9 shot burst of low right obliaue, low left obliqe,
and vertical shots.
Mode Three was three of the three obliques to the right and one vertical
for a ten-shot full
obliqe view at about ninety degrees. Mode Four was the same to the left.
These were excellent
for getting fabulous shots right or left from a far distance from danger,
outside "the element."
Mode 5 was nothing but verticals for extreme pinpoint viewing. This was what
over Cuba using the Mark III Mod A. He could put the handle shaft into one
of the detensts
and extremely accurately have the U-2 a nadir and level and find exactly
where the B was looking at.
The A-2 Configuration were three 24-inch 9" cy 18" format
cameras and roughly the
same angels as the B R1-R2-Veritcal shots. Mode One was the only one used.
cameras shot at the same time. The A-1 had a 24" camera as used in the
A-2 in a swing
mount with the same angles as the A-2 modes, or Mode Two which was only verticals.
On the hand
control were four green lights in a square onficutatiopn that told the pilot he
was in Mode
1 with the D light, Two with the A light, Three with the B light, Four with the
C light, and
Five with all four green. The mode was selected with a rotational switch on the
the hand control. To the lower left was a small toggle switch that would turn
the Tracker, either on or off. It was usually turned on after
engine start and never turned
off until we downloaded the cameras."
Perkin-Elmer Mark II Tracking Camera was a 70 millimeter, 500 foot roll of perforated
film what ran horizon
to horizon for about 179 degrees. It ran constantly with the T-Switch
on and got pix 4.7
inches by 11.2 inches. Only had a 3 inch lens, but very good.
for finding targets.
The hand controls used two 12- tooth splined mechanical cables from the hand
down and into the right hand bottom side of the driftsight and was used,
up, down, and
around to move the optics inside the bubble. He could look straight down
or at any angle
180 degrees or less in full. rotation. Thely found this thing neat to be
landing gear was up or down, by swinging the handle around and look at it.
Also on the hand control was a small toggle switch labels 1 and .4. If he wanted direct 1:1
it was in 1. If he wanted wider angle, it was in .4, cutting the telescopy to
the normal views.
At the port side of the exterior nose, at about 2000, was a small circular door
quarter-turn screwdriver slot where we would open for purging the driftsigt.
Lots of -96
degree dewpoont nitrogen was used on the bird, for our driftsight purging
to expel the
air prior to flight from the driftsight and sextant glass bubbles and would
inside the bubbles during flight, mainaning frost-free viewing at the knuckle
through the driftsight or sextant. We had a four-wheel aluminum cart we called
a "silve dolly"
that held up to four tanks of this dry nitrogen. We would begin purging an
hour prior to flight
and continue the flow of this nitrogen from that time until fifteen seconds
after engine start
and pressurization operation, and then disconnect and roll back out of the
way for taxi.
We also, in the shop and before loading in on the the lower hatch, performed
purging on the Tracker Camera bubble, again the same exact bubble.
Kept it nice
and dry and absolutely clear.
Unless it all went haywire, as it did for your dad, 72,000 or so feet
high over the Arctic Circle
about the time he turned to head back to Eilsen
AFB near Fairbanks. He will more than
likely have it in his notes of memories.
I do know, however, that one of my fellow Nehography
troops that was on that Crowflight, was
the one the removed the driftsight, replaced the
four-ing O-ring, and re-installed the
driftsight. Instruments took care of the sextant, and if
either O-ring went bad, both units fogged
up. Thereby causing your dad the problem that
had to have seemed impossible to take
care of. Performing that operation as he did, saving
both himself the loss of and aircraft
and a fine flight on a sheet of nylon and a bunch of ropes,
or more tracilly, getting killed if
he miscalculated trying to bring the old girl safely to the ground.
If I'm not
mistaken, he got the SAC Heads-Up award or something for that. In my opinion,
have gotten more than that.
That, my boy, is the thing that caused your dad to probably discuss each
and every word in
the Enlish Listing of Cuss Words. No, I doubt he actually did that. But I
guarantee that fine
mind of his was working out all the details each and ever second he was at
or more miles over an sub-zero ocean of freezing water. with no stars to be
seen, no driftsight
visibility, and a long, long way down to try to determine dead reckoning
by looking at the waves.
What waves? It was mostly ice, right? Not even to consider that, once one
leaves the North Pole,
there is only one direction for a few miles, ...South. That man was good!
I still don't know how
he could have possibly did what he did. But Chuck Maultsby, Thunderbird Emeritus
and Dragon Outstanding, pulled it off.
Sorry for the
length, it is still not very concise, but gives you an idea of what he did not have
to help him
out. All due to the failure of a four-inch by maybe a quarter of an inch thick chunk
of black soft
T/Sgt Glenn Chapman
(Author of: "ME and U-2, My Affair With The Dragon Lady")
Click on this text to see the type fo F-4 Phantom jet fighter that the Col. flew during 216 combat missions during the Viet
Former T-birds pilot dies here
• Col. Charles Maultsby also played a role in the Cuban missile
PAUL L. ALLEN Citizen Staff Writer
Charles ”Chuck” Maultsby, a retired Air Force colonel
who flew with the Thunderbirds
aerial demonstration team, served as a NATO official
and was a crucial
factor in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, has died in Tucson.
Col. Maultsby died Aug. 14. He was 72. The cause
death was not given.
In the early 1960s, Col. Maultsby piloted U-2
spy aircraft and gained notice as the pilot
detected over Russian airspace during
the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 – an incident
with serious political
The incident occurred in the midst of head-to-head confrontations between President Kennedy
and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev that brought the world’s two superpowers to the brink of
The overflight, which was blamed on a navigational error, could have been interpreted as
an attack on the Soviet Union at a time when the United States demanded that the Soviets
remove missiles from Cuba.
However, subsequent negotiation produced a nuclear test ban treaty.
son, Charles Maultsby II, said his father’s flight was featured on the
documentary about the missile crisis, ”One Minute to Midnight.”
Kennedy, hearing of the overflight and its detection by the Russians, is said
exclaimed, ”There’s always some son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t
get the word.”
Col. Maultsby was born June 7, 1926, in Greenville, N.C. Orphaned at age 8, he went on
to become a highly decorated fighter pilot and aeronautical engineer, his son said.
He flew 14 missions in F-80 fighters during the
Korean War before being
shot down and spending 22 months as a prisoner of war
In 1958, he became a member of the Fighter Weapons Team (the Air Force’s ”Top Gun”
at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and was ranked as one of the top five
fighter weapons gunners
in the world. Later that year, he joined the Thunderbirds,
flying the right wing
position in the diamond formation.
From 1965 to 1968,
Col. Maultsby flew F-4C fighter jets as a
squadron commander in Vietnam, completing
214 combat missions.
From 1974 to 1977, he served as the NATO inspector
general for combat readiness while based in Naples, Italy.
Col. Maultsby was awarded 18 decorations for
his military service including the Purple Heart,
Silver Star, Legion of Merit,
Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters and the
Air Medal with
No funeral service is planned.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Jeanne;
sons Chuck II and Kevin of Tucson,
Shawn of Colorado Springs, Colorado and grandsons
Chuck E. and Stevie of Tucson.
Above photo: "The Thunderboys"... Chuckie Maultsby (third from right), Shawn
Maultsby (farthest left)
Photo Below: Pilots with sons... Chuckie and Captain Maultsby second from top