The "Kee Bird" crew was one of the first 8 original crews in the 46th Recon commanded by Major Maynard E. White based out of Ladd Field, Alaska.
The Kee Bird aircraft flew a grand total of 7 missions, the 7th being it's last mission. And, as many know, the aircraft never made it back to base on that flight. The crew was forced to crash land on a frozen lake - location unknown. The only things that were known was that the air temperature in that area averaged 50° below zero Fahrenheit, the crew was lost, and the odds of being rescued were highly questionable.
In 1947, these Polar regions were totally uncharted areas. Secretly, The US Air Force was routinely flying missions to chart these areas. This was highly classified information for several reasons:
Every mission the Kee Bird flew was classified as highly top secret. This Top Secret classification wasn't dropped until 1999.
- The Cold War
- The area was very near the former Soviet Union.
- Their missions involved actually photographing the Soviet Union from the air.
- The United Sates wanted a "head start" into the geographical knowledge of this area.
How this web site came to being
This web site is mainly about the Kee Bird's last flight, but it must stressed: this web site is dedicated to the entire 46th/72nd Recon Unit.
My Father is Lt. Col. Howard R. Adams USAF (ret'd). He was the Radar Observer on the Kee Bird's last flight. The Kee Bird situation occurred a full 10 years before I was born.
He retired from the Air Force in 1970, then went on to hold various jobs and pursue different interests in the civilian sector. He sometimes would mention a particular incident that intrigued me:
the Kee Bird crash landing in Greenland in February 1947, but I never knew too much about it.
What really started things up was the recovery attempt of the Kee Bird (documented by NOVA's B29 Frozen in Time episode). Many of his old crew members were sending him letters attempting to contact him.
He finally responded - then he got involved.
When I realized how much information the Kee Bird crew members, as well as other members of the 46th/72nd Recon had in their possession, I was determined this story needed to be shared.
And all those guys were more than willing to help. After I accompanied him to a reunion of the 46th/72nd Recon Association - and had the privilege of meeting all those fantastic patriots, I knew a web site should be created in their honor.
It is our sincere hope that visitors find this web site interesting and informative.
Please do not underestimate our Related Links page - it's loaded with some fantastic information and images - check the ones with the blue stars!
Most importantly: Please thank all of our veterans (past and present) for what they've done to keep this country safe & the best place in the world to live and raise a family!
Rick Adams (Editor of B29KeeBird.net)