Colonel Richard S. Leghorn

Edward Lovick Jr.

Ray Goudey

Colonel Hugh “Slip” Slater

(b: 1919) led the mission to photograph America’s first, post-World War II nuclear explosions during Operation Crossroads, in July 1946. Leghorn is credited with the concept of “overhead” which led to spy planes and satellites.
(b: 1919) is considered the grandfather of stealth technology. Starting in 1957, Lovick worked at Area 51 with the CIA’s Richard Bissell and Lockheed’s Clarence “Kelly” Johnson to build stealth technology into aircraft, from paper to airplane.
(b: 1919), the dashing, daring Lockheed test pilot flew the U-2 spy plane’s legendary “Ship One” at Area 51, starting in 1955.
(b: 1922) earned his stripes fighting Nazi Luftwaffe pilots during WWII. In the early 1960s, Slater worked as CIA commander of the U-2 Chinese Black Cat Squadron, the details of which remain classified. At Area 51, he served as base commander for Operation Oxcart and Operation Black Shield.

Alfred O’Donnell

Colonel Hervey S. Stockman

Colonel Sam Pizzo

Ralph James ‘Jim’ Freedman

(b: 1922) armed, wired and fired approximately 186 nuclear bombs next door to Area 51 at the Nevada Test Site, and also at the Pacific Proving Ground in the Marshall Islands. O’Donnell’s colleagues called him “The Triggerman.”
(1922-2011) left Princeton to join the Army Air Corps during WWII. He was the first man to fly over the USSR in a U-2. Stockman flew 310 combat missions in three wars until June 1967 when he went down over N. Vietnam and became a POW for nearly six years.

(b: 1922) served as a navigation expert for Oxcart training missions at Area 51. On a previous U.S. Air Force assignment, in 1959, Pizzo escorted President Eisenhower’s nemesis, Nikita Khrushchev, from Moscow to America.

(b: 1927) worked as Area 51’s procurement manager for thirteen years, earning him top secret clearance into black projects most others had no need-to-know about. Freedman began his career in black operations at the Nevada Test Site, working as an EG&G weapons engineer. He also photographed nuclear bombs.

Dr. Albert “Bud” Wheelon

Colonel Kenneth B. Collins

Lieutenant Colonel Francis J. “Frank” Murray

Robert “Bob” Murphy

(b: 1929) was CIA’s first Deputy Director of Science and Technology. After the Bay of Pigs forced Richard Bissell to resign, Dr. Wheelon became the new Mayor of Area 51. Wheelon is the only CIA officer known to have ridden in the Agency’s seminal Mach 3 spy plane.
(b: 1930) was chosen to be one of the CIA’s elite A-12 Oxcart pilots after being awarded the Silver Star in Korea. Collins survived a spy plane crash over Utah, in 1963 and went on to fly six, dangerous Mach 3 missions over North Vietnam.
(b: 1930) became an A-12 Oxcart pilot for the CIA after the tragic death of pilot Walt Ray. In February 1968, Murray was dispatched on a Mach 3 flight over North Korea in search of the hijacked USS Pueblo and its crew. He flew three additional missions over North Vietnam.
(b: 1930) started out at Area 51 working on the U-2 flight test program as a Lockheed mechanic. He retired more than thirty years later, having advanced to the position of Director of Operations for all Skunkworks Programs including the F-117 Nighthawk, test flown at Area 51 and Area 52.

Captain Donald J. Donohue

Ernest “Ernie” Williams

S. Eugene “Gene” Poteat

Richard Mingus

(b: 1930) Area 51’s Maintenance officer during Oxcart, Donohue was there for the first flight. He often flew chase for Oxcart pilots and remembers when President Kennedy was assassinated, leaving the country in mourning and the fate of Oxcart and its top secret base up in the air.
(b: 1930) worked as the Atomic Energy Commission’s motor pool and food services coordinator. One of the highlights of his storied career was escorting the Apollo astronauts around the atomic craters at the Nevada Test Site to prepare them for walking on the moon.
(b: 1930) was the first CIA officer assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office, an agency so secret its name was not declassified until 1992. Poteat pioneered Electronic Counter Measures, or ECM. He currently serves as President of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
(b: 1931) part of Area 51’s original security, Mingus guarded the top secret, highly controversial Project 57 “dirty bomb” test. During the Operation Plumbbob test series, he kept intruders out of Area 51, including after a 74-kiloton atomic bomb code-named Hood was detonated in Area 9.

Harry Martin

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Bevacqua

Colonel Charles “Charlie” Trapp

Thornton “T.D.” Barnes

(b: 1931) was in charge of Project Oxcart’s 1.32 million gallon fuel farm at Area 51. He became one of the first men to return to the nearly deserted, top secret base after fallout from atomic testing closed the facility in late 1957.

(b: 1932 ) was the youngest pilot to fly the U-2 at Area 51. Even John Wayne wanted to shake his hand. Formerly Gary Powers’ roommate, Bevacqua was called upon to search for Oxcart pilot Jack Weeks after Weeks was lost over the South China Sea.
(b: 1933) served as the Area 51 helicopter search and rescue pilot in the 1960s. In addition to locating missing pilots, airplanes and drones, Trapp oversaw pilot survival training.
(b: 1937) recruited by CIA at 21, Barnes became expert in radar and ECCM. For Project NERVA, he worked to get man to Mars in a nuclear-powered rocket ship in the astonishingly short time of frame of 124 days. Colleagues lauded him for reverse engineering the MiG.