Connor regales Rotary Club with tale of 'Operation Reflex'

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Capt. Doug Connor, retired from the U.S. Air Force, shared his story about participating in “Operation Reflex” during the most-recent May meeting of the Mount Olive Rotary Club.

Connor gave a play-by-play summary of the rapid response alert system that combined the B-47 bomber, the KC 97 Tanker functioning as a refueler and a very skilled group of USAF personnel.

“Operation Reflex” occurred Oct. 1, 1957, and involved 20 B-47 nuclear-capable bombers deployed to Sidi Slimane Air Base in Morocco. The number greatly expanded over the course of the operation and included additional bases at Torrejon, Moron and Zaragoza in Spain.

Bombers and refueling aircrafts and crews rotated to overseas bases where they were disbursed away from CONUS and within striking distance of their targets. Missions lasted an average of 18 hours, which proved the long endurance and long-range capability of the B-47 and air crews.

“Operation Reflex” was the retaliation strategy for the Soviet Union’s threat that it could wage a nuclear assault on the United States.

Connor was the navigator for one of the crews that had to turn a 3 1/2-hour preparation cycle into less than a 35-minute alert action should the Soviets make good on their threats.

The mission ended March 31, 1965.

In other news:

• Coy Brock inducted new member Robin DeMark, a retired journalist, event planner and bee keeper. DeMark will present a program about bee keeping on June 17.

• The club announced Kornegay Insurance will be inducted during a later meeting. Representatives are Larry Kornegay, Logan Kornegay and Tim Smith.

• Dr. Joy Kieffer, dean of the University of Mount Olive nursing program, presented a power-point presentation about the startup and growth of the nursing program — including development of the RN to BSN, the MSN and sometime soon the doctor of nursing. UMO plans to have a nursing simulation lab in place for the program, which will include daytime and evening/weekend instruction.

Kieffer said the program is asking for expired medical equipment for the lab, disposable supplies and other items to enable students to practice on mannequins.

The Mount Olive Rotary Club meets every Thursday at noon at the Hwy. 55 Corporate headquarters on Commercial Drive, except the first Thursday when they meet at 5:30 p.m. A meal is served and all meetings last exactly one hour.

Visitors are invited to attend.

New member applications are being accepted.

For more information, email Dr. Barbara Kornegay at bkornegay@ncc.rr.com or call 919-738-0962.

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