Lt. Gen. Robert M "Bobby" Bond (USAF)
Killed in high speed ejection April 26, 1984
NOT a F-117A (USAF operated Mig 23)
Cause: Loss of control during high-altitude, supersonic flight
It has been reported in many publications that Lt. Gen. Robert M Bond, vice commander of the Air Force Systems Command, died in a crash of the then secret F-117A at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada in the mid-1980s.
Recent reports however state that Lt. General Bobby Bond was killed when the MIG 23 he was flying out of Groom crashed into Little Skull Mountain on the Nevada Test Site on April 26, 1984. The flight was the second of two orientation flights for General Bond. The mission included a high speed run, followed by a systems-radar familiarization. Bond's aircraft was accompanied by a T-38 chase plane following at a good distance. Bond reported to ground control that he had reached the planned speed without problems. At 10:17:50 AM Bond asked "How far to the turn?" Ground control responded at 10:17:53 AM with "Turn now, right 20." Bond responded with two clicks of the radio. AT 10:18:02 AM Bond radioed "I'm out of control. I'm out of..." At 10:18:23 AM Bond radioed "I've got to get out, I'm out of control." Soon after radar contact was lost. Bond had ejected but was killed. The plane hit the ground in a high-speed 60 degree dive.
Examination of the debris found that all damage was due to impact. The engine was running normally at a throttle setting of about 80 to 90 percent. The accident report (released May 17, 1984) concluded that the plane had crashed due to loss of control during high-altitude, supersonic flight. Bond apparently attempted a high speed ejection (possibly at Mach 2) and possibly shredded his parachute in the ejection.
Lt. General Bond was honored with the creation of the Lieutenant General Bobby Bond Memorial Aviator Award which Recognizes an AFMC military rated crew member for outstanding contribution to AFMC's T&E mission while participating in aerial duties.
Recently, it has been discovered that there is a memorial to Gen. Bond located near the crash site in Area 25 of the Nevada Test Site. (NOTE: This is government land which requires permission to visit. Area 25 is where the nuclear rocket development once took place.) The memorial is flush with the ground and is located in the middle of nowhere in particular. It is made of black granite and the dimensions are approx. 1 ft. by 2.5 ft.. The inscription is as follows:
APRIL 26, 1984
HE WAS A MAN OF GREAT STRENGTH
A WARM AND FAITHFUL FRIEND,
WHO GAVE HIS LIFE FOR THE
COUNTRY HE LOVED
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