331st FIS photos (Samual H Fields)

Last month we received a number of interesting F-104 photos showing aircraft from 331st FIS based at Webb AFB, Texas.
The photos were given by Samual Scott Fields, son of Samuel Henry Fields, an ex 331st FIS F-104 pilot who sadly passed away in 2010.
He would like to honor his dad by adding him to our IFS Member Pilot Gallery which we did today.
The photo shows him before his aircraft in 1963 at Webb.

This 331st FiS was flying the F-104A and B model from 14 April 1963 till 28 February 1967 for their interceptor task within the ADC.
The squadron was on deployment at Puerto Rico during the Dominican Republic crisis 0565.
Totally the unit used 23 F-104A's and 4 F-104B's. Most aircraft were transferred to the 4760CCTS at Webb officially on 280267.
First the aircraft flew from Webb AFB, Texas and lateron they moved to Homestead AFB, Florida.
Interesting to see are the yellow intake bands and cones as well as the colorful markings on their tails.
Photos beneath (click on them to open the bigger)

F-104A aircraft 56-779 and 56-858 from 331st FIS (Samual Scott Fields Collection)
F-104A 56-821 showing the nice 331st FIS tail markings  (Samual Scott Fields Collection)
F-104A 56-821 and 56-818 showing the yellow inlet rings and cones. (Samual Scott Fields Collection)



  1. Addison

    I’m not sure why the discrepancy but Webb AFB was located at Big Spring, Texas, not Florida.

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      You are correct Addison, I forgot to mention that Webb was Texas and Homestead was Florida.. have corrected that now.
      Thanks for the remark!

  2. Ernest J. Walker

    I was assigned to the 331st FIS at Webb AFB, TX from October 1961 until June 1965. We converted from F102’s to the F-104 in 1963. Each of the 104’s at Webb was named after a Texas city. Just a few days after President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, the F-104 “City of Dallas” was experiencing landing gear problems and performed a low flyover the runway to see if ground personnel could see what the problem was. I was working outside the Aerospace Ground Equipment shop about 500 feet from the runway and just happened to look up and see the plane start rotating clockwise. It was only about 100 feet in the air and all of a sudden it nosed into the ground. There was a huge explosion and a gigantic fireball and debris was flying everywhere. One of the pilot’s boots fell within a few feet of where I was standing. His leg had been severed even with the top of the boot. I was never interviewed during the ensuing investigation even though I was an eye witness. It seemed like an odd coincidence that out of about 24 aircraft assigned to the squadron it was the “Dallas” that crashed so soon after the president was killed.

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Thanks Ernest, indeed that was aircraft 56-863 which crashed on 26 November 1963, four days after Kennedy was killed.

  3. Gene Lewis

    331 FIS Stationed there in 1962/1965 (early/out for college)

    Addison is right on location of Webb AFB, Big Spring Texas.

    We were TDY at Homestead during the “Cuban Missile Crisis” F-102A’s in 1962, I worked the flight/line crewing. We received F-104’s in 1963, if my memory is correct. The crash that killed Lt. Nelson, I did witness. I think about it often, especially at night. The tele/flex cable that ran the flaps up and down broke, making the acft uncontrolable, Nelson was told to eject but it wanted to save the plane, he almost made it but just before touch/down it flipped over on its back and went in upside down, flaps were out of sync, one up, one down.
    We lost another acft and pilot during an ORI inspection, Capt. Cunningham….ran out of fuel just west of the base. The F-104A’s could only stay up about 45 min. without extra tanks.

    Both Lt. Nelson and Capt. Cunningham were not only good pilots but were fine outstanding men.
    I think all my information is correct…..somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

  4. Gene Lewis


    The 331st FIS participated in the “sonic boom” testing program at Tinker AFB, Okla. City, Okla. in 1965 which led to the passing of a federal law, outlawing sonic booms over the USA. Each plane was stenciled on fuselage “Sooner Boomer”.

  5. Lindsay P. Berrier AF 14888274

    I was assigned to the 331 st from December 1965 until it became a combat crew training squadron, training Jordanian pilots in the F-104. Part of our squadron went TDY to Jordan while the rest stayed at Webb AFB in support of the training effort. When war broke out in the Middle East in 1967, our guys had to make a hasty departure at night, flying low under radar. They all made it back safely, but because of the time factor involved, most of the ground equipment had to be left behind. We eventually got some of the ground power equipment returned, but it had obviously been the target of enemy shelling. Shortly after that, the 331st FIS was deactivated. Our squadron commander, Major Jack Brown, let each airman request his/her next duty assignment and sent the requests to his commander for consideration. Remarkably, a lot of us got the base or region of the country we had requested. I was not one of the lucky ones. I had requested North Carolina or the southeast, but was transferred to California instead. By the way, I was an instrument repairman (42250). While at Webb, I escaped having to pull KP because I was small enough to be able to slide down the 104 air intake to inspect the front main engine seal. I had to remove my outer shirt and belt and empty all my pockets. The plane’s crew chief would usually have to grab my feet and pull me out.

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Thanks for your story Lindsay. Most aircraft were transferred from 331st to the 4760CCTS at Webb AFB officially on February 28th, 1967 to train Jordan pilots. Most aircraft came all from 331FIS and a few (3) F-104B’s came from elsewhere. Totally the unit used 13 F-104A’s and 8 F-104B’s. It trained Jordanian Air Force pilots and personnel. I did not know they also flew to Jordan, I thought it was Turkey??

  6. Pete steinmetz

    I was stationed at Webb 61-62 with the “three thirsty first”. Went home on leave and was reassigned to the 325th at Truax AFB. Before I got a barracks assignment I was sent to Homestead. Ended up with some of the same 102s I worked on at Webb. After Cuban crisis the 102’s were upgraded with new electronics and were adapted to carry GAR – 11 missles. Same planes, different patch. I remember getting 104’s at Webb.

  7. Jerry Mccoy

    In 1963 I had worked on F-102s and F-104s at Webb AFB, I was there during the Cuban Crisis, I got out of AF October 1963. I was not around during crash of F-103 at Webb, I tried to extend but they would not let me, I was due to be a Father at the end of October 1963. I wish alot of the guys that I worked with could be around so we could talk about old times. Still a Texan , Born a Texan.

  8. Franklin D. Wells

    331fisn protected bombers at Walker AFB Roswell N. Mexico

  9. Kenneth E Trantham

    I was stationed at Webb, 331st FIS from 1961 to July 1965, and I remember Franklin D. Wells.

    Ken Trantham

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Hello Ken, thanks for letting me know. Do you remember any other pilot names with 331st FIS during your time at Webb? I am very interested because we have lined up a lot but surely are missing some pilots.
      Thanks in advance!
      Harry (IFS chairman)

  10. Ed Arledge, Cmdr JAGC USNR retired

    The pilot killed in the Nov 26,1963 f104 crash at Webb was Lt Mike McDowell of Bonham Texas. Posthumously promoted to Captian

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Thanks Ed, I corrected the text. Regards, Harry.


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