The Legend of Iron Mike

Iron Mike was a suit of medieval armor that had originally been part of the decor at the Randolph AFB Officer's Club. Mike had been "removed" from Randolph by pranksters from an unknown unit and, thereafter, had been kidnapped in turn by various flying squadrons from all over the country.

Eventually, the 317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (F-102 guys) at Elmendorf got hold of him and were displaying him in their ready room on base. The Firebird plot was to kidnap "Mike" and take him to Sondrestrom AB, Greenland. It worked out better than anyone could have imagined. The 17th and the 317th were, at the time, both assigned to the 21st Composite Wing at Elmendorf AFB, and the Wing Commander was a former 317th pilot.

Anyway, the Wing Commander decided that he wanted to go to Sondrestrom to observe the Greenland mission of the 17th, so he flew over on one of our birds. Although he knew that Iron Mike had been taken, probably by us (the 17th), he didn't know that in fact Iron Mike made the flight to Greenland on the very same aircraft that he traveled on, suitably crated and hidden from view.

After arrival, Iron Mike was dispatched to either Dye 2 or Dye 3 on the Greenland ice cap, I forget which, and when the Wing/CC arrived on the ice cap the next morning, there was Iron Mike standing upright in the snow and decorated with a Firebird patch to greet him! 

Iron Mike, by the way, has now been "retired" and is on permanent display in the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB. There is a generic description of his adventures, but no listing of all the different units that had him in their "custody."





Ray Hull and Elmer Potter providing escort for Iron Mike on the Greenland Ice Cap. Click on photograph to view larger version.



Click on photograph to see larger version. Text can be read in larger photograph.

Back to Top 



Related Iron Mike News Story may be found under Press Releases on home page.

Story occurring circa 1967, is courtesy of John M. Root, Firebird Pilot