WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – You’ll find him in the North High Hall of Fame for his skills on the basketball court, but we are honoring him for his talents in the air and beyond.
When Bobby Argumedo graduated high school, the Korean War was still going on.
Argumedo went on to Wichita State University, where he again was a basketball great, it’s also where he got his first look at the military.
When he joined the Air Force ROTC, he knew the commitment would be about five years, he stayed in for more than 20.
“Of course, it has got United States Air Force,” Retired Lieutenant Bobby Argumedo said. “That was in Vietnam.”
His first aircraft was a B-47, but then his assignment changed.
“I was really happy to get into the RF-4, because now I am a backseater, and I’ve got all of the same instruments the pilot has in front, so I have all the capability of flying the airplane, as he does,” Argumedo said.
They were flying recon missions.
“Our motto alone, unarmed and unafraid,” Argumedo said.
That’s right, they had no armament, but what they did have was “new at the time” technology.
“We kill ’em with film, and it was actually film,” Argumedo said.
Argumedo’s target would eventually change.
“This is the Foreign Technology Division’s shield,” Argumedo said.
He spent half of his military career flying and the other half as an aeronautical engineer.
“Where previously I had looked at aircraft, now I am looking at everything regarding space,” Argumedo said.
He said the primary enemy was the Soviet Union.
“We were on the edge of everything, regarding ability to look and listen,” Argumedo said. “Our job was to look at the technical capabilities of the world outside the U.S. and what kind of counters we may come up with.”
He would also fly again in Vietnam.
“That was kind of interesting in the contrast between the two missions was amazing,” Argumedo said.
He was a bomber navigator.
“Being able to be responsible for getting the target, I liked it, it was a lot of fun,” Argumedo said.
When he talks about his career in the military, there are some details about his flights and things he learned in what he calls his “ground job” he can share.
“I was very fortunate in being able to do that, as well as fly,” Argumedo said.
There are other experiences he will never share.
“I still won’t talk about it,” Argumedo said.
When he looks back at these twenty years served, he knows the impact he and the others made.
“We helped win the Cold War,” Argumedo said.
Argumedo said he went on many interesting missions, while not in combat.
He said he was fortunate to be assigned to fly with the test wing, and one time flew in a zero gravity aircraft, known as the “vomit comet.”
He also provided test flight support for missiles launching out of Cape Canaveral. He said they would go up and fly and film the reentry vehicles.
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