US Declassifies Secret Mission From 1987, Awards Medals To Swedish Pilots

first published on December 1, 2018 by

The US just declassified a report from an incident that occurred during the Cold War, which has now resulted in the US Air Force awarding four Swedish pilots with medals for acts of heroism and meritorious achievements.

swedish pilots

According to The Drive, Swedish Air Force Colonel Lars-Eric Blad, Major Roger Moller, Major Krister Sjoberg, and Lieutenant Bo Ignell were awarded medals during a ceremony at the US Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov. 28, 2018.

On June 29, 1987, an SR-71 Blackbird, a once secret Skunk Works aircraft, was flying in international airspace near the Baltic Sea, gathering reconnaissance imagery of Soviet Union military sites.

One of the SR-71’s engines completely failed, and the troubled aircraft dropped 24,000 feet in mere minutes. The spy plane was at severe risk of falling into Soviet hands.

Luckily, the Blackbird was first intercepted by Swedish Saab Viggen fighter jets who escorted the wounded aircraft in an aggressive formation to ward away any suspecting Soviet aircraft.

The Swedish pilots were able to safely get the Blackbird into NATO member Denmark’s airspace, and then to Germany where the SR-71 made an emergency landing. The Swedes were sworn to secrecy and the incident was kept classified for three decades.

Sweden continues to be an important non-NATO ally, and as our relations with Russia return to Cold War era standings, it’s important to rekindle longstanding relationships with our friends in the region.


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