Battleland

Robert Widmer Slips the Surly Bonds of Earth

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Robert Widmer, 1962 / General Dynamics photo

Robert Widmer has achieved escape velocity. Never heard of him? How about the weapons he pioneered, ranging from the B-36 – the Air Force’s largest bomber – to the F-16 — its most nimble fighter — to the Tomahawk cruise missile?

Reports Sunday’s New York Times in an appreciative obit:

Mr. Widmer was so valuable to the government that for years the C.I.A. positioned agents in parked cars at each end of the Fort Worth street where he and his family lived, his son said. Mr. Widmer himself told of being instructed to keep a low profile — to make airline reservations under a fake name and to meet agents in half-finished buildings. The ultrasecret projects he worked on were called black projects. “I’m talking about the extreme black,” Mr. Widmer said. “I have lived the extreme black.”

Thanks, Mr. Widmer.

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