In early ’76, Lt. Col. Dick Hansen reported to the squadron (25thFTS) as our new commander. Dick was an ‘energetic’ individual; always with a big smile and an ‘upbeat’ demeanor. Upbeat to where it was contagious. Refreshing.
One of the first things he did was to visit each flight over the first couple-3 weeks to meet everyone. He came to our flight, “O” Flight, on “early week.”
Typically the IPs met 10 minutes or so prior to ‘Report Time.’ Report Time was predicated upon the first scheduled takeoff time; usually about an hour and a half before the first scheduled takeoff. So, when he visited us, it was around 0515 or so.
After we were all introduced to him, Dick talked for about 10 – 15 minutes about his vision for our squadron. Again, it was a very positive experience – inspirational. Two minutes before Report Time a student would knock on our door to let us know we had two minutes before Report. This particular morning, as we were all rising after “knock-knock,” our kiss-ass flight commander took the opportunity to stand up and say something like, “See guys, didn’t I tell you he was ‘super!” And he gave a big ‘thumbs up,’ accompanied with a big smile! Oh, give me a break!
Once we all took our places at our respective desks, our illustrious flight commander in all his glory, began his briefing. And I began to take a ‘beating!’
As the Assistant Flight Commander at the time, my place was in the rear of the room, behind the scheduling desk. That way I could keep an eye on everything. One by one, our IPs began looking at me, mouthing the word, “Super?” First Mike O., “Super?” Then Marty M., “Super?” Followed then by Geoff K., “Did he tell us he was ‘Super?'” And then Jack D. turned in his seat, scratching his head with an inquisitive look on his face, “When did he tell us he was ‘Super?'” They were killing me! It was all I could do to keep from laughing myself – my stomach was in knots – and they knew it!
I think in the end it took the better part of 3-4 weeks before the guys quit asking me when the moron told us our new squadron commander was “super!” I thought they were never going to let up… Gawd, the price I paid to be a Flight Commander!