Last weekend we had an Airshow here in Toledo, OH. A good part of the planning fell to my daughter-in-law in her capacity as member of the Toledo ANG Public Affairs office out at the base. She, in turn, enlisted the help of my youngest granddaughter, Riley. Riley, who currently is in Air Force ROTC, just had a ball! And, she got to see a great deal out there.
I have been attending airshows for some 65 – 70 years now. This one was ‘pretty good,’ but not necessarily from the flying perspective. I enjoyed it because I saw two “old friends.”
The first was Bill Fier, a former student of mine at Vance AFB, OK in 1976. I was his Flight Commander when he went through T-38s. Bill impressed me from the moment I first met him. He really had a “level head” on his shoulders and actually helped a great deal in managing the day-to-day operations of his class during training – as well as performing very well in the program himself.
One of the flying programs was “Tora, Tora, Tora,” a re-enactment of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). I knew Bill was flying for the CAF, and on a ‘hunch,’ I sent an email to him, asking if he was in attendance. I was so excited to learn, he was! So we agreed to meet after his show.
The second “old friend” I ran into was T-38, Tail number 8121.
I flew this jet when it was a T-38A at Vance AFB, OK. It is now based at Laughlin AFB, TX. I knew almost immediately that I had flown this specific jet, and upon returning home and checking my log book, sure enough, I had. In 1975 – ’78!
The aerial demonstrations throughout the day were fine, but nowhere near as exciting for me as seeing my. two “old friends!”