In October 1982 I was in requal for the T-38A in the 560th FTS. As the end of the month approached I talked Sue into having a Halloween party for our flight; IPs and students. She agreed, and we were ‘good to go.’
I thought it would be a great idea to have a coffin set up in the garage; of course, with all the ambiance. The problem was, I didn’t have a coffin handy. But I knew where to get one.
I had seen the Base Honor Guard practicing for military funerals on numerous occasions – using (hopefully) an empty coffin. So that Friday afternoon, after work, I went down to their shop and asked the MFWIC (Guy In Charge) if I could use their coffin for a party. He saw no problem, so after filling out a ‘hand receipt’ I was on my way. (Think you could do this today?)
We put the coffin in the back of my pickup and I decided a cold beer would taste good. So I headed back to the Squadron. Then I decided to have a bit of ‘fun.’
We had a black guy, Dwight, as an Admin Clerk. He was the first guy I ran into when I entered the squadron. “”Hey Dwight,” I called out, “could you give me a hand with something I have to bring into the building?”
“No problem Sir,” he responded, and we headed out the back door. When Dwight saw what I had in the bed of my truck, his eyes widened and he took off across the parking lot! I had never seen him move that fast! I called out after him, but he was hearing nothing of it…he was ‘motoring’…
So, back into the Squadron I went, and found someone else to help me lug it into the building. We took the coffin into the Ops Center and stood it on end. Then I made a sign and hung it on the coffin cover: “Forgiveness is NOT the current policy of the 560th Flying Training Squadron.”
Our squadron commander at the time was not a ‘leader;’ he was a “Reg Reader,” a “matrix commander.” Whenever there was ever an ‘issue,’ he would delve into the appropriate regulation and chase through the applicable paragraphs/charts for a solution. No common sense needed for that guy… Anyway, he didn’t see the humor in it all, but I really didn’t much care. I had worked (briefly) for him before, and wasn’t at all intimidated by him. But I did take the sign down and removed the coffin from the building.
When I got home, we set it in the living room for a few pictures.
From there we moved into the garage and set it on two saw horses. The saw horses was covered with a bed sheet and as people would parade by the coffin to see what was in it, I would grab their ankles. Of course I soaked my hands in some slimy, drippy goo of some kind! I think a couple of the gals I grabbed caught up with Dwight that night!
All-in-all, a great party!