I Got to ‘Put My Hands Under Mike Webster’s Butt!’

In the early 2000’s I was honored to speak at an Air Force Flight Surgeon’s Course at Brooks AFB, TX.  The topic of my presentation was, “How do pilots hide their drinking from Flight Surgeons.”  (Spoiler Alert:  We lie to ’em.  Shocking!).  It was during that presentation that morning that I realized just how much alcohol took from me, what I missed in flying by ‘flying drunk’ all those years.  Not ‘physically drunk, but certainly emotionally and psychologically drunk… in a ‘stupor’ if you will.

I had seen the acceptance speech of Terry Bradshaw where he lamented about ‘sticking his  hands under Mike Webster’s butt just one more time.’  That one comment really resonated with me.  I don’t know why that thought came to me during my presentation that morning, but it did, and I shared it with the residents.  (Have a look at the video below, 36 seconds into it…)

“What I wouldn’t give right now to strap on the Jet (the T-38A) and punch those Start buttons just one more time,” I lamented that day.  I must have struck a nerve with ‘Voodoo,’ one of the Residents, for a couple years later I was given that opportunity!

I was almost 60 years old at that time, and such a thing is almost unheard of.  But Voodoo went to ‘the mat’ for me, and I got a ride.


How many times have I made ‘this’ walk?

And oh, how it all flowed back to me in an heartbeat!  The seat training/orientation, the mini-physical, strapping in – I savored every bit of it!  Then when the air conditioner began ‘spitting’ at me on takeoff I was in Hog Heaven!  When the sweat began running down into my eyes I just let it sting, lest the experience escape me once again.

When I was given the opportunity to fly my IP asked me if I remembered how to perform a Loop.  (For perspective, I had been flying ’38s when this major was still in liquid form!)  I couldn’t find the G-meter in the new cockpit configuration (T-38C), so I flew to the ‘tickle’ and help it over the top.  It worked out fine, and so it went.

The hour just flew by and soon we landed.  As we taxied in we punched off the intercom and dropped our masks.  I took a moment to reflect – to just “be’ with it all, and I found myself in prayer.  I thanked God for having had the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream of flying, for the realization that, at one time, I wasn’t too bad at it, and for not hurting anyone – myself or anyone else.

When I retired from the Air Force on 15 Jul 1988 I left somewhat ‘unsettled’ with respect to my flying career.  I could never quite put my finger on it, but on this date, 26 May 2006, I climbed out of the Jet “complete.”  I was at Peace…

Terry, I also ‘stuck my hands under Mike Webster’s butt one more time!



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WW Fog…

We had a UPT student at Vance, Class 76-09, named “W.W. Fog” – good kid.  One day in the flight room he answered the phone in a smart, military fashion as he had been taught.  After a short pause he announced to those of us in the room, “This guy wants to talk to any student.”

We were all kind of perplexed until someone gained composure and told him, “Go ahead and take it!”  Shocking exchange, it was; left us all somewhat perplexed.

From that day forward he was known to us as “WOXOF…”

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Over the past 18 months, or so, I have been remiss in writing.  There has been SO MUCH that has transpired.  I met a wonderful woman, began an exciting courtship, bought an RV, began a MAJOR home renovation, got married and am now finding myself with a bit more time to write.

I never knew how much I missed writing; I never knew how much I enjoyed writing – so brace yourself!  I have a great deal to share with you….

Cheers!  Bob


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A Promise Kept….

Just after I got sober in 1994, I made a promise to myself – to one day return to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico – to the church I was confirmed in.  From the summer of 1957 to the summer of 1960 I attended Lutheran catechism in that church every Saturday, and for the last year, every Thursday and Saturday.


On the day of my confirmation Chaplain Baumgaertner told us that many would leave the church.  I remember that so vividly, and I remember sitting there imploring upon God that it wouldn’t be me… but, it was.

And so, that promise I made to myself back in 1994 or so, became very important to me; for it was the Lutheran Church (here in Whitehouse, OH) that I initially turned to for help when I decided to get sober.

Last week (June 15 – 21, 2015) I took the opportunity to attend an ‘All-classes School Reunion’ at Ramey.  However, my primary objective was more ‘spiritual’ in nature than anything else – to return to that church, hit my knees and give Thanks to God for saving my life.

On Tuesday, 16 Jun, 2015, before anything else, Carolyn and I went ‘walk-about’ on base to find that church.  And after a bit of time, we found it.  It isn’t a church anymore – it’s a school.  But you know what?  It will always be a church for me!

As we walked along that morning I felt myself  becoming more and more ‘anxious,’ as if I were returning home.  And I suppose I was.  As we walked on the sidewalk I first caught glimpse of what I thought used to be the church, and it was!


And it became even clearer the closer we got.


We walked around a bit, then I found a way in.  There was no one around to ask about going in, but I have always found ‘forgiveness’ easier to receive than ‘permission.’  So, in we went.

It hardly looked like a church inside, the only resemblance were the remaining pews.


But you know, that was good enough for me.  And after a while, I approached the general area I remember sitting in that day – the day I was confirmed – and I ‘hit my knees.’

As I kneeled there, I reflected on how blessed I truly am – and the tears flowed.  Tears of joy; tears of gratitude; tears of humility…






And then I spent time asking for strength to continue on this wonderful journey I am on today… and giving “thanks” for the opportunity to keep a promise made…

IMG_0472So my trip to Ramey was a great experience for me; way beyond the reunion itself, the food, the beaches and everything else… And for this, I am so grateful.

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Military Brats Proclamation, Rough Draft

WHEREAS:  There are over 15,000,000 current and former “military children” living in the United States today; and

WHEREAS:  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “brats” as 1. a: an ill-mannered annoying child and/or b: an ill-mannered immature person <a spoiled brat>, it goes on to say 2. the child of a career military person <an Army brat>.

WHEREAS:  It is said that the word  “Brats,” as used in the term “Military Brats,” has it’s origins in the British Army.  (“Brat” was used as an Administrative “status” when a member of the British Army was assigned abroad and could take his family (mostly to India):  BRAT status:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.  Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member.  The term not only stuck, it has now been adopted world-wide): and,

WHEREAS:  The term  “Military Brats” has been used in the American Military for over 200 years now, the children of our military being known as ‘Military Brats,’ or just ‘Brats;’ and

WHEREAS:  There are over 15,000,000 current and former “military children” living in the United States today; and

WHEREAS:  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “brats” as 1. a: an ill-mannered annoying child and/or b: an ill-mannered immature person <a spoiled brat>, it goes on to say 2. the child of a career military person <an Army brat>.

WHEREAS:  It is said that the word  “Brats,” as used in the term “Military Brats,” has it’s origins in the British Army.  (“Brat” was used as an Administrative “status” when a member of the British Army was assigned abroad and could take his family (mostly to India):  BRAT status:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.  Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member.  The term not only stuck, it has now been adopted world-wide): and,

WHEREAS:  The term  “Military Brats” has been used in the American Military for over 200 years now, the children of our military being known as ‘Military Brats,’ or just ‘Brats;’ and

WHEREAS:  There are some, both within the military and outside of the military community, who have no concept that the term “Military Brat,” is a term of endearment; an “earned” term of endearment.  (The very word itself is used in uppercase to differentiate the word “brat” from the contemporary derogatory concept of the word.  Military Brats are Brave, Resilient, Adaptable and Tolerant.  They embody Pride, Patriotism, Sacrifice, Commitment and many other things.  And yes, they are “Spunky!”); and,

WHEREAS:  These children also serve our community and our nation themselves, whether by supporting their parents with enduring numerous worldwide moves or by providing support at home dealing with multiple deployments; and

WHEREAS:  There was a recent effort to “rebrand” these Military Brats, and thus denying them of their proud heritage and identity.

NOW THEREFORE, I, (name, position/title) of (city/town/state) do hereby proclaim that henceforth and forever, these Military Children, both children and adults, will be forever known and recognized by the Village of Whitehouse, Ohio as MILITARY BRATS.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the (City/County) of (city/town/state) this _______day of ______________, 2015.:

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Military Brat Proclamation Letter, 2

(Written 5 Jan 2015)

Good Afternoon Ms. Kuhn,

A couple-3 weeks ago I sent an email to you inquiring about the possibility of a “Proclamation” from the Village of Whitehouse acknowledging Military Kids as “Military Brats.”  Since that email we have been steadily gaining national acclaim for our cause.  The latest being an article in the “Toledo Free Press.”


Why is this even a “big deal” to me, and other ‘Brats?’  It’s the essence of our heritage, of my heritage.  I am ‘of’ Whitehouse, but not ‘from’ Whitehouse.  I was brought to Whitehouse when I was 4 or 5 days old and lived here until I was 4 – when my Father was recalled to Active Duty on 7 November 1950.  For the next 13 years I lived at 9 different locations in 12 different homes.  I attended 13 schools during that period; 4 high school in 3 different countries.

“Military Brat” is a term given to me some 200+ years ago; not something recently conjured up.  It has a rich history and meaning.  “Brats” are patriotic, proud, tenacious, resilient, tolerant and so forth.  And a much as we consider the term a ’term of endearment,’ there are those, predominately non-military who consider it a derogatory term.

We successfully shut down the initiative by the little Champs to ‘re-brand’ us.  But what if we miss it next time – and there will be a “next time,” if we don’t claim our heritage now!

I moved back to the area in 1991, after my Air Force career.  On one hand, it was the only “home” I knew.  But Whitehouse really isn’t my home – any and all military installations that are enclosed in parameter fences are.  So if I lose my Military Brat heritage, where does that leave me?

There is a similar proclamation working it’s way through the Texas legislature, hopefully to be signed this week.  Once I have that in hand I hope to approach the Ohio State legislature for similar support.  One state at a time, until we gain national recognition for who we are.

It would be a great honor to be recognized by my own “home town;” not as an individual, but a one who also served as a kid – as a Military Brat.  And you don’t think these kids don’t serve?  Try to imagine moving every 2 years of your life; without a choice and never complaining.  I did – and I would do it again, in a heartbeat!

Thank you for you time here.


Robert F. Holliker Jr.
Lt. Col./USAF (Ret.)
Air Force Brat


–  Are you aware that my Great-great Grandfather John Holliker “cleaned up” the area around of what is now known as the Little Quarry?  When he was in his 80’s?

–  Are you aware that my Grandfather Fred Holliker literally fed the folks of Whitehouse during the Great Depression, because they didn’t have any money to buy food?

– Are you aware that Fred fed these folks in the end, at his own expense?  His choice.  He “sold” his share of his inheritance of the Holliker Family Homestead, out on Cemetery Road.

– Are you aware that the folks of Whitehouse came together in 1937 to build a house for my Grandparents, Fred and Vilena Holliker – for feeding them during that Depression? That Ms. Kuhn, is called “spirituality,” and is a great reason why I moved back in 1991…

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Military Brat Proclamation Letter, 1

(Written 3 December 2014)

Good Morning Mayor Kuhn,

My name is Bob Holliker.  I am writing to propose that the Village of Whitehouse pass a Resolution to recognize the sacrifices and service of Military Children – of Military “Brats” to our village, to our state and to our country.


There are approximately 15,000,000 present and former Military “Brats” in our country at any given time.  We have served our country for generations.  In Pat Conroy’s Introduction to Mary Edwards Wertsch’s book, “Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress,” he observes, “…military brats, my lost tribe, spent their entire youth in service to this country and no one even knew we were there.”

Five years ago I suggested to Mr. Bob Latta, R/OH, that he introduce legislation to the Congress, to recognize Military Kids for their service to our country.  To his credit, he did.     H.R. 5333: Children of Military Service Members Commemorative Lapel Pin Act, May 2010, (2).  That legislation has sat “in committee” for almost 5 years now, in one form or another, going nowhere.

Recently I learned of an organization, “The Little C.H.A.M.P.S.,” who’s stated objective is to “bridge the gap between military families and their civilian neighbors.  On the surface, a great idea.  However, when you look deeper into the organization there are some disturbing revelations.

C.H.A.M.P.S. is an acronym for “Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel.  Well Ms. Kuhn, as a “Brat,” I am not a hero.  And I sure am not “attached” to anyone!  This name was created as a marketing tool.  The book they use, “The Little C.H.A.M.P.S.” was originally titled “The Little Brats.”  However the organization could not procure funding nor support with using the term ‘Brat.’  There are elements, both within the military and the civilian communities, who object to the term “Brat” used in the context with military kids.  And often they hold powerful positions.  Up until now, we (Brats) have known of them, and for the most part, have ignored them.  But we can not ignore them anymore.  They are threatening our Heritage now.

In the C.H.A.M.P.S. literature they claim that they are not out to “re-brand” Military Brats, then we see this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 6.10.14 PM
(And by the way, their use of the respective service seals is illegal by US Trademark law.)

So, what’s the big deal?  Being a “Military Brat” is a term of Endearment to many of is, to MOST of us.  It’s a term we EARNED!  The distinction is a “brat,” in the contemporary sense, is a ruffian, a hooligan and the like.  “Brats” are patriotic, loyal, resilient, tenacious, charming and good looking.  (Also humble.)

Official Flower of the Military Child

A couple days ago I was approached by the mayor of another village here in NW Ohio.  They want to introduce a Resolution to recognize Military “Brats” for the reasons I described above.  I am so humble, and grateful with the gesture.  However I am “of” Whitehouse.  I was born at Mercy hospital, and brought home to Whitehouse 4 days later.  I then left Whitehouse in 1950 when I was 4.  For the next 13 years I travelled all over the world, often telling people I was ”from” Whitehouse, OH.  But the reality is, I am “from” nowhere.  I attended 11 schools in 12 years; 4 high schools in 3 countries.  I grew up on 7 Air Force bases, two of which are now gone.  I have carried the Pride of being a Military Brat in my heart for all these years.  If this organization is successful in relegating my Heritage to an obscure footnote in military history, where will that leave me, and millions of others?

What’s in a name you might ask?  Everything.  Ask an Anthony Wayne ‘General,’ or a ‘Buckeye,’ or an Afro-American or a Marine.  “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”  We feel the same way…

Our initiative here, to be recognized as “Military Brats,” is beginning to take off on the national stage.  A Huffington Post article came out earlier in the week (3).  I would love to see a Resolution such as I have proposed, from my hometown, recognizing us as “Military Brats,” acknowledging the pride we take in our service to our country.

Flying jets in the Air Force is only “what I did,” being a “Brat” is who I am…

I am more than willing to discuss further, if you would like.

Thank you,

Robert F. Holliker, Jr.
Lt. Col./USAF (Ret)
Air Force Brat


1.  (Introduction to Mary Edwards Wertsch’s book, “Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress, by Pat Conroy.

2.  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr5333

3.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bj-gallagher/we-are-military-brats-we-_b_6242090.html

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Whining About Shoeclerks

Shoeclerks:  Essentially ‘non-flying folks’ who are put in jobs to hinder, harass and annoy pilots.  For the most part these folks sit behind nice gray steel desks, creating empires.  We encounter them at Personnel, Finance, Weather, Intelligence, etc.  When these folks rise higher up to the Headquarters Level, they are often referred to as “Command Queers,” with no intentional disrespect to gays.  It is at this level that some pilots – pilots you would not want on your wing, or in your cockpit – make it to their empire.  At any rate…

This is an interesting picture:


It was taken from the front cockpit of the Nr. 5 aircraft in the formation.  And this is what brings me to this morning’s post.  We were not allowed to take off in a 5-ship formation.  As a matter of fact, we were not allowed to have 5 aircraft on the runway at the same time, lest it even gave the appearance of a 5-ship formation!  While I was on active duty I never really explored the origin of the “be no,” I didn’t have the time.  But I imagine it came from some shoeclerk, somewhere.  For there is absolutely no operational reason at all for lining up 5 jets on the runway at the same time.

Take off as a 5-ship?  Oh, hell no!  What are you, stupid?  You send the 4-ship off, as briefed, then roll the 5th jet.  As it was, we had to hold the 5th jet short of the runway until the 4-ship was airborne.  Then Nr. 5 was given clearance to take off.  Took damn-near 3 counties then for him to catch up!  But, some shoeclerk, looking out his window at Headquarters was happy, and that’s what was important, I suppose – never the mission… (Assholes).

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Would You Happen to Have a Magazine?

I was the Flight Commander of “B” Flight, the ‘Beavers,’ in the 560th FTS in the Fall of 1982.  My Assistant Flight Commander, Capt. Dave F., and his wife decided to host a “house-warming” party one Friday night.  Their house had just been completed in a new, upscale development in San Antonio.  All the Flight IPs and students were invited, along with their wives and/or girlfriends.  Perhaps 50 people in all.

One of the students was (Call sign) ‘Sluggo.’  Sluggo got his name because he resembled the cartoon character of the same name from years ago.

sluggo Dave’s wife was a “proper woman,” having been raised in the aristocracy of New Orleans.  She was a beautiful woman, a debutante of Southern Louisiana.  And she was the perfect hostess, gracious to everyone.

As the party rolled along, somewhere around 9 or 9:30 the doorbell rang and Dave’s wife answered it.  Probably not a good move.  When she opened the door, there sat Sluggo, on ‘the throne’ in a portal-potty!

He had gone out, found the nearby portal-potty and slid it over to their front door.  Then he dropped his pants and sat down.  Next he lit a cigarette, picked up his beer and rang the doorbell.  And that’s when Lucy opened the door!

Sluggo looked up and said, “Pardon me, would you happen to have a magazine?”  Thank God Dave was right behind her, and was able to catch her as she fainted…

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Echelon, You Hockey Puck!

This is an “Echelon” formation:


T-38A Echelon


It is used primarily at low level, to maneuver around the traffic pattern and so forth.  It is characterized with all the aircraft in the formation being on the same side as opposed to the ‘Fingertip’ formation where the Nr. 2 aircraft is on one side of the leader, and Nrs. 3 and 4 are on the opposite side.


Randolph AFB, TX T-38s in ‘Fingertip’ formation.

Before entering the traffic pattern, the Leader will command the formation from Fingertip to Echelon to be in a position to pitch out and land…

In the top picture above the formation is in the area, practicing Echelon.  To transition from a straight and level Echelon formation to a turning formation, the Leader will give the Nr. 2 guy a hand signal before rolling into the turn.

We didn’t have a formation for a “Fingertip” formation turn while in Echelon so it was all fairly simple – or so you would think.

One day, out in the area, I led a formation into an Echelon turn.  I gave a hand signal then rolled my aircraft.  Nr. 2, a solo with his head up his ass, rolled up on my right wing – in Fingertip.  Nr. 3, 1Lt. Howard Nicholas, was now in a quandary!  (Howard was the IP).  He wasn’t going to roll up on Nr. 2’s right wing as it was not a ‘legal’ formation.  So he just kind of held back, in Echelon, giving Nr. 2 plenty of space to maneuver, keyed the mic and offered the following words of thoughtful encouragement:  “Echelon, you hockey puck!”

And that was Howard being pissed!

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