Two Empty Suits

Two ’empty suits’ hang in my bedroom – two empty suits from 40+ years ago.


These are the ‘old’ K2B cotton flight suits we used up until early 1971 or so.  They were comfortable and fit great – so we switched to nomex flight suits.  The nomex suits were ‘fire retardant,’ but ill-fitting and hot.  And more expensive I suppose, but I digress.  I want to tell you about these two empty suits this morning.

The suit on the left belonged to Lt. Col. Hadley Thompson; the one hanging on the right was one of mine.  When I received Col. Thompson’s flight suit, I managed to retrieve a few of my old patches and reconstitute my old K2B.

(To gain an appreciation for Col. Thompson, I will redirect you to, followed by a short visit to, ).

I look at these two suits from time-to-time, and reflect upon what they mean to me; simpler times, for sure.   I think to times when morals and values meant more, for sure.  To a period when we did things; not because they did or did not conform to “the Law,” or a certain ‘Operating Instruction’ (we called them Regulations and manuals in those days) but because doing them, or not doing them, was ‘the right thing’ to do.

I could go on forever on this track – doing “the right things,” vs. “the legal things,” but that is not the intent of this post.  This morning I just want to reflect a bit, on what the men like Col. Thompson meant to me; what they instilled in me.  Things like integrity, honor, loyalty and so forth – things that were integral to me becoming not just a pilot, but a man…

(And for the ‘smart asses’ of my following, I know it took a little longer than anticipated, but I am “getting there!”)

I like seeing Colonel Thompson and I hanging there – just “hanging out” together.  Maybe one of these days, I’ll take us down; but not today…

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2 Responses to Two Empty Suits

  1. Bob Baran says:

    I too have a K2B date 8 Jan 1968 – issued at Moody AFB – first week of flight school.

    Went on to fly the C-130 in Nam from July 68 to Aug 70 – then to Langley AFB and many assignments for NATO out of Rhein-Main AFB – Germany.

    My flight suit has been in a box for some 40+ years and I recently joined the Civil Air Patrol in San Diego.

    The CAP requires NOMEX so the K-2B will go back in the box !!

    I liked your story about doing the right thing – we are probably the same vintage – you can figure my age from my e-mail address.

    God Bless America-

    Bob (call sign in Nam was – “the red baran”)

    • Cheeta17 says:

      CAP: “Ve haf our rules!” LOL!

      Morning Bob,

      Thanks for your comments here. I am 68, UPT Class 71-07, RND. My 2 K-2B’s still hang in my bathroom. I might take them down, some day, but not today…I just enjoy seeing them hanging out together!



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