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 https://www.lonelypilotbob.com/?p=1448, followed by a short visit to, https://www.lonelypilotbob.com/?p=2082 ).
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…