“The Little Bastards are Running Away!”

On oof the training missions we had at McGuire in the early 70’s was the CAM mission, Combat Airlift Mission. I wasn’t really very fond of them but they were great opportunities to build flying time. The pre-flight and post-flight briefings damned near killed me, with my ADD, AD/HD and WD-40…

We would take off in a 6-ship formation and fly around South New Jersey for a bit then head over to the drop zone (DZ) and toss out either cargo or personnel. During the summer months we would drop Air Force Academy cadets out the back. Then, upon landing, we would meet them at the O’Club for a few beers. And, of corse, we usually bought the beers for them.

One evening, after we dropped the cadets, we circled around to see how accurate we were with our timing, winds and so forth. We were scored on how close we got our cargo to the center of the DZ. As we circled about, our navigator exclaimed, “They are running! The little bastards are running away!” (They were running away from the designated target zone.)

Well it turns out that this particular navigator was renown for NOT buying beer for the cadets. In fact, he made a point of it that he would not buy any beer for any cadets. So these cadets were running from their target to offset themselves as much as possible for the scoring. The judges weren’t allowed on the DZ until after all the troops, in this case the cadets, were down…

I can still hear him crying, “They’re running, the little bastards are running away!” It made for an interesting debrief before we got to the club that night…

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