Flying With Iranians…

In the late ’70’s, we received 29 Iranians at Vance AFB, OK for pilot training.  In preparation for these guys we had a 3-4 hour briefing on their (Muslim) customs from the State Department. (In retrospect, one of the best USAF briefings I ever received.)

One of the things they told us was that, in their society, if “they” lied” to you, and you didn’t ‘catch it,’ it wasn’t considered a lie. And, in addition, it was somewhat of an insult to these guys to challenge them if you suspected they were lying… Well, okay then.

I flew with their Class Leader, Lt. Bosh, very early on in his T-38 training.  We had just come back to the pattern and were coming off a touch-and-go I had demonstrated for him. As we pulled up for another pattern he asked me the final turn and final approach airspeeds – something he was responsible for knowing. I gave them to him, 10 knots slow.

As we were about mid-way through the final turn we began sinking like a sewer pipe. “Go around, use Burners!” the controller directed…

As we went around Lt. Bosh said, “Sir, I don’t think the airspeed was correct…”

“Well, you got me Lt. Bosh,” I replied. “I was just messing with you. I wanted to show you that, if I ask you a question and you lie to me, I will lie to you.  So, if I ask a question, and you do not know the answer, just tell me. Okay?”

“Sir, may I speak freely” he then asked.

“Of course.”

“Sir, I think you are crazy!”

But you know, the “word” got out and I never had any issues with those guys, and came to enjoy flying with them.

Note: These guys were all reported killed after they returned to Iran. They weren’t the Khomeini’s guys…

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