(Submitted by Rat)
We had a class graduating this one Friday evening. The featured speaker was a general of some description stationed at Maxwell AFB, AL. The squadron had been tasked to launch a T-38 to fetch him. The weather was fine, the jet was just out of the paint shop and looking good, and the DO had issued a waiver for the IP waiver to land on a 7,000′ runway vs. our normal 8,000 foot runway requirement. On the surface it appeared to be a routine, ‘vanilla’ operation. What could go wrong?
Seems like it was about a noon departure with a scheduled return about 1500’ish. About 1400 the SOF (Supervisor of Flying) gets a call from Lt. Col XYZ who inquires about the whereabouts of the T-38 scheduled to pick up his boss (the general) to bring him to the event. The SOF tells him the jet is on the ramp and the pilot is probably in Base Ops getting his weather brief and filing his flight plan to RTB (return to base). (The pilot had called upon landing, as required, and had just told the Dispatcher he was on the ground and that the jet was still good. (The Dispatcher assumed the jet was at Maxwell) The general’s exec tells the SOF that he and his general are both standing in Base Ops, they are both pilots and there is no T-38 on the ramp. Mr. SOF now becomes concerned and has the dispatchers put out an APB (all points bulletin) for the missing jet – and tells the generals horse-holder he’ll get right back to him.
As the search for the missing jet is just getting underway, the dispatcher receives a call, “Hey, Sgt. ABC – this is Capt. P.. let me speak to the SOF?”
The SOF gets on the phone and it goes something like, “Are you OK and just where the hell are you?”.
” Well, Sir, I’m fine, thanks. I’ve been down here at Keesler AFB, MS now for about an hour and a half and there is no sign of the general I’m supposed to pick up. The weather is getting worse ( turns out he’d landed on a 6,000′ runway in a TRW ) and I think I need to get out of here fairly soon.
“KEESLER? – KEESLER?!” the SOF exclaimed, “WHAT THE &%$& ARE YOU DOING AT KEESLER!! THE GENERAL IS AT MAXWELL.!!” And then things kinda went South for Capt. P. from there.
We then had to launch two more jets: one to Maxwell to get the general, and another to Keesler to fetch fly original jet and Capt. P. I can just imagine the cockpit conversations in both jets on the return trips!