(Submitted by Rat)

Then there was the time I took a couple weeks leave and Capt.S, our Assistant Flight Commander was left at the helm. AT the time we had a student on Special Monitoring Status we were watching. Our DO (Director of Operations) had laid out a handwritten, personalized training directive in the SMS trainee’s grade book. I had carefully reviewed it with Asst Flt CC the day I’d signed out on leave, explaining to him this was “no-shitter” guidance. AT the time, he seemed to understand.

Upon returning from leave I discovered my understudy had taken it upon himself to “John Wayne” the DO’s explicit plan, because he had a better idea what the trainee needed.

My ass got a little tender over that one. The DOs normally glowing sense of humor didn’t quite shine thru in that particular instance. And my Assistant Flight Commander never quite made it to Flight Commander…

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Tough Love

(Submitted by Rat)

One of our squadron “additional duties “was pulling RSU (Runway Supervisory Unit) duties. To this end we. had to provide a crew of 4: 2 IPs and 2 students. The senior IP in charge was the Controller, the other IP was the Observer. The 2 students were assigned as Gear Checker and Recorder. A typical RSU tour might last 3 – 4 hours. At PIT we shaved off the 2 student duties and just had a Controller and a Monitor, the positions filled with an IP and a trainee. This was because at PIT our trainees were all rated – they had their wings.

JB, an IP in my flight, was an RSU Controller. One day our flight had to cover” Monitor” duties. I think the assigned guy went home sick or something. JB wasn’t doing anything so I asked him if he’d mind  covering  “Monitor”.  He said he was a Controller and “didn’t do Monitor.” I was busy with some stuff and not in a mood to be trifled with. I told him it was our flight’s responsibility to cover it, my expectation was for him to take care of it and if he didn’t somehow reach deep down and find” Monitor” in his repertoire, it would be incumbent on him to “pack his grip”.
“What do you mean by that?” JB asked.
“I mean you’re fired. Pack your grip, cruise the hall and see if you can find a desk in another flight. ”

JB suddenly achieved enlightenment, caught a ride to ” the little house on the prairie” (RSU) and Monitored for a couple of hours. Sometimes it’s just a matter of motivation…

(Can you imagine handling a situation like this today?)

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Bounce and Tilt…

(Submitted by Rat)

Rat came into my office one day with look of total bewilderment on his face. He had just flown with a Tweet (T-37) IP from across the base, who was on his way to F-16s. Sitting down with a cup of coffee he went on to share his recent experience.

He said the guy was a ‘pretty nice fellow’ and had been given a couple “fast mover” orientation rides in the ’38 before heading off to LIFT (Lead In Fighter Training) at Holloman AFB, NM. During the debriefing Rat asked him how he felt about the flight and if he had any question.s Here is where it got kind of “hinky.”

The guy reported that he felt relatively stable in “tilt,” but was somewhat uncomfortable in “bounce.” What? It took a minute but Rat finally figured out that the IP was referring to “pitch and roll!” The T-38 could indeed, be somewhat sensitive in ‘pitch’ but was fairly stable in ‘roll.’ But,”Bounce and Tilt?” YGBSM! Bounce and Tilt? Neither of us had ever heard of those terms in reference to pitch and roll…

Rat said it was kind of like taking a “guy off the street for a ride!” He went on to say that he thought that the guy was really going to struggle in F-16s – that he had a “tenuous” grip on the concept powered flight!

He must have done okay because we never heard anything more about him…

Bounce and Tilt…

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Guest Help

In our flying squadrons (ATC, Air Training Command) we typically had 6 to 8 Flights in each squadron. A Flight, in turn, would consist of a Flight Commander, an Assistant Flight Commander and anywhere from 8 to 10 Instructors. In addition we would also have Guest Help IPs. These would be individuals assigned to other jobs around the Wing, e.g., Academics, Wing Staff, Flight Safety, and so forth. Here on this blog I am occasionally using stories I have heard from others. To give them credit, I am categorizing these stories as “Guest Help.” You will also see credit given to the contributor where appropriate.

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A Lot of Barges on that Lake…

(Submitted by Rat)

Spectacular Fall day, flying VR route out to the west of un-named UPT base in NE Mississippi with a good guy – excellent student.

He’d trimmed his low-level chart down to within about an inch of the route corridor all the way around  ” so it would be easier to handle in the cockpit” (makes sense as a fleeting thought I suppose). His chart was about the size of an AF Form 70 (5″ x 8″). 

He ‘shacked’ the entry point. At the second turn, for reasons that remain a mystery to this day, he rolled out about 30 degrees short of his plotted heading and promptly flew off the route and his map. I remember thinking: it’s such a nice day, let’s see where this adventure takes us.  We were heading about 280 degrees – planned heading should have been something like 310. We smoked along for several minutes looking for his next turn point. He then pointed out an intersection a couple of miles ahead at 10 o’clock that looked deceivingly similar to the planned turn point. He remarked we were 30 seconds behind the planned timing, checked hard left, reversed to his track heading for the intersection.

He then made his next erroneous turn and pushed it up a little since he thought he was behind. Pressing on, we’d been over the delta for several minutes now, heading NW in the general direction of Memphis at 420 knots cause we seemed to be getting further behind.

Must have been 75 miles off the route by now so I inquired if he was sure of our position. With conviction, he said, “Yes sir – but  (pointing to his left) looks like a lake that size would be on the map. Do you know what lake it is?”

Told him I was thinking it looked strikingly similar to the Mississippi River aat it seemed to have a lot of barge traffic for a lake.

“Sir, it can’t be – the route doesn’t really get this close to the Mississippi.”  

Me – “Well – I’m purdy sure it’s the Mississippi River – you know we haven’t been on the route for about the last 20 minutes. How does the fuel look?

Him, ” Sir, what do you mean?  Oh, &$%*^#*&^%$ !!. “
So we toured for few more minutes, getting a close look at a couple of barges on the river, then climbed up to altitude and RTB’d.

Returning to the flight room, I had him grade the ride – and he busted himself! He sat there with his head hung and looked like he’d been through a Ford truck commercial. I then ask him if he’d learned anything today – he said something like, “Yes Sir – it’s important to pay attention to details and to have a chart large enough to cover more of the big picture.” I thought that was a good answer.

I then changed his grade to a “Good,” and told him I thought it was purdy funny, and bought him a beer.

Believe he got an Eagle out of UPT.

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Just Look at Him!

One morning I was waiting on an aircraft at the gate with a couple-3 of flight attendants. We were just about to begin our trip. One of the flight attendants asked if I had met the copilot yet to which I replied that I had not. But soon I spotted a guy with a vey ‘focused’ look on his face, heading directly toward us. I mentioned to the flight attendants that I thought this might be ‘our guy.’ and further told them I thought he would be armed as a FDFO (Flight Deck Federal Officer.)

One of the flight attendants asked how I knew to which I replied, “Look at the guy – he’s a ‘short’ guy, stomping our way with a somewhat ‘pissed off’ look on his face.”

Shortly thereafter he came us to us, introduced himself in a curt manner, then told us he was armed! The flight attendants all began laughing which caused him to scowl even deeper. Then the copilot asked what was so funny and I just dismissed it all with, “Oh, I told them all a joke earlier, and it looks like they just got it!”

Nothing more was said, and the trip went well…

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“Harry A. Hit a Tree…

In the early 70’s, there once was a C-141 on approach to RWY 6 at McGuire in ‘very bad’ weather one morning. It was misty and the ceiling was ‘marginal.’ As they approached minimums, where they had to make the decision to either land or go around, the AC (aircraft commander) took it upon himself to “press” just a little bit further – in hopes of finding the runway. Not good, and soon it became apparent, even to him, that they wouldn’t be seeing the runway on that approach. So he executed a go-around.

After completing a subsequent successful approach and landing, a tree limb was discovered embedded in their right wing once they reached their parking spot!

Not good! The way I heard that the incident was reported to MAC Headquarters by the local command post was:

“Harry A. hit a tree,
Flew around for all to see,
Now the aircraft’s parked on ‘Oscar 3,
Sure am glad it wasn’t me!”

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“I Guess the Check Ride is Over?”

Years ago, at Vance AFB, OK, this kid was on a check ride in the T-37. As he and his check pilot completed the pre-flight walk around, it began to rain. They both quickly hopped in the jet and began to settle in. Not wanting to get wet, the student decided to close the canopy, without saying anything to his check pilot.

The Tweet (T-37) canopy was electrically controlled, and once engaged by the student, down it came. Soon a sickening, “crunching” noise was heard. The check pilot called out for him to release the switch, but too late. The canopy had already come down and “cleaved” the check pilot’s helmet sitting on the canopy rail! Well Hell, with the check pilot’s helmet now almost in half, they weren’t going anywhere except back to the squadron – the check ride was over.

As they walked back, the check pilot asked his student if he hadn’t hear the awful crunching sound as the canopy closed? The student replied that he had heard the “crunching,” but thought is was “icing” that has accumulated in the canopy mechanism. The check pilot stopped, turned to look at him and asked, “In August?”

The check ride was over…

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“Lt. Col. E., Please Come Up Here…”

(Submitted by Joe D.)

A few years ago there was a change of command at Air Training Command (ATC, now Air Education and Training Command Air etc.). With this position being a 4-star billet there were all sorts of folks in attendence; high-ranking officers of all services, a couple politicos, local dignitaries and so forth. And of course, representatives of the ‘rank and file’ from throughout the command.

At Randolph AFB, TX over the years there was one family name, more than any other, that kept filtering through – the “E” family. There was General Jeff E., Ron E., Don E., Lee E., Lt. Col. Jeff E., and so forth. A couple were directly related, the others not quite so apparent. On this particular day Ron E., his son Lt. Col. Jeff E and Lee E. were all in attendence.

As General Robin Rand, the new Commander of ATC, began his remarks he asked ‘Lt. Col.’ E to come up to the stage. He meant L:t. Col. ‘Lee’ E. but Lt. Col. Jeff E. beat him to the stage! At the time Jeff had no idea why he was being ‘singled out.’

Now I know Jeff. He’s really a great guy, and I can just see him sitting there in the crowd. Then hearing his name, I can imagine him thinking, “What? Well Hell, okay then…” So, up he went.

General Rand, upon seeing Lt. Col. Jeff E. instead of Lt. Col. Lee E., begins a brief generic ‘spiel’ about how fortunate the Command is to have men like Lt. Col. Jeff E. as leaders – and off he goes singing Jeff’s praises, never skipping a beat in his presentation. And, no one was the wiser.

After a couple minutes of chatting with Lt. Col. Jeff E., he thanks him for his service, tells him to keep up the good work and Jeff heads back to his seat. Then General Rand continues, “And wouldn’t you know it, we have another ‘Lt. Col. E. here this afternoon, Lt. Col. Lee E., would you please come up here!” And the program picked up where it first left off…

While this is hilarious in and of itself, if you knew Jeff as I and many others do, it’s even funnier! Jeff is so unpretentious, he actually thought General Rand wanted him to come up on stage. I hope someday to talk with him about it – for his take on it all…

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“Oh, Bewdy!”

One afternoon I was flying in a 4-ship of T-38s at Vance AFB, OK. It was a beautiful day and we were really enjoying ourselves. The mission was going quite well, the students all doing fine. At one point I took the jet for a straight ahead rejoin. Captain Marty Miller was Lead at the time.

Marty was one of our “young troops;” highly motivated with being an IP, and very competent. When he called for the rejoin I was in the Number 3 position. We were all in trail, with 1 mile spacing between jets when Marty called for the rejoin. Being Nr. 3, I was 2 miles behind Mart. For whatever reason I was determined to “beat” Nr. 2 back into our fingertip formation that day. Number 2 was to rejoin on one of Marty’s wings, and I was to rejoin on the other wing, with Nr. 4 then rejoining on my wing.

So, out came my fangs and I lit both Burners! I “blew by” Nr. 2 about a quarter mile out from Marty, with a great deal of “Smash” (overtake) – too much as it turned out! I just couldn’t get that Bad Boy slowed up. Throttles idle, speed brakes extended, cross-controlling the jet – nothing was slowing me down! So when it was apparent (even to me) that I was going to overshoot, I rolled away, inverted and pulled, exposing my belly to Marty as I went by. All I heard from him was, “Oh, Bewdy,” in a manner that made me just want to hide!

We eventually all got back together and the mission continued – with me a bit humbled. A lot humbled actually! From that time forward, the term “Oh Bewdy” has stuck with us. And we both laugh every time we hear it.

When I later was transferred to Texas, I applied for a personalized license plate:

O Bewdy!

This is one of the tags hanging in Marty’s garage today…the other tag hangs in my shop. And some 45 years later now, we are still laughing about it… Gawd did we ever have fun back then!

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