Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Larger Than Life

Colonel Daniel "Chappie" James Jr and Colonel Robin Olds
Phantom Pilots

General James
General Olds
'Nuff said...

20 comments:

  1. I know those dudes large balls on both.

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  2. General Olds' biography is a damned good read, if'n ya haven't already done so.

    And we wait for VX to weigh in, as he knew Gen. James, back in the day.

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    1. That would be AUTObiography. My Bad.

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    2. I have a virtual pile of "books I need to read". That's one, as are books by Ed Rasimus (I think there're more than one.)

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    3. Almost forgot, the WSO got me a bio on Colonel Day (I think juvat recommended it). Just came in the mail yesterday.

      I'll start on that one shortly.

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    4. My Buddy Ed In Florida went to Col. Day's funeral, now that you mentioned him. Here's an excerpt from his e-mail to me on the subject:

      I thought I would honor him by attending his funeral only to find myself honored for the privilege of attending.

      The funeral was held at the Fort Walton Beach Convention Center. In attendance was Senator John McCain, Bud’s cell mate as a prisoner of war in Viet Nam, no less than three other Congressional Medal–of-Honor recipients, numerous POWs, and about 1500 local residents.

      From the Convention Center to Barrancus National Cemetery where he was laid to rest is 47 miles, most of which is a four-lane US Highway 98. The route was lined with men, women and children saluting, waving flags, standing at attention at times in heavy rain without umbrellas; and oncoming traffic was stopped in southern tradition. After passing through the gate to Pensacola Naval Air Station the last half mile was lined on both sides of the road with Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, both enlisted men and officers standing shoulder to shoulder at present arms as the entourage passed.

      I have never witnessed or experienced anything like this in my life. Bernice (Ed's wife) and I did not cry the entire 47 miles but most of it.


      Quite the testimonial, eh?

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  3. General Olds broke one of my dad's ribs at a Dining-In at Webb AFB in the mid to late 60s. Dad was a T-38IP and a pretty big guy also so Gen Olds challenged him to a wrestling match. I think alcohol was involved, just sayin'. He came by our house the next day to apologize, so I got to meet him. That, and the F-104 squadron flying over our base housing, got me started towards a career in the USAF.

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    1. Well, it was a Dining In wasn't it?

      You actually got to meet the General? Awesome.

      Sounds like you joined the "family business", your Dad being an AF pilot and all. Sweet...

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    2. Yeah, Dad was an F-86 and T-38 guy, plus all the usual strange aircraft that pilots flew to keep flight pay when they were in desk jobs.

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    3. Strange was probably a more exotic word than applied to the situation. After Dad returned with my Mom, younger sister and I from Okinawa his second F-86 tour, the USAF was deep in the midst of the Post Korea SAC can win all wars mania. He got retrained as a BMEWS radar person and was stationed in such lovely places as Bismark ND, Miles City Mt and Thule Greenland. He maintained flying currency on such aircraft as were available, T-33s, C-47s mostly but I think he told me he also had time in a C-119. That went on for 9 years until we got transferred to Webb in 65. Went to Vietnam in 72 as the base Civil Engineer at Tan Son Nhut because he'd been medically grounded.

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    4. Ah yes, good old Curtis Lemay and his boys.

      Bismarck, Miles City, Thule! Man, those are not ideal assignments!

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    5. Heh, I was just down the road in UPT at Laughlin in Del Rio 1966-67. Young Whippersnapper!

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    6. So VX, were we still flying the SPAD XIII in that time frame?

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  4. When Daniel "Chappie" James made 4 stars, Pensacola had a parade to honor him. I was H.S. freshman in Army JROTC and marched in that parade. Afterwords, he met the public in Seville Square. We got to salute him, shake his hand, and get his autograph. Great memories.

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    1. That must have been pretty awesome.

      Both of these guys are personal heroes of mine.

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    2. When I arrived at RAF Bentwaters and the 81st TFW I was assigned Chappie's old Quonset hut as a BOQ before I made the move to the Woodbridge side. Chappie bwas the Wing VC and Olds the Wing CO. Legend had it they used to sit on the roof of the Quonset, drink beer and throw the empties (cans) at nearby passing cars, lol. (the road ran RIGHT by the front door of the hut just past the hedge.

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    3. Well they weren't going to throw full ones were they?

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)