While Sarge was out last weekend gallivanting around celebrating his Mom's birthday amidst the fabled Fall Colors of Vermont, me and mine were dealing with the last vestiges of the Stupideum explosion from the week before.
The car was, as expected, totaled. USAA did their usual excellent job in expeditiously making things right in spite of a bit of paperwork snafu from the People's Republic of Maryland. The daughter in law is ensconced in a new car and we have to return the rental to the agency. You may remember that the car was rented on Lackland AFB. As the Daughter in Law does not have a military ID, and one is required for entry to military bases without major PITA, Mrs Juvat and I drove down to help out.
And brought my camera.
We had a quite enjoyable tour of the Lackland AFB Parade field and learned some interesting things.
The rental car company is just off the bottom of this photo, so we entered the parade field from the bottom left and parked.
|Going a million miles per hour just sittin' there|
|Good Luck Murph. No boarding Ladder|
|85-114 flown by Capt Cesar "Rico" Rodriquez|
Those striped plates were designed to reduce drag as well as the jet's IR signature, but fell off frequently, so by the time I got to the jet, I never flew one with them.
Next door was a Lawn Dart Mini-Van. No particular story here.
Next was a Warthog from Niagara Falls ANGB
Next Door was a SLUF (Slow little Ugly Firetruck)
Across the street was the best display of the lot. A display that looked like it was flying!
The pilot's name kinda did a jingle in my memory, but I couldn't place it. So I went to my research happy place and turns out, Sarge and I are descendants. Maj (eventually LtGen) Jay T. Robbins) was Commander of the 80FS "The Juvats" in WWII. Jandina was the name of all 5 P-38s he flew in the war and was actually J and Ina (his wife).
Now remember, Lackland has been the AF's basic training base since forever. Recently it's become a Joint Base with the Navy, so there's a bunch of kids starting their military careers there. I've heard it said on this blog many times before and I believe it. "We stand on the shoulders of Giants." In my opinion, on this parade field, the AF did a good job of reinforcing the fact that everyone doing their job to the best of their ability is crucial to the success of the mission.
Scattered throughout the field are placques describing individuals, primarily enlisted and efforts they made to ensure mission success. Some involved valor, most involved perseverance. I found them moving.
The guy described here was a successful, in that he survived the war, fighter pilot and officer. Got out at war's end, tried to make it in the Civilian world, then rejoined the military as an enlisted man eventually retiring as a Chief Master Sergeant.
Leaving the P-38, we got to one of my favorites, although she does need a bit of paint touchup.
The next aircraft is not what you think.
So, Gramps what did you do in the war? Got shot at and hit by guys in Bombers. Yeah, the Germans? No, the Americans!
It's a P-63 and its primary use by the US was as a target for Bomber Gunner parctice. They used frangible bullets, but even so it needed heavy armor to protect the pilot.
This airplane is huge! To give you an idea how big, my son is 6'4"
Painted as Gabby Gabreski's plane brought it's lethality to the forefront.
Notice the Murph proofing on the canopy
Next was the most unique airplane on the field.
The F-82 twin Mustang. Information provided said it could be flown and employed by either pilot, but didn't detail where the AC usually sat.
That was it for the fighters on display, I skipped a few, until we got to what I think is one of the most elegant looking planes ever.
The C-121 Constellation
In the South East corner of the field there's a break in the action from the airplanes. There's a memorial to working dogs.
And just in case you brought your canine friend, a functional dog water fountain.
As we turn back west on the final side of our parade, we encounter an A-26. Undoubtably it's one of those Sarge remembers from his youth. Ok, maybe not.
Frankly I was pleased that the AF has resisted the PC Police and left this one in battle colors.
Next door was a B-25
Then a B-24, I'm sorry, just an ugly airplane in my opinion.
The Flying Fortress.
And finally the last aircraft on display.
This B-29 is painted to represent the first B-29 that landed on Saipan and began the raids that helped defeat Japan.
All in all, it was a great day. The weather was perfect and the company sublime. There were a few irritants though. Very few of the information placards were usable. Additionally, many of the aircraft had visible damage, both sun and other. Hopefully, the Air Force is mid project on restoring them and what was displayed is a result of the demolish stage of renovation.
I also wondered how we went from B-29s and P-51s to F-15s and F-16s, skipping a whole generation of Air Force History. Turns out there's another park a block or two away on the other side of the highway with them. So, good, another road trip!