Monday, June 26, 2017

Sonny! I KNOW what that is!

At the time you are reading this, I will be traveling "North to Alaska".

Yep! It hit 100o this past week (in Texas) with a "feels like" of 107.  I'm outta here!  Fly into Anchorage, Train up to Denali, Train back down to Seward, board the Celebrity Millenium and sail on down to Vancouver.
So,  given that Sarge won't grant me dispensation from posting on Christmas Day.

Good likeness of Sarge there on the left, Me?  I haven't had that much hair since High School..
(C'mon, you KNEW that was going to come back and bite you when you posted it, right?)
I knew better than to ask off for something as inconsequential as a vacation.

So, I was doing a bit of research on the Tube of You for something to post about and found something that reminded me of a story.

Wait for it........

So.....There I was*

I'm an IP at Holloman flying the mighty AT-38 instructing newbie Fighter Pilot wannabes in the basics of flying a fighter.  It's a good assignment and I'm pretty sure I learned more about employing a fighter than I taught.  There were some excellent Fighter Pilots instructing there.

But, I digress.

Flying time was plentiful in the waning days of Reagan's first term.  10 sorties a week was pretty much normal, 15 wasn't unusual.  Cross Countries were available for the asking.  We also were tasked to deploy to other bases and provide adversary air for aircraft on those bases.  Those were always fun.

We also deployed for static displays at various Air Shows around the country.  It was this duty I was performing when this story occurred.

I had flown single ship, single pilot down to Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida for an Open House the Wing there was hosting. Normally, this would have been two aircraft and two pilots as we were tasked by TAC headquarters to provide an airplane for the show, and since "two is one, and one is none" applies to all forms of weapons, two aircraft were scheduled.  

Since we were flying so much on our training schedule, only two pilots could be spared.

Unfortunately,  the other jet developed a problem and had to abort.  

So,  I'm free!  Flying a jet, by myself, with nobody around me to watch.

Yes, there might have been a bit of inverted flight as I initiated a descent.


I arrive at Tyndall the afternoon before the Open House and get briefed on what I needed to do during the festivities.  Basically, I was to stand by my jet and answer any questions any spectator might have.

For about 8 hours.  Which made me wish the other guy hadn't aborted.

So, I'm standing there in the hot Florida sun, on the concrete, answering questions.

"How fast will it go?"

" About 1.2 times the speed of sound."

  "How fast is that?"

" About 800MPH.'

  "HOOOIE, that's fast!"  

'Yes, yes it is.'

Rinse, repeat, over and over and over and over......

When all of a sudden an older lady walks up,  Very Southern, Very Old, Very Old Southern Lady.

"Sonny, What kind of flyin' machine is this?"

"Ma'am, this is an AT-38"

"What does it do?"

"I train new Fighter Pilots with it"

"Sonny, don't you be funnin' me!"


"This here's a new clear bomber!"

Pause to translate.


"This here's a new clear bomber!"

"No Ma'am, it does have the capability to carry practice bombs, but not nuclear weapons."

"Sonny, I know what that is!"

She points under the belly of the aircraft.

"That's a new clear bomb!"

No, that's not a new clear bomb underneath.

I had no wish to be rude, so I stifled the retort and laugh that was on the verge of busting out of my mouth.

"Ma'am, that's not a nuclear weapon, that's a baggage pod."

"Sonny, don't lie to me, I know what it is!"

This goes on for a few more rounds.

Finally, I say "Ma'am, that's where I put my dirty clothes for the trip home!"

"Oh! .... Well, that makes sense! "  and walks off.

I turn around still trying to stifle a laugh and come face to face with the Tyndall Air Division Commander, then Brigadier General, Charles A. Horner.  I quickly come to attention and salute, He returns it and glances over my shoulder to determine the lady is out of hearing range and lets out a loud guffaw.

"Capt. juvat, it's good to see you again! You handled that situation very diplomatically."  

Several years before,I had flown one sortie on his wing as an F-4 student pilot when he was the Wing King at Luke.  I don't remember anything out of the ordinary happening on that sortie that would have caused him to remember me, but he did.

He went on, of course, to be the Air Component Commander for Desert Storm, then commanded NORAD as a 4-star before retiring.

That was back in the day when the Air Force had leadership!

I have a posting ready to scramble if needed that features General Horner.  My intention however is to post from the Cruise Ship to see if free unlimited wireless is indeed unlimited.  You'll see if it is this time next Monday.


  1. My wife and I visited Alaska some years ago, and no, not during the Gold Rush. We flew into Anchorage then took the train into Denali and stayed in Denali for three days. We did something a little adventurous for us arranged to be passengers on a bush plane to take a photo trip to Mount McKinley and except for those few seconds of turbulence where I let the camera fall from my hands and trusted to the neck strap to hold it safe because I needed both hands to grip the seat with an intensity just shy of leaving fingerprints in the metal, it was an awesome and breathtaking trip. The aircraft was loud enough to cover up my high pitched whimpering. (whimpering is manspeak for making frightened little girl sounds)
    Our trip continued into Canada then we sailed down from Skagway. Alaska was breathtakingly beautiful and we really enjoyed all of the trip.

    1. Yeah, Mrs J and I have been to Alaska 3 or 4 times,but Little Juvat and his Bride have not. As he's "between adventures" right now, we're taking them up north. (Probably) Not going to take an airplane ride, (unless I can connive my way into an F-15), but we're doing all the rest of the stuff. More to follow. Leaving the house now.

  2. You've done it again Juvat, started my week with a smile. Thanks!

    Have a great trip, and may the millennial density be tolerable on the Millennium. :)

    1. Thanks. At ABI waiting for the fltp. Little Juvat upgraded us to the front of the bus. Nice surprise!

  3. Replies
    1. Heck, he can't police me! What makes you think he can handle music.

    2. Why, Skip, you're most welcome. Coulda been worse. We coulda gone to Disney world and reminded you of .....Nah. I ain't THAT cruel!

    3. Oh dear, while I was preparing for work, then driving to work, it seems a scuffle has broken out in the ranks.

      As you were.

      Ear worms are a spécialité de la maison. Thanks for noticing, Skip.


    4. I am well aware of the Fantasyland earworm, may even have the tape somewhere.

  4. Excellent post Juvat. After Tuna's trip to Norway, now you're going to Alaska.

    And here I am, holding down the fort. (Or is that "left holding the bag"?)

    1. Hey, you can take a nice trip to the lovely city of Hanford CA I'm sure. It's probably a cool 110 this time of year.

    2. Yeah, but it's a dry heat.

      What? It's not? Belay my last...

  5. Looking forward to "our" trip to Alaska! Unlimited WiFi is indeed unlimited, but often SLOOOOOOOOOW. I definitely recommend writing it offline and just posting it once connected.

  6. Have a fun trip, juvat. Don't overeat, and let me/us know if your ship serves food 23 or 24 hours of the day. On my last cruise, a ten or 12 year old ( on his [ he claimed ] eighth cruise so far that year ) said he didn't like HAL ships because they only served food 23 hours a day. Oh well, each to his own.

    Paul L. Quandt

  7. Ah yes, Airshows... Shudder... Enjoy the trip! If you make it to Fairbanks, highly recommend the Pump House for dinner!

  8. Airshows and blivets.
    After a two day air show at NAS Hotter-Than-Hades two F-105's take 14R for departure, one of the first of over 30 flights and individual acft of virtually every type, and era, trying to do a Global Shield scramble to get airborne off of one runway because civilian surface traffic had the other side of the airport completely locked down. Wx CAVU, wind calm, temp. 100+F. Cleared and rolling, lifting, then on guard, "Thud no. 2 lifting 14R, apparent explosion under your port wing observed from Tower, contact Tower XXX.X, cleared for right downwind for emergency landing 14R." At the same time lights are flashing and sirens blaring as Crash/Fire start their sprint to the west side of the airport (civilian traffic comes to a standstill because they think it's part of the show). Thud #2 calls Tower, "Thud Flt: request to continue IFR Departure for Not-So-Far-West AFB." Tower, " Did you experience an explosion?" Thud #2, "Negative, I think my blivet unintentionally detached." Just then the Field Support Supervisor reports to Tower by FM and the Tower responds, "Affirmative Thud #2, Skivvies confirmed from the 8 to 5 to-go-board, contact Departure XXX.X."

    Took nearly an hour for Field Support to get all of the dirty laundry, er... I mean FOD, picked up while everyone churned, burned and broiled on the taxiways; except for the rotor heads, they laughed all the way out of the ATA.

    Afterward: Station CO had remains of blivet, and rather rank contents, boxed and sent by courier to Thud Sqdn CO with request for a copy of the "Things Falling Off Acft" report. What did the phrase "unintentionally detached" actually mean; and did the blivet do it autonomously, or did it have help? Never got to find out.


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