I met Jim just a few hours into my four years at the Air Force Academy. As the last step of induction, I was led by an upper classman (a “Firstie” or senior) to my dorm room on the top floor of Vandenberg Hall. When I entered the room, I saw Jim sitting at one of the two desks looking as stressed as I felt. Before I could even say hello, the firstie screamed “Get this room in order! I’ll be back in 30 minutes and this room better be ready. And somehow we made it. (more…)
This is Cisco, aka Mike Francisco. He was a fellow member of the Air Force Academy class of ’67. After graduation, we split directions as Cisco had eagle eyes and was bound for pilot training. Me, my eyes had deteriorated during my four years at the Academy and I flunked the pilot’s eye exam four times, each time getting one eye or the other to qualify but unfortunately not both at the same time. By the slimmest of margins, I found myself qualified to earn the wings of a navigator instead of becoming the fighter pilot I dreamed of.
At first, I thought I would instead take the non-rated route in the Air Force, but my squadron officer convinced me that earning navigator wings might open the door for the Air Force to grant me a waiver on my eyes and let me go to pilot training after a few years of flying. So we packed our bags and headed to Mather Air Force Base in California where I did (more…)
This photo of Hamilton Air Force Base, located across the Bay from San Francisco, was taken a few years before I got there, say about 10 or 15. Anyway, I had some fun there with my roommate William D Abraham. Abe, just like I did, loved Corvettes and we both got one as soon as we could legally go into debt our senior year at the Academy. But that’s another story. This one involves, two girls, the Air Police and the Base Commander, who just happened to be the father of one of the girls. Nuff said for now.
After being “locked” up and pounded by upperclassmen and academics for a full year, we in the Doolie class of ’67 were ready to leave the Academy for a long trip visiting Air Force, Army and Navy bases around the US. It was early July and we packed our B4 bags and waited underneath the Vandenberg Hall, the cadet dorms, waiting for buses to take us to Petersen Field to board the MATS aircraft that would transport us around the country. We were flying on the predecessor to the current AF workhorse, the C17 Globemaster that we so often see in news reports. But back them, many of the Air Forces’ aircraft were still piston-powered prop planes. (more…)
I’ve been watching all the news coverage of the President Kennedy assassination and find myself thinking back to that day. I was just turning 17 and was a Doolie (freshman) at the Air Force Academy trying to survive first year hazing (back them, it was not only tolerated but encouraged). I was sitting in the Academy hospital waiting room – waiting for a physical therapy appointment for a torn MCL from playing football – only vaguely paying attention to the TV. Then Walter Cronkite breaks in with his booming voice and announces that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. Shortly thereafter, he took off his glasses and said that Kennedy was dead. I sat there transfixed and missed my PT appointment – got 5 demerits for that.