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Jug

Tuskegee Airman

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Had the blessed good fortune to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA, near Dulles International this past Sunday. I had the extreme pleasure of meeting and chatting with Curtis Robinson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. He flew P-47s with the 332nd Fighter Group in Italy during WWII and was part of the legendary "Red-Tails", feared by the enemy and wanted as escort by every bomber crew in theater. The gentleman is some 90 years old now and probably will not be around much longer, but he still can shoot his own watch with his hands demonstrating air maneuvers. Subsequent to WWII, he became a pharmacist, raised a fine family, and has lived the American dream. He is truely a role model for those to look to when considering drug bums and dudes as an alternative. What luck!

 

Speaking of luck, I also met Major (then Captain)"Chic" Stratton, F-15 jock, who is the reluctant star of the outstanding IMAX movie "Fighter Pilot". You know right away that this guy was all that you might want in a real fighter pilot, low key, unassuming, and clearly confident. Glad he is on our side.

 

Also ran into Buzz Carpenter, SR-71 pilot that I knew when I was stationed down the hall at Beale AFB. We're both older, and fatter, but I've still got more hair than he does. He walked me around the SR-71 at the museum and, I've got to say, that beast is beautiful up close just as much as it is from a distance. It is amazing after all this time that we both fell into insulting each other like it was yesterday when we were 10 feet tall, bulletproof, and fearless. He told me how much faster and prettier his jet was and I told him that my jet was flying operational missions when his jet arrived on the scene and flying operational missions long after his jet had been tossed in the boneyard. We shared a grin, a knowing eye, and lots of memories.

 

As good a Sunday as you can get.

Edited by Jug

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Outstanding my friend. Nothing like getting some old and not so old aviators together to tell stories....

 

FC

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Years ago, my 2nd physics class, a friend of teach -- at community college, the best! -- subsituted for regular teach (hardass, student of "niceguy" Weiskoph who was student of Pauli). After class we rapped and he said he worked on SR-71 design. I asked him how they did that with SLIDE RULES?? He said HAHA he didn't think about it like that, but they did it anti-ways. Dam!

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Years ago, my 2nd physics class, a friend of teach -- at community college, the best! -- subsituted for regular teach (hardass, student of "niceguy" Weiskoph who was student of Pauli). After class we rapped and he said he worked on SR-71 design. I asked him how they did that with SLIDE RULES?? He said HAHA he didn't think about it like that, but they did it anti-ways. Dam!

Kelley Johnson, Lockheed designer of the SR-71, once said at the height of the cold war that he could fly the SR-71 to Moscow, land, and hand the keys to the Russians and they would never get it started, much less copy it. He also said the sad part was that, if asked, he probably couldn't either. The Skunk Works crew of technicians were a very special crew of very talented engineers and workers. They were in their forties when they created the Blackbird and were either dead or long-time retired when I heard Kelley speak. I'm slow on the uptake so it took me a while to consider what he had just said and what it meant. You can spend your whole life doing various things, but there are only a few, if any, things you can look back upon and say "I did that??". Make sure the opportunities to do something really worthwhile in your life don't pass you by. It's the good things you remember and cherish.

Edited by Jug

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awesome day and very good insight.

 

thanks for sharing that.

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