If you have the time, check out this Navy Times bit on the last flight of the F-14 Tomcat.
I am not the least bit embarassed to admit that this made me tear up. I know it will make no sense to people who have never been in the military, but it is really hard to describe how attached you get to your equipment. I remember spending hundreds of hours lovingly stripping my M1-A1 turret of all pieces, cleaning everything with a silk brush to remove all dust and particles, repainting, touching up, sleeping in the motor poll as the pieces dried, and then spending another day reinstalling everything. And I would do that 2-3 times a year, only to trash it on maneuvers a week after the paint dried. But I loved that tank, it truly was a modern mavel, and the damned thing was there to keep me alive. Years after I left active duty I saw a picture in the Army Times of the 11th Cav firing Table Eight, and I was immediately able to pick out my tank because of the NATO marker panel on the back.
Good times, and I still miss that tank.
I know how you feel John.
I feel the same way about my beloved old A-7E Corsair and especially so about the former USS America.
I never understood why they couldn’t make a museum out of the America. It was a fine ship.
Thanks for sharing that John. When my husband gets home I’ll make a point of showing him that. He still, after 30 plus years love to watch the air power shows on the military channel.
He was in MAG 15 then Task Force Delta out of Nam Phong…F-4’s if I have absorbed the correct information over the years. I can identify a CH53, that seems to be the one he gets truly misty eyed about.
Funny — Mike Dukakis was saying the same thing just the other day!
And the fading memory shall be a big, fat Duke Cunningham pumping his fist in the air as he tears down the road on his motorbike while Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” plays in your ears but from no discernable location.
Mr. Cole, a few questions:
Did you see active combat (i.e., Bosnia, Iraq #1 (I don’t know your age), etc?)
And…do you fear a call-up, with the IRR and such, and if not, why not? Are you cleared on never returning to combat?
Thanks in advance. Sorry if these are dumb questions…I know little on how the military works.
Wow. Stories like that make me want to join the military.
Unfortunately, now does not seem like a good time.
Too bad you don’t have it now. Drive that puppy onto campus and see if your students pass in an assignment late ever again. :)
Pretty good piece, but I have always been a fan of the F-14 ever since I was in the Navy.
What will happen to the RIOs?
If it takes an 18:1 ratio of fixing vs. flying, do you think that the Iranians are up to using the F-14s that they have