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What’s in a (fighter pilot’s) name?

Fighter aircraft have names such as Mustang, Lightning, Thunderbolt, Spitfire. Fighter pilots have names, or “callsigns,” as well. You are probably familiar with some of the callsigns of characters in Top Gun. You may wonder where a callsign comes from, or what one does to earn a callsign that sticks forever.

Things that go bump in the dark

I’ve never been an aficionado of night flying. You can stumble into weather you would normally avoid in the daytime and it’s often more difficult to do things that are routine during the day. Additionally, you always hear noises that never seem to occur during daylight. For instance, air-to-air refueling (AAR), which is challenging in the daytime, requires flying at 300 knots while close to another aircraft filled with fuel, and they intend to “pass some gas” to you—in the dark!

Friday Photo: Bronco at daybreak

While flying with the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron on one summer day, I had the first takeoff from our Forward Operating Location at Ubon Airbase in Thailand. My roommate had taken off a few minutes behind me and we were both headed south. I slowed down and suggested that he speed up to catch me so I could take his picture using my trusty 35mm. In a few minutes, Pat was flying off my left wing.

The story of a winged boot, and the men who wore it

We have a lot of memorabilia from both of our fathers, however, one unique item really grabbed our attention. It is a small patch featuring an embroidered boot with a single wing on it. Susan and I wondered what the significance of a winged boot was and why it was part of her father’s memorabilia. I searched the Internet and was stunned by what I learned.