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One green light, and a near disaster

I don’t remember much after hearing the Klaxon at zero dark 3 am or anything else, until I woke up to a 25-degree deck angle. My Phantom was climbing through 20,000 feet. Who was the idiot that did this to us? Then I began to settle down. I leveled off and was given a vector toward East Germany. My focus was on the instruments and the intercept, but my thoughts were on fuel, alternates, and getting home that night.

My first combat mission in an F-4 Phantom

We both listened carefully to the excited and concerned voices of the Marines and their forward air controllers pinned down on the ground in the city as they tried to talk me to the right building. The target was a small building in the middle of a city of small buildings. We both knew that the target was impossible to identify from the air.

A bomber crew Christmas

It was a week before Christmas 1964, and we had some time left to fly after returning to base from a typical nine-hour training mission. I talked the crew into flying at about 1,000 feet not far from the air base, to scout the snow-covered countryside for a Christmas tree. I was the copilot on the B-47E, and we started to look for the right size tree in a remote field.

How to safely solo a student in minimum time

Another CFI joined me in the grass area between the runway and the taxiways, as we both watched my student solo. I enjoyed smiling to the CFI who joined me and my student waved at me as he passed us halfway on his second takeoff roll. The student was smiling and waving at me with confidence in what he was doing – with only six hours of total time.