John F. Lisella



Preferred Name: 
John

Nickname/Call Sign:

Date of Birth: January 8, 1932

Highest Military Grade Held:

Hometown:

Biography

“While I was stationed at the 48th Wing with my good friend George Peterson. We thought we knew how to play golf a little bit, and decided to figure out a way to go up to St. Andrews and play a little golf. We were in England and St. Andrews was up in Scotland and we decided to get an Air Force airplane that was Aero Club airplane at Mildenhall AB. So we checked out in the airplane, it was an L-20 (high wing airplane) got our wives, threw our golf clubs in back, took off from Mildenhall and headed up to Leuchars Naval Air Station which was just outside of where St. Andrews was.
George is navigating and I’m flying and the ladies are in the back seat. We finally get up and were headed to Leuchars and we have to cross a body of water that’s called “the Firth of Froth” [Forth]. We looked down on the body of water and saw some waves with whitecaps. I told George, “it looks like we’ve got some heavy winds down there, maybe we ought to find out which direction the winds are”, cause we had a very limited cross-wind capability in that airplane. Sure enough, the winds were direct cross at about 35 mph, which was way above the limits for the L-20. So I told George, “Find us a place where we can go. Divert, cause we can’t land at Leuchars.”
We couldn’t find anything so I said, “Ask the tower operator if we can land across the airway”, cause we had a capability, that airplane you could land in the sod. We came to find out that they had just finished digging trenches along the side of the runway. They were putting in new runway lighting, and so George said to me “We have no option, we’ve got to land there, come hell or high water.” So we gave it a shot. We told the ladies to get really strapped down in the back, and on our final approach we tried the best cross-wind, which wasn’t quite good enough and the airplane started a great big whifferdill on the runway, we almost drug a wing, but what was really funny, is the ladies in the backseat were screaming like hell.
We finally got the airplane under control but we couldn’t taxi because the wind was that strong, so we stopped it right there and they sent out a “pick me up” truck and got everybody onboard safely.
Funny part is, the ladies said, “Screw you guys, we’re taking the train back to Lakenheath.” But they didn’t. We had a good time playing golf and it was a great memory. George, as a matter of fact, wrote a great big story on it for one of his classes when he was getting his degree…”

Units Assigned

  • 1955 Class 55F Romeo, Laredo, TX
  • 4925th Test Group, Kirkland AFB, NM (F-84G)
  • 4925th Test Group, Eniwetok AB, Marshall Islands (F-84G)
  • RTU Luke AFB, AZ/Nellis AFB, NV (F-100)
  • 492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron/48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Lakenheath RAFB, England (F-100)
  • AFIS, George Washington University
  • Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA
  • Skoshi Tiger Squadron, Vietnam (F-5A)
  • Headquarters, Pentagon, Washington, DC
  • National War College, Ft. McNair, Washington, DC
  • Systems Development Programs, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
  • Air Force Systems Command, Andrews AFB, MD
  • Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

Flight Info

F-84G
F-100
F-5A

Military Education

MBA (AFIS) George Washington University

Civilian Education

Interview with John Lisella

Biography

Biography

“While I was stationed at the 48th Wing with my good friend George Peterson. We thought we knew how to play golf a little bit, and decided to figure out a way to go up to St. Andrews and play a little golf. We were in England and St. Andrews was up in Scotland and we decided to get an Air Force airplane that was Aero Club airplane at Mildenhall AB. So we checked out in the airplane, it was an L-20 (high wing airplane) got our wives, threw our golf clubs in back, took off from Mildenhall and headed up to Leuchars Naval Air Station which was just outside of where St. Andrews was.
George is navigating and I’m flying and the ladies are in the back seat. We finally get up and were headed to Leuchars and we have to cross a body of water that’s called “the Firth of Froth” [Forth]. We looked down on the body of water and saw some waves with whitecaps. I told George, “it looks like we’ve got some heavy winds down there, maybe we ought to find out which direction the winds are”, cause we had a very limited cross-wind capability in that airplane. Sure enough, the winds were direct cross at about 35 mph, which was way above the limits for the L-20. So I told George, “Find us a place where we can go. Divert, cause we can’t land at Leuchars.”
We couldn’t find anything so I said, “Ask the tower operator if we can land across the airway”, cause we had a capability, that airplane you could land in the sod. We came to find out that they had just finished digging trenches along the side of the runway. They were putting in new runway lighting, and so George said to me “We have no option, we’ve got to land there, come hell or high water.” So we gave it a shot. We told the ladies to get really strapped down in the back, and on our final approach we tried the best cross-wind, which wasn’t quite good enough and the airplane started a great big whifferdill on the runway, we almost drug a wing, but what was really funny, is the ladies in the backseat were screaming like hell.
We finally got the airplane under control but we couldn’t taxi because the wind was that strong, so we stopped it right there and they sent out a “pick me up” truck and got everybody onboard safely.
Funny part is, the ladies said, “Screw you guys, we’re taking the train back to Lakenheath.” But they didn’t. We had a good time playing golf and it was a great memory. George, as a matter of fact, wrote a great big story on it for one of his classes when he was getting his degree…”

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 1955 Class 55F Romeo, Laredo, TX
  • 4925th Test Group, Kirkland AFB, NM (F-84G)
  • 4925th Test Group, Eniwetok AB, Marshall Islands (F-84G)
  • RTU Luke AFB, AZ/Nellis AFB, NV (F-100)
  • 492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron/48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Lakenheath RAFB, England (F-100)
  • AFIS, George Washington University
  • Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA
  • Skoshi Tiger Squadron, Vietnam (F-5A)
  • Headquarters, Pentagon, Washington, DC
  • National War College, Ft. McNair, Washington, DC
  • Systems Development Programs, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
  • Air Force Systems Command, Andrews AFB, MD
  • Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

Flight Info

F-84G
F-100
F-5A

Military Education

MBA (AFIS) George Washington University

Civilian Education

Photos
Video

Interview with John Lisella

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