28 February 1941 – The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) proposal for a “day fighter”, the F-84 first flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948
William M. Newell
“I was a brand new arrival at Myrtle Beach in January 1962 and assigned to the 353rd TFS. One of the first days in the squadron Jim Liles, Jody Kraly, and myself were walking back to the squadron and one of them asked what my last name was because we had specially made name patches for our flight suits and jacket and being so new, mine had not been made yet.
I had nothing on to identify my name. One of the guys was trying to come up with the name, like Newsom or Newton and finally one of them said, Hell, we’ll make it Newt. That nickname has stuck with me for 58 years.
I’ve told the story many times about my first night flight on a tanker training mission out of MYR. As I remember it was an 18 ship gaggle and I was number 18. We were taking off in pairs and I was on Jack CB Haberski’s wing. Of course, I was watching 16 afterburners torching off in front of us and was half-blinded. CB, as he was called, made all the T/O calls orally because it was dark as hell when we released brakes.
I was hanging on the wing as best I could as we turned out of traffic at about 400 for the join-up and probably wiping the cockpit out with the stick trying to stay tucked in. All of a sudden as I was looking up the wing to CB’s cockpit he flicked his cigarette lighter on and lit a cigarette and smiled at me. I relaxed a bit and figured I was in good hands having him as my lead if that was all he was worried about. We were together in the 353rd for the next year and a half. To this day I’ve never known a better F-100 jock than CB.”
I somehow received a Regular Commission out of college and had planned to stay until retirement. I got married 2 weeks after college graduation and was assigned to Vance AFB as the assistant O Club officer. I applied for pilot training and began UPT at Graham AB, Fl. in Jan 1960 and got to MYR in Jan 1962, Along the way I had applied to AFIT to get my Master’s degree and had been accepted for future school enrollment. In 1965 I volunteered for assignment to Viet Nam. Headquarters USAF wouldn’t release me to go to Viet Nam because I was combat-ready and in a “Critical Career Field”, and AFIT wouldn’t release me to go because I was on tap to go to school. CATCH 22. We made the decision to separate and I was released in Dec. 1965.
I was working back home in Stroud, Okla in 1966 when a Lt. Col Dexter Taylor from Tinker AFB somehow found me and was looking for recently separated pilots to fly the C-124. Ugh! I finally joined that squadron in June 1966.
In Dec. 1964 I was hired by Braniff Airlines in Dallas, Tx. I flew the B-727 out of Dallas as Second Officer, First Officer, and Captain until Braniff went bankrupt in May of 1982. I applied for and was accepted as a new hire pilot with Piedmont Airlines in N.C. in July 1982.
I flew out of Greensboro, NC on the B-727 as S/O and F/O, then Captain on the F-28. Piedmont was bought by USAir in 1989 and the two airlines merged. I went into the Training Dept for USAir in 1989 and eventually became the Senior Check Airman on the F-28 program where I stayed until 1997.
I retired in Nov. 1997 and we moved back to Dallas from N.C. Almost immediately, I got a job as Corporate Captain with Martin Sprocket and Gear from 1998-2002. After that, I thought my aviation career was over when a friend called and asked if I was still current on the Lear. I was, and started flying the Lear 55 out of Love Field in 2002 as a Corporate Captain with Dallas Jet Management and Rosebriar Holdings until 2017
Due to a series of 4 back surgeries, I finally had to call it a day in 2017. In October I was honored by being awarded “The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award” given in recognition of over 50 years in the cockpit with no accidents or violations. All in all, it was a really rewarding 58 years in aviation.”