The briefing rooms are empty now, only echoes of flying boots and voices, long ago and far away: “Time hack, 5,4,3,2,1, HACK. Lineup card, I’m lead, #2…3…4. Engine start, 0800, check-in 0810, taxi 0815. Takeoff 0840. Takeoff data’s on the card. Emergency of the day is…The weather’s 800-3, light rain for takeoff. En route should be OK, 2500-5, broken clouds, no rain. Range weather, good, scattered clouds. The weather is moving from the west, predicting 500-1 on recovery, alternate 2000-3, so watch your fuel. Range Bingo, 4,500, Joker 4,000.
Range emergency nearest divert base is…The taxiways are wet, watch your speed. Standard through the arming area. Formation takeoffs, standard procedures and signals, headnods for brake release and a/b light. 3 and 4, take 15 sec spacing and join on top at 300 kts. Tops should be about 10,000….,” and then the fun begins, cruising en route in spread formation with time to look over the beautiful countryside and puffy clouds below. Check-in with a familiar voice from the squadron pulling Range Officer, first, 30-degree dive, then rockets, skip-bomb and everyone’s favorite, strafe. Then, the trip home, usually uneventful unless the weather is less than forecast, smooth touchdown, jettison the chute, shutdown, ride back to the squadron in the crew van, laughs.
Debrief, money changes hands from range results, more laughs, beer, party at the O-Club. Only we can relate to this. We’ve done it a thousand times, no, more, training for war. Then war came and we went. Some vanished in training, more would vanish in war, but they will never be forgotten, their faces and voices. Now we are old, but they are forever young – we few, we happy few, we band of brothers, we understand –
HAPPY VETERANS DAY to those departed and their families, and those still with us and theirs, our friends, our commanders, our squadron mates, our wingmen – to veterans of all wars and all services, God bless you and your families and God bless the United States of America
~ from the board and officers of the Super Sabre Society