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F-106 School - Tyndall AFB, FL

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A nice Panama City sunset. Both Fighter Lead-in (T-33) and F-106 School were at Tyndall. The first thing we noticed when we arrived was the SMELL!!! There was a paper mill nearby that was unmistakable in its aroma. The only good thing about the paper mill was that it was located right under the Final Approach Fix - just keep smelling the air on final and when the air took a turn put the gear down :) When we first arrived in town we looked all over for an apartment. The housing situation was not good. We finally found one out on Transmitter Road about a 15 minute drive from work. After UPT at Willy we had 7 weeks until Lead-in School started. We got absolutely no help from the AF moving folks at Willy. They said our furniture would get there when it got there. So we lived like paupers for over a month. We took a couple of doors off the hinges and set them on moving boxes. Those were our tables. A couple of beach chairs and we're living in style :) I do have to hand it to Bernie Hollenbeck (my Flt Cmmdr at home) called and I mentioned our problem. He gave Williams AFB a call and our stuff was delivered 3 days later.
Carol - after a shopping excursion in my old Datsun pickup.
We got to Tyndall with just what we could stuff into the back of my truck. Just the essentials, you know, all my record albums!
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Carol relaxing in luxury. Finally - some furniture! My first back seat ride in an F-106 as a real pilot :) One thing that was diiferent was that at Willy there was absolutely no weather to contend with. In Florida there was always weather. On my first front seat ride we were sitting "In Position" on the runway when the controller asked if we would fly chase for an F-102 drone. It was flown with a pilot and when he lowered the gear only one main came down. He couldn't get it down so he ejected. The drone then proceeded to fly around on its own for a while. We watched as it flew right down the runway so we took off to follow. Just as we got airborne it took a nose dive and went into the trees just off the departure end. Big fire ball and debris in the burning trees. Very exciting!
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One of my early front seat rides. The day I soloed was the day of the very first Space Shuttle launch. We all had the option of taking the day off to go over to watch but I figured I could always go and see it some other time. You only solo once, right? I never did get to see a Shuttle launch but I loved every single F-106 launch!!! Who didn't get a fright on your first night solo when the F-tank started banging. Airplanes always make scary noises at night, don't they? Here's Carol getting ready to cook up something in the kitchen. Boy, those appliances are sure 70s! George and Nancy Vida. George was in my UPT flight at Williams. He went to Tyndall to fly T-33s. We would get together on the weekends to have dinner and play triple-yahtzee. He lent me his car when we all came back to Tyndall in 1982 for William Tell - it did not end well for his car. Oops! He broke his arm by falling off a T-33 wing doing a walk-around in the rain.
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Clyde Paris, one of my F-106 classmates married a nice lady from Iceland. I was in a panic since I was having trouble getting into my suit pants just before the ceremony. This is a long term mystery as all of my flight suits, uniforms and other clothes still keep shrinking while sitting in my closet. What's with that? My favorite memory from Tyndall happened in the Officer's Club at lunch one day. If you were active duty AF you had to be a captain and fly the T-33 for a few years before you could go to F-106 school. So, being a butterbar at F-106 school I got a lot of dirty looks. I went over to the Club for lunch with a couple of classmates. As we were looking for a table with our trays I heard from across the room, "Hey, Ron - over here." It was BGen Pat Markesano from back home sitting by himself at a big round table. I responded with an equally loud, "Hey Pat," just to mess with the active duty guys. Sure 'nough - a brownbar calling a general by his first name did the trick. The room went silent like an E.F. Hutton commercial. That was fun!!! :)
F-106 School