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T-38s - Beercan Flight

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O.K. - no project like this would be complete without a ton of "Hero Shots." Here are a few :) Here's another. Four of us went out one afternoon and took a bunch of "Hero Shots." I was the last one and by then we had figured out some pretty good angles.
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I really like this one! Gotta have at least one mosquito / fly shot. Chair flying - gotta fly something if an actual jet ain't available.
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O.K. Last one for a while. I promise. Here's one of my T-38 instructor, John Follman. John was also voted best I.P. by our flight. I really lucked out getting fantastic instructors for both T-37s and T-38s. Taxiing out for a T-38 solo. Nice picture with a T-37 in the foreground.
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Taxiing out for a four-ship ride. My I.P. was cool and let me bring my camera every once in a while. Four-ship lining up on the runway. Formation take-off. Terry Strickland front seat #3. I was #4.
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Route formation right. Another rejoin - coming into fingertip. Doing a cross-under to echelon left.
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At Christmas time we had a "Family and Friends" day. Everyone had some visitor with them as a guest. We did a demo stand-up situation over cake and ice cream. It was fun as long as I didn't get called on. Capt Brown, our Flt CC. Here's a good view of our flight room. The big BC on the sides is all built out of beer cans - hence the flight name "Beercan." The lectern was an actual bar. There's Carol on the right.
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T-38s on one wall. My instructor John Follman at our desk. I had a nice drawing of an F-106 under the plexiglas to keep reminding me what I was working for. At graduation I had all the guys sign it for me. I still have it up on the wall. The Budweiser Clydesdales on the other wall.
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A couple of months before graduation we did a community service project of polishing the F-86 that was just inside the front gate. It was a fun day. Eric Forsgard. There's me hanging on the wing.
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Me again. Ross Russo. Steve Adams snapping at Jane Oehme. Steve was a good buddy for that year, too. He was from Lincoln and was going back to fly RF-4s in the ANG. That was where our WSO Gary Leeder was from. Gary ended up in Boise as a cop. He was a great guy and an excellent WSO.
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Jane Oehme, Jeff Davis and Gary Brietling. Jeff ended up flying F-15s and flying for Delta Airlines. Gary got T-37s at Randolf and ended up at Carswell AFB flying with B-52 pilots, and then American Airlines. Jane got T-38s at Willy. "The Thinker" Steve Little - F-4s at Luke AFB. All finished and heading off into the sunset.
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Jan Harrington, Sheila Vogan and Carol Yelton Carol Yelton There's those Clydesdales again. Niel Flatt in front.
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Bob Vose buried in the Dash-1. Gotta have Rondo, too. (A citrus soft drink very popular in the early 1980s) In an academic class - Gary Brieghtling, Jeff Davis, Steve Little and Wendell "Griff" Griffin Terry Strickland getting ready for a solo ride.
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One of my last solo flights before graduation. Gotta check everything. The flying was really good in Arizona. Very few weather days and very few clouds to contend with. Going to Tyndall later for RTU was a real shock - having to fly and contend with weather just about every flight.
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Carols' folks, Dick and Darma Winder came out to visit and we took a side trip up to Sedona for the day. Getting near the end. Folks wandering in for assignments night. We had an informal assignment ceremony at the club a couple of nights earlier. Carol and Rita with Den Duvall.
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Something was pretty funny. Some refreshments before the assignments are officially handed out. Rita and Gary Brietling Niel Flatt on the left,Steve Little by the lecturn, Terry Strickland joking with Bob Vose. Sam Patellos F-15 to Bitburg, Russ Bridgham B-52 Castle AFB, Jim Vanek with a big smile RC-135 Offut AFB, Griff Griffin B-52 and Steve Adams RF-4.
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I think everyone is ready to get this show on the road. Gary Brietling facing away, Dave Romeo an I.P. who later ended up at American Airlines, Tim Guiry and one of the other instructors. Still waiting for the Wing Weenie with all the envelopes.
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A little horsing around. Jane Oehme in the center got a nice gift from her instructor for graduation - a couple of whiffel balls. He said that to hang in there with us for a whole year she had to have balls as big as anyone there. She also got a nice jock strap to hold them in. We had a toga party at the flight commander's house sometime before that at which Jane and a friend stationed themselves at the front door - no one wearing underwear was allowed to enter - bras included. That was a good party! Jane's friend got a little tipsy and found a bed to crash on. Turned out to be the flight commanders master bed. He went to bed later and fell asleep. All hell broke loose when his wife came in to bed. She was NORDO with him for three days afterwards. Jeff Davis Gary Brieghtling
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George Vida. He got a T-33 to Tyndall. He and his wife Nancy got there about a month before Carol and I did. When I was going through T-33 fighter lead-in and F-106 school we would all get together on Friday or Saturday night - have dinner and drinks and then play triple-yahtzee. George was nice enough to lend me his old Caddy when we came back to Tyndall for William Tell '82. Ask B.O.B. about holding the baby carriage in the trunk out in the road. Nancy was kind of pissed when she found there were no plastic wheels on the thing when I gave the car back. We drove that car all over creation and back with no power steering. Get over about 50 mph and the front end would shake like it was coming apart. Rick Betz Wendall Griffin
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Larry Schnieder Craig Donceel Steve Sischo
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Niel Flatt Tim Guiry Dan Harrington
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Ken Duval Eric Forsgard Andy MacGregor
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At the club we got our assignments at the assignments ceremony. They hired a cute gal to give us our envelope with the card on the left with our airplane and base. Before you could open the envelope you had to down a shot of tequila. Just before graduation we all went out for our official "Hero Shot." Last one - I promise - maybe. Getting ready for graduation. Uncle Bob flew his wife Pam, my folks Jim and Joan and my sister, Lynne down for the ceremony. Bob was just getting ready to retire from the Air Guard. He did retire just before I got back from F-106 school so I didn't get to fly with him. His brother, Duane worked in Ops in the 1950s and 1960s so we had a Yelton in the unit for over forty years. Pam worked in the ODC and helped train me when I got back from Basic. She's only a couple of years older than me and hates it when I call her Aunt Pam.
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The base put on a nice dinner for the graduates and their families. They also had a presentation with a slide of each guy anf the jet they were going to. Here's Bob Yelton, me, my mom, Joan on the left. On the right are my sister, Lynne and Carol. There's my dad, Jim, and Carol on the left. Bob, me and my mom on the right.
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Here I am taking down my official "Hero Shot" while chatting with John Vogan. John and his wife Sheila lived right across the street from Carol and me on Ash Street. Ross Russo wrote a song that we sang at a formal graduation event. It was called "The Saga Of AWOL 51 - Solo." It's hard to believe that I actually owned a Mess Dress uniform let alone fit into it. Carol Yelton
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Here we are just leaving for graduation. Bob, Pam, Lynne, Carol, Ron and Joan. Everybody seated for the big event. Jim, Lynne, Pam, Bob and Carol. The entire class of 81-04.
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Waiting my turn to cross the stage and accept my diploma. My buddy Gary getting his diploma. At the dinner the night before - all the wives got an award for their support throughout the previous year. Here I am pinning it on Carol.
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After the ceremony Carol got to pin on my new set of wings. Danny "Two Dogs" Cerna in the back. Willy Benton and Danny Cerna just behind me. Nice purse, "Dogs." About halfway through T-38s Ray Clack flew the C-131 down with Willy, Danny, LtCol Bernie Hollenbeck and LtCol Bob Boehringer for an "Atitude Check." It was a most memorable visit. There was drinking, sleeping in the Officer's Club, sleeping in the bushes and firecrackers in the main bar. I think it was a long, long time before they forgot the boys from Fresno :) Newly minted 2nd Lt. Ron Yelton - Pilot!
By the way, many thanks to Maj (at the time) Bill Lucido. Bill came out to McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in an F-106 for my Officer (AMS) School graduation and gave me my silver dollar.
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Took my folks, Bob and Pam and my sister on a base tour. One of the stops was the T-38 simulators. I spent a lot of time in there. Heading out to the flightline to look at some T-37s and T-38s. Before leaving for Tyndall AFB, Gary, me and a couple of other guys went out to Sky Harbour where the FAA was and took our Commercial and Instrument Written tests. That gave us Multi-Engine, Instrument and Commercial ratings when we all left town. The whole gang.
On a cross country Gary Brieghtling and I talked our instructors into going to Fresno. After we taxiied onto the ramp at FAT I started to crawl out of the T-38 cockpit and I caught my water wings on something and they inflated. What a great impression that made on everyone. Cub Jack had them all packed up again in no time. Our instructors were really uncomfortable as we went out to dinner in our flight suits. We did it different in The Guard! Stayed at Bob's for the night and had a great time.
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Me and my dad. My dad was really impressed with all of the instruments in the cockpit. He should have seen the inside of the F-106. Carol, Bob and Pam on the flightline. In the background is the old ejection seat trainer. Carol, Ron, Gary and Rita Brietling just before the graduation ceremony in the main auditorium.
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A visit home right after pilot training. 743 is the address. That was a nice welcome home. O.K. Just one last hero shot from the bottom of the box.
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