GI MEMORIES   

             

 


 

 

NO SWEAT

Colonel Jack L. Keith, USAF [Ret]
10th Fighter Bomber Sqdn, Toul AB, France
15 October 1957


..."Two wingmen [2nd Lt. Larry Nunn & 1st Lt. Suvold] and I, recovered into Châteauroux AB, after an 850 mile night cross country, out of Toul AB, France. When we arrived in our F-86Hs, the weather had unexpectedly deteriorated to zero-zero conditions and there were no alternate weather bases. The weather had been forecasted so great, that the Weather Sqdn [AACS] had relieved all of its "Zebras" and left a young Airman 2nd, or 3rd Class, in Base Operations on Stand-by. When we arrived over the Station in our Flight of Three, we were unable to raise GCA, until the Young Troop was transported out to the unit from Base Ops.

By this time, we were at Emergency Fuel; with only enough fuel for two passes. I instructed my # 2 wingman to land on the first pass; while I would continue around with #3 to land on my wing - as, #3's radio was inoperative.

On our first pass, the runway was not visible as we passed over the end of the runway; and, as I slowly applied power - the runway flare-pots became visible [No Electric Runway Lights due to On-Going Maintenance]! At that instant - #2 cut power and grappled for landing - and, when I looked over my shoulder, I noticed that #3 was missing. Number 2 came-up on the radio immediately, and advised that #3 had landed on his wing!

The Young GCA Troop, brought me around the second time and split the runway straight down the center; a carbon copy of the first pass. In my 30 years as a Fighter Pilot, that was the first time that I checked my ejection triggers in the traffic pattern - as; had your Young Troop - not completed those two consecutive, absolutely superior GCA patterns, I would not have accompanied my F-86H to terra firma!

It took forever taxiing back to the base of the Control Tower and Base Ops as it was impossible to taxi in the heavy fog. There were several multi-engine Troops peering out at us, through the Base Ops door - no doubt, wondering just who it was, flying in such weather - when their missions, had just been cancelled! Very appropriately, and overwhelmingly endorsed by the three of us; your Young Troop was credited with the saving of three Fighter Pilots and three F-86Hs! AMEN!

P.S. When we entered the door into Ops; with the fog swirling in with us - one of the Multi-Engine Troops asked: "How was it out there?" Second Lt. Larry Nunn, without the slightest expression, or hesitation, simply answered: "NO SWEAT!"

The Greatest Understatement of all Times!!!!

 

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