Monday, October 8, 2007

True Tales From The Fabled Road, Part Three

Wilmington, DE to Andrews Air Force Base Maryland.

Actually, there was a whole East Coast Tour sort of thing. Since all of the dates and sequences are out of synch these days, I’m going to combine some of the stops from Wilmington to Orlando and back.

Andrews is a pretty impressive sight with several ‘sites’.

During the two trips to Andrews-

I had to wait in Guard Shack at the main gate. Be photo’d and finger printed. (Funny/Scary thing… Second trip they didn’t photo me. The temporary ID had the photo from the first trip.)
While waiting for my escort I read an article posted on the desk. In short it said, ‘if you feel this is an unnecessary inconvenience… we have arrested X# of fleeing felons as they tried to gain admission to AAFB‘.
Saw a helluva air show,
Went aboard the 707 that served as John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One,
Went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and several other monuments,
Played a lot of darts,
Was deterred from further trips downtown by a shot-gun toting maniac,
Went to Thanksgiving Dinner at a new friends home (60 Miles South of the airport!), Went to a Birthday Dinner for Michael Myers (60 Miles North of the airport! Those guys had the worst commutes ever.)
Was blessed out by an Area Supervisor for asking a question during an All Hands meeting. (After which, All Hands agreed, if the Asshole had answered my question it would have answered the 10 questions that followed.)
Met a great group of guys.

Next stop, MCAS Cherry Point, NC

Not so impressive.

I did take a nice drive down the coast. Gorgeous country.

I ran across an abandoned trailer from an 18 wheeler with the logo of an electical supply house from my old home town in Oklahoma. I remember the Mclain boys from camping trips at Ft Cobb Lake when we were kids.

I looked for Ben Scruggs in New Bern but had no luck.

MCAS Cherry Point and NAS ‘Tinker’ were two anomalies. Each bizarre in their own right.

Cherry Point was a wing walking nightmare. Especially when you worked alone and had to pull an airplane in or out of the hangar.

When you move, BEFORE you move an airplane, you go to Maint. Control and request Wing Walkers and check out whistles. Then, you wait for them to show up.

AFTER hours, same procedure except when there weren’t enough hands on deck you had to wait for Maint. Control to call them to duty!!! Yeah, that’s gonna work. After hours, call around and find four sober Marines to come in to work!

One Friday evening, late recovery, 15 minutes waiting for Wing Walkers, One airplane safely pushed into the hangar and a LTC, Marine, Pissed Off One Each….

“Did you just tow that aircraft within ten feet of any object or aircraft?!?!”


He stomped off to tell on me.

I stowed the tow tractor and went home. I never heard another word about it.

That was the ‘Lowlight’ of the first trip.

The second trip was more unnerving.

The site was being divided in two. The former T39 Lead man was to be the new C12 Lead and the biggest idiot from the T39 site was promoted to T39 Lead. YIKES!!!

Oh, yeah Johnny Not-So-Smart was now the H.M.F.I.C. Without simply saying Johnny didn’t know his anus from Uranus let me give a quick anecdote or two…

The Compass Rose.

A Compass Rose is basically a calibrated piece of concrete. The Cardinal Points of the compass are marked off. To use it, you maneuver the airplane to align it with the marks on the concrete.

Johnny Not-So-Smart was all over the map. The Tower called, repeatedly to warn him about encroaching on an active runway!

His response to my concerns? “Oh, they do that all the time.”


The next lowlight happened during engine trim runs after an engine change.

Johnny Not-So-Smart switched the cross feed to the new engine and, left it there. When he turned to taxi out of the run-up area the plane suddenly listed, hard!

One wing tip was 6 feet in the air and the opposite was 6” off of the ground.

“M2, get me outta here!!!”

“All Aboard! Next stop, Ft Knox, KY!”

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