I always wanted to fly....

Well, the U.S. Air Force gave me that chance. I spent 15 years in the Air Force, and I must admit that for the most part, it was a thrilling adventure.

For the first 11 years of my career, I flew as a Weapon Systems Officer (WSO; also known as the Navigator, Guy-In-Back (GIB), and Rear-Seatter) in the RF-4C Phantom II. The RF-4C is the reconnaissance version of the F-4, both of which were used extensively in the Vietnam war. And I gotta tell you, it was probably the most fun and exhilerating job I'll ever have. Hell, they even paid me extra money to fly (because it was considered a hazardous career), but I'd have paid THEM if they wanted. The range of feelings you get when you are skimming 100 feet off the ground going over 600 miles per hour, or flying at 30,000 feet in the dead of night looking at the galaxy above you, are almost indescribable. Then, of course, there's also a down side associated with flying; you lose friends. For example, back in the early 80's, I lost 4 friends in a two-day span due to crashes while we were participating in Red Flag war games over the Nevada desert. Times like those were hard to take, but we all accepted the risks when we took the job, so we had to deal with the consequences when bad things happened. Luckily, things like that weren't an everyday occurence

As I continue to develop this page, I'll share some of my most memorable moments of my flying career (...and of course, here I am, thinking that anyone may really be interested in hearing my stories!). Don't look for any tell-tale type stories though, because this is a family-oriented page. We'll have to get together over a beer before I spill my guts on THOSE kind of stories!  I've also added a story submitted to me by Thomas Utts, about his memorable ride in a Thud back in 1966, so check it out!

If you're interested in other USAF stories/pictures/information, take a peek at these sites:

- Phil Rowe's Home Page
- 12th Tactical Fighter Wing Page

- 8th/15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons
- 38th Tactical Recon Squadron, Zweibrucken, Germany
- 1st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, RAF Alconbury, UK
- Mike Kopack - Phantom Productions
- The Air Force Association
- Aviation Poetry - a compilation
- Thomas Utts Home Page - He's looking for stories about Clark AB for a book, so be sure to investigate his page.
- Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC)
- Air Force Link (Official Site of the USAF)
- Phantoms Phorever Home Page
- Grim Reapers Page  - Phantom photos
- Dean's Air Force Home Page
- Crofton's Patriotic WebSite - You have to check out George's amazing graphics!  He also did the last one on this page.
- Tommy Towery's Home Page
- Unofficial Air Force E-mail Locator
- Tom Pirtle's Home Page
- The F-4 Phantom II Society
- Military Research Links

For your viewing pleasure, here's a few more pictures.  Please try not to laugh out loud when you see my "hero" portrait....

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Updated 6/25/02