Monday, July 10, 2017

The Prisoner's Tale

This flight is from Burlington IA KBRL to Sault Ste Marie MI.

I guess I always was in trouble of one sort or another.
Being a teenager in the early '60's in Eastern Kentucky meant having to go to work early. I didn't ever want to go into the coal mines. There was an airport outside of Hazard, not much of one but a place to hang out, wash planes, do some grunt work pushing airplanes and listen to the mine owners laugh about the dumb A..ed miners, like my dad. I wanted to fly so I swallowed my anger and smiled. And finally got taught to fly by the airport owner. I also got into trouble here and there. When the trouble got too bad the judge (an airplane owner himself) offered me a choice of jail or the Marines. I chose the Marines and got assigned to flight training.

I got assigned to a carrier and was stationed off Vietnam, flying cover for grunts and doing ground attack flying an A4D Skyraider.

We'd fly over, drop a little (actually a lot) of napalm, launching rockets as directed, and blowing up a few hooches here and there. I think a lot of those hooches never had more than mamma-san and papa-san inside. Occasionally, some light small arms fire would be returned but generally not a thing.

I found a drug habit too. Hell, everybody in the Nam used drugs of some sort even the high brass, looking at how they ran their war.

I finally managed to get shot down and taken prisoner. Not something I recommend to anyone.

My broken leg sort of healed itself while I was in the Hanoi Hilton. I also lost 65 lbs but did kick the drugs. Not a rehabilitation program I'd recommend but it worked. No more drugs, well except for maryjane. Like everybody else in the world I suppose.

Long story short, after I was "repatriated" the Navy fixed up my leg as well as possible and I got a medical discharge.

I bummed around a while, drove a big truck, drove a little truck, found my way back into aviation flying for a major corporation, and then found my way into piloting for first one charter service and then another.

And finally here I was flying for Mid-Central Air and things seemed to be settling down for me.

Then I was assigned the flight from Duluth to Cairo and life started a slide I couldn't have guessed at in even my wildest nightmares..

She was just so dang pretty and...well available I guess. I was looking for a thrill.

And she was looking for a thrill too.