A Bitter Sweet Ride
All of the Commanding Officers of the units at Otis AFB met weekly on Friday to resolve the many issues arising at this now-orphaned facility. Among them was COL John Olson, Commander of the 101st FIW, 103rd FIW, ANG, flying F-106s. We became friends and I helped him as much as possible (I had almost a dozen CG civilian employees as members of the Fire and Crash Crew; so too with Base Ops.) He arranged for my oldest son Gary to enlist in the ANG and go off to Colorado for radar school. He also arranged for me to fly with him in the two-place TF-106B. Before we could consummate that flight, we received word that the CO of CGAS Brooklyn, a CGA classmate of mine, had collapsed on the handball courts, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and needed transportation via one of our HH-3Fs directly to Bethesda Naval Hospital. CCGD1 approved and we honored their request.
Col Olson had a TF-106B ready for me in minutes, and we literally blasted off for Andrews AFB. After a burner climb to FL410, a slow roll to level flight, and a landing at Andrews in 44 minutes, I rented a car and drove to Bethesda. There was little I could do at this point other than offer support.
On the night flight home to Otis, again at FL410, one could see all of the glittering lights of almost the whole northeast coast. Somehow they had lost a lot of their glory, once again reminding me of what a thin thread our lives hang on. We can plan, but God decides.