was a boom operator for air-to-air refueling while serving with the
USAF. Now living in Guam with his 20 dogs and wife of 40 years, Boomer
is a main dorfworld supplier of jokes and humorous cartoons. A
rabid Packer fan, he can frequently be found on various message boards
mixing it up with trash-talking punks from rival teams.
dorfworld.net salutes Boomer for his service to country, his 20
dogs, favorite wife (Keiko) and to the GREEN
is one of his favorite stories:
I'm at it, may as well send one more...this one taken in December 1984
when I was "rewarded" by being allowed to fly an F-15 mission.
One hour and one of the real kicks in the butt. Let me tell ya. Down the
runway, leveled at about 50 feet for a bit then nose straight up and out
of sight in no time. The F-15 can break the speed of sound going straight
up. Tho we didn't exactly do that, we busted 20,000 feet so fast you wouldn't
believe it. Watched the island of Guam shrink below me in the rear view
|A younger and skinnier "Boomer" poses
in front of his ride
into a dogfight for about ten minutes with another F-15, we in trail first,
then in the lead being chased. From the rear it looks like we were right
in the other guy's tail pipe. Every imagineable attitude you can think
of...upside down, sideway, straight up, then straight down. Had the distinct
feeling the aircraft was completely out of control (it wasn't).
that we topped 50,000 feet (space suit altitude just about). I had been
to 48,000 in a tanker and even then it was extremely eerie at that altitude.
About the limit for a tanker and besides you can't exceed 50,000 without
a pressure suit anyways. And...thank God for one of those when flying
a fighter. Hate to think what it would be like pulling those G's without
it. It literally holds you together and allows the blood to flow inside
pilot turned the aircraft over to me with the normal "It's your aircraft".
I said OK, grabbed the stick (big mistake) and immediately dumped us on
our side. He laughed and said something to the effect that this isn't
a tanker, pretend you're holding a pen when you fly this thing. It's fly-by-wire...now
I know what they mean. So he gave me the airplane back and within a short
time I got the feel of it---After a lot of wallowing trying to stay level.
I got the feel I climbed some and flew the airplane north 100 miles to
Saipan where we descended to less than 5,000 feet and did figure 8's around
the island. Am I catching on? You bet. It was so easy as to be unreal.
Climbed back out and headed back for Guam.
took the airplane back and said "This is a jet fighter and fighters
are supposed to go fast." With that he shoved the throttle up and
I'm telling you we literally jumped forward. Amazing acceleration, really
plants your back to the back of the seat. Back at Guam we did some low
approaches over the runway and those damn pitch-outs...these really got
my neck. My helmet felt like it weighed about 100 pounds and I thought
my neck was going to break. I finally surrendered and said I'd had enough
fighter time for one day.
realized how great these pilots are and their job isn't all that easy.
And the capabilities are aerospace. With the gadgets and the displays
etc. available, not to mention the weapons available, hell you don't even
need to see the enemy. He's dead and doesn't even know it yet. And consider
the F-15 is kind of an "old" aircraft now. Imagine what is on
the F-117 or the newer ones being developed to replace even that one.
Somewhere in the desert in Nevada is some kind of aircraft that we'd think
of as sci-fi stuff...right now.
ached for a week after that. During the initial climb-out the FAA guys
were telling the pilot that they'd buy him a case of beer if they got
Adams sick. I didn't get sick, but there were a few moments when I'd have
loved to puked. The Polack in me carried me thru tho. One of the FAA guys,
a private pilot and a long time personal friend, has always been envious
of my flight that day. Whenever F-15 comes up he reminds me too.
on the ground and completely awed I realized another thing. I'm a Tanker
Toad at heart. One reason is I like to get up and move around to keep
the blood circulating, have a cup of coffee, eat some popcorn, take a
dump (naw, never did that inflight), go in the back and look out the windows
at the clouds to relax...and get away from the guys in front for awhile.
Read a book, smoke a cigarette (back in the days when I smoked) and just
generally loosen up. And yak with the passengers, if we had'em. Yep, Tanker
Toad is fine with me.