Gordon got together with some of his mates from the RCAF in the summer of 2003. He sent me some photos & recollections while the group was traveling together.
I have attached a picture from my first job as a delivery boy for the RCAF and NATO. The white package was about 50 times larger than the one dropped on Hiroshima. Just turning 22 years old at the time, I was quite happy to deliver it as a surprise package. Since those happy days I have drank many beers with the enemy (now good friends) and they advised me that they had every intention of delivering the same sort of package to us. Yes it was madness but fortunately no one pulled the trigger and we have the Bushman now to save us all ......seems like times will never change.
The life on a Nuclear Strike squadron in those early years of life had quite an effect on me and as I moved through a 36 year career with Air Canada???? I suppose you could say it had an effect on them too. I formulated my opinions about 'command authority' at that early age, much to the regret of AC management who had different ideas about who was in charge. It was an exciting career due to our differences but I have no regrets and have never compromised the principles that I firmly believe in.
Sandy is re-acquainting herself with all the 4 Wing girls and there is no end to the chat and recollections. We are having a great time and don't care much about the weather (good thing for that). Just had a long chat with Stan Kereliuk, recalling all the exciting days he had testing the airplanes that I developed and built for aerobatics. After flying CF104 /Strike he was a test pilot for the National Aeronautical Establishment and as such helped us obtain MOT approvals for aerobatics. We did produce a lot of adrenaline in those days and used it all up.
Bill Hayday, a true gentleman, who rescued me from the MP's more than once, remembers breaking his both feet when the gutter on his apartment roof failed and he crashed to the ground. (He forgot the key and had a date he was desperately trying to get into his apartment.)
My Course mates remaining in the RCAF did very well indeed, Dave Huddleston became Chief of the Defense Staff , (Number 1) and Brian Smith, a General in charge of Canadian forces in Europe. Brian and I have recalled his mid-air formation collision and his bailout. (I was in the formation) and Don Caldwell remembers when I found him hanging in his chute on the side of a mountain north of Baden-Baden after his bailout and I guided in US helicopters to rescue him.
The stories are literally flying and there are a lot of happy faces falling into bed every night after exhausting the memory cells. Funny how you only seem to remember the good times or the good part of the bad times.
Before the Starfighter I learned how to drop bombs low level with the F-86 in Chatham New Brunswick. Procedure was a 45 degree 3 G pull-up and hang on...release roll 180 degrees and pull 45 degrees back down and head for the ground , roll level and escape. If you look at the 1st pic I sent........I did all of the delivery up to the roll inverted and just as I was to pull back down I noticed the bomb was right with me, above the canopy (below me but I was inverted) ...so I couldn't pull. The parachute on the bomb failed to deploy and it was flying formation with me. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmemories
I love retirement.
104s over Bavaria.
"Just had a call from my old 422 Sqn Wing Commander who lives in Arlington texas ......found me. He is 82 now and sounds great."