A Good Time for a “Squeaker”
Certainly one of many highlights of the 2012 flying season was our visit to the Cody Stampede. Diane and Jack Martin, with several local notables including Sen. Alan Simpson, formed the “Cody Patriots” to organize and underwrite our adventure. Throughout the winter and spring of this year, the Patriots enlisted sponsors, mostly “neighbors,” to cover the cost of relocating the aircraft to the event. All of this became a positive, patriotic activity in a community known for its esprit de corps. Significantly, neighbors purchased “Mitchell Memberships” for resident WW II-era veterans. In other words, the survivors of WW II did not need to “pay to play.” This created some wonderful situations. In one, the average age of our passengers was 92-years-young. It took some creativity to get these friends up the ladders, particularly those with oxygen bottles, but as one such chap said, “I’m already set up for high altitude.”
And then, there was “The Instructor.”
Colonel Curt Jasper wrote us a lengthy, elegant letter in advance of our arrival extolling the virtues of our endeavor. While we didn’t need one, it was a pep talk of the first order. On meeting Col. Jasper, I was impressed with his physical condition and the twinkle in his eye. Tall and ramrod straight, he wore his USAF leather flying jacket and “crusher” hat from his bomber days. His follow-up email speaks for itself except his description sounds more like one of Vera’s landings.
Thanks for a fantastic B-25 flight in Cody, WY 2 Jul 2012. Previously, on 23 Dec 1944 I became an Army Instructor Pilot (IP) & last flew the aircraft off Yomitan (coral strip), Okinawa in Jul 1947; two months later, I transferred into the new USAF. (Much earlier, I had also flown with the navy.) During the course of my nearly 35 year military career, I also became the 301st Bomb Wing & then 15th Air Force Director of Safety, as well as the Assistant at Headquarters Strategic Air Command; thus, constantly maintaining an IP status, upgrading to jets, having flown my share of combat sorties, etc., I feel well qualified in saying that you John, are an absolutely “superb pilot!” After close observation of your head constantly rotating in flight to apparently spot “bogies,” plus your “squeaker” landing, I would definitely fly with you anywhere, anytime. Your “triple-A” treatment & skill, make words difficult to come by in properly thanking you for this great experience, especially the opportunity daughter Katie & I had to look over your & Vera’s shoulders. Therefore, please allow me to close by just saying: “at 87, you gave me the most memorable occasion of my life & I greatly appreciated same.”
Best regards, (signed) Colonel Curt (Curtis) Jasper, Regular USAF (Retired) Command Pilot.