Since we are, by definition, a “milblog,” I for one would like to see more stories like the “Redball” story that Radar graced us with last week. I am now old and decrepit, but there was a time when I was 23, and I lived that very story so closely that I could have written it. The Bomb-Nav shop was right down the hall from Comm-Nav, and we rode the same launch truck on the flight line. It could get interesting.

When we were stationed in Taiwan, we often got typhoon-evac’ed, and most of the time they sent us to Guam. Now, there ain’t a dang thing to do there, and the place is so small it’s claustrophobic. Joe Dubus, my roommate, and I met a nice guy who was stationed there in the base MARS station, and he took us for a tour of the island one day. Driving around the whole damn island took only 3 and a half hours!

One day while typhoon evaced, Joe and I were on night shift and were supposed to be sleeping. But the un-airconditioned transient barracks got hot in the day time so we had gone to the beach to cool off. Both of us got sunburned to a fare thee well, and when the Maint Officer decided that he needed a few more people to cover the launch of a huge gaggle of aircraft, they found us and hijacked our “time off”, driving us straight to the shop where we picked up our tool bags, and took us to the flight line, where we met up with the #2 launch truck. Out on the launch truck we just took our shirts off. Well, that was OK until we got a call that a KC 135’s TACAN would not lock on. We zoomed down the ramp to the plane, and both of us, smelling like a brewery, went flying, shirtless and looking like lobsters, up the ladder to the cockpit. We looked at the TACAN needle swinging merrily round and round, and Joe (not me) looked out in front of the plane and spotted the problem. He turned around and motioned to the flightline chief standing behind us, and said “Tell them to move that truck.” There was a truck parked right in front of the plane, blocking the signal from getting to the set, which didn’t work real well on the ground anyway. Now Joe didn’t exactly look or smell like a highly trained professional, so he had to repeat his corrective action request to the line chief, “I said move the truck. It’s making the TACAN not work.” His best official assessment of the problem. I turned around to verify the truth of his assessment, and now the chief had two red-as-a-beet avionics techs, both of whom smelled like a barracks party at 2 AM, giving him professional advice. OK, he turned around and shouted down the hatchway, for somebody to move the truck. They did, and bingo, the TACAN, which shows distance and direction to the station, locked on as pretty as you please. Problem fixed, the two highly trained professionals hauled tail down the ladder and the bird taxiied out and the mission was saved, no abort for this team of great US Air Force avionics technicians!

I’ll bet that many of our readers would like to hear more personal stories from those of us who have been there, done that. I know I personally would love to read those great war stories, ones very different from the ones that Radar and I have experienced, so come on, let ‘er rip!

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