"My good friend,
It has been 57 years and I want you to know that you are not forgotten in this little corner of the world. Never have been, never will be. You played a most important part in my life, good friendship with a zest for living every moment to its fullest.
We started the Army's Helicopter flight school together in class 66-15 Ft. Wolters Texas and then volunteered to hold over a month upon completion of that stage of our training because the Ft. Rucker slots were full. We fully enjoyed that month doing odd jobs at Ft. Wolters and then reported to class 66-17 where we finished flight school and both received our Warrant Officer Bars, Wings and orders to go to Vietnam. By the order of the President of The United States, we were officially declared Officers and Gentleman.
I fondly remember you and me doing one of the team "solo" cross country flights at Ft. Wolters and during my flying portion of our route, you needed to relieve yourself and decided to unbuckle your safety harness. Then turned to stand on the skid, outside of the flying helicopter and while hanging on to the inside of the door frame, did just that.
I knew better that to try to dissuade as that had yet to ever work; once you made up your mind, there was no turning back. Those few seconds, holding the helicopter in straight and level flight took forever. Then back inside, sitting down, reattaching the safety belt and turning to me with that grin of "mission accomplished".
..I think one of my most favorite moments happened on one of our weekend trips to Panama City during our training at Ft. Rucker. . We were released Saturday morning at 09:00 and instead of hitting the mess hall for something to eat, we decided to get in the Corvette and head south to Panama City. Shortly after we got on the back roads, we decided to stop at a gas station to pick up a quart of cold milk and a package of Oreo Cookies. Our breakfast for the road trip.
A few moments later, sharing the quart of milk back and forth, we drove into a Sheriff's road block where he had everyone pulled over for "inspection." We were in a dry county. The (Jackie Gleason) sheriff had everyone stopped ahead of us and out of their cars. He walked up to us, seeing us drinking from a milk carton with a package of opened Oreo cookies in our laps. We told him we where flight candidates at Ft. Rucker headed for a weekend in Panama City. He asked what we were drinking and we said milk.
He took the milk carton, smelled the milk, returned it to me and sent us on our way. We were the only car, a bright red 1963 Corvette, that got to pull out of the inspection line up. God how we laughed, sun in faces, wind in our hair and a 5th of unopened whiskey tucked under your seat.
Then every day learning to fly Huey helicopters, you in the jump seat while I flew and then vice versa. Flight instructor in the left seat. Close formations flying, quick touch down landings followed by immediate take offs, life fire gun ship runs and other tactical flight maneuvers.
Not a day went by that you were not painting life in bright colors that were so fresh and new to me. To this day Arnie, to this day!!
I love ya brother; forever."
To the other brothers of Army Flight Class of 66-15 and 66-17 it was an honor to to serve with you.
To the 2nd of The 20th ARA, 1at Air Cavalry Division (1967) and the 7/17 Cavalry (1969) it was an honor to serve with you.
God Bless all this Veteran's Day, 2023.
'Tis the season in New Hampshire
Thanks for the visit this week.