This story apparently originated from a young
kid who sent an e-mail to AETC (Air Education and Training
Command) wanting to know how to prepare himself for a future career as a fighter jock. Can you
To LtCol Van Wickler:
I am DJ Baker and I would appreciate it if you could
tell me what it takes to be an F16 fighter pilot of
the USing with
AWACS, all while eating a box lunch, with the engineer
in the back taking a piss and the navigator puking in
his trash can! I tell you, DJ, TAC Airlift is where
Where else is it legal to throw tanks, HMMWVs, and
other crap out the back of an airplane, and not even
worry about it when the chute doesn't open and it torpedoes the General's staff car! No where else can
you land on a 3000' dirt strip, kick a bunch of ammo
and stuff off the ramp without even stopping, then
take off again before range control can call to tell
you you've landed on the wrong LZ!
And talk about exotic travel-when C-130s go somewhere,
they GO somewhere (usually for 3 months, unfortunately). This gives you the opportunity to
immerse yourself in the local culture enough to give
any natives a bad taste in their mouths re the USAF
and Americans in general, not something those strat-lift
pilots can do from their airport hotel rooms!
As far as recommendations for your course of study, I
offer these: Take a lot of math courses. You will
need all the advanced math skills you can muster to
enable you to calculate per diem rates around the world, when trying to split up the crew's bar tab so
that the co-pilot really believes he owes 85% of the
whole thing and the nav believing he owns the other 20.
Health sciences are important, too. You will need a
thorough knowledge of biology to make those educated
guesses of how much longer you can drink beer before
the tremendous case of the shits catches up to you
that meal you ate at that place that had the belly
dancers in some God-forsaken foreign country whose
name you can't even pronounce!
Social studies are also beneficial. It is important
for a good TAC Airlifter to have the cultural knowledge to
be able to ascertain the exact location of the nearest
titty bar in any country in the world, then be able to
convince the local authorities to release the loadmaster after he
offends every sensibility of the local religion and culture.
A foreign language is helpful, but not required. You
will never be able to pronounce the names of the NAVAIDs in France, and it's much easier to ignore them
and go where you want to anyway.
As a rule of thumb:
Waiters and bellhops in France are always called "Pierre", in Spain it's "Hey, Perdro" and in Italy, of
course, it's "Mario." These terms of address also
serve in other countries interchangeably, depending
upon the level of swarth of the addressee.
A study of geography is also paramount. You will need
to know the basic location of all the places you've
been when you get back from your TDY and are ready to
stick those little pins in that huge world map you've
got taped to you living room wall, right next to that
gigantic wooden giraffe statue and beer stein collection.
Well, DJ, I hope this little note inspires you. And
by the way, forget about that Academy thing. All TAC
Airlifters know that there are waaay too few women and
too little alcohol there to provide a well-balanced
education. A nice, big state college would be a much
Good luck and see you on the SKE scope!
Maj. Hunter Mills
Whyfore didn't he mention the backend?