This was our Tactical Air Command patch or “TAC” patch.
Here’s the 31st Tactical Training Wing patch – 31 TTW – “Return With Honor.”
The 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron patch – 309th TFS “Wild Ducks” – was designed by Walt Disney in 1944.
Our 309th “Wild Ducks” squadron scarf had both light and dark blue stripes, matching the squadron’s patch; I painted our squadron’s patch on a 2’x3′ canvas and gave it to the squadron.
This was my first leather name tag, worn on the flight suit and flight jacket.
Here’s another version of the leather name tag, the same size as the flight suit’s velcro backing for the name tag.
This name tag was newer, and used for the new leather flight jackets that were reintroduced in the Air Force around that time.
This was the “subdued” version of the TAC patch.
Here’s the leather trimmed TAC patch for the new leather flight jacket.
This was the “subdued” version of the 31st TTW patch – “Return With Honor.”
The 309th “Wild Ducks” squadron building back in 1982-1983, at Homestead AFB, FL.
My roommate in front of the 309th “Wild Ducks” squadron building.
I’m standing in front of the F-4D “Phantom II;” also known as the “Rhino” and “Double Ugly.”
The F-4D “Phantom II” was operational in the U.S. from the Vietnam War to the Persian Gulf War; and is still flown by many countries around the world today.
Everything I had flown prior to the F-4D “Phantom II” seemed like a toy airplane now.
The power and thrust of the two J79 engines was simply unbelievable; the “Rhino” demanded respect and got it.
There was no margin for error flying the “Rhino;” on my third F-4D flight my crewed student pilot became spatially disoriented during a radar trail departure while going in and out of the weather and transitioning to visual trail to do our follow-on checks.
My pilot’s spatial disorientation put us into an “inverted 60 degrees nose low attitude,” pointing down into the Everglades below us.
I recognized the problem and told him to recover – twice – just like our simulator training taught us.
We came very, very, very close that day to becoming “gator bait” deep under the Everglades swamp.
I was the “31st TTW Student Air Crew Member of the Month, HAFB Florida;” presented by the Greater Homestead Florida City Chamber of Commerce – April 1983.
This is an old photocopy of the original Homestead AFB Base Newspaper article describing the Chamber of Commerce’s Award given to me.
As the squadron’s most junior 2nd Lt., I was designated “Mr. Vice” at our squadron’s “Dining Out” for our F-4D RTU graduation.
This is how our “Aircrew Academics” building looked back in 1982-1983 at Homestead AFB, FL.
This was the 309th “Wild Ducks” squadron building, and my red Honda Prelude is visible in the parking lot.
This is another view of both the 309th and 307th squadron buildings at Homestead AFB, FL.
F-4D’s parked on the tarmac at Homestead AFB, FL; this was the “wash ramp.”
The flightline at Homestead AFB, crowded with F-4D’s in the distance and a single F-15 “Eagle.”