Towards the end of 1991, I completed my tactical checkride and was “Mission Ready” or “MR” in the F-111E in the 79th Fighter Squadron (FS); and the squadron took this photo of me in front of our mounted Tiger head in the squadron lounge.
The previous scanned “original” photo was only about 2″x3″ – and this photo was of a 4″x6″ enlargement that was made at the time; the yellow bow was attached to the Tiger head and only looks like it’s sitting on the top of mine! 🙂
During the early months of 1992, the 20th FW “Wing” aircraft – “The Chief” – needed to be flown back to McClellan AFB, CA – and the squadron scheduled me for the trip to gain more hours in the F-111E as I was new to the aircraft; here I am standing beside the aircraft at McClellan AFB, CA.
My pilot stands beside the 20th FW “Wing” aircraft – “The Chief” – on the ramp at McClellan AFB, CA; we were the only receiver on a KC-135 going across the pond after the other aircraft scheduled for the trip turned back due to maintenance problems prior to going “feet wet” across the Atlantic.
A close-up of me standing beside “The Chief” image that was painted on the aircraft, while parked on the ramp at McClellan AFB, CA; just after landing and turning the aircraft over to the depot maintenance team there for scheduled maintenance work.
After saying “good bye” to the tanker crew over the state of Maine – for the great job they did dragging us across the pond – we flew on to Plattsburgh AFB, NY, where we spent the first night on our trip; here my pilot stands beside, “The Chief” – on the ramp at McClellan AFB, CA.
Here’s a photo of the tail of the 20th FW “Wing” aircraft – “The Chief” – at depot maintenance on the ramp at McClellan AFB, CA – with the symbolic “lightening bolt” design incorporating all four squadron colors at RAF Upper Heyford, U.K.
Depot maintenance folks discuss “The Chief” with my pilot as I capture the last images of the aircraft prior to leaving “her” in their able hands at McClellan AFB, CA, for scheduled maintenance work.
You can tell that this was the end of the roll of film that I had with me, and because of the historic value of having a photo of the 20th FW “Wing” aircraft – “The Chief” – I’ve kept it all these years.
A slightly better cropped image from the end of my roll of film, showing the 20th FW “Wing” aircraft – “The Chief” – on the ramp at McClellan AFB, CA, for scheduled depot maintenance.
This close-up of “The Chief” was the last photo on this roll, and I would have normally discarded the photo because of its poor quality; however, for “history” I’ve preserved it because it records the name of our 20th FW Commander – Col. Larry Stellmon – a former Thunderbird Commander/Lead during the 1984 demonstration season; and the aircraft’s Dedicated Crew Chief (DCC) – SSgt Dave Newland.