I Watched as the Phantom Crashed

 2 JUL, 1979 –I was on Baker row in red section (563rd TFS) helping Ssgt Smith. I was running the power unit, with my back to the runway. All of a sudden he’s jumping up and down on the intake, pointing and yelling like a chimp “OO,OO,OO!”. I thought, “What the hell?”. As I turned to the runway, an F-4E ( 69-7269) was just lifting off and “flop” the left wing folds up. I was thinking, “Where’s this thing going to crash?”

So it climbs to near vertical and the afterburners cycle to max AB, Boom,Boom. It stops climbing at about 500 ft and just hangs there on the shear power of the engines. Then it starts slipping sideways like a spaceship.

Back then George was set up in two rows. Able and Baker. About sixty jets per row. Slipping sideways like a spaceship, the jet passes over Able row and everybody on Able runs to Baker. There was a defuel going down on Able row and the guy on top of the fuel truck swore the jet wake blew him off. Bullshit, he looked up at the jet and stepped off the top of the R-9 and ran like the rest of them.

About midway between the rows 269 starts a slow roll to the left and starts to climb. It’s on its back at about 750 ft when the tail of my jet obscured the view. I ran around to the back to see better thinking, “This crew’s dead, no one ejects from the F-4 this low AND inverted. “Meet your Maker in a a Martin Baker”. Watch “Ejection Vectors”. The movie has an F-4 crash very similar to this one.

Meet your Maker in a Martin-Baker.

Apparently the Lieutenant in the front had everything but his foot on the dash screaming “ROLL BITCH!!!!”. The wing fell down and produced enough lift to start a roll to the right. When the Captain in the back seat saw blue on top and brown below he said “Fuck This” and punched them out. It went quick. Canopy, canopy. Seat, Seat. Boom,boom,boom,boom. 269 then rolled back to the left and disappeared behind the hanger. A fireball rose up and I thought, “Hmmm, wonder if it hit my dorm?”

Looking up I saw the crew coming down quick. The Captain hit first and was being dragged across the tarmac by the afternoon winds. Guys started chasing him and so did I. I was about 100 yards from him when I heard. “LOOK THE FUCK OUT!!!” I froze and a pair of flying boots whizzed past my face. “Hey, it’s the pilot.”, I thought. Sure enough, he plunks down hard right in the front of me and starts to get dragged. Now three or four of us are chasing him. He’s struggling to release the chute, but can’t do it. Two guys grab for the risers and get cut hands for it. I thought, “The dash one says he’s supposed to jump up and run into the chute.” But he’s forgetting to do that so I do it for him. The chute collapses and he skids to a stop, jumps up and yells “GOD BLESS MARTIN BAKER!!”

Everyone is then asking him how it feels to eject and he’s buying beer for everyone. I tell him to lie down thinking he might be injured. “I’m okay chief, what beer do you drink?” he says. “Lie down, sir”, I say. “No, I’m ok”. “No, put your ass on the ground.” He lays down and I get the life raft to give him a pillow. At this time, his squadron Commander shows up and tells him that his GIB is okay, just scrapped his ass. He tells him to shut up and pretend that everyone is out to get his ass. So the three of us just sat there staring.

While all this was happening, 269 sailed over the back gate at shift change. Three or four cars getting banged up trying to back out of its way. One of the seats hit and crushed a parked van.  269  hits the munitions access road right between the LOX storage plant and the POL dump. Jesus if it had it hit either one!

The first “rescue” vehicle to show up was a van marked “Disco Boogie”. The official crash truck went to 269 apparently not paying attention to where the crew went. Two medics pile out of the van and behold they have all this medic shit in their van. They had been in line at the gate and followed the chutes. They came right onto the restricted area with Security Police cars chasing them. Lights and sirens blaring. Instant heroes.

There were three injuries involved with the crash:

1. An airman was on the softball field looking for the watch he’d lost. Saw the jet pass over at about 50 feet and laid down to die. The fireball washed over him and burned his back (second degree).

2. Three guys were in the POL yard refueling a fuel truck and ran for the fence. Two hurtled a ten foot chain link fence and the third didn’t make it falling and breaking his shoulder.

3. In the POL office, they heard the explosion and opened the door to see the fireball washing through the yard. They calmly closed the door and waited to die. One guy panicked and jumped through a pane glass window cutting himself pretty bad in the process.

How did it happen? The wing wasn’t locked after a 14 Day inspection of the wing fold. A large pin sticks up when it’s unlocked. The crew chief forgot to lock it. The guy who preflighted the jet missed it. The guy who launched it missed it. The crew doing their walk around missed it. The End of Runway crew missed it. What a fuck up! Within the hour all the pins on all the jets were painted fluorescent orange.

Someone put me in for an Airman’s Medal for the little bit I did. But I didn’t get it. They made me Wing Crew Chief of the month and Airman of the month for the squadron. That’s cool.

Nice shot showing the wreckage, softball field, dorms and POL yard. Thanks Mike.

Months later it was still fun to go down to blue section and ask them if the parts for 269 were in. “Ha, Ha. Very Funny.”

Read story of this one in the comments.

It may be noted that the F-4 has been successfully flown with BOTH wings folded.  One story told to me when I was a wide-eyed airman was of a “Marine Provisional Sortie”. These are flights made by those wacky Marines when they really should have thought it over.

MAS Yuma, Arizona- On take off roll the tower called a Marine F-4.

Tower- “F-4 on take off, you’re wings are folded!”

USMC F-4- “Roger that.”

…and the aircraft took off.   Whereupon they took a lap around the flag pole and landed. Stopped. Unfolded the wings and took off again.


50 thoughts on “I Watched as the Phantom Crashed

  1. I was told that the wing lock mechanism was not even installed in that wing. The Plane was a “Hangar Queen”, the wing lock Mech was removed for NDI, the fact somehow got removed from the Aircraft forms. It was on the flying schedule as a back-up. The original plane ground-aborted, 269 was given a very cursory inspection by the flight crew, as they wanted to catch up with their flight. The crew chiefs responsible for the pre-flight screwed up. They spent some time working in the tool room after this.
    There was a TCTO to paint the indicators fluorescent orange, but it would NOT have prevented the crash, since the wing lock mechanism contained the “unlocked” pin.
    I’d worked “D” models at Kadena before PCS’ing to George. There was a warning light on the “blown wing” D, and raising/lowering the wing was done by flipping a switch in the wheel well. The “Slatted E” lacked the warning light and folding the wings was done by human muscle, not hydraulic power.. As I remember (and it’s been a long time) the warning light was on something called the “telelight panel.

  2. Thanks for the comment Kurt. Yes it was the telelite panel. The C had hydraulics that folded the wings. There was a switch in the cockpit and one in the main wheel well. Lots of fun folding the wings on rookie engine run guys. “Hey? Why did you fold the wings? Unfold them will ya?.” FNG frantically looks for switch he didn’t throw. After a couple of seconds…unfold them and say something like “Thanks Buddy”.

  3. One of the very best mishap accounts I’ve heard/read. An unfortunate and preventable event. The chain of human errors driven by a common a cause can consistently be identified as primary or secondary factors that lead to or contribute to a mishap. As a Jet Mech / Maintainer I was also a Certified Mishap investigator at Holloman 1999-2011 on the F117, F22 and the 2 Drone bugs we had. Years earlier I’d been at Ramstein 84-86 F4G and George 87-92 and subsequently working for DynCorp and Lockheed as a Jet Mech /Crew Chief. By this time, the wing fold unlocked indicator was painted a bright red for improved visibility. The Phantoms I worked during my brief service break with those contractors were all manual fold wings…I remember this being a particularly stressed point for visual inspection regardless whether or not it had recently undergone sched insp…it was something we regularly glanced at anytime we were on the line on all the jets.

    Great story, thanks for posting this!

  4. Pingback: George AFB 1979
  5. i was walking to my barracks after getting off the flightline sweeper for a bit, lucky it wasnt worse.

  6. Great story! I’d heard accounts of this same thing happening in Southeast Asia, but I never knew it happened at George. I worked in the 35th FMS Aero Repair Shop from ’73 to ’75 . . . and I had totally forgotten about the C model wingfolds being hydraulic and the E models being manual. Talk about a “blast from the past”!

  7. I just dawned on me. That F-117 at Holloman was mine in “Fight Club”. Collapsed NLG and slid UNDER the barrier cable.

  8. FROM FACEBOOK- I was the the airman who was looking for his watch on the softball field. I had played softball the day before and lost it but came back the next day to look for it and looked up to see the pilots eject I also could see the wing was folded up. I then saw the plane veer off and head toward the base fuel tanks…

  9. NAS Keflavik- 01August 1978 F-4E 66-0304. 57 Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS). The crew were Capt. Gregory Harrison, pilot, and Capt. Dennis, WSO. The wings folded up smoothly and symmetrically just as they broke ground at approximately 170 knots. The wing fold locks were not in place. The jet had just come out of the paint barn, and they had painted over the locking pins. Aircraft was recovered safely after circling the field to reduce landing weight. A really FAST final at 230 knots plus!

  10. I was a Crew Chief on F4G Phantom Advanced Wild Weasel at the time. I was one of maybe 9 women out of hundreds men in 35th Tactical Squadron. My room was on the top floor of the women’s dorm facing the area with enormous jet fuel storage tanks and just past that, the highway. I was going to be leaving George AFB soon & we were planning a party. A friend & I happen to be carrying in a case of beer each when we heard a familiar sound coming in loud & low. We threw the beer to the floor & raced to the window just in time to see it crash. The F4 was crashed nose down and flaming on. It was absolutely surreal. The thoughts went rapid fire through my mind…OMG, the pilots! I just knew they were dead. Crap! It could have hit the tanks, can you imagine? A little further & it would have crashed on the highway. Holy Crap, just a little closer & I would be dead! Then finally… holy shit, was that my plane? We ran outside a there was a full size van in a parking lot nearby with a back corner compressed a fraction of it’s size from an ejection seat hitting it. Word spread quickly that the pilots were okay. Amazingly, they had ejected sideways and survived. If the plane had rotated a little more, they would have ejected towards the ground. We had been taught that it’s very dangerous for pilots to eject under the best of conditions. The accident had been caused by negligence & poor design. The wings of the F4 were designed to fold up for maintenance and storage. When the wings were folded down, no one double checked to make sure the were locked. There was a pre-flight inspection by the crew chief. He (or she) missed it. The flight crew missed it. The indicator is just a small post sticking up and the color was worn on a lot of them. It was completely inadequate. Of course, when one wing wasn’t locked down, at take off, it folded. All of the lift was on the locked down wing, causing the roll. I can still picture that multi-million aircraft broken and burning and remember that if it hadn’t by chance crashed in that open area, things could have been much, much worse. I was wondering, if that jet had crashed into my dorm, would the AF tell my family my death was caused by “friendly fire”?

  11. I was in my room in the transportation squadron’s barracks. (North side of the building.) I heard a “THUD” like I had never heard before. It shook the windows and door. All Hell broke loose seconds latter. Ran around to the South-West and saw the black, billowing smoke from the fuel tank area just East of the back gate.My first thought was that one of the fuel tanks had blown up. (A little further and they sure would have!) The van hit by the ejection seat was parked in the lot just North of our maintenance shop.

    Does anyone remember when the guy snapped (They said he had an unknown brain tumor.) and drove the fuel truck all over the base? He tore up all kinds of parked cars and stuff. They stopped him when he tried to get to the flight line. Crazy GAFB Times!

  12. Eldorado Canyon: Looks like you got to Holloman shortly after I left. Not sure if you were there when we lost 0793 at that Maryland airshow. I’d been on the wing a couple times when the S/M troop was putting the taper locks back in…..he’d finished the mishap side when I climbed up there. I was an MXS Pro Super. I’d PCS’ed to Mountain Home, but the SIB spoke with me by phone. Always hate to lose a jet, but was glad the ACES did its job in that one. I also sweated all night over a right MLG strut on 0806 prior to its deployment…..then it gets shot down…..Golden BB. I recall seeing video of the Serbs standing on the burning wreckage and I thought, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.” I was thinking of the carbon fibers they were inhaling. I was also at Holloman for 801’s runway “incident.” And, sadly, there for 822 as well.

  13. At Walt: I was the on duty MXS Pro Super when that happened. My AR guys rolled on it…..then, I hear over the radio one of their MSgt’s say, “She’s on her belly.”

  14. Hey are you the Cappos I knew back then.. I knew Eugene Riddell, Mullins and the gang.. The Cappos I knew had a snake!

  15. I armed that very bird just before the disaster, I was on launch detail that day….

  16. BTW Walt, as an Armament Systems Specialist who armed the very Bird you’re talking about, “EOR” refers to recovery and de-arming of an aircraft after mission complete. Either working “Take-off” or “Launch” is where the mistake happened. I was working “Take-off” on the very aircraft in question, it’s a matter of terminology…

  17. Thanks Scott. EOR stands for “End of Runway” and there’s a crew at both ends. I remember trying to find four drag chutes at the EOR at Nellis during Red Flag. There were dozens in the pile. I told my crew to pick four new ones and we repainted them on the way to the chute shop. But that’s another story.

    At EOR you probably had a front row seat. What do you remember about the crash?

  18. He was celebrating his Last Day with lines of Coke. Heard he lost his military driving license.

  19. Great story Walt, I was stationed at GAFB 11/76 thru 7/80. I worked F-105G phase inspection in the largest hanger on the base. I remember hearing the roar of the jet going over as I had just started my second shift duty. I walked outside and saw 1 of the seats with its smoldering jet pack in an empty parking lot (secure area) between 2 hangers. I walked to check on my car and saw the caved in back of a conversion van next to the other seat. Lots of lucky airmen on the ground that day, wow! I also remember the fuel truck fiasco, saw that nut driving around near the post office with Jp4 spewing from the side of the truck, obviously clipped something, several SP’s in hot pursuit, I heard the driver got the butt of an m-16 to the chops once they got him stopped. “Ouch”. Do you remember the f-105g that skated thru the desert on an aborted take-off on the short runway? The jet slid on the belly when landing gear sheared off and the crew jumped out. I was told the nose gear rotated but they aborted anyway, sounded like another mistake to me.

  20. Jeff,
    Great comment.
    I remember seeing that F-105G. Yes the nose was rotated when the ass end aught on fire. Different trucks,different connections and someone put JP-4 in the water tank. When the pilot kicked the water in, the whole tail caught fire.

    Years later, I was married and looking at renting an apartment in Adelanto. Furnished with utilities paid for $100 a month. We were looking at it when four Phantoms roared over the house. We were right under the departure end of the runway. A couple of months later my Bride asked, “Do they always take off”. “Yes Honey”. but please ignore the 60 foot trench in our backyard.

  21. I was working on the flight line and saw the crash as well. I was working life support for the 561st TFS and the plane was one of mine.

  22. I was at George from 75 to 79. I add another fact or two…the 35 AMS (Avionics Maintenance Squadron) became the 35 MMS around 1979. We routinely performed calibration of the AOA (Angle of Attack) probe, utilising a Squat Switch Depressor. The depressor is a V-shaped aluminum flat spring which is inserted on the front wheel strut to make the aircraft think the front gear is up and locked, allowing us to watch the AOA indicator move when the probe is rotated. Well, the guy in 35AMS who did the check had no squat switches available so he created one himself, in the spirit of getting the job done. Unfortunately, he didn’t paint it yellow nor attach a red pennett marked boldy, “REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT……’ So, in addition to all the fine airmen who missed several things during the last steps to launching the flight, they CERTAINLY missed the unauthorized squat switch depressor. Easy to miss it because it’s the same color as the front wheel strut piston, shiny and silver in appearance vs. yellow with a long red flag hanging from it. As the pilot lifts off, he looks at the AOA Indicator on the instrument panel, to set the jet to a desired nose-high angle (angle of attack). Hate to think about it, but the pilot just may have kept pulling back on the stick and inadvertently induced a stall condition. A perfect storm, as the saying goes.

  23. My dad was QA at the time of this. I was going to school at Hook Jr. high. My Dad told me about this and said something about him inspecting the Ejection seats and he was glad they worked! I used to deliver papers to the dorms. I remember when this happened. Good times!

  24. There are many errors in these postings and comments. First, the accident occurred on July 2, 1979 (not May 16). How do I know? I was the instructor in the back seat, with the student, Lt “Babe” Ruth in the front. It was not a coincidence that the F-4 didn’t hit anything. We worked hard to make that happen, although it hit closer to the base than planned because of the wind. Also I was injured when I landed on the concrete ramp, breaking my tailbone and tearing muscles and ligaments. I couldn’t “jump up and run to the chute”. I spent over a month on crutches and was 2 months before I was back on flying status. As far as the dialogue in the cockpit goes, that wasn’t even close, nor were the actions in flying the crippled aircraft, but I guess it makes a goods story. Was glad for the experience, but wouldn’t want to do it again.
    G. McConnell, retired USAF

  25. I’m so glad to see your comment. I was the guy that collapsed your chute. I was the guy that sat with you until the medics took you away. This date thing has been going back and forth since I first wrote the story. I have never read the report so I’ll take your word as Gospel. One glaring a error was you initiating the ejection. Was that true? Was the command select set for the rear seat? Please take this post as an opportunity to tell your story. I would love to hear it. Where is “Babe” now a days? Once again, a sincere Thank You for the comment.

    Thanks for the Beer.

  26. I had just got off the flight line that day and was sitting in the barracks with some guys when I heard the jet flew over us. I turned and said to my buddies “Gee, this guy is really coming in low” and the next sound was the crash. We all jumped up and ran outside and saw the thick black smoke bellowing from the direction of the fuel storage tanks. We ran towards the smoke and emergency personnel were already heading that way. It happened right before the July 4th holiday. We later got word that the pilots ejected safely and that the van got damaged by the ejection seat. Otherwise there was no other injuries. I knew Marie Walters but never saw her again after that. At the time I didn’t know she was the crew chief that launched the plane.

  27. I’ll add some info on an incident which happened in Iceland which was one referred to earlier in the post of the F-4E. I was stationed at George AFB and was the commander of Detachment 5, Tactical Air Warfare Center (Eglin AFB) where we did operational test and evaluation of updates to the F-4G Wild Weasel. Major Jim Uken was an EWO who worked for me. I had walked into Greg Harrison’s office and saw a picture of an F-4 airborne with folded wings. He said Jim had taken the picture and then told me the story which was both hair raising and humorous. Greg was number 2 in a 4-ship doing single-ship radar trail departures out of Keflavik, Iceland and Jim was in number 3. The aircraft had been painted with the wings unlocked but nobody caught that the safety tabs for the wing fold had not been repainted red and nobody caught that the wings were not locked. On takeoff, the wings folded up, shifted the center of lift forward causing the F-4 to pitch up. Greg went into the overcast at about 1,000 to 1,500 feet as I recall. With the stick full forward and pitch still rising, Greg rolled the airplane inverted (good thing the ailerons were on the inboard portion of the wings) to bring the nose down to the horizon then repeated the maneuver until the speed was up to about 400 knots where he finally regained control. He also broke out under the overcast and stayed there. Meanwhile, the WSO had his head buried in the radar trying to keep number 1 locked up for the radar departure. When he broke lock and finally came “heads up,” he stated with some very colorful language wondering WTF are we doing and OMG the left wing is folded and holy S…T the right wing is folded too and do we need to get out of this bird! He had a cassette recorder running so he caught all the cockpit com and radio calls on tape. Long story short, Jim and his front seater went back down below the overcast and joined up with Greg. With plenty of fuel, the command post put in a call to McDonnell Douglas to ask for recommended approach speed and configuration to land an F-4 with wings folded—say what??? They never got an answer. So, Greg slowed to do a controllability check and found that with gear and flaps down, he was good at 195kts. They landed, popped the drag chute and took the departure-end cable. After the flight they all huddled in the squadron CO’s office, talked about the incident and listened to the tape. Greg said the CO told him he didn’t know whether he should put him in for a medal for saving the airplane or give him an Article 15 for almost losing the airplane. Any way, they all had a good laugh listening to the tape. It was a display of an incompetent preflight but a great display of airmanship to save an airplane which could have had a disastrous end in a ball of flames. Greg said the two cancelled out–no medal and no punishment. Good thing he remembered the most important thing for any emergency–fly the airplane. Good job Greg!

  28. I was an airman working the arresting systems (BAK 12) on the runways at the time but not working that day. Don’t remember how but I ended up with the tail hook from that aircraft! It was a great paper weight for years on desks at my many different jobs. It was the topic of this story many many times. Someone mentioned snakes…I remember catching several rattlers out there and keeping their skins for hat bands. One day I came up out of the barrier (they were underground with a hatch door level with the runway) and came face to face (face to fang) with one. Our crew shop was in one of the old nuclear alert hangers on the end of the runway. Great times at George. Was really interesting to hear the pilot’s story after all these years.

  29. Hi
    I was 12 at the time and was heading for baseball practice (may help confirm the July date). I was living at 8 Arizona (I think that was the address) at the time and to get to practice I had head straight toward the flight line.

    I was in my bike and saw the plane turn on its side. I also saw the aircrew eject as the plane rolled. It looked like they ejected just before the plane got to 90 degrees.
    The impact was behind same buildings, but it seemed the it went straight down with no forward motion. But side slipping and rolling in my direction slightly.
    It all seems in slow motion in my head, but that’s probably the “time slowing down” under stress.

    I’m not sure of the distance, but the delay in the fire ball and the sound wasn’t that long. I’m guessing 1 mile ish away.

    It looked like it come down between the fuel tanks and some buildings. As the fire ball went up in a mushroom cloud, the sound was serieal. It was a low pitched boom. Almost like a hanger door being shut ..Not like the movies..

    Our baseball coach turned up and I told him what happened. He looked at the seen and called practice off as he worked at the hospital and thought he might be needed.

    Aftermath –
    I was told about the seat going through the roof of the Van but didn’t see it.
    I was also told that the wing had to hand cranked 260 times to lock it and a red flag (more like a big round pin) showing it wasn’t locked? It was missed by several checks?
    I was told that the aircrew would be 2in shorter due to the ejection…This always seemed a bit far fetched unless it’s a short term thing.

    Remember I was a 12 year old boy at the time, so planes flying low were cool. Any time I could get close to them I would.

    But after the crash, for a month or so, every time a plane flew over my heart rate doubled in an irrational fear. Irrational, because I had been under flight paths all my life and knew nothing was going to happen. Also as I said, before the crash,. lower, louder the better for a 12 year old..
    PTSD? No idea but the fear did go away on its own. However, since then I’ve had an empathy for anyone how has an “irrational” reaction after a scare.. Not sure irational is even the right word.

    Mark Bryant. Then Johnson (step fathers name)

  30. My shop chief at the RAF Bentwaters EW shop in 1986, Kent Crumrin, was a two-striper in the 37th CRS pod shop working on a 90-day PMI that day. The crippled jet went right over the pod shop standing on its tail and singed the roof. Kent, a Missouri boy, looked up and said to himself, “Hm. Thunder. Wait, thunder in the high desert?” Ran out the back of the pod barn and had a front row seat to the fireball.

  31. I was an F-105G pilot at George when this happened. My wife was Chief of Avionics Maintenance at the time. She was at her desk when there was a loud roar and the lights went out. She and others ran outside to see the seat hitting the van and the WSO landing in the parking lot. It was amazing that the burning grass stopped at the pavement edge where the fuel trucks were parked and the last burning pieces stopped at the berm just short of the big fuel tanks. I put the story in my book that I published on Amazon in 2020, Kindle and paperback. It’s “Low and Fast: Memories of a Cold War Fighter Pilot.” It covers my 20-year career flying the F-4, F-105, and F-111 plus ALO duty with the Army at Fort Hood.

  32. Monday, July 2 was my first day of flight line training as an assistant crew chief. I watched a flight of four Phantoms take off from the vantage point of A row in Black Section, which was at the east end of the flight line. I distinctly recall thinking the pilot must be fighting the battle of his life to keep the aircraft in the air until the last possible moment. The aircraft dipped below my field of view before it crashed, so the delayed appearance of the chutes in the sky was a great relief as the sight of an F-4 sliding sideways towards the ground was terrifying to watch; that scene is still frozen in my mind.

  33. There was an incident involving a POL driver rampaging on the base in an aircraft fuel truck, crashing into dozens of cars, with the intention of accessing the parked aircraft on the flight line. He was eventually stopped near the community center. I witnessed part of this episode while waiting in line at the base gas station (the country was on fuel rationing at the time, you would buy gas on the days designated by license plate number). The truck engine was over revving and fuel was spilling from a broken line as the driver wheeled around the corner and nearly brought one of the rear wheels off the ground. Several law enforcement vehicles attempted to impede the fuel truck’s path to no avail. My friend and I had run with others towards the action as he made another sharp turn and appeared headed to the flight line when the driver lost control and crashed into the community center.
    Was anyone else at George during this time and if so do you know the date?
    It was later discovered the airmen driving the truck had a major brain tumor that was said to be the explanation for his crime.

  34. I remember “The fuel truck”. I was in the crew chief lounge and about to step to the parking lot when someone said, “Don’t go outside, the base is going to blow up”. The truck went through the post office parking lot, destroying cars. At this point a bunch of Egyptian pilots started to chase him on foot. The paper said that the driver was “subdued” by the Security Police. In reality, an S.P. beat him senseless with the butt of an M-16.

  35. I was a weapons loader and i was standing in the AGE yard signing out a Jammer MJ-1 when the jet went right over me.
    I remember running all the way to the flightline.
    Still can remember how loud it was when it hit and watching pilots punch out

  36. To Bill Steele, get your story straight. My name is Maria, not Marie, and more importantly, I did not launch that jet. I know who did and, out of respect, I will not print his name.
    The wing fold mechanism was installed, but not locked down and the pin was painted camo green. The guy who did the preflight did not sign the forms believing the jet was not going to fly that day, but told the day shift crew chief he had done it. They were friends and trusted each other. When the expediter told the day shift chief the jet was on the schedule, he voiced his concerns about the jet not being ready at all, many panels still of and barely enough time to put them on before the crew showed up. He was told to shut up and color and oh, btw, sign the preflight. And he did.
    It was my first day on the flight line and will never forget what happened next. I’ll tell you, I never, ever put my name to anything I had not done myself.

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