A Nostalgic visit to Forbes Air Force Base
Apr 25, 2009
|First, I want to finish up with some statistics in regard to our trip from Oklahoma City, to Topeka.
For all of you Rvers out there who want to know, we drove 291 miles, and with the help of a tail wind, averaged 11.2 mpg. Not too bad!
Now, back to the normal journal…
I went to bed early last night, and slept really great. I never knew when Marilyn came to bed, but I awoke when she got out of bed this morning. I felt rested and ready for a hot cup of coffee. The tree frogs were doing their thing outdoors, and that was the only sound we could hear through our open windows.
We turned the fireplace on and talked about the day ahead.
Once the coffee was finished, Marilyn took her shower while I checked on the blogs of friends around the country.
I followed her lead, by taking my shower as she got dressed for the day.
We drove south on Topeka Blvd, to visit Forbes Field. When I was a young man in the US Air Force, I was stationed here at Forbes Air Force Base. At that time it was a SAC Base. (Strategic Air Command)
We were part of the 40th Bomb Wing, supporting B-47 Bombers as well as KC-97 Tankers. I flew 22 missions while here and all but one was in the KC-97’s. I managed to visit Newfoundland, the Azores, Spain and England, while doing my job for Uncle Sam. Three buddies and I drove my car to Monterrey, Mexico and back, which is a story for some other time.
The one mission I flew in a B-47 was a nine hour training mission. I was an enlisted man but was on flying status. I flew the Navigator’s position on that flight, to check out some equipment.
The Navigator/Bombardier seat is in the nose of the aircraft and the only way to see out is through a periscope. The ejection seat for that crew position ejects downward instead of up, as the aircraft commander and first officer’s seats do. The training for flying status required us to get ejection seat training, but the training seat went UP! I never knew what it would feel like to go down in an ejection seat, and I am happy for that. LOL
That was an interesting time in my life because I met Marilyn during my stay at Forbes. Now, after being married for 46 years, we are back.
It was sad in a way, to visit the old AFB. Most of the buildings, barracks and all, are now gone. We did locate the building that I worked in and the hangars are still here. In fact, they have a war bird museum and they were having a fund raiser pancake and sausage breakfast.
We paid $5.00 each for a ticket and got in line, among the war birds. I spoke with an older gentleman, and mentioned that I had served here at Forbes when I was in the Air Force. He immediately offered me a job as a guide at the museum. Retirement is great but people keep offering me an opportunity to go back to work. I am not ready for that, yet! I am watching the economy though!
I took a lot of pictures and will post them for those of you who love looking at airplanes, as I do, but I will dwell no more, on the “good old days”, because the best days in my life are right now.
We drove around the old base, as I tried to remember where certain buildings were located. There is no sign of our old barracks, and for the life of me, I could not remember where the mess hall was located. Marilyn teased me with the thought that food wasn’t nearly as important to me back in those days. LOL
Once we left the nostalgia behind, we found the Wal-Mart and shopped for some needed supplies.
Back at the RV, we unloaded groceries and settled down for the rest of the afternoon. It is raining, sometimes quite hard with thunder and occasional lightning, but we are cozy and comfortable, enjoying the Cardinals/Cubs baseball game on TV.
I have one other thing on my mind today, and that is our good friend, Dave, who is in Omaha, undergoing bone marrow transplants. He has no immunity and no energy at this point, so I humbly request that you include Dave & Judy in your prayers.
We will see about getting the RV worked on Monday instead of Tuesday, which is the scheduled date. I suspect that we will have to wait until Tuesday, and should be set up in Hannibal on Tuesday night.
We sure look forward to seeing Jennifer, Steve and Colby!
Tonight we may watch a movie and have popcorn for dinner. Tomorrow is a new day, and we are in a very nice RV Park, so let’s just wait until morning to see what that day has in store…..