The Car

During my three years–1963 – 1966–at Ramey AFB we supported two Chrome Domes (airborne alert) each day. In addition, we always kept a KC-135 on a 90 day TDC to Alaska for the purpose of refueling the bombers during their 25 hour missions. It was my turn for weekend standby when one of our tankers returned during the wee hours on a Sunday morning.

I met the flight crew in the debriefing room and I took detailed notes on the problems the navigator experienced during their return flight, and then waited to be dismissed by the short bird colonial who was in charge of debriefing.

“Is there anything you need off the plane tonight, or can it wait until daylight?” the Colonial asked.

“It can wait, sir,” answered the aircraft commander.

A voice that cut through the murmuring voices piped up with: “You’ve got to get that car off there tonight.”

The murmuring stopped. The silence was painful.

The colonial dismissed everyone but himself and the flight crew.  We had to leave without hearing what he had to say.

Several days passed before I saw the crew chief on the flight line. He must have been sworn to silence, because wouldn’t say any more than I already knew–the flight crew had taken a car to Alaska.

There was never a whisper or rumor about the incident.