17 March 2020

Lt. Bacon

St. Patty's Day rolls around and I'm always reminded of the guy that taught me to fly the Bell UH-1 "Huey". His name was Bacon, a 1st Lieutenant.
He was a Viet Nam Veteran, a great guy, and a Southern gentleman with an accent to match.
He told me this story-

"I had a set of students, both of 'em had been airline pilots prior to starting flight school. Both learned VERY quickly and were so good at performing new tasks, I had to search hard for things to downgrade them on when I filled out their daily report slips.
One day we were flying in particularly rough weather and both had difficulty maintaining assigned heading and altitudes. During the debriefing, when I showed them the 'less than perfect' grade slips, one of them commented, 'SIR! It was really rough out there!'
To which Lt. Bacon replied, 'Well guys... when this happens you should just say something like-
Sir, I think I have something in my eye. Can you take the controls for a minute?
That way I'll take the controls and see how difficult the conditions are, and I'll take that into consideration when filling out your grade slips!'

That night was St. Patrick's Day, and I went to the Officer's Club to partake of some green beer.
I partook of a LOT of green beer!
And the next day, while flying with these two excellent students, my gastrointestinal tract was acting up a little...
Correct that... my G.I. tract was acting up a LOT.
I could not help filling the cockpit of that Huey with an aroma so strong I was surprised it didn't peel the paint off the instrument panel!
After about my third 'volley', real SCORCHERS, over the intercom I heard-
'Sir, can you take the controls? I think I have something in my NOSE!"

I think of Lt. Bacon every time 17March rolls around and wish there was a way I could contact him. I can't even remember his first name.
But he taught me well, and I OWE the man a lot.
Including the ability to retell this story!


Well Seasoned Fool said...

Float Bridge Company, Hanau, Germany 1966 we did a two mile double time six mornings a week. Formations had the tallest in front, shortest in back. German beer and greasy Army chow meant the short guys in the rear of the formation would be gasping and bitching. I was ever thankful to be 6'1" and ran in clean air.

Old NFO said...

Oh, that had to have been painful! LOL

Ed Bonderenka said...

It's good to be the lead dog.

CNF said...

Great story. My first helicopter instructor was Lt Ham, I remember him telling me when he got out of the Navy he was going to open up a head shop in Pensacola. I wonder if he ever did.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Lt. Ham, Lt. Bacon?