William Robert Findlay My life ( in his words)
After graduation from Aquinas I attended two years at Augusta College…I was captain of the golf team at AC.I attended The University of Georgia for the next three years and graduated with a BBA degree in Marketing (1965). While at UGA I was intramural golf champ and a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.Uncle Sam needed a few good men because we were fighting a war so I volunteered to go to The USAF Officer Training School in San Antonio Texas. Well actually, I was the next person to be drafted in November from those eligible, so with some political help I enlisted in USAF basic training prior to my class date at OTS. (Oct 1965-Feb1966). I am now a second lieutenant!!!I had a few dollars in my pocket ($302/ mo.) so I asked my sweetheart, Brenda Gale Carrick (’62) to marry me…she said YES! We were married 5 Mar 1966 in Sacred Heart Church…and off to pilot training in Selma Alabama we went. That was the year after the Edmund Pettus Bridge became famous. We had a blast at Craig AFB in spite of the long days. We bought a 50 ft ‘mobile home’. Maxwell AFB, in Montgomery has two great golf courses. I have been above 50,000ft, flown faster than Mach One and I have 220 flight hours!!!!!(Mar66-Mar67)Our next station was Charleston AFB, SC…we sold the trailer and we were at the beach’…and getting paid for it. Life is good.. actually Goose Creek…I flew the C141 built in Marietta and saw the WORLD…my first trip flew to Frankfurt Germany then over the North Pole to Anchorage…Tokyo…into Saigon Vietnam…Okinawa…back to Anchorage…and home to Charleston…about 8 days!! I loved to shop. Big Green EGGS were about $4.00…stereos…pearls…cheap booze…hand made suits…jewelry from Bangkok….I’ve flown across the equator, in support of the space program…. Cape Canaveral… Antigua…Grand Turk …. Ascension Island in the S. Atlantic. I flew Presidential support throughout South America, Panama and Central America in support of Lyndon Johnson….I have seen snow on Mt Fujiyama…The Alps…Rockies…talked to Roma Control…seen the ‘boot’…the Straits of Gibraltar…been to Tehran and the US Embassy …Seen the Pyramids…Suez Canal…The Panama Canal…Sun rise in the Pacific…Icebergs in the North Atlantic… The Zone of ITC, with thunderstorms so big that they punch through the Troposphere…Ice fog in Salt Lake…The River Visual to DCA…Expressway approach to LaGuardia…Watch the Concorde leave JFK…Aurora Borealis/ The Northern Lights…experienced the heat of Saudi Arabia…and the cold of Alaska…. All good things must end. I’m a First Lt. and have about 2000 hrs flying time (March 67-Dec68).I have orders to Vietnam and need some training, so off to survival school in Fairchild AFB Wash, its minus 5* in Spokane, getting ready for the tropics….next on to Nashville, Tenn. to learn to fly the C7a Caribou, a two eng cargo plane… (Promoted to Captain) and then off to the Philippines for Jungle Survival School…The Philippines was a lot of fun…The calm before the storm…..weather was great…(1 week)…Brenda is home in Augusta expecting our first child…(Jan-Mar69)I arrive in CamRahn Bay on 17 Mar 69…the most beautiful beaches and water I had ever seen. After a few days of ‘in country’ indoctrination I’m off to my new home for the next twelve months. I’m 27 years old and bullet proofI finally arrive in Vung Tau, a US Army airfield at the mouth of the Mekong River on the South China Sea….now you may not know this but, Vung Tau was the ‘in country’ rest and relaxation (R&R) center so it was safe and nice.. We lived in a small 5 story hotel with about 60 pilots and support officers. We had our own restaurant and bar on the top floor that overlooked the South China Sea. My first meal was steak and the biggest lobster tail I had ever seen….if you are going to be in a war, this was the place to be! Did I mention our hotel had no hot water?Our primary mission was supporting the US Army and especially the Special Forces. We regularly flew into 2-3000 foot dirt runways carrying beer, rice and bullets. If we weren’t busy we had lunch with the Army, but most days it was a box lunch under the wing of the plane. They said it was chicken!14 November 1969, coming back home to Vung Tau I got a call from the tower…I am a DAD, William Douglas, Mom is doing fine also. Remember George Schafer? He took Billy’s first picture.In Vietnam, I was in charge of aircrew standardization because I was so old, I’m 28 now. Have 1200 combat hours and over 3200 total hrs. (Mar69-Mar70)Back to the WORLD….We are heading back to Charleston and I’ll be one of the first to fly the C5a Galaxy, built in Marietta. I’m tan and ready.We, the three of us were only in Charleston for what seemed like a week, actually it was 15 months. We spent a lot of time at the beach, playing golf and visiting back in Augusta.I was a part of a team that had to improve training on the C5. We spent about 4 months in Altus Ok. during the ‘tornado season’. You haven’t lived until you’ve spent 3 hours in a shelter with dogs, cats and wild children…did I mention we lived in a trailer with a ‘swamp bucket’ air conditioner? (Mar 70- Jun71)So how could the USAF top this TDY assignment? They transfer us to Altus OK., a town of about 30,000 people, to be an instructor in the initial training unit for the C5. In all fairness, we had a great time at Altus because for the first time in our married life we knew I would be off and home on weekends. We had a life together. We went to the BX in Wichita Falls Texas only 100 miles away. The Army exchange in Lawton Ok (Ft Still)…60 miles away. Lawton had a McDonalds and a great golf course!We did go to the zoo in Oklahoma City which was great, as well as a rattlesnake roundup in Mangum OK.and a ‘prairie dog town’ near Lawton. It is minus 5* in the winter and 110* in the summer. The wind blew like crazy. I was base golf champ in Altus.We’ve had enough of this great time and are getting out of the USAF in Sept 1973. A great thing happened in Altus…James Jeremiah was born on 22 Aug 1973, about three weeks before I separate from the USAF. I’m going to be an airline pilot! I have about 4500 hours flying time. (Jun71-Sep73)Well what happened in the fall of 1973? Oil Crisis…..no airlines are hiring so off to Charleston and the AF Reserves…..I hear the USAF is starting a reserve C5 unit in Dover Del. So I take all the civil service tests and am hired as a GS13/ USAFRes instructor in Dover AFB Del.We liked Dover but the weather was not great….all the bad things about winter but no snow. I did the same stuff I had done my whole career up until now. I was in charge of the Reserve Wing Standardization. We gave flight checks to all the crewmembers.While at Dover I was qualified for in flight refueling and actually flew the first ‘operational aerial refueling mission’ in the C5 . I have about 6000hrs flying time now, and was promoted to Major. (Jan 73-Jan77) After I was hired by Delta, I continued to fly at Dover (lived in Marietta) as a reservist for a total career, active and reserve, of 24 years and retired in 1988 as a Lt Colonel.DELTA WANTS YOU!!!!!!!January 24, 1977Class 77cI am an airline pilot…….based in Atlanta.I flew the B727 FEL1011 FEB757 FOMD88 CaptainB757 CaptainB767CaptainI flew domestic….I had seen the oceans and knew if you kept me up long enough I would get tired.I retired from Delta in Aug 2002. What a ride. I have over 25,000hrs flying time!!We lived in Stone Mountain for 3 years and then 2 years in Augusta (80-81). I was tired of driving to Atlanta to go to work, so we moved to Marietta and lived there for almost 25 years. That was the longest either Brenda or I had ever lived in one place in our lives. After I retired we found a small weekend house on Lake Lanier and loved the lake.In 2008 we bought a full time house in Gainesville… We have a pontoon with a big motor and a great dock. Little did we know how much we would miss Atlanta. Billy 41, has two children…Harrison 6 and Eliza Jane 4.I think I have two of the smartest and best behaved grandchildren…ever.JJ 37, is not married and owns a successful bar in Atlanta (Buckhead)…near Roswell and Peachtree Rds….Kramer’s*****************************High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark or even eagle flew…And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.John Gillespie Magee Jr. *******************************************************************I am blessed…I married the girl that I fell in love with almost 50 years ago…Back then, I thought ‘Coach’ was Denny Leonard….I know better now . Life is still GOOD!!!