Plane Pr0n

This is Lefty Gardner’s old P-38. Lefty was a legend in the Commemorative Air Force as one of its founding 5 members. Red Bull purchased the plane after an accident (turbo charger blew and caught fire causing an off-field landing) several years ago and has rebuilt it completely

Photo’s are of the Red Bull P-38 undergoing maintenance at Ezell Aviation in Breckenridge, TX.

Glacier Girl was an historic acheivement. This mirror finish “Lightning” is a work of art.





10 responses to “Shiny

  1. virgil xenophon

    It’s always burned my rosie red that the CAF changed their name, sccumbing to PC pressure. Do you know the exact details of who applied the pressure? Govt–state or fed, NGOs, etc. I can think of a million ways the screws could have been put to those guys in terms of taxes, IRS removal of exemptions, etc., or the services in withdrawing co-operation, etc. Do you have the straight skinny? I never really bothered to find out, just woke up one day and there it was..

    Same damned thing happened to the 159th TFGroup of the Louisiana ANG. All Louisiana NG units used to be known as the “Coonass Militia” and the ANG as the “Coonass Air Force”–had a big picture of a Raccoon flashing his rosie red as part of their insignia (if you don’t know what a Coonass is, Google it, takes too long to tell here, they’ve got a pretty accurate–for once–history of the term) One day while they were out at Nellis TDY for B & G practice, some black officer, totally ignorant of what a Louisiana “Coonass” was, complained about it being “racist” and the rest is history and they had to change the name and take off the insignia in ’92 under heavy pressure from the PC “Big Kids” in the AF.

    One of my best friends in my Squadron in England homesteaded for 15 yrs in New Orleans as the USAF advisor/ALO to the LANG–was his baby. What SWEET DUTY! NOTHING but flying!! No paperwork, desk job etc. And was CO of the AF Red Flag Aggressor Squadron (one of Lex’s old jobs in the Navy as his counter-part) at Nellis prior to that. Lived in Belle Chasse with the Navy practically right off the runway. (As fate would have it I was living in Louisville all those years, but would visit with him during our annual trip back to NO.) Managed to NEVER attend a SINGLE Command & Staff school and yet managed to ret an O-6!! LOL!!! ALL he wanted to do was FLY! And was a HELLUVA fighter pilot! And believe me, he had those guys whipped into shape as one of the best ANG outfits goin’. The kind you want on your side in wartime, but never make flag rank because they can’t stand the paperwork and are totally UN-PC, non-diplomats.

    One story tells you what he was like. After college–he’s from NJ–he lived briefly in Miami, Fla, prior to entering the AF. No job. Supported himself shooting pool!! TRUE STORY! LOL!! Talk about “street smarts”!
    And a GREAT GUY to boot!

    GOD I hate PC!!

    • VX-I can always count on you to tell it like it is. To answer the question: Evidently the CAF found that some corporate sponsors didn’t like the “Confederate” portion of the name and as such would not be a sponsor. Doesn’t matter how well the overall name is known, the work that was done by the organization, it was only the name that mattered to them! It wasn’t one individual that made the decision. The members voted with the expectation it would have broader support.

      Reminds me of the hubub surrounding Chief illiniwek at U.of I. it too was a cherished symbol and tradtion of the University. Sadly, it too is gone despite overwhelming support from students (70%)+.
      Still bugs me.

      Good story on the Coonass militia. I guess you’d know , what with you being a resident of the state of Louisiana

  2. virgil xenophon

    PS: I forgot to say that my guy from NJ’s combat tour was at same time as mine–only he flew out of Ubon, Thailand, while I was at DaNang, He arrived at my Sq in RAF Woodbridge shortly after me. Spent a great 3 yrs together as wild ass young single Capts.–hog heaven–British women, cheap AF booze, good flying w. almost no responsibilities as Jr. officers–was like being in the Hell’s Angels. We were even our own Air Force with our own runway, away from the prying eyes of the big kids, as the main base at Bentwaters held the other 2 squadrons and Wing HQ. We even had our OWN ‘O CLUB–a raffishly cobbled together series of WWII Quonset huts. ALL the great parties were thrown at our place. The other two squadrons who were under the noses of the Wing staff at Bentwaters hated our guts. (Jealous bastards, LOL)We were the shirt-tail out Oakland Raiders (the team of the winning days) to their uptight shirts-all-tucked-in Dallas Cowboys. (And we always won the bombing trophy–in fact retired it by winning 3 quarters in a row!–the last time by.25 of a point! Eat your livers!) The exchange rate was 2.82L to the dollar in those days as well, just the reverse of today,so we lived like kings because of the strong dollar. All fond memories…long gone.

  3. A friend of mine served with the 20th fighter wing out of Heyford I think, as an F-111 pilot. You had more fun. That is until you ended up in DaNang. Still, I can only wonder what is was like to fly every day and get paid for it (except for getting shot at) that could take away some of the joy.

    You ought to get some of your stories on paper. Seriously. I’ll be on the list for the first printing, same as I’m on the waiting list for Lex’s book.

  4. virgil xenophon


    Are you a U o I grad? I was born and grew up just 50 mi south in Charleston, Ill, where my father was head tennis and Basketball coach
    for 30yrs. I hated the “Chief” thing too. But as I’m sure you know, the administration, from President on down has always been one of the most liberal, PC in the Big Ten in a sort of under-the-radar sort of way as compared to say, Wisc., who pretty much hog all the limelight for PC honors. And the Administration and faculty, from the days of David Dowds Henry in the 50’s has ALWAYS been anti-sports (unless it’s women’s volley-ball) If they had taken the NCAA to court like North Dakota (“Fighting Sioux”) is doing, I think they would have won, but fat chance. The ONLY people for THAT course of action were the Alumns, the maj. of the students and the maj. of the people of the state of Ill., that’s all….

    God I hate PC!!

    PS: For the 1st half of my tour at RAF Woodbridge we shared the runway with the 79th TFS (Tigers)who were reflexed from the 20th TFW at Upper Heyford in the days when they were equipped with F-100C/Ds. They were in even more hog heaven than we were. We were only 20 min drive from the other base and Wing HQ; those guys were 4 hrs drive away from theirs!! Might as well been on the other side of the moon. LOL!!

    When the 79th left it was replaced by an ARRS (Air-Sea Rescue) Squadron (C-130s and Super Jollys) which constantly rotated half the Sq between Woodbridge and Keflavik AB, Iceland, on rescue stand-by. Their CO was Lt Col. Herb Zender, the #2 guy to lead the Son Tay POW rescue attempt in N. Vietnam, got the Air Force Cross for that little trip. As I told XBrad over at his place in another context, he was a cool dude, walked around in dark wrap-around shades (VERY rare for those days) and custom high-topped black boots–was a clone of Johnny Carson’s Doc Severinsen, complete with mustache and hair-style. LOL!!

  5. I was adopted by my brother’s fraternity at the U of I. While we’re close friends, we deliberately chose different Universities since we’re twins. He’s also a pilot. One of the great things to do is to stash the clubs in the baggage compartment and fly to a golf course that has an airfield nearby. Some are located right next to the course. Flying solo is great fun but if you can couple the flying with an activity it’s terrific.

    I thought I’d read about Zender but can’t recall where. I have almost every aviation book written about flying in Vietnam but can’t place that event. -Just finished Launch the Intruders by Reardon, after I saw it featured in the Air & Space magazine write up. Keep the Air stories coming.

  6. “How’d you know I looked like that?”
    At least we got a shot of you smiling! I hope you like that pose since it probably will follow you wherever WordPress is used. Next time don’t stick out your tongue when the flash goes off.

    Yes, Sir. Wilko WILCO! I have no idea how I missed “The Raid”. Book recommendations are most welcome. I thought I had cornered the market on aviation books but you have apparently blazed the trail before. Anything that demonstrates the drama of leadership, courage and perseverance (and of course aviation) are usually worthwhile. However, some of the recent authors , (McCullough, Ambrose) have popularized other aspects of American history and many are eminently readable.

    Now if you’ll kindly send a photo of you, either current or in your flying days, Brad and I will update your gravatar.

  7. virgil xenophon

    On Amazon: The Raid: The Son Tay Prison Rescue Mission. Google it!! An ABSOLUTE MUST READ!!!! Can’t say enough good words about the book. I have the original hard-back. You WILL NOT be able to put it down. ORDER IT TODAY! (And that’s an order, Mister!!)

  8. virgil xenophon

    PS: Have you been talkin’ to XBRAD? How’d you know I looked like that?
    How you guys found out my likeness is more than I can figure–you sure you’re not really a CIA plant?

  9. virgil xenophon

    Do you have “The Doom Pussy?” (1967) by Elaine Sheppard? (DOOM=DaNang Officer’s Open Mess) Pretty much describes DaNang just as I was getting there (Oct 67-Oct-68) She was a very accomplished war correspondent from the Eisenhower era. She has a DOOM II out, (a work of fiction building on the original non-fiction) but I’ve not read it yet. If you want to know what the tenor of the times was like while I was there read that one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s