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"Saying goodbye to my dad" Topic


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492 hits since 13 Apr 2016
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Tgunner Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2016 6:48 p.m. PST

I'm not sure why I'm posting this, maybe it's therapy? Or I guess I want to tell Dad's story. At least part of it anyway.

This morning at 3:30 I had to say goodbye to my father: Freddie Don Case. My dad was 74.

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He was a tough cookie. He was small, but he played basketball and football as a kid. He lost his mom (my real grandmother) when he was six and was basically raised by my Aunt Betty (who was just 16 herself). My grandfather practiced "tough love", and my dad could really rile him up. He use to say that he made it to adulthood because my aunt kept Papa from killing him… LOL!, and I'm not sure just how much he was kidding!

Anyway, the thing that was truly fascinating about my dad was his time in the Air Force. Yes, that's right, he was unabashedly a member of the Air Force! He took great pleasure in teasing me about being a "grunt", "ground pounder", or "gravel agitator"! Yes, he thought it was a waste that I joined the Army as a tanker rather than enlisting in a technical service like the Air Force and getting a "real job".

Being a young man during the Cold War he had the choice of taking his chances with the draft or joining up, so he decided to join up. Heck, he figured that he was a shoe in for the draft so it was probably better to enlist and pick his service rather than have Uncle Sam choose it for him. So at the ripe old age of 19 he left his job and signed up in the flyboy club as a, get this, "fuel specialist". Poor kid… I guess back in the day there was no such concept as truth in advertising!!

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He "thought" he would be wearing a lab coat/smock and using beakers and test tubes or something chemical/technical oriented. The truth was that he would never see the inside of a lab! Instead he was trained to operate FUEL TRUCKS!!!!

So that's what my dad did from 1958 to 1961. He drove fuel trucks and watered thirsty birds. I use to ask him, "Did you get to wipe the windows and check the oil too!?!"

He did feel a bit cheated at first, but he did love it! He discovered what a joy it was to spend time on the flight line racing between warbirds to juice them up. He saw a lot of birds too: F100 Super Sabres (his favorite), F105 Thunderchiefs, and all sorts of interceptors and even transports.

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He got to spend time around warbirds that you only get to see in a museum now. That must have been so cool.

He loved to tell me stories about his time in too, and I never got sick of them either.

One of his favorite stories was about how once a pilot allowed him to hop a ride on a troop transport (I forget what it was) and he got to watch paratroopers from the 82nd perform a training drop. He use to get so excited when he told that story.

However his favorite story was about getting stationed in Okinawa where he was picked to join a "special, secret" mission to Thailand around 1960 or 1961. I thought it was an odd story, but it turned out to be very true. He and other airmen were sent to some old airfield built decades before to support a phantom squadron of A-26 Invaders. These planes, unmarked with crews out of uniform, were going to be used to attack communist forces in Laos or Vietnam! Dad was sent there and spent weeks in the jungle dodging scorpions and snakes while servicing the warplanes to support their mission.

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Sounds like a cool movie? Maybe, but it was real. It was called Operation Millpond:

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I always thought it was an odd story, but I checked into it and found all sorts of information about it on-line. My dad was thrilled when I showed him what I found! I could tell that it gave him real joy to read about this odd, obscure, but fascinating part of his life. To see pictures of his old CO. It was so cool that I could do this for him… to show him that this obscure operation from his youth was not completely forgotten.

That was two years ago.

My dad passed away this morning from a heart attack. He made it to the hospital with my brother, but there wasn't much that they could do for him except ease his passing.

Words just can't express…

So I'll just say bon voyage flyboy. I hope the Lord has some classic warbirds for you to juice up and send down the taxi way. Your DAT Army boy misses you already.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2016 7:00 p.m. PST

Nice tribute.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2016 7:35 p.m. PST

A beautiful tribute to your dad. Please accept my condolences.

kyoteblue Inactive Member13 Apr 2016 7:59 p.m. PST

Well said.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2016 8:15 p.m. PST

A wonderful tribute, my condolences…

galvinm Inactive Member13 Apr 2016 8:37 p.m. PST

So Sorry for your loss. We lose a special part of ourselves when we lose our Dads. I lost mine when I was only 6. A new man came into my mother's life when I was 10. To my brothers and sisters, he was Bob, our stepfather. He served on a carrier, juicing jets during Korea. I have always had a lot of respect for a man, who would marry a woman who already had 4 children. I always called him Dad. I would not let my other brothers fight with him as we became men and had the usual disagreements. He is now 85, and I could not imagine how my life would have turned out without him. It always surprises me how we are amazed at what these silly old men really did, and really mean to us. Think on the good memories you have with them, and thank them for making us the men we have become. You are in our family's thoughts and prayers.

Katwerks13 Apr 2016 8:58 p.m. PST

Very sorry to hear about your dad's passing.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2016 2:03 a.m. PST

My sympathy on losing your Father.

Anthon Inactive Member14 Apr 2016 3:20 a.m. PST

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a great tribute. May peace and fond memories fill your heart.

OldGrenadier at work14 Apr 2016 4:32 a.m. PST

May he rest in peace. A powerful tribute.

zippyfusenet Inactive Member14 Apr 2016 6:16 a.m. PST

My sympathies. You love is a tribute to your father's life.

jpattern214 Apr 2016 6:35 a.m. PST

Condolences to you, your family, and all of your dad's friends.

(As an aside, I do love the look of a bare-metal jet. Thanks for that photo.)

eagleteacher2514 Apr 2016 8:46 a.m. PST

May he rest in peace.

Bismarck14 Apr 2016 8:49 a.m. PST

wonderful tribute to your father. you can tell from what you wrote just how close you two were. that will stay with you for a lifetime. my deepest sympathies to you and your family.
Rest in peace, Mr. Case. Thank you for your service.

Sam

mad monkey 114 Apr 2016 9:49 a.m. PST

My condolences. Good tribute.

Personal logo Blake Walker Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2016 3:45 p.m. PST

My condolences and deepest sympathy,
You father sounds like a good man,
Blake

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2016 4:57 p.m. PST

Our prayers are with you.

Streitax Inactive Member14 Apr 2016 5:27 p.m. PST

Well, you've served his memory well. My condolences.

Tgunner Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2016 1:55 a.m. PST

Thanks for the kind words guys. They mean a lot.

I love those birds too. There is just something about the planes in those first generations of jets that appeal to me. The bare-metal really appeals to me too.

One of my long term projects was to get a kit for a Super Sabre and paint it up for Dad. I just never got around to it. (sigh) You know how we gamers are: too many projects and not enough time…

But maybe I'll do one anyway, for me and Mom.

Any suggestions for a kit? I'm a wargamer, and a ground pounder at that, so I'm not much into "real" models, so jet models are new territory for me. But building and painting up one for Dad seems right now.

Thanks again.

Tom Bryant15 Apr 2016 10:38 p.m. PST

That was a wonderful tribute! I was never that close to my father, and I do wish I could have been. For various reasons it didn't work out. However "Dad" was my maternal grandfather whose name I (some days I admit undeservedly) bear. I loved hoim dearly and grieve for him even after almost 25 years since his passing. God blessed both of you and now he's fly top cover for you. May God Rest your dad and comfort you and your family. Well Done Mr. Cae! May we be worthy of your service sir.

bandit86 Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2016 2:22 a.m. PST

RIP, nice job Tgunner

Old Wolfman18 Apr 2016 7:04 a.m. PST

Mine passed in 1996. Condolences to you,dude.

Tgunner Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2016 5:45 p.m. PST

Thanks guys.

We buried him today. The VFW and American Legion sent a rifle and flag detail so Dad got a nice send off. It aways wrenched my heart to hear "Taps" at a funeral, and really rough to hear them play it for my dad.

I was right, posting this was therapeutic and it helped me to help my brother when he gave Dad's eulogy. My brother found several pictures of Dad while he was in the Air Force. I'll post some of them here.

Thanks again.

GGouveia26 Apr 2016 10:08 a.m. PST

Sorry to hear about your loss, your dad sounded like one tough SoB.

28mm Fanatik26 Apr 2016 5:12 p.m. PST

Into the wild blue yonder he goes. RIP, fuel specialist.

Personal logo Condor Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2016 9:01 a.m. PST

Rest in peace, sir. You've earned it. Among your accomplishments is raising a fine son that remembered you well for the rest of us.

tkdguy22 May 2016 11:21 p.m. PST

Belated condolences, Tgunner.

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