My old friend George and I were in the Air Force together, and he passed away a few days ago at the age of 83.
George was a pilot during the Vietnam era and I was a propeller mechanic, so there was a natural bond between us. We spent many hours talking about old airplanes, flying them and working on them.
As a Forward Air Controller, George was often out there on the “pointy end of the spear,” floating over the jungle while being fired at, watching what was going on below and calling in aircraft to attack any targets he saw.
One day, I asked George what he did after that in the Air Force, and he replied, “Special Ops stuff in Laos and Cambodia.” I then asked him what kind of stuff and with a twinkle in his eye, he said: “Oh, sometimes I would fly an airplane somewhere to get some gas or to get some work done on it.” I followed up by asking if any bombs were dropped or guns fired, but he only said, “Nope, just got some gas.”
You see folks, George had been instructed never to tell exactly what he did in Special Ops. So even though almost 50 years have passed and no one would have ever known what he said, George still honored the orders he had been given and kept his secrets.
We all owe a great debt to the men like George. Let’s not forget them.