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Dick Reichelt

Bear with me now, this is going to read like Genesis.

I retired from the AF.

A year's gone by and I no longer have a 'home' or roots. I start flying for an Allegheny, commuter airline out of Atlantic City. One day I fly into Republic Airport, L.I. N.Y. for parts pick up. I spot a sweet thing there that I will chase until catch her.

Two line boys refuel the charter twin beech I'm flying. One seemed a lot less ambitious than the other. The 'other' was Matt McCloskey, a jolly redheaded, freckled-face kid. Matt was a person you take to right away, a great fellow who will become a friend and protégé.

The FBO at Republic had obtained a nice Convair 440 that was Germany's 'AF-1' for Chancellor Conrad Adenauer and was looking for a pilot for charters. Guess who had a Convair rating and lots of hours? Meeee! I left the mini airline and mini pay for the Convair and more pay. I 'caught' the sweet thing (my present wife of 28 years) and we headed out to California to fly a different Convair for lots MORE pay.

Matt obtained all his flying licenses and followed us to California. He wanted to obtain 'heavy time' flying with me on the west coast Convair. He applied for The AF flight training program and graduated from T-38's in 1979 as a 2nd LT.

Guess what airplane was his first choice? YES, the C141 to be flown out of Norton AFB. NOW you can sigh and go ooooooh. Matt flew the same old routes with a proud reserve unit accumulating 3000 hours up to the Northern Lights and west to the South Seas. Like a son, he did me proud. Not only that, he would prowl the same old shopping streets of Okinawa that I mentioned in a previous 'Tale'; picking up whatever he was willing to carry home for me. I was still shopping in Okinawa without leaving home!

On those 141 trips, an AF reserve flight nurse caught his eye. I can hear 'bachelor' being spoken somewhere in Nam, 'What's a nice girl like you doing in rotten place like this'? I'd like to say they got married at 37000 ft coming back home on a shiny C141, but you wouldn't buy that. But they did get married and I KNOW it was the 141 that brought them together. I consider Matt a stable, well rounded, all around family man, like the stable and reliable 'ol 141 he flew and loved. He's so stable he still drives his 1977 Sirocco!

Matt resides in Md. with his wife, former AF flight nurse, Dawn and their three children. He has given me permission to relay this tale. He splits his time between the AF reserve and American Airlines

Here's the happy ending: They're living happily ever after.
Starlifter: We love you and will miss you.


Richard (Dick) Reichelt      richreichelt@msn.com

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