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Dick Reichelt

What will follow are some some ramblings of a C-141 'junkie', Maj. Richard Reichelt, Ret., a 20-year USAF veteran from 1952-1972. I enlisted with the intention of becoming a pilot, a life's dream. After two years as a tower operator at Lowry AFB, Denver and as an A2C, I entered and passed through the Aviation Cadet program and my adventures REALLY began.

In 1966, I came back from a 3 year assignment in Wiesbaden Germany to check out in the new C-141 Starlifter.

As I said to my C-141 instructor, Capt. Gary O. Moles, on my first turn to final on that sunny, windy afternoon in Oklahoma, "Holy Shit! I'm on the front porch flying my whole house around!" Of course his response, the cool guy that he was, "Nah, don't worry you'll get it, it's easy, and you will grow to love the 141."

As these stories unfold, as they come back into focus, to me they are now very exhilarating, not, as they might have been then, mixed in with the mundane duties of a routine day.

Looking back through the rosy haze of time, these are memories of a lifetime experienced in a flying machine called the C-141 Starlifter. It served as no other.

Col N was, by all evidence, a mean, crusty, nasty, skinny, little bully of a full bird. The kind of guy that once you knew of him, he would make you cringe. He would come out into the MAC C-141 system to get his flying time. Storming through base ops and weather, and aggravating most of the people he had contact with, no one looked forward to take off. He was most vitriolic with the flight engineers, but the co-pilot position also caught it, and navigators were morons. The loadmasters were smart enough to stay out of his way. Way far away.

Cruise checklist complete and 20 questions started. Not the start of a good C-141 trip!

One idea was maybe to brown nose a bit. Yeah that's the ticket! Buy him a drink and make friends. The really clever part of the plan, being a cocky Captain on flying status, was that I would proceed to drink him under the table so he would at least know the better man.

We both started on the hard stuff. Me buying and him on doubles. (THAT should have been a clue)

Note for history: I did not drink him under the table. It was me that was crawling around under the table. In fact, I got so blasted it should have been illegal. I do not remember much more, I don't know how I walked or got to the BOQ. I do not remember anything other than what a dumb idea that was in the first place. Col N stayed and swilled and was last reported as having been caught making a ruckus and peeing on the base commander's front lawn and bushes. I have no idea why they would have been so hard on him, but the rest of the trip was OK with his replacement.

Liberty and justice for all!

Why would a rational man provoke someone who can cut off his fuel --- or worse?


Richard (Dick) Reichelt      richreichelt@msn.com

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