I had always wanted to go flying, to see what it was like up there, and I finally had the opportunity, one summer day in 1957. That one flight convinced me that being a pilot was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and it led to a very enjoyable and exciting 45-year career in aviation.
After flying for eight and a half years during high school and college, and participating in the Air Force ROTC Program at Ole Miss and The University of Texas, I felt I was well prepared for US Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training. In October 1965, I became a member of UPT Class 67C at Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, Texas. I can say, without reservation, that my year in UPT was the best year of my life!
Gerald "Jerry" Keyser and I became friends in 1966, when we were both in USAF Pilot Training. In 1970 I got out of the Air Force and Jerry stayed in. We remained friends and I followed along in awe as he went on to have the most amazing flying career I have ever seen. He flew 100 different types of airplanes, helicopters, and gliders during his 20 years in the Air Force, including a stint with NASA, and his 17 years as a test pilot for Hughes-McDonell Douglas-Boeing Helicopter Company in Arizona.
This is a heart-warming short story about the death of a loved one and how our loved ones bring us consolation from beyond the grave.