25 May, 2011

Profile 48 - 511417 as flown by Joe Foss

Oh man, if I could do it over...!

Recently, I was fortunate enough to get a rare Commission - to do the suite of aircraft flown by the South Dakota Air National Guard.   If there's one dominant feature of the gig, it's that WW2 ace and Medal of Honor winner Joe Foss started the unit back in 1946.

For those who aren't familiar, Joe was a bigger-than-life person who lived a life so full of superlatives, I won't even try to list them.  In fact, just click here.

However, in 2002, I asked Joe for an interview and he cheerfully agreed with the caveat that I provide prints of his Grumman F4F fighter plane to be used as a fundraiser for the NRA.  Sure.  Easy enough.

When given the Air Guard commission, I dug up the tape from the interview and was at once thrilled to relive the moment and astonished at what I didn't think to ask the man.  (sigh)  Oh, I've got the combat stories.  But now, nearly ten years later, there's so much more that I want to know about life, business, America, history...and who better to ask than a guy who lived it all to the HILT.

And all I could think about was dogfights.  Like I wrote, if I could do it over!*

Each new day, I grow more convinced that our nation, our society isn't so much in an economic or cultural crisis as we are in a Wisdom crisis.  We've done it to ourselves with things like "retirement" and the franchising of the family to ridiculous schedules and urgent expectations...

Oh well.  Watch this blog because I'll be posting progress on Joe's F-51 fighter plane - the one he flew while pioneering South Dakota's aerial force.  And, in spite of my amateur attempt, I have a few more clips to share, too.

*Joe died shortly after this interview on January 1, 2003.  He aged pretty well from his auspicious start in 1942.