16 October, 2021

"The Obstinate Owl II " - F-86F Sabre, 35th FBS, 8th FBG as flown by...

"Gawd.  You get to meet the most amazing people..."

Ever hear the phrase, "If you're the smartest/best/coolest person in the room, find another room"?

(cough cough)

Uh... my seat in the room of "...most amazing people" is hewn from solid granite with a foundation that sinks a mile into the earth.  I ain't moving anywhere.

It's a great gig.  But, it's spoiled me.  Perhaps rotten.  At least for the word, "Leadership."

To this point, the word often makes me blanch — what my generation passes as Leadership is (often) simply not.  At best it's naive.  At worst, it's a manufactured veneer.  Narcisism anyone?

To me, this photo represents the Bonfire of the Vanities.  

"Oooh.  That's a little negative, don't you think?" 

Nah.  Hear me out. (irony-alert!)

Need to experience this for yourself?  Clue into LinkedIn and read the myriad of posts stuffed with the pronoun "I," the bullet-pointed lists of assured success-tips, pontificated musings and the remarkable youth (of all ages) from which they're conveyed.

Will Rogers was a "National Treasure."  If he were alive today, I'd vote for him.  So would you.  Prolly.

Guilty as charged, too.

Nevertheless, the more I spend time with "...the most amazing people," the more I'm convinced that Leadership is a deep, personal void that one fulfills by using God-given talent, perfecting acquired skill and confidence that every human has a responsibility to the other.

Hmmm.  Maybe I should post that. 

(cough cough)


Have a look at the sketch at the top of this post — it's a North American F-86F-30 Sabre, circa Spring, 1953, South Korea, airfield "K-13."

The story that will follow includes bombs, rockets, risk, reward, the moon, a drunk executive and his grateful wife and the kind of cache that will make even the most distinguished hero straighten up, shut up and listen up.

And it involves The Brady Bunch.  Yes.  With Marcia, Greg and Florence Henderson ("Mike Brady" was kind of a 'meh' but that's another story).

So... ©CBS (I guess) owns the copyright to The Brady Bunch.

Jan vs. Marcia.  I was (and remain) TEAM JAN.  Marcia was too vain. (Oh! My Nose!)

But first, let's get the Geeky stuff out of the way.

• This is an F model (not an A or an E or an H and certainly not a fat-nosed D).

Significance?  The F model Sabre was the perfection of the breed.  Aesthetically, it's probably the most beautiful jet fighter ever made.  But Aerodynamically, it was almost perfect.   Though unable to sustain Mach 1 in level flight, it absolutely mastered its flight envelope.  Rumor has it that if the pilot (somehow) managed to get it in a spin, all one had to do was center the controls and it would return to normal vectored flight.  

Beautiful AND pleasant.  How's that for airplanes?!*

This is an F-86D.  I drew this for a family who loved their Patriarch.

Someone actually said, "The D-model is ugly!"  Bah.  They wouldn't know 'ugly' if it farted on their lap.

• The particular Sabre I'm drawing right now is an "F" model and part of the 8th FBG.   That'd be "Fighter Bomber Group" for those who don't care to know all the military acronyms.  And in case you're wondering about FBS, that'd be "Fighter Bomber SQUADRON."

But, back to the letter "B."

Significance?  "B" in the Air Force world means "Bomber."  Though her pilot "...thinks (he) saw a MiG, once..." (and would have loved to tangle with it), this F-86F was a ground-pounder, dropping bombs and strafing targets.  

So I asked him, "Did you ever want to get into a dogfight (with the North Korean** MiGs?)"

He replied, "Ah hell no. I liked bombing missions!  I could have flown around (on MiG patrol) all day and never see (MiGs)!  But when I was bombing, I was getting something done!  'Something happened' every time I took off and something happened every time I dropped my bombs."

So, I asked, "How'd you do hitting the target?"

He just glowered, coughed, looked away for a moment... then locked eyes and stated flatly, "I always hit the target."


I got his point.  The man never missed.  Which is good because... uh... never mind.  I'll hit that point in a later post.

"Major Tom to Ground Control..." © NASA

• The F-86F that I've been commissioned to draw represents the absolute apogee of the pilot's career (at least that's what he thinks).  But, you'd never, ever guess it because the pilot of this particular aircraft is an American Gawd.

Significance?   Well, that gets into this word, "Leadership" - at least how my generation has tried to promote it. 

So.  Back to that bonfire... Thank you @Cracked.com. 

Pour yourself a cup/glass of whatever you think is prudent and clear your December calendar.  The unveiling of this art will be live-streamed.

And you'll see (hopefully) that "Leadership" walks slowly, needs a cane (sometimes) and clears whatever space he's in of poseurs. 

More coming. :)

The quote is ©ME!.  If the Kardashians call me up and want to buy it, it will cost ONE MEEELION DOLLARS.  No... Seven.  No... TWELVE.   NO... 

Stand by.  This is going to get GREAT.   :)

*The Supermarine Spitfire is beautiful, pleasant and... amazing.

**Also (disproportionately) Chinese and Russian pilots.