Pilot of the Intruder

The A6 Intruder

My American History classes finished the upcoming epic American novel and hero memoir Witness to the American Century (formerly “Where Do We Get Such Men?” and also formerly “Accidental Odyssey”) yesterday, and it happened conveniently at the conclusion of the last lesson in American History that I will ever teach at Pace High School. I am still letting that sink in. What a way to go out!

To celebrate, we took a trip to the Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum and received a guided tour from the hero of the book himself, Capt. Allen Brady. We watched an incredible IMAX film about aircraft carriers, the might of the United States Navy and the military collaboration we have with other countries from all over the world. Make no mistake though, there is no military mightier than the United States!

Pops in Seville Park with my American History classes, May 3, 2018

Pops talked to them about three (of the dozens) of the planes he flew in his 32 years with the US Navy, including the AD Skyraider, the A4 and the A6 Intruder. They got a very in-depth explanation of his shootdown in the A6 over North Vietnam in 1967, and we learned more than we could ever imagine about “tail hooks” and “bolters.”  Then it was on to the Vietnam POW exhibit, where Pops is featured. Things that were so familiar: the pink and red striped pajamas, the rubber tire sandals, the 7-line Vietnamese paper they used to write letters home, and a replica of the Zoo prison camp. Those kids will never, ever forget the atrocities that happened at the Zoo.

We ended our day trip with lunch in Seville Park where our hero signed all of the kids’ manuscripts for them and posed for pictures

GO NAVY! 

Witness to the American Century is currently being published by Kent State University Press with an anticipated release date of January, 2019.

Capt Allen Brady in the A4 during Operation Hardtack, Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, 1958

My City By the Bay

PC: Instagram @frankabbottphotography

Y’all!! It’s 4th of July weekend. There were absolutely perfect grand finale fireworks exploding over the bay behind Wahoos Stadium last Saturday night as Cat Country belted out the Star Spangled Banner and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” for the whole town, songs we know by heart because we’ve heard them, literally, hundreds and hundreds of times growing up here. Our townsfolk serenaded each other up and down the coastline as they sprawled out on blankets laid on pelts of damp grass downtown in the historic district while their kids twirled sparklers in the air screaming, “Look, mama!” We drank ice cold canned drinks plucked from sloshy coolers doubling as benches and we grilled big fat hotdogs, sitting on the hallowed ground of five hundred years of European history as kids hit baseballs and men planned offshore fishing trips for next weekend. We ate truckloads of chilled watermelon. We drove our big lifted trucks to get down there, or maybe our convertibles, or our Jeeps, because the climate of this area just begs for you to ride around with the top down, the twang of a Luke Bryan country song blaring out your window, talking with your passenger about the excitement of the Blue Angels Show coming up the next weekend. We complain about the traffic…and the heat…my God the heat, but yes, we love it here. The pride we have in our military, the confident air of superiority we have in all things USA…well, it makes us walk a little straighter and push our shoulders back just a smidge. It’s gooood to be an American. Really good. I couldn’t be more patriotic right now in my red, white and blue hangover if I’d signed the Declaration of Independence myself.  We love our country. Read more