The planes zoomed overhead as the
sergeant made his way across the runway.
"McGillis! McGillis!" He shouted
trying to push whatever bit of his voice they could hear through the noise of
the roaring jets. "MCGILLIS!"
The young pilot whipped around quickly
and saluted the sergeant.
"Yes sir?" He called strongly.
"What are those two lunatics doing up
there? Don't tell me… it's O' Brian and Miles again." He accused angrily.
McGillis pulled out his clipboard and checked the names on the roster.
"Um, yes sir." He answered as a small
smile crept across his face. He knew what would happen to the men who were
luckily way above Sergeant Hanes. It was a normal occurrence for the two guys
to goof off while they were supposed to "being doing serious work" as the
sergeant often put it.
"Wipe that smile off of your face!" He
boomed across the airstrip. This time they could all hear him loud and clear.
The jets passed the hangers and flew
over the sergeant and McGillis once more. McGillis grabbed his hat as the sergeant's
flew into the air.
"Hey, Charlie! Bet you're too
chicken…" Jack O' Brian called to his friend over the two-way radio.
"What! I ain't too chicken to do
nothin'." He fought back. Jack and Charlie had grown up together. They both
lived in a small town back in West Texas. All their lives they wanted to be
pilots. Charlie had settled down and was married. He had two young children,
Morgan and James. Jack on the other hand, was as wild as ever. Nothing was
holding him back. His dream was to become the best pilot the United States Air
Force had ever seen.
They went their separate directions
and zoomed back so they were facing each other, heading to the same point.
"Hey, Charlie. I bet you 50 bucks and
a steak dinner that you'll pull away before me." He smiled knowing his best pal
would accept the challenge. They had done this many times. It was a shock to
most that they hadn't been kicked out of the Air Force yet.
They were hitting top speed and
zooming towards each other. Minute by minute the time quickly passed by.
"Um… Charlie?" Jack called with a
touch of nervousness in his voice.
"Yeah, Jack." He replied.
"I'll go right. You go left. Okay?"
"Which left? My left or your left?"
Charlie asked getting more nervous by the second.
"My left!" Jack yelled.
"Why your left? Why not my left?"
"Fine!" Jack yelled from frustration.
"You go to your left!"
The planes were so close. The people
standing on the ground close by were sure they would hit. You could hear the
gasps of bystanders.
"1, 2, 3, NOW!" Jack ordered. Quickly
he pulled to the right and out of harm's way. He sighed with relief and wiped
the sweat from his forehead.
"Woohooo!" McGillis shouted out and
leapt in the air. Hanes turned two mean looking eyes toward him. "Um, I mean…
You should know better than to be messing around with expensive equipment,
A few minutes after their "Dare Devil"
stunt they safely landed their F-14s back on the ground. Just as they were
stepping out of the jet, Sergeant Hanes came dashing over.
"O' BRIAN!" The short man had to stand
on his tiptoes to get in his face. "I've told you so many times! This is it
boy! I'll see you in my office!" He stormed off to go give Charlie his lecture.
The men were quiet until they were out of Hanes' sight then they rushed over to
say hi to Jack.
"Man, that was awesome!" One of the
younger pilots complemented both men, who at this time had very large egos.
"Way to go!" One of the men patted
Charlie on the back. As they made their way through the crowd of men shouting
'way to go' and 'awesome', they suddenly came back to reality. They still had
to face Sergeant Hanes. They walked the long "Death Walk" as many men called
it, up to Sergeant Hanes headquarters. Most men that had a conference with
Hanes were only to be seen again waving bye to their buddies and being shipped
back home. When they walked into the building all was silent. The people that
were pecking quickly at the keys of a typewriter kept pecking and didn't even
stop long enough to look up and see who was in the room.
They reached the wooden door with the
clearly written name 'Sergeant John Hanes' on a frosted window. Slowly they
opened the heavy door and there sat Sergeant Hanes holding their bags.