"During the 1950s, ADC (Air Defense Command) based the 521st Air Defense Group at Sioux City beginning on 15 February 1953 as part of the Central Air Defense Force. The 521st had the 14th, 87th and 519th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons, equipped with F-86 Sabres, F-84 Thunderstreaks, and F-102 Delta Daggers. In 1955, the 521st was reassigned and replaced by the 13th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which flew with the 14th FIS from the base until 1960."
I give you the above info as background for the following post:
I and my siblings grew up on a small farm in Iowa about 35 miles southeast of the Sioux City Air Base as it was then known. For several years in the 1950s/60s the pilots from that base flew their practice routes over our farm. The planes would come in from the south over the ridge of the hills.
They flew in low, skimming the hills, as if they were practicing flying under radar. The sound of the jet engines would not hit us until the planes were almost directly overhead. They flew single or in formations. Now and then there would be other planes as well, a prop Globemaster, and an occasional 6-prop aircraft. They were in the air all day long. One day we counted over 80 aircraft. It made good entertainment for kids of the 50s.
If we were outdoors when the planes came over we always stopped what we were doing to wave and then follow them with our gaze as they headed toward the airbase. If we were indoors we scrambled to get outdoors before the planes left our "air space". We were in awe. And I admit it felt special that we were in their direct line of flight. We knew this was something big and important and somehow, we felt privileged to be so close to it.
Today, someone else's blog about jet planes jogged my memory...so today's post is something I wrote in my journal years and years ago.
It's a two-way mirror...life and memory.
Today I thought again of those days on the farm when we were growing up.
Do you remember the jet planes the pilots brought in low over the ridge of the hills?
Their roar was upon us almost before we had a chance to scramble outdoors to wave.
Sometimes so low we could see the pilots in the canopies.
Daily they'd tip their wings in salute to country kids with upturned faces and waving arms.
That summer it was our daily ritual to run outdoors and salute "our" planes.
In retrospect I wonder if they, too, looked forward to our daily "hello".