VansAirForceForums  
Home > VansAirForceForums

-POSTING RULES
-Advertise in here!
- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

Keep VAF Going
Donate methods

Point your
camera app here
to donate fast.

  #41  
Old 08-20-2019, 02:49 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 7. Works of Fire









The State Armory Building, completed in the year of his father?s birth, sat bathed in the hot tilt of the Oklahoma sun as the afternoon blew the son onward.











__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 08-20-2019, 02:51 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 7. Works of Fire



Leaving the solitude of the Greer County Cemetery, the son returned to the airport. There, he approached Bob's hangar from the rear where one of his septic trucks was parked.



Inside, two aircraft mechanics sat discussing plans for the night. The older of the two was mentoring the younger, a student-in-training and working on the field as an intern. The son sat with the mechanics for half an hour and talked about airplanes. The student mechanic told the son how much he loved Descending Dove and that getting a ride in her would be great. The son told him that if it were not for the lack of a back seat and harnesses because of the bags that were packed there, he would certainly give him one. Perhaps some other day. Who knew when they might meet again?



The mechanics closed up the hangar and left the son alone at the airport. He set up his tent in front of the Dove.



Then he waited as twilight approached. The field of recently mowed grass and dry stubble awaited the families of Mangum who soon would come to keep the son company.



They showed up in cars and trucks and lined the perimeter of the grass field. Those who came early wasted no time getting started. They lit off their fireworks together as a town, the son enjoying the celebration as he walked among the people, watching as the grass caught fire under the showers of burning sulphur and phosphorous in the silhouette of the evening sky.



And with each fire came a truck, manned by a hose-wielding spotter who spent the night with others in the fire department chasing down fires, putting them out, and heading on to the many others sure to follow.



And the people watched and celebrated and were entertained by the spectacle and the cacophony of exploding, sizzling, popping, screaming, whistling, burning, and smoking of American freedom until midnight.



The firetrucks were the last to leave. Then the son crawled into the tent for a few hours to nap. He was smiling. The smell of smoke was still in his nostrils.
__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 02:53 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 08-21-2019, 06:04 AM
snopercod's Avatar
snopercod snopercod is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,122
Default

Seeing those old towns makes me strangely sad. You can see from the stately buildings that there was wealth there once. From your photos, the wealth seems to have moved on.
__________________
(2020 dues paid)
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:05 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 8. Battle Lines







__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:07 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 8. Battle Lines

No sleep came that Mangum night in the heat, in the humidity, and in the continued lack of an air mattress that actually held air. The son only rolled over every hour or so hoping for some semblance of sunlight through the screen of the tent, and when it finally came, he got up and dressed. He struck the tent and packed his gear, nearly completing his pre-flight inspection of the Dove before Ben Locklear drove up in an SUV and got out.



Ben had a long conversation with the son the night before when the son walked over to the north side of the airport and found Ben in his hangar working on a flatbed trailer he was in the process of modifying. He owned a C-150 and gave flight instruction at Mangum. In his off time, he put his quads on the flatbed and used them for hunting deer. Ben came out to the airport that morning for a lesson and to wish the son well on his journey through America. He was not pleased with what he saw on the flightline.



He told the son that Greer County used to have inmates from the prison system come out to clean up what others had left behind, and when the 4th of July event used to be held at the local stadium, that process worked well. At the airport, it did not, so they stopped doing it. Hardly anybody picked up after themselves. So naturally, the local pilots were upset with how Independence Day was celebrated in Mangum after the inmate system collapsed.

Ben gave the son a few bottles of water for the trip. Then he wished him the best and drove off to his hangar. Not long after, the son blasted out of Mangum and leveled off at 2,300 feet.



A short time later, only 15 miles southeast, he landed at Altus/Quartz Mountain Regional (KAXS) and taxied up to where a green-vested lineman waved him in. He needed fuel. He would have to wait a few minutes. A family was having their Bonanza towed out of the FBO hangar and topped off for a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas.



Inside the FBO, the son used the restroom and made some coffee to put in his thermos for the trip ahead. It was a nice facility, but like all others of the variety with an included office and pilot supply store, there was no after hours access.



After filling up with Avgas, the son took off and flew directly south for 8 miles to avoid the neighboring Altus Air Force Base Class Delta. He then cranked hard to the port side and set a course east-southeast, climbing at one point to over 15,500 feet to clear a developing thunderstorm system. There was a gentle descent toward more oxygen-rich air after the cumulus hurdle, and he flew over mostly clear skies thereafter.



The son could feel a strong purposeful draw within as he neared the destination. It was as if the steady hum of the engine, the current of vibration coming from the propeller as it sliced sword-like in an invisible blur of onslaught and attack, had become more of a drum roll than cockpit noise. The flight that morning had felt like a preparation of sorts, a rallying cry tinged with a beckoning, a calling forward as if the arm of some courageous commander was lifted high within his heart, the head turned back toward his men, and in a wide sweeping arc had motioned the son and an unseen multitude of compatriots behind him toward an unseen enemy which, in the confidence of the day was certain to lie defeated on the field of battle. The nose of the Dove dropped as the power was pulled back, and the organic scent of lower altitudes began blowing through the vents.

Then the son was there on the ground. He felt an ambush of heat and humidity pouring unmercifully upon him as he slid open the canopy and taxied up to the FBO building. He shut down and looked over the nose. He sensed an army of unknowns behind the glass. He was at Vicksburg-Tallulah, Louisiana (TVR).



As he tabulated numbers and entered them in his log, a man came out of the building and walked up to the Dove. He was an African-American man in his forties with a heavy-set frame and a strong stride in his steps. He was soft-spoken, with a gentleness about the face that smiled without any effort on his part. "Do you need any fuel, sir?" he said.

"I do," the son replied as he unbuckled his harness, "but I think I'll wait a bit. At least until I unwind and cool down." The lineman nodded and smiled. "You'll be the first person I talk to when the time comes," said the son.

"Okay," said the lineman. He turned and boarded small fuel truck that was parked by the FBO, started it, and drove off down the flightline toward a series of large, corporate-size hangars.

The son climbed out of the plane and entered the FBO. There were no after-hours access panels on the doors, but a pilots lounge across from the office had a couch and chairs. Nobody else was in the building. There was a spaghetti western playing on a flat screen TV in the lounge. It was crisp and cool there in the lobby, and outside, the Dove sat alone and seemingly at-the-ready in the afternoon heat.




After using the restroom and filling up on water, the son ventured out again and wandered over toward the large hangars. There were a few WWII vintage aircraft parked out on the tarmac, including a P-51 Mustang and a T-6 Texan. They were part of the Southern Heritage Air Museum there at Vicksburg.



__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:01 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:08 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 8. Battle Lines

The son walked back over to the Dove and began wiping her down. He arranged for fuel, and the lineman, who introduced himself to the son as Herm, drove the truck over and let the son top off the tanks. Herm told him that there were courtesy cars available to drive into Vicksburg. They were retired cop cars of the Crown Victoria variety.



After paying his tab and thanking Herm for directions, the son turned back to the empty tarmac to see the Dove for the last time that day. It was an asphalt desert out there. The heat had become unbearable.



The air conditioner worked well in the courtesy car, and the son was thankful for having it. He took the curved country road out and away from the airport, and still feeling deeply drawn to Vicksburg, enjoyed the sights along the way.



Following Herm's directions, in a short time the son entered the site of the Civil War's most infamous siege battle at the Vicksburg National Military Park. It was considered by many to be General Ulysses S. Grant's most decisive military victory of the American Civil War. With that victory, the Union wrested full control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy and, in so doing, denied the South the needed supplies and ammunition to remain in any way an offensive fighting force. The son spent the entire afternoon of July 5th at the park and began driving through the battle lines beginning on the Union side.













__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:03 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:10 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 8. Battle Lines

Initial successes by the Union Army were suddenly repelled by the Confederacy where Grant's forces could not dislodge a well-supplied and dug-in enemy who clearly had the advantage of higher ground. Hence, Grant proceeded with a battle of siege, cutting off supply lines to the enemy, surrounding Vicksburg, and bombarding it incessantly.







Monuments and memorials for both the North and South, created and dedicated by states whose men fought at the Battle of Vicksburg from May 18 through July 4, 1863, were erected throughout the park. One of the most prominent was the memorial rotunda, modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, Italy, and dedicated by the great State of Illinois.







The Shirley House, named after its original owner and occupants, was the only original structure remaining at the Vicksburg battlefield. General Grant commandeered the Shirley House during the siege phase of the battle and used it for high-level meetings and planning.





Grant's actual headquarters was memorialized nearby.



__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:04 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:11 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 8. Battle Lines

The son continued on to the African American Monument where a family asked him to take photos of them. A woman in the family insisted on returning the favor.



The USS Cairo, a partially restored ironclad battleship that was sunk by the Confederates in 1862, came into view at the crest of the Union lines. The son went down to view her.









The USS Cairo Museum, containing Civil War relics---from pipes, guns, liquor bottles and glasses, to sewing kits, jewelry, shaving gear, and shoes---was closing for the day, so the son made a quick walk through the building, then bade farewell to the Cairo.



He proceeded through the Vicksburg Memorial Cemetery where the unnamed, unknown, anonymously marked sites of burial awaited a promised resurrection in the verdure and sun-washed beauty of a waning summer day.



Driving through the Confederate lines, the son brought the park tour to completion.





__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:05 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:13 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 8. Battle Lines



A lineup of various cannons was poised near the park exit. The weapons which had killed so many and brought such suffering and obliteration to the warring belligerents sat adjacent to, but were pointing away from, a private cemetery also bathed in the light and promise of rising, rebirth, and resurrection.







Leaving the park, the son drove into the historic downtown district of Vicksburg and walked the streets for the rest of the afternoon and early evening.











Another veterans memorial, this one dedicated the soldiers, airmen, and sailors of WWI and WWII, divided a main thoroughfare in downtown Vicksburg.

__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:07 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:14 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default 8. Battle Lines

At the waterfront along the Mississippi River, the son walked beyond the old train station and discovered a small concrete pier where a couple were packing up after a day of catfishing. He removed his sandals and let his feet be cooled in the slow-moving waters and watched the sun begin to set in the west.





Eventually, he rose again and walked through a community park designed after the old Mississippi paddleboats, then walked back up toward the Crown Victoria through back roads, alleys, and breezeways.











The son drove back to the airport and crossed the Mississippi back into Louisiana. He beheld the glory of that crossing as the waters of America's greatest river gleamed through truss and trestle, the passing of one day being handed over in perfect beauty to the resurrection of another while the burning ball of daylight dissipated before him. The airport lay ahead.



__________________
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:09 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:09 AM.


The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.