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Another photo from the same shoot as the previous photo. While up there photographing you had to be able to talk to the pilot and direct them to the best possible position. Sometimes you were just guessing. Never told them that.

You may be a PFC on the ground but in the air you were the back seat. Rank wasn't considered. You told the pilot what you wanted and if he could do it he would.

I have no idea why I was sent up this time. I think the refueling was the job. Many times we would get requests from Headquarters Marine Corps or Leatherneck magazine. It didn't matter. It was all great fun. Best job in the world.

Once I had gotten my photos my pilot went over to the empty refueling pod and, as they say, stuck it in. The sexual connotations were limitless.

You had the refueler going just about as fast as it could and the F4 going about as slow as it could without stalling, full flaps.

Halfway through our refueling a hydraulic failure light went on. We had to back-off. No telling what the problem was.

We couldn't retrack the wing flaps. This meant going back to Cherry Point at a very leasurely pace. We weren't in any real danger as long as we maintained a slow speed.

This meant it took us about 30 to 40 minutes, instead of 15 minutes, to get back to Cherry Point. Loved it!

When we got back to Cherry Point the pilot asks me if we could make some practice touch and goes? Who am I to argue. Sure, go ahead.

I did make one big, and possiblely dangerous, mistake. Once we had landed and were taxing back to the squadron I took my mask off and unpluged the communications cable. Big no no. Just after doing this the pilot asked me to pull the breaker for the refueling pod. They normally refueled after a flight. Of course I didn't hear him and the plane crew had to bring out the big generator to power the plane electronics and hydraulics in order to get the pod out.

After we disinbarcked from the plane I'm trying to apologize all the way back to the hanger.

Once we had the prints made I made sure that my pilot and the plane crew got the first color prints. We also made color slides for them. I hand delievered them myself to the squadron. The C-130 squadron, VMGR-252, also received plently of color prints and slides. This was against Marine regulations. Did it anyway. Good relations with the squadrons was vital. I also just like to give these guys my stuff. It was an ego thing. I don't apolagize for it. Never will. Also my boss, Dave Deyerle, did all the work at the lab anyway. He also liked the idea of giving photos to the squadrons.

These were good people that went out of their way to make me feel part of the crew. [next]