At night I hid in my pajamas at the top of the stairs listening to laughter, tales of flying, and songs with incomprehensible words and unforgettable melodies floating up from the living room. I sat for hours on Saturday mornings watching P-12s in a Lufbery over the field pull up into a loop, then dive back through the circle again. My father brought glasses of lemonade and we watched together. He and his pursuit pilot buddies were gods to me, men of steel in planes of wood and cloth. I had to be a fighter pilot.
Fighter Pilot Robin Olds Epub Download
In high school at 6'2' and 190 pounds, I was a natural for football. I made the varsity and was chosen captain, followed by election to class president for three years. Hampton High won the Virginia state championship in 1937. Subsequently, full football scholarships were offered by Virginia Military Institute and famous coach Earl Red Blaik at Dartmouth at the end of my junior year. But I believed the only legitimate way to fly airplanes and not have to work for a living was to get a regular commission through the United States Military Academy. I would earn my wings, join the Army Air Corps, and become a fighter pilot. Simple as that!
YES, SIR! we roared. And that was that. They herded us into groups at the station, then marched us up the hill through the gray stone portals of West Point. As we emerged into the Quadrangle from the Plain my eyes stared straight ahead, chin jammed back tight and spine erect. No time for awestruck sightseeing; time only for the business of arrival. After uniforms were issued and heads shaved, we were marched back across the Plain to a spot above the river called Trophy Point. There, I raised my right hand with my fellows and swore allegiance to the United States. I was a U.S. Military Academy cadet in the class of 1944, a plebe, a beast. And, by God, this Beast was going to be a fighter pilot!
Graduation was approaching when the saddest event of my young life blindsided me. I knew my father had taken ill with pneumonia and had been lying in a Tucson hospital for several weeks. Nina was constantly by his side, telephoning me with daily reports. His recovery seemed certain. She sent hopeful assurances. On the morning of Friday, April 23, my brother Stevan and I were fetched out of class and informed that Dad had suffered a heart attack the night before. He was asking for us. We flew immediately to be with him. As my beloved father lay dying I held his hand and told him I was going to be a fighter pilot. He smiled weakly at me and said, Robbie, listen to me. I never once went up in the air without learning something new. Never, ever think you know it all. He died at noon the following Tuesday. His ashes were taken up in a B-24 and scattered over the mountains west of Tucson. I was devastated. 076b4e4f54