A Dif­fer­ent “Re­union of Icons”

Flight Journal - - EDITORIAL - Bill Richard­son, QB 32692, VAA 8026

Randy Sohn’s ar­ti­cle in the April 2018 is­sue on Brig. Gen. Paul Tib­bets “re­qual­i­fy­ing” in FIFI im­me­di­ately caused a flashback to when Tib­bets’s sec­ond-in-com­mand, Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Sweeney, had a re­union with

FIFI back in July 1998. (Tib­bets as­signed Sweeney to fly B-29 Bockscar on the Na­gasaki mis­sion.)

A group of us Swamp Yan­kees learned that the CAF was bring­ing

FIFI and B-24A Di­a­mond Lil to Hyannis Air­port on Cape Cod. We put Sweeney in the back of a Twin Beech and, along with an es­cort of two T-6s, ren­dezvoused with “29-Bravo Flight” flight at the tip of Cape Cod, fol­lowed by a fly-by and land­ing at Hyannis.

Af­ter in­tros, the CAF crew sur­prised Sweeney by pack­ing him into

FIFI and launch­ing for some left-seat time! They set up a low pass at Otis Air Na­tional Guard Base, where the gen­eral had com­manded the 102nd Fighter Wing with F-106s, fol­lowed by an­other low pass back at Hyannis. Sweeney asked, “What al­ti­tude do you want?” The re­sponse: “How about 300?” He nailed it, just like a duck tak­ing to wa­ter. Af­ter­ward at the ramp, Sweeney was asked dur­ing a TV in­ter­view how he liked his day. Chomp­ing on his cigar, the gen­eral replied, “I’d give up my en­tire year’s sup­ply of Vi­a­gra for an­other day like this!” (I don’t think that par­tic­u­lar quote made the evening news.) You can count on the gen­eral’s com­ment mak­ing it into FJ. That must have been an af­ter­noon to re­mem­ber. We’re jeal­ous!—BD

FIFI.

Gen. Charles Sweeney (in the striped shirt) af­ter his sur­prise rein­tro­duc­tion to

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