A Different “Reunion of Icons”
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
Gen. Charles Sweeney (in the striped shirt) after his surprise reintroduction to