By H. Wittenberg
Airplane layout four (2001) seventy nine - eighty
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Chainsaw McCullough's mental picture of that departure is perhaps the most poignant and typical of many other crewmen. Said he, "I'll never ever forget seeing the crowd of wives huddled together out there as we taxied out. They were absolutely drenched but they were all waving and cheering for us. In the crowd I spotted my wife huddled down, trying to share an umbrella with Donna Strabala. That's a scene I carried in my mind all the way through the war. " Captains Nick Sandwick and Jay "K-9" Kreighbaum' were the first to encounter trouble on the flight.
But now he had a gut-wrenching problem. He had a crushing amount of work to do to get ready for the deployment, and in addition, he was to lead one of the six-ship elements that would be leaving. But this was also his wedding anniversary, an occasion that both he and his wife, Betty Jane, observed religiously. "Finally," said Turner, "I got away and went home to face my wife. She was just getting ready to take our son to Bible school. ' At the time she had no idea that I would have to go-and a few hours before that I had had no idea I would be going.
That failed; somehow the radios were incompatible. Then Hook suggested that they flash their director lights in Morse code. That did not work either; they could not distinguish the dots from the dashes. Finally, after what Two Dogs McIntyre described as a "real goat rope," it was deduced, after several possible destinations were mentioned, that Dhahran on the coast of Saudi Arabia was their destination. Hook passed the word back through the cells on secure radio and all the WSOs began plotting new courses, fuel needs, and estimated time of arrival (ETA).