Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rest In Peace, CB

Why does it seem like this year, a lot of people I know and love are passing away? It seems like that because that's what's happening. First my grandmother's brother's wife passed away, then my dad, then my cat Loco, then a friend of my mother's, then one of my aunts, and now my ex stepfather of 10 years.

What can you say about a man who took our family in under his wing and treated us like his own? He was a wonderful, caring man. I hadn't seen him since the day I graduated from high school back in 1990, but he had kept in contact with me over the years. He called me one day back in 2000 I think it was. Called me from a pay phone at Lowes. I had no idea who it was. He finally told me who it was and I was so happy to hear from him. He was remarried and living in a small town not far from here. He said he thought about me and my brother a lot and just wanted to know how I was doing. He asked me if I thought I had a bad childhood - that he always worried about that. I reassured him that I thought I had the best childhood ever and a lot of that was thanks to him. We hung up the phone with the promise he would call again and he and I and my brother would get together for coffee. He didn't want to give me his phone number because he thought his new wife might get upset if he was communicating with his ex stepchildren. I thought that was a little weird, but I could definitely understand where he was coming from.

We never got together for coffee. He called me a handful of times since that first conversation in 2000, but I never got to talk to him.

My brother and mom and Shorty and I went to his funeral yesterday at the DFW National Cemetery. A few people got up and spoke, and I really learned a lot about the man my brother affectionately called CB. You see, CB was a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force. One of the guys that spoke talked about how there was only two Weasels left over in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and CB was the pilot of one of those Weasels.

We used to go to Carswell AFB and when you drove up to the guard shack, they always gave a little extra salute at the end. CB said they didn't do that, but we know they did.

The funeral yesterday was nice. I was amazed at how long the people stood there in their uniforms completely still holding the flag over his coffin. Then one of the people gave a command and they snapped that flag like I have never seen anything snapped in my life. It gave off a loud pop and almost made me jump. Then another pop. They folded the flag and handed it to my stepsister. They then asked everybody to stand and to ready theirselves for three rounds of rifle fire. I prepared myself, but I still jumped. Then they played Taps and that's when I started to cry. I don't know why, but music always gets to me.

Here is a portion of his obituary:
"He flew fighters for 22 years, F-84s, F-86s, F-100s and 100 F-105 Wild Weasel missions over North Vietnam in 1966-67."

He was also the first to fly an F-105 into Carswell AFB. He had flown with Chuck Yeager before and was invited to fly with the Thunderbirds.

CB, you were a great man and I'm so blessed for having known you. May you rest in peace.
(Extra special salute)

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