From Babbitt to Baghdad (Part 21)

The 730th was undermanned and overworked. The ARTS were under constant stress. Not only did they have to manage and  train at the squadron, they had to do the missions. I was hired to do the J97 for the most part. The J97 was an Air evacuation training mission.  It was fragged to make stops at Travis, McChord, Elmendorf and Eielson AFB.

I would jump on Alaska Airlines from Seatac to Ontario, California. Then the base taxi service picked me up and took me to the unit. I had a Zenith blue  1967 VW bug parked in back of the unit as well. I would check into billeting  and show for the J97 on Friday morning if I remember correctly. It could have been Thursday.  It would depart for Travis pick up a med crew and then head to McChord. At McChord, the Flight Engineers that lived in Tacoma and were now part of the 730th would jump on at McChord and then get a sortie to Elmendorf AFB. The next day was good for 2 more sorties. The third day was good for another sortie. Over the 3 day mission, the McChord Engineers or “The Northern Alliance”  could get 5 currency sorties which were good for 60 days. They also knocked out a 2 UTA ‘s that paid two active duty days each. Two people would also get a preflight currency item accomplished.

Once the J97 terminated at March AFB, I would jump on an Alaska jet back to Seatac. I would get 5 days Active Duty, and some per Diem out of the deal.  The folks at McChord got 4 days of Active Duty for 2 days work and per diem. I did this mission copious times from July 2000 to February 2005. It was an easy trip. Plus we got to eat fresh beer battered halibut at F street or  hot wings at Humphries or  drink big beers at Chilkoot Charlies, Then it was off to the Bush company.  I once spent $400 buying beers for 728th Super Airgawd Loads at the Bush. In the 728th there was a Bush Company currency item. In fact, if one did not do a Bush Company sortie, one got Q3ed and sent to the penalty box. Speaking from experience, the Bush Company was the best strip club on  planet earth.  There is nothing like eating fresh Alaska salmon with corn on the cobb while gulping down a pitcher of good Alaska Amber beer before heading into to the Bush. In the summer time, after we had spent all the money, it was still light out at midnight. In the scheme of things, Anchorage is one of the best party towns in the USA.


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