Flying High

By: Mike Tolbert
By: Mike Tolbert

Few experiences compare to seeing an F-15 Eagle Fighter jet in action. Just ask Jimmy Beavers. “I thought it was just fantastic. This was one of the best shows that I've ever seen this close to the runway while the aircraft still flying."

As a former honorary squadron commander for the 33rd Fighter Wing, Jimmy saw this demonstration as a treat. “Normally you have to sit back half a mile to three quarters of a mile and we are really up tight.”

The 33rd Fighter Wing held a 10th anniversary ceremony for present and past honorary squadron commanders, a program that seeks to give selected civilians a close up look at the air force.

A look captain Joel Hemphill eagerly provided. “It's nice to give back. I'm glad they enjoyed it. I enjoy it just as much flyin it."

He says these demonstrations bridge the gap between civilians and the military.

I think its important to show the community and show the general public that may not get an opportunity to see the Air Force on a regular basis and up close and personal look at what there money's going to and what their air force is all about.

Honorary squadron commanders hold their positions for a year, learning about the life of these quiet professionals. Jimmy says that he learned a lot, even something he might not have wanted to. “After seeing this pilot crawl out of this plane, it makes me feel old, he looks like a high school kid.”

Truthfully, the real kids sat in the bleachers, cheering on the F-15. Captain Hemphill will take to the skies again along with the Thunderbirds and others at the Eglin Air Show, which begins April 3.


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