I completed four operational flying assignments as a pilot in the United States Air Force. My career, with its balance of operational and staff assignments, was more or less typical for USAF pilots of my generation. What was different … and I’m sure it was nothing more than happenstance … is that the flying squadrons my family and I called home were not only low-numbered ones, but came in ascending numerical order: from the 8th Flying Training Squadron to the 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, then on to the 43rd TFS and finally the 44th TFS. How many USAF veterans can say that?
I remember a huge flap at Soesterberg Air Base in the Netherlands when a new guy, one of the first of a wave of evangelical Christian officers from the Air Force Academy (a wave that continues to plague the USAF today), recorded Spielberg’s awful “1941” movie over all the alert shack’s Betamax porn tapes. Funny now, but an existential crisis at the time!
Another phrase for highjinks and one-upmanship is esprit de corps. And where would we be without it?