SR-71s were generally called Blackbirds, but the ones at Kadena were nicknamed Habus after the venomous pit vipers native to Okinawa.
It’s not exactly an aviation story, or a Christmas one either, but it’s aviation-adjacent and that’s not all: there’s winter, snow, and a happy ending.
Not that many years ago I could have gotten in serious trouble for even confessing to flying against a MiG, never mind sharing the details.
When I flew the F-15 Eagle, I occasionally wrote articles for USAF publications.
Far be it from me to question the training and readiness benefits of recalling personnel, generating aircraft, loading weapons, and staging a mass launch.
The Collings Foundation is a private non-profit that, among other things, tours the country with a fleet of WWII-era aircraft. Last weekend its Wings of Freedom Tour stopped at Marana Regional Airport, just north of Tucson, and I rode out to see the planes.
Hush Kit, “the alternative aviation magazine,” has published another piece of mine, this one about how F-15 Eagle pilots trained to face the threat posed by the Soviet Union’s then-new Su-27 Flanker in the late 1980s and early 90s, when I flew F-15s at Kadena Air Base in Japan.