Troopers Gal first gave me the news, I was on duty and could not leave more than a quick note during my break, but I wished to add more as this is the passing of a man who was truly one of a kind.
Major Ed Rasimus of the blog Thunder Tales has departed the fix, after a valiant fight with cancer.
If you're not familiar with his award winning books, Ed was a veteran
fighter pilot of the Vietnam war, flying more than 250 combat
missions in F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom II fighters during the
conflict and received the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross
five times, and numerous other Air Medals.
He always had a kind word and support for me in this little blog venture and I was honored to have him visit here.
Pilots speak a language handed down from
generation to generation and only slightly understood by their non flying
partners. We banter about EPR and Mach and HUD and Pickle Pause and Pull. But when it's time for the mission, the cockpit quiets and the
concentration is almost tactile. For though we have tasted the insulation of the
sky, we know too well the adrenalin surge of danger. We respect the power of the
atmosphere and we know what it means to fight for control, of the plane, of what
we believe in, and that is the uncommon faith in what we can do, what we are
But there's the beauty-
the quiet mornings as the sun peeks over the horizon on that early flight to the
east coast, the beautiful surroundings of a fog draped landscape below. It's
evocative and inspiring and sometimes, despite the time away from family and the dangers, the
joy of it all reaches out and grabs on to us. And despite the occasional bone
weariness and the constant change of the job itself, the happiness takes hold.
The happiness is like nothing else we experience, not even the wonderful
sanctuary of family, and it grabs hold of us and shakes us like a playful puppy.
And we can't imagine being anyplace else.
We are airmen.
We know the overwhelming beauty of a Pacific sky as the sun seeps into the deep
purple horizon, and the pristine beauty of the sun's reemergence after a long
Atlantic crossing. We have seen the tiny
blips of the satellites that help guide us, track across the vast gateway to
heaven, we've felt the incalculable force of a thunderstorm over a fierce green jungle. We
have worshiped at the alter of a sun stroked morning, prayed into the beauty of
a dark velvet night, spun robes of clouds, the candlelight of dawn. We've lifted up our cup in grace in the sanctity of the stratosphere.
along the northern lights, seen water spouts in clear air, banners of ash from
an active volcano, horizontal rainstorms, microbursts of fury and St. Elmo's
fire. We've seen things no one would believe, things only a pilot will
experience and we're hooked on it, not for the glamor of it, and certainly not for the pay. We're hooked because there is a
reasoning beyond ego and beyond anything but that we need this freedom as an
essential element of our being as we wake each day
As a group we are strong,
driven, defying mortality tables of other professions, yet we head to the visit with the flight surgeon with all the trepidation of the family pet headed off to
the vet for the first time. We are fiercely individualist, yet bonded together,
family people at home and aloft. We compete with good spirit, yet bond with
courage, we celebrate our successes and mourn our fallen Gone West.
Thank you Ed, for the inspiration, the stories, the courage, and the honor of your many years of service.
Fair Skies and Tailwinds.