This photo of my dad, Archie, yours truly, and my first born son, Jason Christopher Hammack was taken in August 1974 out front of the house that I was living in during US Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Williams AFB, AZ. I had flown my dad down to “Willy” for the formal function known as the “Dining In”. It was a formal function for all of the students and their fathers to celebrate our impending Pilot Training graduation. Therein lies the answer as to why I am wearing my formal attire known as my Mess Dress. For those that knew my Dad this will also answer the question you have been asking yourself, why is ol Arch is wearing a suit? LOL!
After doing some math in public in regards to this photo, I was a young very energetic 23 year old 2Lt. Stud Muffin. Doing that same math my Dad was 62 years, just 8 years younger than I am at this writing. And my now nearly 48 year old son was approximately 9 months old.
My how the time rockets by in a flash!
I had just finished my syllabus with the Northrup T-38 Talon, a supersonic fighter/trainer, and was feeling “ten feet tall and bulletproof”. I completed UPT high enough in my pilot training class standings to be able to get my first choice of aircraft and base. After initial training at Altus. AFB, OK, I was on my way to Travis AFB, CA to fly the C-141A Starlifter! Travis AFB is right off of I-80, about halfway between SF and Sacramento, CA.
In 1980 I got hired by Eastern Airlines and domiciled in the Big Apple, New York City. Sometime during the summer of 1980 I brought my Mom and Dad out to New York City, and I decided to be their tour guide. I showed them all around NYC culminating in a Broadway Show. I couldn’t get tickets to a New York Yankee game while they were there. It would have been really cool to take Pop to Yankee /Red Sox game, but it was all sold out!!
So the show I took them to see was P. T. Barnum. The look on my parent’s faces when we got into our seats at the theater was “priceless”! They were getting ready to see a Broadway Show in NYC!!! WOW, wow, wow! That is another story that will be for another post.
The next day I rounded up my folks, we got onboard the Eastern Shuttle B-727, and headed down to Washington, DC for more “tourista” stuff! I took them on the tour of the US Capitol Bldg. where my Mom took the photo of me and Dad above.
After we toured the Capitol Bldg., including where the joint houses meet for the State of The Union Address, we sauntered down the mall to the Smithsonian Aviation and Space Museum, where we spent the rest of the afternoon. My parents never forgot this venture for the rest of their lives. They would always reference this trip and state just how much fun that they both had!
Forty one years ago I really didn’t think that this was a really big deal. But in 2021 I realize just how big of a deal it really was for them, and for me as well! Sometimes we fail to recognize that some of the little things in life really turn out to be the big things in life!!!
Pop this is your Captain speaking:
A million times we looked for you
a million times we cried.
If love alone would have saved you
you never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly,
in death we love you still.
In our hearts you hold a special
place no one could ever fill.
If tears could build a stairway
and a broken heart a lane,
We would gladly walk to heaven
and bring you home again!
Pop, I never got to tell you thank you.
Thank you for teaching me the value of honor, dignity, and integrity in being a man.
I miss and love you more than you will ever know!
Archie Wilson Hammack
Jul 21, 1912-Dec 30, 1995
ROGER, WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!