Archie Wilson Hammack

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.

Me & Dad @ DC IMG_1316

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


…..And Then There Was Two!

Monday evening my sister and I had dinner with Steve Detjen and his lovely bride, Jennifer.  I was back in Fresno for my periodic cardiology appointment, also it was a time to visit with my friends and family.

It was just two weeks ago that I met with Steve Detjen, one of my old college buddies, to celebrate the life of our other good college buddy, Jerry Noblett, who had lost his battle to heart disease.  After the memorial service, we had decided to stay closer in contact with each other.

So I notified Steve that I would be in town at this time, it was agreed to meet for dinner at P.F. Chang’s on Monday at 6pm..

As my sister and I walked into the restaurant, the unmistaken profile of one Steve Detjen was observed at the bar waiting for our entrance, and I might add, sipping a cool beverage!  It had been since Jerry Noblett’s retirement party, 8 years previous, that my sister had seen Steve.

As we three sat at the bar sipping a cool one, waiting for Steve’s wife to join us, we caught up on things.  My sister and Steve caught up on old mutual friends that they both knew from the Madera P.D. and Fresno County Sheriffs Dept.  Within a few minutes Jennifer arrived and we adjourned to the restaurant for some food.

Once we all slipped into our booth, and the pleasantries and re-introductions were over, the four of us exchanged stories.  For me, being a Criminolgy major and a veteran of 1 1/2 years of law school, I was/am quite interested in what is like to hold court.  So I had, and still have, many questions for “her honor”!  Some of her responses and stories were quite enlightening, to say the least.  Jennifer is really a very nice, down to earth woman, quite funny, and a great conversationalist!  Obviously she is way too good for my old buddy, no offense Steve!!!!!!   LOL

Additionally Steve and I re-hashed a few of our most memorable “good times at California State University, Fresno” stories.  Some of them were still live-like in our minds  and conjured up deep laughs and giggles!  One in particular story would be the keystone of my college career, and I still have a very vivid picture in my mind of that event.  Unfortunately, now both my sister and my oldest son also have that same picture of their brother and father!!!  Can we say embarrassing?  Oh well it was the late 60′ and early 70’s, what can I say?

I had a really great evening telling stories about the old days, asking questions and catching up on all those years.  The realization that right before our very eyes we have gone from  a “wide eye innocent teenager ” to a senior citizen still boggles my mind!

Those were the good old days!

For those that really know me will know that I am forever linking life to music.  With the events of the last 3 weeks, it has made me re-live and old song by Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band , “Like A Rock”.  There is some lyrics that occur in the middle of the song that really hits close to home and goes like this:

Twenty years now, where’d they go?

Twenty years, I don’t know.

I sit and I wonder sometimes where they’ve gone.

And sometimes late at night,

oh, when I’m bathed in the firelight,

the moon comes calling in ghostly way and I recall,


Like a rock

So there we were reminiscing over 40 years of lost time, I was wondering “where did the time go”?  Then, I RECALLED!!!

And then there was two!