These Broken Wings

March 18, 2011
July 12th started off just like any other day for an F-15 pilot in the air force. Report to your commander, get your mission, listen to your briefing and go fly. Simple as that. Today wasn’t just a great day for flying, it was my 26th birthday. Little did I know, today I would have the biggest brush with death in my life. My name is Captain Xavier Cobb, and this is my story.

Day 17, of operation Red Dawn. Red Dawn is a 20 day training exercise for pilots, with today being my birthday and with 3 days left of it, I am very excited. Me and the rest of my squadron; Will “Swank” Chromartie, Janet “Doe” Smith, and Mike “Gunny” Johnson, just received our mission of the day. We had to fly up to 20 thousand feet and practice dogfighting.


As we got into our planes, we all did our same routine. Pray first, check the instruments, and wait for the fun to happen. While we waited for our takeoff clearance, all I could hear was Swank and Doe arguing over the radio about who has the best singing voice. From that moment on I knew it was going to be a long flight. On the way to our fly zone, I was going insane over the terrible voices of Swank, Doe, and Gunny who thought It would be funny to have there own American Idol.

5:15 pm we reached our airspace and it was almost time to break our formation. I ordered my squad to break left and drop the fuel tanks. Of course that went without a problem. Then I told them to break formation and prepare for the exercise to begin. My job was to escape getting shot down by my squad. Over the radio I heard Swank yell out “Fox 2!” and as I looked over my shoulder, I could see his missile hurling towards me. So I banked left and fired my flares. Missiles evaded. As I looked around I could only see Swank and Gunny flying patterns behind me. Where was Doe?

Doe was flying directly under me. And as I banked right and lowered my altitude, It happened. With the force of a category 4 hurricane we collide. Doe’s left wing and tail fin collided with my right wing. Dazed and confused over what just happened, I soon realized I was plummeting to the earth in a stall. Still unaware of what just happened, I restarted my engines and resumed flying. But what happened to Doe? We all could see her plane engulfed in flames, but we didn’t know if she bailed out or not. Over the radio everyone was screaming “Doe!! Eject!! Eject!!” Finally, what we were hoping for. We saw the parachute.

I told Swank and Gunny to stay behind as I returned to base. My plane was losing pressure and was pouring smoke everywhere, and I said to myself “Cobb, what did you get yourself into?” The alert sirens went off all through the airfield. Planes of different sorts were trying to move out of the way. Fire trucks and police cars racing to the runway. From my canopy I could see the chaotic and panic of the people’s faces.

When I was about 1 mile from safety, my plane started shaking very badly and I was preparing for the worst. At any moment I was prepared to eject. A second later I lowered my landing gear and tried to land. I noticed that I was going 100 knots faster than the normal landing speed. By now I am running on full adrenaline and time seemed to go by in hours. As I touched my plane down, my landing gear broke and my plane started to skid across the airfield. When the plane finally came to a halt, I quickly got out of the plane for fear of an explosion. To my astonishment, when I looked at everyone’s face, I noticed the full extent of the damage. When Doe collided with me, she tore off my right wing. I successfully flew and landed a plane with only one wing!

Three hours later, when all of the commotion died off. I finally got a chance to talk to my squad. Doe was ok. She just suffered from a broken arm. Doc said she won’t be cleared to fly for weeks. Everyone felt her pain. Not being able to fly is like losing a family member. Swank is still shaking. I don’t know why, nothing happened to him. Gunny is still the same old relaxed man as before. And as for me, I received the best birthday gift ever. Another chance to live.





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Big G said...
Apr. 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm
I absolutely loved this story. The author made a great point by stating how important life is.  Just wonderful.  He should be proud.
 
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