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56M Reunion Website

Ronald F. Boyle

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Fred D. Bartleson, Jr.
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Ronald F. Boyle

Following graduation from UPT and after adding
another set of wings to my uniform, I was assigned to
Lockbourne AFB in Ohio as a B-47 co-pilot. Of course,
we made some stops in between Del Rio and Columbus,
Ohio. Everyone enjoyed Wichita in the summer, it was
a good program and a pretty good place after tamales
and beans. We of course loved the time in Reno at
Stead AFB. Our team leader there was a squadron
commander from MacDill AFB, I believe. He almost
killed us with his travels up and down the mountains
of Nevada and California. I swear that three-week
encounter was about four months long. I became twenty
pounds lighter and it almost killed me. The only
thing I really took a lot of pleasure out of being
there was I now had my wings and Quackenbush was still
junior to me. I can still see the look on his face
when I dismissed the morning inspection when he was
out of uniform inspecting us.

I, of course, started out as a back-seater on a
RB-47. That's six F-86s in close formation. We were
a smile for the camera gang and we saw some wonderful
places and had a significant amount of excitement. I
ended my co-pilot career at Stan-Eval. We of course
spent many days in England and on home alert.
England, during the Reflex experience, was a great
chance to see and explore Europe on the R&R trips.

I upgraded to Aircraft Commander and spent some
time back in Wichita picking up my crew and doing the
crew-training thing. While in Kansas our first child
arrived. It took us about a year to get select status
and then they did away with the spot promotions, a day
late and a buck short. During this period a young
lady arrived, on my wife's birthday and now we are
four.

In the early 60s the B-47 program was being
closed and the personnel were being integrated into
the B-52 program. I skillfully escaped and ended up
as a pilot training instructor in 1963 at good old Big
Spring, Texas.

We had a great time there. The Viet Nam experience
was in full blast and after my tour as an IP, Flight
Commander and Section Leader my orders were to an
F-100 transition school in Myrtle Beach, NC. I made
Top Gun in Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground. It was a
blast, fun flying and great seafood. All good times
come to an end and we were off to the 90th TAC FTR
Sqdn at Bien Hoa. I ended up as the Ops Officer and
at Bien Hoa we only flew in country. I took a golden
beebee and ended up in the South China Sea for a
little while and for a guy that does not swim, leaving
that comfortable cockpit was not a joy. The departure
was necessary, as I was fast becoming a passenger in a
single seated airplane. Some nice Tech Sgt. in a Huey
pulled me out of the water and they took me to Vung
Tau for lunch and beer.

In October of 69 the 90th was turned over to the
A-37s and we were off to Touy Hoa. Now the missions
were a little more complicated. I was again the Ops
Officer and flew into the place we were not (Laos). I
took a crazy pill one night and decided to fly with
the Misty FACs for a couple of weeks, as they were
short handed. One very large mistake, too close to
the ground, not fast enough and too much FOD in the
air that we could not outrun or outturn. In early
December I took the second beebee (a 37mm round) at
Chapone in a 60 degree dive that disintegrated my
F-100 and left me in space with a blue, white and
orange chute above my head. I ended up in Loas on a
hill, just me, a .38 special, two or three radios and
a fast set of feet. The FAC, a couple of Sandys and a
Jolly Green insured that I got back to Da Nang in one
piece. They gave me a beer getting off the Jolly
Green and one beer later the Flight Surgeon had
determined that I had been flying drunk. Luck was on
my side and the Base Commander at Da Nang was an old
friend from Lockbourne. He described the sequence of
events and had that diagnosis changed. Two times in
the chute and 18 1/2 years service I said thank you
and asked to be sent home. I returned to Laredo,
Texas as a T-38 instructor and flight commander. I
retired in October of 1971.

With no degree, a wife and two children and 15
years flying airplanes I decided to continue in that
venue. Off to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a Lear Jet
rating. Did you ever try a range approach in a Lear
with a FAA evaluator who was gray headed and flew
C-47s in WWII. It's like grease and oxygen; they are
quite inflammable. We passed and received our type
rating. Broyhill Furniture of Lenoir, NC offered me a
position and damn if the chief pilot thought the only
way to do an IFR approach was using a radio range. He
also flew C-47s, me with 5000 hours in jets, he with
250 hours in a Lear Jet and he is instructing me about
the dangers of high altitude jet flight.

It was a great location and the people in the
company were great so we listened with a great degree
of intensity. My responsibility was flying the
founder of the company J. E. Broyhill, who was 83
years young, around the southeastern states to golf
outings, political meetings, social events and many
times to LaCosta, Calif., which his wife loved. I
finally got my golf game on track. The Chief Pilot
retired and installed one of his buddies as the new
chief so I started looking for another job. About the
same time, 1975, Bonnie and I decided on a divorce. I
found a job in Fort Worth, Texas flying for an
individual who was really into oil, gas and cattle. I
guess you would say a real Texan. He was a pilot
(with 300 hours). He and I traded legs to ensure
currency. He had a great set of hands but was a lousy
co-pilot as most of his time was spent in twin
Cessnas, a T-6, and a Bearcat. We had 16 great years.
It was a private airplane and most of the time it was
just he and his wife on board. They often invited my
bride to accompany us as most of our flying was done
on weekends. I had met a nice lady in NC after my
divorce and we were married in 1977. During my tenure
as the pilot for William Fuller we operated a Lear 24,
Lear 35, Cessna 172 (to fly to one of his ranches),
GII, Falcon 50, and ended up with a Hawker 800. I had
a great time; he passed away in 1993 (his wife had
preceded him in 1988). No boss, no job, 17,000 hours,
gray hair and 61; no one was really interested so we
hung up the gloves.

I got bored very fast after traveling so much and
being just busy. A friend of mine was opening a new
insurance office in Winston Salem, NC. He invited me
to join him as I knew many people in the state. It
was a nice run for a couple of years but the travel
back and forth got too much and we left that endeavor.
I got bored again and my CPA arranged a meeting with
a Miracle Hearing Aids franchise owner. I have been
selling hearing aids ever since. I opened my own
facility just a year ago and just enjoy the heck out
of it.

We really look forward to seeing everyone. I
think it will be great to see all you old pilots.

Ronald & Susan Boyle

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