Sic Transit Gloria Mundi


I am older now, and have had a number of jobs, but I have never had a job since that gave me as much responsibility as I had as a 23 year old Sergeant in the Marine Corps.

This is one of the aircraft I worked on, I know this for sure because it still has VMFA-451 painted on the fuselage. It is one of the 12 that made up our squadron. The light grey paint scheme was the last one, used on the F-4/S we had our last few years before these planes were replaced with F-18s.

The F-4 was old, even then, and required a lot of maintenance. For every hour of flight, there were dozens of man-hours of work to keep them ready. We were all young, 18-25, Marines, and we defined ourselves by what we did. If someone asked us, “Who are you?” on the flightline, our reply would be , “Powerplants”, or “Com-Nav”, or …

They were once the hottest, most technically advanced fighters in the air. Held most of the world speed and altitude records. They were loud and fast. And they could be deadly, usually to the enemy, occasionally to the flight crews and mechanics.

Now they sit silent in the desert sun, and I sit at a keyboard, remembering. Airplanes, deployments, good times with the best friends a man could ever hope for.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
(Thus passes the glory of this world)

–from the text for the installation of a new Pope

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4 thoughts on “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

  1. Interesting. I always saw the F4 as in the “given enough thrust, you can make an aircraft carrier get up on plane” school of thought.Related thought from road trip with #2 son, re the air show in Cleveland. The Blue Angels are amazing formation flyers, and this is the part that’s really hard (and dangerous). But every time someone hit the afterburner, the crowd cheered.Me, too – no complaints there. But seemed a lack of appreciation for the finer things in life …

  2. Ted,Sure enough, the F-4 Phantom was proof that you can push anything through the sound barrier and if there had be a way to supply oxygen, I think you could have flown one into orbit. Blue angels flew F4J’s for a while back in the early 70s. Wish I had seen that.ASM826

  3. Ah yes the F-4 was indeed an awsome bird . However I have to say, as one of the boys in blue who ruled the sky, the B52 is the ultimate bird ever built or ever will be built. Lord , just the sound of those 8 roaring engines was like music, a symphony played out every 15 seconds. The F-4 and the B52, together those were/are the sounds of freedom.

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