Above & Beyond: Take a Left at Portugal
- By James A. Jimenez
- Air & Space magazine, January 2009
Illustration F. Matthew Hale; Inset: SSGT WOODWARD/RAF
(Page 3 of 3)
About 90 minutes later, we latched onto the boom of a tanker with 2,000 pounds of fuel—about 15 minutes of flying time—remaining. We landed at Lakenheath and were towed into a shelter, where a caravan of cars pulled up. General Charles Gabriel, the Air Force chief of staff, was eager to welcome us back. I put my helmet in its bag and started gathering my other stuff: pistol and ammunition, maps, code books, checklists, an empty lunch box, water bottles, and two full piddle packs. I carefully rose from the seat and descended the ladder. As soon as I turned around, there was General Gabriel, his right hand extended.
Our eyes met. It was an awkward moment for me, but the general instantly understood. He immediately took the piddle packs with his left hand, while shaking my now-free right. The first time I met the chief of staff, I gave him two pints of urine.