Son Of Satan's Angels
I'd go through Hell for Hoot.
Squadron commander of the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. Satan's Angels.
This war story is about pride, and home, and family. The Four-Three-Three was all of that, and more, to me and a thousand other guys in the war and since.
Any organization, whether it's a family, a football team, a corporation, or a fighter squadron has a personality, an identity—a character—which comes from the folks who populate it.
The 433rd took the Phantom and Hoot Gibson's pilots to war in Vietnam. From there, it went to Nellis Air Force Base and became the F-16 Fighter Weapons School. Then it moved to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, to become the first home and family for young aviators destined to become Air Force fighter pilots. The tradition of Satan's Angels is a proud one, made that way by men like Hoot Gibson and a host of other war heroes.
Fighter pilots can be some of the most obnoxious bastards you'll ever run across. Egotistical, megalomanic, they think the entire purpose of the rest of the world is simply to be there, waiting in breathless adoration for the next daring feat of its darling fighter aviators.
They think they are the only normal specimens of the human race, that there is something fatally amiss in the physiological and psychological make-up of their poor fellow creatures who suffer the catastrophic misfortune of not being fighter pilots.
Hoot Gibson, on the other hand, was a nice guy. Never obnoxious, not an ounce of egotism, the finest fellow you'd ever want to meet. And the very last you'd want to lock horns with in an air battle. He'd kick your ass all over the sky.
Commander and leader of the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Jet fighter ace and war hero, he shot down five MiGs in Korea. A totally phenomenal set of eyeballs. Hoot could see a MIG-21 with a three meter cross section at 25 miles, as good as, maybe better than, Robin Olds. And his heart was as good as his hands and eyes.
It was Colonel Hoot Gibson who burned 433 into the underbelly of my soul and made me a Son of Satan's Angels 'til the day I die.