Honoring our fighters, pilots, and friends

Recently I attended a memorial for Air Force Academy classmates who’ve passed away. We sang the sobering, haunting hymn, “Lord, Guard and Guide the Men (& women) Who Fly”. A classmate spoke, remembering those we’ve lost, and reminding us of the shortness and unpredictability of life. Finally, adding to the tears, was a moving recitation of the inspiring “High Flight” poem, printed way below. With this in mind, ….

 

Let’s have a little fun remembering My Dad, the “World’s Best Fighter Pilot”

Allow me to “log into my blog” my Warrior Dad’s obituary, an oldie but goodie. (To be honest, after my sister polished my first draft, it’s better, but not as funny. Just saying.)

 

It’s said our friends and warriors are truly “gone” when no one remembers them. I like to think they are honored when we speak their names. And I bet my dad, like all veterans, will enjoy your learning part of their story. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015, Daniel McIntosh, of Mountain Home, Texas died peacefully in his sleep, no doubt ‘putting out his hand, and touching the face of God’.

As the self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Fighter Pilot,” he flew the coveted, ferocious F-105 Thunderchief “Thud” in “I Can’t Wait to Go” for not one but two tours during the Vietnam War.

His career spanned We Have Lost Count how many states and three continents including tours in the Very Cold War, West Germany, Thailand (Land of the “I Can Reach Vietnam by Sunrise”), and three happy years as the US Air Force liaison with the Air Force of the “World’s Best Allies,” South Korea. He retired as a Colonel in 1980, just in time for hunting season.

 

His medals include: the kick-butt Legion of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Meritorious Service Medals, twenty-five Air Medals (“cuz I got shot at A Lot”), the Vietnam Service Medal with five Service Stars (“cuz I served a lot”), and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross (“cuz that’s me, Gallant”).

Col. Mac was among a select few macho pilots chosen to stomach a visit to the White House, where President Johnson had the honor of shaking My Dad’s Hand. He was a proud member of the original (“I Fly North of the Red River to Hanoi”) River Rats Association, the NRA (“Get your concealed carry permit, kid”) and the Kerrville Hangar of Quiet Birdmen, a (currently) testosterone-laden aviation group founded in 1921.

 

The Colonel is survived by three loving, patient, compassionate daughters and their spouses. Dan was grandfather to 10 stunning grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren who sadly won’t know the delight of rolling their eyes at his anecdotes. He is also survived by his Big Sister, The Esteemed Matriarch, Carol of Driftwood. He loved her for absorbing all their parents’ Liberal Genes, so none would taint his Conservative DNA. 

 

The family will hold a Private but Not Very Quiet Remembrance Ceremony in Austin.  Interment of his ashes will be at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. Memorial contributions should be applied to your beverage of choice, and Hoisted in Honor of this American Hero.

HigH Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,

 And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

 Sunwards I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

 Of sun-split clouds – and done a thousand things

 You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung 

 High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,

 I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung

 My eager craft through footless halls of air,

 Up, up the long delirious burning blue

 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,

 Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;

 And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

 Put out my hand, and touched the face of god.

 

                                                                               by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

   

 

 

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