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Went to Catholic schools for 7th & 8th grades & public for 9th
I could have tried out for one of the school's athletic teams
Come with us said my friends trying out for our football team

But crashing into some of the smaller guys didn't appeal to me
I was 6 ft. tall and almost 185 pounds I could do some damage
Those guys were much smaller and barely weighed 140-150 pounds

The coaches were not happy that I didn't want to join the team
They just saw me as a defensive blocker or an offensive tackler
A freight train or a bowling ball that could mow them all down

I was ridiculed and belittled because I didn't want to go play
For what? just to pulverize some poor kid half my size to death
Coach didn't care about me he just thought of a winning record

So harassed and taunted I just looked for some other thing to do
There was nothing at all in junior high school that interested me
Then some friends told me about a group that met at another school

It was called the Civil Air Patrol and was like no other group
As an auxiliary to the US Air Force they flew in small airplanes
Flying search and rescue missions and promoted general aviation

It was similar to the Boy Scouts or Explorers except that we flew
My first couple of years were spend learning all the fundamentals
Map reading, weather, flight reports and making out a flight plan

You had to be 16 yrs. old to actually go up and fly with the crew
Once flight certified you needed your parents signed permission
We generally would fly with one pilot and two crew as observers

This was far more exciting than crushing some people in football
We'd fly on the weekend watches due to school during the week
On my third flight we were out looking for an over due flight

They were flying from Chicago to a small airfield in Michigan
But had never reached their destination so a search was started
We were flying a search pattern over the border area with Ohio

After about an hour we saw long white object among some trees
We made several very low passes over it and saw it was a wing
As we made our third pass over the wreckage we saw a man

He was laying off to the side waving his jacket back and forth
We made a very slow pass over his position waving our wings
It was a international signal to let them know we saw them

We stayed on station and flew a circle overhead calling for help
We remained overhead as the first responders arrived to aid them
It was absolutely wonderful to know that we had found them at all

We were given credit for four souls saved on our third mission  
And from that moment on I knew I had chosen the right group
It was only our third flight into the wild blue yonder above

Terry Sasek - Alwaysawarrior - all rights reserved.

I remained in the Civil Air Patrol and flew on search & rescue missions
until I enlisted in the US Air Force in February of 1968 at 19 years old.

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