Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wistful Wednesday : William Tell 1978

The Spring and Summer of 1978 was a really busy time.  We had a three year old and a six year old….and a dog named “Snuffer.”  Far Guy was so busy at work and getting ready for the William Tell Load Competition that we hardly saw him.  The team practiced “loads” in the evenings and on Saturdays for weeks.

William Tell Competition

The William Tell Competition was named after the guy that shot the apple off of someones head.  Load Teams came from all over the United States and the World to Tyndall AFB Florida.

The teams got points for their flight time and arrival times.  The Canadians announced their arrival with an upside down pass next to the Air Traffic Control Tower.   They also had lots of “Moose Milk” …the different teams would host get togethers and meals.  I think The Happy Hooligans served BBQ steak and no one knows remembers what they drank.

Anyways arrival times got points, maintenance on aircraft got points, load crews got points and the pilots scored points with hits to targets.  In the end the points are totaled and the highest score won.  In 1978  they took 2nd Place which is/was a pretty big deal.


The Load Crew also had to take a written test.  The last question was “How many photon torpedoes does the Star Ship Enterprise carry?”  Far Guy says “I got it wrong.”

load competition William Tell 1978

Merle, Gene, Jerry (RIP), Jim and Phil

The loaders were designated as A, B, C and D.   Phil was the trainer.

The A guy was the Crew Chief he had the checkbook and checked things off as the tasks were completed.  B and C guys had various tasks inspecting, installing wings and fins and fitting the missiles to the aircraft.  The D guy was the jammer driver.  The jammer was a specialized vehicle that transported missiles.

Arial Targets that were rockets were fired over the Gulf for the aircrews to shoot at.  The aircraft (F-4’s) would go out in groups of 4’s to intercept the targets.  One of the aircraft had to get close enough to positively identify it as the target before any of the other aircraft could release their missiles, he would peal out and the firing would commence.   In 1978 it was a “Live” fire however the missiles did not contain warheads, they did have guidance and control units.

Later as years went by in this competition technology was such that they could shoot at the target but the missile never left the aircraft and ground control could tell if it was a hit or a miss. Sort of like a giant video game.

Far Guy says “It was one big party.”   Have you ever been Hooliganized?   WELL. As I understand it…they tried to Hooliganize almost everyone…especially women.  They all had numerous stickers in their billfolds.  The stickers were red and white and said The Happy Hooligans.  I will leave it to your imagination where they were placed.

The Happy Hooligans Sticker

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  1. What a wonderful memory for Wistful Wednesday. Far Guy looks so handsome in his dungarees.

  2. I love these old memories. I've got plenty myself and you just reminded me of some I had completely forgotten. I have never been Hooliganized, to my regret. :-)

  3. Truly interesting about the competition - - - and how technology has changed the actual handling of some of it. When we were that age and our kids were young, it seemed life would go on forever . . . . .

  4. I really like the photo of the men lined up in front of the jet. Did you take it?

  5. Oh those wild guys! So fun reading about this and seeing the photos. I like the "and now one remembers what they drank". Hmmm gee I wonder why. LOL

  6. This brings back some wonderful memories. I can almost hear the roar of the flight line.

    Please give my thanks to Far Guy for his service.

  7. Wow, that was entertaining! I wonder how the Canadians with their Moose Milk did:)

  8. Great memories for Far Guy. I hope the Happy Hooligans are all still happy and hooligan-ing.

  9. Very interesting post and I enjoyed the photos.


  10. Al Ways enjoy a trip down memory lane with you,Blessings Francine.

  11. Good times! We were young and full of energy. Most of us had some degree of hooligan in us.

  12. That "someone" who had to get the apple shot off his head was William Tell's about being in a jam...

  13. I enjoyed hearing about the Happy Hooligans. I love stories about anything military! Oh, and I enjoyed your last post...the boxes and colored pencils and what Far Guy said about you rolling your eyes. That's funny!

  14. The first photo is in the National Archives. it names all the men in it. :)


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie