In this episode the story about an Air Force pilot who was reunited with an aircraft he last flew 46 years ago is featured. The event is described in a story in The Nassau Long Island publication titled: Retired fighter pilot is reunited with old war plane by Valerie Bauman
Retired Air Force Col. Fred Claussen who currently resides in Lutz, Florida was the guest of honor at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, New York at an event arranged by museum officials. Claussen was reunited with the same F-105 Thunderchief that he had flown during the Vietnam War.
Claussen was momentarily overwhelmed with emotions when first saw the aircraft he had not seen or flown in 46 years. He was awash in the memories of the 100 combat missions he flew the fighter plane that were so dangerous. Adding to the emotional load of the meeting was the fact he named the plane Christie after his daughter. He brought his family, including daughter, Chris Brandley, 49, of Keller, Texas — the namesake for the cherished aircraft — as well as his granddaughter Maddison Brandley, 17, and wife of 28 years, Sunny Claussen, 55, along for the reunion with a plane that he said was once an extension of his own body.
Here is what he has to say about his mind set in that war: “It got to the point where I couldn’t wait to go out and fly combat again,” he said. “If I went out on a mission and didn’t get shot at, I felt disappointed. That sounds kind of strange, but that’s just how it was. We knew we were the best fighter pilots in the world and we thought we were invincible. . . . You might say we were all insane.”
Claussen’s story is another verification of the greatness of the Vietnam Veteran Generation. Hope you enjoy it.