435th Tactical Fighter Squadron

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“These guys brought their F-104’s over from George in ’66.” So said the man who gave me this patch. He was stationed at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base during that time, and made quite a hobby of collecting patches. This was one of his favorites. Happily enough, one fine day, he gave me his collection. Kept the units to which he had belonged, but told me to take the rest. I remember pointing to this 435th patch and saying “even that one? Patches like that are worth some money.” He replied “is it worth a $1,000?” I admitted it was not. “Well, then take it, take them all but the ones I was in. But if you ever trade these patches for beer, I’ll knock your teeth out.”

Out of respect for the man – best boss I ever had in the USAF – and due to the fact he was a giant (and a man of his word – Think: knocked out teeth), I have kept them all ever since. Thanks, “Big Daddy.”

PS. It is worth noting that his style of leadership would have no place in the military of today. In other words, we were a smarter air force back then.

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