Happy Valentine’s Day

Feb 14th, 2013 | By | Category: Spotlight

Editor’s Note: This contribution from Tow Times blogger Jack Schrock was intended to be a blog, but we’re posting it as our Spotlight on this special day.

Love is often defined as the enduring passion between a man and a woman, and there is no limit to what people will do to sustain that passion. Shared experiences, sports and a military Band of Brothers creates special relationships that last a lifetime and define another kind of love. I remember a beer commercial that ended with the words: I love you man.

I took up flying out of necessity as population centers throughout the Southwest are few and far between. My training put me in touch with a number of new people including a retired colonel who served in the South Pacific in WWII as a fighter pilot. He ran the hangar at the local airport along with an engine overhaul shop and taught me to fly after I earned my license. Anytime I left for a trip he always asked how long I would be gone. I soon learned that if I told him I planned to return the same night, he was always there to welcome me back, talk about my trip and help me shove the plane back in the hangar. One early morning trip I experienced engine failure shortly after takeoff, which needed no radio announcement because the silence was deafening. Returning to the airport, I lost the second engine. Now I was dead sticking a twin and just as I was about to flare for the landing, my friend’s voice crackled on the radio: “Jack drop your gear.”

With that command, I flipped the gear lever and made a perfect landing without any damage to the plane or myself. Where had his voice come from and why was he there? More than once at the end of a long trip on a dark night he would come up on the “party line” Unicom frequency to welcome me home as he had obviously been monitoring the approach frequency to find out my whereabouts.

Herb is gone now — lost to a head-on car accident after years of combat flying and later ferrying airplanes with bad engines to his shop for repair.

But I still say I love you man … and always will.

Yes it’s a different kind of love, but it is nevertheless profoundly powerful and real and forever.

— Jack Schrock