Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One of the "Greats" is Gone

Had I known about this earlier, I would have found a way to make the service. Don Cornell was a one of a kind: A Golden-Armed Great Stick, who was a really nice guy and always made sure we balanced work with family life. He would have at least made full Colonel, except he thought his family needed him more.

When I first met Don, I had the strangest feeling I knew him already. Being military guys, we went down the list of where we had been, but we had never crossed paths. That déjà vu feeling never went away... until I was going through one of my old books I had picked up at Lemoore NAS in 1979: "A-7 in Action". There's a newer version out there, but in this edition, a large part of it was filled with Don Cornell, as Don was one of the few pilots who flew both the F-100 and A-7 (its replacement) in combat. Don also did a cruise as an exchange pilot with the Navy, and was known to answer a 'call the ball' in whatever he was flying when the occasion arose.

Friends and readers know I do not fawn over meat-servos as a class, but I have the deepest abiding respect for those few I've known who really deserve it. Don was a great pilot, yes. But he was so much more.

I await the day when the magnitude of his accomplishments and contributions to this great land become known to his family and the country as a whole. Today, we have only a glimpse.

Godspeed Don

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