The general continued, “There is a note here from Colonel Blunda which states
that the cause of the accident was still under investigation. However, the refueling
personnel were not at fault.”
The general looked over his glasses at Ken and grumbled, “You got off the hook
on that one.”
Ken wondered about the completeness of the file.
The general interrupted his thoughts. “It says here that additional investigation
revealed that a foreign agent posing as an Air Force officer started the fire that
caused the loss of the B-36. This is interesting stuff, but back to the current
situation. As you probably know, we recently lost a B-47 to a refueling accident.
Your memo suggested that you needed an additional officer in refueling in order to
carry out my order which is that the Petroleum Officer should be on duty for every
“I understand your point, and I have assigned another officer to be on hand for
the night shift.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Since you are not afraid of communicating with the higher echelons of the SAC
staff, I am requesting that you put together a lecture for my staff concerning the
hazards of refueling. I have reserved the meeting room in the Officer’s Club for 3:30
PM, Friday afternoon, three weeks from now. Is that enough time to prepare?”
“I am suggesting that your talk be no longer than an hour. Can you handle that?”
“Now at this point, I want to give you a few words of wisdom. Sending me a
memo is not the best way to go when you have an urgent matter dealing with
refueling. What I suggest you do in the future is leave a message with my secretary.
She will get your message to me as fast as possible. Memos to me from first
lieutenants don’t usually make it to me. Somebody down the line usually shortstops
such communications. In this case, I needed to know the problem. When we are
dealing with a refueling problem, I want to be informed.”
“You know, Lieutenant, I respect people who have guts—and you have guts. Let’s
keep in touch when you believe it’s necessary. That all, Lieutenant.”
Ken saluted briskly and turned to leave the office.
“Oh, by the way, Lieutenant, I should inform you that the Annual Air Force
Association Meeting is scheduled to take place here two months from now. I want
you to be ready to refuel all those folks who will fly in for the meeting. This includes
people such as Charles Lindbergh and Jimmy Stewart, etc.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant.”
The door closed, and Ken turned to the secretary and thanked her for her help.
As he left the headquarters building, he almost tripped over the curb. His
thoughts were racing through his head concerning what his talk to the general staff