“…..I broke out of the clouds first, because being the flight lead, that’s the nature of things. I looked over and down to check my wingie’s position in the gloom below, and if I tell you will you believe me? That in all my years of flying I don’t know that I ever saw such a wondrously beautiful thing as the glow inside that cloud deck resolve itself all suddenly into an FA-18 leaping from the clouds like a beast darting from a snare, highlighted against the darkness and contrasted with the sun’s dying rays like a rocket ship, herself in full grunt, the afterburners lighting up the cloud and the sky. It made my heart skip, and if I’d had a camera at that moment to take a picture you’d all know my name by now, because that’s how famous I’d be for the taking of it. But for all the unexpected, slack-jawed, childlike wonder of that moment, it’s stuck inside my head and the beauty of it – to which these words do not give justice – will sadly die with me some day.”
This paragraph is from his wonderful post of his time exploring Iwo Jima. He was there to practice carrier landings.
This segment of an otherwise routine flight probably lasted all of 10 seconds, if it was even that long. And yet the beauty and wonder within that small slice of time stayed with Hizzoner the rest of his life.
The Lexicans recently presented a painting of this cherished memory to The Hobbit. It was created by a Lexican who is also a renowned artist, and loves US Navy aviation.
It is now available as a print, for those interested.