24 Aug

When we moved to Bryan, my first Aggie head coach was Jim Myers('58-'61).  We were good friends with Bob and Alice Gene Butler and Bob was the pilot who flew Jim to Houston every Sunday to record his weekly coaching report  at KTRK-tv.  It aired on Channel 3 in Bryan, but KBTX didn't have video recording yet, so every Sunday, following a game, Bob would fly Jim to Houston in his Cessna.  One particular Sunday, Bob invited me along.  We took off from College Station very early and arrived at Houston Hobby less than an hour later.  It was my very first flight in a private plane and it was thrill, but upon landing Bob very nearly lost control.  The touchdown was very smooth, but as the nose wheel hit the runway, we were abruptly "bounced" up again and even when the air speed lessened, the plane didn't handle correctly.  three rather white-faced, shaken men crawled out and Bob immediately ordered a full inspection of his aircraft.  We were on a very tight schedule at the TV station, and in a Channel 13 Courtesy Van, we left the investigation up to the ground crew and made it on time.  The program went without a hitch, but Jim required a bit more makeup since he was still a bit grey around the gills.  Bob had made arrangements for a rental plane should his Cessna be inoperable.  He was concerned and had he not been so expert at flying,  Aggie Fans would have not had a television program that week.  We were somewhat relieved to learn that the problem was too much air-pressure in the hydraulics of the nose wheel.  Someone had 'aired-it-up' too much. Bob was livid, but all of us were relieved and after letting some of the sir out, we were homebound.  The flight back to Easterwood in College Station couldn't end fast enough for anyone.  That was the last time I flew with Bob.  He probably thought of me as a Jinx.  By the way, you may not be aware of why the Texas A&M airport is named "Easterwood".  It is named after U.S. Navy Lt. Jesse Easterwood, a former student and decorated airman who lost his life in a crash in Panama in 1919.  Easterwood was an Aggie, class of l909, who as a WWI naval pilot, was credited with at least 16 known enemy planes.  The Navy posthumously awarded the Navy Cross "for distinguished and heroic service as an aviator" and in 1940 the A&M airport was named after him.  A bronze bust and portrait is on display in the entrance to Easterwood today. I believe it would be interesting to do research and list Former Students who have served our nation valiantly, both in military and private business.  Doesn't it make you proud to be an Aggie, forever?!

And that's what I get from My Box of Chocolates right here in my little corner studio under the shadow of Kyle Field.



James G Austin, '69

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