This is the last moment I saw my older brother Greg alive.
He’s goofing around and making all of us laugh, as he often did.
He was 31.
I was 19 as I took this photo.
I was a cadet at the Air Force Academy, aspiring to be a fighter pilot, like he was.
He had become an Air Force pilot like our father, who died when I was four.
We never know when we’re seeing someone we love for the last time.
We’re lulled into believing that there will be many more moments with them.
But this precious existence is fleeting.
On October 22nd 1980, Greg’s fighter jet’s engines flared out shortly after takeoff in East Texas.
Had he and his navigator ejected, the jet would have slammed into a neighborhood.
The two pilots chose to steer the flaming craft into an adjacent field instead.
That’s my brother, Greg.
Funny, Loving, Heroic.
It was 37 years ago today.
Seems like yesterday.
Seems like a million years ago.
Changed everything for countless people.
Damn, I miss him.
And I’m thankful to have had such a wonderful brother.
(Above: Greg, his wife Mary Lou and children Taylor and Grant on the last day I saw him / Greg on Kelly AFB tarmac with F-100)