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Doug Giebel A Pilot Incomplete


A Pilot Incomplete

Doug Giebel

Scene: A Commanding Officer's Office.
Time: Just a few years ago.

-- At ease, George. Close the door. Have a seat.

-- Thank you, Sir.

-- I'm sure you know why we're having this talk.

-- Well . . . I can guess, Sir.

-- I like you, George. You're a personable guy with a great sense of humor, especially when it comes to ribbing the other fellas in the outfit. It won't be quite the same around here once you're gone. But I think we can take care of . . . it. If you know what I mean.

-- Yes, Sir.

-- Your old man was a goddam fine pilot, a hero, and it doesn't look good for his kid to wash out of flying.

-- I suppose not, Sir.

-- Well, don't worry, George. We have too much respect for your father to want to see him hurt by bad publicity. We figured how to deal with this in a sensitive way. O.k.?

-- Fine with me, Sir.

-- So here's the deal. But it doesn't get out of this room, understand?

-- Yes, Sir.

-- Doesn't get out of this room. By God, this is one zipper you keep zipped.

-- I will, Sir. Thank you, Sir.

-- Don't thank me. I'm not doing this just for you, George.

-- Yes, Sir.

-- If anybody asks, you didn't complete your physical.

-- What, Sir?

-- You didn't complete your physical. No need to say why. You just didn't COMPLETE it -- if you get my drift. The physical is a batch of tests, and you . . . you just didn't finish-- the series-- you didn't complete it. Understood?

-- I think so, Sir.

-- In any event, we've . . . lost . . . your test results, and nobody knows a damned thing. Somebody goofed. Somebody goofed.

-- Yes, Sir.

-- Now tomorrow you will put in for a transfer to . . . Alabama. A family friend down there needs your help. Here's the paper work. There's a unit doesn't require flying, and you can-- what the hell-- lay low until whatever here in Texas blows over. Keep your head down and you'll be o.k. O.k?

-- Yes, Sir.

-- Damn shame, George, to spend all this money and time turning you into a first-class pilot, and then it has to get fouled up. Hell, when I was your age, we didn't have all this test-tube nonsense. All they cared about was whether we could do the job. But things have changed, George. You can't take a piss and beat the system anymore.

-- I suppose not, Sir.

-- Can't beat the system. Maybe it's just as well. I don't know. Anyway, George, I'll personally take care of this . . . incident . . . and it will all . . . go away.

-- Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir.

-- It ain't as though you were ever going to run for office like your father.

-- No, Sir. I suppose not.

-- Hell of a good man, George. Your father.

-- I suppose so, Sir.

-- Any questions, George?

-- I guess not, Sir. I'll put in for the transfer. Much appreciated.

-- Fine, George. You can go.

-- Yes, Sir.

-- Oh, George? One more thing. Don't ever "suppose" about your old man. After all, he's the one who figured out how to bail you out of this mess. You owe him big time.

-- Yes, Sir. I suppose I do.


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