Boom Operator: The Back-Story

U.S. Air Force KC-10 Tanker at Travis AFB. Photo: Tor Hanson

The back-story to the Boom Operator article is pretty funny. The day prior to the interview with Sgt. Edwards, I drove from Bend, Oregon to Vacaville, California. I had orders to be at Travis Air Force base early the following morning.

It was still dark when I left the hotel and started driving to the base. I was excited to get a chance to ride along in a military version of the DC-10, and wanted to get to my destination quickly.

The Air Base Parkway leading up to Travis AFB was deserted and I decided to step on the gas and let the engine “air out.” After hitting 60 mph, I suddenly caught sights of blue lights in the rear view mirror. I cursed under my breath and slowed down.

One of California’s finest caught up with me and asked me why I was doing 60 in a 45 zone. I decided to play the “I’m an innocent Swedish freelance writer” routine. The police officer must have been a kind soul because he let me off with a warning.

The only payment to a government officer that day was a $15.00 charge for lunch onboard the KC-10. Journalists have to pay for their own food when flying in a government aircraft.

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