Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Who Dared Whistle at the Wing Commander’s Wife???

by Chuck Handly

This incident happened at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama, in late 1964, when some lucky members of the Class of 1964 were fortunate enough to be undergoing pilot training. I’m pretty sure this incident occurred during the latter phase of T-37 training. We were all pretty much stud’s training and flying solo and I’m sure a tad cocky. Unfortunately, for most of we unmarried studs, home was the Craig AFB Bachelor Officer’s Quarters [BOQ’s], two-to-a-room and WW II vintage.

Joe Redden was extremely fortunate to get me as his roommate, for I taught him many things which he later used to achieve General Officer rank. I remember that our BOQ was long and one story and probably had 10 rooms. Now the following is important: our BOQ was located on prime Craig AFB property, befitting the status of newly commissioned 2nd Lt’s, and therefore situated directly across the street from the Base Gas Station. Enough background…now to the incident.

On a non-descript day, all fledgling pilots were assembled in the A Flight Shack, having finished our flying for the day, when our Flight Commander [Capt T.] dismissed everyone except the residents of my BOQ. I can’t remember who was there from the Wing Commander’s office but the accusation was made that someone from inside our BOQ had the brazen audacity to wolf-whistle at the Wing Commander’s wife [and repeatedly]… while she was at the gas station yesterday!!!!!

It was imperative that the guilty 2Lt admit to his transgressions. It took us all about 17.5 nanoseconds to realize what had transpired on the previous day and to start laughing. Needless to say, it was not the response the Wing Commander’s inquisitor or our Flight Commander was expecting!!! But that’s the joy of being in the Class of 1964….expect the unexpected from us.

Then 2 Lt Byron “Hoot” Hooten began to speak. Hoot explained that he lived in the last room of the BOQ and are you ready....he owned a pet “Myna Bird.” And yes, the myna bird did occasionally let loose with various words and whistles!!!! [Fyi: Their calls include croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks and whistles. Mynas are popular as cage birds for their singing and "speaking" abilities.]

I remember a look of disbelief slowly unfolding on the face of the inquisitor. Then we heard something to this effect, ”This meeting is adjourned and will be reconvened in 2Lt Hooten’s BOQ room.” This was getting to be fun.

After Hoot’s myna bird was put through its paces for the enlightenment of the inquisitor and those assembled, the incident became history. I have often wondered what was the Wing Commander and his wife’s reaction to the story as told by the inquisitor? I hope laughter was involved.

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