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Thread: Requiem for a fighter pilot..

  1. #1

    Default Requiem for a fighter pilot..

    I hope this is the right forum for this. Old timers here may remember Jesse Callahan.

    Requiem for a Fighter Pilot

    Jesse Callahan passed away this morning. He was 98 years old. He was a fighter pilot. He flew P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs over Germany during World War II. After the war he transitioned into transports and flew C-97s from California to Japan. At Hamilton Air Force Base he flew C-119s. When he was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona he would drive up to the Grand Canyon on some long week-ends and fly the Ford Trimotor sight seeing airplane. He was also a flight simmer.

    While Jesse was short in stature he was quite a man. And he was my friend.

    After retiring from the Air Force Jesse began a second career at NASA. For a time he owned a Mooney which he used to commute to work at the Goddard Space Lab in Maryland from his home in Roanoke Virginia.

    Jesse and I became acquainted through flight simming. We were frequent contributors to the old Hangar Talk forum at Flightsim.com. Some of you old timers might recall Jesse and might still be flying Jessie’s C97 (tail number 92607) in FS9 or FSX. I know I am. Dave McQueen did repaints for both versions.

    Jessie and I first met face to face at a Confederate Air Force air show in Midland Texas. The following year he sponsored me for membership. We met annually in Midland at the air show for a few years.

    We both traveled by automobile cross country during those years. I would make sure my route took me through Jasper Texas where I would be Jesse’s guest in his home for a couple of days. Likewise he would make sure his route took him through Roswell New Mexico and he would be a guest in my home for a couple of days. I remember the immaculate old yellow Buick he was very proud of.

    His wife Lue passed away several years ago and at age 94 or so Jesse re-married a woman named Gail.

    His blouse sported command pilot wings, seven rows of ribbons, and jump wings. Not bad for one of the last flying sergeants.

    Jesse’s was a life well lived. He was a pilot’s pilot and he was one of the great Americans from the greatest generation.

    The world will be a bit less colorful without Jesse Callahan. Rest in peace my friend.

    Noel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Westminster, CO
    Posts
    7,535

    Default

    Gosh, sorry to hear that, Noel. Jesse was indeed a neat guy. I remember him, you, Bala and a number of others in that Hangar talk, and I recall that CAF airshow. Below are some pix of Jesse, some from that Oct 1998 CAF airshow (Tora Tora Tora, I think it was). The top one is of you, me and Jesse in front of a P-51, next is Jesse with his collection of model cars, then Jesse at his computer with the sim, then Jesse, you and me on the apron at Midland. And finally Jesse, Noel, me (Larry) and my friend Mike Keller (RIP) by the P-51.

    Jesse was quite a guy. Thanks for letting us know.

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    Last edited by lnuss; 07-18-2021 at 05:32 PM.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you for that great testimonial.
    Jesse was my uncle on my dads side and while I knew he flew P-51's I didn't know he also flew jugs.
    He was an inspiration, my dad always spoke of him.
    He would visit my dad in California now and then and paid us a visit or two in Las Vegas.
    I guess we're a service family of some sorts. My dad was in the AAF in England with B-17's.
    I was a KC-135 Boom Operator in the Air Force.
    He was a great man.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Westminster, CO
    Posts
    7,535

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    Welcome to the forum, and thanks for the additional information. You were indeed a lucky one, to have Jesse as an uncle.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,814

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    Welcome. Be very proud of your uncle. He was a great guy and will be missed.
    Intel 10700K @ 5.0 Ghz, Asus Maxumus XII Hero MB, Noctua NH-U12A Cooler, Corsair Vengence Pro 32GB 3200Mhz, Geforce RTX 2060 Super GPU, Cooler Master HAF 932 Tower, Thermaltake 1000W Toughpower PSU, Windows 10 Professional 64-Bit, and other good stuff.

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