Posted by: Chris Davis | June 14, 2010

Kaydet Kate meets Greezy Joe

All too often we take for granted the freedoms that we have been blessed with in this country, but every now and again an opportunity comes along that allows us to say thanks to those who pay the price for those freedoms.  My chance to say thanks came this past weekend by way of an old Stearman that we affectionately call “Kaydet Kate”.

Late Thursday evening I received a text message from LCDR Joe “Greezy” Seeburger letting me know that he would be passing through town with “the jet” on Saturday and wanted to get together for a flight that I had promised him the last time we met.  As luck would have it I was planning to be at a local EAA fly-in breakfast on Saturday morning so I invited he and his wife to meet me at the Murfreesboro airport.  The initial plan was for Rebecca to drop him off at Murfreesboro and I would take Joe for a Stearman ride which would end up at the Smyrna airport where “the jet” was parked.  Unbeknownst to Joe I had made alternate plans.  When Joe and Rebecca arrived I introduced them to fellow Stearman pilot and friend Steve Sachs who had agreed to take Rebecca for a ride in his Stearman.  As we awakened the old radials the smiles on both of their faces began to widen.

Stearman flight of 2 departed runway 18 at Murfreesboro and headed east for some formation maneuvers and light aerobatics.  This was the first time either of them had been in a Stearman as well as the first time that Rebecca had ever gotten to fly alongside  Joe, let alone in formation.  As we returned to Murfreesboro for the overhead approach we tucked in tight to the right echelon position and when we crossed the threshold Steve gave the kiss off signal and broke for downwind.  After a 5 second count we broke for downwind as well and followed Steve through the landing.  Joe and I executed a “go-around” and sidestepped the runway allowing Joe to wave goodbye to his wife as we passed to the side of their now taxiing airplane and headed on to Smyrna.  Joe flew the Stearman like an old pro, but I had to laugh when he set up his downwind leg nearly 2 miles off the side of the runway before handing back control so that I could “get the plane configured for landing”.  I returned a laugh to him when I said “there is nothing to configure…reduce the throttle and remember to flare”.  We landed on runway 19 at Smyrna and parked the Stearman next to “the jet” for some comparison and photos.  Man have we come a long way in aircraft design and capability since 1943.

Joe and I took turns getting the obligatory photos in each other’s aircraft and discussed the vast differences in size, power, and maneuverability of each aircraft.  He was shocked that we completed our loop in under 500 feet and compared that to his 8,000 foot altitude change around the circle.  My jaw hit the ramp when he told me the fuel burn to feed his thirsty steed.

Joe had a schedule to keep and a mission to fly so we made plans for his next stop through town and said goodbye.  We shook hands and he thanked me for the flight while I in turn thanked this combat veteran for his service to our great country.  As Joe departed Smyrna Airport accompanied by the deafening roar of dual afterburners and the climb rate of a homesick angel I was reminded once again of the freedoms that we have been blessed with in this great country and the sacrifices made to protect these freedoms.  Sacrifices made by men and women like “Greezy” Joe.  Just a normal guy who wrote a blank check to Uncle Sam for an amount up to and including his life…a real American hero.

Thank you Joe…

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