Papa Three Four
by Cal Tobin, Jr.
7 February 1980

The fog was thick as ever as Three Four hit the break,
The pilot never realized the last move he'd now make.
Inadvertent IFR, feeling something hard to explain,
I've just been mid-aired by a VFR light civil plane.

As he commenced oscillation and a starboard roll,
A strange sense of irony started taking control.
His life didn't flash before his eyes, as he'd often heard,
And as he keyed up for Tower, he couldn't say a word.

He thought of his wife who was just starting dinner,
He thought of their wedding; he had such a winner.
He thought of the guys in the Ready Room,
And he felt sorry for them and for their gloom.

He felt sorry for the OpsO who would close his Log Book
With one final Night Landing, and he felt very took.
He thought of his children, their next day at school,
And a flaming second later he was a pool.

The Investigators thought  he must have known terror,
And decided he died of the light civil's error.
His wife cries all night and drinks lots of eggnog,
And she'll never again walk alone in the night fog.

The kids are still playing out between the old sheds,
And each day she wakes up is a day his wife dreads.
The last entry was made by OpsO the next day,
And occasionally he'll wonder; who next pays to play.

The fog rapidly thinned as Three Four neared the ground,
The sky cleared and with no fear he couldn't hear a sound.
His life didn't pass before his eyes, as he'd often heard,
And as he keyed up for Tower he couldn't say a word.

*     *     *      
The author:
Cal Tobin, Jr.
SSgt. USMC
1972–1992

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