BROTHERS IN SABRES

from LtGen. Frank Hettlinge

This story doesn't include any hair-raising tales or combat related experiences. But it does relate a most memorable eperience for me that I'd like to share with the readers of SabreJet Classics.

In the Spring of 1958, when I was assigned to the 113th FIS, Indiana ANG at Hulman Field in Terre Haute, we were flying F-86A Sabres. And it was time to retire the Sabres to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB outside Tucson, Arizona.

Capt. William `Bill' Layne, my Flight Commander and a pilot for Lake Central *Airlines, and I volunteered to ferry a pair of Sabres to D-M over the weekend. The flight plan included a stopover at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, where my brother Erich also flew F-86As with the Arizona ANG, known as the "Copperheads". Erich was an ex-Navy pilot who had somehow managed to transfer to the Air National Guard. Since he was an engineer with Air Research Corporation in Phoenix, it was easy for him to fly with the Copperheads.

We were able to arange a formation flight to D-M, whereby Erich would escort Bill and I. Bill, of course, always had a camera and was able to permanently record we two `Brothers In Sabres'. These pictures not only record a significant event in my career, they also perpetuate memories of two fine aviators who lost their lives in aircraft accidents; Capt. Wm. `Bill' Layne crashed in an F-84F at Terre Haute in 1959; and my brother Maj. Erich Hettlinger who lost an engine in an F-104 at Phoenix in 1961.

Myself, I joined the Air Force in 1952, flew F-86Fs at Nellis in '53, flew Ds with the 47th FIS in '53/'54, then Es and Ds with the 40th FIS at Yokota in '54/'55. Joined the Indiana ANG in '57 in F-86As. Retired from the Indiana ANG as Commander in 1989 with the rank of Major General.


No portion of this article may be used or reprinted without permission from the President of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association or the editor of Sabre Jet Classics magazine.


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