Gene Fish's OL' SHAKEY: MEMORIES OF A FLIGHT ENGINEER
A book review by Dennis D. McDonald
In this book Fish tells many tales of what it was like to serve as a flight engineer on the old Douglas C-124 "Globemaster II" transport aircraft in the 1960s and 1970s. It's not a glamorous set of tales and that is the main point.
He tells the reader the truth about what it was like to keep this huge aircraft and its propeller engines running while hauling cargo all over the world. Some of the stories are funny while others are terrifying. These were pre-automation days when dials were analog, controls were mechanical, and engines could act up at the least opportune moment to put the lives of the crew at risk.
We also get a taste of what it was like to serve as an enlisted man in an Air Force where its reach around the globe required constant and non-glamorous hauling of large and small goods from point a to point b, sometimes in harm's way.
Sometimes life was mundane and revolved around the games played by the military in assigning work and calculating per diem pay and expenses. At other times we experience white knuckles as the crew of the giant transport prepares for a never before attempted ditching at sea.
If you're interested in aviation history and only familiar with the exploits of fighter and bomber pilots on dangerous wartime missions, you'll expand your appreciation of the important role of the military transportation and logistics by reading this entertaining and enlightening book.
Review copyright (c) 2017 by Dennis D. McDonald