Air Power - Nort Nelson - Jeremiah Weed

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JR007

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Unread post03 Jun 2008, 02:03

Just got off the phone with the large K-9 and he said, "Hey I'm sitting here with Nort, here you go..." After talking to Nort I had to raise a bottle of Jeremiah Weed and send a toast to him up in SC tonight!

Hey Parrot Cranium, Thanks for the bottle!
Burning debris never reversed on anyone…

JR
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parrothead

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Unread post03 Jun 2008, 09:02

No problemo, JR :thumb: !
No plane on Sunday, maybe be one come Monday...
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MKopack

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Unread post31 Mar 2009, 12:07

Just posted over at baseops.net (http://www.flyingsquadron.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=15159):

As you've read in the Ledgend of Jeremiah Weed thread, Nort Nelson is the man behind the legend. I was just sent this email. Please say a prayer for one of the World's Greatest Fighter Pilots.

"I bring you some bad news. Yesterday afternoon Nort suffered an embolism,which is essentially an stroke in the brain. He is currently in a hospital in Lexington (Columbia) S.C. The doctor's have told Big Dog that he will not get better. He has suffered a good bit of brain damage and although he is conscious he will remain a vegetable. He and Big Dog flew back from an air show in Florida (I believe) yesterday. Once on the ground Big Dog noticed Nort acting strange and not making any sense. He took him to the hospital where they discovered the extent of the damage. Big Dog has relaid this information to Cookie who intern talked to JD. JD called me about 10:30 last night to let me know. Please make sure to put him in your prayers."

As a a friend of ours put it . . . "For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a legendary fighter pilot who would do anything for a brother fighter pilot…worthy of your thoughts and prayers."


The True Story of Jeremiah Weed
http://propilots.blogspot.com/2008/09/true-story-of-jeremiah-weed.html

Every USAF fighter squadron has a lounge where the pilots sometimes gather for a cold beer after the flying day is over. Every refrigerator in each of those lounges contains a chilled bottle of a 100-proof product called Jeremiah Weed. For special occasions, and sometimes for no reason at all, someone will bring out the Weed, fill a shot glass for each person present, and propose a toast. At the conclusion of the toast, all down their Weed in a single gulp. It is not tasty. To many it seems like drinking kerosene, and it leaves a very strong aftertaste. Be that as it may, few refuse because the downing of a Weed is a ritual deeply imbedded in the fighter pilot culture. That ritual started long before today’s squadron commanders were even in college, and stories abound as to how the custom started. A famous newsman once said, “When there is disagreement between the legend and the truth, always print the legend.” Since I disagree, here is the true story of Jeremiah Weed, and I know it’s true because I was part of it.

On December 1, 1978, I was flying as an instructor in the back seat of a F–4E, tail number 649, on a BFM hop out of the 414th FWSq at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The student in my front seat, Maj. Nort Nelson, was a highly experienced F–4 pilot with hundreds of combat hours. Leading the flight was Capt. Joe Bob Phillips, who had in his back seat Capt. Larry Ernst, an instructor who was just along for the ride. The mission called for Joe Bob to attack Nort in a scripted scenario that gave Nort the opportunity to use his best defensive BFM to defeat Joe Bob’s attacks. The mission did not last long. On the first engagement, Nort managed to put the airplane into a position from which I judged that recovery was impossible (The details are for another story, which I will tell in a future book). I ejected both of us from the jet. Neither of us was injured, and within an hour we were picked up by a helicopter that returned us to Nellis. It probably goes without saying that Nort and I had different views: he thought he could miss the ground; I did not. It was too close to bet my life on. The accident investigators agreed with me. They determined that ejection was the only possibility for survival. Further, they believed that if I had delayed more than a second, one or both of us would have died in the desert seventy miles north of Las Vegas.

A year later, both Joe Bob and Nort were members of the F–16 Multinational Operational Test and Evaluation squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. On the first anniversary of the accident, they were flying to Nellis to participate in Red Flag. As they passed over the crash site, which Joe Bob easily found since he had circled our downed position many times, they sketched some brief road maps on cards in their cockpits and decided to return to the site by car.

The next day, a Friday, they drove out of Las Vegas with a friend, Pete Mock, intending to find the site and camp out in the crater that the crashing airplane had gouged in the high desert. However, it was dark by the time they got to the dirt road they thought would lead them to the site. After a couple of aborted attempts to drive up dirt roads to nowhere, they decided to go back to a roadside café they had passed to ask directions.

They entered the Paranaghat Bar and found no customers, only a bearded bartender who looked a lot like Grizzly Adams. When they told the bartender what they were up to, he was delighted to tell them he had seen the fire from the crashing airplane the day of the accident. Further, he was very pleased that he had three real fighter pilots in his bar. He had heard that fighter pilots knew many bar games (true), and he wanted to play games for drinks. When they balked at the idea, he persisted, and after much cajoling asked them if they knew the game “horses.” They shook their heads no (not true). Over the next several minutes, the bartender “taught” them horses, finally saying that whoever lost had to buy a round of drinks. After three games of horses, the bartender had bought all three rounds. And after three rounds the pilots were a little less stressed to get to the crash site.

Joe Bob asked the bartender if he knew how to do afterburners. No, the bartender said, he had never heard of that game. So, Joe Bob explained to him how a shot of brandy in a shot glass is ignited so that the alcohol on top burns, and then the drinker throws down the flaming shot. If done correctly, all the brandy is emptied from the shot glass, so that when the drinker puts the glass down, a small, blue flame still burns in the bottom. The bartender was eager to play but said he had no brandy. Nort suggested that any high-proof booze might work, and the bartender fumbled around under the bar for a moment. He straightened up and plopped a tall, brown bottle with a brown and green label on the bar, and said, “I’ve got this here stuff—it’s 100 proof.” The brand name on the green label proclaimed that it was Jeremiah Weed. The three fighter pilots filled their shot glasses and demonstrated, all three glasses returning to the bar empty except for a small blue flame flickering at the bottom.

The bartender immediately poured one for himself and lit the top. Now, these were no ordinary twentieth-century shot glasses. Joe Bob thought they might be from the 1800s because the glass was very thick, and the bottom was probably an inch of heavy glass. When the bartender picked his up, he held it by the bottom while he licked and smoothed the mustache of his thick beard out of the line of fire. He took several moments on his grooming, not realizing that as he held the thick glass at the bottom, the top near the fire was heating quickly. By the time he tilted his head back and put the glass to his lips…..well, Joe Bob says you could probably hear the s-s-s-s-sizzle of the hot glass barbecuing the bartender’s lips halfway to Las Vegas. Then the bartender made his second mistake and flinched. The flaming Weed went all over his beard, and by the time Joe Bob, Nort, and Pete could beat out the flames, the bar was filled with the smell of cooked lips and singed hair.

As soon as things calmed down a bit, the trio, feeling badly that they had not paid for a drink all night and greatly embarrassed that they had nearly immolated their new friend, bought another bottle of Weed from him and left again for the crash site, this time guided by one of the bartender’s friends who had entered the bar just in time to witness and smell the blistering. The friend showed them the correct dirt road, and the trio found the crash crater, where they spent the rest of the night camped out and drinking the entire bottle of Weed.

The next morning they dragged themselves out of the crater, gathered a few souvenirs from the parts still lying around, and headed straight for the Nellis Air Force Base Officers’ Club. There they found the manager, showed her the empty bottle, and strongly suggested she add it to the bar stock. She did. Soon, the Nellis fighter pilots were downing shots of Weed (nonflaming) for no good reason except it was different, and it was a good excuse to toast “fallen comrades.” As Red Flags came through the Nellis club, they saw the weapons school guys doing it, so they did it, too.

And that is the true story of how Jeremiah Weed started. I have a bottle in my freezer.


Mike
F-16A/B/C/D P&W/GE Crew Chief and Phased Maint.
56TTW/63TFTS 1987-1989
401TFW/614TFS 1989-1991
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TC

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Unread post31 Mar 2009, 22:24

Very sad news to hear. The IP on that sortie where they punched out of the Rhino was retired Col. Clarence "Dick" Anderegg. He used to be Pops' boss in the late 80s. Now, he's up at Wright-Pat as the AF's Historian. Good guy. Wish he'd do some more writing. "Sierra Hotel" was a great book.
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JR007

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Unread post01 Apr 2009, 03:33

Mike,

I sent Big Dog an e-mail. Thanks for the cranium up...

JR
Burning debris never reversed on anyone…

JR
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Unread post01 Apr 2009, 08:54

Best wishes from Vegas for Nort. He, his family and friends will be in my thoughts and prayers.
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JR007

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Unread post02 Apr 2009, 04:03

Only Foxtrotting Nort!

The word I got tonight was the nurses were looking darned tired as Nort has been, well, Nort! :lol:
Burning debris never reversed on anyone…

JR
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Unread post02 Apr 2009, 04:16

This sounds like some really good news :D
No plane on Sunday, maybe be one come Monday...
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JR007

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Unread post03 Apr 2009, 06:17

Nort is now CODE ONE!

He was stolen from a hospital and taken to another hospital that knew what they were doing and he's walking and Totally CODE ONE! 8)
Burning debris never reversed on anyone…

JR
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Unread post03 Apr 2009, 09:47

Sierra Hotel :thumb:
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TC

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Unread post03 Apr 2009, 15:46

Great to hear! Here's to a little more Irish luck coming his way. :pint:
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huggy

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Unread post13 Apr 2009, 05:21

Great to hear! I'm sure The Large Canine's "medicine" was the reason!
JR: I was the guest speaker at the CJAA convention a few weeks ago. It was sort of last minute, and I hoped I'd seen you there.
Take care.
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pc

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Unread post31 May 2009, 21:52

Knowing Nort from Saudi, I'd be surprised if the nurses had the energy to subdue him. Terrible to hear about the initial incident, but enormously relieved to hear that he's kicked his way through it. All the best, Nort, and stay off the red ruin - you know it makes sense.

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