Send your Safety Testimonials to General Spruance
To: General Spruance Date: August 12, 2006
Hopefully nothing will happen to me in the future, but reading these safety instructions will hopefully save my life. Knock on wood. Thanks
TSgt Jeffrey Macal
To: General Spruance Date: August 2, 2006
Dear General Spruance,
By accident, I came across your safety briefing today on the Internet. It brought back vivid memories of your lecture to AFROTC, Detachment 500, Princeton University in 1970. If my memory serves me correctly, you mentioned briefing the then Air Force Chief of Staff, General John D. Ryan, about Nomex flightsuits, and having the opportunity to demonstrate on the General its fire retardant capabilities. l served with General Michael E. Ryan, son of General John D. Ryan, and was his guest at the Chief of Staff’s quarters on Fort Myers. After all these years, I have retired from the Air Force reserves and the Air Force civil service, with my last assignment as SES Director of Mathematics and Space Sciences at Air Force Office of Scientific Research. I have, thank God, never been involved in a serious accident, but your briefing has remained with me.
Dr. Clifford E. Rhoades, Jr.
To: General Spruance Date: June 19, 2006
Dear General Spruance - Thank you for putting your presentation on the internet thus making it possible for me to have my 19 year old daughter see it and learn from it. I saw your presentation back in 1978 at ERAU Daytona Beach when I worked there as the director of alumni affairs - your presentation has stuck with me all these years and your advice resounds in my ears every time I get in a motor vehicle or aircraft! I will never forget my years at E-RAU because I was had the opportunity to meet and work with such incredible people like yourself and Jack Hunt!
(Ellen Zacharias in 1978)
To: General Spruance Date: December 5, 2005
Dear General Spruance,
Thanks for providing me with your card and web address. It was an honor to meet and speak with you at the BWI airport.
I will share your site address with our pilots and hopefully further your message of safety and survival. Your work and accomplishments are incredible. Please stay safe, enjoy the holidays and thank you for your service to our country.
P.S. Thanks for flying with us at SWA! Look very forward to seeing you on another flight soon!
To: General Spruance Date: June 16, 2005
General Spruance, Hello!
I found your contact info on the ERAU site and recalled attending one of your briefings early on in my Army career. I graduated Army rotary wing flight training on 18 May 1970 and was flying with the 162nd Assault Helicopter (Vultures) in Vietnam the following month. I retired at the end of March 1995 from the Army as a CW 4, Aviator (I previously served a hitch in the Marine Corps also). During my career (Aviation Warrant) I served as Division Aviation Safety Officer at Fort Ord, California and Fort Wainwright, Alaska with two tours at the Army SafetyCenter investigating Aviation accidents worldwide. Your briefing along with my own feelings about Safety nudged me to pursue the Safety path throughout my carrer. THANK YOU and BEST WISHES!
Jim Myrick, CW4, USA (Vulture 19)
| To: General Spruance Date: April 16, 2005
From: Ken Beckmann
Subject: Thank You
Tonite I was involved in a auto accident where our stopped car was rear-ended. Because I heard your safety briefing last spring in Prof. Bill Waldock's class at ERAU Prescott, I had positioned the headrest "just in case" to minimize whiplash. This is a habit I've forced myself into since hearing your pitch. While not a life-threatening accident, I have been spared much discomfort. And for that, I thank you.
To: General Spruance Date: February 17, 2005
As of this February, the Maryland Air National Guard’s 135th Airlift Squadron has racked up some 172,000 flying hours, encompassing nearly 46 years without a major mishap. It’s an impressive achievement, of which the unit is rightfully proud.
Like all such records, the 135th’s stems from a combination of conservative flying, careful maintenance, and at least some measure of dumb luck.
Luck is an essential – if unquantifiable – part of any record, be it home runs hit, yards rushed, or accidents averted. But as any baseball player, quarterback, or aviator will attest, luck is a fickle thing, upon which only a fool relies. And the men and women of the 135th are no fools.
The unit has worked hard to infuse a culture of safety into everything they do. From incorporating operational risk management into the flying program to debriefs of major safety issues, flying safety is a top priority.
Just how seriously the group takes safety is evident in their record. In addition to 46 years without a major mishap, the unit has won the William W. Spruance Safety Award four times, most recently in 2004, and the Maj. Gen. John J. Pesch Flight Safety Award three times, in addition to numerous other awards and commendations.
Still, the fliers of the 135th are cognizant that what counts aren’t the hours you’ve accumulated in the past, the hours you’ll accumulate today and tomorrow.
Maj. Wilford Davis, the air operations officer of the 135th Troop Carrier Squadron (forerunner of today’s 135th Airlift Squadron), was an instructor pilot and had more flying time than any other member of the Maryland Air National Guard on the night he died.
Major Davis was one of six members of the 135th killed on April 15, 1959, when the SA-16 Albatross on which he was flying crashed shortly after take off, killing all aboard. Whether it was pilot error, mechanical failure, or just bad luck will never be known, as the cause of the accident was never determined.
It was the 135th’s last fatal accident, and the unit hopes to keep it that way.
“We never want to lose an airplane or a life, especially to something avoidable,” said Lt. Col. Thomas E. Hans, the 135th Airlift Group’s deputy commander for operations. “ The ‘safety culture’ that we have cultivated through the years by learning from each others mistakes and the interface with maintenance has proven its self.”
To: General Spruance Date: September 18, 2004
On September 14, I was honored, privileged, and excited to have the pleasure of BG Spruance's presence aboard Southwest flight 2612, from Baltimore to Las Vegas.
More than 30 years ago the General gave a presentation to my Army National Guard Battalion. Although, I don't remember his words verbatim, I do live by the message.
Having just survived two combat tours as an army helicopter pilot, I was invincible. BG Spruance chased that crazy notion away, and convined me to live to fly like my life depended on it.
Now, as a proud Captain for Southwest Airlines, BG Spruance's lessons are passed to the young pilots in my "right seat". Hopefully, they will do the same.
Lessons become knowledge, knowledge that is passed becomes wisdom, wisdom becomes power, power becomes a way of life.
Thank you General Spruance.
To: General Spruance Date: August 22, 2004
General, this is Adam Stryker (brittanys boyfriend) I just wanted to let you know that when you gave me the 1000 bill the other day at lunch I took it home and checked out the website. I must say that your website (easy to navigate, good links and user friendly) and the presentation are all very well done and very professional. The pictures along with all of the information was interesting and well put together. It was fascinating to see the pictures of your crash as well as read the biography of your service history, and the other related information that you have on there. I just wanted to drop a quick note and let you know that I enjoyed the website.
To: General Spruance Date: May 3, 2004
Less than a week after his commissioning a promising young man's life is gone. I am still in a state of shock! It's hard to make sense of it.
Unfortunately I've known too many good young people who have passed on - and yet it never, ever makes sense. At times like this I can only echo and reemphasize that having Faith is the only comfort and refuge one can really cling to during tragedies like this.
This country lost an outstanding officer, the Air Force lost a great pilot, and we have lost a friend. I won't lie and say Johney was perfect, none of us are - and he got on my nerves a little the first week or two - but we all saw this young man grow and mature so much ... and it sickens me when I think of all that potential gone. I have to say that reading that he wasn't wearing a seat belt and that he was pinned for an hour hasn't done much to assuage my anger either.
I'm sure he is in heaven right now - a better place than this 'vale of tears' - but I'm still outraged, shocked, grief-stricken and numbed by the loss to his family, friends, colleagues and country.
A 'lean-forward, hard-charging, Type A' personality was how his Faculty Adviser at the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science characterized him - and he was. But he was thoughtful and introspective as well.
Rest assured none of us will ever forget him.
May his soul rest in peace,
I am sure that there will be many people in the future
that will benefit from the safety advice that will be administered from
his multimedia center. I also feel very confident that you'll be able
to save many more lives in airplanes and in automobiles as you have done
in the past.
Personally I have benefited from your flight safety crash survival speech for at least two occasions in an automobile. In both of these automobile accidents I would have sustained substantially more serious injury if I had not had my seat belt and shoulder harness on as you have advised me repeatedly to do since your T-33 crash.
After paying the one dollar fine on many
occasions for not having my seat belt fastened at the time that my automobile
was in motion has made me fastened my seat belt automatically every time
I sit in my car. I have used this procedure in instructing my daughters
Elizabeth and Nicole (your granddaughters) and have had beneficial results
in both automobile accidents that they have been involved in so far.
After going through the normal landing gear extension
instructions I remembered to leaving the door slightly ajar in case of
the fuselage was warped so bad that the firemen would have to cut me out
with a fire ax. My eggression from the aircraft was without incident due
to the fact that the door was already open. The only thing that I would
add to your emergency eggression checklist would be that
once the doors opened and you have climbed out on the wing run like hell.
I find it hard to imagine how rewarding it must be to
know that you have saved so many lives by your near death experience at
midlife. I don't believe this type of experience is one that most people
would encounter as a standard midlife crisis.
William E. Spruance
To: Brig. Gen.(ret.) Spruance Date: March 18, 2002
To: Brig. Gen.(ret.) Spruance Date:
July 2, 2001
General Bill Spruance literally walked into my life in December 1961, less than six months after his extraordinary escape from the crash of a T-33 in which he was a passenger.
As an Airman one-stripe, I was sitting at a desk making up a weekend drill when he walked through the door. He was the first general officer I had ever seen and was fresh out of the burn center at Randolph AFB in San Antonio. I jumped to my feet and stood at attention. He gave me an "as you were" and I had my first opportunity to look at a man who appeared to have been through a flaming hell.
The general had a PR idea he wanted to share with the SMSgt for whom I was working. Nothing new about that. I later learned the general always was working on some idea he wanted to share.
After discussing the plan with the SMSgt, the general turned and started to leave the room. He stopped in front of my desk where I was still standing and asked, "Did you hear what we were discussing?" I responded in the affirmative and he then asked, "What do you think about it?"
Although I had been a radio and television performer and newsman for almost nine years, I was taken aback. I turned to the SMSgt and said, "I've never seen a general before. What do you say when one asks you what you think.?"
The sergeant half smiled and said, "This one you tell what you really think."
I turned back to the general and said, "Frankly, sir, I think your idea stinks."
The general looked at me pretty closely and said, "Come to my office."
For a variety reasons that defy explanation, I had been in the Air National Guard for four years and was still wearing the one stripe I had been awarded upon completion of basic training. My thought at the moment was, "Oh, well, this is the end of an otherwise ignominious career."
We entered the general's office and he closed the door. He told me to relax and asked me how I would handle the PR idea. I said I understood what he wanted to accomplish, he just needed to take a different approach. We talked for a few minutes and he asked me if I could move the idea to a reality. I said I could and he told me to get to it and if I ran into any headwinds, just tell them General Spruance said for me to do it.
That was the beginning of a relationship that became a friendship based on mutual respect that remains true today 40 years after we met. He still calls me with ideas and I still tell him what I think.
I believe the ability of a general to ask an unknown lowest ranking airman what he thinks and listen to a different point of view is the mark of an extraordinary officer and a gentleman.
Edward S. (Sid) Shaw, Lt Col, Ret.
SMSgt Wayne Smith 8 December 1993
B/Gen William W. Spruance
Wayne Smith, SMSgt, USAF
To: General Spruance Date: June 30, 1977
Babba Dearing was in a GLIDER CRASH about ten days ago. He broke both legs and fractured an ankle. Took about 30 minutes to cut him out of the glider. Tow plane had engine trouble and cut him loose before glider had gained sufficient speed. Crashed from about 40 feet. Said when he realized what was happening, he rolled into the embryo position and feels that is what saved his life. He should be released from the hospital tomorrow.
He just wanted to thank you.