What were they thinking?

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mike Hammond
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
I wonder what the friend was thinking.

When he was talking on his cell phone to the young Airman freshly graduated from tech school, was he making plans for a get together, a barbecue, a night out on the town? Was he impressed at how excited the Airman sounded as he drove down the long highway toward his career in the "real" Air Force to maintain big, cool fighter jets that would someday get the bad guys?

Did he know that his friend, the Airman, was driving way too fast through a rainstorm on three bad tires and one good one? Did he realize that their conversation was actually diverting a large part the Airman's attention away from the road and conditions? Did he know his friend was on a collision course with fate?

I wonder what the friend is thinking.

Does he stay up nights, unable to sleep due to the grief at losing his friend? Does he replay the sounds he heard that day on his cell phone? Does he remember the sound of the Airman's panicked voice as he lost control, the sound of tires skidding across the rain-soaked median, the sickening thud and crunching of metal, and, finally, the deafening silence as the cell phone crashed against the crumpled wreck and broke? Is he haunted by the last few seconds of his last conversation with the Airman, his friend, who died on the phone with him?

Actually, I really wonder what the Airman was thinking -- but I guess I'll never know.