10 September Meeting -
Marine Aviator – Lt. Cliff Judkins
FELL 15,000 FEET AND LIVED … by Captain Cliff Judkins (ret.)
Cliff Judkins grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. Completed his Freshman year at Marion Military Institute, transferred to Auburn for Soph. and Junior year. Left Auburn in the middle of Junior year and joined the Navy as an aviation cadet (this was May of `58).
Commissioned May of `60 as a Marine 2nd lieutenant and received his wings at the same time. Assigned to MCAS El Toro, flying F8 Crusader with VMF 323. Squadron assigned to CAG 14 aboard Lexington for approx. 1 1/2 years. Back to El Toro with same squadron. After my accident [more about this later] was assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron at Atsugi Japan, then a year at Chu Li, and DaNang South Viet Nam.
Cliff resigned his commission September `66 and was hired by Delta Air Lines in October `66. Flew for Delta for 30 years, retired July `97 at age 60. Married to my wife of 51 years (so far), Harriet Heath, an Atlanta girl. Two children, Jenny, a retired district attorney, and Jim, a Delta Captain based here in Atlanta. 4 grand children. My hobbies are reading and riding motorcycles (He's had about a dozen of those)
The day was June 21rst, 1963. Marine 1rst Lt. Cliff Judkins found himself in a tanker refueling disaster which turned his F-8 Crusader into a Roman Candle. Miracle number one was his plane did not blow up at the beginning of the story or it would be over now.
Both attempts at the usual seat ejection were failures. So now the ante had been raised on Lt. Judkins. He had to do something no one had ever done before…manually bail out of a Crusader and 220 knots and not be killed instantly in the process. The tail section of a Crusader is twenty feet high, a big target. Miracle number two was that he actually pulled this off by ‘skidding’ the plane before he jumped.
But the bad luck demons where not finished with this pilot yet. They raised the ante once again. When he pulled his ripcord he had what skydivers call a ‘streamer’…the chute deploys but with the lines wrapped around it so it will not open. This only slows your descent speed down a little bit, maybe 10%. There was no miracle on the way down. Lt. Judkins did everything he could to try to untangle his chute chute lines but the air pressure from the fast descent kept the it closed.
Amazingly when he broke through the clouds he glimpsed his plane hitting the water. At this point, you kind of start thinking you are a dead man. Miracle number three appeared. Incredibly he was not killed on impact, nor did he drown while being unconscious. But the demons were not done with him yet.
His chute finally opened under the water but filling up with the ocean currents which were pulling him under. Because of his injuries (broken back, both ankles, pelvis, collapsed lung, plus kidneys and intestines in shock) he could not reach his leg knife, but he had a back up knife in his chest pocket which he used to cut free from his chute lines before they dragged him under…miracle number four.
Plan to come to the luncheon and hear the whole amazing story!
North Georgia Veterans
1-2 October visit to the National Infantry Museum and Ft Benning, GA
Arrangement have been made for a visit to Ft Benning. The cost is $25 to cover each box lunch [1 Oct] and the National Infantry Museum admission price.
Please register as a N. GA Member, a Soleil Vet Club Member or a Guest [please - no spouses this event / trip] if you plan to attend.
Please refer to the agenda and instructions conveyed in the E-Blast announcing this trip for any specifics.
Thank you, Communication Director
Event registration - Click meeting date below
10 Sep 2014 11:30 AM • Mountains Grill at Big Canoe Clubhouse
01 Oct 2014 7:30 AM • Ft. Benning, GA
2014 Lunch Menu -
3rd quarter – Includes salad only, no soupsJuly – Hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans
August – Barbeque, cold slaw, and Brunswick stew September – Country style ribs, pasta salad and baked beans
Robert Keesecker - Army
Gregory Mikkelsen - Army
Randolph C. Adams - Navy
J.T. Leachman - Army
Tom Knarr - Army
Gerald Thompson - Army
John Butler - Army & Marine Corps
Donald McCann - Navy
Timothy Gates - Army
Larry Blackwell - Navy
William Pouncey - Navy
David Keller - Navy
Jim Baumgartner - Navy
Lee Schalon - Navy
William Shaw - Air Force
John (Jack) Updegraff - Air Force
Danny Palmer - Army
Knox Glass - Army
Denver Baxter - Army
Warren Safter - Air Force
Chris Kemp - Army
John Mauldin - Army
Marget Weatherby - Army
Ron Young - Army
Thomas Persing - Air Force
Save The Date
7 October 2014
The Soleil Veterans Club, located in the Laurel Canyon Active Adult Community in Canton, invites you and your spouse to join them for an evening program entitled “The Civil War In Our Backyard: Sherman’s March Down I-75.”
The program will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct, 7, in the Soleil Clubhouse Auditorium. Featured speaker will be Dr. Ken Wheeler, a history professor at Reinhardt University. Included as part of the program will be an exhibit of civil war relics. The talk will cover the period 150 years ago when the Federals moved from Tennessee roughly down the I-75 corridor through towns, such as Dalton and Resaca, and fought battlers along the way at New Hope Church, Pickett’s Mill and Kennesaw Mountain. Some of the battles probably could have been heard from our porches, if we were around. Prof. Wheeler will give anecdotes from the letters of area residents, some of the military maneuvering of both sides and key confrontations along the path to the burning of Atlanta…a pivotal event in the Civil War. It invigorated the North, spelled doom for the South, and lead to the re-election of President Lincoln.
No charge, but donations will be accepted for our military families’ fund. Reservations are required. Please call or email Buz Buzogany, 678-880-0770 or mailto:email@example.com
There are two ways to get to our development. It takes about 40 minutes.
At the light on 515, go straight across the expressway and follow Hwy. 108 about 5 miles to Upper Burris Road (left turn only just past a small convenient store on the rt.). Take Upper Burris through one stop sign until it dead ends onto Hwy. 140 and turn left. (you also could go on 108 to Waleska and take a left at the light onto 140). Soleil at Laurel Canyon is a few miles past Callahan's Golf course on the right. There is a Publix on the corner. Take a right into Laurel Canyon and go 2 miles to the guard gate (past Stratus Café sign). The guard can direct you straight down the hill to the Clubhouse.
Take 515 South to Exit 20 and turn right. Go to the third traffic light and turn right on to Reinhardt U. Pky. Follow that to the second stop light (dead end) at Hwy. 140 and turn right Go about 3 miles and turn left at the entrance to Laurel Canyon (just past Publix). Go 2 miles to the guard gate to the guard gate (past Stratus Café sign).
- Please let me know who is coming so that I can alert the guard with the names. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org