Precision isn’t everything

Jeff Editor

From the Editor’s Desk

Jeff Gaye

There is such a thing as military precision – I’ve actually seen it – but I think we save it for the most important occasions.

The arrival of a dignitary does not qualify. I don’t know if I have ever been involved in a Guard of Honour that came off on schedule. You learn to just shrug and remember that flexibility is the key to air power.

One time Sherry and I arrived 45 minutes early for a parade to receive a visiting general. As bandmaster and 2 i/c, we had to meet the other 4 Wing Band members as they showed up and get the band ready for the ceremony.

But when we got to the hangar, the guard was all formed up and ready to go, and the general’s party was stepping out of their aircraft. With just me on trumpet and Sherry on trombone, we rushed into place, confident the two of us could do a creditable job of playing the General Salute.

Sherry did fine. Me, not so much.

When the general came around to inspect “the band,” such as it was, I stepped forward and saluted. “Good afternoon Sir, a small portion of the 4 Wing Band is on parade…” Here it became awkward, as I realized there was only one person left in our ranks for the inspection.

“…would you care to inspect my wife?”

He laughed. Sherry laughed. The two of them had a good-natured brief chat, and he made his way back to the dais. I readied myself to be smartly struck on the head by a trombone, but there was no impact. If Sherry swung her horn at me, she missed.

So much for military precision!