My next assignment took me to the 455th FTS at Mather AFB, CA, where I was an Instructor Navigator/Instructor Weapon Systems Officer (IWSO). Half of our squadron was made up of T-37 ‘Tweet’ Instructor Pilots, and the other half was made up of IWSOs, as our students had been selected for follow-on assignments to fly fighters.
Our squadron moved into a new building that required some interior remodeling work, and as I had led the design efforts for my previous squadron’s remodeling project, I also participated in our squadron’s remodel at Mather AFB. I helped design the layout of the new office space, and painted one of our classrooms in a blue-gray tactical camouflage pattern that turned out very well – helping to inspire our students to achieve a tactical mindset during academics.
One of the aspects of our squadron’s remodel was to hire a professional artist to paint a large version of our squadron’s patch in the center of the long, exterior side of the building facing the street. Once the artist completed his work, I offered up to our squadron commander that I’d like to volunteer to paint a smaller version of our patch over the main entrance doors at the end of our building. He liked the idea, so I painted a seven foot version of our squadron’s patch above the doors – securing my climbing rope to pipes on the roof as a safety line to prevent me from accidentally falling off the small platform above the door. Here are the pictures of my completed patch above the entrance doors, followed by the artist’s patch centered on the long side of our squadron building:
455th FTS Squadron Patch (1988)
(Original Painting by Mark D. Jones)