This is me, Aljo in 1988. The Americans saw this photo of me and dubbed me: 'Armchair-General'. Back in 1989 I walked often on Soesterberg AB, wearing a USS Ranger ballcap. President Bush had heard of me, and took a dog and called him Ranger. That was me! President Bush even said one time on CNN: "Ranger is a good dog!"
ACvZ (Amsterdam Glider Club)
This is me in the hangar of the Amsterdam Gliderclub (ACvZ), which is based at Soesterberg AB. This photo was taken in 1989. And a photo of me in an ASK-13 glider trainer.
On Local Radio
In 1988 I worked for two months as a volunteer with Amersfoort Municipal Radio. We did a news program, between 18:00 and 19:00 and I used to interview people and read the agenda of interesting events in Amersfoort. After the vacation period was over, the regular staff was back, and I was no longer needed. I like to make radio a lot. Unfortunately due to heavy smoking between 1989 and 1991, my voice is no longer good enough for radio.
Aljo with F-15 at the Military Aviation Museum
Me, with F-15 of the 32nd at the Military Aviation Museum. (1995) After deactivation of the 32nd Fighter Squadron (USAFE).
This is CDR Michael 'Flex' Galpin (1996), he was a US Navy F-14 RIO. I corresponded with him in 1983 when he was a LT. He sent me this photo of a formation of 4 F-14 Tomcats of the VF-2 'Bounty Hunters' which he made. LT Galpin worked on the movie Topgun he advised the director and acted as a MiG pilot.
This is from a poster of the movie Topgun. Kelly McGilles, looks like a girl I danced with, a fellow student at Utrecht University, called Marjolein. I think Tom Cruise plays my best friend here...
This is MSgt Patrick Sarget, when he was the Station Manager of AFN SHAPE. I knew Patrick from Soesterberg. In 1989 I visited AFN Soesterberg to make some photos of the staff, and I had my camera ready, and asked Rick "Can I make your photo?" To which he answered: "No!" This photo is from the official AFN website. In 1992 SSgt Sarget was AFN-er of the year! And he knew I frequented Amersfoort's country bar 'het Zadeltje', so one Saturday night he showed up. So because we are friends I called him at SHAPE and we talked for 20 minutes. That's what friends are for!
This is Jim Stecker, the American member of the ACvZ. One evening we went to Putten for Jim to buy a Dutch leather flight jacket, like I am wearing in the picture above. (1989)
AFN used to broadcast the American Top40 every Sunday, between 14:00 and 18:00. And the presenter was called Shadoe Stevens. I knew that this show was produced by ABC Watermark in Hollywood, California. So I asked for their phone number, and called them. I asked them if I could talk to Shadoe Stevens, and they said: "Yes you can." They told me Shadoe would be there on Monday morning at 11:00 am local time. So I called and was connected. And I said to the person who answered the phone: "I'd like to speak to Shadoe Stevens." And he said: "Speaking!" So we talked for 12 minutes. That was in 1988. Years later I watched a sitcom called "What about Dave", where Shadoe played a role. Shadoe was the first radio presenter to have 1 billion listeners World Wide each week! And I got a chance to talk to him! He is a really nice and charming guy!
One time I met an American Airman her name was Carol and she looked like Goldie Hawn so I asked if she had seen the movie Private Benjamin and had then decided to join the American military.
Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger stuck out his neck for me. I remember how he visited the NATO HQs in September of 1986 and that he instructed SGT Kim Danek to make a public service announcement especially for me. Because he realized how much in love I was with Kim. The morning Secretary Weinberger passed away - a few years ago - I dreamt about Viet Nam, that Kim had been mortally wounded and that I was just in time to kiss her goodbye. It is like that Stevie Wonder song 'I just called to say I love you'. Or Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes with 'Time of my life'. That someone so powerful can care about a foreign 20 year old student still puzzles me. 'Cap' Weinberger is a good, a very good memory.
Amsterdamse Club voor Zweefvliegen
Between 1988 and 1991 I was a flying member of the Amsterdam Glider Club (ACvZ). They are based on Soesterberg AB. And I got a pass to go on base. While on base we often met Americans. This was the time of my life!
Gliders are also called Sailplanes because they don't have an engine and are depending on thermal to climb in the sky, after being launched by winch or tow plane.
CR-F-15 at the Military Aviation Museum
These pictures were taken at the Military Aviation Museum in Soesterberg. They have several aircraft which were used by the 32nd.