The Great Walleye Caper: Page 2

It was a beautiful, clear day at Flight Level 260. A rare day that made me glad to be alive. If for no other reason just the sheer joy of experiencing the thrill of flying miles above our Earth-bound brethren. A distance far removed from the noise, pollution, crime and incivility endemic in the U.S. today. America is a gorgeous sight from altitude. I remember when it was equally lovely on the ground. What has happened to transform our once great nation into the strange, brutal society we have become today? But that is another topic also preying on my aged mind.

All too soon we were flying over the snow-covered ground of Minnesota. It looked like a layer of pure white stratus clouds had settled over the entire state, but the weather at our destination was CAVU and we descended enroute to Bemidji municipal airport. The tower cleared us for a straight-in approach, with an advisory caution of possible ice on the runway. We landed without incident and taxied to a parking spot on the ramp near the familiar operations building. After completing the required checks and operations forms we deplaned. Much to my amazement our old friend, "Shorty" the airport manager, was on hand to greet us. I was surprised to see that Shorty appeared to be as healthy, robust, and young as he was forty years ago. Perhaps being exposed to a lifetime of sub freezing temperatures slows the aging process or maybe a "fountain of youth," really does exist and its in Minnesota. Obviously the Spaniard explorer's search for the fountain did not extend to the northern latitudes of the U.S.

Following the brief exchange of greetings on the ramp we sought refuge from the cold in Shorty's office and being the good host he served a steaming mug of coffee from his always full coffee urn. Over the coffee we talked about our past operational experiences at Bemidji, including the flight training on Minnesota's lakes and cold weather survival training. We talked about the fine residents of Bemidji and the excellent relations we shared with them. We recalled the names of our squadron's superior personal and the various pranks they perpetrated at Bemidji. Then Shorty asked a question which seemed to redirect the focus of our talk to the point of my visit. He said, "do you remember our ice fishing outing on Lake Bemidji?" Suddenly, with a rush of mental clarity, unusual for a person of my vintage, memories of Bemidji returned in full detail. Shorty had found the key to my dilemma by his question about ice fishing. He made me recall not only the outing with him, but a far more significant event concerned with Minnesota's fish. I finally understood the essence of the reporter's question. He, most assuredly was referring to, "Operation Walleye," or what informally became known as, "The Great Walleye Caper." A closely guarded secret for nearly four decades. "Walleye" was known by only a small number of planners and by one participant who later will be identified. But, as usually happens in America, rumors abound and leaks occur. And with the leaks and rumors more and more questions arise.

I'm convinced that an unidentified source has selectively leaked details of "Walleye" to the extreme left wing conspiracy. The notorious cabal is working with the financial backing of their powerful allies to bring down our heroic friends. Their sole purpose is to sully honorable reputations, and belittle accomplishments.

This conspiracy must be stopped, Jerry. It is with that objective that I write you at this time. I have decided to reveal the details of "Walleye" to a responsible "Green Hornet" member. Someone who is knowledgeable, articulate and who will be willing to fight to the end to defend our honor and thus destroy the lies of the left wing libocrats. I am happy to announce, Jerry, that you have been appointed to this esteemed position.


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