Master Sergeant (Ret.) Carl Hackworth fondly remembers what would be the start of a 22 year career in the Air Force. “If you can guarantee me I can work on airplanes, I’ll go in right now,” he told an Air Force recruiter in 1955. After scoring highly on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, it was a done deal. From Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, to Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in South Carolina, Hackworth served as a mechanic and crew chief for many aircraft including the B-25 Mitchell, F-86L, and F-100 Super Sabre. He also completed two tours in Vietnam and one in Thailand.
Hackworth retired in 1977 and is back where he started as a young Airman in Valdosta, Georgia. He recently visited Moody Air Force Base to check on a refurbished F-86 to be displayed at the President George W. Bush Air Park. After seeing the aircraft in its restored state, he was overjoyed. As Hackworth circled the aircraft, feeling the bolts and running his fingers along the fresh paint, he started to speak, and Airmen of all ranks stopped to listen. “I always said when I was a little kid that I was going into the Air Force because I loved airplanes,” he said, with a smile on his face.