Mission accomplished, 43 years later!

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  1. cruiser

    cruiser Well-Known Member

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    Mopar friends: I've just returned from a trip that I've been planning for the last few years, and I'm passing along several photos that you might find interesting. My first car was a 1974 Gold Duster that I bought in the summer of 1977 before my senior year at college. After I graduated in May of 1978, I entered the Navy and remained on active duty until 1984. Last year I retired after 36 years working for Northwest and Delta Airlines. I always had this obsessive desire to re-create my first car and take it on a tour of my Navy duty stations upon my retirement. In 2019, I found and restored a 1974 Gold Duster remarkably like my original car. Yesterday, I returned from my retirement tour in the new Duster after putting 4540 miles on it in 11 days. She ran like top the entire time without a single mechanical problem. Amazing! My primary mission was to re-create the only surviving photo of my original Duster by using my new car. The first photo is of my original car, shot in the summer of 1978 behind the BOQ (Bachelor Officers Quarters) at Cecil Field Naval Air Station just west of Jacksonville, FL. Cecil Field was decommissioned in 1999. The new owners razed most of the original buildings, including the BOQ. Still, I was able to use the original photo to determine the precise location of where I took this snapshot. And so I drove the new Duster to this exact location and positioned it just as the original car was positioned in the 1978 photo. Note the tree in the background in both photos. This is the same tree 43 years later, although the entire area is quite overgrown and darker than it was in 1978. Also note that the license plate numbers match between the old and new cars. The asphalt under the car in the new photo is hidden under a layer of soil and tree debris, but its still there. Now that its done, I'm not really sure why I did this. As I mentioned, I just seemed to have this obsessive need to recreate this photo, I just don't why. The experience certainly did call to mind many of the guys whom I had the pleasure of serving with, some of whom were killed in the line of duty, sadly. Maybe I was thinking about them. In any case, the task is now finished and the circle has been completed so to say. The base is gone, the guys who are still alive are scattered about the country, but at least this part of the story now has an ending. A fitting one to my way of thinking. The final photo is of one of the aircraft that our squadron flew, now on static display at Cecil. Enjoy the pictures and feel free to comment below. Thanks!

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
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    • JDMopar

      JDMopar Well-Known Member

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      Sounds like it was a good trip! We all like to visit the past, and see the places where we spent our youth. The pics are great. I think the one by the A7 is my favorite. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for your service.

      :usflag:
       
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      • Mike69cuda

        Mike69cuda 66 is the new 17 FABO Gold Member

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        Very cool! I have become more nostalgic in the last few years myself. I guess that is why I bought another barracuda after 30 some years. Good to remember great friends & great times.
         
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        • cruiser

          cruiser Well-Known Member

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          You're welcome, JD. Here's another shot of the Corsair II for your enjoyment.

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          • rumblefish360

            rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

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            Freaking awesome!
            Now if you can find a few ol’buddies that remember the car…. Perhaps a drive to them in the new car… and pull there chain some on how it’s same one… LMAO!!!!

            Thanks for your service! Enjoy!!!!
             
          • Ironracer

            Ironracer Gearhead

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            Thank You For Your Service,and that of Your Fellow Brothers in Arms. I'm Sorry for the Loss of The Fallen... I lived in Westside / and OP and I kid in the 70s and 80s... always loved driving by the A-7
             
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            • cruiser

              cruiser Well-Known Member

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              Thanks, Ironracer. Glad you liked the story and the pix. Here are two more photos from the same road trip. The first is the Duster in front of an F-14A Tomcat at the Museum of Naval Aviation aboard NAS Pensacola, FL. The second is the Duster in front of a Blue Angels F-18 Hornet aboard NAS Corpus Christi, TX.

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              • Ironracer

                Ironracer Gearhead

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                Killer, Cruiser! I lived in the Panhandle until my Dad Passed at 39 in the early 80s, was back and forth to Moms in Jax. We lived in Ft Walton. Loved going to Eglin, and I've been aboard NAS Pensacola. We would cruise through there on the way to see Battleship and Sub in Ala!. Wow! Thank You Brings back memories
                 
              • Scamp Rhonda

                Scamp Rhonda Well-Known Member

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                Wonderful story! Congrats on being retired. A lot of us are living vicariously through you and hope to do the same thing some day. Recapturing our youth with the cars we drive today. Fantastic, you did it!!! I'll be watching for your car, I live on the north side of the cities in Blaine. Keep on cruzin'.
                 
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                • Ironracer

                  Ironracer Gearhead

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                  Great Re-creation, and Ride As Well!
                   
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                  • CFD244

                    CFD244 These pretzels are making me thirsty. FABO Gold Member

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                    Great story Cruiser, thanks for sharing......Now that the circle has closed, I am going to miss the bedtime stories:thumbsup:
                     
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                    • Scamp Rhonda

                      Scamp Rhonda Well-Known Member

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                      The Air Force Armament Museum at the Elgin Air Force Base. We were there last winter. An incredible museum to visit.
                       
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                      • Ironracer

                        Ironracer Gearhead

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                        You mean I missed stuff that he shared before this?
                         
                      • cruiser

                        cruiser Well-Known Member

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                        Thanks, Rhonda. One of the unexpected upsides of my road trip was the folks I met along the way. On every single fuel stop, someone would come up to me and inquire about the car or share their Duster story. I wasn't looking to attract attention to myself or the car. I was just trying to make it to my destination. Regardless, I enjoyed hearing their stories and felt a kinship with all the Mopar people out there.
                         
                        Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
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                        • Scamp Rhonda

                          Scamp Rhonda Well-Known Member

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                          Yup, he likes to keep us awake at night. :lol:
                           
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                          • cruiser

                            cruiser Well-Known Member

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                            Yeah, look up Bob's Component Resto, Parts 1 - 21. Eventually, I fixed everything and just ran out of stuff to restore. Who knows, though? There may still be a few more chapters. Stay tuned!
                             
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                            • Jim Lusk

                              Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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                              Cool trip. I don't have to go that far for a nostalgia trip (I've never lived more than 170 miles from my current home). We are planning an epic road trip in the next year or two, however, if all things work out.

                              We are planning to take the GTS convertible back to the house where we bought it (same guy still owns it, but his son rents it from him and his wife). His son was around 8 years old when we bought the car in 1983. I want to show up with the top down and toss him the keys and go for a ride...
                               
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                              • cruiser

                                cruiser Well-Known Member

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                                Great! Make sure to post the story of your trip on the forum.
                                 
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                                • cruiser

                                  cruiser Well-Known Member

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                                  Ironracer, do you mean the A-7 that was on a pylon at the main entrance to NAS Cecil Field back in the day?
                                   
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                                  • Ironracer

                                    Ironracer Gearhead

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                                    I'd love to roll the Duster to Westside Jax, from Tampa. This sound the 340 is doing, is running me crazy. I still have some friends there, but the Ol Lady has Family. It would be a kinda long haul (4:10s)
                                     
                                  • Ironracer

                                    Ironracer Gearhead

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                                    YESSIR! THAT'S THE ONE THAT TRIPPED THE TRIGGER!!!! absolutely.. I had a step-dad ( stole all my Dad's guns, in the end) but he worked for NARF, so we would go places.
                                     
                                  • cruiser

                                    cruiser Well-Known Member

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                                    Here it is. I was just there five days ago.

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                                    • RustyRatRod

                                      RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                                      That's very cool and thank you MUCH for your service.

                                      So I'm guessin you came down I-75 to Jacksonville? You know......you couldda let me know. lol
                                       
                                    • Ironracer

                                      Ironracer Gearhead

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                                      Wow.... I am actually Humbled from that.. Thankin You once Again. I was under the assumption ( assume= ass+u+me, learned from an old Project Manager moons ago!) The prior pic was the same A7, but removed from Her pedestal, and sat on the ground, glad She Aint! now That really brings back memories, sometimes my Grandparents in Gainesville would take that way in, and even in the late 90s, I lived out that way for a whiAin't! Just seen a few A-10s flying into MacDill, as I was siding a house. Bout a week After the goat crap Afghanistan (extraction)
                                       
                                    • Ironracer

                                      Ironracer Gearhead

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                                      Hey, Rob, not getting in yer conversation, but how far are ya from Jax?
                                       
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