I wanted to tell you about a relationship between Logan and 89 year, Lt Col Robert “Gray” Sowers. Logan was introduced to Gray through my mom and step father. When Logan first beat cancer I transposed my blog I kept into four books. These books were shared with Gray and he instantly became one of Logan’s biggest supporters. As you will read below Gray his pretty amazing himself. For the past 5 years Logan and Gray have developed a great relationship. We now have adopted him into our family and Logan refers to him as “Grandpa Gray”.
Lt Col Robert “Gray” Sowers
Gray comes from a small community in North Carolina called Churchland. He joined the Army Air Force in 1945 to become a pilot but was soon released from the service when it became obvious that there was no requirement for new pilots. By 1948 there was again a need for pilot candidates so he enlisted in the new U.S. Air Force as an aviation cadet, graduating as a pilot and 2/Lt in 1949. He was assigned as an instructor in the Training Command for 2 years, teaching cadets to fly the T-6. This was followed by a combat assignment to Korea where he flew 55 night combat missions in the B-26.
Upon return to the states he resumed training duties for over 6 years at several AF bases, flying the T-6, the B-25 and the T-33. This was followed by an operational assignment flying the B-47 bombers for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. He was then selected as one of the original pilots to fly the Air Force’s newest and most advanced aircraft, the B-58 supersonic bomber. He was the 5th pilot in SAC to fly the plane. During this assignment he was selected to establish a number of world speed record flights in the B-58. For this accomplishment, he was awarded the prestigious Bendix Trophy and the Mackay trophy for speed run flights between Los Angeles and New York (2:00:58 seconds), and return (2:15:50 seconds).
His wide experiences as an instructor pilot in many aircraft and his recent experiences in the supersonic B-58, warranted his selection to become the original instructor pilot in the Air Force’s fastest and highest flying aircraft, the Mach 3 SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. He became the primary instructor to initially train the developing crew force to fly this most advanced airplane. On one occasion, when flying at 80,000 feet and over 2,000 mph, a total electrical failure occurred which make it impossible to transfer available fuel to the engines. This resulted in a double engine flameout. He successfully maneuvered the plane to an isolated area where it crashed after he had directed the student to eject. Although the aircraft was lost, both crew members survived uninjured.
In his Air Force career, has been an instructor in the T-6, T-38, T-33, TF 102, B-25, B-26, B-47, B-58 and the SR-71 aircraft. Lt Col Sowers last assignment in the Air Force was as an SR-71 Squadron Commander.
Following his military service he was the pilot for the country singer, Charley Pride, for 15 years.
Want to see/read more about Gray….Google Robert Sowers Bendix Trophy and watch the YouTube video!!!!
I just wanted to share this special relationship between Logan and Grandpa Gray….They are both hero’s and an inspiration for many!