Reporter’s Notebook — Coming Home

Holy Jets, Batman!
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — Col. Robert “Rowdy” Yates, 27th Fighter Wing commander at Cannon, may have discovered a sure-fire way to protect air crews and aircraft.
Just before the 524th Fighter Squadron was to be deployed to what was then Operation Southern Watch in the Persian Gulf, he called a few chaplains to the flightline before takeoff.
“We sprinkled holy water on the aircraft to get them out of here and back again safely,” Yates told a crowd of 300 family and friends of the squadron’s returning 12 pilots and aircraft Monday afternoon.
It apparently worked, Yates said.
“There were no aborts, no nothing,” he said. “We have 12 airplanes and 12 aviators here safe and sound. We’re glad to have the ‘Hounds of Heaven’ (the nickname for the squadron) back home. We’re extremely proud of you and what you’ve done. Everything I’ve heard about the Hounds was positive — maybe a better word would be ‘elation.’ It just can’t be done better. You’ve written a new chapter, and it’s a chapter that can’t be rivaled.”
Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ senior writer Gary Mitchell. Suggested items may be mailed to editor David Stevens at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is