Friday, March 20, 2009

Beckman takes time off to visit Air Force base

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series has a week off before the teams and drivers head to Houston for the next event.
Jack Beckman, a Funny Car driver for Don Schumacher Racing, spent his time off catching up with an old friend. Maj. Anthony Puente of the U.S. Air Force and Beckman were in the service together back in the 1980s. Beckman visited his Maj. Puente's maintenace squadron at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamagardo, N.M., and talked about how similar it is being part of an NHRA team and a crew member on an Air Force squadron.
"The Maintenance Squadron Commander is Major Anthony Puente," said Beckman, a former Air Force sergeant who calls North Hills home, "and he and I served back in the 1980s together at Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, N.M. We got talking and we discovered tons of parallels between the maintenance crews and being a part of an NHRA team.
"At this event they were presenting awards to the outstanding airmen, senior NCOs and officers throughout the squadron. The entire wing of the F117 Stealth fighter was decommissioned and they're currently ramping up with the new F22 Raptor, so there's been a lot of changes there in the last year. And they're recognizing now that they've outperformed the Air Force standards in switching the aircraft and getting up to speed."

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