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My B3

Sadly, I recently ran across the story of Mel’s passing and I thought that I would share the story of my B-3 Bomber jacket that I have worn with pride for over 30 years.  My story begins at Sommerset County Airport where I met and go to know Mel (or Mr. Schott as I knew him).  I was an aspiring young aviator spending as much time at the airport as possible.  

 

In the fall of 1989, I left for college at the University of North Dakota to pursue my dreams of an aviation career.  Before I left, Mel invited me to tour the Schott plant.  Being in love with aviation, I of course coveted a leather jacket.  After touring the plant, I especially liked the B-3, however as a college aviation student it was well beyond my means.  Shortly after I arrived at college, I received a box with a brand-new B-3 jacket (without any note inside).  I could only have assumed that Mel had sent it to me.  I wore my B-3 jacket through five long North Dakota winters.  It saw me though all of my training and my initial job as a flight instructor. 

 

I left North Dakota for my first airline job in Dallas.  I also left my B-3 with my new Father-in-law because the winter in Dallas is like summer in ND.  My B-3 stayed in ND for almost 20 years.  I would wear it every winter that I returned to ND.  It saw me though two more advanced degrees at UND and to a job at the major airlines.  The jacket also survived two floods in Grand Forks.

 

I now hold a doctorate degree and am the Chief Pilot for the B737 for a major US airlne.  This year sadly my father-in-law passed away and among the things that I took back to my home in Colorado was my beloved B-3 jacket.  The jacket is worn and the cuffs have no more sheepskin left.  I have resewn the zipper, pockets, and various straps.  When my own son retuned for Christmas he laid claim to my B-3 with the intention of taking it back to college himself.  Perhaps it will survive another 30 years with him.  I told him that he had to replace my B-3 with another, however I think that I will be waiting a long time for it.  Thanks, so much to Mel and Schott for this wonderful jacket.  It has brought me so much warmth and happiness.  Former classmates I run into sometimes even ask about the jacket!  It was perhaps a small gesture from Mel to a young aviator, but it has meant so much to me over the years.

 

Blue Skies,

 

Mike

My B3 Jacket

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