It was a crisp, almost cold morning in Las Vegas. The kind of morning that you only get in the high desert with a deep blue sky and clean dry air that simply makes you want to go flying. Slip the surly bonds and all that.
I was a 2/Lt with the best job in the world. I'd just soloed in my first fighter two weeks before. I was an F-105 pilot and I was scheduled for a solo area flight. Two hours of dancing the sky on laughter silvered wings by myself, exploring the limits of my new steed.
I arrived at the airplane and climbed the ladder to pre-flight the cockpit. All the switches and strap-in gadgets were ready. I descended and read the entries in the AFTO-781. The airplane was fueled, serviced and in good condition. I walked the pre-flight with the smiling crew chief following me, watching as I checked out his airplane.
I'd put my helmet on the canopy bow already. Standing next to the ladder I bent over and zipped the thigh zippers to snug up my G-suit. I put my hand on that twelve foot ladder and started to mount.
The crew chief, stifling his grin interrupted my concentration, "Excuse me, Lieutenant. Are you planning on taking a parachute on this flight?"
Realization dawned. I wasn't going to look a fool. I turned and said, "Of course. But, it's cold this morning so I wanted to leave it in the squadron to stay warm until I was ready to get in..."