Have you ever heard a sonic boom? They happen when an object – usually an aircraft – travels at such a high velocity of speed that air pressure waves form so tightly together that they compress and merge into a single shock wave. The shock wave makes a “Boom!” noise when it reaches the speed of sound – Mach 1 or 761 mph.
How fantastic would it be that you could travel at the speed of sound as a reward for a job well done? While serving as a Wing Mobility Specialist at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, Robert Carroll had the privilege of experiencing this firsthand. He was named “Airman of the Quarter” by his commanding officer and the reward was the opportunity to fly on an F-4 fighter jet.
The F-4’s have two tandem seats – the pilot sits up front and the navigator directly behind the pilot. Robert got the back seat and for about the first 10 minutes of the high speed flight, he felt a little green. The last thing a military man wants to do in an F-4 fighter jet is to be sick because they’d have to clean the entire plane upon landing. The pilot asked, “Robert? Are you feeling sick?” When he confirmed the pilot’s suspicion, the response was, “Okay, let me take care of that for you.”
The pilot dropped the nose of the plane straight down and they plunged between 7,000 and 10,000 feet in about 10 to 15 seconds. Robert said all he could see was the ground and it was coming at him fast. The pilot pulled up before they were in any danger. Robert was cured – he felt great the rest of the flight, no more queasiness as they flew toward the Atlantic Ocean.
At about 20,000 feet, Robert could see the curve of the Earth to a degree, usually most visible over the ocean. After doing all kinds of loops and turns, the pilot took the jet over an area called Mission Lake, a practice area where concrete bombs were dropped. They flew so low here that Robert felt he could almost touch the tops of the pine trees. It was quite a ride for someone who grew up in Tullahoma and eventually spent most of his life in Middle Tennessee.
Robert served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, 15 years in the recruiting service. He and his wife of 27 years, Cyndy, moved to the Heritage Valley subdivision in June of 1993. They raised three children in LaVergne who all graduated from LaVergne High School.
Robert always felt LHS was a great school – his oldest son Aaron was at the top of the academic scale and had his pick of colleges to attend. His second son Josh was very involved in athletics; he played football and ran both track and cross country. Daughter Bekah who graduates from MTSU this year with a degree in elementary education also ran cross country and track. She was an LHS cheerleader during her freshman year of high school.
If Robert looks familiar to you, it could be from his years as Assistant Coach for the LaVergne Youth Football League. Maybe you recognize him from the Oldtimers’ Day Parade. 2010 will be his 10th year in the parade and he hopes to again drive his red 1965 Ford Galaxy convertible. Or you might have met Robert at LaVergne’s annual Trail of Treats where he and his family hand out candy every year.
For the city, Robert is looking forward to Waldron Road being expanded into a five-lane because it should bring more restaurants, shopping, and other businesses to LaVergne. More importantly, it will relieve the traffic problems experienced during peak drive-time hours where cars are backed up solid with people crossing over Murfreesboro Road to go down Nir Shreibman Boulevard to get into the residential areas.
I asked Robert what his ideas were for LaVergne and he said he’d like to see some new blood in the city politics. He himself has thought about serving on a city board, and would be most interested in planning or zoning since he works as a Realtor.
Robert should have some time to serve since he and Cyndy are empty-nesters in their Woodland Hills subdivision home. It’s not all quiet, though, because they enjoy spending time with their two grandchildren, 4 ½-year old Aidison and 1-year old Aubrie.
Robert is also a car enthusiast and you can regularly see him at Murfreesboro’s Friday night Cruise-In held during the summer months. He also drives either the red Galaxy or his Mustang to LaVergne’s DARE Car Show, scheduled this year on July 24th. Robert is appreciative that the car show moved to Veteran’s Park last year since there’s better parking than when it was held at City Hall.
Another favorite hobby is running. Last weekend, Robert ran in the See Spot Run 5k race in Murfreesboro. He finished 33rd out of 273 runners – a very respectable place! He plans to do more running this year, maybe some fishing if *cough* anyone *cough* can *cough* talk him into putting his boat *cough* back in the water, and continuing to work as a broker/agent with buyers and sellers in the real estate world.
For information about serving on one of the city’s boards or commissions, visit this link. The boards and commissions are listed, along with current members. At the bottom is information about the selection process and a form to download to apply for membership.
Here’s how to reach Robert Carroll:
Bob Parks Realty, LLC
Phone: 218-8361 or 459-4040
Tell him Kathy T. referred you!