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This story was updated on Sunday, June 5, 2022, at 8:53 a.m. to correct that C.B. Smith was buried int he Spring City Cemetery.

Chattanoogans have short fuses about the state of our roads. As well they should. From Hixson to Hill City, our teeth-rattling roadways are in dire need of attention.

Plus, there's a fair argument to be made that Mayor Tim Kelly's now-famous pothole commercial was one of his top three campaign moves.

But, but, but — someone else always has it worse, right? Whatever teeth-rattling road you have to travel, check out a video of a seemingly bottomless pothole in Memphis that has become the talk of social media.

Traynor Jennings filmed the monstrous pothole that is almost-waist-deep on TikTok. It's received millions of views and 250,000 likes in a week.

Be grateful for small things, like just a minor repair to a front wheel from Hixson Pike as opposed to the Memphis man-sized holes that can swallow an engine block.

 

Smart move

The headline of the dropping rate of Hamilton County high school graduates heading to college caught a lot of eyes this week. Makes sense, it's graduation season.

Count me among the folks who see a silver lining to the hand-wringing among the state's educational leaders, including University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd, who told a recent panel group, "We're going in the wrong direction very fast."

In an era when the public may be asked to cover the student loan debt of some, gauging the value of a college degree should be considered prudent.

A large part of the dip — almost 10% — happened in the aftershocks of COVID-19.

If these graduates are not prepared or not eligible to get into trade schools or colleges, well, that is problematic. But in a lot of cases, 18-year-olds self-aware enough to realize that college is not for them can be a good thing, too.

 

Obit observations

One of the coolest things our newspaper does is the veteran tributes each November.

A few years ago I got the chance to meet and write about C.B. Smith of Spring City, who served more than two decades in the Air Force and earned enough medals and awards to fill several trophy cases.

C.B. died late last month and was buried in the Spring City Cemetery on Memorial Day.

Here's an excerpt from his obituary: "(He) was the first pilot to graduate from flight school without a college degree. As the Korean Conflict arose, he was immediately promoted to pilot of a B-26, rather than serve tenure as a co-pilot and was the first 2nd Lieutenant and youngest to fly across the Pacific Ocean, then quickly dubbed 1st Lieutenant upon arrival at K-9 Pusan. Earning many accolades and medals, the highest honor was The Distinguished Flying Cross for bombing the largest ammo dump in Ichon, North Korea.

"He continued to complete 55 night missions with the 729th Bomber Squadron, 452nd Wing. His service took him and his wife to Sculthorpe, England (19th Tactical Recon Squadron, RB45 Reconnaissance Bomber) from 1954-1957; then onto seven U.S. State assignments where he tested 9 bomber and fighter planes. Captain Smith was then 'hand picked' by General Robert Cardenas to go to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa to test pilot the Republic F-105 Thunderchief 'ThunderThud' (12th Tactical Fighter Squadron) the first supersonic tactical fighter-bomber and single-engine combat aircraft in history. Upon retiring as a Major in 1968, he was hired by Delta Airlines in Atlanta as an Airfield Planning Engineer. One of the many highlights was having the Savannah Airport Taxiway named after him."

Rest easy, C.B., and thanks for your time and for your heroic service.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6273. Follow him on Twitter @jgreesontfp.

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Jay Greeson
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