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Obituary: Col. Cozier Snider Kline

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Col. Cozier Snider Kline

The song Wild Blue Yonder was written and composed in 1938 by Robert MacArthur Crawford during World War II.  In 1947, when the Air Force became a separate service, the song became the “Air Force Song.”  Few songs can sum up the contributions of one man to his country, his family, and his friends as much as these lyrics do for Cozier Snider Kline.

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high, into the sun,
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At ’em boys, Give’er the gun! (Give’er the gun now!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one heckuva roar!
We live in fame, or go down in flame,
Hey! Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Cozy started his career in the Air Force at the age of 22 where he immediately attended pilot training and within 3 years became not only an advanced fighter pilot but also a weapons instructor.  He was not afraid to “give’er the gun” throughout his service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.  He received over 16 decorations and awards for his service to our country.  Some of his greater achievements are the 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and the 4 great-grandchildren that he has tenderly held in his hands that were built for commanding a plane 70,000 feet above Earth’s surface.

Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder,
Sent it high into the blue,
Hands of men blasted the world asunder,
How they lived God only knew!
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer,
Gave us wings ever so soar,
With scouts before and bombers galore, Hey!
Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Cozy was the 89th man to pilot a U2 plane.  Of the 88 men who flew before him, 29 of them were killed in action and 11 died in their U2 plane.  By his first mission on December 2, 1957 the plane had been in full operation for only a mere 2 years.  The plane was referred to ever so affectionately as the Dragonlady because she either landed as a dragon or a lady and was extremely unforgiving in respect to pilot ineptitude and competence.  It took a brilliant mind to fly this plane with little more than a radio for communication and a station wagon pace car to help you land.  Cozy was a brilliant mind and it was shown in his ability to master the art of flying the Dragonlady.  However, that was not the only lady he was able to work his charms on.  After one evening swim in a pond in Great Falls, Montana, Jan was charmed into a marriage of almost 61 years.  When recalling his first meeting with her but a few weeks ago a boyish smile creeped across his lips as he remembered the dark haired beauty that stole his heart.

Here’s a roast to the host of those
Who love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send a message,
Of his brother men who fly,
We drink to those who gave their all of old,
Then down we roar,
To score the rainbow’s pot of gold,
A toast to the host of men we boast, the U.S. Air Force

Zoom!

Roast.  More like smoke.  The meat that man would pull off from the barbeque or smoker would make everyone within smelling distance salivate like a springer-spaniel.  His legacy of perfectly cooked meat lives on in every grill and smoker in the entire family where each man has studied at the hand of the true master of meat.  Drink was a tan Coors can dripping with beads of sweat on a boat where the sun was hot and the fish were biting.  Everyone learned to fish on his boat.  The rods were handmade with a meticulous eye for detail and your favorite color of thread.  You would clean your catch and then he would feed you your own fish right out of the fryer.  Well-prepared food was his love language to the masses.

Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true,
If you’d live to be a grey haired wonder,
Keep your nose out of the blue! (Out of the blue, boy!)
Flying men, guarding the nation’s border,
We’ll be there, followed by more,
In echelon we carry on, Hey!
Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Cozy was a grey haired wonder.  He is presumably the most well-read man to ever hold a book.  His appetite for knowledge never ceased as he aged.  From pursuing the art of woodworking to spouting off all known statistics of the Dallas Cowboys, his body faltered and aged much quicker than his mind.  He was a fighter all around.  G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”  He fought for his country.  He fought for his family.  He fought for his friends.  May you find rest, our beloved Colonel, from a war well fought and won.  Fly high, Colonel, mission accomplished.

Cozy’s highest awards: Legion of Merit, sixth in order of precedence, Distinguished Flying Cross, heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight, among many others.

Services: The family procession will depart from the Veteran’s Memorial in Flower Mound at Eastglen Drive and Dixon Lane at 9 a.m. on August 7. The motorcycle Patriot Guard will escort them west on Dixon Lane, then south on FM 2499 to DFW National Cemetery. A full military honors ceremony for Colonel Kline (Retired) will begin at 10:30 a.m.

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