GOD Bless America

'High Flight' - by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee link

"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
   And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
   Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
   High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
   My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
   I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
   And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
   Put out my hand and touched the face of God."



Active Duty United States Navy: February 7th 1962 - March 31st 1987

NAS Pensacola Basic Training at at Saufley Field Primary Training VT-9 at Meridian
Desk - Navy Preflight School Beech T-34B Mentor North American T-2J Buckeye
Advanced VT-4 T-2Js at Pensacola Advanced VT-24 F-9s at Chase Field Advanced VT-26 F-11s at Chase Field
Gunnery and Carriers Everything and Carriers Gunnery and Tactics
T-2Js in formation (more or less) Grumann F-9 Cougar Grumann F-11 Tiger
July 1963: Navy Wings - on to the Fleet

VF-154 - F8Ds at Miramar VF-162 - F8Es at Miramar RVAH-11 - RA5Cs at Albany
USS Coral Sea CV - 43 USS Oriskany CV-34 USS Constellation CV-64
Paricutin (AE-18) rearming Coral Sea (CVA-43) in the South China Sea, 26 February 1965. VF-154 embarked and I was in the squadron at this time. This is the UPS of at sea operations. On Oct 26th 1966, a fire broke out in the forward starboard flare locker and spread rapidly in the hanger deck and stateroom areas. VF-162, lost 2 and CVW-16, lost a bunch, mostly aircrew. RVAH-11 embarked in USS Constellation in the RA-5C - Cadillac of Navy Tactical Air. Nothing could 'touch' the Vig at low altitude. It had great legs and really fun to fly.
F-8D Crusader from VF-154 F-8E from VF-162 on Oriskany's #2 Cat North American RA-5C Vigilante
Staff Assignments ... Afloat and Ashore
Commander Naval Air Systems Command (NavAir) - PMA-265 Commander, Naval Air Force U. S. Atlantic Fleet (CNAL) Commander Carrier Strike Force and Battle Force U. S. Seventh Fleet (CTF-70/77)
F/A-18 Program Manager Rep Aircraft Engineering Officer Assistant Chief of Staff for Materiel

Embarked Carriers: Commander Carrier Strike Force and Battle Force U. S. Seventh Fleet (CTF-70/77)

USS Nimitz CVN-68 (Iranian hostage rescue attempt) USS Ranger CV-61
USS Midway CV-41 (night at sea collision) USS Kitty Hawk CV-63

Other photos from the Navy days

North American T-28 Trojan Trainer ... yup, flew it US Naval Postgraduate School Monterey
Navy's SNB - yup, flew it and received humility training

A 'private' F-4B Phantom (151435) at China Lake

TA-4 Skyhawk - yup, flew it A-3 Skywarrior - flew these at Point Mugu
Grumann F-11s returning to the boat ... flew these in the Training Command but not in the Fleet DF-8 aircraft at China Lake: drone control
Lockheed TV-2 Trainer - flew these at NPGS Monterey F-9 Cougar: Shot 1 of these down at China Lake with an AIM-9D Sidewinder missile - low altitude, high 'g'
C-131 -  flew as co-pilot at China Lake C-117 -  flew as co-pilot at China Lake
H-34* - humiliated myself at China Lake H-19** - really humiliated myself at China Lake
The H-34 and H-19 have asterisk marks to indicate something 'special.' At NWC China Lake, I was invited to go fly helos with Major Bob Peterson, USMC. Bob was as good a pilot as I have ever run across, fixed wing or otherwise, regardless of service. And he was an exceptionally nice person to boot. As a 'high roller' fixed wing pilot I can say with certainty, the H-34 and particularly the H-19 (no stability augmentation system) are two sure-fire aircraft guaranteed to challenge the average cocky, fixed wing, high roller, hot shot, stick and throttle jockey. These were my twin lessons in humility - and Bob kept a straight face!

I can also say with certainty that the helo rescue crews in Viet Nam were the heroes of that disaster. Of particular note was a group of USAF helo folks known as "The Jolly Green Giants." These folks routinely put their life on the line to go well inside enemy territory to pluck a pilot out of the jungles after having been shot down. The 'Jolly Greens' were low and slow types, especially vulnerable to ground fire, and generally unescorted since it was difficult to escort at those slow speeds. The 'Jolly Greens' performed heroically on a daily basis.

The Absolute End of Bureaucratic Baloney ... for me!

Aircraft Engineering Officer, Naval Air Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet

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