A Long Way to the Indian Ocean…

 

Navy/Marine Corps Pilot Wings

Typically in the 1980s, a student Naval Aviator could earn his Wings, learn to fly his assigned aircraft, and join a squadron in about 2-2½ years. (18 months to earn Wings; 6 to 8 months learning to fly assigned aircraft). Ideally, he’d report to a squadron that had just returned from deployment, replacing pilots who were leaving. The “nugget” would be in the squadron when it began training for the next deployment and by the time the carrier deployed for parts unknown, they’d be fully up to speed.

My path from student aviator to A-7 squadron pilot was longer. It included an extra 15 months as a flight instructor. I wasn’t unique. At the time I was earning my wings, many Navy pilots were leaving after completing their initial commitment to the Navy to become airline pilots. That created an instructor shortage in the Training Command where student aviators earned their wings.

As a temporary fix, the Navy implemented the “Selectively Retain (graduates)” (SERGRAD) program – taking new Naval aviators and making them instructor pilots for 15-18 months after getting their wings and before reporting to their first squadron. The selling point for the new aviator was that they were “guaranteed” their first choice of Fleet airplane and that was a big deal because otherwise you were placed in squadrons based on where they needed bodies, assuming you met the training requirements. Of course, the “needs of the Navy” could always trump those guarantees but they were better than nothing. Otherwise, if you happened to earn your wings on a week with no available A-6 Intruder slots, you wouldn’t get orders to an A-6 squadron. You were going to fly something else.

TA-4J Skyhawk

SERGRADs qualified as instructors to teach student aviators how to fly instruments and land the TA‑4J Skyhawk while the more experienced pilots, returning from their first tours flying off carriers or with the Marines (yes, we had a lot of Marine pilots as instructors), could fly the advanced phases like gunnery, air-to-air combat, and carrier landings.

Tomcat – High speed turn

The week that I earned my wings, there was only one fleet squadron slot available: for F-14’s in Virginia Beach. The Tomcat was an air-to-air fighter with amazing power, maneuverability, and weapons. The other student getting his wings badly wanted to fly Tomcats so I agreed that he could take that slot and I would become a SERGRAD and wait to fly the A-7 Corsair II. It seemed like a win-win to me.

I liked the “attack” mission of the A‑7.

It dropped bombs to break things and to avoid detection, could fly very fast at low altitude! (I really liked that part.) And it had an awesome Heads-Up-Display with an Inertial Navigation System (self-contained; based on gyros and accelerometers instead of radio or satellite receivers). That was high-tech for its day. With my “guaranteed” choice of fleet aircraft I eagerly accepted the SERGRAD slot and would continue flying the Skyhawk for another 15 months.

I gained a lot of basic flight experience and grew comfortable flying the Skyhawk during that year. But I did not learn anything more about flying around a carrier. That would come when I reported to my first fleet squadron at the end of my SERGRAD tour.

In May 1980 I reported to VA-174. the A-7E transition squadron in Jacksonville, Florida, and after ground school and simulators, flew my first real A-7 that August. By mid-December, I was completing the final phase of training – carrier landings. The standard number to qualify was 6 day traps and 4 night traps. I received two extra day traps because a deployed squadron needed an immediate replacement – a “Must-Pump” – someone who could join the squadron in the middle of the deployment and hit the ground running without the benefit of going through the normal six-month work-up cycle that preceded every squadron deployment aboard ship. I had done well enough at VA-174 to be considered for one of these slots as long as my carrier landings were up to standards.

As I said, usually a “Nugget” would join a squadron as it returned from deployment. That way he would be learning from and with the squadron as it trained for the next deployment. But a “Must-Pump” didn’t have that advantage. If you were joining a squadron already deployed, you knew that the least-experienced pilot there had a minimum of six months more practice flying with the squadron and air wing than you did. They knew their way around the ship and you knew it mostly as “theory”.

Cubi Point Naval Air Station, Philippines

That was my first challenge. My second challenge: The carrier was already in the Indian Ocean, on the opposite side of the globe. My trip to join the squadron would take over ten days as I traveled through Hawaii to Cubi Point in the Philippines, leaving Christmas Eve and celebrating 3 hours of Christmas before hitting the international dateline and jumping into December 26. I spent 5 days at Cubi Point waiting for the Air Force C‑5A Galaxy that would carry me from Clark AFB in the Philippines to Diego Garcia, a coral atoll 1,116 miles south-southwest of India in the Indian Ocean, owned by the UK where the US built a large airfield and military base in the late 1960s. I stayed there overnight with a couple dozen others in a temporary-looking military-barracks style tent permanent tent.

Diego Garcia Airfield

Early the next morning after a quick breakfast, a bus returned us to the airfield where a C-141 Starlifter waited to take us the rest of the way to Masirah Oman, an island off the coast of Oman where their government allowed the US to offload persons and things, provided they were removed from the island before nightfall.

Several helicopters waited to transfer the people and cargo out to the waiting ships. My ride was a SH-3 Sea King helicopter and my destination, a US destroyer that was part of the Independence’s Carrier group.

SH-3 Sea King

I spent the night aboard the destroyer as it steamed southeast to rejoin the Carrier Air Group a few hundred miles away. By 0600 the next morning we were close enough and the same helo ferried me over to my final destination, the USS Independence (CV62).

That morning when I’d stepped onto the destroyer’s helo deck, the heat and high humidity were already building. A half-hour later when we landed on the Indy’s flight deck at 0700, it was worse. I would soon grow accustomed to these Indian Ocean mornings.

My seabag contained my flight gear and whatever small personal items would fit. That’s all I carried and it would be sufficient for the next five months of deployment. I look back at that now with amazement – that I needed so little!

I asked directions to the squadron Ready Room. They told me the frame number, a code that told me its location. This was my first time on the Indy. I arrived at the VA-87 Ready Room before the Duty Officer that day (the junior officer designated to run the flight schedule). One of the Maintenance officers walked through to grab coffee, gave me a curious look and cursory nod before leaving.

Finally, twenty minutes later the Duty Officer arrived, LT. “Juice” (as I would learn; one of the veterans with one deployment under his belt). He asked who I was. We quickly sorted out that I was the replacement for “Barf”, one of their LSOs (Landing Safety Officers) who was leaving. “Juice” advised that I wait for the Skipper to arrive with the rest of the squadron, so I sat down and finally relaxed a little after what had been a very long trip!

I arrived January 1 or 2, 1981. A lot had been happening while I was learning to fly the A-7. Two months earlier President Reagan won the election. The Iranians were still holding 52 American hostages. The Independence was in the Indian Ocean specifically to show US resolve and that the status quo was changing. Ten days after my arrival on January 15, 1981, the 52 American hostages in Iran were released.

I realize that correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but that’s quite a coincidence. Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted? Did word of the arrival of a particular SERGRAD Lieutenant Junior Grade convince them to cut their losses? Frankly, I don’t think we can rule that out… :-)

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Max Knots: Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted?

    Nah. It was that Reagan guy. The Iranians didn’t know what to make of him.

    The Soviets didn’t either. I once heard a clip of one of the high-ranking KGB defectors say that when PATCO (the “Professional” Air Controllers Organization) declared an illegal strike on August 3rd that year, the Soviets were sure that Reagan would fold right away. What choice did he have? When Reagan fired over 11,000 ATCs two days later, that got their attention. “Ronnie don’t play.”

    • #1
  2. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Thanks much for this.  In the true spirit of Ricochet, it’s a window into a world I know nothing about.

    • #2
  3. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    One does not want to be at the mercy, or the whims of BUPERS. My dad went back to the boats (submarines) after WWII after earning his university degree, a BA in philosophy, as well being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy. He was offered a full commission. Before the Submarine Service went nuclear he was the senior watch officer on a boat, and the only officer that had been in combat on a submarine.

    That was not good enough for Admiral Rickover so he was assigned to the ONI. He spoke fluent Italian, and was taking French language courses through the Monterey Language School. My mother had visions of going to Rome, or Paris as the wife of a Naval Attaché. Alas BUPERS in their infinite wisdom sent all of us to the embassy in New Delhi.

    Acronyms: BUPERS (Bureau of Naval Personnel)-ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence)

    Thank you for another great post.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Thanks much for this. In the true spirit of Ricochet, it’s a window into a world I know nothing about.

    You might get a little of it if you watch JAG.  :-)

    • #4
  5. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots: Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted?

    Nah. It was that Reagan guy. The Iranians didn’t know what to make of him.

    The Soviets didn’t either. I once heard a clip of one of the high-ranking KGB defectors say that when PATCO (the “Professional” Air Controllers Organization) declared an illegal strike on August 3rd that year, the Soviets were sure that Reagan would fold right away. What choice did he have? When Reagan fired over 11,000 ATCs two days later, that got their attention. “Ronnie don’t play.”

    You are of course entirely correct. My wife thought my ironic smiley face icon after that sentence might have been too subtle. :-)

    • #5
  6. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    One does not want to be at the mercy, or the whims of BUPERS. My dad went back to the boats (submarines) after WWII after earning his university degree. He was offered a full commission. Before the Submarine Service went nuclear he was the senior watch officer on a boat, and the only officer that had been in combat on a submarine.

    That was not good enough for Admiral Rickover so he was assigned to the ONI. He spoke fluent Italian, and was taking French language courses through the Monterey Language School. My mother had visions of going to Rome, or Paris as the wife of a Naval Attaché. Alas BUPERS in their infinite wisdom sent all of us to the embassy in New Delhi.

    Acronyms: BUPERS (Bureau of Naval Personnel)-ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence)

    Thank you for another great post.

    Glad you liked it Doug. New Delhi?  I doubt that was his first choice but I’ll bet you had some experiences few other kids had. Once you decide you’re in it for a career, they have the leverage to send you anywhere. Of course, this applies to large companies also.

    RE: Adm. Rickover and his quirky interviews; there are so many stories about these sometimes bizarre interviews, especially by the mid-to-late 70’s when he was in his late 70s (he was born in 1900!). Every Nuke Power officer had to pass his interview and it wasn’t always clear what his criteria were. No one was willing to argue with his effectiveness in achieving remarkable safety records by his choice of people who passed his review. A topic for another story. I’ll have to ask my roommate for his story. He went Nuke Power.

    The military has always been a massive bureaucracy, including all of its component parts like BUPERS. The surprise should be that it works as well as it does, not that it completely fails sometimes.

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots: Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted?

    Nah. It was that Reagan guy. The Iranians didn’t know what to make of him.

    The Soviets didn’t either. I once heard a clip of one of the high-ranking KGB defectors say that when PATCO (the “Professional” Air Controllers Organization) declared an illegal strike on August 3rd that year, the Soviets were sure that Reagan would fold right away. What choice did he have? When Reagan fired over 11,000 ATCs two days later, that got their attention. “Ronnie don’t play.”

    You are of course entirely correct. My wife thought my ironic smiley face icon after that sentence might have been too subtle. :-)

    I was reading up about the PATCO deal not long ago. Some “expert” pointed out that rather than get back up to the pre-strike level of service in months, it took over ten years. His standard of measurement was the number of ATCs employed. That fails to take into account just how much the traffic had actually increased over that period of time due to Reagan’s deregulation of the industry. The overage was covered by technological changes to the displays the ATCs were using. That was because I came out of college shortly thereafter and went into aerospace. That is what made the Soviets nervous!

    • #7
  8. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots: Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted?

    Nah. It was that Reagan guy. The Iranians didn’t know what to make of him.

    The Soviets didn’t either. I once heard a clip of one of the high-ranking KGB defectors say that when PATCO (the “Professional” Air Controllers Organization) declared an illegal strike on August 3rd that year, the Soviets were sure that Reagan would fold right away. What choice did he have? When Reagan fired over 11,000 ATCs two days later, that got their attention. “Ronnie don’t play.”

    You are of course entirely correct. My wife thought my ironic smiley face icon after that sentence might have been too subtle. :-)

    I was reading up about the PATCO deal not long ago. Some “expert” pointed out that rather than get back up to the pre-strike level of service in months, it took over ten years. His standard of measurement was the number of ATCs employed. That fails to take into account just how much the traffic had actually increased over that period of time due to Reagan’s deregulation of the industry. The overage was covered by technological changes to the displays the ATCs were using. That was because I came out of college shortly thereafter and went into aerospace. That is what made the Soviets nervous!

    Interesting! Aerospace with whom?

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots: Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted?

    Nah. It was that Reagan guy. The Iranians didn’t know what to make of him.

    The Soviets didn’t either. I once heard a clip of one of the high-ranking KGB defectors say that when PATCO (the “Professional” Air Controllers Organization) declared an illegal strike on August 3rd that year, the Soviets were sure that Reagan would fold right away. What choice did he have? When Reagan fired over 11,000 ATCs two days later, that got their attention. “Ronnie don’t play.”

    You are of course entirely correct. My wife thought my ironic smiley face icon after that sentence might have been too subtle. :-)

    I was reading up about the PATCO deal not long ago. Some “expert” pointed out that rather than get back up to the pre-strike level of service in months, it took over ten years. His standard of measurement was the number of ATCs employed. That fails to take into account just how much the traffic had actually increased over that period of time due to Reagan’s deregulation of the industry. The overage was covered by technological changes to the displays the ATCs were using. That was because I came out of college shortly thereafter and went into aerospace. That is what made the Soviets nervous!

    Interesting! Aerospace with whom?

    Originally, TRW. Bits and pieces at first, then I started specializing in embedded communications. Boxes talking to boxes. Radios, radars, displays, this new fangled thing called GPS. One project I was on was limited by the incomplete (at the time) GPS satellite constellation. We needed 3 satellites overhead, and there were only 10-12 of 36 up at the time.

    • #9
  10. cqness Member
    cqness
    @cqness

    I was ship’s company, a surface warfare officer, on board USS Independence (CV-62) in 1990, about a half a generation later than you, no A-7’s, just A-6’s in the airwing.  We were headed to the vicinity of Diego Garcia when Saddam Hussein had his army invade Kuwait and then the resultant First Gulf War. 

    The day Kuwait was invaded the ship turned right and headed for the Gulf, operating in about the same area you were, on station over 100 days without touching port.  I recall a lot of inter-service activity with USAF tankers providing mid-air refueling for our fighters and attack aircraft flying their missions, more efficient than using the A-6’s for this.

    One of my big disappointments of my naval career was that we were originally scheduled to make a port visit to Australia (Perth) after the exercise at Diego Garcia.  Of course that got cancelled and the “normal” six month deployment to WestPac from San Diego became significantly longer.  We did have a couple of “Steel Beach” flight deck cookouts where everyone was allowed one beer along with the barbecued steak and burgers though I never did make it to Australia.

    • #10
  11. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots: Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted?

    Nah. It was that Reagan guy. The Iranians didn’t know what to make of him.

    The Soviets didn’t either. I once heard a clip of one of the high-ranking KGB defectors say that when PATCO (the “Professional” Air Controllers Organization) declared an illegal strike on August 3rd that year, the Soviets were sure that Reagan would fold right away. What choice did he have? When Reagan fired over 11,000 ATCs two days later, that got their attention. “Ronnie don’t play.”

    You are of course entirely correct. My wife thought my ironic smiley face icon after that sentence might have been too subtle. :-)

    I was reading up about the PATCO deal not long ago. Some “expert” pointed out that rather than get back up to the pre-strike level of service in months, it took over ten years. His standard of measurement was the number of ATCs employed. That fails to take into account just how much the traffic had actually increased over that period of time due to Reagan’s deregulation of the industry. The overage was covered by technological changes to the displays the ATCs were using. That was because I came out of college shortly thereafter and went into aerospace. That is what made the Soviets nervous!

    Interesting! Aerospace with whom?

    Originally, TRW. Bits and pieces at first, then I started specializing in embedded communications. Boxes talking to boxes. Radios, radars, displays, this new fangled thing called GPS. One project I was on was limited by the incomplete (at the time) GPS satellite constellation. We needed 3 satellites overhead, and there were only 10-12 of 36 up at the time.

    What a difference two decades makes! My undergraduate was aerospace engineering but never used it except for the practical application of staying alive in the air. It helped to understand the limits of flight envelopes and aircraft structures. Do I think a certain way because of my education, or did I gravitate towards that degree because of how I think? Probably a bit of both. You should write about some of the cool stuff you worked on: the frustrations of development; the odd things that caused a decision to go one way rather than another. Engineering is about solving problems by breaking bigger things into smaller things. But it’s also about seeing possible improvements in existing processes or things that others think are “good enough”. We can be very annoying that way! :-)

    • #11
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Max Knots (View Comment):
    Engineering is about solving problems by breaking bigger things into smaller things.

    Q: What is the difference between avionics engineers and civil engineers?

    A: Avionics engineers make weapons systems. Civil engineers make targets.

    • #12
  13. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    cqness (View Comment):

    I was ship’s company, a surface warfare officer, on board USS Independence (CV-62) in 1990, about a half a generation later than you, no A-7’s, just A-6’s in the airwing. We were headed to the vicinity of Diego Garcia when Saddam Hussein had his army invade Kuwait and then the resultant First Gulf War.

    The day Kuwait was invaded the ship turned right and headed for the Gulf, operating in about the same area you were, on station over 100 days without touching port. I recall a lot of inter-service activity with USAF tankers providing mid-air refueling for our fighters and attack aircraft flying their missions, more efficient than using the A-6’s for this.

    One of my big disappointments of my naval career was that we were originally scheduled to make a port visit to Australia (Perth) after the exercise at Diego Garcia. Of course that got cancelled and the “normal” six month deployment to WestPac from San Diego became significantly longer. We did have a couple of “Steel Beach” flight deck cookouts where everyone was allowed one beer along with the barbecued steak and burgers though I never did make it to Australia.

    I suspect that if the hostages hadn’t been released, we’d have been stuck on Gonzo station as you were. Instead, Perth was the ship’s first port call (my first after joining the squadron); 5 days long. I was the junior officer in the squadron so I had the Duty Officer job two of those days and was in charge of the “Admin” room at the hotel (a shared room where those junior officers ashore could stay overnight) on the final day as everyone was leaving. Our first or second night, I did get to attend a formal dinner hosted by the embassy/attaché with many lovely Australian ladies invited. They really liked Americans. 20 sailors had new Australian wives when we departed one week later!

    The Enterprise would have been scheduled to relieve you in the IO (it probably did). I missed that deployment due to an unexpected heart attack. It’s amazing that our paths might have crossed!

    • #13
  14. cqness Member
    cqness
    @cqness

    Max Knots (View Comment):

     

    The Enterprise would have been scheduled to relieve you in the IO (it probably did). I missed that deployment due to an unexpected heart attack. It’s amazing that our paths might have crossed!

    I can’t remember which carrier relieved us, by the time we left there was one other carrier on station and one on the way I think.  Indy was scheduled for a major shipyard availability and if we didn’t leave when we did it was going to interfere with the deployment schedule as well as the maintenance and repair schedule of the entire carrier force at the time. 

    The scuttlebutt I received was that Indy and her airwing had done such a good job that General Schwarzkopf didn’t want to let us go but the Navy couldn’t put up with all the disruption keeping us on station longer would entail.  I know it had to go to a higher level for the decision which was in favor of the Navy.

    Early on, long before the kerfluffle about going home, General Schwarzkopf visited Indy personally and made a speech to the crew while standing on a box on the flight deck.  It was an excellent and inspirational speech which was cheered enthusiastically by the crew when he finished.

    A very fun thing that happened when I was on that great ship was the filming of many scenes for “Flight Of The Intruder”.  The ship’s senior chaplain, who was a good friend, got to have a speaking part performing a burial at sea on one of the lowered elevators and as a result has a credit in the film.  I had some nice interactions in the wardroom with some of the cast and in particular John Milius the director who was very pro-military and by Hollywood standards a staunch conservative. 

    Oh and then there was the time Dan Rather ate in the wardroom as a guest sitting gloomily on the captain’s right hand not saying a word and looking at us rather warily as if we were perhaps the enemy.  He was a much smaller person than I thought.

     

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    cqness (View Comment):
    Oh and then there was the time Dan Rather ate in the wardroom as a guest sitting gloomily on the captain’s right hand not saying a word and looking at us rather warily as if we were perhaps the enemy.  He was a much smaller person than I thought.

    In reality, he always was.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Max Knots (View Comment):
    I missed that deployment due to an unexpected heart attack.

    I think this calls for clarification.  Whose heart attack?

    • #16
  17. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):
    I missed that deployment due to an unexpected heart attack.

    I think this calls for clarification. Whose heart attack?

    Mine. Perhaps the subject of a future post. Fluke event. I threw a blood clot. I’ll send direct message shortly. (How’s that for a teaser…?)

    :-)

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):
    I missed that deployment due to an unexpected heart attack.

    I think this calls for clarification. Whose heart attack?

    Mine. Perhaps the subject of a future post. Fluke event. I threw a blood clot. I’ll send direct message shortly. (How’s that for a teaser…?)

    :-)

    No need to do anything direct to me, but the post should be interesting.

    • #18
  19. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):
    I missed that deployment due to an unexpected heart attack.

    I think this calls for clarification. Whose heart attack?

    Mine. Perhaps the subject of a future post. Fluke event. I threw a blood clot. I’ll send direct message shortly. (How’s that for a teaser…?)

    :-)

    No need to do anything direct to me, but the post should be interesting.

    OK.

    • #19
  20. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Max Knots (View Comment):
    RE: Adm. Rickover and his quirky interviews; there are so many stories about these sometimes bizarre interviews, especially by the mid-to-late 70’s when he was in his late 70s (he was born in 1900!). Every Nuke Power officer had to pass his interview and it wasn’t always clear what his criteria were. No one was willing to argue with his effectiveness in achieving remarkable safety records by his choice of people who passed his review.

    Greg, a close friend and NROTC graduate, served as a nuclear power officer from about 1977-1985.  He described his job interview with Admiral Rickover as the most intense meeting of his life. 

    Adm R: “How long do you plan to be in the submarine corps?”

    Greg: “A few years”

    Adm R: “Dammit, I asked you a quantitative question! Give me a quantitative answer”, that sort of thing.

    It ended when Rickover challenged Greg to “Piss me off”.  Greg claims, with a straight face, that he stood up, grabbed a statuette from the Admiral’s desk, and dashed it into pieces on the floor.

    He got the job.

    • #20
  21. Reese Member
    Reese
    @Reese

    Max Knots: I realize that correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but that’s quite a coincidence. Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted? Did word of the arrival of a particular SERGRAD Lieutenant Junior Grade convince them to cut their losses? Frankly, I don’t think we can rule that out… :-)

    I’m convinced.  Between you and Reagan, fear was struck

    Thanks for the fix I’ve been missing since “Neptunus Lex” went off the air after Captain Carol “Lex” LeFon died in 2012 in a training accident at Fallon, IIRC. High praise, sir, me comparing your excellent post to his writing.  Things like this.

    I was an enlisted Nuke on a CGN about the time you were on Independence.  Not for y’all, but we were several times “plane guard” for the CVBG in the North Arabian Sea.  Loved getting off watch late at night (when it was relatively cool– compared to the engine room) and watching what you guys did from the foc’sle (it was somewhere on weather decks). Amazing stuff. 

    • #21
  22. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    Reese (View Comment):

    Max Knots: I realize that correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but that’s quite a coincidence. Did the Iranians know that a new game piece was on the board and that the balance of power had shifted? Did word of the arrival of a particular SERGRAD Lieutenant Junior Grade convince them to cut their losses? Frankly, I don’t think we can rule that out… :-)

    I’m convinced. Between you and Reagan, fear was struck.

    Thanks for the fix I’ve been missing since “Neptunus Lex” went off the air after Captain Carol “Lex” LeFon died in 2012 in a training accident at Fallon, IIRC. High praise, sir, me comparing your excellent post to his writing. Things like this.

    I was an enlisted Nuke on a CGN about the time you were on Independence. Not for y’all, but we were several times “plane guard” for the CVBG in the North Arabian Sea. Loved getting off watch late at night (when it was relatively cool– compared to the engine room) and watching what you guys did from the foc’sle (it was somewhere on weather decks). Amazing stuff.

    High praise indeed sir! Thank you.

    Re: Neptunas Lex, was he the narrator of that piece above?

    • #22