Carrier Pilots

 

From my own experience on a Navy aircraft carrier in late 1972 I was in awe of pilots like most staff officers. Probably the most exciting experience for a Navy officer other than, maybe, Seal duty. But these guys were getting their asses shot at almost every day flying from Yankee station.  Very brave guys.

Then I find out Air Force pilots were in our air group. What the hell? Why would a Zoomie flying jets who could land in on a level air field in Thailand want to hook up with a bunch of semi-drunk sailors on a 300-yard platform bobbing up and down in the Tonkin Gulf? Then I found out.

Like most big balls college guys, they were nuts. Wanted more adventures. “Hey, lawyer, landing on this ship is like is a controlled crash landing.  AF never showed us this stuff”  So shut up and let them do what they wanted to do. Until it came to the PI shutdown and an AF major getting caught in the curfew. My next AF story.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    navyjag: Like most big balls college guys. They were nuts.

    You have the right of it.

    • #1
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Can’t wait for the next chapter!

    • #2
  3. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Arahant (View Comment):

    navyjag: Like most big balls college guys. They were nuts.

    You have the right of it.

    The line between bravery and stupidity is extremely thin.

    • #3
  4. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Paging @johnstubbs

    • #4
  5. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    I once heard an Air Force pilot talk about flying with the Navy.  He said carrier landings were the most terrifying thing he had ever done. 

    When I met him he was flying A-10s.

    • #5
  6. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    I once heard an Air Force pilot talk about flying with the Navy. He said carrier landings were the most terrifying thing he had ever done.

    When I met him he was flying A-10s.

    • #6
  7. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    I once heard an Air Force pilot talk about flying with the Navy. He said carrier landings were the most terrifying thing he had ever done.

    When I met him he was flying A-10s.

    But the Navy doesn’t have any planes this cool!

    • #7
  8. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    I once heard an Air Force pilot talk about flying with the Navy. He said carrier landings were the most terrifying thing he had ever done.

    When I met him he was flying A-10s.

    But the Navy doesn’t have any planes this cool!

    Brrrrrrrpppppppppppttt!

    • #8
  9. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    I once heard an Air Force pilot talk about flying with the Navy. He said carrier landings were the most terrifying thing he had ever done.

    When I met him he was flying A-10s.

    But the Navy doesn’t have any planes this cool!

    Brrrrrrrppppppppppp!

    • #9
  10. Dave L Member
    Dave L
    @DaveL

    One of my favorite lines from the movie “The Right Stuff”:

    Engineers interviewing Alan Shepard to apply to be an astronaut while on a carrier

    Alan Shepard “sounds dangerous”

    Engineers: “Very dangerous!”

    Alan Shepard: “count me in” Big grin

    • #10
  11. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    I have a collection of books written by Admiral Dan Gallery, who besides being the first pilot to land a jet on a carrier at night, was the commander of the base that captured the U-505 during WWII. In his biography, “Eight Bells,” he has a chapter on doing that night carrier landing. I’m working from memory here, but the description I remember is this: “The three most intense physical experiences a man can have are an orgasm, a bowel movement, and a carrier landing. Landing a jet on a carrier at night are your only opportunity to experience all three at the same time.”

    • #11
  12. Barry Jones Thatcher
    Barry Jones
    @BarryJones

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I have a collection of books written by Admiral Dan Gallery, who besides being the first pilot to land a jet on a carrier at night, was the commander of the base that captured the U-505 during WWII. In his biography, “Eight Bells,” he has a chapter on doing that night carrier landing. I’m working from memory here, but the description I remember is this: “The three most intense physical experiences a man can have are an orgasm, a bowel movement, and a carrier landing. Landing a jet on a carrier at night are your only opportunity to experience all three at the same time.”

    Dan Gallery was a national treasure. According to Arleigh Burke (CNO) Adm Gallery was the most aggressive Admiral in the Navy. The most out of the box thinker too! Captured U505 at sea(by boarding, no less) while in command of the USS Guadalcanal *first time the call “away boarders” was sounded by a Navy ship since the War of 1812, formed Admiral Dan’s Steel Band(still part of the Navy) while in command of the Carribean area…lots of things. His bio and the books he wrote are worth the price as he was a good writer and had a good sence of humor – on oaper and in life!

    • #12
  13. JohnStubbs Coolidge
    JohnStubbs
    @JohnStubbs

    Clavius (View Comment):
    But these guys were getting their asses shot at almost every day flying from Yankee station.

    I was an A-6 Intruder pilot deployed on USS Midway in the Tonkin Gulf. Three days ago, I recognized the 50th year since the untimely death of Ray Donnelly, my bombardier navigator. Ray was KIA by anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam on July 19, 1972. Why is it always the good guys who don’t come back?

    See a tribute to Ray at http://www.a6movie.com

     

     

    • #13
  14. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Barry Jones (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I have a collection of books written by Admiral Dan Gallery, who besides being the first pilot to land a jet on a carrier at night, was the commander of the base that captured the U-505 during WWII. In his biography, “Eight Bells,” he has a chapter on doing that night carrier landing. I’m working from memory here, but the description I remember is this: “The three most intense physical experiences a man can have are an orgasm, a bowel movement, and a carrier landing. Landing a jet on a carrier at night are your only opportunity to experience all three at the same time.”

    Dan Gallery was a national treasure. According to Arleigh Burke (CNO) Adm Gallery was the most aggressive Admiral in the Navy. The most out of the box thinker too! Captured U505 at sea(by boarding, no less) while in command of the USS Guadalcanal *first time the call “away boarders” was sounded by a Navy ship since the War of 1812, formed Admiral Dan’s Steel Band(still part of the Navy) while in command of the Carribean area…lots of things. His bio and the books he wrote are worth the price as he was a good writer and had a good sence of humor – on oaper and in life!

    Don’t they call them “Admiral Dan’s Pandemoniacs” any more?

    His stuff is priceless. I discovered him via the Fatso Gioninni stories and subsequently grabbed everything I could. The sea stories… like defusing the “floating mine” at the British base in Iceland…

    • #14
  15. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    JohnStubbs (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):
    But these guys were getting their asses shot at almost every day flying from Yankee station.

    I was an A-6 Intruder pilot deployed on USS Midway in the Tonkin Gulf. Three days ago, I recognized the 50th year since the untimely death of Ray Donnelly, my bombardier navigator. Ray was KIA by anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam on July 19, 1972. Why is it always the good guys who don’t come back?

    See a tribute to Ray at http://www.a6movie.com

     

     

    That was an amazing tribute and excellent choice of music.

    • #15
  16. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    I once heard an Air Force pilot talk about flying with the Navy. He said carrier landings were the most terrifying thing he had ever done.

    When I met him he was flying A-10s.

    I would think the most terrifying thing about the A-10 would be being on the other end.

    • #16
  17. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    JohnStubbs (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):
    But these guys were getting their asses shot at almost every day flying from Yankee station.

    I was an A-6 Intruder pilot deployed on USS Midway in the Tonkin Gulf. Three days ago, I recognized the 50th year since the untimely death of Ray Donnelly, my bombardier navigator. Ray was KIA by anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam on July 19, 1972. Why is it always the good guys who don’t come back?

    See a tribute to Ray at http://www.a6movie.com

     

     

    What a great tribute.

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

    Columbo (View Comment):

    The line between bravery and stupidity is extremely thin.

    Agree. Plus the youthful feeling that you are nearly indestructible. Bad luck happens to the other guy. Of course, with age and survival comes the realization of our fragile mortality. That’s when true bravery occurs. Despite this knowledge and very reasonable fear, you press on. They might only “seem” crazy…

    • #18
  19. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    The line between bravery and stupidity is extremely thin.

    Agree. Plus the youthful feeling that you are nearly indestructible. Bad luck happens to the other guy. Of course, with age and survival comes the realization of our fragile mortality. That’s when true bravery occurs. Despite this knowledge and very reasonable fear, you press on. They might only “seem” crazy…

    That was my observation. They train hard to develop the swagger of confidence in their abilities. The first Top Gun took that swagger to the stupidity level while the 2nd Top Gun had them train hard to acquire confidence as they overcame their fear because they acquired the skill. My husband was very good, as were his flying buddies, but they were not the Maverick of the first movie. One had to eject when his front seater was killed in a bird strike. He was back at it once cleared by the flight surgeon. People die training. Others flew in Dessert Storm and lived, including two who were shot down, captured, and paraded on TV as POWs. It is dangerous and requires a special person to do it. 

    • #19
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