A Navy Life – Commissioning

First salute as a commission officer went to Gunnery Sergeant Jim Washington, USMC, my Aviation Officer Candidate drill instructor on 22 Feb, 1985. As was the time-honored tradition, I gave him a silver dollar. 25 years later, as I left Norfolk Naval Station on my last day of duty, and while still in uniform, I had picked up a silver dollar from the bank that morning and as I stopped for gas on the base service station, I gave it to the service member who gave me my last salute I’d receive while in uniform. Somehow it seemed fitting.

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A Navy Life – Years

Retirement photo from late 1999. 10 years active duty, 15 years reserve, 1200+ hours in about 10 naval aircraft, the vast majority (1000 hrs) in Tomcats. 200 traps. My dad retired from the Navy when I was 18, so adding in my own 25 years, 43 years of my life have been in and around the Navy community. Add in another 10 years of working for the Navy as a civilian government dude and 53 of my 59 years has been blue and gold. That, my friends, is a navy life

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A Navy Life – Aircraft Carriers

My last Naval Reserve active duty stint was 3 weeks on board CVN-75, USS Harry S Truman during the the summer of 2009. It was an absolute kick in the pants to get back out in that environment and for a born and bred carrier guy like me (between my Dad and me we’ve worked on/flown on at least 13 carriers: CVs 11, 14, 26, 34, 42, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 73, 75), it was sweet nectar for this naval flight officer’s soul.

Sad to say the first 8 are ex-carriers now and 6 of those 8 are razor blades, having been broken up into scrap metal. The other two of those 8, ENTERPRISE and KENNEDY are awaiting likely a similar fate while in storage shipyards on the east coast.

Here are those 13 carriers, dating from my dad’s first recorded carrier landing in an SNJ Texan on 21 Dec 1954 on board the USS MONTEREY (CV-26) until my last carrier duty as a staff officer on board USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN-75) 55 years later.

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Touchstones

At my Dad’s memorial this past weekend brother Tom gave me a box with something in it. He had acquired this coffee mug at some point over the years from Dad and he passed it on to me, knowing my love, admiration and respect for such things.

Whether you call it a touchstone or a talisman or just something to connect, it obviously means a great deal to me.

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Photog Offerings

Sometimes its not ALWAYS about Tomcats or airplanes!  (although it mostly is :P)

Here are a few shots taken at Patuxent River, Maryland a few years ago while we were there for an airshow. It was early morning sunrise time and I think a few of these are nice.

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The Pinchettes!

Kate and Sarah, known the world round as Pinchette #1 and Pinchette #2.  Facebook told me this photo was from 8 years ago which sounds about right. Sarah (r) was headed off to a school dance (in her senior year at HS) and I nabbed this shot of the two of them.

Nowadays, Sarah is in the Fairfax County, VA Police Academy working on being a cop and Kate is on the edge of 30, a solid employee with a contracting company near Ft Belvoir making sure defense threat reduction folks can travel around the world without problems.

So very proud of these two. Very proud. 

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The Hangardeck Podcast

That aviation podcast I did a few weeks ago is out now.  Pitchlock Pete Bruno from The Hanagrdeck Podcast and I sat down for a telephone chat about the F-14, fighter squadron life, a bit about my Dad and a few other things.  You’ll likely be underwhelmed with the thing (!) but hopefully you may get a bit of mirth, entertainment, and the occasional nugget of aviation lore.

The link is here

F-14D RIO cockpit. 1992. This incidentally, is the last Tomcat ever built, BUNO 164604, “D Ship” number 37.  She now sits just inside the Naval Air Station Oceana’s Air Power Park.  She spent her entire flying career with the test and evaluation folks at NAS Pt Mugu in California so has the unique point of having never had an aircraft carrier catapult shot or arrested landing. For a navy fighter jet, that IS unique.

 

 

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Goods and Others

In the sometimes wild and woolly world of Naval Aviation, the verbiage of the business can sometimes get interesting.

You’ve all heard of the phrase “goods and bads”, denoting the, well, good things about something and the, well, bad things.  Somebody somewhere sometime came to the conclusion that “bad” was too negative of a descriptor for something so they decided the word “others” better fit the lexicon.  “Others” is a take on the idea that nothing is inherently *bad*, per se, as long as you can learn from it.  It might not be “good”, but it doesn’t have to be “bad” –  its “other than good.”  A “learn-from-your-mistake” kind of thing.  Ok.  Whatever.

Which led to this patch that came out a number of years ago, riffing on the Tomcat-Hornet rivalry, the soon-then-to-occur retirement of the Tomcat (destined for dry, desert storage and museums all over the country) and the impending coronation of the F.A-18 Hornet as the “One Plane To Rule Them All” – fighter, strike, electronic warfare, tanker, no-doubt soon-to-be COD, ASW, SAR, yadda x 3.

So, I give you, Goods…and Others!

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The Hangardeck

I met up on Facebook recently with Pete Bruno who runs the great aviation site The Hngardeck  

One thing led to another and I sent him one of my photobooks.  He enjoyed it and asked if I could come on his Hangardeck podcast to talk about the book and what it was like flying in the F-14.  We met up via phone this afternoon and spent a good hour talking about all sorts of things, aviation related.

The link should be available this evening and I’ll post it here when it goes live.

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D.C. City Councilman Trayon White Makes Troubling Remarks at Holocaust Museum | National Review

THIS is a very clear – crystal clear – reason why I cannot *wait* to get out of this area. Away from Washington DC.  These sorts of people…”politicians”…make up who runs DC and they keep getting elected and re-elected.  From Marion Barry to this clown to all the others who don’t have clue 1 about governing or really, about common sense or about the rule of law, I was fed up years ago.  This place, as beautiful as it can be with the history and  the monuments and the parks and everything else, is a cesspool of corruption and stupidity.

The Washington, D.C. city councilman who told his social media followers that Jewish people control weather made a number of troubling remarks during a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum he…

While examining a picture of a girl walking through a crowd surrounded by German soldiers while wearing a sign that read “I am a German girl and allowed myself to be defiled by a Jew,” White asked the tour guide, “are they protecting her.”

“No,” the guide said. “They’re marching her through.”

“Marching through is protecting,” White responded.

“I think they’re humiliating her,” the guide rebutted.

Once White departed, a member of his staff suggested that a picture of the Warsaw ghetto resembled “a gated community.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t call it a gated community,” Rabbi Batya Glazer of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, who was accompanying the tour group, said. “More like a prison.”

Source: D.C. City Councilman Trayon White Makes Troubling Remarks at Holocaust Museum | National Review

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