Posted these pics on the Tomcat Territory page of Facebook this evening. As I look back on all these images and pictures and memories, I do so wish I had taken ten thousand more pictures than I did. I took my camera on almost every hop I flew on, but did not use it near as much as I wish now. Hindsight, I guess. Perhaps the “I’ll have plenty of time in the future to take pics” thought that rarely pans out was my thinking. Now I’m retired from that part of the Navy, so most of THAT access – to the piers, the flight line – is gone now. This getting old stuff sucks.
Dave “Doc” Hicks and Randy “Cock” Roach, during our 88-89 Med cruise. I saw both these guys at the Tomcat Sunset weekend in 2006. Cock (a call sign that, in all honesty, is benign and harmless but would be completely and totally and utterly persona non grata in Today’s Navy) , in complete keeping with his eclectic and absolutely wonderful personality, wore a kilt with his mess dress uniform – accented by a goatee. Gotta love it. Doc and I went thru 1989 FFARP with a perfect 23-0 kill ratio. I wrote about that here.
Shawn “Flea” Smith (a former RIO-retreaded into a Pilot) in the front seat with our Executive Officer (XO) , Doug Law, in the catbird seat. Flea once told me about night carrier landings. He had spent a tour or so as a RIO (back seat) before being accepted for and going back through . The terror – the absolute white-knuckled-stick-gripping-hand-sweating-stomach-churning- terror – of night carrier landings is something no RIO sitting three and a half feet behind a pilot will ever understand or recognize. He didn’t- until he got up in that front seat and had to start landing on a carrier at night. I may exaggerate a tad, but not much. He was fun to fly with, though.
Camelot 102, the jet you see above, could have been a bad-luck jet. The senior aviators in the squadron had their names on one side of the canopy and their call-signs on the other. The names on the canopy rail, JW Orrison and Ron Nash, seem innocent enough, but the other side belied the true nature of the jet…the callsigns were “Grumpy” and “Nasty“.
Business end of a TA-4J Skyhawk training command jet. This is from my cat officer days on IKE. This might have been flown by my old squadron mate Kevin “Q” McHugh, who was in an instructor pilot in the Training Command then and whom I saw and caught up with on the news of other squadron mates and such when he was out to the ship.