Category Archives: Naval Aviation

Nostalgia Day

By lex, on May 26th, 2011

Today seems to be  a day of remembrances. Quite out of the blue I got a note from an old shipmate who’s beginning a book project on the last deployment of USS Constellation. My ship. He wanted to touch base for an interview, gather some reflections from those aboard her.

He also attached an email I wrote to my officers and chiefs on my last day aboard. It’s nice that he kept it, I’m not very good at holding on to such things.

CONSTELLATION was my first ship. Tomorrow is my last day aboard Connie, at least as a member of her company. After tomorrow, I will be a guest, someone you used to know, who used to be a part of you.

I may not get the opportunity to say farewell to each of you in person tomorrow, so please forgive me if this seems too impersonal. I just want to say that it has been an incredibly positive experience working with such an outstanding group of professionals.

Your focus, energy and enthusiasm were remarkable to observe.

A warship never sleeps – there are always people on watch, keeping her safe, keeping all of us safe: the ship is, in a sense, alive. Her people give her life.

You made this ship a living thing, working her decks and spaces. You lightened it with laughter, and freighted it with consequence to our country’s enemies. This ship lived fast, and it lived hard, like it meant business, like it knew that what we were doing was too important for half measures. We trained hard, fought hard and played hard, because of your work and that of our CPO’s and Sailors. And we did great things, with style – flawless execution was the standard expectation.

Life is very much more about what you accomplish than what you acquire. I hope you are as proud of what we accomplished together, as I am to have been a part of it.

My very best wishes to everyone. I will not miss all of this, but I will miss all of you. Maybe we’ll meet again in the fleet. Until then, farewell, and following seas.

Very Respectfully,

Commander, United States Navy

Operations Officer

USS Constellation CV-64

I meant it, too.

Still do.


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Helo Solo

By lex, on May 20th, 2011

SNO sends this pic of his first fling-wing solo.Which is apparently performed with another student in the left seat, and never mind the “watch this!” factor. And which seat is also apparently the copilot’s seat in a helicopter. Because of Physics, or some such. Or torque.

Perhaps both, in some mystical combination.

Helo Solo

It’s a wee, bitty thing, that TH-57. I think I just sprouted (another) gray hair. Which I’ve precious few of the other kind remaining, so thanks boy-o.

And congrats.

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Show us the Vids!

By lex, on May 20th, 2011

Casual interest was expressed by certain occasional readers in the promotional material provided to your host in his role as a citizen journalist earlier in the week.

Those who are interested may follow this link (updated) wherein you will find hosted for some indeterminate time a press release (yawn) and fact sheet (both in pdf), as well as 60+ megs worth of photos and videos, all compressed in zip format and eminently safe for work. I think.

I have no inherent reason to be suspicious of virus, trojans, etc. – I am operating on a Mac, after all, and therefore can afford to be a trusting soul – but other system users may want to run the downloads through their favored virus checker.

Sadly, the video of your humble’s wildly overshooting start at the helm of the cockpit demonstrator is not available, the cameraman having been killed in a tragic automobile accident after leaving the site and his car entirely consumed in the post-crash fire which police are still investigating, calling the circumstances suspicious.

Which I told him that it could go easy, or it could go hard, but did he listen?


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Not the Solution

By lex, on May 16th, 2011

Throughout history, in the development of both military tactics and associated weapons systems, one measure leads to a counter-measure, which in turn leads to a counter-counter measure, which is where it gets confusing and we start afresh with a new measure.

So it comes as no real surprise to learn that Navy, having been apprised of China developing an access denial weapons system in the form of the Dong Feng 21D “carrier killer” missile – which I continue to believe is over-rated, from the safety of my Carmel Valley office – is working on a counter-measure of its own: *

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Citizen Journalist

By lex, on May 18th, 2011

A milblog associate coordinated a visit for me to the Sandy Eggo presence of Cobham, a defense contractor supporting Lockheed Martin’s F-35 project, amongst other things. There was to be a media event, Congressmen Duncan Hunter would show, and would I mind sitting in the F-35 cockpit demonstrator, at all?

I wouldn’t.

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Face to Face with the 8-Day Clock

By lex, on April 23rd, 2011

So it was back sometime in the early 1990′s, and your host – having successfully concluded his first sea tour flying the FA-18 Hornet – was an adversary pilot at NAS Key West, Florida. I was a lieutenant on the cusp of making lieutenant commander, which in a naval sense meant that I was in the very throes of my transition from adolescence to adulthood. There were three types of jets to fly, and on a given day we might fly a sortie in each of the F-16N, F-5E or venerable A-4E Skyhawk – God’s jet, to a stick and rudder man.

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Because Caring Means Sharing

By lex, on March 31st, 2011

Below the fold, a story of intestinal infortitude from naval aviation’s front lines: The story of how a young lieutenant junior grade competed for a new callsign in Operation Enduring Freedom.

You’re not going to want to read this if you’re the delicate sort, nor if bathroom humor with the occasional Anglo-Saxon thrown in offends.

It’s not all beer and skittles in the fleet.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Bunkopotamus,

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