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 Phonies & Wannabees
Author: lb 
Date:   2006-03-17 13:01:18

Anyone want to discuss the phonies and wanabees they've met??? Here are three I did.

1) Used to hang out at a "cheers" type bar in Salt Lake City. Friendly familiar faces with newbees coming and going as it was a hotel. One fellow I met started talking about Vietnam and how he flew F-4'.s And before I could get a word out about "Me too"...he said how he really enjoyed getting down into the valleys and the trees using the terrain-following radar.

Uh-huh. I told him he was full of S•••• because I flew in F-4's and it didn't have terrain-following radar, since it was primarily an air-air interceptor.

He just turned red and said, Well, I wish I had.

Another...I related earlier....a Navy Captain walked in dressed to the hilt, Wings of Gold and all. Since it was a private club and they wouldn't let him in without buying a membership, I hopped off my barstool and offered him in as my guest.

I asked what he did and he said he was the CO of the Blue Angels. Uh-huh. A Navy CAPTAIN!!!! He said he was in Salt Lake to scout for an upcoming airshow. Uh-huh. Said they were going to perform at the county fair-grounds. Uh-huh. Never mind that place is in the middle of town and NO clear space for emergency, etc. Never mind the Blues were in town a year or two earlier and had the lowest turnout of any airshow...EVER. Seems the T-birds had just did a show and one of the guys bought it, so folks weren't in the mood for another airshow, and the FIRST annual Salt Lake Arts festival had just opened.....so only a few thousand went to see the Blues. Never again to return to SLC.

Anyway the "Captain" said they were flying the new F-116's. Uh-huh. I just called him a phoney and walked out. Should have called the FBI (so said a Federal judge friend of mine later).

Another....Years later I'm in Colorado working in sales for a computer distributor. Our division had an AWFUL boss. So bad that we sales folks got together, called the President of the company and told him either the Manager goes, or WE go. ALL of us.

Next Nat. sales meeting we meet our new boss. He's introduced as a former Navy F-4 pilot. Later I intro myself and start chatting about flying and this guy knows NOTHING about F-4's, the Navy, and not much about aviation. He ended up manipulating some events so I got fired, as I am sure he was afraid I'd expose his being and outright phoney. He got fired a short time after for stealing from the company.

Finally: Working for a computer VAR installing turn-key systems for small business. Boss hired a new tech support, installer, troubleshooter. He said he was in the Marines and flew Harriers. We went on a customer call several hundred miles away and I thought it would be great talking to a fellow aviator.....but again, he didn't know SQUAT about Naval/Marine aviation. He knew enough about a few things to pass off to others who didn't know much....but he failed the basics with me.

Why can't folks just be THEMSELVES????

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-17 15:42:54

LB 'cause folks always want what they cannot achieve. It gives them a sense of being someone, even if it is a lie. Very, very few were chosen, fewer made it through and fewer lived.

When I hear a blowhard like that, if I even get involved:

1. I check his age.
2. What squadon, what carrier? (They can never get that one straight)
3. Next, I ask him how many carrier landings? (One cruise and 300 landings(?).
4. Next did he live on the "0-7 or 0-8 level" on whatever carrier(s) he claims? They always muck that up not knowing those were bridge decks and signal decks.
5. Next was he scared? 'Cause I was scared $hit!ess lots.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-20 05:28:27

Never knew him or heard of him if he was from the fighter community. 300 missions was a ton of missions, just a ton. If true, he was likely light attack, scooters. Let me check a couple sources in the A-4 community and I will get back to this thread.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-20 07:05:22

He was F-4s. His name comes back. I never met him.

For one thing, Scooters got more missions because of tanker missions. My F-8 and F-4 world, perhaps different from yours LB, seldom got 3 missions a day . . . seldom.

LB, I sense a tone. These are just my opinion, I am not the world's expert. And have not interest in tossing down gontlets . . . over this ancient carp.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-20 07:28:34

Ah, I get it. You were only F-4s. Many of us from F-8s only counted the events against the North as combat missions. 300 missions against the North was a very tall order. In three trips - 1 F-8 and 2 F-4s, I only had about 190 against the North. Counting them all, and the ferry flights to Cubi, test flights, a/c goes down and you return to the boat, get some deck time and shoot some touch and goes, carry a VIP around the patten for a trap, yeah, 300 not a problem.

Also we did not get as many hops in F-8s because of availability and also we had squadron duties. F-8 squadrons did not have all of those RIOs to help doing the squadron work. Also when I went to F-4s it was a new -J squadron and our availability sucked. Often we got one hop a day . . . that was just fine with me. The Rambos hated it, but I was fine with it.

BTW who was the guy in VF-92 or VF-96 that had his Naval Aviator wings jerked, but went back through NAO training and rode back seat in Phantoms? I cannot imagine why anyone would get into that backseat . . . after the front seat. Beyone me.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-20 14:03:24

He counted test hops, cubi beer runs, atsugi flights, a/c goes down and I get a trap flights, take a VIP up for a combat trap flights everything. Missions meant nothing. They were not even a good yard stick. Someone alway had more. I used to love to see nugget RIOs comparing mission counts and traps . . . 'Oh, you did what . . .?'

Nothing I ever did up north was fun at all. Day or night, it all sucked. The mission sucked, the carrier sucked. I never made it up north with no shooting. Those damb viggie flights were a mess. The A-6 escorts were worse. The ugly was a slow pig.

I moved out of F-8s in 1967, Believe me, except for the occasional Top Gun gaduate, or former F-8 pilot flying an F-4, F-8s had a pretty good time with F-4s and I say that with 9 years of Fleet service and 4 cruises. 1 to the Med - F-8s and 3 to Westpac - 1 in F-8s and 2 in F-4s.

I know 2 F-8 drivers that kicked "Top Gun" MiG Killer "I'm a convict" Cunningham's arse with major regularity - Phil Vampatella and RG Hubbard. They never went to Top Gun, but they could fly the gator.


 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-20 15:06:36

BTW, I found the best way to beat the F-4 using an F-8 or F-4 was the rolling vertical sissors. A lot of F-4 drivers got scared with their noses straight up and then feeling rudder kick over from high speed to low speed rudder . . . 177Kts pointed straight up. They usually fell away one direction or another using the rudder, and if they were smart, when the nose fell below the horizon, they crammed it in burner and extended.

Another thing the F-8 could do nicely was to depart and swap ends . . . that opened their eyes! Also we could play with the wing . . . now that is a dark subject.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-20 17:08:44

"Another great story in the book is how 121 got a brand new F-4....clean paint job, new engines, etc., TG guys wanted to try it out against the MiGs and uh..... well, they got the F-4 into a flat spin and soon was a pile of burning trash in the desert. They didn't want to lose the program with the DC brass watching TG lose a brand new a/c, so somehow transfered the a/c to VX-4 and let them explain how during testing it went into a flat spin...etc."

That was Mugs McCowan(sp?) who did it at Edwards and Area 51 and who later with Fingers got 2 MiGs one engagement doing the same high g barrel roll over the top $hit. When he lost the bird he did not have enough airspeed. He had enough airspeed in the NVA engagement.

Wasn't America a POS boat. We called it "McNamara's economy boat." Was 'posed to be a nuke and he changed power plants. Screwed up the entire boat, then it missed a couple yard periods. That sealed her fate. Makes a good reef, or will make a good reef, I understand.

Trust me, the boys at VF-124 were still picking off F-4s late into 1972 when they disbanded to become the Turkey RAG.

Randy did not just get slow at Top Gun after his kills. He got slow in the last 2 engagements when he got his 4th and 5th. Driscoll was supposedly all over him like a mad wife, as well he should have been, about it.

I never went to Top Gun, was never asked. Was not career material. My Dad had done WW2, caught a Navy Cross and lost many friends. Those losses hunted that good and dear man all of the days of his life. He gave me advise, which was odd, but I came to understand it. He approximately said, "You are going to war, and friends are going to die." "Don't make friends, stay aloof, and when the friends of everyone start dying, you will not die inside also as I have done all these years." Of course, we came to find out that is exactly what the grunts did. No friends. "I'll do my job, you do yours. I'll watch your @!#$, you watch mine. But I am not going to be friends because I cannot bear losing a friend."

It worked . . . But because I was not in a popularity contest, I never went to Top Gun, Have Donut, Have Drell, Factory tours etc. And definately did not get the fit reps for career . . . also because I did not want to play the game of kissing some XO, CO or CAG's backside."

When my resignation letter went in, I was regular Navy, NROTC, you bet that it flew through at the speed of heat.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-21 11:04:43

I had just walked by the partially open hangar doors going to Vf-121 on the west side when the F-8 came in the partially open hangar doors on the east side. The fire ball came out behind me. Ifelt the heat and was knocked on my keester by the concussion. I dodged a bullet that day for sure.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-21 11:32:48

Next time you go to Tailhook, make sure and tell Hubbard and Vamp that an F-8 could not beat an F-4 after that glorious TG school was opened in 1969. These days they will just laugh.

You see LB, TG changed nothing except for the guys that attended because the techniques did not get to the fleet very well for a couple of years. Also our first guys that went, were keepers of a big secret. We never had classes from them. Oh, we went up. My F-8 training helped me hold my own, but those a$$es were keepers of the big secret flame. I loved it when one of them, going against another former F-8 driver in the squadron spun it and lost it. Before the crew jumped out, the old F-8 type made that famous transmission, "You learn that at Top Gun?"

Forget the speculation, the plain and simple is that Cunningham never made it to TG because he was not regular navy . . . back then, you had to be USN, not USNR to get admissed to that world.

Dan Pederson, now that was a piece of work. When he had the Hawk or what ever boat he had, he almost insighted a race riot.

Jphn Nash is one of the really good guys.

Sawatzki and Pettigew both got jobs in the movie.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: LB 
Date:   2006-03-21 13:10:46

Anybody out there know CDR. Whithoft...or Whitthoft???? I flew with him for our 121 Det to Yuma for air/ground training. Great guy. Always wanted to go to his VF and be his RIO. We really got along GREAT.

While at Yuma I called home and learned my wife was PG. So aviators never missing an excuse to PARTY, we partied on into the night to celebrate, even going over to Winterhaven, CA to party for another two hours.!!!! Next day we were to do 45 degree dive bombing....we made one run and Whitthoft being as hung-over as everyone else, and being the SR. officer there, declared that today we'd do 10 degree bomb runs. Yanno, 2G pullup vs. 6 or so.


Another flight on Take off had a bird strike in an engine. He pops the drag chute to stop, then decides the nearest replacement motors are at Miramar...cuts the chute, hits the burner on the good motor and off we go to return a few hours later with another plane.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-21 14:20:15

Well one has to recall that I am a pilot and that LB is a RIO. Different communities to start with - me F-8s and he F-4s. When he was a JO, I was a LCDR. We looked at things differently. We recall differently. It was not fun and games, not jeewiz for me. The drinking at the Miramar O'Club, or Cubi, or the Cave Bar, or Lucy's Tiger Den, did not make it go away.

I resigned as a LCDR, walked away from a guaranteed 20 and retirement in 1972 just to get away from it. Because you see, I felt that I was not going to live for the 20 year pipe dream. That thing was not worth getting killed for. I always respected the guy that tossed in his wings and I always shook his hand and told him so.

For LB and others of that period it was the zenith of the war for VF-96 then.

I did 3 cruises during heavy rolling thunder operations etc and not on 6 month crusies. One was 13 freaking months in that bs. The other 2 were 10 and 11. So you get colored.

When I walked away from it, I walked away. I never read the books, because I was there for the events detailed in the writings. I was in the Fleet 9 years(+) after the 2 years in the training command. I reported to VF-124, the F-8 RAG in early 1962. In 1962 most guys that fought the war were still in high school.

I saw the war come and the carnage begin with no exit plan in sight. I saw them tossing wonderful guys into the shredder. Dispite what I say above, I still see in my mind's eye a guy I shared a stateroom with that was vaporized over some 'suspected' and useless truck park on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. His death and that of his RIO was a complete waste.

I saw no glory in the war; no glory in missions and only went because I would not toss my wings- did not have the guts to toss them - that I had worked so hard to get. Also resignations were not being accepted from regular service officers. I was freaking stuck.

As a LCDR, I had it better from '69 to '72 when I finally could resign. But nothing will ever make me lionize the war or what we did in it or why we did it. It was a waste of men and material. I see nothing romantic about it. You want romance in war read "Alls Quite On The Western Front." Hemmingway got it right.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-21 17:52:08

LB you hit it right on the head . . . it was all about luck and timing. Because for each great CO that you referred to, and VF-96 was blessed, I can name 10 pieces of $hit like The drunk, Bill Albertson, just to name one; whose claim to fame was that he single handedly destroyed the Navy's greatest fighter squadron in history, VF-143 - The Pukin Dogs.

Sadly the attempt on his life on the Connie cruise failed. He also tried to man up drunk. The RIO was frantically pulling ignition c/bs. Why he was in the a/c with him I do not know. Albertson was, however, saved by the old boys club. He dried out for a while and went on to ignominy and became CO of the drunk school at long beach naval hospital. He later died a wonderfully screaming death due to cancer.

My claim to fame with ole Bill . . . he had a big mouth and a glass jaw. Yep, I was the guy that knocked him absolutely out at the Miramar O’Club. He was telling some bs story to a bunch of impressionable nuggets buying him drinks. I told him that he was full of $hit. I was standing. He jumps up kinda drunk with that “I’m a squadron C.O. carp” And pulls back a swing. I am cold sober and left handed and had a pretty good right jab and left cross back then from my golden gloves days. So . . . . . now you know who I am.

That was the best combination I ever threw. He just folded up like a cheap chair. The good folks around followed me up by pouring their drinks on his inert useless a$$. He just laid there until finally he woke up and stumbled out the door. The duty officer dropped by and evicted me from the Club. As for me, what could they do? My resignation was already accepted. My skipper put me in hack for a week at the Miramar BOQ. Albertson had that goose egg, split lip and black eye for a couple weeks. In the words of Lee Marvin, “It was heaven!”

That was the Vietnam era. We took care of business.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-21 18:20:00

BTW, knocking out COs and CAGS was nothing during Vietnam. Happened at the Cubi O'Club downstairs often. I was there when 2 - LT - F-8 types flipped a coin of the realm to see who got to punch out "The World Famous Billy Phillips" "F-8 mouth of Westpac.

That blowhard had left his wingman, their friend, over Hiaphong. He was shot down. It was music when he bounced off that red painted cement. Billy went to get up, and the 2nd one knocked him down and finally out.

The ole bird was pretty tough to take a massive shot to the jaw from a young buck and not get knocked out, the first shot dazed him, the shot from the 2nd kid put him away. Of course they were out of the war and Westpac immediately and resignations accepted. "Oh, is that what we have to do to get out of this mess . . . "

It was a different Navy back then.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: john 
Date:   2006-03-21 20:30:37

I have read Remarque, Hemingway, Crane, and even Zinn. And I have witnessed the inexplicable horrors of war. And as many old warriors do, I have come to abhor war.

Nevertheless, those days at Miramar were surely exciting. And I found my two years of flying in combat absolutely exhilarating. I thoroughly enjoyed the extreme flying, the overwhelming challenge, and the adrenalin rush of it all. I sought out the most difficult missions, and extra missions. (Then at night, we used to sit around and debate the war and politics. I was neither a hawk nor dove. I just loved my job and did it as best I could.)

I imagine that if I were young and single again, I would still thoroughly enjoy flying in combat. The problem is now, I'm anti-war. I could not see myself flying or fighting in anything but a rare and most extreme case, "just" war. Anything else would be a major problem. If drafted, I now wonder what I would do, knowing what I know now. I would have to take a difficult stand.

We had one guy quit in the middle of the cruise. He was off the ship within an hour and flown to Cubi to await a fight home. Another ship's squadron CO met him there, and talked him into returning to our squadron. He flew back and rejoined our squadron. Talk about controversy! But it didn't bother me one way or another. But for many it did.

My disillusionment came years later with the peacetime Navy. I quit then after 10 years, and as an LCDR. (Stayed in the Reserves, though)

Since I experienced it first hand, I never had an interest in Vietnam era books, until only recently. Now I have just started to read some. I now find them very interesting, where I had no interest before. (I think this Cunningham debacle has rekindled my interest in this stuff after so many years.)

I never saw anyone decked, except for a couple of black shoes who came into the Cubi Cat Room wearing earrings. I had great CO's (except for one) RO's, and wingmen. Our squadron only lost 2 guys who were POW's and actually beat us home. (Although the attack bunkroom next door got wiped out during the cruise. We started to make friends with those guys, and later, we were sorry we did.) We got a rare Presidential Unit Citation for having the most days on line in the history of the war.

We had only a few weak things happen while flying over the North. But never did anybody ever leave his wingman. BTW, did Dose leave his wingman to bag his MiG, or was that a bad rumor?

How come Grant never gets much mention? Wasn't he the bait that gave Cunningham his MiG's?

I didn't know Cunningham went home after that first MiG. Was that because of his augmentation problems, or that he got a MiG, or just normal leave? Cunningham was very good, but on a good day, I was better. One of my last hops in the reserves in F-14's was against him. There was no love lost between us.

It was a later CO of VF-96 while in Yuma on a det., who walked over to me at the BOQ pool to inform me, a stranger, in the kindest way possible, that my father had just passed away. He already had an F-4 arranged and got me back to Miramar within the hour. Cdr. A. N. was a class act.

My apologies to Dan Anderson, for us hijacking his superb Cunningham website, eating up his band-with, and turning this into our own personal, old fighter pilot's remember when, forum.
Dan, I'll try to be more disciplined, and on topic in the future. Sorry.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-21 21:14:09

During the rodeo one sees many strange things. One strange thing that I saw was well connected JOs from late 1960s that were in operational fighter squadrons, never made a war cruise, no green ink and still made 0-6. That is a big statement about what a mess the organization is, was, is. I can name 3 all front seat.

Great wives, admirals daughters.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: bob wilson 
Date:   2006-03-22 06:28:27

<< I told him he was full of S•••• because I flew in F-4's and it didn't have terrain-following radar>>

I know you were referring to Navy F-4's but USAF RF-4C's (Recce) had TFO.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-22 06:36:53

That is what happens with wannabees, they read and get their stories confused. They read about a piece of equipment on AF a/c and assume that it is on Navy a/c.

The best I every heard was that this guy flew Navy F-4s with pilot controls in the back. No contaract was ever let by the Nav for a Nav Phantom with controls in the back. The AF allow for 2 pilots in the Phantom, whereas the Navy was dedicated to a non-aviator in the back.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-22 08:50:47

I was on a cross country from VF-121, moving from the F-8 to the F-4 - of course already an 0-3 for a few years. But the x-country was 4 a/c and we had some nugget drivers with staff RIOs in back. One was a NAVCAD ensign pilot. We RON'd at Tampa. At the club, wow did the AF have a problem with some guy with less than 500 hours in the front seat and going to combat. This one guy was in the back of AF F-4s with about 1,600 hours as I recall. Could not get a front seat. What a waste of talent. The Navy system was best, a dedicated non-pilot in the back.

And those Marines, especially the RFs, did have some crews!

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Scott aka RazMaTaz 
Date:   2006-03-28 21:21:48

I've been away from this website for a couple weeks, and all I gotta say is WOW! All of you fly-boys have made for some incredible reading. Thanks to all of you from a guy who appeciates your perspective on all of the issues. I'm betting that Dan Anderson could give a hoot about the bandwidth, for all of you have provided an insiders perspective that is hard to gain anywhere else.
This "wannabe" could read this stuff for days.

Howzabout some old "Falcon Code" stuff? Did all of the squadrons have same? I loved some of them, like Falcon Code #69, meaning:
"You obviously have me confused with someone who gives a chit".


 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-29 16:40:38

Well John. I said it before above and I will say it again, few, very few Naval Aviators, much less F-4 drivers got 300 missions. This is because they sent most one or two (2) cruise guys to the east coast. 300 total mission, against the north and south, was a ton of missions.

I too find it strange that no one ever heard of him. I do not know anyone from VF-31, but I will sniff. Ain't no such thing as before everyone's time . . . I was at Miramar those years and never heard of him.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-29 18:01:37

I of course did not know everyone. This is the invisable man. No one from VF-96 knew him either.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-30 08:00:38

You know, I never saw that photo. Never read the book, but now I will.

A fighter squadron with a 6XX nose number is strange to me. In my 12 years I never saw a fleet NAVY flighter squadron with anything other than 1XX or 2XX nose number - Modex?.

My experience would have bet that the 6XX would have been heavy attack - A-3, KA-3, EKA-3 or A-5s or RA-5s.

Very interesting.

LB you were in VF-96 at this time do you recall Earnest?

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: john 
Date:   2006-03-30 11:08:26


That brings back memories of two, 180 degree-out, precessed gyro mistakes:
One, a 30 plane Alpha Strike headed toward Hainan Island . . . until somebody realized the obvious - we were going east instead of west;
And another off a MigCap, thinking we were going southeast to "feet-wet" but actually were headed northwest. And we ended up (briefly) in Communist China.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-30 11:10:33

I just asked another source and he said that back then Air Pac and Air Lant ran with their own modex numbering. Later an all Navy came out of the puzzle palace and dictated the numbering system that most of us are familiar with:

1XX and 2XX - fighters
3XX and 4XX - light attack
5XX - medium attack inc. queers
6XX - heavy attack inc. queers and tankers

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-30 13:17:46

When America was in the med, I was on a trusty 27C flying F-8s. America's call sign was then "Courage."

One time on my first war cruise, I was wingman with a new guy Cdr from the East coast - out to get his ticket punched. Between he and his RIO, they had about 7 combat missions and he my fearless/witless leader . . . god, I loved that war!

We were up on the northern cap being controlled by "we'll kill you if we can" Redcrown. At about 1200 local, up comes this hot boggie dope and the order to "vector 005 for boggie, boggie at 75 miles, go gate, weapons free."

We were in combat spread with him to the south and me on the north side. The idiot jettisons his centerline tank, we needed those CL tanks, crams it in burner and cranks on about a 6 g turn crossing in front of my windscreen. Fortunately, I am stepped down of course.

My RIO starts to speak, I quiet him. After this clown completes his turn, having completely forgotten about his wingman and likely now over 800 kts and he and Red Crown are getting all lathered up, I finally speak and approximately say:

"Ah, boss, that boggy is over China. I think that it's the Ilyushin commuter making the daily noon run from Zaingiang into Haikau on Hainan." "Why don't you come out of burner and turn it back around and get back on station?"

So he gets back on station, low on fuel, of course. So they pull the KA-3 Texico from overhead the boat to come out and transfer a few pounds to this wingnut. (Yeah, yeah, I stole a few pound myself!

So I get back to the boat and the skipper takes me aside, and sez something like, "A$$hole, why did you let him get so far before you called him back?" I sez, "well, he is a Commander after all and you know how they are. He is senior to me in the Blue Book. I'm just a dumb LT. What the heck, he could have been on some secret mission to kill commuter airlines that I was not briefed in on. . ."

I got 3 days hack in Cubi for being a wise @!#$. Worse, I had to take the skipper's hops for the next few days. Jeeze!

The Cdr. never mentioned the incident. . . never.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-30 14:39:58

Wonderful Story! I used to see especially my fellow F-8 driver pull similar bs. I would love to see them go down in flames. I hope that you painted an F-8 on the fender of your bride's car.

See BL, youse guys - youse RIOs knew things like Tacan identifiers! I loved the RIO for the reason, a good one took over everything but flying that piece of carp. A good RIO was a thing to behold.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-09-21 06:32:29

Ah, "The World Famous Billy Phillips . . . " I knew him well, he was in my sister F-8 squadron on the Shang. “What a jerk . . . “ He was a nasty mean-mouthed guy, especially when drunk. The guy had a glass jaw. It does not redeem him in anyway, but Billy could fly the airplane however.

Yes, he could fly the F-8 very well. His final tour was as CAG-4 or 6 at NAS Cecil, the training CAG on the East Coast. Then he thankfully disappeared off into the sunset. Long dead now.

He got decked a number of times. I saw at least 2 at the Cecil O-Club and 1 at the Oceana O-Club. The infamous time that got everyone talking that I personally observed was at the Cubi O-Club. On the previous at sea period he had run off and left his wingman that had been shot down. Two (2) J.O.s from the squadron, one after another, did not say a word to him, Phillips was in a conversation and they just walked up and decked him. First one knocked him out and after they revived him and got him on his feet, the 2nd guy got a clear shot and decked him again. It was lovely. For anyone else, leaving a wingman anyone else would have been cashiered out of the Navy, but not Billy.

His face did look like 40-miles of bad road, but mostly from drinking I believe; although he got punched out often. There were so many incidents at the O-Clubs that many people just went to watch him get it.

Ole Billy was from that ole school that I never understood. He simply kept getting promoted; finally to 0-6. There was an alcoholic element of senior and very senior officers in Naval Air at that time and they took care of each other. Phillips was treated for alcoholism, it did not take. Others that he reported for drinking aboard ship were given bad fit reports and that was the end of them; Billy was always handing out bad fit reps for drinking aboard ship. He was drunk when he wrote them.

Bill Albertson, who absolutely destroyed one of the greatest Navy fighter squadrons, VF-143 "The Pukin Dogs," was another. Albertson was another drunk that got promoted all the way to 0-6 even though one time he was dragged out of an F-4 when he was trying to get it started to fly it . . . drunk. The guy got treatment for alcoholism. Others, not in the club, got bad fit reps from him for partying too hard aboard ship from him and they were finished. Albertson received treatment and promotion. He then became skipper of the drunk school in Long Beach - still drinking - and became O-6.

Their real crime was that they handed out great fitness reports to complete assholes that kissed their backsides. These syncopates went on in the Navy ruining careers of others that were most competent, but not of their ilk. So they kept reproducing themselves. I know of 2-guys that made 0-6 and never flew a combat mission; guys that were complete butt kissers and were freely promoted to 0-6. This really affected the Navy of the late 70s and 80s; I mean that the Navy was in trouble. Thus came the draconian rules on drinking and evaluations review by an independent board that also looked at who was writing the report.

With leaders like that, how could anyone have lived during those times?

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-09-21 20:48:41

When Phillips got decked at Cubi, he was CAG of that air group . . . made the event even sweeter. He then went on to CAG of the training air group. I believe that was the sequence.

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-09-22 09:24:07

Well, LB the difference between Navy work and Civilian work, is of course, is that you can walk away in Civilian life anytime you want. The military is such a great job, it has to require that you stick around for a specific number fo years. Employment contracts in the civilian world, are "at will" you want to walk, you walk. I saw a lot of the same b.s. at United Airlines and walked after 6-months. All the guys that I knew and worked with said I was berry, berry wrong. Today those guys just lost their pension plans.

The Navy tried, and very successfully did, pitch the line that its opportunities were the best that we could find. But I'm one to tell everyone that if you can perform in the Navy, you can be a success anywhere. The trick is finding at what to be successful.

I was so disappointed, so disillusioned, and yes, so hurt by what the Navy was pitching my way that I walk with over 12-years in, LCDR rank and guaranteed 20-years for retirement. All I had to do was to hang in there for another 8-years. But I simply could not do it.

LB it would have been a killer for you to have left VF-96 and then gone to the “other” Navy. You would have died over the bs, incompetence and the drudgery of it all.

My most enjoyable times were the times around my transition to the F-8 from the training command – “me! This is all mine!” and my cruises with it where I successfully pushed the envelope of my skills and fears, and succeeded. I actually used those word, “My god, I am getting paid to do this!” Those F-8 days were the most fun that I had ever had with my clothes on. That is why I am so sentimental on the ‘Gator. Oh, she was a beast to land on the carrier, and she had a ton of hydraulic problems, Falcon code # 230 THIS BASTARD HAS MORE DOWNING GRIPES THAN THE USS ARIZONA was a good one for her; but it flew like a wonderful wet dream. You even sat in it reclined, rather than straight up which after coming out of the F-9 and F-11 in the training command was different – cool. My first squadron was great. The senior officers were there always to help the JO get the picture. My two skippers, were absolutely what you wanted your Dad to be. The ship, the Shang, was old, not sleek and modern, but she got the job done. He small deck and steep glide slope and the slow spool up of the J-58 engine in the Crusader made me work hard to become efficient and effective at my craft.

Then I went to F-4s and I saw the real Navy community. The petty and life threatening bs. The “Perfumed Princes” and the favored fitness reports. The good deals going to the skipper’s and XO’s girls and the rest of us slugging it out in the trenches. As a drones we caught 2 hops a day over the beach; when North Vietnam was as hot as Friday night in ole Dodge City at the end of a cattle drive; while a “Perfumed Prince” caught 1 hop over the beach and 1 BAR cap. And, you don’t, because of the training, say much about it. Then finally you have to say something about it and you have to vote your opinion with your feet; and turn in your resignation letter and you walk away from the first thing that you truly loved to do.

An instructor in the training command, a LCDR who was on his way out of the Navy, told me that the Navy was a case of, to borrow the book title, “By Love Possessed.” That she was going to get my cherry and that I would fall hopelessly and headlong with love with her, and when she knew that she had her hooks deep into me, that she was going to morph into the snarling Hydra. And at that point I would have to make the hardest choice that I would ever make in my life. Would I become a Hydra, or would I walk away from it?

Well, I walked. And like the kid whose team lost the baseball game, I walked away from the field looking back over my shoulder and still wishing for a different outcome. Because when it was good, it was great. It was like having the greatest sex during a train wreck. We were indeed young lions; but like all great books, it has to come to an end. It cannot be the “Never Ending Story.”

Check 6!

 Re: Phonies & Wannabees
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-09-22 18:54:56

The ONC at San Nicholas Island was the same gig. Shore duty? Kiss my arse. You see what happenswith a lot of Navy gigs is that the brain trust that dreams them up, does not have to do it. Therefore, they do not have empathy for the job and requirements that they created and how it would impack the swinging d!ck that gets the "great career-enhacing job" that they created. The job has got to be great, after all they created it! b.s.

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