What's New

1/11/2014

This is why aircraft carriers have Landing Signal Officers (LSOs).
Post by Carrier Landing Consultants.

1/8/2014

A great man that I had the honor of knowing passed away this week – Jerry Coleman. Among other fine things, he was a star New York Yankee Infielder, a Marine combat fighter pilot in two wars, was the “Voice of the San Diego Padres,” and was once the team’s manager.

Navy Captain (ret.) Jack Ensch tells us that LtCol. Jerry Coleman "said on many occasions that he is more proud of his service as a naval aviator (Marine pilot) than of any other thing he ever accomplished in life - including his MVP baseball career and Hall of Fame broadcasting career."

I flew the San Diego Padres’ B-727 when he was the Padres' club manager. Although that season was a disappointment, I was immensely impressed with and blessed to knowthis extraordinary man. I admired him greatly. He was special, and he will be sorely missed.

1/8/2014

Flying in my F-4 Phantom against the F-8 Crusader was great fun, a real challenge, and excellent training.

10/30/2013

The Cubi Pt. Officers' Club recreated in the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola Florida.
I spent many enjoyable moments in the original. Lots of memories here.

10/23/2013

A talented friend - Robin Lee - recently worked up a great photographic representation of the F-14 bearing my name on it, when I first joined VF-1 in the Fall of 1976, aboard the USS Enterprise in the Philippines.



9/26/2013

40 years later, after they were POWs, released and returned, and then were honored at the largest White House dinner ever held, they reunited once again this year. It was a reenactment of their original dinner with then, President Nixon.
This is a video of both events and featuring some great guys I knew and flew with, and remain friends with today.

8/18/2013

I have recently made some comments about my experiences on Reddit. Some there want to verify that I am who I purport to be there, which is good. So I post this as verification to allay any concern: "I am doing an AMA on reddit."

7/26/2013

Researching old Naval aircraft? Or do you just want to know whatever happened to one you formerly flew?
Well then check out this comprhensive site, listing aircraft serial and Bureau numbers from 1911 to present!

7/19/2013

Added a great F-14 video to my VF-1 page.

7/4/2013

Added a link on my Linebacker Page to a 2 minute short video of our POWs returning from Hanoi in 1973.

5/29/2013

Congratulations to Anamosa High School senior, Henry Taylor, John R. Chesire Scholarship who is this year's recipient of the John R. Chesire Aviation Scholarship award. Henry will be attending Iowa State University, majoring in aerospace engineering. Our best wishes go out to this well deserving and talented young man.

5/17/2013

Unfortunately and as many know, I no longer am able to fly due to health reasons. However I can still fly vicariously, thanks to my lovely aviator daughter. She has just accepted a position with rapidly growing Desert Jet as a Citation jet captain.
[Bravo Zulu, Soooz!]
Desert Jet video

5/8/2013

Over 40 years ago our squadron mates Ted and Dave POWs were shot down over North Vietnam, captured, and became Prisoners of War (POWs) in the ‘Hanoi Hilton’.

However this past spring both they, along with their families, returned to meet the same North Vietnamese villagers and militia who captured them. I have added a link to Ted’s telling of that most unique and surprising reunion. LINK
[While it is a very good article, there is much more to the story. Indeed their personal accounts are fascinating.]

Compare this Capture Photo with this years later Reunion Photo, to see how some things change!
.
Also, although I have been in touch with Ted and Dave over the past couple of years, I never knew until now that Dave had sometime quietly received one of our country’s highest honors, and the equivalent of the Medal of Honor, for service to our country. LINK

Finally, the F-4 aircraft that Ted and Dave were in when they were shot down and captured is the same aircraft as depicted in the center of By The Dawn’s Early Light. Indeed I was most fortunate to know and serve with some extraordinary people in my youth.

3/15/2013

A framed print of Aviation Artist Pete Wenman's awarding winning By the Dawn’s Early Light, depicting the actual F-4B aircraft I flew in 1972 with my name on the canopy rail, is now on permanent display aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.

It may be seen on the museum's self-guided Admiral’s and Captain’s tour, and is located in the Captain’s “in port cabin" pictured here and here.

1/16/2013

Even after 40 years, some things are still vividly and painfully remembered... The sad and tragic loss of Mondo and Arlo in "Christmas ’72 Stories: (8) 'A-rab Beeper, come up voice.'"

11/27/2012

An amazing and long series of photographs of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail [that I came to know over four decades ago] as it appears today. LINK

10/5/2012

Added to my VF-1 page a link to an interesting, old school 1970s video that covers Air Combat Maneuvering training early on following F-14's initial introduction to the fleet - F-14 Air Combat Maneuvering. Most of those in the video were some of the best at the time, and are pilots and RIOs that I knew and flew with often.

10/4/2012

Added a photo of our VF-151, 1972 crews' "mini-reunion" held in 1991 on my War 2 page.

9/29/2012

Added this 1950's 30 minute documentary video, Small Town USA, to my prologue page. It was a Cold War U. S Information service propaganda documentary of my small hometown of 4,000 people - Anamosa, Iowa - designed to show foreign viewers how well we lived on farms and small towns in the Midwest. Although highly idealized, the places, people, and events were all real. I remember them all, fondly. And I miss those times too, for they have greatly changed since.

9/25/2012

Added a link to former shipmate and A-7 driver's recent article, Air War Vietnam Remembrance at 40 Years - All Days Come From One Day on my Linebacker I & II page. In the article Ed describes vividly his remembrances of our 11 month, 1972 cruise aboard the USS Midway and the air war over North Vietnam that we shared. It is from the Remembered Sky blog.

9/1/2012

Fixed a broken link to Santa Fe Top Gun on my TOPGUN page, along with its extraordinary fighter pilot owner and old squadron mate with a call-sign of 'Symo-taneous'.

8/25/2012

Godspeed Neil Armstrong! As a young Student Naval Aviator I was so proud that another Naval Aviator was the first man on the moon. I was in awe at the incredible accomplishment. I remember it vividly.

From my Fight Training NAS Beeville page:

" This was to be a historic year. It was the year of " Woodstock" (three of us actually talked about getting some leave and going to the Woodstock Festival in upstate New York, but alas it was, only talk). Much more importantly, it was the year that man first set foot upon the moon. My trailer mate Mike and I had left Beeville for the greater weekend 'excitement' of San Antonio. Staying with an uncle, we delayed our sortie into town that historic night to watch, in black and white TV amazement, Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong's first step upon the moon on July 20, 1969."

8/23/2012

Back on line.

8/16/12

Circumstances dictate I will be offline for awhile...

7/16/2012

Added the Navy's Pilot Training Rates of Naval Aviators for the years 1911 through 1995, on my NAS Beeville page.

6/22/2012

Two F-14s crashed in 1976, two days apart and almost in the same place at NAS Miramar. Four good men died. They were four men in my VF-124 Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) class whom I knew well. One was a close friend with whom I flew with frequently.
I recently found the local newspaper reports on these crashes, and added them to my F-14 page. The newspaper crash reports are here and here.

6/22/2012

Added three old family photos on my NADC page:
1970s Marriage, 1980s Family Dinner, and 2012 First Grandson.

6/22/2012

Added on my Top Gun page, a some years later photo of Dan Pedersen, who not only taught me how to fly and fight the F-4 Phantom, but was the original Officer in Charge (OINC) of the initial Navy Fighter Weapons School (NFWS), later and better known as TOPGUN.

5/18/2012

Added two new F-14 pics: Loaded F-14A, and F-14 Dawn Patrol.


4/12/2012

Added a link on my Linebacker II page to a B-52 audio/video as they flew over Hanoi in December of 1972, trying to end the war. We flew on the night of the 20th as MigCap near Hai Phong as protection for the strike. The multiple annoying background noises are the aural warnings one receives when different enemy fire control radars are tracking/firing at you. The loud and persistent 'beepers' are emergency locater beacons from crews who have been shot down. The relative calmness and professional transmissions belie the death, destruction, and amazing fireworks all around them. BZ

4/5/2012

Added a video link, "F-14 Tomcat Carrier Landing Tutorial Plus PLAT Footage" to my F-14 Flight Training page.
[Of course we didn't have training videos like this in the 1970s. This video is far more recent.]

3/8/2012

This past week we lost not only an extraordinary Naval Aviator, but also a man for all seasons; a true Renaissance man. He was retired Navy Captain - Carroll LaFon - but more widely known as Neptunus Lex on his blog. He died doing what he loved. But he died far too early for his family and innumerable friends.
The Tailhook Daily weighs in with sadness. The U.S. Naval Institute has more, as does also the Lahontan Valley News .

1/1/2012

One the best things about this website are the many old and new friends who stop by and comment.

Last week I heard from an old A-7 shipmate - Ed Beakley, whom I had not seen nor heard from since 1973! He shared his experiences [very similar to mine] of our 1972 Christmas in Singapore, shortly following our intensive raids from the USS Midway over North Vietnam days prior.

More importantly, today he contributes to Project White Horse. Ironically one of his recent contributions was about the same 1972 A-6 Crash aboard the USS Midway that I added to this website below on 9/13/2011 under the title, "Danger and Death on our Deck."

Read some of the incredible comments he quotes of some others involved... things I never knew till now: "Survival on her own terms: Midway’s Magic " ... [Like the twenty-something dentist aboard who was called upon to save a life by amputating a victims leg! I am honored and humbled to have served with such men!]

For more, read: Here

11/1/2011

Added a photo of some of my old VF-151 squadron mates taken in our Ready Room aboard USS Midway in 1972 - "The Guys" - on my War page.

9/25/2011

I always appreciate the many responses I receive almost daily as a result of this website. But sometimes I am caught off guard. An old RO I once flew with, but have not seen in decades sent me this week his memories about one mission we shared. Much of my experience is a now a blur. But his email brought this particular memory back:

"I also remember quite vividly the bombing mission on the rail yards south west of Hanoi. The run was a south to north run with a sharp right turn after release. When we came off target and looked right the Strike group was getting really hosed by triple A. I suggested we reverse to the north and come out very low over the next river mouth. That's when they opened up on us with the ZSU-23's radar-controlled (aka Golden Hose). Do you remember that mission?"
[ZSU-23 Video]
"There were two ZSU-23's - one on the North bank of the river and one on the South bank. We were below two hundred feet because you had set the radar altimeter to 200 feet and the alarm was going off. I remember thinking, " This looks just like the golden arches. We were going right down the tunnel with a very impressive rooster being kicked up behind us. I also remember the bright Yellow-Orange tracers going over the canopy and thinking any second we're going to be a fire ball. But all the time shouting Faster Cat! Faster! - God Damn it - get lower Cat Get lower. I also remember the Fuel Low Level light coming on just as we went feet wet, I also remember when we got out of the bird there was no paint left on the nose of the centerline fuel tank..."

Yes my old friend, I now do remember that day. Thank you, partner.

9/13/2011

Added a paragraph on my Linebacker I & II page titled, "Danger and Death on our Deck." It concerns the 1972 A-6 crash on our flight deck that killed 5 and severely injured 23 more.

[Note: The date was the night of 24 October, 1972 in the Gulf of Tonkin. Other dates for this tragic incident in some Web histories are incorrect.]

9/8/2011

Added a link to some spectacular photos of a night Da Nang VC rocket attack on my Vietnam - 1st Cruise page.

8/23/2011

During our long and difficult 11-month SEA combat cruise in 1972-73, one of the treasured bright spots for the 5,000 officers and men aboard USS Midway was looking forward to the daily "Snoopy Cartoon." It appeared each morning on the bottom of the daily Strike Ops Plan. (I believe the artist was a junior officer, Lt. W. E. Girard.)

These special cartoons documenting daily life while in harm's way were ultimately compiled into a cherished booklet at the end of cruise. Unfortunately I lost mine long ago. But thanks to Buzz Nau, he has preserved this special daily history within his website: 1972-73 WestPac Log - featuring "Snoopy"

[Indeed in building this website, I have often relied upon these cartoons to spur my memory, and to fix accurate dates. Thus, I have added two of the cartoons on my Linebacker Page, noting our move from operations in South Vietnam and An Loc on Dixie Station, to the more dangerous flights over the much more heavily defended North Vietnam and Route Pack VI.

8/23/2011

Added a link on my Top Gun page to my former squadron mate, stateroom mate, friend, extraordinary fighter pilot, and the guy destined for the NFWS, TOPGUN before me in 1971 - callsign "Symo"!

If ever in Santa Fe New Mexico, be sure to say "hi." And if you dare, either fly or golf with one of the very best!
You can find him here: Santa Fe Top Gun Adventures

5/16/2011

Aviation artist Pete Wenman's painting By the Dawn's Early Light of my old VF-151 aircraft over North Vietnam, has just won The Captain Duane Whitney Martin, USAF Award at the 2011 ASAA International Aerospace Art Exhibition. The painting will be on display throughout the summer at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.
LINK

4/6/2011

Link added to an F-14 Tomcat night CQ (carrier qualification) video from Patricks Aviation site on to my F-14 page.
Takes a bit of time to load, but a very good video.

[ BTW, the F-4's approach speed was 15-20kts greater than the F-14, and had far fewer instruments and landing aids. While it was thus more difficult to land, it flew rock-solid on approach compared to the F-14. The differences were spoilers, rather than ailerons, fan engine instead of turbo-jet, differential tail in the F-14, to name a few.]

3/17/2011

Added another link on my Epilogue page to aviation artist Pete Wenman' site, who now has prints for sale of his original work, By the Dawns Early Light.

The original oil on canvas painting features three of our old VF-151 F4-B aircraft, including my personal NF 213, and Ted and Dave's NF 210 - the aircraft they were flying when they were shot down and captured over North Vietnam. This painting will be on display in May and throughout the summer at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

3/4/2011

Added a unique and moving rendition of Taps, with orchestration, for all our fallen heroes on my Vietnam: Operations Linebacker I and Linebacker II page.

1/22/2011

Linked on my War-2nd Cruise page to "Snako" Kelly's great personal short-story posted on the Tailhook.org website: "My First Division Lead".
If I recall correctly, I was in an F-4 on this same particular strike with him in 1972.

1/20/2011

Link added to aviation artist John D. Shaw's F-4 painting, Into The Storm on my F-4 Tour: The RAG page. Along with a number of other Vietnam era F-4 Naval Aviators, I recently had the privilege of signing John's original work of art along with many of the prints.

10/14/2010

Added a link to a comprehensive 1972 Air War Timeline on my War-2nd Cruise page. It lists many of the dates, names, places and events of flying over North Vietnam in 1972 that I remember. It is an excellent resource for a researcher, historian, family member of one who served, and even an old participant like me.

10/13/2010

Added a recent VF-151 reunion picture on the War - 2nd Cruise page.

9/1/2010

VF-151 37 year reunion last week in San Diego, covered by KUSI TV video.

8/15/2010

Many of our old warriors, finally after 37 years, are returning to their roots, regrouping, and will once again have the opportunity to try to tell more unbelievable lies to each other -- at San Diego, the USS Midway, and at the former NAS (now MCAS) Miramar, this month.

This is our 1st official reunion since last being together in 1973. A gathering of eagles and some extraordinary men: The VF-151 Officers' of the Vietnam era aboard the USS Midway , Reunion.

7/5/2010

Noted British aviation artist Pete Wenman's workup color study of our VF-151 squadron's F-4B aircraft over North Vietnam in 1972 (including my former "personal" aircraft, NF-213), recently won a "Founders Blue Ribbon" at the San Diego Air & Space Museum's 24th ASAA International Aerospace Art Exhibition. Since this was only a smaller, preliminary "study" in preparation for the final work of art on larger canvass, it promises to later be an aesthetically pleasing and very special work of historic and accurate aviation art. Congratulations to Pete.

6/24/2010

Added a link on the '72/73 War2 page about our lost next door neighbors aboard USS Midway in 1973, KIA (Killed in Action) Mike and Al. They were recently honored on April 2010, by having their names affixed to the Midway Museum's A-6 aircraft. One of the speakers was Al's son Tad, who was only 2 months old when his father was KIA, having never met him. Tad was more recently a member of the USAF Thunderbirds flight demonstration team, is now a selectee Lt. Col., and flies F-16s for the US Air Force. Link

5/5/2010

Added a link to Lap Around The Boat... an excellent 6 minute video of the catapult, landing pattern, and trap of a Navy T-45 trainer aboard an aircraft carrier. As real as it gets on video.

4/15/2010

Added a link to Pete Wenman Aviation Art on my Epilogue page. Unbeknownst to me, Pete had recently seen my website photo and had kindly done a very nice pencil sketch of it one afternoon. He then mailed it to me from the UK. It was a very pleasant surprise.

Currently Pete is working on an intriguing and accurate painting of F-4B aircraft of VF-151 flying in Vietnam, that also includes my old personal aircraft, NF-213. Thank you, Pete.

3/3/2010

Added a link to an old but excellent 1987 Texas Monthly article about "Frankie Smooth Talk" Frank Lorenzo on the Continental Airline page. It gives insight on how this reckless, devious, and malicious man soared, then crashed in the airline industry.... Finally being officially banned from the industry, but unfortunately, well after wrecking thousands of airline employees' lives. (For the complete TM article, email me.)

1/25/2010

Added two F-14 images on the F-14 Tour page

1/1/2010

Happy New Year! Just a few minor changes on a number of different pages, and a couple of new images too.


11/15/2009

Added a link to San Diego Magazine's October article on the 40th anniversary (has it been that long?) of TOPGUN, located on my TOPGUN page under "links" - '09 TOPGUN Article II.


9/9/2009

Added a corrected link to the History Channel's excellent video recreation on YouTube [apparently now recently taken off line] of fellow Top Gun classmate Bart's 1972 MiG kill on my TOPGUN page.

[A check of my logbook for that day indicates a flight code of 1W2 on May 18, which was a boringly safe, BARCAP mission - and for me it was the wrong place at the wrong time with MiGs airborne.

But I was most happy with Bart and Oran's success, in addition to Pat and "Taco's" success that day.... All great guys..... even if they were from our competition, "brand X", VF-161.... ]



6/7/2009

Added a link to Bud "Thunder" Taylor's Collection of combat photos taken during our 1972 cruise. (Vietnam - 2nd Cruise page)

Although Thunder flew with our sister squadron, VF-161 ("Brand X"), his photos are representative of both CVW-5's F-4 squadrons aboard the USS Midway. Ironically, some years later Thunder became the Commanding Officer of his old Midway "brand X" and my old squadron, VF-151.

Karma, I suppose.

4/9/2009

San Diego Tribune 4/9/2009 article on the establishment of TOPGUN 40 years ago, including comments from some of the six original NFWS innovators at a reunion aboard the USS Midway. Link provided on my Top Gun page

3/24/09

Added a photo, and a link to an Air & Space magazine article - The G Machine - about the famous (infamous?) NADC Centrifuge, (that I unfortunately rode far more than I should have) on the Naval Air Development Center page.

3/21/09

Thanks to all - old friends and new, world-wide - who have emailed me so many kind comments. Indeed any comments, questions, and recommendations are always welcome.

3/20/09

I have been busy the past two weeks adding text, images, and expanded images on over half of the pages. Look around and you will discover new things.

2/12/09

When I initiated this site, I tried to keep my limited images as few and as small as my website basic instruction books had indicated I should. And I didn't then know how to add expandable thumbnails (which I later learned is extremely simple).

In the past few weeks, I have expanded some of my earlier images on various pages. They are now viewable by clicking on the older specific image.

As I have time, I will continue to add future expanded images to my older smaller ones, as needed.

1/24/09

Added a VF-151 officers' group photo thumbnail on the Vietnam; Second Cruise page.

1/21/09

Added some images to the Pride Air page, and added thumbnails of an officers' VF-1 group photo, circa 1976 and a Wolfpack F-14A on the VF-1 page.

1/5/09

Added two F-4 patches, a SERE patch, and a VF-126 patch to the F-4 Tour RAG page.

1/1/09

Added a link to an interesting 1977 promotion Grumman video on the Ferry Flight to Iran page, describing the logistics of introducing the F-14 to Iran.

12/27/08

Added a Ray Kroc Sea Story.

12/21/08

Added a link on my F-4 Tour page to M. Waterloo's excellent website. He collects and restores old aircraft cockpit instrument panels, especially F-4 aircraft. His is an interestingly unique and excellent collection, especially with his very detailed pictures and associated descriptions of cockpit instruments and avionics.

11/22/08

Added a link to Vietnam War Resources. This is the most comprehensive and current collection of links regarding every aspect of the the Vietnam War. Again from Tom Pilsch. It is all here!

11/11/08

Added some FAC (Forward Air Controller) links on the War-1st Cruise page. Of special interest is former FAC Tom Pilsch's excellent website, Air Operations – Vietnam. Well worth a visit!

11/8/08

Added a link on the Operation Linebacker page to Tom ("Flipper") Terrlizzi's novel, Kilo Sierra, based in part on our USS Midway cruises to Southeast Asia in the early '70s. Although I have yet to read it, having just ordered it today, it does have some nice reviews and should be a fun read.



11/6/08

Added two new incredible links:

An Loc Battle - A number of truly amazing first person accounts of the Battle of An Loc; well worth a visit!

"12/72" Stories!!!
- Short but captivating personal accounts of Linebacker II and the "Christmas Raids" over Hanoi to end the war, as told by B-52 crews who flew those climatic nightly flights from 18 to 29 December, 1972.


4/7/07

Added a number of photos courtesy of Michel in the Netherlands, who has quite a collection. His F-4 gallery is here

3/18/07

Added a Chase Field link, and an F-9 photo to the NAS Beeville page.

3/10/07

Just some general housecleaning and link repair. This site has been dormant for a little while, but I am in the process of adding a new page or two... hopefully soon to follow.

7/2/06

Added 3 pictures of the USS Midway to the "War: Second Cruise" page, and a couple of F-14 pictures aboard the USS Enterprise on the "VF-1" page. Also, some minor house cleaning on other pages.

6/29/06

Added a link to my former squadron-mate and author, Art (Kim) Long's Book, Tail-End Charlie; which accurately chronicles our 1972 combat cruise aboard the USS Midway, from a uniquely personal and insightful perspective.

6/25/06

Kenny W. remembered - It would likely have been me.

6/24/06

Added a sea-story: "Rocket Attack At The Red Dog Saloon", and an F-4 section photo.

3/21/06

Added a short sea-story: "Sir, You're Never Going To Make It!"

3/1/06

Added F-4 cat shot image to VF-151 page. Added Russian Bear escort image to War page. Miscellaneous house cleaning.

2/10/06

De-bugging site. Fixing many typo's.

2/5/06

Not much, yet.

Remember, this is a brand new, squeaky website. Therefore, nothing has yet had any time to be changed. Nor has anyone had time to point out the mistakes, or quibble with any issue.

However rest assured, as significant changes are made, they will be documented here.




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